Sunday, January 10, 2016

Focus. Energy. and the Universe

Energy is power. 
Where we focus our attention is where our energy is spent. 
Where we spend our energy is what becomes our perception. 
Perception is what fuels our decisions. 
Decisions are how we build our lives. 

Living PowerLife helps to explain the connection between focus, energy, and power. This lifestyle gives space and guidance for eliminating the many ways we misuse our power and focus our attention on thoughts and feelings that inhibit our development. This post will explain how we can recognize when our egos are giving us opportunities that, when explored, result in freedom from stumbling blocks that consistently keep us from succeeding.

When I discovered how to include my ego in the work of recognizing the power I had in every situation and using that power to move forward, I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. I literally cried from relief. Relief from realizing that life was not a battle. Life was more of a dance where all involved have a crucial role in creating a beautiful work of art.

A quote from Carl G. Jung is a good place to start to explore what this means:

Anyone who has any ego-consciousness at all takes it for granted that he knows himself. But the ego knows only its own contents, not the unconscious and its contents. People measure their self-knowledge by what the average person in their social environment knows of himself, but not by the real psychic facts which are for the most part hidden from them. In this respect the psyche behaves like the body, of whose physiological and anatomical structure the average person knows very little too. "The Undiscovered Self," 491.

Ego can work with us or against us. Once we understand...
  • how ego contributes to the quality of life 
  • when ego enhances the ability to obtain goals 
  • what to do when ego interferes with the growth process
... a powerful collaboration between Universe, spirit, and human is forged. This collaboration is how focus, attention, and energy come together to make what we once believed to be impossible, possible. The best way that I know to illustrate how this powerful trio works is to give a real-life example from my personal experiences.

Some of you know that I sing. Most of my singing experience, until recently, had not been gospel. Soon after I moved to Oregon, however, I was invited to join an African American gospel choir. The fact that they were not affiliated with a church was my first reason for considering their invitation. The fact that I had little experience singing in this genre was the second. The fact that they were more than a choir; they were a community of people from a wide range of age and ethnicity, some of whom had a history of over 20 years together. I joined.

Time passed. I became comfortable with the style of singing. One evening during rehearsal, the director invited me to take the lead in one of the songs we were learning. I accepted the invitation first because I was curious about how I would do and second because I always wanted to successfully sing a solo. My first attempt was rocky but not awful and this was encouraging.

At the same time, I was coming to terms with what my close call with suicide the year before meant. Part of that process was realizing what I would have missed had I succeeded (the birth of my youngest granddaughter being just one of many joyous occasions). Another was enjoying getting to know the many genuinely good people I had met since leaving Boston. During the same time, I noticed that the progress I was making on my solo was inconsistent. There were times during rehearsal that I could not connect emotionally with the lyrics which meant that I sang from my head only. Then there were times when I felt the beginnings of an emotional connection which became a distraction--either I would slip into a key that was not in my range, or forget the lyrics, or...

My daily discipline of meditation revealed that I was actually working against myself which was why the progress on my solo was not proceeding smoothly. This happened after a particularly difficult rehearsal when I had to stop singing for a few minutes because the words would not come. I was switching from connecting with the lyrics with my head and my heart; that night the heart won. I was able to recover and finish, barely, the song. After, I revealed to the choir that before moving to Oregon I came very close to ending my life and the lyrics of my solo describe how I was able to pull through that time. From then my progress quickened and the result is I sing the song from my heart with my head as the guide. Each time I sing, the song is a little different because the union of my spirit, my body, and the audience results in different outcomes.

Moving from not being able to fully connect with the lyrics of my solo or getting lost in the lyrics took focused work during my daily meditation. Part of that work meant being curious to know more about the energy behind the vacillation. By opening up and asking the Universe to guide me in understanding why I was unable to, in gospel music terms, 'make the song mine' I saw how my ego was working against my goal. In the process an opportunity for growth became visible. In other words, my ego was giving me a chance to give direction for how she could contribute in a helpful way to the overall success with my goals.

First, during meditation I had to set aside time for my ego to do what I call 'vent' about how she is doing. Early in this process I found that there were times when ego was carrying around emotions from experiences that were anywhere from hurtful to just annoying. As time went on, I had to set aside less time for ego to vent. The turn around came the day I felt the weight lift off my shoulders. Ego, once getting the message that things were going to change, was greatly relieved to know that she was no longer going to be expected to be involved in areas that were beyond her reach. Indeed, her work in my life was to bring joy, passion, and opportunities for growth.

Second, I had to develop a way to communicate to ego in the moment that she was dabbling in areas that were not hers. What worked, and still does, is to tell her to drop it when thoughts or feelings that are counter to obtaining particular goals come up. A simple example is when I realize that I am thinking about what can go wrong in a particular situation, I now know that this is my ego and I tell her to drop it. I can then refocus my attention to thoughts that will help ensure that I succeed with the project at hand.

Third, I had to instruct ego in what to do with the unhelpful feelings and thoughts until she could vent during meditation. This meant that drop it had to meant put them in a temporary holding area. One such area is the earth where things are transformed. For example, seeds are transformed into plants and trees in the earth. Death is transformed into life through fertilizing plants, and feeding insects. Unhelpful thoughts and feelings can be transformed into productive energy.

Fourth, and this is the most important, I developed the habit of acknowledging when ego was helpful in the daily routine of living a Living PowerLife lifestyle.

This is the first post for 2016. May you have a prosperous, abundant, healthy, safe, peaceful, joyous, grateful, and loving year. I leave you with these thoughts until next time...

  • There is a part of you that holds your joy and your pain. Honor her and give him space to be seen.
  • There are times when the best thing you can think is a version of 'drop it.' Spend part of every day developing the ability to recognize those times.
  • The more you make room for your unhelpful thoughts and feelings, the less room they will need. 
  • Negative feelings and positive feelings are situational and based on perception. Look at the effects of these and determine which you want to grow and which you want to weed, instead.
From my PowerLife to yours,