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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Every shot has a purpose! Ben Hogan

One of Mr. Hogan's thoughts on course management was that the tee shot was the most important shot. Before hitting the tee shot you should know where the pin was cut on the green so that you could hit your approach shot from the right angle or the one that would give you the best opportunity to get the ball closest to the hole. If that meant hitting a fade or a draw, that was the shot you hit, and if you were not very good at hitting a fade, that is what you needed to work on at the range.

His whole approach was playing the game the right way with a very deliberate approach to mastering every facet of the game. And as you do this and then pull off the exact shot that the situation called for, the enjoyment was incredible. The enjoyment does not come from the actual shot though, the enjoyment comes from the work put in preparing yourself to pull off the shot. And then the feeling experienced can be reclaimed the next time you are faced with executing a particular shot. "You get what you are", and what you are is the feeling you have deliberately created.

Mr. Hogan's approach to the game of golf can and should be applied to Life. Every thought has a purpose. Before you have an interaction with somebody, know what thoughts and feelings are going to allow you to have a mutually benefiting interaction. It's obvious, you can't force anyone to do anything they don't want to do, but you can influence them. How do you want to influence them? With fear? With benefits or solutions? With Love? What feels better? Do that, always.

Think about this. 95% of the day is spent coming from your subconscious very much like an autopilot in an airplane. It functions very well, that's what allows you to get lost in a day dream or deep thought while driving your car. The challenge comes when your operating from your subconscious and having an interaction with another person. Without being deliberate in how you want that interaction to be, you re-act behavior that you have acted out in the past in similar situations, and re-acting is anything but deliberate. Its actually a pretty sloppy or haphazardly way to be.

Start being deliberate about three interactions you have a day. Maybe even identify these three interactions first thing in the morning and maybe even write them down. A really great exercise that I have people do is identify a person that is really annoying to them, and be deliberately polite and cordial to them with the next opportunity, just to notice the difference in themselves and the other person. It's very telling, as people tend to mirror back to you what you offer them. The funny thing is watching them change from their normal re-action to who they think you will be to this new cordial and polite you.

Try it! The more you are deliberate in your thinking, the easier it becomes and it begins becoming your autopilot mode because you are changing your subconscious thinking. Your belief is that by being deliberate with your thoughts, you get what you are.....which is true!! And the beauty of this is that you begin changing other peoples experience and the collective begins to change. And all you had to do was be responsible for your thinking, and in doing so you made a positive difference for those you interact with. Now, how good is that?

Before you tee off, know where the pin is cut on the green, in other words, before you speak or act, determine what feeling will allow for the best outcome. You really can change the world with how you think and feel, but don't take my word for it, try it and appreciate the enjoyment of a well executed life!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Your Heroes reveal your greatest values!

Last night I got a tweet from Robin Sharma that said "your biggest heroes reveal your greatest values", who are they? My immediate reply was Ben Hogan for his work ethic And his love of the process of mastery. I have a few others as well, but Hogan and Bob Beck stand out for me. Both golfers, Hogan I only knew through TV interviews and stories and what has to be close to every book ever written on him. More on Hogan in a minute.

Bob Beck was 73 years old when I met him at Shoreline Golf Course in Mountain View, California. He was a single and I first saw him as he was lugging his huge tour bag on the long path from the club house to the first tee where I and two friends were waiting to tee off. I met him somewhere in between the clubhouse and our carts to help him with his bag. At first he seemed to be a bit cantankerous and crusty. That day began a friendship that would last until the day he passed away, but one I reflect on often.

I was a decent golfer at the time in my late twenties, but Bob taught me how to play the game and we ended up playing in tournaments together. He taught me that it's more important to do what's right when nobody is watching than it is when somebody is watching. Golf is a game of integrity, you call penalties on yourself that in many cases nobody would no if you didn't call yourself out. He used to say to me "play the ball down" meaning if it was in a divot or plugged in the sand, you play the shot from where it lies. The premise was you will never learn how to play those shots if you don't play them.

