The Zen of Now

“The Pure lotus growing in muddy water is a metaphor for enlightenment. The lotus arises from all its impediments.  It actually needs the impurity of the water for its nourishment.  In the same way, in our personal development, we can’t just work with what we like about ourselves.  We have to work with our muddy water.  We have to work with our problems and our hang ups because that’s where the action is.”  – Bernard Glassman, Instructions to the Cook

Lessons sometimes repeat themselves.  Ever felt like you are DONE learning something?  You might say something like, “I never want to feel that again! I know now!”  Or “wow, glad I learned that, never fool me again.” or perhaps in the area of personal growth you think, “well, I am certainly past that hang up”.

In the area of personal growth that we often have layers to sort through when seeking the growth we crave.  We might deal with the superficial stuff and feel like we can declare victory.  We overcame the fear, or resistance or pattern.  And then we are confronted again with it!  What the <insert your favorite expletive> is going on?!  I mean seriously, we thought we evolved past this right? We think ourselves beyond the muddy water referred to in the quote, when in reality, we need to keep using the muddy water to grow.

Depending on your personality type an life’s circumstances, you may react a few different ways: depression, competition or acceptance.

Depression:  when you get own on yourself, letting your inner bully take over.  You beat yourself up and have a hard time wanting to keep pressing forward in your growth.  This could be temporary or long term – it depends on you. Here you are not using the muddy water – you have become the muddy water, abandoning your lotus energy.

Competition: your inner warrior bursts forth and refuses to accept defeat.  You battle the idea that you have more to grow, or that you somehow didn’t get it all the first run through.  A bit of denial can show up with the warrior, an impatience to simply be victorious.  Here you are trying to be all things: the water, the mud, the lotus, the sun…forcing all of them to do what you want.

Acceptance: where the Zen of Now kicks in.  In this energy you can be exactly where you are.  You acknowledge the growth you have achieved and don’t discount it, but also see with clarity the exact place you find yourself in: you see what is, not what you wish or want.  With acceptance, you allow all to contribute as it needs to in order to thrive.

In the Zen of Now you can work with what you have, what you are and see where you are in the universe.  In the Now there is no past and no future, you are the culmination of what has happened, using it to always be in the Now.

You have heard the stories and seen the action of fighters – they find their physical center and operate from there.  The physical power comes when they are most centered. any speaking of fighting from their center not just physically, but also spiritually and mentally.

I recently went through a prolonged period of low energy. I felt disconnected to things I was previously inspired by and I found myself continuing to reach back, alternating between the warrior and the depression modes of response to the lessons appearing.  It was super frustrating and I kept banging my head against a spiritual wall wondering what the heck I needed to do to shake it off.

Throughout this I kept being drawn to the concept of Zen.  Zen is simply Zen.  It is the current reality, just as it is.  I kept finding myself drawn to simply being: to enjoy the moment, to be where I was, to not fight what was happening, but to immerse in it.  I resisted on many an occasion.  I wanted things to be different.  I kept ignoring my in the moment intuition and then found myself regretting missed opportunities.

I found this sense of resistance shifting on my travels in July.  Our plans changed, they shifted around, we encountered delays and obstacles, things didn’t go as we have envisioned it.  But I found myself relaxing into the current reality and resisting it less and less as the month went on.

It had been easier to shift my energies away from home – the physical difference allowed me to see with more clarity what was happening with me and just be.  We followed our desires, allowed the  moments to happen, we didn’t plan much – even going so far as to book hotels on the fly as we traveled through Colorado.

I came back from our travels much more open and a couple of weeks later I really felt that sense of oppression lift.  Being able to find clarity sometimes requires us to step away physically in order to bring the mind back to the present – like a spiritual slap in the face.

I love to read and a few books showed up during this time you may enjoy experiencing as well.

The first is a short book of quotes, readings and stories, only 188 pages divided into 8 sections.  A good “flip to a page and get inspiration” kind of book I have found myself referring to it daily since it showed up in my life.  “The Wisdom of Zen” from One World of Wisdom is a great addition to your reading list.

