Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Banking system is not the economy..painting a new picture

Here’s a reality—if every piece of paper called money disappeared tomorrow, the economy would still be here. That’s because the economy represents the activities necessary to live life—and these activities are going to happen whether there’s money or not. Yes, money is a tool that can help us facilitate the activities of life…but it isn’t a situation of money first, economy/activities of life second.

However, part of the reason we’re in such chaos right now is that we have created a world that put money/credit first and economy/necessary activities to sustain life second.

You can see this happening right now as we are bailing out the banks. We have this delusion that this is necessary so the economy can run. But if every bank collapsed and vaporized into outer space tomorrow, people would still get up, find a way to feed themselves, put a roof over their head, clothes on their backs, teach their children how to read, write and create. We would create barter systems, local ‘currency’ options and other ways to get our basic needs met. And it is because of this that it is necessary that we confront this reality—and put the focus on strengthening the economy instead of strengthening banks and enslaving ourselves to the mistaken belief that it is because of money that we have an economy.

Money is a tool that can assist an economy but we’ve somehow let those who control the money convince us that without money we wouldn’t get up every morning and live. I’ve got to eat whether there’s money or not. I can grow my own. I can join a CSA (community supported farm) and trade my time/effort in the field for food, etc. Money isn’t the key for me to have food—it’s the ‘activity to produce’ that’s key—and that’s the economy. I don’t have to sit around and wait for a piece of green paper to tell me to do this!

This current banking/credit crisis is a fantastic opportunity for us to examine how out of whack our world has become in relation to money and the economy. Then we can take the steps necessary to build an economy based on real life and not on the delusion that money is more valuable than real life.

At the same time, there’s another major factor that’s going to force us to transform the economy/money issue. Yes, the credit/banking crisis is one impetus but global warming is the other. Global warming and a consumer economy are running straight into each other—and the outcome isn’t going to be pretty. Maintaining our current consumption levels throughout the world will result in environmental collapse. So, let’s stop trying to maintain status quo and create a real wealth economy instead.

An economy is all the activities that we engage in order to live life. We currently limit the definition of our economy because of how we have connected the economy to money. As a result, we measure and value only a small portion of the activities that are needed to live life—just the one’s we’ve attached a monetary value to. And there in lays the opportunity---to expand the definition of the economy by expanding the activities that we measure and attach a monetary value to include what’s now overlooked. Welcome to a full spectrum economy! Currently we measure the market, government and illegal activities—but to this we will begin adding the household, volunteer and natural/environmental sectors—areas of life where the grand majority of activities of life take place but we exclude in our measurements and have attached no monetary value to at this time. But here’s the interesting thing--the UN estimates the value of the household and unpaid volunteer work at over $11 trillion a year and economists have valued the natural sector at over $33 trillion! Now, that’s a thriving economy.

Beyond fear:
Right now, because 70% of our measured economy is based in consumption, a lot of people are sitting in fear. They can see that their jobs and livelihood would be under threat if we begin to transition away from a consumer economy. But if we begin to build a full spectrum economy and add in these new sectors—it can be done with the conscious understanding that this means a large number of people will need to be making a transition into these new sectors. Because we know we’re doing this—it means it doesn’t have to be a ‘crash the old system/create chaos’, but could instead be a proactive, supportive process of transition—acknowledging that this supportive transition makes sense for us all!

The current banking system thrives/depends on a consumer, credit/debt driven economy. We can already see that as the banking system shrinks, it chokes off the capacity for unlimited consumption. So the transition has begun. What’s missing though is that we have yet to bring forth the new sectors into the system and that’s the discussion that needs to be on the table now. We need leadership and world-wide awareness. As this happens we can put our attention instead to building up new sectors of the economy and assisting people who currently work in the consumer system to transition over to this new full spectrum economy that depends less on consumption and more on real life necessities.
This is a conscious act that a world wide global forum could facilitate.

New ways of thinking: Real life economy.

Yes, consumption is still going to happen—but it doesn’t have to be 70% of the economy. In a full spectrum economy, the new sectors of household, volunteer actions and the natural sector all become measured and monetarily attached.

