Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What do cows, trees and humans have in common? Unfortunately, nothing at all...

Ever wondered about your ability to be fully human? Bet you’re too busy living to really think about it. But there’s something seriously wrong with this picture. We’re designed to be autonomous, creative, self-directed beings; we’re built to thrive, excel and evolve. But we’re not exactly thriving, are we? Instead, we grapple with co-dependence, neediness, fear, despair, insecurity, self-destructive behaviour... we’re dysfunctional and disempowered in almost every area of our lives.

Why is that? The problem is not with the hardware. The body is, after all, the most sophisticated, most advanced piece of kit ever developed. It’s perfection itself, like all of nature. Yet despite our eons of evolution, we've failed to fully understand or master ourselves. The rest of nature seems to have got it sussed, though. I mean, have you ever seen a tree that didn’t know how to be a tree? You never see a tree trying to be an elephant, right? Ever seen a cow that didn’t know how to be 100% cow? Nope. But try finding a human being that actually knows how to be 100% human, full time, and you might have a problem. And we think cows are stupid? At least they know how to be what they are. Plus they’re placid, non-violent, and only make a fuss when they’re slaughtered.

So the problem is not with the hardware. It’s the software that we need to address—the software that runs our minds, bodies and lives; the software that’s been corrupted, messed with, filled with nasty viral messages that spread throughout our systems and get handed down from one misguided generation to the next. It’s the programming of our formative years—all those beliefs, fears, insecurities, projections and skewed perceptions passed on by parents, teachers, religion, society... We’re told what’s possible and how the world works; we’re told what to fear and how to make ourselves acceptable. We’re taught to shelve our dreams, be sensible and hunker down for some cut-throat living.

It may look as if we have endless problems in our world. But the only real problem is our negative programming—the root of all human dysfunction and disempowerment. Without that negative distortion, everything works just as it’s meant to. Our programming is the only thing that’s flawed—the only thing in the way of our happiness and fullfilment. When we change it, everything changes. Only problem is, you won’t believe that ...because you’ve been programmed to believe that stuff just happens and you’d best just deal with it.

Take a closer look at this picture we call life and see just how far we haven’t come as a race. Notice a certain discrepancy between our original blueprint and our current behaviour? We need to start being what we’re meant to be. (Cows can do it ...but that’s an udder story). Don’t keep running the same old, primitive, fear-based software of our Neanderthal ancestors. Been there, done that sabre-toothed-tiger-chasing thing. Life’s a little different now and we need to wise up. If you’re serious about being a fully functional, superlative human being, you need to upgrade to some 21st-century software. There’s a whole world waiting and it’s an awful lot more fun when we act—and interact—like real human beings.

Find out how to transform your negative programming at or e-mail for more info.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bankrupt bookshops, bankrupt brains? Have we heard the last word on books...?

As part of the Mountains to Sea Book Festival held in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin on 7-12 September, I attended an interesting debate on the digital revolution. The focus was on the likely future of the publishing industry, and how bookshops, libraries and readers will be affected by the growing trend in e-books and other digital media. The panel of experts* had some interesting views, although all four admitted to not knowing what the future held.

Great discussion far as it went. What I felt was missing, however, was 1) a more proactive, opportunistic approach and 2) a more probing look at the evolution not just of the printed word but of the word itself.

1) It’s clear that we’re living in an increasingly digital environment and, despite what Tim Waterstone maintained, I doubt that there will be many physical bookshops left by 2020. It’s not that they don’t represent a unique retailing experience, as he claims; they do, but that won’t be enough to ensure their survival. It won’t be enough to have ‘good’ bookshops, filled with interesting books, a wide range of genres, and helpful, knowledgeable staff. This kind of offering is too passive to be sustainable in our rapidly evolving world. What’s required is a much more seamless marriage between digital and printed products, and an active embracement of emerging media opportunities. ‘Good’ bookshops will have e-readers, Kindles, iPads, computer stations for downloading e-books with the assistance of staff, and printing stations for those who want to print out all or part of their e-book. They will have an educational component, offering instruction on digital browsing, blog writing/posting, apps, and other elements relating to social and interactive media. They will become leaders in written and digital communication, rather than simply trying to add value to the static printed-book product.

