Plugging In

Posted Posted in Other Cool Topics, Tools & Techniques

Yesterday, we talked about how a client has been experiencing deeper feelings of peace lately, underneath the comings and goings of various emotions and stresses. She started by meditating a lot, and it really didn’t take very long before she could just sort of “drop in” to a more peaceful state pretty much at will. It’s pretty cool, so I’d definitely check it out and give it some thought. Because at the end of the day, her true essence is exactly the same as yours! That’s a fact, and what a nice fact. I started experiencing the same thing years ago, and the feeling is really nice. I’m starting to understand it more now, too (with plenty of room to grow…). Most of us are just not used to living this way, so it can take a while for this to become our more normal state, our HOME. Remembering is the key, since our mind can be so active. Plus, the world is so fast paced and busy these days. All good, though – this is why we practice. Gently practice. No pressure 🙂

So let’s turn this into a really specific practice that you can do pretty much anywhere, anytime. Call it a meditation if you like, but it can be more “on the go” than what most people think of as formal meditation. And I love “on the go.” But first, we’ll start with a more structured meditation sort of thing. So just sit down, close your eyes, and let the world go for a little while. Then just sink into the thought of, “I’m plugged into my Source right now.” And feel that, feel what that means, breathe it into every cell of your body. And know that there’s only one Source that powers everything up. It’s been called God, Mind, Source, the Power of the Universe, Oneness, etc. There’s an unseen energy, though, that makes everything happen in this world. Then we look at quantum physics from almost one hundred years ago, and it was discovered that everything is connected. Sounds familiar… Then we study the near death experiences (NDEs), and the many, many accounts that are out there describe the most amazing feeling, connected to everything all the time, totally loved and loving and worthy. Sounds familiar… It’s literally all good. And they say that this is actually our reality right NOW, and we’ve simply forgotten. So let’s practice remembering! And this practice or meditation is a great – and fast – way to do just that.

So you sit down, close your eyes, let the world go for now, and then feel into the thought, “I’m plugged in right now to THE unlimited source of power and love.” And breathe with that, feel that. Let it sink in. “I’m plugged into the power of the entire universe right now. Wow. Right now, without having to lift a finger. I’m connected to the Source of all things right now. I didn’t get left out – that just wouldn’t make sense. Wow.” And you might find that the feeling in your body starts to shift. You’re thinking these thoughts very slowly and letting them sink into your body, using the breath. And when you think about it, the real YOU is already in there! So it know exactly what to do. So just play with it. This would be so much better in video form, too, so that you can see what I mean about feeling these words, these thoughts. I’ve always wanted to have more videos, so I’ll have to get on that. I doubt it’ll happen anytime soon, though… And that’s okay, I still love myself fully!

After practicing this and relaxing into this kind if thinking – which in my vast research is 100% true! – your body will start to fall into that awesome deeper feeling faster and faster. And you might start to drop into it at a red light or in the parking lot before you drive somewhere or after you arrive. And you might drop into it at your desk while at work. And then you might drop into this feeling with your eyes open, while you’re listening to someone talk. And then you might drop into it while you’re the one that’s talking! Or while you’re walking. Walking out in nature, or… in the grocery store. Because at the end of the day, you’re equally plugged in regardless. It’s just that you might be aware of it (and thus feel it) in some places more easily than others. So cool… Just play it with and see what happens. Give it some time, though. But once you’ve tasted what we’re talking about, you’ll be hooked. And it’ll get easier and easier. And then it’ll be the really big stuff that rocks you; the smaller stuff just won’t have the same effect (unless you let it build up).

Also note as you play with this that we’re really moving away from words, away from being so verbal all the time. Words are really a layer or two removed from the feeling, so we first use them to help “get us there,” and then we rely on them less and less. Just go there non-verbally sometime, and practice that. Or you might find that it takes fewer and fewer words to “drop in.” And don’t effort on any of this! I guess I’m mentioning this because sometimes the words have less of an effect over time. It might be kind of like how you can get used to a certain food or song, or you might build a tolerance to a certain substance. Again, just play with it.

