Introducing a New Blog: Shades Of Crimson.

After six months, I’m moving to a self-hosted blog and changing the name to Shades of Crimson.

This has been an interesting transition. I have spent two months dealing with technical difficulties. During that time WordPress released three updates. I changed the tag line a half dozen times, spent hours sourcing images and got into a rather uncomfortable discussion in an online support forum.

I’m sure my face turned a few shades of crimson. I’m not always under the influence of a “loving pulse”.

But, as Lance from The Jungle of Life commented on my last post: “I think we all have a little dysfunction! I’m going to embrace that dysfunction this year.”

Taking the Personal out of Personal Development

It’s been said that dysfunction is an illusion designed by the inner critic, who takes things personally. It does a good job at holding a person in a place of judgment and causing them to react defensively. In my experience I’ve fallen into the trap of defining myself based on the inner critic’s direction.

We give too much credit to the inner critic. If it’s an illusion, how can it design anything? Think about that. Which makes me wonder about spirit too. In my humble opinion spirit exists, although I can’t see it any more clearly than I can see the inner critic. Both of these exist as beliefs for me because of experience, and how I have perceived that experience.

Anyway, when those nasty inner voices cloud our vision we are confused because it goes against what we are made of (whatever that is). Our natural instinct for truth and balance runs deep and the inner critic can be convincing. If a person is sensitive this can easily throw them off track.  An internal struggle ensues because their perception of how things are happening doesn’t resonate with their instincts.

This year, I’m inspired to practice experience without expectation. To notice. Some days I will succeed, some days I will fail – two sides of the same coin. But, getting up in the morning to focus on experience rather than accomplishment sheds new light on things. I feel lighter starting the day this way.

Life illustrates different shades of crimson for people. Whether we are enthusiastically inspired by our experience – resonance, or feeling resistant and judgmental – dissonance.

There is only one outcome we can count on in life. What lies between now and then is experience – the ultimate accomplishment.

I continue to be inspired by the blogs I read and the comments that are shared here. Thanks for a conversational 2008. I appreciate the time each and every one of you take to read and comment because the blogosphere is certainly a busy place.

These bloggers have stepped up to share advice and offer support over the last few months and I want to thank you here and now. I’m eternally grateful to all of you.

Catherine – Cath Lawson Blog

Robin – Let’s Live Forever

Vered – MomGrind

Evelyn – Attraction Mind Map

Stacey – Create A Balance

Monika – Freelance Writing

Sara – Sara Healy

Patricia – Patricia’s Wisdom

Kathy – Virtual Impax

And I must add Barbara to this list from Blogging Without A Blog. Six months ago I learned how to add a gravatar to Loving Pulse, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember how to do it for the new blog. I did a couple of quick searches online and didn’t get the fast information I wanted. So, it was over to her blog where I had it all figured out in 5 minutes. Thanks Barbara!

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Project Announcement — The Quote Effect: A Blogger’s Online Collection

What type of blogger are you? Inspirational? Sarcastic? Humourous? Professional? Let’s put our heads together and get ready for some creative fun!

Join me at Shades Of Crimson to find out more about this project. While Loving Pulse will stay put, comments are closed on this post.

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If this is your first time visiting Loving Pulse and you enjoyed the reading, please join me over at Shades Of Crimson. Subscribe to the feed and you won’t miss upcoming posts. All new comments will go into moderation.

And please, bear with me. I’m new to the whole world of self-hosted blogs and not a computer geek. There may be the odd glitch as I get things up and running and have a few design elements customized. If you have any problems commenting or navigating please let me know; visit the Contact page.

Image entitled Happiness, photographed by Branko Korelc; property of Dreamstime.com. Used here with permission. Illegal download and usage not allowed.

21578917_08ca661e47_mSomewhere, someone is having a perfect Christmas, filled with chestnuts roasting and sleigh bells ringing…

Screw ‘em.

Most of us are having just the opposite: a nutcrackin’ nightmare of anger, hurt feelings, evil in-laws, and carbs beyond counting. A time when grudges grow and gasses pass. A time of maxed-out credit cards and a ham that the vegetarians are ready to hurl through the frosty window.

Evil little brothers, pregnant tattooed sisters, horny dogs, and cross-dressing dads – they’re all here, ready to spread their Christmas cheer.

So untangle the lights, spill some eggnog, and gather ’round the place where happier families would have a piano.

Let’s sing to the tune of  “O Come All Ye Faithful”…

O come meet the family, bad breeding triumphant;
O come meet the family dysfunctional.
Come and behold them. As they brag and fight and whine.
For it’s a celebration, of Christmas aggravation.
And if you’re no relation, just thank the Lord.

Ok, now I have to admit that I didn’t write this. I WISH I could take credit for it, because it makes a dysfunctional family sound a lot lighter. And it made me smile. How about you?

Will you still be smiling on Christmas Day when you are spending time with your family? I hope you are. But if you aren’t, here is something to consider.

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It’s only one day. Make the best of it. If memories of family holidays past are less than desirable, switch the channel.

That’s right. Choose a new program. Take a new perspective.

You can’t change these people, but you can change how you look at them.

If your mean aunt is lecturing you again about how you chose the wrong career, you might be annoyed and want to tell her what to do with her advice. Or, you might ask yourself, “What’s another way I could look at this?”

You could choose to see her in a more positive light; “She really cares about me and only means well.”

Or use this strategy. Accentuate her rottenness; “She doesn’t have a life poor thing and that is why she has so much energy to spend on criticizing other people.” You might end up feeling something different for that aunt of yours.

And if you do react badly you can still switch your channel. Don’t feel badly about how you may have acted. Tell yourself that you will do better next time and don’t hold on to the feelings. Don’t beat yourself up. Your aunt can do that better right? Ask yourself what you have learned.