The second is a book from Thich Nhat Hanh called “The Miracle of Mindfulness”  It’s focus is on the practice of meditation and truly focusing on where you are.  140 pages of wisdom, direction and ideas for focusing on your daily moments.

Wherever you are, be there right now.

 

 

How do you Define Living Dangerously?

 Take a moment and consider what feels most dangerous to you: is it physical, spiritual, intellectual or emotional in nature?

Conventional wisdom would suggest all kinds of radical options.  As I have asked this question in workshops and discussions I have heard a few!   Things like:

skydiving

motorcycle racing

speaking in public

falling in love

climbing a mountain

swimming with sharks

parenting (that got a good giggle)

 

There were a ton of other physical risks that have come up in response to this question.  And yes, these things are risky…but if you notice, most people head right for the physical risks with the exception of falling in love.

These are easy answers – pick something with the potential to inflict bodily harm and we can all agree that it is dangerous.   Right?

Yes.

There is another way to think about it though and that is what I want to focus on.

The Art of Living Dangerously creates the path to you skydiving, moto title winning or swimming with sharks. This path fires your emotional, intellectual and spiritual body – more than your physical.   What if we think about living dangerously in these terms:

  • Being afraid and doing it anyway
  • Knowing there is more and going for it
  • Trying new things – taking the leap
  • Seeing new perspectives
  • Experiencing instead of Existing
  • Living by your values
  • Never settling
  • Transcending expectations
  • Having faith in limitless possibilities

Imagine you lived in opposition to any of those thoughts…let’s take “Having faith in limitless possibilities” first.  What would it mean if you have faith in limitless possibilities?  Consider an area of your life you feel stuck or trapped in, it could be anything from a relationship, a job, a volunteer commitment or a belief.

For example when I was wanting to become a life coach, I was very locked into the idea that I couldn’t leave my 6 figure job and the obligations it had created or my life would fall apart.  There were a lot of trapped and stuck attachments there:

  1. I had accumulated debt directly correlated to the amount of money I had: cars, houses, lines of credit, etc.
  2. I did enjoy my job and did well at it. I loved the people I worked with and generally enjoyed seeing them.  Yet I didn’t feel inspired by my job, I didn’t see how my role was really serving others in the way I wanted to.
  3. I had an idea of what people expected me to be and I was fearful of disappointing them.
  4. My family had become accustomed to my salary, my schedule and my life the way it impacted them; and I couldn’t let them be affected by my desires – they needed to always take first priority.

When my life coach suggested that it was possible for me to create the life I wanted if I dedicated myself to figuring out what it was, I resisted at first.  I was so focused on the narrow range of options I had decided were available that it was a good year of coaching with her before I was able to really open up to all of the things that could be if I allowed them into my life.

I had to do a few things to move past my self-created opposition to possibilities:

  1. I had to decide what an ideal day for me would look like.
  2. Sorting out what was important and what wasn’t to me then taking action to get free of what wasn’t.
  3. Realign my time to support what I wanted instead of what I felt like I “should be” doing.
  4. Starting to create that Ideal by pulling elements from it into the life I was living then.

On a daily basis I would ask myself “is this getting me closer or farther away from the life I truly want?” as I encountered challenges and opportunities.

I learned that not everything is worth the fight.

Over the next few weeks I will be tackling each of those Living Dangerously ideas as I prepare for my 2016 Art of Living Dangerously Creation Experience here in Cedar Rapids Iowa on September 9th and 10th.  You can take a look at the agenda here and then grab early bird registration before August 15th.

I hope you’ll stay tuned to this blog and follow the steps to both the idea of living dangerously and the way I overcame my opposition to it!

Jennifer Murphy is a coach, teacher, mentor and leader at No Limits Life where she partners with the closet creatives, aspiring adventurers, and repressed rebels to move beyond expected success to create the kind of fulfilling life they crave.  To learn more about Jennifer and her team visit www.nolimitslife.guru

The Art of Living Dangerously Creation Experience

Life on auto-pilot requires very little engagement from you – it’s same day different stuff…

The Art of Living Dangerously means you are the driver, the pilot the one making all the decisions…It’s new day, new experiences, every day.