So that’s our practice. “I’m plugged in, right now… Wow…” And it’ll hit you more and more that you can never not be plugged in. It’s simply not possible. This is a scientific fact, just sayin’. You can quite easily be unaware of the fact that you’re plugged into an infinite source of power, though. We’re such powerful beings, in fact, that we can believe we’re actually small and separate! When nothing could be further from the truth… And hey, I feel that way all the time – it’s a really good illusion here on earth. But we’re starting to see through the veils to what’s really going on. So all we’re doing here is reminding ourselves of the truth, which is that we couldn’t be disconnected from our Source if we tried. That means that you are an infinite and unlimited being, right now. You are not a “meat suit.” This post is entitled Plugging In, but I almost called it Plugged In because it’s really about remembering that we are always plugged in, permanently. And we have no choice in that. And when you drop into that recognition, that remembrance, more and more, it feels really, really, really good. It’s a deeper feeling of peace. And it’s inside of you and me right now. So happy practicing, and as always, let me know if I can help!

Tool: My Car = My Sanctuary

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories, Tools & Techniques

This is pretty cool. In fact, I can’t believe I didn’t think about it for myself years ago. Or maybe I’ve been practicing this anyway? Who knows, who cares. Here we go… So I was talking to an awesome friend recently who is stressed out. I was helping her see that how she feels actually comes from her thinking and not from the world directly. She’s a very awesome person who just has some bad habits of over-thinking, basically. Welcome to the club! I know that club well… In fact, there are literally billions of people on earth right now with this same issue. These habits of hers have been in place for decades now, so they’re fairly set, but it doesn’t take decades for them to be undone. That’s the magic of what we do here at A Clean Mind. It really is like magic. Amazing…

In a situation like this, it can seem like an overwhelming and even impossible task to clean up our thinking. If I’ve been doing this for so long that it’s all I know, I might think there’s no way I can change. But that’s not true, because I’ve seen this change too much. And I’ve seen it too much in myself as well (with plenty of room for more!). So what we need is some way for the person to remember. Remember what? Remember to take a break and stop carrying this constant load of stress and worry from place to place each and every day. You can do that if you want, but it’s a painful way to live. And it’s optional and self-inflicted. It’s nothing more than a habit, and we can change a habit.

I have one client who needed to remember some life-changing things, so we wrote these things down on a piece of paper she could carry around with her. She started and ended her days by reminding herself of what was on the piece of paper, and it was always there in her pocket throughout the day. And it worked like a charm! MAJOR improvement in three weeks. Like I said, the key is remembering.

So with my friend, we decided to make her car be her sanctuary. She’s busy and running around a lot, so this is the perfect idea. Even if the kids are screaming, sanctuary (take a breath and relax even as you quiet them down). Even if she’s in a rush, sanctuary (call or text someone that you’re running late?). Even if there’s a lot going on in life, sanctuary (because she’s driving now and can’t do much about it at the moment).

She said this has helped a lot, and I was very happy about that. So here’s what it can look like. Since the key is remembering, you can write “Sanctuary” or something else on a little sticky note or something so that you see it. Stack the deck in your favor, people! At least in the beginning. Now that we’ve remembered, we can let everything go the second we sit down in the seat. Or after we’ve gotten the heat or A/C going, gotten the kids settled in, or whatever. But before putting the car into gear, I’d take at least one super relaxing breath where you just let everything go. Don’t even think. Let go of what you’re carrying in that moment, because you’re just going to drive from Point A to Point B now. So let’s just drive without carrying that load. It’ll still be there when you’re done driving if you want. And write it down if you think you need to. Also, know that you don’t have to name everything you’re carrying. Just drop it! You’ll eventually feel it move and dissipate. It’s pretty relaxing after a while, and it usually doesn’t take long at all. A lot can happen in one breath. A lot.

Now you start driving. Relax your body as you drive, even if you’re in a hurry. Even if you’re speeding and running lights, and I don’t necessarily condone that or not, you can relax your mind and let your mind be still, just focusing on the road, the other cars, the scenery, etc. You’r muscles will start to let go, too – it’s pretty cool. Stress in the forehead starts to relax. Because you’re just driving anyway, so you might as well just drive. We multi-task way too much. And I’d cut down on the texting, too. Not a good idea. Let it wait. Also know that you’re in charge of what you listen to. Do you need to hear the same 25 depressing news updates everyday? Sweet, some more really bad news!! Listen to your Inner GPS about what it wants. You are the customer. Sometimes silence is nice. If you feel your head is full, it’ll naturally drain if you let it.