Usually when someone is criticizing you, if you feel a reaction there is some learning there for you. If there is no learning, then it will fly right past you.

If this does change things for you, then you will be stronger than the day before. Stronger for the next time.

And if none of this works at least you will have kept yourself busy and before you know, it will be time to go home.

This quote from Joubert Joseph is what inspired this post.

“He who has not the weakness of friendship has not the strength.”

I wish all of you the best Christmas that you can SEE for yourself. And take the best of that into the new year.

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Introduction and revised lyrics to O Come All Ye Faithful was taken from The Dysfunctional Family Christmas Songbook, written by John Boswell and Leonore Skenazy.

Photo credits: Kittenagogo’s photostream from Flickr.com

So, oh come all ye faithful and share your comments. Maybe myself or my readers can help you shed some light on a rotten relative!

If this is your first time visiting Loving Pulse and you enjoyed the reading, don’t forget to subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss upcoming posts. Click on Subscribe to Feed on the home page and follow the prompts.

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An Authentic Self Connects With Her Future Self

Hello everyone. This is a Guest Post written by a personal friend of mine.

I’d like to introduce you to Deanna. She works in community health care with older adults as a Case Manager.

Like so many of us, she has been on a quest to connect with her life purpose and to apply it in her everyday life.

As an avid reader and promoter of self-development, she has struck out on her journey with determination.

She employed life coaching services with Crimson Compass and was guided on a Future Self meditation.

This is an inner journey where a person is invited to imagine the possibilities beyond the limits they’ve imposed; beyond what they believe is realistic. The Future Self is the core self that a person is becoming on the path to fulfillment.

This journey taps into the intuitive, internal knowing and enables a person to bring this clarity into the light of their current lives.

It’s a challenge to solve problems and achieve goals while feeling influenced by troubling or confusing life circumstances. Having a Future Self identity will give a person a persona to step into to reflect on their life from a different perspective.

Deanna has been exploring this idea on her quest to come up with a Life Purpose Statement and while reflecting on this, she was inspired to write this story. I have ask for her permission to share it.

If you have comments for Deanna, she would be excited to be a blogger for a day and respond to them. And so here, unedited, is Deanna’s story.

The Story of the Wooden Chest

There’s a chest, a big, clunky wooden chest, upstairs in the attic. I’ve just discovered it. Or perhaps, more truthfully, I’ve only noticed that it’s always been there. I can’t decide if I should be surprised, but somehow I don’t think I am.

The attic isn’t familiar to me. It’s not a room in the house where I currently live and I don’t recognize this space. And yet, this attic, this place where the chest resides, is welcoming me and it seems perfectly natural that I should be here.

The chest is old. But then again, I’m not very adept at determining the age of anything, so it’s easy for me to say ‘it’s old’. But it is; it just looks old. Like it’s been sitting in this spot forever, waiting to be found.

The top is steeply curved, which gives it an overall appearance of something rather large and imposing. But the colour is a deep, rich brown, and it is rather inviting. There are wide metal straps embedded on the top and sides, seeming to hold it together, although I’m not sure these are terribly necessary. It gives me no clue that it’s about to fall apart.

The wood itself is nothing exotic, like mahogany or some other rare or extinct species of wood. It’s just brown, ordinary wood, but nevertheless very appealing in a basic and solid kind of way. Like you’d expect an old friend to be, a little weathered and worn, but familiar and waiting to tell you a grand story about where he’s just been.

I have a lantern in my hand. It’s kind of old fashioned in itself, and not a typical thing I’d carry with me into an attic. Usually I’d have a flashlight, but somehow a flashlight seems poorly suited to the job. The lantern seems just the right thing for me to carry, and it surprises me I knew that. I didn’t have to think about it.

However, I notice that I really don’t need much of a light at all, because the chest is sitting near a small, rectangular shaped window, letting in the right amount of diffuse, soft early afternoon light. The warm glow of the lantern was more than enough to get me here, so I extinguish it.

It seems odd to me that there isn’t a lot of clutter or piles of old junk around this chest. Not much by way of cobwebs, dust or litter either. It’s rather quiet, neat, and tidy up here. There’s just the chest and me alone together, in this space.

I pause for a little while. Shall I open the lid? Of course I know I will. It seems to me this is what I’m supposed to do. Why the hesitation? Out of respect perhaps, it occurs to me. What’s the hurry, after all?

I examine the front of the chest, looking for a lock, and although there is a latch, it opens easily, without a key. I lift the latch and push back on the lid, so the top is fully open. I remain on my knees, in front of the chest. I don’t feel the urge to stand. This works well. I’m comfortable.

I’m not sure if it’s the light from the window or something else in my eyes, but now there seems to be something bright and rather all encompassing in front of me. It takes me a few minutes to realize it’s coming from inside the chest.

When I look more closely, it occurs to me it’s mostly a simple, pure light that I see. But it’s not blinding. It’s soft and yet is sufficient to illuminate the entire inside of the chest. At first glance, I can’t see anything beyond the light. When I focus, I begin to make out a blue striped fabric lining, and the outline of a few objects.

The first object is a collection of five to six glass marbles. They seem fairly average in appearance to me. But I pick them up and roll them around in the palm of my hand. They feel cool and smooth to the touch and seem to be telling me to ensure I have some fun. The kind of fun you have when you’re little, and not too worried about much of anything.

Then I notice, and how could I not, the rather large hand quilted blanket in the right hand side of the chest, occupying a good bit of space. I take it out, and see that someone has put a great deal of effort into piecing this together. Is this especially for me? What a comforting thought! I dare not wrap it around my shoulders, just yet. Maybe I’m supposed to wait for something, to use it at its best.