For example—volunteer work comprises massive quantities of time and energy of people throughout the country and the world. That activity can be measured and monetized on a local economy level. So a person who volunteers at schools or nursing centers or in the city parks would ‘bank’ these hours in a Community Credit system that would be tradable within the community she lives in. Community Credits would be accepted at all local restaurants for say, half the bill. Or Community credits could be traded for a massage, a counseling session or a “flex car” hour so she can drive to visit a friend. In this way a full spectrum, local economy can thrive.

Another example: as the car industry goes into a tailspin, we assist people working in those industries to move over into the new, environmentally driven mass transit industry. There will be thousands of good paying jobs that can be created as we build the rail lines for light rail, ferry boats along rivers, more bikes, bike paths, Flex-car systems, and tech systems that not only to make efficiency of the system at the ground level, but enable people to interact/use the system to their best value too.

Or the construction industry—while we’re sitting on a glut of houses there are thousands of jobs that could be created for retrofitting our houses to become energy independent. Windows using the latest technology to ensure that they are as warm in the winter but cool in the summer and need as little extra energy for warming/cooling as possible. Solar and wind retrofitting of the 200+ million houses and apartments in the US would employ thousands more—not to mention the solar and wind industries exploding to make the materials necessary.

Or the food industry. Right now we have a highly concentrated food industry that enables a small system to feed large populations—but it also requires tons of energy. A great economic driver for every region of this country would be the development of a regional food system. This would employ thousands in small farms, farmers’ markets and food production facilities. Restaurants could thrive in this system. Communities with thriving local food systems also end up increasing connections among the people who live there—an especially wonderful event for our children to see and participate in too.

Or Education—not the current education system which is designed for the 20th century but a 21st century education system that is based in optimal human development. Right now, our system teaches a lot about subjects we rarely use, but very little about how to build healthy, whole and dynamic lives. A big example of this is that most high school or college graduates have no idea how the money system works! How could we spend 12-16+ years in school and yet be so ignorant? But we are and that is one major factor as to why this financial crisis could happen with very few people even realizing or understanding it! Building a 21st century education system would employ thousands of people because we could create schools that are full spectrum community centers where education will become a life-long learning process. Within this 21st century education system will be a huge connection to technology, travel industries, film and television and all sorts of other businesses that will participate and support a life-long education system.

Medical: our current system is a mess. Millions of people live in fear of becoming ill and ending up bankrupt! The move to a Universal Health care system that employs thousands of people would enable us to shift our system into prevention—something that currently doesn’t happen because the profit driven medical system (profits mainly to the insurance companies) makes more money by us being sick than well. That’s a failed system and it can change. A Universal health care system would link with the education system and provide health care/prevention education within the system to enable people to choose this career path without going into massive debt. In exchange for this education, they work in a system that manages costs and pays them a sufficient income—but also enables them to build a prevention/whole health medical system. Universal health care doesn’t preclude anyone from going into private practice—but they would then pay back the system for their medical education while others in the system would not.

I could go on and on but here’s the bottom line—there’s plenty of work to be done to create a world where humans thrive and achieve optimal development and we are all needed to play a part in it. A full spectrum economy is possible.

It’s about life—not money.
At the same time that we’re moving away from the consumer/credit/debt driven economy, we also need to give ourselves permission to address the issue of our work/life schedules. In the new economy, instead of the intensive work schedules from ages 20-65 and then a full stop into retirement, it is time to appreciate that this current schedule works against us, our children, our families, our communities and the world. We’re in such a rat race pace while raising our children that we barely get to know them! We’re all so exhausted, having little time to foster good marriage relations and community involvement. It’s time to recognize this and change it. Let’s abolish retirement while instituting the 4 day/28 hour work week throughout our lives—thus enabling us to have the time to live life throughout our entire lives! As we move into our 70’s, we might trim these hours a little more still—but we stay engaged in the economy until or unless we are so impaired that we can’t work. Then, as we look at ‘saving’ for our elder years, it isn’t something we’re rushing to do and worrying about throughout our younger years—we realize that we’ll be fine into our older years because we will still be working.

