Pair #66 Wake Up Neo
You know those moments when you 'space out' for a bit?  It just lasts a few seconds.  Imagine if that were your whole life!  I  have this horrible thought that I might wake up one day  and realize I didn't have I life, just  a lot of Coach bags. A life who's motto would be "I came, I slept, I shopped."

One of the reasons many people come to me for coaching is simply the horrifying idea that they might wake up one day, like Sam Walton (Founder of Walmart) and share his last words... "I blew it."

The way I chose to deal with this whole idea was to decide that my life would be about coming awake and sharing that possibility with others.

One of the books that really fed my longing for more awareness and conscious action in my own life is Anthony de Mello's "Awareness." Please put this book on your 'read before I die' list.  De Mello was a Jesuit priest, a delightful, spiritual - and very frank - man who cared about all of us knowing that it was possible to live life awake.   He begins the book, which is a transcript of his lectures "Wake Up To Life" at Fordham University by saying we "are born asleep, we marry in our sleep and we die asleep."  Not a new idea. One that many other teachers would agree with, from Don Miguel Ruiz to Jesus.  The really horrifying this about this idea for me is that we can be asleep, but not even know it.  Like in the film, The Matrix.

Watched The Matrix lately?  It's interesting that first line.

Wake up, Neo...

Awareness for me is a commitment.  I wanted to live 'awake' (I use that carefully, since it doesn't help me to think of an aware state as 'good' and other states as 'bad')  so I could get off the merry-go-round of old mistakes! 

It's been a tough road, an amazing road, a neverending road and the most fruitful decision I have ever made.  I talk more about it on the show which you can listen to

My radio show on Awareness from December 23rd
It includes Anthony de Mello's 4 ways of taking action to come into greater awareness that you can try out for yourself.

So, to finish, here is the man himself...

Pair #65 I'm not digging the stress, man...
What is your preferred stress relief: alcohol? medication? exercise? therapy? or all of the above.  I bet we have all pretty much tried them all.  Maybe not simultaneously - or at least not as far as I remember.

Ultimately we do them all, alone or in combination, but interestingly they don't actually work.  I'm coming to believe that is because stress doesn't actually exist.  It's not a thing.  Stress can't be thrust upon you and no one can give it to you.   Even what other people do can't make you stressed.

That is not to say that if you take a drug meant to reduce anxiety, it doesn't work.  It does.  I've seen it.  Drugs that remove anxiety work well and help you feel like everything is fine.  That doesn't make everything fine.  It just makes you less aware.  That could be good.  And that might not be so good in some cases.

To feel stress or anxiety,  you need to be narrating the events you are seeing (I suggest you test this out and see if it's true - it is for me). You have to be telling yourself something.  And generally it sounds like this:

This should not be happening to me.  (But it is)
They need to stop this right now. (But they don't)
I used to be able to do these things. (But right now I can't)
I should definitely have this handled by now. (Why don't I?)

One example of this is someone said to me the other day "I can't stand this  anymore."  But the reality was that in fact, there they were, standing in front of me 'standing it'.  They weren't happy about it, and it wasn't fun, there was a lot of physical discomfort,  but in reality, they were standing it perfectly.

I am not saying pain doesn't exist.  It does.  I'm just saying we have trained ourselves to narrate our own lives and maybe we'll never stop,  but we can stop ignoring the fact we are doing it.  

Now, I just want to confess, if I'm in terrible pain, I might very well take a pill. I might need enough relief to think more clearly.  I do what I can do and I'm not a doctor, healer, nor a spiritual practitioner who does prayer treatments.  It's just very nice to know that whatever happens, it's possible to manage my own stressful thinking without a cocktail.

If I so chose.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.
Pair #64 Everybody Wants to Rule The World
Standing outside and looking in on the lives of our friends and family makes it so very easy to see what is wrong with them!  We can see exactly where they are 'messing up', we can see what they need to fix, and we have the answers for what they should do next...

or do we?

Recently I got very convinced I had someone else's answers.  It was a sobering moment.

I had to ask myself, how can I know for certain this person should exercise, lose weight, rest, relax, meditate, read or do anything else?  How can I possibly know that?

It all seemed so reasonable.  I was convinced I was right.  Dare I say, righteously so.

Then I stepped back to realize that my good advice has no basis whatsoever - no matter how sensible it sounds.

I had to admit that what I was really saying was "I know better than you.  You should relinquish your free will and use mine."  That's ludicrous.  No, it's more than that, it's actually damaging to the other person.

Even if they manage to diet, relax, lose weight or whatever - what have I actually taught them?  I've only demonstrated that they can't trust their own good sense and that their opinion doesn't count for much (not to mention that my opinion of them is low - since I don't consider them capable of making their own decision but rather only capable of following mine).  I've also encouraged them to relinquish the one thing worth having: their own power of choice and the ability to experience the consequences of their own actions.  Without that, how can you know you are the actually the only one responsible for how your life turns out?  (After all, this is where the good news begins!)

How could what I know about your life ever be complete enough to be the basis for sound advice?  How do I know that your imminent heart attack won't be the final straw that reunites you with your estranged children?  Or finally helps you draw the line in the sand under a life of substance abuse?  How do I know what is best for you ever?

I simply can't know. That is the plain, ego-deflating truth. 

And so my so-called good advice may well be something you can do without.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.