Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

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All or Nothing

Why is it that we are so compelled to all-or-nothing mentality? I get that maybe there are times when we need to draw a hard-line and take a stance on something… but in general… through most of the decisions in life… I just don’t think the all or nothing approach is very helpful. In fact, I think that most of the time, it gets in the way.

This morning is a small, but no less valid, example. My family and I had a busy weekend. Of course, Monday morning rolls around with a bang. I wake up a little late… it’s 7:10am. I think to myself – this is not going to be a fun morning. I’m going to have to rouse my children out of bed and nag, yell, pester them continuously in order to get out the door in time for school. In hindsight, I’m thinking I could have easily woken the children and told them we were running a bit late. Instead of stressing out, I could have allowed them a little extra time, and we could have arrived at school shortly after the bell rang. Here’s where the all-or-nothing part comes in. Instead, I rolled over and went back to sleep. I guess on some level of consciousness, my mind said, “If we can’t be on time, why bother getting up?”

After arriving an hour late to drop the kids at school, and having to admit to the secretary that the reason we were late was that we “slept in”… I started thinking about this all-or-nothing attitude. It’s not the first time this type of thinking has not been helpful. Of course, the more common areas where all-or-nothing thinking gets us in trouble is food and exercise. “Well, if I’m going to have a bite of ice cream, I might as well have that whole carton!” “I don’t really feel like going to the gym… so I might as well sleep all day long!” Why is it that doing some portion… eating a few bites (which is probably all we really need to feel satisfied) or walking for 10 minutes, if that’s really what we’re feeling up to at the time… feels like failure and becomes not even worth it? When did that happen? And why does it persist?

Perhaps it gets at a very core belief that many of us have that we are not enough. That what we contribute, if it’s not the ultimate extreme, is not good enough. If we started accepting where we are… being content with what we are able to accomplish, contribute, “be” in any given moment… instead of beating ourselves up and judging ourselves for not being enough… what would happen? I think there’s a fear that we would backslide. That if we started easing up on the reigns, we would never move forward. After many, many years of pushing and shooting for the extreme… I’m starting to question whether this is true.

Take the scenario this morning with getting the kids to school. If I’d gotten up, allowed the kids to get ready in a normal, relaxed manner, and gotten them to school 10 minutes late… I probably would have beaten myself up and judged myself for being late. As it happened, I slept in, got them to school an hour late, and proceeded to beat myself up and judge myself for being late. Are you noticing a theme? What if, instead of beating myself up for being 10 minutes late, I congratulated myself for not being an hour late? Same situation, but viewed with a different lens. In one scenario, I’m feeling judged and unhappy… in the other, I’m feeling pretty good about myself. Again… same situation!

Now, I suppose you could argue that I could take the same tactic with the hour late scenario… at least I got them to school today instead of just skipping the whole day. Well… you’re right. In fact, if I allow myself that scenario… and accept that I’m doing the best I can… then I start feeling better about myself… which I can’t help but think influences the future decisions I make and how I function in the world. I guess the bottom line to me is that the all or nothing thinking tends to crop up from a place of judgment. If we can be nicer to ourselves, perhaps we can make decisions that lead us closer to how we want to be… who we want to be. And… if we can be nice to ourselves all along the way… how much happier we will be! And isn’t that what we’re all going for, after all? Don’t we all want to be happier?

Something to think about for the week!  Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel


What Do You Want, Exactly?

I’ve talked before about the hindrance of getting caught up in knowing what you don’t want and not taking it to the next step of what you do want. I read something recently that caught my attention… it said that noticing the things in your life that you don’t like… is a gift. It actually allows you to get clear on what you do want. I think most of us don’t appreciate or accept that gift… because, if you’re like me, you don’t usually move past identifying what you don’t want and clearly articulate what you do want. The emphasis being on clear articulation!

So, lets take a look-see! Have you clearly defined your ideal job, daily routine, spouse, family, friends, fun, health, vacations… yeah… me neither! There are a couple of things to point out about identifying what you want. First of all, you need to write them down. That’s the A#1 thing that everyone says about creating goals… there is just a whole other level of commitment and buy-in that takes place once the pen hits the paper… or the fingers hit the keys – if you prefer. And although this sounds paradoxical, I believe this is true of writing your wants as well. You need to write your wants in the present tense – as if they’ve already occurred. If you think about it, if you say that you want  more money – then you are focusing on wanting, not having. I have an abundance of money is a much better statement than I want an abundance of money.

