Friday, July 31, 2009

Patrick Collard

I slept and dreamed that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.
     -- Rabindranath Tagore

On Wednesday morning I received news that Patrick Collard had passed away. Patrick came into my life in August of 1995. I was in Philadelphia attending Patrick's "apprenticeship program," a 10-day personal growth and bodywork seminar. I had enrolled in this program purely on faith, never having met Patrick or even heard of him.

I stepped into the hotel elevator, already occupied by a single man in an Armani suit and shiny black cowboy boots. He acknowledged me with a nod and later, as I sat in the seminar room waiting for the day's activity to begin, the same man strode to the front of the room and began to speak. I had just met Patrick Collard.

On the first day of the apprenticeship I was a massage therapist firmly rooted in the "real world" and sure of all my scientific knowledge about the human body. On the last day, I was still human, but everything else about me had changed. I had just spent ten days hearing the truth for the first time in my life, and I felt as new and powerful as as the earth's first sunrise.

What was the big deal? What did I learn in ten days that could make such a difference in my life? The better question is "what did I unlearn?"

I discovered that I am not a self-contained, finite individual, but rather a precious part of a shining whole, connected to others with every breath I take, and that true knowledge is every moment of present time. I learned that even though I have assigned the function of seeing to my eyes, true sight is trusting myself and surrendering to my unlimited nature. I found that power and strength are sometimes opposites, and that what I am made of, and what I am, are two different things. Most of all I learned that I am, in Patrick's words, "doomed to perfection."

Fourteen years as Patrick's student provided me with tools that released me from the past, encouraged me to embrace my essence as a strong female authority figure and taught me the power of receiving. Patrick supported me in all I did and respected me enough to invite me as a co-teacher for some of his bodywork seminars. Those opportunities to teach with Patrick will remain in my memory as some of my life's highlights.

Patrick touched tens of thousands of lives through his music, writings, seminars and private sessions. In his presence I experienced some of the greatest moments of my life. He gave me my vocation and, by extension, my happiness. Patrick Collard was my teacher, my mentor and my friend. I will miss him forever.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Creative Thought: Basics

The fundamental concept behind everything I believe and teach is: Thought is Creative. It is the single truth that all results follow. What I think, I create. What I focus on expands. I am the thinker, therefore I am in control. I have to be aware of my thoughts and take responsibility for them. 

This goes for both conscious and unconscious thoughts. If I understand that thought is creative, then I understand that my positive thoughts create positive results, and negative thoughts create negative results. "OK," you say, "but how can I control unconscious thoughts?" That's when you have to look to your results for answers. 

Results are the effect of thought, which is the cause. Show me your result, and I'll show you the thought that created it. Therefore, finding the unconscious thought that created a result is fairly straightforward. What if your result is the direct opposite of what you know your conscious thoughts to be? Then either your unconscious thoughts are more numerous (and therefore stronger) or your conscious thoughts are not as positive as you think.

I said above that what you focus on expands. Too often, people who are trying to create a positive result have a negative outcome because they are focusing on the wrong thing. For example, you are unemployed and want a job. Your "positive thoughts" might go something like this:

I really want a job
I want the perfect job
I am searching hard for my perfect job
I want a job that will pay me $100,000 per year
I don't want to work at McDonald's
I no longer accept crappy jobs
My perfect job is waiting for me

The result of these "positive thoughts" is that you will continue to want a job, search for a job and want good money. Your perfect job is still waiting ... and waiting. You will continue not working at McDonald's and not having a crappy job. You are focusing on the wrong things. You might try:

My perfect job comes to me now
My perfect job comes to me easily and quickly
I now receive a job that pays me $100,000 per year
Acme Widgets now offers me the perfect job and I accept gratefully

However, this is only part of the equation. The other part is your "response column," the little voice that pipes up as you affirm your positive thoughts. "My perfect job comes to me now" might be answered in the back of your mind by the thought, "I don't really deserve it." When this happens, take action to expose these thoughts to the light of day. Write down each and every "response" that your mind drags up as you put your positive thoughts in place. By getting the responses down on paper you can deal with them in present time and see them for what they really are -- past references dressed up as the truth and served to you by the part of your mind that is afraid of change.