The Art of Living Dangerously Creation Experience is a full day event in Cedar Rapids Iowa on September 10th with a bonus VIP evening the night prior September 9 (2016).

Here are just a few of things we will do:

Shine a light into the darkest recesses of your consciousness to invite  your true life’s purpose out to play
Mentor you as you create the path to make your purpose much more than a dream and turn it into your reality
Work through mindfulness, meditation and self-awareness exercises to bring you closer to the real you and minimize the impact of the expectations of others in your life
Create an action plan to move you to where you want to be in daily living

You will walk away from this event: 
feeling energized
engaged with your life
in love with your next steps
excited to move into the energy that is really you

Yes, it would be a full day and evening away from family, obligations and more…but you deserve it.  You deserve this time to focus on you, your dreams and take good stock of where you are going and how you will get there.

Here is what that evening and day will look like:

VIP Event September 9, 6-9pm      Main Event: September 10, 10a-4p

VIP Event, held in the No Limits Life Coaching and Glass Studio: Register

6-6:30 – Meet and Greet time, grab refreshments and use the handout provided to meet everyone in the room, find your nest for the evening

6:30-7:00 – Opening meditation and centering with Jennifer Murphy

7:00-8:00 – The No Limits Team Coaches

8:00-9:00 – Face and Erase limits to living the life you crave with Jennifer Murphy

Attendees Receive: A meditation focal object and recorded meditations

 

Main Event, held in the Conference Room, Adam Building: Register

Doors open at 9:30 with morning refreshments

10:00a Opening and Introductions

10:30a Defining Your Callings: 3 paths to identifying what you should be doing with your life

11:30a  Clarifying your Callings:  one on one coaching with peers and professional coaches to help you clarify your calling

12:30p Lunch

1:00p  4 M’s and an S: Mindfulness, Meditation, Manifestation and Self-Awareness

2:30p  The Art of Action: Create a mind mapping style vision board and schedule activities to shape the reality you want.  Coaches will be available for private discussion during this time.

3:30p Closing Exercises: Meditation, Take Away Experiences and Maintenance Recommendations

4:00p The After Workshop discussion

Attendees Receive: Notebook/Workbook

Register for early bird admission thru August 15th

Full admission goes into effect on August 16th

Jennifer Murphy is a coach, teacher, mentor and leader at No Limits Life where she partners with the closet creatives, aspiring adventurers, and repressed rebels to move beyond expected success to create the kind of fulfilling life they crave.  To learn more about Jennifer and her team visit www.nolimitslife.guru

 

Turn Your Life Into an Empowered Life

I signed in to my bank account to do the monthly financial check to see how everything was looking.  As I cautiously hit the “Sign In” button, I thought I was ready for the number.  I wasn’t.  It was lower.  Much lower.

Fear gripped me.  I decided to do my psychic/healing work full-time, knowing that there would be rough patches on the road, but I wasn’t prepared for just how deep those potholes would be.  Now I had the fear, terror and hopelessness that such a rough road could become.

My mind went immediately to worst-case scenarios, with their accompanying feelings of dread and disappointment.  Then the emotional landscape shifted to feelings of anger at myself and my situation; then to blame.  Then full-blown panic.

I had to stop this movement toward the Dark Side.

I stopped.  I closed my eyes and got in touch with that Inner Voice and Wisdom that I talk and write about so much.  The answers I received surprised me.

As much as I was doing, I realized that I was working within a very limited view of my abilities, aptitudes and influence.  The truth stared me in the face: I was working in the wrong head-space.  Rather than pushing the envelope in my areas of work, I was staking out fenceposts that said, “Do this much and no more.  This is your work, so just stick with it.  Change is deadly.”  By building those limits, and choosing to stay within them, I was not only limiting my influence and income, but also my gifts and even my dignity.