My eyes stray to an elongated cardboard box, not quite standard paper size, and only a couple of inches high. When I open it, there are several sheets of blank paper, finely textured, pearl white, demanding thoughtful recording. It occurs to me that I’m simply required to ‘be reflective’.

Then I see another small, square box in the far left hand corner of the chest. When I open this one, there are several ‘nuggets’ that for some reason I immediately recognize as fuel for my lamp. I also know that this is enough fuel to last indefinitely, to light my way and for others who follow. Isn’t that amazing?

Ah ha, so now I understand what’s going on. This is a chest of gifts dedicated to self-care. My wise future self sent this to me, knowing that in order to be a guide to others on my journey I must first take good care of myself.

* * * * * * * *

Imagine that you have come across a wooden chest in your attic. When you lift the lid, what items are waiting there to support you?

Or, if you were going to put items into it that symbolize your strengths what would they be?

* * * * * * * *

Meet Your Future Self – FREE

Receive a 20-minute meditation  (long distance fees not included). Includes a 15-minute debrief and a transcript of your notes.

To schedule an appointment send an email to crimsoncompass@gmail.com with Future Self in the subject line. Promotion ends January 31, 2009.

Setting a New Year’s Resolution for 2009?

This special deal would be perfect to support your efforts!

Within two weeks after receiving your Future Self meditation choose one 30-minute follow-up coaching session at a 50% discount. Session includes:

1. Goal-setting for 2009.
2. Tips on how to connect with your Future Self to support your goal.
3. A written summary with accountability steps included.
4. Within two weeks, a follow-up email or 15-minute phone call to review steps you have taken towards achieving your goal. We’ll look at what is or isn’t working.

The cost for all this is just $35. Offer ends January 31, 2009.

If this is your first time visiting Loving Pulse and you enjoyed the reading, don’t forget to subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss upcoming posts. Click on Subscribe to Feed on the home page and follow the prompts.

2445294078_d52c27474c_m911 changed the way we looked at the world didn’t it? It changed our perspectives on a lot of things.

And now we’re closing out 2008 while facing a season of extreme uncertainty in our financial world.

A new season is upon us and it is a challenging time, fearful for many. As human beings it is our nature to avoid pain, but without anything to push against, we build no muscle. In this regard, fear can be a valuable ally.

By conquering crisis, we can find that hero within. If you think back to those times when you conquered challenges and what you learned from them, you will recognize that you had an opportunity to sculpt your soul. You experienced a cycle of growth.

This new season feels like winter doesn’t it? The days are dark and it seems this time in our lives will last forever, frozen in time. But don’t forget that life has cycles, just like the seasons. After winter comes spring, a time of growth and renewal.

Crisis isn’t new. We’ve come through other troubled times such as The Great Depression and two World Wars. Other seasons. Other times.

We can’t necessarily control these events, but we can control what they mean to us. We can decide what we will do with it, what perspective we will take. We can participate in our own rescue.

There are 5 steps you can take to deal with a crisis.

Make a decision The word decision means to cut off from. When you can find meaning in the experience you make the decision to not let the external world hold you hostage. When you get to that point where you say “Enough!”, that is the point where you take back your power.

Loss in the external world can’t take away your internal world. You can rebuild that by focusing on what you can do to find a sense of purpose. What can you do to contribute to a sense of connection in your world? How do you do that?

Be resourceful Fear is always there, so face it. When it brings us to a point of anger and overwhelm it is a call to action. Something is telling us that THIS is not good enough for us and it is time for a change. There are two ways to be resourceful.

1. Get physical. Fear is physical. So is faith, courage and empowerment. We use our body in a specific way in each of these states. When you are in a state of fear your brain is being held hostage. You can’t deal with fear in your mind. Emotion is created by motion.

Do a workout. Take a power walk. Do something to take yourself out of the state of hiding. Exercise changes physiology and again, emotion is created by motion. When you change your physiology you can change your mind in a heartbeat. Don’t do it once! Make it a ritual during this crisis. Attack the crisis. Will you think about fear? Or faith? What are you feeding your mind?

2. Feed your mind with what will strengthen you. We are what we consume mentally. Whatever we focus on continuously we feel. Eventually we hit a tipping point, the emotional storm. Your brain becomes frozen.

Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. Focus on moments you remember that brought you excitement, joy, comfort and a sense of accomplishment. What we do is shaped by what we feel. It can change in a moment. Don’t let fear dominate you; it will cause you to freeze. Too much pain is the power of crisis; it causes you to do something. What can you do?

Create a vision Get clear about what is important to you. What is it you value? If you don’t know, think about what you desire the least. Get revved up about that and use that energy to turn it around to focus on what you do want.

Expand on your vision by finding an example of someone you admire who has been successful. Know that when someone succeeds consistently they’re not lucky, they’ve simply found a pattern that works.

Find a proven plan Success leaves clues. Model somebody who has made it through a crisis. How did they handle it? What steps did they take. What resources did they use? Because crisis has been done before, there is a pathway to power. Other people have found their way through it.

Take action Success is a matter of good judgment, which comes from experience. And guess what? Experience comes from bad judgment. A first plan usually fails, but the quicker you get to that stage the quicker you get your feedback and can move on to the next stage. If you don’t get off the fence you won’t get anywhere.

You don’t have to do this alone. Find a partner, someone who has knowledge or skills that complement yours. Keep each other accountable for the steps you are taking. Two heads are better than one.

Decisions control our life. This crisis will make us look for tools and we will become more resourceful. What we do is shaped by what we feel, and emotion is created by motion.

* * * * * * * *

Do you recall a time in your life when you went through a crisis? How did you support yourself?

Looking back, were you able to see how it changed the course of your life in a positive way?

What do you choose to see for yourself in the new year; the new season in your life?

