Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy New Year! It's Time to Drop Our Stories . . .


Happy 2015!

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about the made-up STORIES we create in our minds about what other people think? (cuz, you all know we can't crawl up inside people's heads or read their minds) . . . and that we can choose NOT to believe or even listen to the stories?


And also, that we don't have to listen to our gross, yucky, mean inner critical (s)ELF?--we can tell him or her to shut the front door and take a hike (or, in a more loving fashion, we could send your (s)ELF on an all-expenses paid vacation to Bermuda!) 

What if . . . (mind boggling thought coming on . . . disregard in advance if too scary. . .) the stuff we make up about what EVERYBODY thinks about us is actually the same stuff that we FEAR everybody thinks about us---and the same stuff that our mean inner (s)ELF beats us over the head about? (so, it's all actually, really about what we fear and how we feel about ourselves . . . sorry! I know cuz I've been there, believe me!)

So, for example, other people are like YOUR personal big huge movie screen--and YOU project the scary stuff YOU feel about YOURself on their screens and view it, and go, 

"OMG! THEY (note you are not focusing on yourself here) are sOsOsoSo mean (or rude, or ______ fill in the blank), I can't believe they (note you are not focusing on yourself here) would think that about me!"

Hmnnn. . . and Yike-eys! What if it's always about you? and the meaning you put onto the people and things that happen to you in your life? You don't have to listen to them, after all . . .


CrAP, dAnA--SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY! . . . 

And that's the point. . . 
Go(o)D News and bAd nEws: You are in charge of you! You get to cReAtE yOuR liFe! Problem is, it's easier to blame others for what is going on, how we are feeling, and the general circumstances of our existence.

QUESTion: Would you rather be the hero(ine) of your own journey (in charge)? or, the victim (everybody does stuff TO you? ...so sad...)

Personally, I want to be the super sparkly heroine with the short yellow orange peel cape, the pink high-tops, and the yellow-dangly, multi-flowered tiara!
As I am changing over into the New Year, I have been thinking about the one best gifts I can give myself. What came up for me was this: giving up my stories.

People by nature are storytellers--and one of the things we love most, is to listen to a good story. We all remember the stories of our childhood--whether they are fairytales, family legends passed down from our grandparents, our favorite myths and legends, or classic tales of good and evil. Stories help us make sense of our complicated lives, our relationships, and of both our good and challenging experiences.

The thing is, when we are told stories, we pretty much know that they aren't true; they are fictional. But sometimes, a really amazing storyteller can engage us so fully, that we forget we're hearing a story because it seems so dang real. I mean, who doesn't love a good story?

Anyway, enter me, Dana: master storyteller

I have been telling myself stories my entire life--some good and empowering (especially when I was little and I thought I could rule the freakin' world!---you know, SUPER CAPITAL D-DANA), but many have also been critical, contemptuous, and disempowering  (especially when I live from the outside in and believe what others say and think about me . . . and when I give a lot of power to the media--all outside stuff). The latter stories have kept me small and fearful--you know, small, lower-case d-dana.

When I look back on my life, I can chronicle the stages of stories I told myself; I won't bore you with the particulars, but let's just say that I have been telling my stories over and over (to myself and others) until they have become true--even if they started out as fiction. 

I have realized just in the past few years that my stories are, well, mine (OMG!)--and mostly FICTION. I mean, I am the one to assign meaning to the events and relationships in my life, and I get to choose the stories that operate and work for me. Which also means (thank GOD) that I get to drop the stories that don't work anymore.

And guess what? Some of my stories are getting so damn boring and old. I just can't listen to them anymore, and I can only imagine how sick and tired my friends are of the stories that keep me pissing & moaning in a completely pathetic victim role. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH (kind of like the teacher in Charlie Brown, right?). These stories have kept me in fear, and have prevented me from stepping outside my comfort zone into brave, passionate, and energetic ME. 

I mean, SHUT UP ALREADY! It's time to drop my stories. 

