Archive for the ‘Sharing My Thoughts’ Category

Your Strongest Ally – Your Attitude

You may have heard that your attitude is everything. It can make or break you. It can lift you up or knock you down. It determines how you live your life. The thing is that your attitude is your choice. You can choose what it will be. Will it be good or bad? Will it be optimistic or pessimistic? Will it be positive or negative?

Here are a few attitudes that I’ve been examining in my own life lately.

What others do, say or how they treat you should be of no concern to you. Your reaction to their behavior, their choice of words to describe you to others, their seemingly never-ending attacks on you – open or covert, and a myriad of other steps people like this take to try to take you down can all be stopped when you stop giving what they are doing energy! It’s that simple. Continue to react, get upset or stew about their actions and you dampen the one thing that can move you forward in life and that is your attitude. When you choose the path of no reaction, you are cutting off the head of the snake.

I’d like to thank my attitude for being strong against the viper stings and venomous attacks that have occurred recently in my life. Through diligent practice I am learning to ignore those who feel inclined toward vindictiveness.

How do you do this?

Know that what others think of you, are really just thoughts they have of themselves that they are not willing to accept and look inward to investigate the why’s of. They are not in a state of self-awareness. For instance, a person recently under-handedly called me phony and then within days they wrote about something in their life in a way that was extremely exaggerated. I knew what their reality was and shook my head when I saw this grandiose statement that made them seem like they had more than they actually do.

You are the only one in your life that knows the truth about you. Don’t feel you have to share every detail of your life with people even if they ask. This has been a huge lesson for me as, up until recently, I used to struggle with feeling like I needed to explain myself, to share personal details of my life with even my nearest and dearest. I’ve finally learned I don’t have to and if I don’t want my business to be other people’s business guess who has to keep shut her mouth. It’s hard at first as you have to ignore people’s questions or simply change the subject or say, ‘hey you know that’s not something I’m willing to talk about’. That is where setting boundaries come in.

I’ve been working on setting boundaries after being stung once again by people who have their own agendas for getting information from me.  I sat idly by one day as a person I had shared some sensitive information with repeated in a loud voice to other people, said information. I could not believe my ears. I said nothing and have said nothing to that person but have cut them completely out of my life. It took me a while but I had to come to realize as hard a pill as it was to swallow that the person had a personal agenda and I was just a pawn in their game of life.

Another person very dear to me sent me something as a present but there were strings attached. This person wanted to recruit me to their way of thinking. In the past, I had always just ignored or made comments to them that I figured they wanted to hear but this time I wrote a note to that person to thank them for the present however I did need them to respect my views as I respected theirs and not to send me more of this material. For the first time in my life I set a boundary with this person. I’ve not heard back from them.

I am going to say that gossip or having to know what’s going on is the worst attitude on this planet. A woman I know asked me one day if I knew what was going on down the street – there had been police and an ambulance at a neighbor’s house. I didn’t know nor had I even noticed in fact. She wants to be in the loop so badly that two days later she could not wait to tell me what she had discovered. The information she shared with me had no bearing on her life or mine at all and was simply gossip about another person’s lot in life. I walked out of that visit knowing that gossip is conversation for the idle. What happened in that person’s life was of no consequence to the story teller’s life other than to fill in the silent gaps that are present because there is no outside interest, desire to learn new things or take stock of their own lives and fix what needs to be fixed within.

My attitude has taken a major shift this past month or two. I’ve made some very profound choices and shifted my reactions to external events. It hasn’t been that long at all but I do now see that it is a process that I’ve been working on for quite a long time. It’s just all gelled and has become very clear to me what I need to do to keep my attitude at a level that enhances my life.

I’ve set boundaries and ceased the mindless gossip. I understand that people have personal agendas and know that I can keep my personal thoughts and information close to my vest without feeling like I’m hiding something. Finally, what others think of me are just thoughts about themselves they aren’t yet ready to face. My reaction and the attitude I hold, is first and foremost my strongest ally in this journey called life.

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Interview with Sarah Brokaw

This is a confessional interview with Sarah Brokaw about her new book, Fortytude. On this clip she talks about why she wouldn’t and didn’t attend her high school reunion and why that act showed she lacked Fortytude. Sarah’s new book is titled, Fortytude and since that missed reunion she has found her fortitude, grace and connectedness. 