I would often ask him how to play a shot and he would give me advise on how to execute the shot or sometimes he would say, "think about it, how do you think is he best way to hit the ball in that situation?". His way of teaching critical thinking or innovation.. I first began to follow Hogan when one day, Bob showed up at the course with a set of Ben Hogan Apex irons from 1955. They were old and well used but beautiful works of art to me. Old clubs were forged steel and hard to hit compared to even the clubs of the mid 1980's. He gave them to me and said "play these, they will make your swing better". I gratefully used them, but they were hard to hit pure, but when you did hit them pure, the feeling was ridiculous and the ball flew different.

Bob told me they were his favorite clubs. I could tell because the sweet spot on the face of each club had the chrome worn off from being hit so many times. I could imagine Bob on the range in his younger years poundage balls for hours honing his swing. It was the process internally that captured me and that is where I first developed my hunger to learn about Ben Hogan.

My favorite story about Hogan is at Westchester Country Club in 1971 at one of the last PGA tournaments that he played competitive golf in. At this time, the tour began providing the tour players with yardage books that provided yardages from landmarks on the holes and the actual flag placements on the holes so that the players knew from anywhere on the hole exactly how far they were from the hole.

In the press tent, Hogan was being interviewed and a reporter asked him why he didn't use the yardage cards provided by the tour while playing. His response was "because it would deprive me the enjoyment of a well executed golf shot". I loved that quote! Hogan played the game by feel and played it the way the course was designed to be played for the sheer enjoyment and satisfaction of executing on all the enjoyable and sometimes hard work he put in crafting his swing, his mind and his attitude. For Hogan, he wanted to do it right, and play the game with all the variables of the wind speed, what shot was called for, a draw, a fade, a high or low shot and then execute that very shot.

Hogan was the greatest player that ever lived. He didn't win as many majors as Nicklaus or as much money as Woods, but he was a gentleman that enjoyed his trade and dedicated to being his own man. I learned from all my reading about Hogan and my days spent playing golf with Bob Beck that life is a process and being true to yourself is the one thing you will always have or not depending on how you live your life. If your lost, finding your way is being true to yourself, it's being true to life. If you take a short cut or move a ball to make it easier along the way, learning from that is just part of the process, as long as you learn from that and it does not become the norm, and its being true to yourself. And when that becomes the norm for you, as you do the right thing and pull off a challenge or a great golf shot you will not be deprived the enjoyment of doing it the right way.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Love that you are

Be the love that you are! What does that mean? Well, at it's basis is the truth that our essence is pure positive Love. Before we come into the physical world we are spirit for lack of a better term. And as spirit we are consciousness, connected to all that is, both physical and non-physical, and as such we are the source of all that is. Blasphemy some people will think, and that's okay. More on why that's okay later.

While we are in the physical world, our non-physical essence is always with us, everyone has experienced when we are in tune with that part of us. When you are deliberate about your thinking it is easiest to be in tune (aligned) with your essence. For the purposes of this post, I'll call our essence the Divine Self. So your Divine Self is always with you but not always in play. When your Divine Self is in play, there are no problems. You are inspired, you are accepting, you have no agenda and the "just right" thoughts, words and actions emerge from seemingly nowhere.

What keeps you from alignment with your Divine Self is focusing on what you don't want and that is generally something that is happening right now. When you experience something in the "right now" it is the result of thinking and actions from a previous moment, either from out of alignment or from in alignment with your Divine Self. So your thoughts and actions now are creating your future, either what you do want or what you don't want depending upon your alignment at the time. Make sense?

For instance, as a parent, you have been conditioned to think (believe) that you know what is best for your child. Out of desire for their life experience to be safe, enjoyable and successful, as a parent you guide them in what they should do. Now, they have a Divine Self as well, which is not a child, its just a Divine Being. The best guidance a parent can provide to a child is to be aligned with their Divine Self. And the best way to provide that guidance is to demonstrate being aligned as frequently as possible and when you find yourself out of alignment, to deliberately move back toward alignment.

The challenge most parents have with aligned parenting is the attachment to an outcome of how they want their child to behave. And so when the child does not comply with the parents expectation, bam, the parent is out of alignment and has an interaction with the child from out of alignment which does nothing but perpetuate the frustration. Take as an example, a parent finds a child up past bedtime playing a video game. Upset, the video game is taken away and the child admonished about being up so late and school is tomorrow and the child needs his sleep so that they are not cranky in the morning, blah, blah, blah. The light is turned out, and the child lays in bed thinking about what just happened.