When you arrive at your destination, you might feel really good and light. Take one more breath if you want to, though, and just be free and empty. Even as you’re about to go into an important meeting or whatever (you’ll end up having a better meeting or whatever it is most of the time).

Feel free to try this out. Many of us drive a lot, so it’s a great idea. And very effective. Then spread this idea to other areas of your life. Note that this will actually happen automatically. When we get that one ray of light shining through, that’s all we need. It’ll grow from there; that’s just what it does. How about your bedroom? The backyard? Even the bathroom! The masters live in this space all the time, effortlessly. But there was a time when they had to consciously practice just like us. And the good news? That’s the direction we’re headed in, folks. All of us. And it really does start out by doing simple things like writing “Sanctuary” on a sticky note and putting in your car.

Tool: The Wise Old You

Posted Posted in Tools & Techniques

I’ve said many times here that I’m always looking for tools and techniques, specific things that help us snap out of the stress of the moment and see things with more clarity. A great one is to picture a wise, old you in the future, long past whatever situation is currently happening. As I tell my clients, “Picture yourself as a wise old man or woman, sitting in a rocking chair outside on the porch on a beautiful day. You’re watching the birds, reading, or chatting with a friend or family member. You’re totally relaxed and stress-free.” I must admit that this tool is designed more for people who don’t already fit that description. Please don’t sue me for age discrimination.

Now let’s ask some questions of that wise, old person. How would s/he view this current situation? Probably as being not as big a deal as it seems to be now. It could even be something huge and life-altering, but the emotional charge and mental frenzy would be long, long gone. The next question is how will the wise, old you view how you handled it? Probably with acceptance, whether or not you handled it very well. This is because the wise, old you knows that life is all about learning from tough situations. And even if you didn’t do so well, the wise old you knows that everybody isn’t perfect and we all make mistakes. That’s how we grow. And the cool thing is that the simple act of referring to your future self might help you handle a tough situation better than you otherwise would have, because you want that person to be proud of how you did.

This tool, like the others here at A Clean Mind, is designed to be used when things are going south. In the heat of the moment, take a breath and picture that peaceful person. That’s you in the future, no matter how this situation unfolds. Unless you die, I guess. Hey, a little gallows humor never killed anyone… Seriously, though, this tool can be really powerful. It’s helped lots of my clients, and I just realized that I hadn’t written about it here yet. No tool is perfect, so we will still have our ups and downs. All of these tools, though, are designed to help minimize the downs. Tough situations will always happen – it’s how we handle them. All of these tools can really help us handle them better than we otherwise would have. And I’m sure that the wise, old you would agree.

Tool: Connected Breathing

Posted Posted in Tools & Techniques

I’d like to introduce you to your new best friend, connected breathing. This is how you chill out on the over-thinking and get out of your head, at least for a moment. You reset. You get centered. You get clear.

It’s very simple. All you do is connect the inhale with the next exhale. And then connect that exhale with the next inhale. Wash, rinse, repeat. You don’t have to breathe any differently other than that. A client thought I meant hyperventilating. I’m glad he mentioned that before he passed out while driving… Breathe as deeply or as shallowly as you want. Do what feels right. I usually breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, but do what you want. The point is that you connect the inhales and exhales so that there’s no gap in between.

So what’s the big deal with connected breathing, you might ask? Very simple – if you’re always focused on the next inhale or exhale, there’s no room for your chatterbox mind to creep in! To test this out, do some connected breathing for even just fifteen seconds right now and see if it was easier than normal to clear your mind of the chatter. And as always, when you notice some chatter, just let it go and return to the breath. No big deal.

This is just a slight modification to normal breathing that makes it easier to get out of your head. One of my friends has said that this has really been working for him. When he notices himself living in his head, he stops immediately and does about three connected breaths. Then he resumes what he was doing, much more present than before. This decreases all the stress and anxiety that living in our head tends to cause and exacerbate. The result is that you feel lighter and more clear. And everything else in your life is exactly the same. All the same stressors and challenges are there. You’re just more clear as you handle them.

