R. E. S. P. E. C. T

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

Aretha Franklin said it so well, and so did my friend recently. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while, and we ran into each other. I told him I’d heard that he and his family are moving far away pretty soon. He’s a housing contractor and does very high quality work. He’s made a contact where they’re going, and he should have enough work lined up to make it happen. I told him I had no doubt he’d be fine, because he does such excellent work. What’s more, he’s an awesome person. He’s the kind of contractor you want – honest, straight-forward, and kind. So I said he should have no problem finding enough work. Or enough work finding him.

He said he thought it would be fine as well, and he went into more detail about why he thinks this way. He said that as long as he does everything with respect, it always works out. He does good work, puts his name on it, and respects all those involved. This means he respects the home owner who is acting like a pushy pain in the ass and knows nothing about tiles or cabinetry or whatever else. That person still deserves basic respect. And he respects the main contractor when he’s a sub, just doing a small part of the overall job. The main contractor is dealing with the homeowner and might be very stressed out. Or s/he might have lower standards than my friend, who has very high standards. That person still deserves basic respect, though.

When I heard this specific aspect of how my friend sees things, I loved it. So simple! And so easy to not do. It’s very tempting to not respect the pain in the ass who is being less than reasonable. It’s also a habit that most of the world practices. Each of us gets to a point in our lives, though, when that doesn’t work anymore. We have to respect those people, too. At least basic respect. R. E. S. P. E. C. T.

I think many people confuse “respecting all others no matter what” with being a doormat. Let’s take a closer look at that real quick, because it’s important. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but you can still be assertive and strong and have respect. You can still stand your ground. You can still say no. But you can also have respect. Respect is mainly an inner thing. It’s how you see the other person. They’re another person just like you, and they’re actually doing their best, despite what it may look like to you. They might have huge childhood issues or other trauma they’re carrying and haven’t dealt with yet. They might have a dying spouse or child. We really don’t know, so it’s best to not assume. If you catch yourself making assumptions, just gently let them go. And definitely don’t beat yourself up about it. That’s a two-for-one, self-imposed. Not a good plan.

If we look even deeper, we might say that the unconscious part of your mind, which is the rest of the iceberg besides the tip, knows that we are all ultimately connected. Remember that the mystics have always said this, and then the rock star quantum physicists in the 1920’s agreed. When the scientists and mystics agree, there’s usually something to it. At the fundamental level, we are made of exactly the same stuff. The borders that divide us are no longer there. At the fundamental level, we are literally all one. Whoa! This means that if you are not respecting someone else, your unconscious mind (which is almost all of it) interprets that as you not respecting yourself. Ouch. No wonder there are unnecessary challenges in your life.

So try this respectful attitude out; take it for a spin. Remember that we always like to see things for ourselves here at A Clean Mind rather than just believing someone else. Do it for a while and see what the results are. It’s only a change in attitude, but attitude means our thoughts, and that’s where it all happens. So “only a change in attitude” is actually the most powerful thing any human can do. Let’s talk about it if you have questions.

And now, let’s take a moment of silence for how awesome Aretha Franklin is. I’m no expert on Aretha Franklin, but the song Say A Little Prayer is one of my favorite songs, period. Here it is if you want… Enjoy!

The Diamond

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

They say that cats have nine lives. Well, the diamond you’re about to get to know has at least two. Note for fact-checkers: It could’ve been a diamond engagement ring, but I think it was just the diamond itself (definitely to be used in an engagement ring, though). It’s been a little while since the session, and I just had “diamond” in my notes. When I don’t write these stories up right away, I can forget the details. The essence always remains, though, which is the main thing. On to the story…

I had an awesome session with a client a while back, and she told me about how she had taken this diamond to work, maybe to show her co-workers. She was engaged and excited, rightfully so. So she was about to leave work and was at her car when she realized there was no diamond. And what did she do? She freaked out! As most people would do under the circumstances… She spent a full hour retracing her steps, trying to find this very valuable diamond. She might’ve had others like the security guard involved as well. It was an intense situation. After an hour, she finally retraced her steps back to her office. And where was the diamond? It was sitting safely on her desk, exactly where she had last placed it. Although this might’ve taken a few years off of her life, the diamond was totally safe.