Here are some of the stories I've "heard" throughout my life (TOP SECRET: MOST OF THEM ARE MY OWN, LOL!):
  • my family was dysfunctional 
  • there's not enough money for that
  • the government controls everything
  • nobody likes me
  • I'm not smart enough
  • guys always treat me like crap
  • I didn't go to the right school
  • I'm not skinny enough
  • my parents never understood me
  • where's my stuff?
  • I don't have a partner
  • I was never pretty/handsome enough
  • I shouldn't have to work so hard
  • I don't have enough experience
  • there's no quality single people out there
  • my parents are embarrassing
  • I was supposed to be taken care of
  • I'm a single parent
  • I grew up in a small town
  • I don't have the right connections
  • someone is better than no one
  • I'm not one of the lucky ones
  • I'm screwed no matter what
Now, I could take any one of these statements and weave an intricate and detailed story around it--filling in all the characters, the setting, the conflict, and the plot (btw, these stories have a circular plot--as in, they always start over and end at the beginning again!). In general, I will say that the specifics don't matter, but the general storyline is what keeps coming back into our lives. 

AND GUESS WHAT?

We choose it cuz' we keep retelling it, and the more we keep the story alive, the more we draw back into our lives the same old story! Get it? We create our reality based on our story . . . which is  precisely  why  we need  to
            D
               R
                    O
                         P
the fear-based stories that no longer move us toward our biggest, juiciest, most-powerful selves!

I can tell I'm close to ready to drop a story when I start to get sick of hearing it myself, or when one of my closest friends asks, "When are you going to be done with THAT story?" In which case I might keep retelling it anyway, knowing the sails are ready to drop soon . . .

What are some of the stories that you are ready to drop? I challenge you to list 5 stories you are bored of hearing yourself tell (if you can't think of any, ask your closest chums . . . they'll have a list in no time!). I can't think of a better time than New Year's Eve to DROP our stories. When you think of your own life, what stories have you told yourself that have kept you in a place of paralysis, apathy, resentment, or fear? 

I'm not saying the stories are bad and/or wrong in any way . . . as a matter of fact, I thank many of my stories for sustaining me and keeping me safe when I didn't know when to turn or I didn't have anyone to talk to. But there comes a time when we must move past our stories and weave new, empowering tales.

While I believe these stories have a time and purpose in our lives, we all get to  place in our inner work when it's time to let go and rewrite our stories. SO, what next? This part may take some time, but don't bypass it--it may also get boring and repetitive (just like your story, get it?). You can either do this in writing, or with a tape recorder.
  1. First, look at your initial list of old stories. Choose the story that causes you the most pain or that keeps you the most paralyzed and/or stuck.
  2. Let a trusted friend know that you are doing this process; if you don't feel comfortable alone, have your friend stay with you while you undergo this process.
  3. Sit quietly and comfortably, and really become the character in your own story. What do you smell? What do you see? Who is with you? What do you experience? What words and phrases do you hear over and over again? What pain do you keep re-experiencing in this story?
  4. Light a candle, and get even more comfortable.
  5. Either write out your story on paper or tell your story into a tape recorder. Be as detailed and repetitive as you can--your story may be 3 pages or it may be 25, it may be 15 minutes or 2 hours--use your intuition as a guide; you will know when you are done.
  6. Do some reflection about what this story has cost you--in your relationships, in your values, in your lifestyle, your financial well-being, your work life, your family, and whatever else comes to mind. 
  7. Also reflect on how the story has sustained you and helped you survive and even thrive in the face of hardship. Remember, your story has served a purpose, or it would not be part of your experience. Thank your story for its place in your journey.
  8. Be kind to yourself throughout this process, and be grateful for your story.
  9. Either read your story to a trusted friend, or listen to the tape recording with a friend. Listen to it as many times as it takes to get to the point where you can no longer listen--until you can practically recite it word for word or you may even find yourself giggling! REMEMBER: it's fiction.
  10. When you feel a shift in your attachment to the story, do a ritual around letting go of the story. First, take ownership for your story, bless your story, and thank your story for serving you. If you wrote it out, you may want to burn the story, extinguish the candle, and take a cleansing bath. You'll know what to do.
  11. After you have completed this exercise, see how much lighter you feel; you may also feel sadness, or grief, or an "emptying" feeling. It's all good, and part of the process. 
You may feel inklings of your old story coming back from time to time--that's natural. Your story has been around for awhile. If that's the case, don't panic--you can simply notice the story's return, acknowledge it like a vaguely familiar face, wave to it briefly, and turn the other way.