If you’re feeling really stressed out, worried, anxious, or fearful, do this for about a minute and see if you feel any better. You still have to deal with the situation, but this allows that tension to start to clear out of your system. You should at least feel a little better, and that’s your job – to get that junk moving. You might even feel totally different. And that took only one minute. Most people don’t actually do this type of thing, though. And it only takes a minute… Of course if something reminded you of a past trauma or something big, do this for longer. One minute can work wonders, though.

If you like living in your head, then definitely don’t do this. That’s a painful existence for most people, though. Those people tend to say it can be very tough to snap out of the story. They’re in constant thought and have been for decades. This is a simple tool that can help. I got it from an amazing book called The Presence Process by Michael Brown. It leads to a 10-week breathing program that’s designed to let all of our buried emotions, some of which literally came from when we were in the womb, come up gently and naturally. Once they come up, it’s just like we’ve always talked about on this blog – feel it. When you feel a feeling, it leaves. It’s job (to be felt) has been done. I’m only in the earlier parts of the book, so I haven’t done the program yet. If/when I do, I’ll certainly let you know and will keep you posted on what happens. I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve read so far, though. There really are so many great teachers and teachings out there these days, by the way. People really are starting to wake up. So cool…

Well, that’s all for now. Happy breathing and let me know if this helps!

Tool: “Pass The Test”

Posted Posted in Tools & Techniques

A great way to look at life’s challenges is as if they’re tests. Literally. Do you want to pass it? It’s okay either way, because if you don’t pass it, then you’ll just take it again later. It’s not personal, and it’s not good or bad. It’s just how life works, that’s all. It’s the law.

So what does it mean to “pass” the test? It just means that you handled it well. It’s not really about the outcome, either. It’s all about how you handled it. The funny thing is, though, that the better you handle it, the better the outcome tends to be. We still have to release wanting a certain outcome, though; that just sets us up for failure. And we really don’t know what’s best for us, anyway. The extreme version of this is the control freak.

One of the most powerful examples I can think of comes from a woman I met at The Monroe Institute (aka “Consciousness Camp”) back in 2006. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this in a previous post, but it’s worth repeating because it’s so powerful. Basically, her elderly mother was beaten up pretty badly and robbed. She could not figure out how anyone could actually beat up a “defenseless old lady.” It sounded like the guy got her pretty good, too. She and her sisters were absolutely filled with rage, as most normal people would be. This woman viewed life’s challenges as tests, though, and she definitely did not want to have to take this one again! This way of looking at it gave her the extra strength and motivation needed to try her best to forgive this person. Her sisters wished him pure hell, a fate worse than death. They could not get past their anger, and this is totally understandable. The woman who told the story, though, had been looking at things differently. She wanted to pass the test. This enabled her to find a way to forgive. And she felt all that anger and rage move on. While her sisters were still stuck in it, she was eventually able to move past it. So her life was more peaceful as a result.

Take a quick look and see if some of the same challenges come up over and over again in your own life. If so, this usually means you have to handle it differently. There’s a lesson you still need to learn in order to pass the test. At the very least, try something else out and see what happens. Be a scientist about it. What do you have to lose? And if you don’t know what to do differently, use your intuition. Or do some inner work, like forgive. My next blog, A Deep Mind, will go into much more detail about this inner work. That’s a good ways off, though. I have to finish my current job (around the end of the year) before I can really go off the deep end… I’ve written about doing inner work before outer work here, though.

So give it a try and let me know if any of those recurring challenges seem to move on; I’d love to hear about it. And the trick in the heat of the moment, as soon as you notice that something “bad” has happened, is to immediately tell yourself, “This is a test” or “Pass the test” or even just, “Test.” Whatever works for you. If you get in the habit of doing this, of telling yourself just a few words right away, then it keeps the mind from going back to its old ways and freaking out. You snap out of it and handle the situation much better. You pass the test.