2) The digital revolution has had another significant impact: in addition to changing our mechanisms of communication, it is changing the language itself. SMS, e-mails and other forms of instant communication are causing our language to become fragmented and to be broken down into its most primitive elements. Words are truncated and punctuation is omitted. Keywords are used as code. Some claim that our language is simply evolving; that may be true, but it’s not a pretty sight. To me, language appears to be degenerating. People write your when they mean you’re, whose when they mean who’s, it’s when they mean its, and which when they mean that. It’s sloppy, unattractive and downright annoying — for those who love language. Unfortunately, even before the digital revolution, our education systems failed to efficiently teach grammatical correctness or promote the value of eloquent, articulate communication. Now, for young people particularly, the ability to communicate via online social media is far more important than the art of communication. And this is the key issue: we are losing the integrity and artistry of our language. Even printed books produced by well-known publishing houses are full of grammatical errors and lazy punctuation — quite apart from the Americanisms that have seeped into every linguistic crevice of the Anglophone world.

While the digital revolution may be hugely beneficial in terms of enhancing the content of what we say and the mechanisms we use to deliver our message, it is decimating our language and the articulacy with which we express ourselves. For most people, that doesn’t matter. Unfortunately, that collective indifference is reducing our communications down to the level of the lowest common denominator. While global digital communication is shrinking our world and putting us increasingly in touch with each other, it’s resulting in multi-tasking, short attention spans, rapid-fire communication, and chronic interruptions. It’s also shrinking our brains, affecting our health, and diluting our linguistic personality in ways that will ultimately force us to emotionally reconnect with ourselves, to revert to old values, and to turn off the computer, the cellphone, the iPhone, the iPod and the whole wide world of digital noise so we can curl up peacefully on the sofa with a really good book.

* Tim Waterstone, founder of Waterstone Books; Rachel Cooke, writer/columnist for The Observer and The New Statesman; Jamie Byng, owner/operator of Canongate Books; and Matthew Kneale, author and historian. The discussion was moderated by Eoin Purcell, Editor of Irish Publishing News.

Monday, March 29, 2010

On the run - one woman's quest for answers

The following article was published in March 2010 in Positive Life, an Irish magazine for which I write a regular column.

When I was growing up, I used to dream of running away from home. I’d jump out the window, climb over the front gate and then belt down the road as fast as my short little legs could carry me. In my dream, I was always caught and brought back home. I varied my route each night, in the hope of evading my faceless pursuers, but they always found me. As soon as I was old enough, I did run away from home. I left Ireland and kept on running. I ran to Scotland, to Italy, to Switzerland; I ran all over Europe; I ran to Canada and the States, the Caribbean, Mexico and all over Latin America. I ran to Kenya, Bali and the Seychelles. Over 35 countries and 26 years later, I’m back in Ireland, breathless and dizzy.

My globetrotting opened up a whole new world of awareness. I realised, of course, that it wasn’t home I was running from; it was me. And then I realised that it wasn’t me, either; it was all the things I’d been taught about myself that had created a frantic web of angst and insecurity. I’d been running from what I thought of as the truth—that I was not good enough, I was an imposter waiting to be found out, and I didn’t deserve to have the love or life I wanted. I was driven by generations of negative programming that created struggle, anxiety and disappointment—the inevitable product of an oppressed, religious nation that preached penance and low self-worth.

Fortunately, my worldwide marathon led me to some deeper truths. As a kinesiologist and counsellor with a questioning, sceptical mind, I delved into the human psyche, exploring the subconscious dynamics that drive our relationships, our health, our economy and our world. What I discovered was a reality that transformed my life, bringing love, enlightenment and more laughter lines than I thought possible on a human face. But it’s a reality that few can conceive of: when I tell people that our negative beliefs literally determine our circumstances in life, and that we all attract particular people, partners, challenges and crises, as a result of how we’ve been subconsciously programmed as children, their eyes glaze over and they’re back to worrying about how to pay their Visa bill.

Ironically, the programming itself (the beliefs, fears and limitations we absorb from parents, teachers, the church...) is the very thing that gets in the way of us realising that it’s the very thing getting in our way. In fact, it’s probably the ONLY thing stopping most people from leading, or even imagining, their ideal life. It doesn’t just determine the way we think, how we perceive the world or what we think is possible for us; it has a physical, magnetic quality that literally causes us to attract a certain level of love, money, ease, success and fulfillment in life.

Finally, I’d begun to make sense of my world and to understand why I (and a few billion others) was driven to behave a certain way, to believe certain things, to expect certain outcomes—and to attract exactly that. I began to see that the root of our problems lay buried in our subconscious minds and that changing our negative programming changed everything.