From the Rule of Gold…to the Golden Rule.
Somehow along the way, we’ve created a world where we believe that ‘making money on making money’ is the center piece of our economy. But the present financial meltdown shows the fallacy of this system. It’s left us bankrupt on the financial level—its done so on the moral and spiritual level too. As we moved into this money driven system intensively over the last 50 years, we got separated from life and let our economy become run by the money instead of life. The Rule of Gold has taken over—he who has the gold makes the rules. So, we all started chasing the gold and it has become the primary value system that has left us without life. We convinced ourselves that two cars, big houses and tons of stuff were worth the exchange for money to buy this stuff—even at the expense of knowing our children, our neighbors, our community. This scenario is reflected is what could be termed M3P. Money, Property, Possessions and Power—that represent what we think we need in a world that operates with a dominator value system attached to money.

The Golden Rule—do unto others as you would have done unto you—is the one tenant that is present in every spiritual denomination and provides the foundation for a value system that we’ve always understood—caring for ourselves and each other. As we begin this transition from a consumer economy, the new value system could be termed M3C: Material needs, Conscious living, Creativity and Caring where the primary value is caring for humans and the planet. Building a real wealth, full spectrum economy based on this value system ensures a healthy economy that works, enables us to design vibrant lives and live with respect to the earth and all its inhabitants.

How do we fund it? Well, there’s an available tool, called money that would help us facilitate this process. Only, instead of using the old banking system (which is in collapse due to their own excesses), it is time to employ the backing of the ‘full faith of the American people’ and enable the government to issue money directly into these transition industries and new systems. This would interrupt the current credit/debt system that the private banking system has strangled us with and enable us to issue funds to businesses with the interest payment returning to the government and the American taxpayer. In this way, instead of taxing ourselves individually, we would generate income through all these “Public Utility Enterprises’ (PUE) paying back interest on these investments by the government/us. Taxes would go down across the board and possibly eliminated all together. (And if you think this is crazy, there are already several small countries where this public banking system has been utilized for years. Citizens have never had to pay taxes out of their own income—it is sourced through the economy—people working in activities that enable life to occur!)

So for example, the US gov’t invested $700 billion into the solar, wind and retrofit industries for our houses. This would fund the start up and/or expansion of thousands of small local businesses who would work in these fields, being paid for their services. They would pay interest on these loans and that interest would return to the public coffers. The government would have a small stake in each of these PUEs with the caveat that over time—say 3 years, if the PUE is successful in repaying its loans, the employees would have the option to ‘buy out’ this government stake and become owners of this enterprise. At the same time, these companies would maintain a 1-7 balance between new entry employees and highest management in order to prevent the excessive executive pay scales that have lately become the norm whereby even when they fail, executives receive massive bonuses!

We also have the option to create local currency which is traded within a local region. This is legal and is already being done throughout the world. To this can be added the Community Credit system, The Community Credit system enables a local economy to support the volunteer/non-profit sector through a business, volunteer, individual linked system that ensures a strong thriving local economy around real life needs.

We can do this!

Many will say, “But the government doesn’t know how to run anything—it has to be private business.” But let me remind you that the brightest minds in the private system have brought the world banking system to its knees and sparked a world-wide depression. The argument that the government/people of the US could do any worse would be hard to sustain. In fact, there’s a great argument for doing this because it is connected to a plan based on supporting real life. We all gain as we build this new economy based around enterprises that will provide for optimal human development—life! We’ve handed over $700 billion to a system that is dedicated to maintaining the status quo. Now, let’s walk away from that and invest $700 billion into regional food systems, Universal health care, energy efficient/oil independent industries, dynamic schools and communities, transportation systems that let us all move around while protecting the environment, etc. We can have a thriving, full spectrum economy that works for us all—instead of a banking system that works for a few.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Be proactive during these changing times

The old Chinese saying "May you live in interesting times" is certainly a blessing we can all say we've received this year! The elections have sparked lots of dialogue about racism, sexism and a future of change beyond the 'white-male dominated' politics; global warming and the "WE" campaign's call for the US to become oil independent in the next 10 years forces us to recognize that oil has an involvement in every aspect of our lives and with oil is running out change will be necessary; and the financial meltdown on Wall Street coupled with fears of a looming recession all can be pointed as evidence that 2008 will go down as one of those turning point years that just might change the world forever.