There’s probably another one lined up, though, because that’s how life on earth works. We’ll talk much more about the “why” over at A Deep Mind in the future. For now, though, we’ll just train ourselves on exactly what to do when the tests come, and then we practice that and hone our skills. And life eventually becomes more peaceful. You’ll have to take all of these tests at some point anyway, so I say there’s no time like the present. Bring it on. And as you get better and better at passing tests, they’re not as big a deal. So now that you’ve done some good studying, I say good luck with the next test. And do let me know if any of the recurring old ones, the “broken records,” fade away with this new attitude. Happy practicing!

Tool: “I Forgive You. I Release You. I Send You Love.”

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories, Cool Supernatural/Paranormal Stuff, Tools & Techniques

This is a very powerful tool that can be downright mind-blowing. I’ve seen some very synchronistic things happen after doing this, which I’ll mention below. I got this from the wonderful book Spirit Junkie by Gabby Bernstein, which I’ve mentioned a couple of times before.

All you do when you’re having a conflict with someone is picture him/her in your mind and say, as sincerely as possible, “I forgive you. I release you. I send you love.” You can do this silently or not – that’s your call. The point is your intention. That’s why this can work even if you hate that person so much in that moment. You’re putting it out there that your sincere intention is peace with the situation, whatever that looks like. You want real peace.

Do this practice for as long as you wish, and do it as often as you wish. Of course release any tension you feel in your body when you think of that person, if there is any. Note: if you do feel tension when you think of that person, then it’s especially important that you release it – let that nasty stuff move on out of your system. Your other option is to keep holding it. That’s not cool.

Here’s another thing – do this practice without any expectations. This can be pretty funny, actually. When you catch yourself doing this only to get that person to change in some way or to get what you want, gently release that with a laugh. Good try! I bust myself on this all the time, by the way – the ego is pretty sly. Don’t take it too seriously, though. Just let it go in that moment and move on.

Here’s yet another thing – do this on yourself when necessary! We all make mistakes, and we all screw up. We can even be pretty evil sometimes. Own it, learn from it, and move on. To speed up the process, though, do this practice. Do it just as you would another person – no difference. Picture your face, release any tension, and say/think the words, “I forgive you. I release you. I send you love.” If there’s a strong emotional reaction, that’s fine. Just let the emotion be free, but without any story. After the bulk of the emotion has passed, then you can process if need be. It might just be that this was long, long overdo. I mean, you’ve probably been doing your best the whole time and have been too harsh in your internal criticism. This is a pattern that can be busted just like any other. In the meantime, forgive yourself!

This is an example of how we do inner work before doing outer work. Why? Because it’s more effective that way. So do this practice and get things working behind the scenes. You can even do it right now. (Pause). Yes, right now – go ahead and try it with someone. After you’ve done this, then if you feel guided to contact that person or even get a restraining order against that person, do it. You still act as needed, but you do this internal process first. And during. And after. You can do it anywhere, anytime. And always release your expectations, as I mentioned above. Release everything! Keep going deeper. As we do this more and more in life, the peace and joy that are our natural inheritance can shine through more. They’re always there, but they’ve been buried.

Remember that this is something to do in order to see for yourself if you like it or not. Don’t just read about it (unless you want to, in which case of course that’s fine). And note that even if you don’t see any results in the outer world, if doing this makes you at least feel better then that’s huge. You might see some wild things happen, though. I was moved to write about this now because of a call I got recently from a client who has been having a terrible issue with her sister, who has been her best friend. Her sister recently pulled a Jekyll-Hyde and turned into a totally different person, a very mean person who has said some hurtful things that will be hard to forget. This has been incredibly painful for my client, and releasing has been very hard to do. I suggested this practice, and my client did it. She pictured her sister and said/thought, “I forgive you. I release you. I send you love.” She was sincere as possible. It wasn’t easy to do since she’s pretty angry with her sister right now, but she did it anyway. She did her best and made sure her intentions were pure. Within an hour, she received a text out of the blue from her sister saying, “Hey – I love you.” They hadn’t spoken in almost two weeks, too. So my client called to tell me what had happened. Whoa! It doesn’t always work that fast, but when it does it’s a lot of fun. It’s basically a synchronicity that tells us that we’re on the right path and to keep it up. My client is not letting her foot off the gas, either. More forgiveness. More releasing. More love. There can’t be too much of any of that.