One life down, one to go. My client’s partner had the diamond and was traveling on the interstate in her car. Road trip! Her brother was traveling as well, and they happened to be crossing paths on the same interstate. They stopped at a random exit and met in a random gas station or truck stop parking lot. Of course she showed her brother the diamond, and after they were done visiting, they continued on their separate ways, driving in opposite directions.

Three hours down the road, she looked for the diamond. It was not in the bag that it was supposed to be in. The bag was empty. What?!? Long story short, she drove back three hours to the same random exit and the same random parking lot. Three hours! And where was the diamond? Right there on the pavement where they had been visiting. Although this might’ve taken a few years off of her life, the diamond was totally safe. Actually, that three hour car ride might’ve taken a few decades off of her life! Talk about practicing A Clean Mind… I’d love to meet this woman someday to ask about those three hours.

What a story. So what’s the lesson? In the session, my client and I had broken it down pretty hard in terms of spirituality, since that was her orientation. It was a very cool session for me. That’s what I really love to talk about. She caught me at a pretty powerful time, too, just a few days after discovering my latest treasure, the Way of Mastery material, which sure seems like a life-long path. I’ll be writing extensively about that when I start my next blog, A Deep Mind.

Back to the diamond… It immediately reminded me of a story I learned from a teacher named Gangaji who was instrumental in my life around 2006. It’s at the beginning of her excellent book, The Diamond In Your Pocket. The story is this: “A master thief waited his whole life to acquire the most beautiful diamond in the world. When he heard it had been purchased, he spent three days trying to steal the rare jewel. He failed. Finally, the thief walked right up to the owner and asked, ‘How did you hide this precious jewel from me?’ To which the owner replied, ‘I placed it where I knew you would never look-in your own pocket!’

This story doesn’t fit the real-life tale exactly, but rather in a general way. What does the diamond represent? Spirit, which is your true essence. That’s who you really are. That’s what animates the body that you see in the mirror. And that’s what cannot be born or die. That’s why I don’t believe in death. The body dies, but there’s way too much evidence out there that says we are simply not a body. And that’s good news. Very good news! I’ll talk about that extensively at A Deep Mind as well, explaining what I’ve called “evidence.” Come to think of it, we’ll talk about it some here, too, probably in the near future. I got licensed (LCSW) a few weeks ago, and I’ll be moving into a new office on my own in beautiful, historic downtown Pensacola starting November 1. That’s when I can let it fly more.

So the diamond was fine all along. We think we can lose it, but we can’t. We think it can be harmed, but it can’t. Leave it on your desk at work? It’s fine. Leave it on the ground in a random truck stop parking lot and drive for three hours and then three hours back to find it? It’s fine. Of course, I’m not recommending that you leave your diamond or diamond ring wherever you want. If something happens, then please don’t blame me…

I think this analogy of the diamond being Spirit, or who you really are after all is said and done, is 100% accurate. I’ve looked around too much and seen too much of what I consider to be evidence. When there’s more evidence to the contrary, I’ll gladly change my belief; I’ll have no choice. I go where the evidence is, with as little baggage as possible. And I look forward to talking with you more about that very soon.

“It’s Okay”

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

A client recently came in for her second session. During the first session, I could see a ton of potential in terms of her “getting it.” This is because she was totally doing it to herself (like most of us) by listening to the voice in the head and carrying lots of old stuff. If I’m doing it to myself, that’s awesome because I’m the one who can stop. I can learn another way. I don’t have to wait for change to occur in you or my job or the weather or whatever else in order for me to be happy.