Isn't that wonderful? Others may review that list with great angst and trepidation, but a Life Puzzle-maker would know that these challenges offer great opportunities for expanding one's life and view of the possibilities of the world we can create. And that's the key here--change is normal and welcomed!

Stop and think about it--change is all we've ever experienced on this planet. Humans in their current 'modern' stage have been on this planet for at least 35,000 years--and if you accept Neanderthals as an even earlier form of humans--we're looking at 200,000 years. We have changed physically, intellectually, and culturally throughout this time line. So, why would we resist a new wave of change?

Here's the good news.....while an oil dependent, consumer economy, and white male dominated politics have had a solid 250 year run, it's clear that this system has about run through its value to the human species. Which means there's an opportunity for us to transform these old systems into a new system. What's incredible though is that due to education, technology and consciousness--this time we can be proactive, responsible and create a world that enables humans and the planet to be respected and reach their "optimal" whole.

And that's what I would recommend you focus on--solution vs. the problem. Yes, it is easy in these highly chaotic, changing times to see all the negative--but as a Life Puzzle-maker, it behooves you to focus on the new--this vision will enable you to lead the way forward. There has never been a more necessary time to be a proactive, conscious, self-responsible, empowered person focused on creating a whole life!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life Puzzle is about authentic happiness

In January 2005, I was introduced before a training I was about to do with the following quote by Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association.

“For most of its history, psychology has concerned itself with all that ails the human mind: anxiety, depression, neurosis, obsessions, paranoia, delusions. The goal of practitioners was to bring patients from a negative, ailing state to a neutral normal, or, ‘from a minus five to a zero’*. I realized that my profession was half-baked. It wasn’t enough for us to nullify disabling conditions and get to zero. We needed to ask, What are the enabling conditions that make human beings flourish? How do we get from zero to plus 5? Martin Seligman, American Psychological Association
Time magazine, January 2005. The Science of Happiness. (** His minus 5 to zero is the 0-5 side of the Life Puzzle Choosing Continuum)

The man who was introducing me said to his staff--"Ann is here to help you take your clients from zero to plus 5--helping them become happy, not just getting by."
I smiled when this occurred because everything I've always tried to do with Life Puzzle is to help people build whole and dynamic lives. I've always been frustrated by what Seligman mentions above--working in the psychological field that is "half baked"--because it never wanted to discuss building whole lives--just getting folks through the day. Ugh!

Recently I came across a talked Seligman did in 2004--it is posted on great source for interesting talks on a wide variety of topics. In this presentation, he's talking about "happiness" and what makes people happy. He shows that "happiness" can be broken into three distinct levels: Pleasant level of happiness, The Good Life level of happiness and The Meaningful life level of happiness. These are 3 very different ways of being happy. In the "pleasant level", life is filled with pleasures--all the good things of life. In the Good Life level--people who experience this level of happiness have key areas of their life that make them happy--but they still have significant other missing pieces. For example, he talks about Len--a man who loves his work and is quite wealthy--but is horrible in relationships because he's so uncomfortable in that arena. So, he has a good life--but he knows something is missing. The last level is the "Meaningful life" and the people who experience this level of happiness are those who know their greatest strengths and use them to serve the world.

As I listened to this talk--I could see that Life Puzzle is a model for the "meaningful life" level of happiness. In the process of putting together your life--it includes the whole picture of happiness--all of the 16 core areas add up to a meaningful life. If you are conscious of all 16 areas and add to them throughout your life journey--you will inevitably discover your greatest strengths and find a way to use them in serving the world.

This level of happiness doesn't just happen of course. It does require effort--but the payoff is that highest level of happiness and that makes all the effort worth it. So, if you've ever said to yourself that Life Puzzle making is so much effort without being guaranteed a good return on your investment--I think Seligman's study proves the pay off does come in terms of a meaningful level of happiness and that makes it all the more fun to do!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Acceptance and the cricket.... is constantly filled with those challenges--being it events, people, or some irritation--that give rise to frustrations, anger and the emotional dramas that fill most human lives. It only takes a moment of reading the daily newspaper to see humans acting out this drama in all sorts of nasty ways.