She first joined my co-hosts, Donna M. Butler, Haley Patterson and myself, Siobhan Shaw on The Attitude Shift Show for a great conversation with guest host, Patricia Allen-Jenkins.

You Can End the Suffering & Experience Great Joy

“This seriously isn’t happening?”… are words I couldn’t even spit out of my pursed lips, as I discovered that my co-host of The Attitude Shift, Donna M. was stuck on the runway in Chicago minutes before the show began Wednesday evening. If you could have seen my face I was visibly relieved when she Skyped to say let her into the show. The plane had been sitting on the tarmac for 45 minutes and possibly they were going to open the doors and send the passengers off until the storm passed. Whew. Bullet dodged.

As we were talking, the flight attendant came by and told her to shut her phone off as they preparing for take-off.

My throat closed up. My hands went clammy. My head felt faint. What if I just hung the phone up? Would people believe I lost the connection? 

Oh, but wait, Donna said that Haley was calling in any minute to do the show with me so okay I can do this. Sure, we may have the guest with what is most likely the biggest Facebook following ever in the history of the show on, but Haley and I can handle this. We did before. I’ve even hosted the show on my own once before, a long time ago.  I’ve got notes and stuff happens. We’ll get through it.

This was what my thoughts flashing through my mind were like. The manic thoughts came on strong as I started the show. I didn’t see anyone on the switchboard calling in, not a soul

No Haley.

No guest.

No one.

The lump in my thought now got bigger. My thought? Now if that isn’t a Freudian slip, then there never was one. I meant to type throat. (you’ll see why later that this is significant)

Despite the inflammation in my throat and I can see today, my thoughts, I kept talking. I truly have no idea what I said. I was thinking ahead. What was I going to do if no one came on? The panic was setting in.

Then all of a sudden I looked down at the computer screen and there was Donna’s number showing up.. I frantically clicked the button…”Donna!….Donna!” ….silence…..keep talking Siobhan, I heard a voice deep inside say…

“Oh there’s our guest, Byron Katie… okay still breathing… helloooooo.. whew there’s Katie as everyone calls her and oh Donna, thank goodness.. her flight has been delayed, they’re letting her off the plane…okay the show will go on.”

It certainly didn’t go off like that. Yes, Katie was on the show, yes Donna was on the show and then Donna was gone. The plane took off. She said hello and she loves Katie and a few words…then nothingness.

There was still no Haley. I felt there was deafening silence but I’ve since listened to the show and I kept talking. Katie talked, I talked. Katie talked. I talked.

As we talked, I began to feel a heat deep within myself. It was a feeling I do not believe I have ever felt in my lifetime. It was like someone had wrapped my heart in a warm blanket. I began to breathe. I began to calm down, I began to listen to Katie, I began to hear Katie. I began to hear myself. Really hear myself. We shared with each other, with the callers, with the audience.

My great friend Kim, has since written to say she felt I was doing the Work of Byron Katie as we did the show. I agree. I was working it all out in my mind.

I met a good friend, Kia the day after the show and Kia had actually called in, as she is a huge fan of Katie’s and the moment I saw Kia, I said… I know what it was like now for the disciples to have met Jesus. I’m not saying Byron Katie is the second coming of Christ as that’s not my business, that’s God’s business, however I met on that show, a woman who has the tools for each of us to end our suffering, for the world to end war and for all of us to experience great joy. Sound familiar? I’m not here to run a commentary on religion, Jesus or God. That’s not my business. I am here to share with you what I experienced and maybe, just maybe you will experience as well, something so profound, so life changing that you too walk around with a silly grin on your face at the local grocery store feeling like you have a surprise for everyone in the world.

Byron Katie, was unknown to me a month or so ago. I had determined recently that I must follow my intuition. My intuition brought me to Katie’s website and without out a thought, I pushed the send button as friend of the show and mentor. Paul Martinelli had once told us to do, and invited her on the show.

As she said on the show, “when you filled out a request asking me to be on this show I just couldn’t jump at it quickly enough, I love what you are doing. I couldn’t say yes quickly enough. My motives are your motives.”