By choosing limitations, I was settling for a limited life and a lesser me. 

Something had to change, and fast.  I chose to jump the fence of what I was doing, and expand my horizons.  I connected with people I had ignored far too long, either out of fear or the excuse that it wasn’t my area in which to work.  I literally “put myself out there”, risking my reputation on both personal and public levels.  I did things I had never done before.  It was hard work, took longer than you might expect, and had no guarantee of good results.  I was scared to death.

And I succeeded.

My gifts started to grow beyond what seemed to be at a maximum at the time.  My personal sense of dignity and self-worth was beyond positive.  My reach to others expanded beyond any expectations I had until then.  Oh, and the bank account looked much better, too.

I feel that if you’re reading this article, you have either been at this kind of crisis point recently, or you’re in it right now.  It’s not fun or easy, but there is a truth here: If you’re experiencing this, it is a chance for you to recognize your limitations, release them and embrace your highest self.

Below are the six steps I took to recognize and release my limitations, so that I could become who I am truly meant to be.  Work through these slowly and deliberately to navigate your way through your situation to a more empowered, limit-free life!

  1. Observe. What’s going on right now? What are the limitations that you’ve set up for yourself, either on a conscious or unconscious level?  Now is not the time to discover their origins.  At this point, simply identify what your limitations are, as concretely as possible.
  1. Reflect. How are these limitations sabotaging your progress, not only on a professional/work level, but also on a personal level? Why do you want these limitations in your life – for safety, security, just because?
  1. Journal/Discuss. Journal about your observations and reflections, or discuss them with someone you trust. Get clear about what limitations you’ve set for yourself, and what they have done to both help and hinder your progress and growth.
  1. Plan. What are you going to do to blast through your limitations? What empowered steps can you take to start leaving your limitations behind and embrace your true potential…no matter how daunting or frightening those steps might be for you? 
  1. Account. Who can you be accountable to for your changes? Sure, you might just say “yourself”, but try to find someone else to whom you can be accountable for your changes.  Otherwise, you can make excuses and compromises with your limitations, and end up sabotaging any growth you hoped to achieve.  That person (or people!) also will encourage you when you have self-doubts or second thoughts and fears.
  1. Act. Yes, this is the scary part. Actually put your plan into action and make the empowering changes in your life you need to make.  Realize that you will feel scared.  You will feel like it’s impossible.  You will feel out of your comfort zone.  With regard to those feelings, remember you went through this complex array of feelings emotions and mindsets at least once before: when you were born.  And you’re still here!  Make the leap of faith, knowing that you will land on your feet.  Let your accountability partner(s) (Step 5) be your cheerleader and motivator when you need it.   You can do it, and you will!

 

Finally, remember this one truth: If you do nothing, you will stay just where you’re at.  If you choose to move in a new and empowered direction, the freedom you gain is worth more than anything you can possibly imagine!

Don Marlette is, among many other things, a member of the No Limits Life team.  His unique blend of psychic insight, mediumship and practical wisdom guide spirtual practitioners and everyday people through the perils of everyday getting by to build lives that feel like they are singing their heartsong.  Learn more at http://www.nolimitslife.guru

Why Permission is Important

The other day I said, “you have to give yourself permission to do that” and my client looked at me and said, “why is that so important?

Yes, it is a “coachism”, but it is also an important energetic step toward change in many cases. Yet when my client challenged me, I found myself digging deeper for the real answer instead of the safe answer to her question.

It led me to my own journaling on the idea so that I could get really clear on why I tell people to do this, instead of just tossing that out there as a spiritual platitude or to sound like a sage (gag!).

What I came up with was both stabilizing and fresh for me:

  • Permission is important because it opens you up to possibility
  • Permission is important because you are conscious when you GIVE permission – think of it as a permission slip you would sign for a childs’ field trip – this one for a journey of your conscious mind and spirit.
  • Permission is important because of the explicit NO it gives to things you don’t want. By saying yes to something you fill the void waiting – when you implicitly make decisions the void simply gets filled by whatever passes by.
  • Permission is important because by God it is yours to give. No one else gets to say yes or no for you – it’s yours to give: your decision, your right, your choice.

