Let go

Want to learn to let go of control? To let life take care of itself?

I know it is difficult and scary, but at least consider the option. (If just thinking about letting go causes you anxiety, breathe deep and keep reading!)

In a current 21-day free meditation series, Deepak Chopra noted that “your heart beats without you choosing to make it happen”.  How true, and yet we still think we still need to control everything!

mural-1347673__340You do not have to solve every problem that arises – yours or others. And, most challenges do not have to be solved now, or on your own! You can learn to trust yourself, the world and others. (Keep-up those deep breaths . . . )

I’ve done it so many times in my life, and the rewards have been enormous. Deepak reminded me to keep it up, and to apply to everything!  (More deep breaths!)

Deepak advises that “life can take care of itself”.  He suggests that when we recognize an issue needs attention, we take action by “holding an open, neutral intention for a creative solution, and then simply let it go.”

If we allow ourselves to be fully open, our personal awareness and the awareness of the universe will share solutions with us.

Sounds very new agey, but the truth is when we calm down and trust ourselves, solutions flow. Our brains relax by releasing calming chemicals and hormones, which allows us to think more clearly and more creatively.

When we trust there is a solution our options begin to grow and develop. And, the truth is, there are many solutions for every single issue we face, being able to see them is the true challenge. That is what letting go is – trusting and seeing.

Let go. Set your intention for a creative solution and relax a bit. The world will not come tumbling down, and the issues we create or face will diminish in size and frequency over time.

It is so much easier to face life with a calm heart and a relaxed mind, and with the belief that there are solutions for everything, even if we do not have the answers right this minute. When you let go, you become the light at the end of every tunnel!

So, take a deep breathe, and let the rest go. Repeat as necessary!

You can do it!

Are you ready? Life could be better  . . . Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

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Where are you sitting on the tree of life?

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking Blob Tree Pip Wilson

Where are you sitting on the tree of life?


Where do you want to be?


You can do it.


Don’t give up!


Other Wishful Thinking Works posts you might enjoy . . .

The Lollipop Effect

The Light Side of Life

Happy, Sad, Glad, Mad

For Wishful Thinking Works services that can help you change your life, click here.

Mental sludge, emotional oil spills

I just began reading “Joyful Wisdom: Embracing change and finding freedom” by Yongey Mingyur Rinchope, a well-respected Tibetan meditation master. Ten pages in and I was already making notes to share with you.

He describes our feelings of helplessness as sludge; I am calling it “mental sludge.” 

Are are you picturing the horrible, thick, gooey black substance that clogs your bathtub drains (sure, sure, not yours) – Yuk, or maybe your sewer lines – Gross, or worse yet, the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico – Devastating? 

Mental sludge is just as big a threat to our happiness and to creating the lives we want as the oil sludge in the Gulf of Mexico is to our environment. 

Rinchope describes sludge as the feeling we get when we are in the middle of a negative or sad thought or situation, and we begin to think “this is the way I am, this is the way life works, there’s nothing I can do to change it.”

Mental sludge. 

Okay, so that got me thinking: I have areas of mental sludge in my life – and, if we are really being honest, which I am – I have, at times, had vast wastelands of mental sludge, which have led me to what I am now calling “emotional spills:” nasty little outbursts of thoughts and words that just like the oil spill in the Gulf, have ripple effects that spread far and wide and can affect me and those around me for years to come.

Sometimes, I have let my fears such as: being late; not getting the job done; not doing it well enough; not making the best __________; being the best _______ ; having the nicest or cleanest  ________; the smartest  ________ or whatever my momentary complaint is, lead me to think and say things I would rather not.

Most of the verbal oil I spew is directed solely at myself, but sometimes, it seeps out toward others: Hey, that guy just cut me off; She looks _______; I can’t believe they expect me to _______; She/he is always ________; They never _________; and one of my favorites” You/they should . . .  (All of these are hard to admit and, of course, there are much uglier examples – I am honest but not a masochist. :-)

I believe that most of the negative comments we make to ourselves, our loved ones and anyone else, who happens by when we are “spilling,” are the result of some level of mental sludge clogging our spirits and preventing us from creating the life we want.   

I began facing my mental sludge years before I named it, which was just a few days ago, thanks to Rinchope – and noticed that when I do face the sludge, my emotional spills became less frequent and much less intense. 

Here’s what works for me:

1. Being aware of my mental sludge: the negative thoughts and thought patterns that keep me stuck.  Awareness is always a good first step.  Notice what you are thinking in times of stress or sadness. Then, look for patterns. 

2. Learning to recognize them for what they are: thoughts, not prophecies.  Try not to judge yourself.  One mistake or failure does not a loser make.  In fact, a million mistakes and failures do not, and all the negative stuff we tell ourselves is just us telling ourselves negative stuff. It is not fact, nor written in stone – anywhere. (Same for all the stuff others tell us – their thoughts, not fact.)