WOW! Little did I know that Katie’s message would radically shift my world.

She is not a talking head, telling me to wish my way to success and happiness. She has ground breaking tools to shift our attitudes.

They work. They are part of what she refers to as The Work.

The Work is free for everyone around this world and I encourage you to go do the work. At first I was resistant. I was angry. I closed her book and walked away from it. I came back the next day and started writing…I wrote, my penmanship got bigger, messier, harder to read…I was angry about the situation I had chosen to write about. I was doing her Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet.

The process of inquiry as she puts it, is:

Judge your neighbor,

Write it down,

Ask 4 questions,

Turnaround 

(This is free at http://www.thework.com)

I’ll use the situation with the show to provide an example of how this tool ends your suffering and pain.

1.   Judge Your Neighbor.

My neighbor in the case of the show would be Donna. My thoughts about her not being on the show would have gone something like this.

How could she do this to me?

What was she thinking booking a flight home on show day?

She doesn’t care about the show.

She doesn’t care about me.

I’m so upset with her.

I’m angry she didn’t do the show.

There shouldn’t have been a storm in Chicago.

2.   Write it Down.

Okay, you get the concept of the exercise. You actually judge your neighbor. You write down your thoughts as they flow and boy do they flow. Writing them down is important and you can find out why on Byron Katie’s website.

3.   Ask 4 Questions.

I’ll ask the first 2 questions for just one of the statements I wrote down for space and time constraints but you answer the 4 questions for each statement you wrote.

I’m angry she didn’t do the show.

Question 1: Is that true?  (yes or no answer)

Yes

 (yes, I was upset and angry)

Question 2: Can I know it is absolutely true?  (yes or no answer)

No

(No, I can’t know that she absolutely didn’t do the show because she planned it that way or wanted to see me fall on my face or…any number of reasons I can come up with)

I hoping you see the process here. It may not be as clear as mud here but it’s clear as stink at  thework.com  and there are even facilitators, you can call for free and work through this process with. I encourage you to do it.

There are 2 more questions that are part of this inquiry. However, although I have done them, I want to go straight to turnaround again for space and time constraints.

The turnaround has me look at myself. Turn the statement, I’m angry she didn’t do the show to I’m angry I didn’t do the show.

Aha!

I’m angry I didn’t, I can’t do the show. I have no confidence to do the show on my own. I’m no good at hosting a show.

You see where this is going. My thoughts of anger were actually thoughts of anger towards myself. I was afraid to host the show on my own because my confidence to do that is, was, the size of an ant.

This realization is very freeing. It isn’t Donna who made me feel the way I was feeling. It was myself.

The anger I felt for her not being able to do the show was simply a reflection of the anger I have about my ability to not do the show. I’ve used Donna as a crutch. As long as she’s on the show I don’t have to step up. I don’t have to face my fear of hosting a show. I don’t have to do much on air, I can stay safe doing the producing work behind the scenes. I can do what I am confident I can do. Book the guests, do the research, make friends.  I don’t have to step up and talk. I don’t have to show the world my fear, my nervousness.

The situation was what it was. My negative, fearful thoughts stood in my way of pure enjoyment of talking with a wonderful woman. I see that now. I know that now. The concept of questioning my thoughts has shifted things for me dramatically. Question the negative thoughts that crop up. Write them down, turn them around and you will find freedom.

I’ve got a lot of thoughts to write down and I will. I am confident that my life has just turned a corner and what’s around that corner is my version of heaven.

I love you Donna for who you are and for not being on the show last Wednesday. Thank you for being my catalyst to this revelation. I’m excited for the next show and the next one and the one after that. It is an amazing, joyful ride.

CLICK TO HEAR THE SHOW

Why Pick A Penny Up?

The other day I was sitting having a latte in a local coffee shop and watched as a woman in line at the counter dropped some loose change on the floor.

What she did next blew my mind.

She looked down at it, grabbed her order, and walked away. She walked over it and kept on moving as if nothing had happened. Now it’s only conjecture on my part but I’m guessing when she looked down at it, she was deciding whether it was worth it to bend down to pick it up. I could imagine the, ‘should I or shouldn’t I’, argument that briefly flitted through her mind something close to the decision she’d just made about her coffee drink, ‘do I want whip on that?’