The other things to include, and these are not talked about as much, are what’s motivating you and how you’re going to feel when you get what you want. Our unconscious mind is very much connected to emotion. When we want something, it is usually, if not always, the fact that we want that thing in order to feel a certain way. Money will make us happy, secure, important — money in and of itself is not the goal – the goal is how the money makes you feel and what you are able to do with the money. Focus on how you want to feel and why you want the goal in the first place. For example, I feel happy and secure, enjoying an abundance of money that flows to me in expected and unexpected ways. My needs are met and I am able to buy things that make my life enjoyable and easy. I easily care for the financial needs of myself and my family.

There… that wasn’t so hard. Oh wait – it might actually take more than just writing it down once and then being done with it. On the other hand, some things might actually be that easy. I guess there’s one way to find out! For some things, it is probably safe to say that writing your want down, even when you include your motivations and feelings, will not result in immediate manifestation. We have way too many years of believing it needs to be more difficult than that! Here’s a tactic that I read about recently. After you’ve gone through the various areas of you life and written down all of your wants in positive tense, including your motivations for wanting what you want and how you will feel when you have these wants… then record this script in your own voice and listen to it daily. Or read it aloud to yourself every day.

I’m going to work on my own this week… in between 4th of July celebrations and what-not. Let me know if you do the same, and what you notice, if anything, about the impact on your wants. Love and laughter… and happy 4th of July to you!!!  ~Rashel

Ebb and Flow…

“I easily adapt to the ebb and flow of my life.” ~Louise L Hay – Power Thoughts

This is a power thought I need to work on! I’m realizing I’m not so good at honoring the ebb and flow of my energy. My habit is to go, go, go until my mind and/or body collapses… and then… to rest only as long as absolutely necessary until I can jump back into the game. What I’m realizing lately is that this need for constant motion is entirely my own doing. I’m not a high-profile public figure – I don’t have hoards of people clamoring for my attention every day – no entourage of people waiting for me to give them the ok on things.  Nope… just a normal, busy working Mom who may be her own worst enemy when it comes to chaos!

If I take a long hard look at where I put my energy… much of it tends to go toward taking care of others rather than myself. I do get satisfaction from doing for others… but sometimes at my own expense. There is a part of me that knows the extent to which I do for others is related to my people pleaser self. I want others to like me… to see me as nice. Taking time for myself doesn’t make me look good to others… it makes me look selfish. In reality, I’m not sure that’s true… but it must be an underlying belief that I hold, cause I sure do act as if it’s truth! Often when I do take time for myself, I end up feeling guilty or trying to make up for it by working harder when I’m done. Why, why, why?

Now, I’m not trying to pass myself off as a martyr here. It’s not like I’m doing slave labor 24/7! First of all, no one is making me work so hard at ignoring my own needs. That’s 100% me. Secondly, I have amazing people in my life who love and support me. Many of the things that I do for “others” in the name of helping, could be better served by having them done themselves. For example, my kids could be doing a lot of the stuff that I “take on” in their name. In fact, they’d be better off for it. The problem is, this requires me to be consistent about making them do it. Nagging them to do chores makes me feel like the “bad guy.” While doing it for them makes me feel like a great Mom. In reality, I’m fishing for them instead of teaching them how to fish. Why, why, why?

There are always a million things on the to-do list. And somehow, no matter how many things I get through in a day, the list is always just as full tomorrow. I really want to learn to honor the ebb and flow of my energy. And if my body tells me it needs a “time out,” I want to just take one – and not feel guilty about it. Just honor the fact that sometimes I run at 150%… and other times I need to crank it down to 50% and be ok with that.

What about you? Are you regularly stopping to fill up your tank… or do you run on fumes most of the time? What happens when you hit the lulls of energy and your body needs a break? Do you allow it… or push through it?  Curious how others cope through the demands of the day!

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel


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