Conventional wisdom would agree that punishment needs to be applied for misconduct. But, how is that working really? Oh, it might change some behavior, but is it really effective for preparing a child for success? Look how well it works for adults that break the law? Criminal activity is nothing more than a symptom of chronically being out of alignment. That is why most criminals are repeat offenders.

An aligned parenting interaction might be like this. The parent, upon finding the child up late playing the game, might smile and ask the child "can't sleep?". Then tell the child that rest is important for the next day to be fully enjoyed, and that if they close their eyes, and quite their thinking, sleep will come easily and just right for what they need for the next day. The next morning, the aligned parent might check in on the child to see if they are rested, and if the child is cranky, the parent would have a conversation with the child about the result of not being rested is how they feel right now and that they trust the child to decide how much rest they need each night. When left in alignment, the child will always make good decisions that are best for them.

If this approach is taken consistently, its much easier for the child's Divine Self to be in play and guide the child in what is best for them. And if they make a mistake, and they will, a lesson will be learned. Contrast, or what you don't want is how you better know what you do want and its much more effective when noticed from alignment. If the parent chooses to impose consequences, the effectiveness of those consequences is determined by how aligned the parent is when implemented. Your alignment affects the child's alignment and how they process the consequence.

In closing, I want to go back to the blasphemy issue. Blasphemy is contrast, and nothing more than a construct of a set of beliefs. Maybe my beliefs are wrong, maybe I'm way off base, but I'll stay with my beliefs because of how they feel to me, that is how I determine "truth" for me. To those that would say "blasphemy", I would ask "How does that feel?" when you assign that meaning to another persons beliefs. Be the Love that you are and others will be the love that they are.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Alignment 1.0

I was doing some research for a project that I am working on and I always put myself in a very curious and almost naive state when I want to gain a new insight. I do this so that I am not confined by my previous thought constructs about the topic. Some of the most amazing ideas or concepts just pop into my mind when I do this.

Yesterday, an idea about getting aligned popped into my head while in this curious state. Using "Method Acting" as an analogy for getting back into alignment when you catch your self out of alignment. Method actors try to put themselves in the emotional state they think they're character would be in to accomplish the most accurate portrayal of the scene they are doing. So if the character is grieving, they try to put themselves in the state of grieving in order to be more convincing.

Getting into alignment is just like "Method Acting" in that you want to get into the state of your true self. For me that is being connected with the flow of the universe where there are no problems, a state of acceptance and pure Love and I can do this in many ways. I can write like I do in this blog, or I can get curious like I do when I am researching, or I can think about someone that I have a deep connection with and i begin to feel that state of connection. It is delicious.

Getting into alignment, the how of getting into alignment is very much an individual thing, but using "Method Acting" as an analogy can help you facilitate and understand the process. Use it, it's the most important thing you can do for yourself or anyone else you directly and indirectly interact with. It's also the process of experiencing the Love that you are, the Love that is your essence.

From your True Self, all things are possible, and the divine you makes manifest what is divine and expansive allowing for growth and progression. If your more comfortable with miracles, your True Self makes manifest miracles in very much the same way all the great masters or avatars have throughout history. You and I are no different than any of them, other than the way in which we think. Think about it, you undoubtedly have had a moments of epiphany or genious that defied your normal thinking, and from that moment you were never the same. Well, unless you rationalized what that moment was and don't revisit it again.

For me, an experience I had that changed me was laying in bed one night being frustrated about a relationship. I remember thinking "what the freak?", what am I missing? Is it me? Is it my thinking? I was at my wits end and literally at a point of surrender. Then my mind became quite, not through a conscious effort, it just happened. My mind went from all these thoughts just racing through my mind building upon each other, to just calm quiet.

I have no idea what the timing was, but in the black blank screen that was in front of my mind's eye I began seeing a violet mist that gradually became more dense and vivid. It was swirling with no pattern or shape and I was enjoying the experience, it was very calming. Then at one point at the bottom of the mist the point at which the black and the mist met, it began taking a distinct shape. It began moving up and to the left very deliberately until it approached the top of my minds eye screen, then moved to the right dipping down a little then back up and to the right, then moved down and toward the beginning point. It's hard to articulate in words, but from the time it began taking shape, I knew what it was. The shape was a heart and defined by the violet mist in the middle and the black surrounding it.