Yet, if we are to arise to our higher level of consciousness--the real task before all of us is to take those very events, people or irritations and learn to accept them with peace and stay centered in our own wholeness. In fact, it is the first step to a higher level consciousness--one that too few of us are using to power our lives. If you take a moment right now and think of the last time you had a 'meltdown' over someone else's behavior and how that led to harsh words or some other anger action, I doubt it will take you long to find an example to see where, instead of rising to your higher consciousness, accepting and "being" in the moment, you instead got caught up in hours, days or even weeks turning and twisting this anger into its own event.

In discussion with a client this week, this very experience came up as he shared how he turned what was supposed to be a nice weekend into a whole weekend of anger/irritation at another person. Truth be told, he was upset about his own issues, but he took them out on this other person and was quite mean and now he was mad at himself for being mean and for this person triggering his meanness!

Which made me smile and say, "Ah, you've got a cricket". Arched eyebrows told me he was confused and I started to laugh. "Let me explain what I mean."

I said, "Long ago, I lived in San Diego. One night, it was pleasant and the windows were open. Right outside the bedroom window a cricket took up residence to do his little courting dance. At around midnight I woke up to hear his 'cricketing' loud and strong. Talk about an irritation!!! I tossed, I turned, I pulled the covers over my head--anything to block out that sound. Nothing worked and the more I tried to get that noise out of my ears, the worse it got. Finally, with an anger bordering on insanity....I got out of bed, went out front, turned on the hose and at 2:00 am in the morning, I am outside furiously trying to either kill, maim or flood this cricket to stop the noise. Thank goodness no one had a video camera because I was one mad woman and that cricket was to be no more!!!"

Long story short--I was out of control and my level of consciousness was nil! I finally went back inside, laid down to sleep and then just 5 minutes later--yup, the cricket starts again! I spent the rest of that night awake--and angry at a tiny little cricket who was ruining my life. Only actually, that cricket went on to become one of my greatest teachers.

After that event--I came to learn about acceptance. It wasn't the cricket that was the problem--it was my response to the cricket. I could accept and find peace or I could resist and find anger. Acceptance doesn't mean you necessarily like something that's going on--but it does mean you use your consciousness to manage your feelings, thinking and responses to what's going on around you. And in the practice of doing this, over time, you can learn to turn every 'cricket' event into an opportunity for spiritual growth and rising consciousness.

Now, whenever I'm in a situation of potential irritation, I remember my cricket and thank him. Because as I recall that irritating cricket, I am instantly reminded to move to "acceptance" of what ever is happening and move into a space of peace. This is a choice--the 6-10 proactive choice to own, manage and create a whole and dynamic life. It doesn't happen overnight, but with practice, acceptance for everything that is going on around you is possible. Because what you discover is through acceptance comes a peace that is so wonderful to live in every day. And it is something you are in charge of by living in the now. So, each time I recognize that I'm moving into anger--it is a signal to pay attention and bring my SELF back to consciousness. Deep breath, and accept--discover peace is self-created.

Just this morning, I got a call that the laptop was stolen from a friend's car and the 'instant' response would've been to get upset, angry at the thief, at the lack of foresight by a person to take a laptop to this area, etc. But I didn't do any of those things--I just moved instantly to acceptance. I don't like that this happened--but I accept and instantly the drama, multiple conversations with people about this awful event, the emotional roller coaster is gone. It is what it is...and in being present, I focus my energy on moving forward, doing what needs to be done. Just like chasing my cricket like an insane woman in the middle of the night proved a total waste of too would the anger around this event. I choose to accept, discover peace and know that this too shall pass.

What's your cricket?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Raising our standard of living....

The "economy" is being lauded as the major campaign issue that the candidates need to address. One of the prompts for this is the oft mentioned line that "this generation will be the first generation to not exceed the standards of their parent's generation." When I hear this, I think--that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Because our "standard of living" has come at a huge cost--our lives. We run around like chickens with our heads cut off as we chase after the next big purchase, bigger houses, bigger cars, more stuff, stuff, stuff. But as our stuff piles got bigger, our lives became smaller.

So, I would like to challenge people to think beyond the norm. Fixing the current economy requires us to stay in a consumption pattern that makes us all crazy! So, let's not fix it, let's not want to exceed the "stuff" level of the previous generation. Let's raise our standard of living by raising our "quality of life" instead of the quantity of stuff.

