Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What do you know? And how do you know it?

Many years ago, I was a part owner of a business that sold equipment to fire departments, so I got to know lots of firefighters, mostly fire captains and fire chiefs. One of those chiefs, who'd been a volunteer for over 20 years in a fire department that protected part of Hwy. 80, told me he'd never seen a fatal car wreck where the driver was wearing a seat belt. He didn't know why, but suspected it was because it kept the driver better oriented to what was happening.

Times are about to get very weird. (See this and listen to this and this to learn about what I mean. They are long, and well worth the time and effort. The written one is well-researched, and the audio is convincing.) Imagine that you're alone, flying down the highway at top speed, when the road suddenly disappears. Maybe you're just on grass, or worse, mud. Or you're suddenly in a forest, having to drive around trees that you never noticed before. And all kinds of people are suddenly clamoring for your attention, some from the back seat and some from the forest.

It's definitely time to fasten your metaphorical seat belt. How do you do that?

Ask yourself how you know what is true. The natural world is a great place to start. Plants can't really lie, and animals find that pretty hard, too (the Oscar-worthy performances of our cat to scam us out of more food notwithstanding). What do you feel in your physical body (or your electromagnetic body) when you're in nature? Maybe you'd describe it as peaceful, or grounded, or one of a thousand other words, but go deeper. Use kinesthetic words to describe the feeling -- are you feeling light or heavy? warm or cool? tense or relaxed? tingly? These are just suggestions -- it doesn't matter how you feel, but rather that you identify it.

Once you have that down, how do you know when someone is telling the truth? Again, use what you feel.

Or here, maybe you have an inner voice, the still small voice within, that says, "nope", or some variant of that. It's important to pay attention to the quality of that voice. Is it male? female? neither? How fast does it speak? Does it's inflection go up and down, or stay fairly flat? Where does the voice seem to come from? Is it inside your head, or somewhere outside that you can point to?

Or maybe it's not a voice, exactly. Maybe it's a sound. Maybe it beeps when you're getting a lie, or the truth for that matter. Again, it doesn't matter how you know the truth, but that you identify how you know it. 

It's important to keep that truth meter on all the time. The best lies include some elements of truth, and you have to be discerning to tell which is which.

Remember, as things get strange, you can't drive looking in the rear view mirror. If things change significantly, then habitual ways of acting must shift. You wouldn't drive the same way in snow as you would on a sunny warm day, would you? Look at the conditions ahead.

As you watch significant changes happening all around you, it might be easy to be seduced by the spectacle into just watching. This is equivalent to trying to drive while watching out your side window. You're likely to crash, because you're not watching where you're going.

Similarly, it will be important to stay focused on your responsibilities as things change. This will be different for each person, and only you will know your particular path through the new landscape. How will you know? By knowing your own truth.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Here Are All My Webpages

Problems I can help you with:

How to find Mr. Right
Is he The One for me?
How to know when a relationship is over
Getting through a divorce
Passing the Bar Exam -- or any other exam
     Have you failed the bar? More than once? Are you beginning to wonder if you’ll fail the bar again, despite all that studying?

    Perhaps if you failed the bar it has far less to do with studying than from suffering from a common problem: test anxiety.

    I can help you get over your test anxiety, and start feeling more positive and hopeful about passing the bar the next time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Put Off Procrastinating!

Last week, I filed for a copyright on a training course I finished a while back. (It's called Coaching Your Client to a Successful Close, and it teaches basic coaching techniques to real estate brokers and agents. as part of the required 45 hours you need to renew your CA agent or broker license every 4 years). I procrastinated filing for the copyright for a couple of months, which is not really like me, only to discover that it took under an hour, and only $35.  What a waste of all the emotional energy involved in procrastination -- the weight, the dread, the self-judgment!

And some problems have a way of getting bigger if you procrastinate them. A small plumbing leak, dealt with immediately, is no big deal. But if you don't deal with it immediately, it can cause a mold infestation, or the warping of your floor, or worse.

This got me to thinking about procrastination -- why we do it, and when. There seem to be 4 reasons to put something off:
  1. Not knowing how to do it
  2. Being overwhelmed
  3. Expecting a bad outcome
  4. Having higher priorities on other things
Let's take these in turn.

Not knowing how to do something - Yes, it's scary all right. You have no idea how to begin.You don't even know what you don't know. This thing looks HUGE.