I just observed it and my entire body became calm, it was palpable like nothing I have ever felt. Then the mist began gaining "Energy" and began turning white almost like a train's headlight coming at me inside a tunnel. Then, bam, it just burst upon me and immersed me completely in the light. The calm sensation turned to what I sensed as a confidence. A confidence like I had never even come close to feeling. I just rested in that feeling for I have no idea how long and then I woke up the next morning.

Some months later, I was in a week long leadership class at the University of Michigan business school, and the professor teaching the class, Robert Quinn was talking about moments that lend toward defining who we are and asked for any personal experiences. My hand just rose almost without my control. So here I was sitting in a business school class about to talk about a mystical experience I had with a room full of strangers. Not something I would normally do, but I just jumped right into the story and I was talking to him, I never looked at anyone else. He listened very intently and when I finished, he asked me what it meant to me. Up until that moment, I really never thought about what the experience meant to me, my thoughts were only that it was a really trippy enjoyable experience like nothing I had ever experienced.

Without hesitatiion, I answered his question of what it meant to me with "be the love you are, experience the love you are and everything else will fall into place". I distinctly remember looking at him calmly without any reservation about making that statement in a business school classroom, and he smiled and simply said, "Beautiful". Later at lunch he sat down with me and said he appreciated that I was willing to share the story in front of everyone. I told him that it almost felt like it wasn't me, I felt compelled to share it. He told me that moments like that are the most gratifying to him as a professor, because it touches the person at a very deep level that too often students miss.

Flying home I pondered the light experience, the palpable feeling I experienced and then the classroom experience. Looking back I was in that curious and naive state and it was like these clarifying thoughts were just dropping into my head, the essence of which is we all have the ability to tap into our divine True Selves and access all creativity, wisdom and intelligence that exists when we are deliberate in our thinking. We are all connected and not seperate from each other. Our beliefs and thoughts are the only separation that exists.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

How powerful are beliefs? Ridculously, seriously powerful

One of my many favorite things to do is help people re-write beliefs that are not serving them in a beneficial way.......or change limiting beliefs to empowering beliefs. This is done in the sub conscious mind and its done energetically, after all your thoughts or beliefs are nothing more then energy. Of course, everything is nothing more than energy. You know that right? If not, that's a whole other post or two. So how powerful are beliefs? Well, they determine your life experience.

Through working with people, it became apparent that in the vast majority of instances, people with "allergies" had no allergy as the term is commonly used. Turns out the symptoms of the "allergy" were resistance associated with beliefs that the individual had with another person, most commonly a relative. What I mean by resistance is bad thoughts or negative thoughts about the person.

Okay, here is where it starts to get a little outside most peoples grasp of reality, but if your reading this, you should be fine. I use muscle testing to determine if a belief is held by an individual. In other words, I test for a strong muscle response to a statement made by a person to see if that statement is congruent with their sub conscious mind. If the muscle response is strong, they believe the statement at the sub conscious level, if not they don't. This technique can be used to communicate with the persons Higher Self (Super Coscious Mind) with the intent of helping the individual grow.

Using a dialogue of questions, we can determine not only what the "allergy" is from but if it is a person. For instance, the first question I always ask is, "are the allergic symptoms environmental?", then test for a strong or weak response. If the muscle response is weak, the next question is "are the allergic symptoms due to feelings about a person?". If the muscle response is strong, then I ask if it is a family member and so on. Once the person is identified, the same process is used to identify the issue and then we re-write the belief. The physical manifestation of the false, limiting belief is immediately alleviated.

The same can be done for anything, such as phobias, with immediate change. I have done it with my son for test anxiety and the beauty of this is that because it is at the sub conscious level, the person won't even notice the difference, they just act differently and afterward might notice that their behavior was different.

Sounds like woo woo, unbelievable stuff? I work with people that don't believe this can be done, people steeped in Darwinian physics yet once they experience the shift they believe. How powerful is the mind? People with multiple personality disorder have physical changes take place as they shift from one personality to another. Their eye color changes, one patient that burned themselves with cigareetes as one personality actually had their scars disappear and reappear as they changed personalities. Hard to believe? This was observed at Harvard Medical School....don't believe me? Check it out, you would be surprised at was is actually fact that you don't believe.