Results always tell the truth. If you don't like your results, change your thoughts. It's that simple.

Did I say simple? Yes, simple ... but not easy.

Think of all the years of practice you have had at creating poor results. Overcoming the habit will take some doing but, like all habits, it can be replaced with a healthier practice that you can be proud of.

This is the first in a series of Tuesday posts in which I will present case studies and other lessons to help highlight some of the techniques that I write about. Fridays will be devoted to ongoing information to help you get the most out of Living in the New Age.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's .... Present Time!

OK, so maybe you've recognized what your Most Negative Thought might be. Since "I'm not good enough" is one of the most common, I will use this as my example.

Close your eyes for a moment and recall the last time you felt not good enough. Really feel it in detail -- what happened, who was involved, even what you were wearing. Go ahead, I'll wait............

Got it? Now answer three questions:
  • What am I thinking?
  • What is my body doing?
  • What emotion do I feel?
These three answers are they key. They are the mental, physical and emotional patterns you repeat over and over. They are how you do I'm Not Good Enough. Go back over your answers and notice how familiar they are. Notice especially how you are dwelling on past mistakes. This is no longer about the current problem. You are remembering every time you have done something similar in the past and using that to beat yourself up.

To make real change and break free of this cycle, you need to stop using the past as a reference and stay in Present Time. This means you must catch yourself in the act of recreating the same mental, physical and emotional reactions, and replace at least two out of three with Present Time responses. Let's say your answers to the above questions are something like:

Mental: "Oh, great, I've done it again. When am I going to learn? Why does this happen to me? Why haven't I taken steps to fix this? I should have known. Etc., etc."

Physical: Tightness in shoulders and neck.

Emotional: Sadness

In Present Time, you could take the following steps:

Mental: "Stop. Take a breath. What is happening right now?"

Physical: Move your shoulders and neck. Shift your weight from foot to foot.

Emotional: What emotion is real right now? Is it really sadness, or something else?

If you can change two of your usual reactions, you will be well on your way to breaking this cycle of unhappiness. Real life, a.k.a. reality, is about Present Time, not about spending all your time paying for past mistakes. Present Time is all we ever have, and it is the Universe's gift to us. All we have to do is reach out and take it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Most Negative Thought

Our neighbor "Ron" stopped by the other night to chat. Ron is not well-liked in the neighborhood. He is constantly drunk, loud and rude. He joins conversations uninvited and expresses his opinions at top volume. He doesn't know when to leave. He probably urinates in the community swimming pool.

I see the eye rolls and sideways looks directed at him. I can almost hear people thinking, "can't he see he's not wanted?"

Um, yeah. That's the whole point. Ron is collecting evidence to support his Most Negative Thought -- "I'm not wanted."

Whatever you choose to call it, Core Belief, Personal Lie or Most Negative Thought, it runs our lives. We spend huge amounts of time proving it. 

Your Most Negative Thought might be something like:
  • I'm not good enough
  • I'm bad
  • I don't belong
  • I'm not wanted
  • I'm not good enough as a female/male
There are others, but these are the most common. 

Humans will do almost anything to avoid change. This is a survival mechanism that has been part of our brains since we lived in caves and threw rocks at our enemies. However, it is often a huge obstacle in our modern desires for health, happiness and spiritual fulfillment.

Let's get back to Ron, obeying the unconscious need to avoid change. If Ron's result in all life situations is "I'm not wanted," then he has successfully dodged change. Things are the same for Ron, and will stay the same as long as he has plenty of evidence to back up his belief.

What is your most negative thought, and how do you perpetuate it? Do you understand that as much as you may dislike this about yourself, you also need it? Can you recognize that feeling of comfort in your body as you run on the treadmill of past thoughts? Do you want to change?

If so, watch for my next post. If you can change your thoughts, you can change your life.