There are plenty of other examples, like another client who did this practice with his ex-wife. They don’t exactly have a kind, loving, respectful relationship. Since they have a son together who is in middle school, they can’t just totally part ways and not speak to each other. He was at his wit’s end with her, and I told him about this technique. The next time I saw him, he said, “Hey, you remember that thing you taught me using my mind with my ex-wife? It works! She’s been a totally different person.” I was laughing. I love it.

So go ahead and give this one a shot. I’m sure you can think of a couple of people in your life that would make suitable candidates… Release any expectations and just let it fly. Do it as often as you feel guided to. Just do what feels natural. And if this is a person you can barely even stand to look at or think about, then it’s extra important that you do this. Release all that resistance and tension as well. There’s nothing wrong with it, but do you want to carry it around 24/7 or not? I choose the latter. So happy practicing, and I’d really love to hear from any of you who have results you’d like to share. Especially the dramatic ones like with the immediate text message above. And now I release this blog post…

Tool: Pause Before You Speak

Posted Posted in Tools & Techniques

Here’s an amazingly simple thing you can do in your daily life that can work serious wonders. Just take a slight pause before you speak. A LOT can go down in that pause. Do I really want to say that? Will it lead to an argument that I don’t want? Is there a better way to put it? Am I reacting? If you pause and think about what you’re going to say, then you’re acting rather than reacting – major difference. I mentioned this pause in a post about The Perfectionist, since people with that pattern can tend to be overly critical (read: me!). This is a great tool for all of us, though. And it’s just so simple. Like pretty much all of what we talk about here at A Clean Mind, all it takes is practice. When you actually do it, though, and end up saying something calmly instead of with a sharp tone, you’ll feel pretty good. Actually, you might feel elated. That’s some serious validation that this stuff works. You just diffused an argument – nice freaking job. One less argument in this mad world is a very, very good thing.

This reminds me of a client who is totally kicking ass. Her boyfriend recently told her that he worries when she’s silent. When this happens, he’ll ask her if anything is wrong. This is when she’s pausing. The reason that she’s pausing is that she used to express all the time in the same situation, arguing and fighting. They were done as a couple unless she got control of this. She’s done an amazing job. She’s not just suppressing her feelings, either. She’s totally aware of them, welcoming and releasing them. She’s giving the situation some thought and choosing her words. She’s not in a rush. And she’s definitely not letting the emotion do the talking anymore, because we all know where that gets us.

This pause is a tool that I had down a while back, and it seems I’ve had a relapse. So this is something that I’m working on as well. Remember that it’s not about being perfect, because there is no perfect. It’s about having good intentions and being as consistent as you can. And when you fall, you just get back up. No big deal. In time, you’ll see that you’re on the right track.

Some of the most powerful tools can be the simplest, so don’t be deceived by the extreme simplicity of this one. Conversations and reactions happen very quickly, so pausing before you speak can be tricky to do in the moment. Everything we talk about here at A Clean Mind, though, is habit-forming. We replace old habits with new ones. Over time, we notice that we’ve changed quite a bit, and we like the direction we’re headed. It all happens one day at a time, though. So go out and practice. You’ll probably be having a conversation with someone in the next hour or two, if not much less, so opportunities abound. You don’t have to know the person, so it can be the cashier at the grocery store. That’s where you practice. The real work, though, is done with those closest to us, because that’s where our buttons tend to get pushed. The pause is harder to do then, but it’s also most important to do then. That’s where the real power lies to transform our lives to being much more peaceful. The practice with the person at the grocery store will greatly help prepare you for your loved ones. And the normal, happy conversations with your loved ones will greatly prepare you for the more dicey conversations and arguments. So go to the grocery store and practice! Don’t go there hungry, though…

Tool: Welcome the Assignment!

Posted Posted in Tools & Techniques

Here at A Clean Mind, we’re all about learning how to allow and accept what has happened. Why? Because it has already happened! Let me know when the time machine is around, because then we can just go back and fix or change things. Until then, though, let’s focus on allowing and accepting. Note: this doesn’t mean we have to act like a spineless doormat. Please let me know if you need clarification on this, because that’s important. Actually, I should write about that separately. (Pause…) Okay, I just put that on the list.