I AM in control of the creation of my life, and it originates, as it always has, from who I decide I AM right now

Do you believe that? Getting what you want out of life, essentially comes down to making the choice of reincarnating a new version of YOU. A YOU that believes in infinite potential brought into manifestation through YOU. A YOU that is tapped into all that is, that is capable of anything you put your thoughts to. But I'm talking about deliberate thinking not haphazard mental activity. Creative thinking, intuition, in-spirit-ation, deliberate thinking.

Thomas Edison developed a process for coming up with solutions for problems during which he actually allowed the how of inventing the light bulb to come to him. He would sit quietly with his eyes closed and clear his thinking with only the question or problem that he wanted to resolve in his mind. And he would just sit, being still until a thought came to him. Sometimes the thought was the answer, sometimes the thought was enough to spark further thinking that the solution arose out of. When he did his, he held a rock in one hand so that if he fell asleep, the rock dropping from his hand would wake him when it hit the floor.

A good friend asked me what exactly I meant by "We get what we are and not what we want". Well, it basically means that what we get is what we think, what we believe, because that is what we are. Her next question was, "So, how do I get rid of negative thoughts that don't serve me well?". You don't get rid of them, you just replace them with thoughts that do serve you well. If you have negative thoughts, replace them with positive thoughts. You tend to think more thoughts like you are already thinking, and this has a biological effect on you as well. Your thoughts trigger the emotions you feel, and your emotions are felt through the release of nueropeptides that are released from your brain and dock on the cells or your body. That's how you experience the palpable feeling of love, fear, joy, hopelessness and every other emotion you experience.

In essence you become addicted to your thoughts through your emotions, and yes I do mean addicted, the neuropeptides dock on your cells the same way opiates do. You can research it, google "Molecules of emotion". Just one way this manifests is people that accept physical abuse in relationships, gravitate to and push the buttons of their abusers until they get abused. Think about it, abuse victims don't stay in relationships with nice, caring people. They push buttons of the other person until they snap and abuse them or the victim leaves because the "snap" never takes place in their partner. This is not say that abuse is acceptable or the real victim is the abuser being victimized by the "victim". Everybody is responsible for everything that happens to them, good or bad. The responsibility lays with the thoughts you choose, and I do mean choose. Having sloppy haphazard thoughts is still a choice.

A great exercise to see how your thoughts have you is to watch your thoughts. How do you watch your thoughts? The easiest way is to use the time you spend commuting to and from work to just observe your thoughts and the key is to just observe, don't judge or try to stop them, just be curious and observe the constant stream of thoughts you have. From wondering if you will make the next traffic light, to wondering why the driver in front of you in the fast lane is only going 55 MPH, to what does the teenager in the car next to you think when he looks in the mirror and sees all the piercings on his face. Now, think of the emotions associated with each of your thoughts. Do they serve you? Are they harmful to you? Maybe, maybe not, but you are experiencing them, even if only momentarily.

If the majority of your thoughts are not positive, what kind of state do you think your body is in the majority of the time? Where do you think physical maladies come from? Yep the state of your body as determined by your emotions as determined by your thoughts. 95% of the human population is genetically perfect, yet 95% of males that live to the age of 80 will develop prostate cancer. It's environmental, but not the outside environment, it's the internal environment of the individual. Same is true for a culture of villagers in Russia, where living to be 100 years old is the norm, and the majority of the adult population smokes non filtered cigarettes. The culture is that elders are held in high esteem and valued as the wise souls that they are......so what kind of state is their body in from their emotions experienced from their thinking? Positive and nurturing.

You get what you are, and what you are is what you think. At the essence of who you are is pure positive Love. Be the Love you are. There are no problems with Love because Love is expansive, inclusive and where growth comes from. You are in control of the life you create, because you are in control of what you think.....but you need to choose to be. The common theme of every Master throughout time was this truth, your thoughts create. Christ, Buddha, Mohammad, Lao Tzu, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, all taught this principle. And they also taught that they are no different from you or I, except in how we may think. Create what you want by creating the way of thinking that manifests what you desire.