It's time to exist in the present--What's your (new & improved) story going to be? You are the creator of your own story . . . and it's a hero(ine)'s journey . . .

Lots of Love!
Dana

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pay Attention to the Universe!


Today I meditated for the first time in a while, and the topic was gratitude for deep cosmic connections--these are the synchronicities that occur in our everyday lives that we can oftentimes miss if we are not present and paying attention. Here is the amazing and delicious reminder I received from the Universe (tut.com) the other day--as I read these statements (in black), here are the intuitive messages that were whispered to  me (those are in red, of course. . .)
*********************************************************************************
The Top 10 things about time and space, Dana Lynne,
that most people seem to forget...


10. You chose to be here and you knew what you were doing. So everything in my life is purposeful and I chose the events, circumstances, and relationships, too. Everything happens for a reason and there aren't any coincidences.  And, there must be a divine purpose for my existence on the planet at this time. Whew! That means I can relax into the resent and gently let go fear and anxiety.

9. There are no "tests" and you're not being judged. Oh, so I can relax and stop worrying that there's always a right answer? Maybe my harshest judge is myself, and I need to learn how to be more loving to me--Dana! p.s. If I do feel judged, it might be a projection of mine, and if another person judges me, it's not about me?

8. Everyone's doing their best, with what they know. That "everyone"includes me and others--so I can quit judging others (oops) and myself--but which also doesn't let me off the hook to stop behaviors that no longer serve me. Especially during the holidays when we spend more time with our loved ones, our issues and buttons become magnified, and I find myself projecting judgement onto others--this is how the Universe holds up a mirror to me for my own growth.

7. You already have whatever you're looking for. Reminds me to practice gratitude on a daily, even a momentary basis. I am so so blessed! I have everything I need. And, when I choose gratitude, I get more of the juicy stuff back from the Uni-verse.

6. You are of the Divine, pure God, and so is everyone else. We all lead a holy existence . . . each of our lives is a prayer (see red part on #1 for more info!)

5. Religion needs spirituality; spirituality does not need religion. Might mean that spirituality is bigger than religion? But I think many sacred practices comes from the rich traditions of many religions. What gets us in trouble, I think, is when we expect others to embrace the spiritual and religious constructs that we believe, or that there is only one right way to celebrate God/The Uni-verse (insert your semantic here!). Not super sure about this one; if you have any ideas, leave me a comment! 

4. You're naturally inclined to succeed - at everything you do. Reminds me of Chopra's law of least resistance--when I am in the flow of life and accepting what IS, I can choose actions to support my intentions and give attention to my heart's desires.

3. You happen to life, life does not happen to you. I am a co-creator--not a victim. I can choose to be empowered through conscious action; I am not a victim of circumstance . . . I can choose my actions and reactions to lIfE! 

2. Order, healing, and love belie every moment of chaos, pain, and fear. Everything happens for a reason, and learning is the key--otherwise I'll get the same lesson presented over and over . . . thanks, Uni-verse!

1. Following your heart is the best way to help others. I might have more peace & be better informed in life when I follow my gut and my heart rather than listen to the craziness that happens in my little bratty monkey mind. When I follow my heart, I can align my choices with my authentic, higher self, be truer to myself, and share my gifts with the world. This is the best way for my to serve others, which is the most important reason I am here (See #1). I am here for a reason, and only can serve my higher purpose (my dharma).
The truth shall set you free,
The Universe
© www.tut.com ®


When each of us takes steps toward our highest purpose and our heart's desires--all while serving others with our unique gifts, we can trust that all is well, and trust that the Uni-verse is creating the circumstances and relationships that will serve our highest good.

How do these reminders speak to you today? 
Love, 
Dana

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Message from the Uni-Verse!

Dear Ones--

Have you ever noticed that the right message from the Universe seems to arrive exactly when you need it? You can probably see the card I got this morning from one of my besties, Alana. I have been in a place, lately, that hasn't been--well, so Thanksgiving-ey (if that's a word, but you know what I mean . . .).