That's what Life Puzzle-making is all about--consciously creating our lives, instead of following along and doing what everyone else is doing. It means understanding the economic system and preparing for change. Here's an interesting talk by Peter Matthies and Jenny Barlow--discussing the economics of change and steps we can take now to "raise our standard of living" by changing our views of the economy.

We can make this choice--and in doing so, discover that a whole and dynamic life does not require massive quantities of stuff any more!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Art of the Mundane....cure for addictions...

I was reading the Sunday, April 20th Parade magazine's cover story about Robert Downey Jr.
If you've followed his career at all, you'll know that his journey has been, despite his obvious genius as a talented actor, marred with bouts of alcohol and drug abuse. Serious bouts that have landed him in court, rolled him through three marriages and left him on the brink of self-destruct. But with this third marriage, something clicked--and he "chose" to care. Oh, others had prompted him before to change his ways--but it wasn't until something within him made a choice to change that it stuck.

The comment that stood out for me (sort of jumped off the page!) was when he said "Now its all about becoming rooted in the mundane, in the day to day stuff. Life is 70% maintenance....I'm learning the business of building a life. Instead of getting instant gratification by getting high, I push my nose as far into the grindstone as I can. The honey, the reward, is the feeling of well-being, the continuity, the sense that I am walking toward a place I want to go."

This could be the "mantra" of Life Puzzle making! As I say in the "finding meaning" chapter of the book, Life Puzzle...putting the pieces together, "great lives are the art of the mundane". It is about making the simplest of events--washing the dishes, cleaning the house, reading a book to your child or giving your partner a hug--that we find we are truly building our Life! Piece by piece to create peace--or as Downey says, "I am walking toward a place I want to go.

Downey was an addict for most of his life (he had his first drink at age 8). I've always believed that "addictions" are a choice. All addictions provide 3 things--instant pleasure, removal of pain and temporary quieting of the inner voice of self-dissatisfaction. They are tough to give up because once we've made the choice to release the 'quick gratification' of the addiction--we discover they are replaced with the "mundane of life'. And I think that's what stops most people from giving up their addictions--they are convinced the "mundane' will be so boring that they'll convince themselves its better to stay rooted in the addiction behavior because with it comes drama!

Only, as Downey has proved--the truly incredible drama of a great life is in the mundane--but you have to trust your SELF to go into it to find out! That is the best choice--but the hardest when you're stuck in addictive patterns!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Awakening and the Addictive voice...

I was watching Eckhart Tolle and Oprah discussing his book, The New Earth via Oprah's book club and the online program she is running. For me, much of what Eckhart is talking about in this book is a parallel to what I'm sharing through the Life Puzzle model. We use slightly different words, but the results that we both are encouraging our listeners/clients to achieve is high level consciousness.

This particular day I only had time to catch about 10 minutes before running off to another meeting, but it was the perfect 10 minutes! Eckhart was talking to one of the woman who had called in on Skype and her question was something about "how reactive I am to events and how that just takes over my life."

Eckhart nodded in his quiet way and then went on to explain--that yes, "life happens--events do come into our lives--and so that is step 1--the event. Step 2 is the "response or reaction" we give to the event--and for many people, this is where they start to go off track. They get caught up in the reactive/ego of the event and once pulled into the "drama", it spins out of control. Sometimes its short-lived--but for many others, its an on-going process that takes up their entire lives. (Think about people who get mad at someone and are still angry days later to the point that when they next see this person--they attack them phyiscally or verbally!)

But then Eckhart paused and said "but what most people don't realize is that there's a 3rd step in all this--and this is the step that those who have awakened recognize. When this process of event/response is happening--when you've awakened to your high consciousness/essence, you're then able to 'stand outside' step 1 and 2 and consciously 'see' what is going on and not get caught up in the event. In this way, they realize that the event/response isn't who they are or what they must do etc. It is separate from their "being"--and once they see it as such, then they can consciously manage or choose to not get completely caught up in the event/response drama at all.