There really is no cure for this one, except to start. Start by asking questions, or googling anything you can think of that might be related. Then follow wherever the trail leads you. I had no idea how to do a copyright. Was I going to need an attorney? How expensive was this going to be? Terrifying.

Information has a way of showing up when you need it, though. I got an email list notice for a free telesiminar with a copyright attorney. The attorney said you could do it yourself (sigh of relief) and recommended her own book, of course. So I bought the book, which said you should go to www.copyright.gov.

On copyright.gov, there was an ebook explaining the procedure (not all that helpful) -- and instructions on the website as to how to do it. Basically, answer a few questions, pay your $35, and then upload your file. That's it!

Being overwhelmed - There are a few cures for this one:
  • Chunk it down - There's an old saying, "The journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step." And so it is with projects -- they can all be broken down into a number of steps. Any one step should not overwhelm you. If it does, it's not really one step! Break it down into even smaller parts, till each one feels manageable.
  • Get help - No, you can't do everything yourself. Lately, I've been having huge technical problems because various versions of the software programs I use don't play well together. I can't figure this out myself -- so yesterday alone, I spent 6 1/2 hours on the phone with tech support from Microsoft and Apple. As this seems excessive, I'm considering finding someone who can do it with a little less involvement on my part.
  • Pace yourself - You can't do it all at once, either. Choose one step, preferably what seems like it should be first, and do that. Don't expect yourself to do all the steps in a particular time frame. You may not be in control of all the timing -- things take as long as they take, not your idea of how long they should take.
Expecting a bad outcome - Maybe you dread doing something, so you put it off. That dread is a part of you expecting something bad to happen when you take action. What is it that this part of you is expecting? When you've identified the expected problem, you can then identify what you can do to ensure that what you expect doesn't happen.

Let's say you need to change an appointment with someone, but you dread doing it. Here's where it's important to check inside. Why do you dread it? When you check inside yourself, you may discover that part of you is afraid of offending the other person, or afraid that if you ask for the change, you'll never get an appointment at all. When you realize this, perhaps you'll think of things you can do to short circuit the problem, like asking on the phone, instead of by email. And you'll remember that sooner is a much better time to solve this particular problem than later.

Having higher priorities on other things - This is not really procrastination, but rather the realization that you can't actually do everything at once, and some things are more important than others. If you've relegated a particular job to a lower priority, then stop calling it procrastination, and stop beating yourself up for ignoring the task!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Concidence, Synchronicity -- or Telepathy?

On Saturday morning, I went to the Farmers' Market, as usual. I got hungry while I was there, so I stopped at a pupusa stand which makes an amazing meal of a bean, cheese and pork pupusa (a kind of stuffed tortilla) with spicy, vinegary coleslaw and hot tomato sauce. Yum! The only drawback is that this is definitely not fast food -- there's about a 20 minute wait from when you place your order till you receive it.

While I waited, I perused Facebook on my iPhone. One of my friends had posted a link to a new blog post I'd been awaiting for a couple of weeks. I knew my husband had been awaiting it as well, so I called him right away. I don't normally use my phone when I'm out and about unless I absolutely have to, so this was somewhat out of character. He knows I don't like to be texted, so this is a bit out of character for him, too. (He knew I'd never answer the phone if I were driving, which explains the text.)

When he answered, the first thing he said was, "Did you get my text?" I hadn't gotten a text message from him -- but within 30 seconds before my call, he'd texted me to say that this particular blog post was up!

Is this merely a coincidence? According to Webster's dictionary, a coincidence is "an accidental and remarkable occurrence of events, ideas, etc. at the same time...".

Well, okay, it's definitely remarkable, but is it accidental?

Is it more? Is it a synchronicity?

According to Wikipedia, "The idea of synchronicity is that the conceptual relationship of minds, defined as the relationship between ideas, is intricately structured in its own logical way and gives rise to relationships that are not causal in nature. These relationships can manifest themselves as simultaneous occurrences that are meaningfully related."

Maybe, maybe not.

Is it telepathy?

My definition of telepathy is mind to mind communication, unmediated by physical world communication. That is, if we had already spoken and planned to contact each other when the blog post came out, it wouldn't be telepathy. If we looked at each other, shared a meaningful glance, and said, "I just saw this post", it wouldn't be telepathy. But since we were miles apart, and had no communication before the almost simultaneous communication, it could be.