Note: Credit for this post goes to one of my favourite life coaches, Anthony Robbins. I have transcribed this information from a recent 50-minute audio clip that is part of a series he has created called Learn How To Turn Crisis Into Opportunity. When you click this link on his website you will be prompted to leave your email address and you will be sent his FREE audio programs that include an interview with billionaire Sir John Templeton.

I highly recommend listening to Tony’s audio programs. His enthusiasm is contagious. Let’s spread it around!

Visit his website for more information. And as Tony says, “Live your life with passion!”

If this is your first time visiting Loving Pulse and you enjoyed the reading, don’t forget to subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss upcoming posts. Click on Subscribe to Feed on the home page and follow the prompts.

Photo Credit: Londa Elle

fear-wood

“I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” Mark Twain

I woke up feeling paralyzed with fear. After dragging myself to the kitchen for a glass of water I returned to bed. It was Sunday morning and I had nowhere to be.

I sat there trying to clear my head. The book Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff lay beside me on the table. I looked away.

Sunshine through the curtains caught my eye and a lump rose in my throat.

I lost track of time, but eventually picked up the book and read 10 pages before putting it down. Fear burned in my core. I couldn’t concentrate. Sliding back down into bed I clutched a pillow and cried. They were empty tears.

What was I going to do? A year and a half after a job layoff here I sat, in the infant stages of business development, and in the middle of a worldwide financial crisis.

My savings were supposed to have lasted for two years after government assistance ceased. The decision to not take a part time job for the first year was a risk, but I was determined to give myself that time to focus.

During the last month my mutual funds had dropped $7,000. They had been dropping for months but not enough for concern. But, the last statement had ignited fire in the pit of my stomach. My calculator predicted that in another six months the money could be gone if the trend continued. I had a year less than planned and had to switch gears, fast!

It could be that sometimes your life needs a taste of drastic in order for you to get your act together.

I’d always been able to fall back on proofreading as an additional income stream but so far those contacts had fallen through. Messages were not returned. Replies that were received weren’t encouraging. I was making an effort but not getting results. I had to break the pattern of fear that was blocking things.

I love the above photo. It illustrates my feelings perfectly. I was shrouded in darkness and felt that there was no where to turn. The path was narrow and constricting and I felt trapped. There is a learning curve in all fearful states. But unless a person keeps moving they will never know what is around the next bend.

Bringing The Law Of Attraction Into Focus

After spending an evening working intently with the principles of the Law of Attraction, I received a message from a business associate the next day, asking me to help her out with a project. Faith was rekindled, but  only briefly. I wasn’t trusting the process and my imagination had me on a dark, narrow road.

Positive thinking is a principle in the Law of Attraction. Days before this, I had made a list of things that made me feel happy and that I could appreciate; taking a long bath, reading, walking in nature and journalling.

This morning I had little hope these activities would help. Truth was, I didn’t want to do any of them.

I stayed in bed for another hour, turning away from the sunshine just outside my window. Then, after a deep breath, I was on my feet, running a bath. I still felt numb, but decided to have that bath and not expect it to help. Removing expectation made it easier.

I lingered in the bath. Things were still a bit foggy. It was lunch time. I had not eaten yet and all I wanted was oatmeal and coffee. Easy.

I kept moving. Laundry done. Floor swept. Dishes done. Each accomplishment was a step closer.

It was still sunny out and I decided to go for a walk. It was during this walk that I came alive! The fresh air, the sunshine and the connections I made through smiles from strangers along the way gave me the motivation to keep going. I walked away from the fear. This walk usually takes an hour but on this day it felt timeless. I was myself again by the time I returned home.

Inspired, I continued working on goals without fear clouding my vision. I sat down and ask myself, “What am I afraid of asking for because I don’t believe it’s possible?” I told myself to dream big.

Within a half hour I had completed a mind map. My vision resonated strongly.

Inspired action is another principle of the Law of Attraction. The test is to be able to hold this focus despite the ups and downs in the outer world. This makes it unconditional and free of attachment to outcome.

My path was clear again. I still had decisions to make and things were not certain, but I had my faith back. These are the steps I took:

I held my faith by practicing positive thinking and appreciation. I reaffirmed my intent and didn’t become attached to the outcome. This naturally allowed the space for inspired action that fed the cycle even further.

In Richard Carlson’s book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, he says “To combat fear, the best strategy is to learn to bring your attention back to the present.” That is easier said than done in some cases. My recommendation is that when you feel paralyzed by fear, take some action.

By practicing the things you know bring satisfaction and comfort, you will inadvertently bring your attention to the present. Don’t focus on the outcome even if these things feel hopeless. Do them anyway! If one doesn’t work don’t give up. Do another. Just keep moving. Stay in one place and the fear will hold you there.

Most importantly, by reconnecting through the foundation that supports and builds your trust despite the fear, you won’t be stuck in that perpetual cycle of being afraid of fear itself.

* * * * * * * *

Stay tuned for my next post Step Out Of Crisis And Into Power where this process is discussed in even greater detail. See you next Thursday.

If this is your first time visiting Loving Pulse and you enjoyed the reading, don’t forget to subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss upcoming posts. Click on Subscribe to Feed on the home page and follow the prompts.

Photo Credit: Riisli

I went for a walk.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was poised in the western sky at that point right before sinking towards sunset; that brief and silent pause before changing direction.

Stepping in rhythm to the song on my mp3 player, I set the pace for another good power walk.

Five minutes later I was rudely cut off by a driver who was either in a bad mood or who simply refused to give pedestrians the right of way. I swore under my breath and scowled at him. This got me to thinking about other situations and people I’d come across that annoyed me.

I walked and wandered further, reflecting on this intrusion into my thoughts. I wandered past remembering these times to remembering how my reaction whether expressed or not, had bothered me.

I had regretted allowing myself to be caught off guard; for not “walking my talk”.