So we learn to allow and accept, and then we practice. It’s all about practicing. And life magically brings us exactly what we need to practice, precisely at the right moment and not a second too early or too late (read Timing or Am I Qualified To Judge?). This practice generally comes in the form of “things going south” or “bad things” happening. Life challenges. Relationship issues. You get the idea.

When these things happen, most people get upset and stressed out right away. And since they haven’t been reading and practicing A Clean Mind or doing something else helpful (there’s lots of stuff out there), this condition snowballs. My work is all about recognizing this condition as early as possible and then dealing with it on the spot, before it snowballs. First release the feelings (including the feeling of stress, whatever that looks like in your body), and then question the thoughts. Are they true? (Probably not). Can you know for a fact that they’re true? (Absolutely not!). And it’s so much easier to nip it in the bud early than late.

So here’s a tool that works wonders for me: as soon as my peace is disturbed, I tell myself, “Welcome the assignment.” Bam! That snaps me into right-minded thinking immediately. In three words, I’m reminded that this situation that I don’t like, whatever it is, is gift-wrapped from spirit and right on time. Will I pass the test? I hope so, because if not then I can be sure I’ll have to take it again! When you pay attention, you see that this is exactly how the world works.

Is this anything new? Absolutely not. This is just another way of saying what we’ve been saying here from the beginning. Different things work for different people, though. And different things work for the same people at different times in their lives. This is because we’re all changing and growing. For some reason, “Welcome the assignment” really works for me, so I’m sharing it with you. If it helps even just one person, then I’m pretty psyched.

I got this particular phrase from an amazing book called Spirit Junkie by a cool, hip younger chick named Gabby Bernstein. I cannot recommend this book enough. And having read it, I’m pretty sure she would not be offended at being described as a “cool, hip younger chick.” And by the way, the word “chick” to me is nothing more than the female version of “dude.” There’s nothing negative at all that’s intended. Literally nothing. Zero. Zilch. So please don’t assume that I’m some male A-hole when I use that word. I love that word – that’s how I talk. And if you read Gabby’s book, you’ll see that’s how she talks as well! Very refreshing. I’ll write an entire post about this book sometime. In short, though, it’s all about how you become one with spirit. Not too shabby a topic… And it’s very specific, too.

So when life brings you lemons, tell yourself right away, “Welcome the assignment.” See if this helps you to not get sucked in. When you get sucked in, you’re asleep and you allow the whole thing to snowball. And this is optional! When you have a tool like this to use, you’re forced to wake up. And when you’re awake, you have a choice where there was none before. You have the choice to deal with a small snowball of not fun feelings and thoughts rather than waiting and dealing with a huge avalanche later. Either way, you still have to deal with it at some point…

And if becoming one with spirit and turning everything over to spirit sounds appealing, then go read Spirit Junkie by Gabby Bernstein. It’s pretty powerful. It’s also very simple – I like that a lot. It’s experiential, too. She has you doing the work right along with her. This is the direction that my work is going, too. I still have to masquerade as a counselor to pay the bills, though. And like all other life situations, I welcome that assignment…

Tool: Using Third Person

Posted Posted in Tools & Techniques

A nice and effective tool for keeping the big picture in mind and seeing the forest and not just the trees is using the third person. And who would you describe with the third person? Yourself! For instance, let’s say I find myself getting angry about something that happens, like the internet isn’t working properly while I try to write a blog post about not getting angry when the internet goes down. Remember that we all have certain things that tend to push our buttons more than others. Many people call these triggers.

If I’m sitting there trying to solve the internet problem without addressing the anger, it’ll just keep rising. Remember that a feeling like anger is much easier to deal with when there’s just a little bit of it. I’ve always written here that the first thing we want to do is stop everything else we’re doing so that we can release the feeling before continuing the task at hand. What I’m writing about now is just a little addition to that. You always want to stop, close your eyes, take a breath, and let go of the anger. If it helps, you can also tell yourself in the middle of that releasing process, “Ashley is angry that the internet is not working properly.” This might help snap you out of it, making the whole thing seem less personal. You were staring at a tree from a few inches away, and now you’re up in the sky looking at the whole forest. You had forgotten about the forest, and now you remember. Third person can be pretty powerful.