As I listened to this, I was nodding my head. This is what I'm trying to teach my clients who are caught up in the repetitive dramas that keep them locked in the old 0-5 reactive patterns. Only, I use different words. I help clients identify the "addictive voice" --this is the voice that is triggered by the event (usually connected to fear, anger, pain). Once activated--the "addictive voice"--convinces you to 'respond' to the event through this fog of pain/fear/anger patterns that you've been doing for so long. The response is generally a drama or the "illogical logic" choices that show up as behaviors that seem like the only option in the midst of the drama--but often times later, must be apologized for.

In the "Addictive Voice" exercise that I use with clients--I am showing them Step 3--the ability to recognize the "addictive voice" as separate--the ability to standout side and 'see' the Addictive voice that is running the show--see it as "separate" from the true SELF...and once you can do that, then you/SELF have the ability to not only 'manage' the addictive voice--but with practice--eliminate it altogether. As you eliminate it--then the true SELF/Essence (Tolle's word) can be present at all times.

So its clear that this isn't an easy process--millions of people are watching Oprah and Eckhart--and each week the questions are pretty much the same--how do I get out of ego, how do I stop being so reactive and how do I live in the Now/presence. To my clients reading this blog--hang in there--we're all trying to build our edges/create SELF/essence--and its worth the effort.

I honor what Eckhart and Oprah are doing--and hope that the Life Puzzle can be one more way that people can 'awaken' to their SELF/essence and create a world where we understand--everyone on this planet is a Life Puzzle under construction--we all have the same 16 core areas, 5 edges that create the SELF (essence) yet no two of us will put those pieces together in the same way. Thus, we all have a common bond--while maintaining our unique soul essence. In this knowing--we can stop 'reacting to others as if they're different from us' but understand that we're all on a path to consciousness! Tolle's New Earth is one way to learn on this path--and Life Puzzle is another way--all heading to the same place--a world of consciousness!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How do I do it?

Because humans are such notorious copy-cats, one of the dilemmas that many people have once they decide to head towards the 6-10/proactive/conscious, Life Puzzle-making side of life is how do I do it? If I'm not going to keep copying--something I've been doing since I was a young child--how do I know how to do the new way?

In reflecting back on my own journey as I walked away from the fast-food, mile a minute, do what everyone else is doing, rat race--I too can say I had that question. It felt awkward to eat healthy foods, to turn off the television and turn on exercise, to sit in the "anxiety of being different" and not let those emotions convince me to go back and be the reactive/unconscious/status quo person I'd been in the past. I did a lot of reading, exploring and internal questioning--and little by little I discovered that the world doesn't end when you step out of status quo. In fact, what I discovered is that there's quite a few others who deep down inside also want to break out of reactive/unconscious/status quo and are happy to find someone else who is doing it. I met a lot of new people who were relieved to be able to talk with someone else about the challenges of designing new, healthier, balanced ways of living.

At this point though, what I try to encourage people to do is to use the Life Puzzle 'wheel' as a morning exercise to help them get themselves centered for the day. First thing in the morning, before getting out of bed--take just 5 minutes to go through each of the 16 core areas and do a quick check in with each piece:

Nutrition--what will I eat today--where will I be for breakfast, lunch, dinner--and how can I use this knowledge to take steps to ensure that I eat healthy today?

Exercise: is this a day for exercise--and if that little voice says "I don't want to exercise"...override it immediately and determine what you're doing for exercise. That's how exercise becomes a life-long experience.

Feelings--what am I feeling today? Is this going to be a challenging day? A happy day--what's in store that will trigger emotions--and then center yourself and say, I can be at peace.

Thinking: what will you need to learn or use your thinking for today. Will you think out side the box or follow along?

Communication--what is your Self-talk doing today--positive/proactive or negative/reactive. Get a handle on it before you get out of bed!

Relationships--who will you encounter today and how will you respond.... literally think of who will cross your path today and how you'll respond.

Sexuality--well, you can figure that one out...

Family/parenting--how will you be a model for helping your kids build their Life Puzzle?

Community/environment--who will you interface with today to build a healthier community; what steps can you take today to honor the environment (ex. remember to take your own coffee mug to the coffee house--save paper)

Work--what will you add to your work today? Can you be more proactive on some decision that needs your attention vs. wishing it would goa way?

Play--what will you do for play today?

Financial responsibility--are you in charge--what bills need to be paid? Be conscious of how money will flow out of your life and into your life today. Be willing to confront money issues that are needing your attention instead of avoiding them.