More walking. I remembered how after letting go of judgment and of what had annoyed me, I was able to see how differently the situation could have been handled.

I reminded myself that my path would most likely come across more idiots and obstacles. By expecting them I would be less likely to react.

With this, I felt less vulnerable. The power walk was back on.

I’ve always believed in the power of positive thinking. But isn’t it true that dwelling only on the positive doesn’t necessarily mean your life will always be rosy? Life happens and we never know why some experiences come across our paths. Some things can’t be controlled, but attitude certainly can be.

Wearing rose-coloured glasses doesn’t help anyone. Through meditation, I’ve focused on the positive and tried to ignore the negative. But the fact remains that it is there in many different forms and you can’t walk away from it.

When you simply notice negativity, in yourself and in others, you are not inviting it in. By noticing it and not judging it, you put yourself in the position to shift its path and let it go.

Noticing doesn’t mean you have to accept or put up with the situation. But, it can give you a moment to make up your mind how and if you will handle it.

Noticing keeps you flexible. It gives life a chance to flow as it needs to.

It takes practice though. But don’t worry…

There will be traffic delays.
You may be put on hold for too many minutes.
Sometimes you’ll wait in long lines.
People make mistakes.
You might miss the bus.

Just a few examples.

Is there a particular situation where you remember not having responded the way you would have liked to?

Please share your comments below. If you enjoyed this article don’t forget to subscribe to my feed.

Photo Credit: Prony

This is a video of myself doing a presentation on my day of graduation from a self-employment course.

(It’s 2.5 minutes long. You can save time if you start the video and hit pause so it can download while you read.)

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” What this means is that a good portion of human communication takes place non-verbally. It’s not only about the words, but how you deliver them.

I am not an experienced public speaker. During the few times I have given a speech nothing influenced me more than the good mental attitude that came from being well prepared.

My first speech was at Toastmasters; The Icebreaker. I practiced until I had it memorized, pacing around my apartment in circles reading the speech out loud and timing myself. The icebreaker had to run between 4 to 6 minutes. I was a nervous wreck the entire day leading up to that moment. It was hellish!

I had a plan though!

Even though I had memorized the speech I brought two copies of it to the podium. I stood in front of the audience, my heart pounding in my throat. I looked down at the piece of paper I was holding and started reading.

Then I stopped, looked at the audience, waited and then said, “Oh what’s the use. I can’t do this!” I crumpled up the speech and tossed it over my shoulder. They looked stunned and I was extremely pleased. That impact helped me take the focus off myself and focus on the audience and their response.

My evaluation was positive: sincere, good gestures and pacing, excellent opening. One suggestion for improvement was to vary the tone of my voice. Hard to do when you’re choking on your own breath! I did appreciate their support. They wanted me to succeed and that made a difference.

In this video, again I was so nervous I could hardly breathe. What amazes me is that I didn’t look too nervous. I’d imagined I looked like an idiot, but when I watch the video I don’t think I did as bad as I thought I had.

First, a bit of background. In 2003 I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, a condition similar to celiac disease.

In my case there was no damage to the intestinal wall, but the absorption of minerals had been affected. A bone density scan at age 40 showed that I had the bone density of a 60-year-old. After two years on the gluten-free diet, a follow-up bone density scan revealed an increase of 11%.

I decided to start a nutrition consulting business combining my credentials as a nutritionist and experience with the gluten-free diet. And so, GlutenfreeMe was born.

I also completed training as a life coach with the Coaches Training Institute because I wanted to offer coaching to support my clients with their new diets. The nutrition business was not successful. My business focus transitioned from consulting to coaching when I saw how powerful this process was.

In this video I am preparing a recipe called Chocolate Recovery Pudding, created by Brendan Brazier from North Vancouver.

This is the second half of the presentation. For the opening I playfully showed the audience the difference between how big my belly was before going gluten free and how flat it looked that day. This was not part of the planned speech but turned out to be a powerful ad lib. Again, it was an opening with an impact that helped me ease into the speech.

I don’t know how I managed to speak. I could hardly breathe and this is obvious by the lack of variation in vocal tone. My throat was dry and I was shaking. You will hear me say that I was shaking so much that I didn’t have to plug the blender in. All I had to do was hold it. Another successful ad lib. A good sense of humour is my saving grace.

I learned from both speeches that being well prepared supported me the most. I knew the topic well and had rehearsed.

Because I was well connected with the speech I could go with the flow and ad lib. It was easier to be spontaneous and natural. Knowing I was well prepared gave me more self confidence than if I was unsure of what to say or do.

Both speeches had a lot in common.

I was well prepared with a good opening and closing. I used humour, ad libbed, made good use of props and scanned the room to make eye contact.

Even though I had memorized and rehearsed the speech, I had notes nearby.

My vocal tone still needs work, but what I find interesting is that despite feeling paralyzed with fear, I managed good posture and use of gestures. This is the result of being well prepared, so well prepared that the speech became more a part of me than the fear.

The audience was rooting for me; they weren’t strangers. A suggestion in the Toastmasters Member Kit is to know your audience. Plan to be there early to greet the guests as they arrive. It is much easier than speaking to complete strangers.

And on that note, don’t be a stranger. Watch this short video and take your moment in the comment section below.

Tell me about your time in the spotlight or share about a time you faced your fear.

Do tell! Don’t be shy.

If this is your first time visiting Loving Pulse and you enjoyed the reading, don’t forget to subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss upcoming posts. Click on Subscribe to Feed on the home page and follow the prompts.

akemi1Welcome back everyone.

I’m excited to continue with the second part of our interview with Akemi. Thanks for joining us again!

For anyone who has not read Part 1 please check it out. The topics were intuition, the ego and spirit guides.