Of course we’re all different, so this will work for some and not for others. That’s why I write about as many tools and techniques as I can. Even just one good one can change your life and speed up your journey to peace. If this sounds like the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard of, then that’s fine – it’s not for you! If it’s a fit, though, it can be downright profound. It makes the whole situation less personal right away in just one sentence.

Another reason why this can be powerful is that the person you think you are, like “Ashley” in my case, is temporary. And the spiritual teachers say that the truth of who you are is anything but temporary. This means you’re not really that person after all – you’re spirit that seems to be in a body for some period of time, long or short. If all this is true, then saying or thinking “Ashley is angry” is more accurate than “I am angry.” We don’t talk like this because it sounds ridiculous, though. I’m not saying to talk like this all the time, but it might help to experiment with it internally when things are going south.

Remember that the whole point is for you to live at peace. Using third person to describe yourself might just help you do that. It’s a simple tool that works well with the releasing and letting go that we’ve talked about here at A Clean Mind. It takes no time. So give it a try when you’re not feeling so hot. It really puts things in perspective. And no, the internet did not go out while I was writing this blog post…

“All I Have To Do Now Is _____”

Posted Posted in Tools & Techniques

So many of us live in our heads for the vast majority of our lives. This can be pretty miserable and tormenting – just ask them. Or ask yourself. Or ask me! It’s very common, especially in our fast-paced, ADD society. If this helped us to be at peace, there would be no problem. It tends to keep us stuck in fear and stress, though. A great tool for helping you stay out of your head and in the present moment is to simply tell yourself, “All I have to do now is (insert what you are doing now).” It works. And it might make you laugh.

When you’re brushing your teeth, for instance, you don’t have to be in your head. You don’t have to be thinking about anything from the past or the future. If you’re thinking about something nice, that’s fine – go right ahead. But if you’re beating yourself up (even slightly) about the past or worrying (even slightly) about the future, just tell yourself, “All I have to do right now is brush my teeth.” Done. Watch out, though, because you might start laughing. And what a great laugh that is! Why watch out, though? Because you’re brushing your teeth and toothpaste spit might go all over the place.

That reminds me of a quick story about laughing while brushing your teeth, at least with an electric toothbrush. And this has nothing to do with A Clean Mind. Actually, I guess it does, in that laughter is awesome. So a bunch of my friends and I discovered the band Steely Dan during our freshman year of college. That was back in 1991 or 1992. To this day, we’re still cultish Michael McDonald fans. If you take a look around, you’ll actually find that many people are. Just watch one of the many Yacht Rock video shorts (warning – some of you will find these to be incredibly stupid – please don’t judge me if you do). You can also watch this 40-second clip from the excellent movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

So when my friend got married almost fifteen years after our initial Michael McDonald discovery, he surprised us with t-shirts that he made with the most awesome picture of McDonald’s face along with the words, Yah Mo B There. That was the title of the hit 1983 song by McDonald and James Ingram. Legendary producer Quincy Jones was involved as well. I’ll have to track down this t-shirt and post a pic of it on my Facebook page, because it is hilarious. Actually, maybe only a few of us think it’s funny… Anyway, I’m brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush while wearing this t-shirt. While brushing, my eyes randomly glance in the mirror and catch the pic of McDonald. And I start laughing. Hard. And toothpaste spit goes all over the mirror. What was the lesson, you might ask? Never, ever, ever brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush while wearing this t-shirt. Back to the story…

So try this out if you’re thinking too much when you don’t really have to be thinking. It works, and it can be pretty funny, too. It gives you a much needed break from living in your head. Other examples besides brushing your teeth include… whatever you’re doing now! You might tell yourself, “All I have to do now is drive to work, chop this onion, walk my dog, sit in church, read this book, fill the water bottle, wash my hands, go to the bathroom, watch this movie, do my homework, ride my bike, etc.” And as I write this, I’m telling myself, “All I have to do now is finish this blog post.” And then proofread it real quick… And then get to the beach! It’s 72 degrees in January. I live in Florida, but I’m in the top left part of the state. Winter is not normally like this. Enjoy!