So which is it? My vote is for telepathy. Maybe telepathy explains this particular synchronicity and what others might call a coincidence.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How Do You Know Whom to Trust?

This is not knews to anyone, but our institutions have broken down, and you can't trust them any more:
  • Government: The entire Iraq war was based on lies. 
  • Elections: The Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case allows private groups, funded by corporations, or even foreign governments, to say whatever they want to influence an election, unhampered by any accountability -- nor are the candidates they support accountable for what these groups say. Thus our government is more accountable to these groups than to We the People.
  • Corporations: Novartis does a 'voluntary' drug recall of major over the counter drugs, because prescription drugs may have gotten mixed in with them. Note that it is voluntary, not mandatory. (Not to mention the abuses of the financial system.)
  • Commerce: The internet is the Wild West of commercial endeavor - anyone can claim anything, with basicailly no repercussions.
  • Religious institutions: The Catholic Church effectively condones the sexual abuse of children by hiding it and not disciplining the perpetrators. 
  • Journalism: Fox News spews propaganda 24 hours a day in the US -- but isn't allowed on television in Canada because it is illegal there to lie on TV.
I know I'm not the only one with this issue, because when I posted the following on FB, I got 16 likes and 20 comments, one of my most commented on posts ever: 

"I'm always looking for radio guests. Recently I was referred to someone who sent me an email which included this: " I have become one of the World’s Leading Authorities on “How Life Works”. " Am I the only one who is getting really tired of people saying they know EVERYTHING and/or promising the world?"

How do you know whom to trust? This post offers the best ways I know. Sometimes oldies are goodies -- the only thing I thought to add to that post was crowdsourcing, so I added it in the other post instead of here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Dealing with Uncertainty

Are you feeling stressed out by the amount of uncertainty in your world?  Me, too.

When I was getting my MBA, I took a course, called "Self-Assessment and Career Development". In the course, we did a number of standard tests to learn more about ourselves, so that we could plan our careers better. One of these explored how comfortable we were with ambiguity/uncertainty. I was extremely high in this regard -- out there on one tail of the bell curve with the research scientists. 

On top of that, I have clairvoyant abilities, so I can see out into the future for planning purposes. I also have a strong belief in inertia, which is the tendency of something to remain going (or not going) along the path on which it is already going. This helps for planning, as well, and for being comfortable with uncertainty.

But I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable with the amount of uncertainty in the world right now. And if I'm feeling it, I'll bet you are, too.

I have a strong sense right now that my belief in inertia is about to be challenged. In fact, I 'see' an image of a point on a graph where the direction changes abruptly, a place where all change is possible, coming quite soon. (See bad drawing on left. Point A is the point to which I refer.) I can see that on the other side of it, things are going to look much the same as today, but much better somehow.

So how do we handle this place where anything is possible? Here is what my guides want us all to remember:

  • We are all in this together. Since we are co-creating this reality, each of us must do his or her part to create the future we choose. What do you choose? Do you choose the golden rule, or do you choose a situation where he who has the gold, rules? Do you choose freedom and justice for all, or do you choose a government sold to the highest bidder? Do you choose the comfort of the dysfunctional system we have, because at least it is something you know, or do you choose to envision something healthier, even though it's scary because it is unknown?
  • Vision matters. What is your vision of the future? What is yor vision for yourself? your family? your community? your country? the Earth as a whole? Since we create our realities from our (often unconscious) beliefs, it is important to notice where those beliefs lead us into fear and to shift them to more empowering beliefs. (If you want help with this, call me at 888-4-HOLLIS.)
  • Collective vision matters.  If enough of us have a vision of a better world, say one of ecological health, then this is the way it will go. None of us has to know how to get there, or even exactly where "there" is, we just all have to have a positive vision. This means, of course, that we can't give in to the dystopian visions that fear creates, and that are fed to us by the media.
  • Action matters. There is an old saying that 'nothing changes until something moves'.
  • You only have to do your part. Feeling responsible for the future of the world be quite overwhelming. You are not responsible for the entire world; you are only responsible for your part of it and in it. Your part can be meditating and holding the positive vision and/or protesting and/or helping to develop an energy-saving device and/or planting a garden and/or recycling and/or well, you name it. Just do your part, whatever that is.

I really believe that if each of us holds a positive vision for ourselves, our families, our communities, our countries, and the planet, then it will help put us on a good track as we travel through this uncertain time.