I feel really stressed and pressured by all of the expectations I put upon myself for the season (enter perfectionism ALERT)--decorating, shopping, wrapping, party-going, baking--and, not to mention everyday stuff like momming (another made up word) working, shoveling, teaching, washing, cooking, cleaning, entertaining . . .  and I'll stop there before I bore you too much with my story about my overwhelm.

So this morning I was relieved when I got to work; I opened a manila envelope with this message: 
YOU ARE
EXACTLY
WHERE YOU
SHOULD BE
YOU ARE DOING
EXACTLY
WHAT YOU SHOULD
BE DOING

I was relieved to get this reminder. The (not so) hidden message for me is this:
  • Your best is good enough.
  • You don't have to be perfect.
  • You have enough time.
  • All is well.
  • Breathe.
During this time of year, I often get caught up in running around like a crazy person . . . but in the next couple of days, I am going to try to jUsT bE instead of dO. Try to enjoy the relationships I have, and be grateful for the time well-spent with those I love. The gifts don't mean so much, after all. What I want to give most is my presence--I think that's the best present of all. What will you give this Thanksgiving?

Lots of Love!

Dana

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Walk with the Courage of your Heart . . . Gratitude!

Dear Ones;

I felt moved this morning to share with you that I am beginning a 21-day meditation tomorrow that revolves around the practice of gratitude. 

Sign up by clicking here--21 Days of Gratitude--and check out this amazingly juicy video about gratitude. The images are so awesome!


Three hundred years ago, Guru Gobind Singh,
a great master and the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, said,

"If you want to walk on the path of love
 . . . place your head in your hands
and walk with the courage of your heart." 

I really believe the practice of gratitude to be a transformational way of being, and appreciating what we have affirms the Law of Abundance as well as the Law of Attraction. Last week I read some wise words which basically stated that when we say to ourselves,

"I want _____,"

the Law of Attraction brings us more WANTING; however, when we offer up gratitude for what we already have, saying to ourselves,

 "I am so blessed and thankful to have _____,"

the Law of Attractions brings us more BLESSINGS and more for which to be THANKFUL.

It's a small but transformational shift in energy.

What are you thankful for today?
Lots of Love,
Dana

Sunday, October 20, 2013

At the Pumpkin Patch . . .

BoO! 
Saturday, October 19, 2013

Happy fall!

I don't know about you, but fall is my favorite season (next to winterspring, & summer . . . btw English teacher moment . . . seasons are not capitalized . . .). Anyway, there are so many things to write about regarding Halloweenpumpkins, and SpOoKy oCtoBer!


Here's something cool! Isn't it amazing there are signs provided 4 us at the pumpkin patch (of life!)? Did you know Ur life has signs as well? They are in your feelings and around u everywhere if you pay attention! 

Here are the signs from the pumpkin patch, along with how I interpret them from my life perspective right now:
  • squash: I know there are some habits and behaviors I have that I need to squash--like, as in, KNOCK IT OFF!
  • restrooms: I will benefit from resting and taking great care of myself . . .
  • apple farm: I will eat in a healthy way and fill up with fruits and vegetables . . .
  • corn mazes: I sometimes feel really lost and I have no idea where I'm going, but I trust that I will be led to wherever I need to be when I pay attention to the signs and my intuition
  • petting farm: I benefit in so many ways when I give my love and attention to others . . . Giving is how we receive!
  • hayride: sometimes I just need to allow someone else to be in charge, steer me in the right direction, and sit back and enjoy the ride . . .
  • catapults: I often need to take a leap of faith without knowing exactly where I'm headed . . . WEEEEEEEE!
  • cannon: see above . . . catapult X 100!
  • bakery: I know I can nurture myself . . . with warm & loving energy, food, and relationships!


Look at this amazing space for fabulous family fun! I saw so many yummy families and even a cutie baby sleeping in a flatbed wagon with an amazing blankie pile. What signs have you paid attention to lately? Send me a comment and let me know . .  they are all around!

Lots of love,
dAna-liscious