Today Akemi will be talking about déjà vu moments, light bodies, dreaming and out of body experiences. Ok, let’s get started then….

1. Akemi, I’ve had many déjà vu experiences where I’ve been doing or saying something that I felt I’d done before. What is happening when a person experiences this? Is it a memory from a recent dream or perhaps a soul confirmation that they are connecting with “part of the plan”?

This is a very interesting question. I do think some of our déjà vu experiences and sticky dreams (the kind of dreams that you remember to be so real) have something to do with our soul memory.

Davina: So, you are saying we could possibly be connecting with part of a preconceived plan that we made before incarnating?

Akemi: Maybe. Or maybe we did or said something very similar in our past lives. Can you share an example with us, Davina?

Davina: Nothing specific comes to mind. But generally it happens when I’m having a conversation with someone and suddenly I feel like I’ve been with this person before. We were doing the exact same thing, sitting in the exact same room, even wearing the same clothes. A lot of information flashes at me in a split second. It’s like we’re acting out a rehearsed scene.

2. You’ve mentioned that we are moving into a new style of existence called “light bodies.” What does this mean?

This is something I’m hoping to happen in year 2012. Just joking. It would be nice if it were that easy (if we could become light bodies just waiting for another several years), but I guess it takes more spiritual work for each of us to achieve such high level of existence.

It is a fact, however, that we are evolving fast spiritually these days. This is why so many people are seeking help like mine to get past the existing roadblocks in their growth. And many of us sense that spiritual growth will lead to a new style of “physical” existence as well.

Currently we have this physical body, which is very dense and heavy. I’m only 112 lbs so I’m not “heavy” but still, for my soul, this body feels small to fit in and cumbersome to carry around. I heard that we are evolving and ascending to a less dense existence called a light body. It is probably similar to our astral body, but because I haven’t achieved this yet, I don’t know what it is like. It’s something I look forward to in my own spiritual development.

Davina: Hmmm. Ok, this makes me wonder if this does come to pass, (says my other self as I go completely out on a limb here), what use will our bodies be then? I mean, we won’t need our bodies then? Will we need food? How important will the environment be in that case? I don’t even begin to expect an answer to THAT one! But if you do have a comment I’d love to hear it.

Akemi: Oh, I think it will be fun! I imagine I can move so much faster as a light body (I’d fly, or move even faster than flying!!). Food? Why bother? I wonder how long a light body would “live”. Now remember, I don’t claim to know this – I just think this may be a possibility, and I resonate a lot with the idea.

3. Can you say more about why this is happening or what this means by saying that spiritually we are evolving quickly these days?

I think it is pretty obvious that we are accelerating our spiritual evolution these days. Just look at the increased interest in spirituality or “paranormal” phenomena! (I think the term “paranormal” is discriminative because it comes with the preconceived idea of what normal is.)

A few years ago I might have been sent to a mental institution if I said I could see or hear what others can’t. Now there are universities that teach spirituality (not religions) and metaphysics. Many doctors are embracing the idea of medical intuitives or reincarnation, and “ordinary” people are practicing meditation and experimenting with the law of attraction. Pretty cool.

4. Life has become fast-paced and circumstances can change in an instant. Would a person be wise to reconsider an intuitive decision based on this?

Davina, intuitive messages are not like the 10 Commandments carved on a stone. (Davina blushes.) Spirit guides don’t get upset just because we fail to follow their advice and they don’t punish us for not following through. They are helpers. Yes, they have higher perspectives than we do and therefore are incredibly helpful, but they also respect our initiative. We are the players in this world and we hired our own spirit guides who can help us.

Any decision, made by intuition or logics, is best served when it is updated as we go along. Now the good news of intuitive decision making is it’s the fastest of all. It’s so useful in this fast-paced society!

I’m confident that, as the world becomes increasingly accelerated, more people will find intuitive decision making to be useful and valuable. The time when we can sit back with logic and “proven” facts or methods is ending.

5. I dream quite frequently and sometimes they are very vivid dreams. Once I dreamed I’d won the lottery. I woke up and the dream had been so real that I was laying there planning what I was going to do with the money. When I finally “came to my senses” you can imagine how disappointed I was.

What role do dreams play in our lives? Why can they often be so unrealistic, yet feel so real? And what is the difference between dreaming and lucid dreaming?

Oh, I’m so sorry to hear you missed the lottery ;) What were the things you wanted to do with the money? If I were you, I’d still put them up in my vision board for the law of attraction. . .

There are many kinds of dreams. Some dreams are just our mind re-processing what it experienced. The experience may be real or something you saw in a movie or in a book, and it may be a recent or old experience, or a combination.

Some people “work” through their dreams. They have many dreams but the dreams don’t make sense to them. It’s a way their soul is helping other souls, and my advice for this kind of dreamer is “Don’t over-analyze your dreams.” (Davina sighs with relief.)

Some go to the wrong side of the dream world either by accident or by negative energy interference. This is really harmful – the person ends up having some kind of sleep problems such as nightmares (the negative side of the dream world is a very ugly place), insomnia (because the mind is so afraid of going there again), night terrors in children, or dreamless sleep (because the mind dismisses the horrible dreams immediately at waking up). It is one of the energetic issues I clear with my Akashic Record Readings.

Then, there are dreams that are spiritual messages. They would feel special. It may be the soul memory of its past lives, or it may be premonitions.

Lucid dreaming is a situation where you are aware you are dreaming while you are dreaming. Because you know it’s a dream, you can choose to do things you can’t do in the “real” world. Some people seem to really enjoy this.

Davina: Wow, I had no idea there were so many different types of dreaming!

6. Ok Akemi, here is a personal story that I’m hoping you can shed some light on.

This happened to me many years ago during a meditation. I was lying down, feeling completely relaxed and listening to a meditation exercise on a cassette tape. Suddenly my feet started to feel heavy, numb and tingly. Like that feeling you get when you sit on your legs and they fall asleep. However, I wasn’t sitting, I was lying down.