For those of you that follow the Law of Attraction you know that walking past any amount of money is seriously undermining your ability to keep it flowing into your life. By just walking away, she put the vibration out into the universe that money matters little to her. Sure toss it, I don’t need it. I beg to differ. Money at the best of times can be hard to come by and it doesn’t just land in your lap. You earn it. You count it. You save it. You spend it on things you want and need. It’s important in your life.

A long time ago someone suggested to me that I should always pick up loose change even pennies whether they were on the floor in my home, buried in the seat cushions or I happened upon them on the sidewalk. At first I thought well pennies especially aren’t worth anything. In fact I’ve seen people actually toss them in the trash. Sure we give away loose change. We leave a penny; take a penny. We toss pennies into fountains. Drop them into charity boxes. Some may even throw a few coins in a homeless person’s hat or a street musicians guitar case. We may even top up the meter for the next car and driver that takes our parking space. Yet that isn’t discarding money. There are reasons why we do that. People we’re helping or simply a kind gesture. That’s all good and fine. I encourage it.

The other side of the coin is those who have little respect for money. Like Miss Lazy Latte, who simply walked past her moolah because she couldn’t be bothered to lean over and pick it up or ask someone to.

Heads up everyone, money does make the world go round. As long as there have been humans on this earth, there has been some measure of currency. Beads, coins, paper money and one day even toilet paper may reign supreme and be the currency of the day. The reality being is that money gets us stuff. So when we have total disregard for money, and it’s value aren’t we saying hey, I don’t need any? It’s like garbage and get it out of my sight and keep it out.

I started shifting my awareness to finding money and now I have a game I play almost everyday. I will say to myself today I’ll find money on the street, in the parking lot, in the grocery store aisle or a number of other obvious places spare change may be discovered. Most everyday, I find at least a penny. I’ve found nickels, dimes and quarters, even the odd bill. Gone are the days when I would say, I’m so broke I can’t rub to nickels together because I usually find two if I’m aware enough of my surroundings to pay attention to what it is I’m walking over, past or through. I’m putting out vibes to say, hey I respect money and it comes to me. Now I haven’t mastered finding bags of cash hanging about but I believe that’s just a matter of time!  Tails… I win.

I now understand why my Mum would always chant when she came across small change, ‘pick a penny up and all day you‘ll have good luck.’ Respect all money and you will want for none.

Tonight, my co-hosts, Donna M, Butler and Haley Patterson on our wildly shifting and totally popular show, The Attitude Shift, will be talking to Mary Pitman, author of The Little Book of Missing Money. Finding money started out as game for her as well, or perhaps more a pastime, and turned into this amazing guide with links, tips and tricks for everyone to discover unclaimed money in their names that the government holds. It is true and Donna’s husband, Ivy, found money he has claimed. Mary is on the up and up and wrote the book so that people can find their own money without having to pay fees to get at what is rightfully theirs.

Tune in either live with us or check out the archive anytime at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-broke-wives-club/2011/04/14/the-attitude-shift

Be sure to join our Facebook page as well to stay in the shift. You never know what you’re missing until it’s gone.  http://www.facebook.com/theattitudeshift

Stand Your Ground

“Oh man that was tough, but I did it”. This past week, I said something to that effect, as I reached the top of what seemed like a never-ending hill in Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas. 

It is my favorite hiking trail I’ve challenged myself to so far. It’s not a walk in the park. You need to be sure-footed, and definitely paying attention to where you step. Look up to daydream, and a twisted ankle may be the image you find yourself staring at as the rescuers pull you out of this canyon.

As I practice the art of self-awareness, it seems more and more stuff crops up, that throw me off my path. Now I’m tuned into what is going on in my mind, in my heart, in my gut, it seems issues or let’s call them considerations show up more often. I am attempting to no longer go blindly through life. Don’t get me wrong, there are many days I find myself hiding behind those figurative dark glasses, afraid to peek out for fear of being seen for who I am and what I think and feel. It’s a process, this practice of self awareness, and I highly encourage it. Courage is the tool you need to pack with you for as sure as you seek self awareness, you will discover many things about you that set you downhill into a crevice of self pity, self doubt and self loathing. You must have the courage to see these things clearly and at times the truth cuts deep. Yet, it is only with an open wound that one can witness the healing process.