Let’s look at the flip side for a second: Have you ever thought about not being specific and where that gets you?  Not usually where you want to be right?  When you can’t invest in the work to make the small decisions, how on earth would you expect to get to the clarity the big ones need.

Giving yourself permission to explore specific and non-specific ideas, to do or not do something, it is FIRM.  It is unyielding and it is decisive – taking a stance and holding it.  You have drawn the line in the sand with whatever you have given permission to.  It is courageous and will absolutely provide you enhanced clarity in the next step of whatever you are doing.

So yes, you can write this phrase off as something we coaches and spiritualists toss out as woowoo platitudinal mumbo jumbo that is designed purely to assuage your guilt and “move you past” something.  Or you can get serious about intention, about possibility and about what you allow or don’t allow in your life.

Spiritual Platitudes are the band-aids on the sucking chest wounds of our self-inflicted spiritual trauma – they do no good and usually just pile on to the problem.  Permission – intentional decision making – is about proactively engaging in your life, your energetic commitments and your role here in this lifetime.

Grant yourself permission to be courageous and commit to intentional decision making – what do you need to give yourself permission for right now? 

Love? Space? Time? Relationships? Inquiry? Possibility? Money? Health?  the list can go on and on.

Then you want to say something like this:

Today I give myself permission for abundance – to allow in the wealth and security I know I am capable of and to give myself permission to let go of feelings of lack and insecurity. I give myself permission to give no quarter to lack. 

It’s a decision, not a platitude. It’s a position of strength, not weakness.  And permission is yours to dole out to you – go for it.

 

Jennifer Murphy is a coach, teacher, mentor and leader at No Limits Life where she partners with closet creatives, aspiring adventurers, and repressed rebels to move beyond expected success to create the kind of fulfilling life they crave.  To learn more about Jennifer and her team visit www.nolimitslife.guru

 

 

From Passenger to Driver

The moment we give power to ourselves, crossing over from the passenger’s seat to the driver’s seat, we can never go back. I spent most of my life in the passenger’s seat: creating by default and wondering what was around the corner that I needed to protect myself from. In fact, I would say that all of my life was dedicated towards avoiding the bad, expecting and enjoying good things never crossed my mind.

It was a big bad world and people were out to get me. My first real job was in a call center. Those of you who have ever worked in one can relate to those people who were so terribly rude. I never knew how I was going to feel, I was a dumping ground for everyone else’s bad days-it wasn’t unusual to be yelled at and called names. I’d leave work feeling miserable, sad and defeated. I felt helpless and at the mercy of others, stuck in a vicious circle of blame.

It wasn’t just isolated to work, I could blame others for making me feel bad at home and in the general public too. I remember vividly wanting a lip ring in my early 20s, I thought it was the coolest thing ever and the day I got it I was so excited to show my family. I was really, really excited, I felt so confident and cool. I’ll never forget the look on my grandpa’s face when he said I “looked like crap”. My confidence and joy plummeted immediately, I began to question my own judgment. How could I have possibly wanted that?! I went from shear excitement to sadness in about 5 seconds.

In those days people made me feel things. If they told me how stupid I was, I felt like shit and surely they were right. They had the power to make me feel bad.

One day I woke up. I woke up to the concept that I own how I feel, no one else has the power to make me feel anything, it’s all my choice. Just because someone had a bad day and called me stupid because they weren’t getting their way, didn’t mean I had to feel bad. I jumped over that middle console right into the driver’s seat. With that jump I was empowered to experience life in the way that I wanted to.

It was an amazing concept that I was able to experience stability in my emotions. The ups and downs I experienced from reacting to everyone else’s behavior simply didn’t exist unless I allowed them to. It is a great power to have back in my hands, control. This power comes with accountability though. In having the power to choose my feelings I still had bad days. I’d catch myself slipping back and blaming the jerk who cut me off in traffic for sending me into rage and I had to push myself to be aware and take accountability for how I feel.