This feeling quickly moved up my legs and I felt my body start to sit up effortlessly. I fought against this in fear. Then gently and in slow motion, my head “appeared to turn” and look at the bedside table. I know my head did not move physically; I was too paralyzed with fear to move! I know, I know… this sounds crazy, but it happened!

I saw on the table some greeting cards (that also were not there physically). While I looked at these cards they quivered slightly as if a light breeze was passing over them. I was totally freaked out!

This experience ended with me staring at the ceiling thinking I was losing my mind. It was the middle of the afternoon and I was not dreaming. Do you have any insights about what might have happened? Was this the beginning of an out-of-body experience?

Akemi: From your reading, I see that you are one of those lucky people with extra gifts for that kind of out-of-body or astral projection experience. Some people seem to enjoy this – you can travel to far off lands fast! Just don’t come to my bedroom to surprise me at night *smile*.

We have an astral body, which can look like our physical body but is far less dense. It is usually with the physical body, but it can move out from our physical body either by your intention or by accident, like it happened to you.

Davina: Thanks for this explanation Akemi, and don’t worry, I’m not planning on taking any astral trips (at least that I can be aware of) anytime soon. As intriguing an idea as this sounds, I’m not comfortable with it. Funny, I never enjoyed air travel either *smile*.

On that note everyone, I’d like to conclude our time with Akemi. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. It has been quite interesting and has certainly challenged my logical mind. I’m sure the ego is a little uncomfortable too, but I’ll be having a talk with him or her soon.

If you want to learn more about Akemi and her Akashic Record Readings or her Spirit Guide Readings, please check out the provided links.

I hope you enjoyed Part 2 of our interview. If there are any questions, again please ask Akemi below in the comments section. Thanks again for reading, and sweet dreams!

akemiAkemi Gaines of Yes To Me has offered to share her knowledge about intuition, the ego, spirit guides, and the role they can or do play in our lives.

The synchronicity of how this interview came about is quite fitting to this topic.

I had been considering emailing Akemi to ask if she might like to be interviewed here on Loving Pulse. I had pondered this, battling with the ego, who told me that I probably couldn’t pull it off. I mean, Akemi had been interviewed a couple of months previously by Hunter Nuttall. I didn’t think we could add any more to that. Little did I know….

A day later I received an email from Akemi herself. She wondered if I would be interested in interviewing her. You can imagine my surprise… and delight. And so without further adieu, I’d like to open the floor to Akemi.

Welcome Akemi, and thanks for making this interview possible.

Akemi: My pleasure, Davina and readers!

1. I’d like to start off by first asking, how would you define intuition?

Intuition is the communication from our higher self, spirit guides, and beyond.

2. Is it true that all human beings have intuitive abilities? Do we sometimes lose our connection with them as we grow into adulthood?

Of course we all have intuitions! It’s more of a matter of whether you recognize the signals from the spiritual plane, and how well versed you are at understanding the signals. Some develop their intuitive skills further, and some ignore the messages or close up the connection because they are taught logics are superb.

Davina: I can imagine that as we grow into adulthood we can get caught up in logistics and fed false beliefs from our egos that cause us to block or lose touch with our intuition.

3. What type of signs or sensations would you suggest a person be aware of to recognize guidance from their intuition?

There are four major pathways where spiritual messages come through:

Immediate knowing (claircognizance);

Physical sensations (clairsentience);

Non-physical sounds (clairaudience); and,

Non-physical images (clairvoyance).

Each person has a unique skill level with each communication pathway. Many people are good at claircognizance or clairsentience (sometimes called gut feeling) but fail to recognize they are receiving spiritual messages.

Intuitive input may be subtle and come in a flash, but it is not confusing. Our spirit guides don’t play games such as giving us a hint and testing to see if we can figure it out, or manipulating us with anxiety-causing threats or guilt.

Davina: You know, sometimes I feel like they are playing games when I try to interpret some of my dreams. I’ve caught myself thinking, “Oh come on… in English puhlease! No more symbols!” I see that you speak to this a bit later in Part 2 when we discuss dreams so I won’t say anymore here.

Akemi: Ha ha… I know what you mean Davina. Let’s see if I can clarify this. I guess spirit guides don’t mean to play games, but they do have a slightly different frame of reference.

For example, “marriage” means long-term romantic relationship for them, and not necessarily the legal status. So if you ask them if you are getting married, you may get a positive vibe and months later, still find you’re legally single with a caring boyfriend.

What to say, they live on a spiritual plane! They also don’t seem to understand money very well, but they do understand we want or need certain stuffs. And as you point out, they love symbols. For them, symbols are more direct and accurate than language. So these kind of communication challenges do exist between us and our spirit guides. This is why we need to practice the communication.

Oh, and additionally, they are very respectful for our initiative. Sometimes, they give us just enough info so that we can start working on it. They don’t do the part of work that is justifiably ours. That is different from playing guessing games, but it may feel similar to some of us.

4. What can a person do to increase their intuitive abilities?

The first step is to clean up the mental clutter so that the gentle communication from the spiritual plane can be recognized. Meditation is a great way to do this. Many of my Akashic Record Reading clients report increased sensitivity to intuition as they clear their energetic blocks.

Davina: I can attest to that after having experienced an Akashic Record Reading with you Akemi. I’m feeling a greater ability to trust in what I cannot see. An analogy would be like a child who is learning to walk. After a while they don’t fear falling down anymore and walking comes naturally. Soon they are running and jumping.