I’ll call these things that crop up, trip over, run into, considerations because they make you consider their impact on your life. They make you consider new avenues to turn down. They make you consider if what it is you are thinking and doing right now is a result of following your gut or following the crowd? Is it ego driven or passion driven? Does it help you or hinder you? Is it a result of past issues from your family of origin? This list is probably endless.

It was on this hike that I found myself face to face with some considerations. The catalyst, was a woman. I was on the path heading up a somewhat steep grade. Billy-goating as I like to refer to it as. Yet, this is where I lost my footing. I ran smack dab into her steadfastness, which meant there was not a chance on this green earth she would give way for me so I could pass.

That’s right, she was in my way, on my side of the path. There’s etiquette when hiking and like driving on the right hand side of the road, you walk on the right-hand side of the path and when someone is coming up hill you move over to let them keep moving.

Well for whatever reason, bad day or bad manners or simply unaware, she stood her ground. I was almost right in her face expecting she’d move over when she said, “excuse me” in a you’re in my way tone, and in an instant I shifted over and gave way.

I actually recorded my emotions as I reached the top of the hill and headed for the car to lick my bruised feelings.  I got upset with myself as I realized I give way often. Some of you may know what I’m talking about. Some may not. Take for example, you’re walking on a busy sidewalk or in a crowded mall and people just don’t budge and it’s you that has to move over or go around them. My question is why do we do that?

It’s been a few days since this incident so I’ve had time to mull it around. The conclusion I’ve come to is that first, I must be grateful for people like her because if she had not blocked my path I wouldn’t have taken one iota of time to look at myself, try and understand what was going on in me. Why did a small thing like bad hiking etiquette upset me so much? I know that by facing this and trying to figure it out I”ll be in a better position mentally and spiritually for having thought about it and understanding why it happened, and how I would handle it next time or what I would do to create within me a way of being where someone would move out of my way.

Back to why we give way? Is it sheer politeness? How our parents were or how we were taught? Are we mimicking what other people around us do? Or is it a deeper reason, one that goes way back to our youth? Is it that we need so badly for people to like us? Do we give ourselves to their control simply because we want to be liked or to be lead? Are we looking for that way of being where we don’t have to make decisions, and that we don’t have to get into fights, or disagreements so we give away our power. Or maybe we’re sabotaging ourselves for fear of failure, being seen as inconsequential, as missing a few brain cells because if we stood up and said “hey, no, you move over buddy”, then we’d have to walk into unfamiliar territory. Territory that means we have to own the consequences, which may in some cases mean harsh words thrown our way or a strong left hook.

There’s probably a book beginning here so I’ll end it with, what do you think? Why do we give way? I have a feeling it’s different for each of us.

One last thought – take up the practice of self-awareness and begin to get out of your own way! It eventually makes for a more pleasant walk through life as you work on and then leave issues that crop up, in your dust.

 

Don’t Hate the Game

“The folks who hate you, they don’t know you.”, Barack Obama said this Super Bowl Sunday 2011. I was just watching part of the interview Fox TV’s, Bill O’Reilly had with US President Obama. A question Bill O’Reilly asked, got me to thinking. O’Reilly asked the President if it bothered him that people really hated him. Obama’s response was no. I”m paraphrasing here but he said  something to the effect that, not only did a person have to have a thick skin to make it to a position like the US presidency but Obama matter of factly said that people who hate him, don’t know him. ( This is  a link to an article about this )

Isn’t that the truth. You don’t ever hate people you actually know personally. Oh, I’m sure you can strongly dislike someone but hate is such a decisive feeling. It’s very black and white, up and down, in and out. Hate is a very strong emotion and in my opinion based in your own fear of the unknown. Merriam-Webster dictionary agrees. The definition of hate, ‘intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.’

A trait someone exhibits, like spitting on the sidewalk or picking fluff out of their belly button in public, may annoy you, but that’s not hate. You may find that your political or religious views are far different but that’s not hate. You may love the Packers and think you hate a Steelers fan, but that’s not hate. Someone’s skin color may be a shade or ten away from yours but that’s not hate. That’s life.