3. Mentally rewarding myself for being able to recognize and label my thoughts:  Hey, good job, Patrice. (Sort-of like my friend’s adorable two-year old nephew, who tells her all the time, “Good job, I am proud of you!”)   

By the time I make it to Step 3, the original thought(s) has passed, and that big old pile of mental sludge that was so overwhelming has disappeared.  Pretty, simple, huh?  And, it works.

Rinchope calls that mindfulness.  I call it wonderful.

To clean-out your spiritual pipes, repeat Steps 1-3, which you will probably need to do often in the beginning, but try not to judge yourself or your progress, just repeat the steps, as needed.

Now, let’s find a solution for the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sometimes, I lie.

I realized recently that I lie to myself a lot. 

How did I miss that for all these years?

Things I lie about:

I will not eat the chocolate – big fat lie.

I will go for a walk each morning.

I tell myself I will not talk too much, and then I do.

That I will listen better, and then I don’t.

That I will work on the project, or make the call today, but I wait until tomorrow, or the tomorrow after that.

That “it” doesn’t matter, but “it” does.

Lying to myself is so easy, and I am good at it. 

But I have come up with a plan, which I have been using and it has worked. Honestly!

In fact, it works so well I call it “My Lying to Myself Miracle Cure.” 

My Lying to Myself Miracle Cure by Patrice

1. Awareness is always the first step.  Notice if you are lying to yourself.  Notice when you do it. Notice how it makes you feel. 

Then smile about it, and be happy you noticed.  An honest “Opps, I just told myself something I don’t think I will do,” is much kinder and more effective than “OMG, I am such a liar. I always . . .”  

2. When you catch yourself telling a lie, rephrase and expand your statement.  

Instead of telling myself my usual lie: “I will buy the big bag of chips because it is on sale, but I will save it until I have company.” “Or, I will buy the big bag because it is cheaper, but only eat half.”   

I say something like this: “Hmm, I tell myself that, but every time I buy a big bag of chips I eat the whole bag by myself, and even though they taste great, after I eat them, I feel lousy.  I do not like feeling lousy.  What are my options here?  I want the chips, but I really do not want to eat the entire bag by myself. Maybe I will buy the little bag.  It costs more per ounce, but I will feel better about myself if I only eat the small bag.”

This takes practice and patience, but it is doable.

(And please note, you are right – sometimes buying and eating a  whole bag, is perfectly okay – I just do not want to lie to myself about doing it.) 

3. Look for patterns in your personal deceptions, do they surround: food, feelings, exercise, shopping, smoking, alcohol, work, projects, events, spouse/significant, kids, family, friends, events, situations, likes, dislikes, etc. 

If so, realize these are areas that might need honest assessment and perhaps change.  When you are more relaxed – i.e. not in the middle of the lie – take time to look at the situation and how you can make some changes, which will lead to less lying in the long run.

And, please do not tell yourself that you can’t, because that too is a lie and brings us to:

Limit-Lies

I think the worst lies we tell ourselves are the ones that limit us:  “I can’t . . .”, “I won’t . . . “, “I will never . . .”  Or the people around us: “You can’t . . .”  “You shouldn’t . . .”  “You don’t . . .”

I call these “limit lies.”  (Hence, the bold section heading of “Limit Lies.”)

I have spent a great deal of time limit-lying to myself – telling myself I could not do things that I could do. 

I did lose weight; learn to love statistics; graduate college; take the GMAT; lose weight; stop smoking; get my Masters; learn a foreign language after 50; lose weight (same 10 pounds, but it still counts); travel to Greece, Istanbul, Dubrovnik and lots of other places alone; figure out how to get to the top of the rope, mountain, hill and across the river and climb a 20-25 foot pole, stand on a teeny tiny platform and then jump to grab a big trapeze bar hanging 6 feet out-of-reach, which I missed.  (Guess that last part wasn’t a lie, because I did keep telling myself I would not catch it.)

And my most recent biggie:  “I could never ever write a blog.”

I need to stop lying to myself, and that is no lie.

So, surprise, surprise, I have come up with a plan to eliminate limit-lies. I use awareness and replace limit-lies with statements like this:

“Doing _____ scares me, but I might enjoy it.”  “Doing ________ sounds difficult, but I would still like to give it a try.” “That really does not sound like something I want to try doing or learning now.  Maybe later I will be interested.” 

I am going to keep practicing and when I stop limit-lying to myself, I will refocus my attention on the chocolate and the chips.

How about you?  Have you been lying to yourself about anything?

Any limit-lies you would like to share? Have you done something great that you told yourself you could never do?  

Learned to drive, fly, dance, sing? Get out of debt?  Make money?  Get the job? Run the race? Meet the guy/gal? Be a fantastic Mom/Dad?  Develop a better relationship with your Mom/Dad, spouse/significant, son/daughter, sister/brother?  Take a walk or a vacation? Listen more? Write a book?

If so, let us know. We would love to hear about your success, and that’s the truth.

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