Akemi: Exactly! Another analogy would be learning how to drive. In the beginning, you are so overwhelmed. You need to look around, check certain signs and signals, understand which sign means what, while you adjust the pressure on the gas or brake, and . . . OMG! But after awhile, it becomes second nature. And the prereq for driving is you have clear mind.

5. Akemi, I know some people do not resonate with the idea of meditation. Personally, I go through phases where I simply cannot, or do not want to sit for any length of time and meditate. This may indicate some resistance to tuning in, or it could be that sometimes we are just on another channel so to speak. Can you suggest other ways to practice listening to or for your intuitive voice?

Although sitting quietly is the standard form of meditation, it doesn’t always have to be that way. The objective is to calm our mind so that our soul has a chance to come forth. So any method to calm our mind is meditation.

For some people, walking along the quiet nature trail is a form of meditation. In both Christianity and Buddhism, there are forms of standing or walking meditations.

Sometimes, you also “accidentally” get into the meditative condition when you are relaxed and immersed in what you are doing, such as in the bath or while doing sports. Automatic writing is also very effective.

6. I suspect that intuition is never wrong, just your expectations or perception of the possible outcome is. What would you say to this?

Our ego’s fear and prejudice can certainly get in our way to appropriately understand intuitive knowing. The ego is very afraid of us connecting with our higher self and spirit guides because that would mean it can no longer be the tyrant it is for most of us.

But we need the thinking function to interpret the intuitive knowing, so it’s more about training the ego than killing the ego (which would be impossible). There is an art in appropriately understanding intuition as we discussed earlier.

7. What is the difference between our subconscious and our intuition?

In addition to our conscious mind, we have the subconscious and the superconscious mind. The conscious and the subconscious minds are attached to our physical body.

The superconscious on the other hand, transcends the physical body. At this time, I consider the superconscious to be the soul – which lives many lifetimes. Some people consider the superconscious as representing the collective consciousness; it transcends the individual consciousness. That is an interesting perspective too, and I contemplate what these two perspectives may mean.

Intuition is the communication from our higher self (which is another way to refer to the soul or the superconscious) and spirit guides. It is communicated to our subconscious and conscious minds.

8. When you receive a first instinct or gut reaction, would you say that it is your intuition at work? Would you necessarily act on your instinct? What about the old saying, look before you leap? Doesn’t that contradict this whole idea?

An “instinct” can mean either the immediate intuitive knowing or the ego’s fussy scream. With practice and experience, you can tell the difference. If I hear “Don’t take that road!”, I act on it right away – what negative result can come from this even if my intuition were wrong? Being a few minutes late because I took the back road? And what if it were right? Saving my life? Now that is a decision the conscious mind makes with the intuitive input. Other times, you may decide to “look before you leap”.

Davina: Aha, so sometimes the “instinct” can be the ego! This is tricky business. Up until now I thought that the ego came after an instinct as a judgment call.

9. When someone such as yourself works closely with your spirit guides, how do you stay grounded and present in your daily life?

This is a very important question for anyone who does a lot of spiritual work. We do have the tendency to be too up high in the ether and we definitely need to ground ourselves.

After I’m done with my work, I close my conscious connection to my spirit guides. My spirit guides are always with me and can contact me any time, but I close the door from my end with the understanding that they can open it as they see fit.

In addition, I strive to take time to do some grounding work such as exercising and cooking. I’ve heard gardening works well too, by literally touching the ground.

Davina: So, it sounds like you close the door so to speak, and go about your business, while keeping a listen in case they knock.

Akemi: Well, sometimes they knock even when I’m not really listening . . .

Davina: I think this is a good spot to take a break for today. So, Akemi if it’s ok with you and your guides *smile*, let’s close the door for now. We will continue on Monday with Part 2 where Akemi talks about déjà vu moments, light bodies, dreaming and out of body experiences. Wow!

I hope you will join us.

In the meantime, please ask Akemi any questions you might have or share your thoughts below. And, if you are new here and you don’t want to miss Part 2 please subscribe to the feed.

Since it is Halloween, I thought I would take this opportunity to share a real live ghost story with you.

It took place in this farmhouse where I grew up on Granite Hill Road in northern Ontario, with my mother, grandmother and two sisters. This photo was taken in 1963.

When my mother was 12 and still living in Toronto, her father passed away during open-heart surgery. Throughout my childhood she spoke very fondly of him and I regretted that I’d never had the opportunity to meet him.

She shared this story with me some years after it happened and I believe her.

The event happened a couple of years after they had moved to the farm. See the window in the lower right corner of the house? That was our dining room, the place where mother experienced this. Here is what happened.

During the winter months the house was hard to keep warm and so the dining room was closed off from the rest of the house. We had our meals in the kitchen at the back of the house where the fireplace kept us warm.

This one particular evening mother was preparing dinner and decided to use some dishes that were kept in a cabinet in the dining room. She went into the dining room and when she returned to the kitchen a brief moment later, with no dishes in her hands, my grandmother noticed that her face was rather pale.

But mother didn’t say a word. Instead, she asked my grandmother if she would go and pick out some dishes. So into the dining room went grandma. She also returned quickly, with no dishes and a pale face.

They took one look at the other and my grandmother nodded instantly when my mother asked “Did you see it?”

This is giving me chills as I write!

What did they both see?

In the corner of the room next to that window was a figure. It had only revealed itself from the chest up and was gently floating on the spot. My mother recalled that it was her father and he was smiling at her.

Both mother and grandma agreed that they had seen the same thing and I don’t doubt either of them.

I don’t understand the phenomena of ghosts, nor can I prove it. But I don’t need proof because I accept it as a very real possibility. I keep an open mind because I too have had a few ghostly experiences in my life.

But, that is another story.

What about you? Have you had any such mysterious experiences? Do you believe in ghosts?

Please share your comments below and if you enjoyed this article don’t forget to subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss any upcoming posts.

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