Hate is within your control. You cannot hate what you do not hate. Did your head just spin-off your neck with that one? Good. An attitude adjustment is in the works. Next time you find yourself saying you hate someone, take moment and consider where that feeling is coming from. What don’t I know? A great question to ask yourself? Why am I afraid of that person? Another great question to ask. It may just be that you don’t understand them or have all the knowledge you need. Perhaps you’ve not sat down and shared a beer and gotten to know the person you say you hate. I’d say there is at least one thing you have in common that will help you understand that hate is too strong a word and that a simple conversation may just close the divide between people, politics, races, and religions.

I’m not able to ask them, but maybe Bill and Barack after having spent some time together today, actually found something out about each other that they like. It may not be a love affair when it comes to their politics but maybe Bill liked Barack’s sense of humor and disarming ways, and Barack respected Bill’s accomplishment as a TV host and found him intelligent. A little less hate may have a huge impact on our world and that would be something to cheer for.

Don’t hate the game.

Bunt Out

“Hang-up on that nasty woman”. Yes, sadly that comment was about me. It came flying out of left field. It was as if the left-fielder threw a curve ball as I was just walking up to the plate. Whoa, where did that come from? After shaking that hit off , I took a moment to think about what had just happened.

There are times no matter how diplomatic you feel you are being, the person on the receiving end doesn’t see it that way. I’ve written about this type of thing in previous blogs. It’s like we’re talking two different languages. As always, I see things like this as part of my life learning curve. What’s very interesting is that the more aware I become the more lessons I learn. Without blinders on, I see things on the field of life, much more clearly today than I did just a year ago even. It’s a supremely cool place. Imagine that. Being able to see life under a new light. Pretty amazing. I had no idea that I could. I had no idea I wasn’t previously aware.

I’m learning the universe seems to give you things designed to teach so that you gain wisdom, knowledge and in this case grace under pressure (and material for my blog), among a multitude of other skills. I may ever be the President of the World, like former US President, Bill Clinton, is currently being described as, by Chris Matthews on MSNBC for his peace-making skills, but I do know that there is no reason to take it on the chin when someone calls you nasty or let it take the spin out of your life. We have differences but so be it. That is life.

If we were all automatons how fun would that be? Learning about the differences between people is all part of becoming more aware of your thoughts, the sometimes useless or uncalled for comments that leave your lips and how you react to other people and what they say or do. To fly off the handle and call someone a name means you have lost control and the ironic thing is that control of your life and others is what you so desire to have, but you may not actually know it. I look back at times when I pitched barbs at others and my aim was pretty much on target so I have been known to do some emotional damage yet what I am seeing now is that the damage was more to me than my intended target.

To add an entertaining angle, I looked up the meaning of nasty as I was wondering just what did she mean. I doubt she meant I was filthy and foul-smelling because last time I looked phone conversations don’t allow for dial-a-smell. Another meaning goes to being obscene and I know I didn’t need a censor for my mouth during this conversation. Another option would be insultingly mean and spiteful. No, if I was she would have just been a wet spot on her carpet rolled into a fetal position, so no it wasn’t that. She must have meant difficult to deal with as what I said was that what she was speaking to me about was in fact none of her business. Well, it wasn’t. I had just spent 45 minutes in a negotiation and the party involved and I had come to an agreeable decision and were moving on. I wasn’t prepared to do a doubleheader.

She had no part of the dealings and to keep the baseball analogies going, was sitting in the bleachers and needed to ‘bunt’ out, so when she began on her tirade I was not going to discuss with her something that was clearly not her concern. It’s like the baseball coach running up to the fans and asking them what the next play is. Not going to happen. I know I said it in a manner that did not include cursing or other fiery wording. I simply said, that the issue had been dealt with and it is not something you and I need to speak about.  I was setting a boundary. Hell broke loose. People really have to take a pill and relax before flying off the handle or wielding a bat. Take a breath, really hear what the person just said and  if it isn’t any of your concern back off and quickly. Bow out of the conversation with grace.

Why do we have to add our two cents? Why do we have to step up to bat when no one has called you up to the plate? I’ll leave you to consider these questions for yourself. Me? I’m off to catch more awareness so I can play the game of life…my life, no one else’s.