Don’t waste another day living in the passenger’s seat, own your emotions and know that you are the only one that can make you feel anything. You are unique with your own perspective that is just as valuable as anyone else’s.

 

Abby

Abby Wickersheim is a life coach on the No Limits Life team.  Her focus is working with people to align their personal energetic vibration with the vibration of what they truly want to create.  She uses her personal coaching program “Positive on Purpose” to guide people from frustrated and blocked to open and positive. Learn more at www.nolimitslife.guru

 

Two Small Shifts to Use Social Media For Good

Oh the joy to be able to see your long distance friends and families on Facebook, follow the stars on Instagram, Twitter and make funny faces on Snapchat.

We have the opportunity to engage with our favorite stars now more than ever before. We get to see the excitement of the birth of a new song or new child. We get to see the rise of stardom. We get to see in real time the lessons of young football players. We get to see it all by looking at the screen of our phone or computer.

The joys of technology… or is it really?

The social media era is one that my children have the opportunity to be a part of more than I ever was.  I have even joked to say if social media was around when I was younger, oh how different life would be. My consistent lesson to my sons and all that engage in social media: Tread Carefully. You can use the opportunity to engage to land a job or lose a job. You can meet a friend and also lose a friend.

It is important that we remember that we are all more than our screen name, or our posts. We can see how others are going on vacation, getting married, eating yummy meals, and enjoying life.  I am a firm believer that less is best, it is nice to be able to share, but not at the expense of you being your authentic self. Don’t post things based on need to be seen.

We have to remember that we are all on journey. Things may appear so glamorous that you sigh, “I wish that was me”. Then, on the other end of the connection, they are looking at you with the same wistful eye wishing it was them!

Why? Because we are not grateful for NOW.

That is the misconception and the danger of social media. It can be a tool that festers envy and jealousy to grow like bacteria. It would be great if the outlets were used to support each other, uplift each other through quotes of positive encouragement and sincere admiration. Could you imagine how little the news will be littered with reports of headlines “Started with Facebook dispute” instead it would read “Started with Facebook Likes and love”?  How nice if we can consistently use media in a way that allows us to be a better person each and every day.

Here are two ways I strive to do use social media for good in life:

  1. I start each week with a podcast through motivational speaker, Dr. Eric Thomas,TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday) segment that is used to invoke messages of encouragement to motivate you to accomplish all that you can through the day and the upcoming week. His message is powerful: you may have Average Skill but you have Phenomenal Will. This podcast, his voice, his passion is so strong that it makes you feel like you can achieve every goal you set your mind to. This gives me a start to tackle what so many refer to as the “Dreaded Monday”.

What can you tune into to start your week or day off the way you WANT to live and love?

  1. I try to limit my own intake of social media as much as possible, but if I am on social media my list of “friends” includes those that want to make a change through their words or their actions. I have made a decision many times to disengage with those that choose to see the world through a clouded lenses of negativity and disgust. Even though you are not there with them, if you continue to read and engage with that vibration, you will tune to it.

Instead, focus on quotes and stories that are uplifting, watch a video of the dog and the baby playing, or the story of the cop helping a homeless man giving the shirt off his back. I believe there are more people in the world that want to help than hurt. Let’s start showing this in our everyday posts, have the intention of showing love to your fellow followers and not disgust. Make the choice to engage in those things that will only energize you and not drain you.

Where do you need to detox your intake on social media?

Most importantly remember who you are authentically and the blessings that you see. What one person may celebrate, you may have an alternate celebratory act. Be grateful for who you are and not what you think you should be based on the social media posts and surveys. Be YOU unapologetically you and do not define you by who someone else is or has.

 

eilynnEilynn Dixon is a life coach on the No Limits Life team.  Her focus is supporting people wanting to make big change through small actionable steps every day.  With her contagious smile, infectious enthusiasm and pure joy for life, she motivates, inspires and shows you how to love YOU through your biggest changes! Learn more at www.nolimitslife.guru