Special challenge--are you dealing with your weight, depression or some other personal challenge. Will you acknowledge it and know that you will get through this challenge?

Spirituality--what can you do today to practice love?

Finding meaning--recognizing that you're only on this planet for a short time--what will you efforts today do to add meaning to your life--and those you encounter.

By getting in the habit of reviewing all the pieces of your Life Puzzle--you start the day with the knowledge that you are conscious/aware of waking up and taking on the day from the standpoint of being in charge of your life/SELF. Little by little it breaks you out of old patterns. You'll be in the middle of your day and someone will say, "Let's go see a movie tonight"--but you've already determined its a day for the gym--and you say, "Thanks--I have other things I've got to get done". Or your kids come home from school, make a mess in the family room--and because you checked in early that morning with thoughts about 'modeling Life Puzzle making" for the kids--instead of the old blow-up, you choose to stay calm, get centered and then go in and talk with them quietly about cleaning up the room and working together as a family to keep the house straight.

How do you do it? One day at a time, one piece of awareness builds to another--and one day, living consciously as a whole person is as easy as the old rat-race, mile a minute, maintain status quo was!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Waiting to be good enough...

"You'll never get there." My client's eyes shot up from her downturned gaze, as I responded to her saying "I'm waiting to be good enough."

Actually, this is a phrase "I'm not good enough"...that I hear a lot. It is a very common thought by millions of 0-5ers who operate in the reactive, unconscious, victim role. From this standpoint, one believes that "others" will validate me and finally tell me that I'm good enough--and then once that happens, THEN, then I'll get my life going (and be able to do 6-10, proactive, conscious and self-empowered).

The reason I told my client that "you'll never get there" is because "waiting to be told your good enough" will never happen. Here's why--90% of people operate their lives on the 0-5 side of the Choosing Continuum--thus, you're waiting for 'reactive, unconscious, victim' people to tell you you're good enough so you can leave your own 'reactive, unconscious, victim' stage. THAT isn't going to happen! (By the way--they're waiting for you to tell them that you're good enough too! And are you doing it? NO, of course not!)

So, your logic might then be saying "Well, what about the 10% group that's operating on 6-10 side of the Choosing Continuum? Will they validate me?" Nope, they won't do it either. Why? Because 6-10ers are busy living their own lives, making their Life Puzzle and they know it is not their job to validate anyone else on this planet as to their being "good enough". They know it is YOUR job to validate your SELF.

And that's easy to do--because everyone is born "good enough". Start your life from that premise--and if you lost touch with it over the course of your life--re-introduce your SELF.

You already are "good enough". Now, get busy living your life as a 6-10er and wake up every day to eat healthfully, exercise regularly, manage your feelings, be a proactive, creative thinker, build healthy relationships, dynamic family, vibrant community, valuable work, fun play, deal with any special challenges you might have, live your spirituality of love and thus, create meaning in every day you're on this planet! And you know what--that's good enough!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Working with Riane Eisler

I haven't posted lately to this blog because I'm working with Riane Eisler, author of Chalice and the Blade and her newest book, Real Wealth of Nations....creating a caring economics.

Thus, I've been writing at the blog and so if you've clicked on here at Life Puzzle to see my blog, I encourage you to click on this link and head over there to read instead.

Life Puzzle is all about learning how to put our lives together. In my creation of the Life Puzzle model, the book, The Chalice and the Blade was instrumental in my understanding why it was that we'd created a world that was so reactive, unconscious and victim oriented. When I read that book, lots of confusing pieces fell into place and became part of my motivation to begin changing things--not only in my life, but for many others too. The information in The Chalice and the Blade showed me that it is possible to create a 6-10, proactive, conscious world!

This summer the book, "Real Wealth of Nations...creating a caring economics" came out. I know that if we all read it, our ability to also begin building our own Life Puzzles will be enhanced. This book taps into numerous pieces of your Life Puzzle--the obvious ones like financial responsibility and work--but you'll discover also pieces like feelings and thinking, parenting, partnering, sexuality and spirituality too!

Having only so much time in building my own Life Puzzle--at this time, I'm redirecting my energy for blog writing to this other site! Hope you'll join me there!