When I first see someone like this, I must confess that I get excited for the second session. I want to know if their life has changed. I have very high expectations for this work, sometimes too high I’m sure. I’ve just seen it happen so many times now… Of course I stay even-keeled and don’t get hopes up or have expectations, but I can’t lie – I get excited like a little kid. I just love this stuff, and I’ve seen firsthand how these simple changes can have such dramatic and fast effects.

When she came in that second time, I was delighted at what I heard. It was right on schedule – there were clear, measurable, powerful changes in several areas of her life. She listed them and I loved it. Then she said something that I didn’t expect, because I hadn’t heard it yet. She said that of all the things I said to her, the most powerful was, “It’s okay.” I didn’t even know I kept saying this, to be honest. It’s been a while, and I should really look at the notes from the session, but I’m in a coffee shop downtown now and don’t really want to go up to the office.

I know the gist of it, though, which will work just fine for our purposes. She might’ve mentioned things that make her guilty from the past. What do I think of that? It’s okay. She might’ve said she was worried about how certain situations were going to turn out in the future. What do I think of that? It’s okay. And she might’ve mentioned present situations that were not ideal. What do I think of that? It’s okay. That covers the past, present, and future, so I think we’re good now. Whatever she said was a problem, I said, “It’s okay.”

Why did I say this? Because it’s true! This is about accepting the current state of affairs. If we say it’s not okay, then we’re arguing with reality. And as Byron Katie and probably others have said, when you argue with reality you lose. But only 100% of the time! We’re not saying it’s okay because it’s ideal. Rather, we’re saying it’s okay because it’s already happened. This is the situation right now at this moment. So we’re just being logical. Remember the tool of telling yourself, “This has happened.” Same idea here.

When we tell ourselves it’s okay, we can immediately relax into the situation. This means we can relax into how we feel about it. This is the essence of releasing. Feelings can’t survive in that kind of environment; they’ll eventually dissipate. They need resistance to survive for long. Another word that’s been big for me lately is “allow.” Allowing and relaxing into the situation are HUGE. It’s all part of the same attitude. We can still work hard, have goals, achieve, etc., but we have a softer attitude. Life will be much smoother with this attitude. We don’t have to try to control everything. Because we aren’t really in control anyway…

Back to “it’s okay,” another crucial point is that we have to start where we currently are. That’s why it’s okay. Where I am now is… exactly how my life is now. Exactly! I own every detail, I accept it all, and now I will do my best to learn and grow. But first I have to own it and start exactly where I am, right now at this very instant. If you don’t like something about your life, then you can take a minute right now and close your eyes, think about it for just a few seconds, and then simply allow any feelings to arise and gently breathe into them. Try this now. Let them do what they want to do, which is not be bottled up. Just witness them. We’ll be talking about witnessing more in future posts. When you witness feelings, you simply notice them with the wonder of a child, but you are not identified with them. Big difference, and it can mean the difference between being at peace or not. Good stuff.

I have a fledgling youtube channel now, and I have high hopes for it in the future. I think it’ll help lots of people. I’ll eventually put an entire first session on it, broken into bite-sized pieces so it’s not too long. Witnessing feelings and releasing them will be a big part of that, of course. There’s a video on there now about people who are super tight because they really, really hope counseling will work and will fix things. This is common, and those people really have to relax first and then go choose and see a counselor. In this video, I go through how you do that. It’s the same as the releasing I’ve always talked about but just in video format in case you want to give it a watch. It’s just under four minutes long. And it’s not professional by any stretch. I’m getting better with each one, though. I still need to smile more. Anyway, this video will work fine with any situation you don’t like about your life – past, present, or future. Releasing is releasing is releasing. This will force you to go ahead and accept it. Do it!

That’s all for now, good folks. Things are hopping, but I wanted to write something since it’s been a little while. I got licensed (LCSW) about a week ago, and I’ll go out on my own at the end of the month, hopefully in an office in or near downtown Pensacola, FL. So it’s busy, but there’s still so much to say about the things we talk about. It’s really all the same thing, though, and it works… If you stop for a few seconds and do it. And all it takes is practice. All the best to you, and as always, let me know if I can help!