It’s not the loss of our booming economy that we need to worry about; it’s the loss of our self-worth, our emotional freedom and our ability to see beyond the negative beliefs that keep us stuck. Those beliefs keep us from seeing our true value, from feeling good about ourselves, from having healthy self-esteem, from expressing our personal power, from having loving, lasting relationships, from being healthy and whole, from fulfilling our dreams, from boosting our bank accounts ...and from being happy.

Of course, the miserable Irish weather doesn’t help. If I could just hire a massive tug and haul the whole soggy island southwards about 1,000km, I think we’d all feel a lot better. Failing that, though, the single most effective, powerful thing we can do is identify and address the negative programming that’s stopping us from being—and seeing—all that we can be.

Our negative programming sets us up for a life on the run; we’re either chasing something, in the hope that it will bring the success and fulfillment we seek, or we’re running away from whatever seems to be causing us grief, burying ourselves in denial with alcohol, cigarettes, soap operas, anti-depressants, cream buns and yummy dark chocolate. Only when we understand what’s really driving us can we finally stop running and come face to face with the deeper truth: we’re powerful, we’re creative, we’re worthy and, yes, we’re Irish.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Power to the steeple (Are we missing the point of religion?)

I grew up in Ireland – but I’m not a Catholic, I’m not religious, I don’t get legless at the pub on Friday night and I don’t drink strong black tea with lots of milk and sugar. I don’t even have an Irish accent ...except maybe when I’m angry. But I do have a quirky sense of humour – which prompts me to look at things from a slightly skewed perspective.

When you grow up in a fiercely religious country, you tend to either go with the crowd or break off on your own completely. I did the latter. Apart from the obvious search for meaning, a need for community or a sense of belonging, and a desire for answers to life’s conundrums, I see no reason at all to embrace any kind of organized religion (and I’m not talking about spirituality). For me, using religion as a guiding force in your life is a bit like going to the spa for some pampering when what you really need is a divorce. It’s the wrong place to go for what ails you; it will keep you stuck in denial; and you’ll pay dearly for sustaining the illusion.

Every institution in society – government, marriage, the Church – is essentially a system of practices and beliefs designed to maintain law and order and keep certain people in power. And, as with all clever marketing strategies, one is often played off against the other. While the American $1 bill may claim, In God we trust, God has taken the rap for a multitude of things that had nothing to do with Him, Her, It or Whatever’s-Out-There—and everything to do with human greed, dysfunction and disempowerment. But this is not about debunking religious beliefs or even the existence of God. It’s about understanding what religion represents and why it so pervades our lives.

For God’s sake...?

Religion is one of the most ingenious devices ever invented to stop us from realizing our own power. (No wonder presidents use it.) It causes us to focus on an external power—a power that we can blame when it ‘allows’ bad things to happen and praise when it ‘makes’ things go well. And if we experience what we might think of as a miracle or ‘divine intervention’, it is likely to be so distorted by religious filters that we end up completely bypassing a much deeper truth. Over 2000 years of story-telling, skillful editing and relentless indoctrination have blinded us to a power and a reality far greater than anything ever written in the Bible, the Koran or any other religious text.

Yet getting to that truth or even exploring the possibility of it is like negotiating a mine field. Even now, as you’re reading this, your beliefs and judgements will be getting in the way of you keeping an open mind. You may think you already know what this is about or that you’ve heard it all before. Yet the context for your beliefs is not your own, and your mind is filled with concepts that you may not even consciously agree with; even if you’re an atheist, you probably can’t curse, express disbelief or have an orgasm without invoking God. You can’t help it. You’re working against a backdrop of pre-programmed ideas that don’t just shape what you think and believe; they shape the way you think and your ability to process new information.

Religion re-defined

When you strip away the idea of a god ‘out there’ and when you remove all constructs (such as government and religion) that are built on faith, fear and punishment, you realize that all such systems have one common purpose: to disempower you as an individual and to keep you from recognizing that your power lies in not being bound by collective beliefs. It lies, instead, in understanding where all true power and related beliefs are born, bred and propagated.
Your power lies in your subconscious, where most of your beliefs became rooted, beyond your reach, at an age when you had no say in the matter. When I was growing up in Ireland, my best friend lived next door. She was brought up strictly Catholic, attending Mass every week and going to a school run by nuns, whereas I was occasionally taken to a Methodist church, sometimes to a Presbyterian, but more often just up the hill to sit and admire the lovely view of Killiney Bay. While my friend and I had very different religious beliefs foisted upon us, our upbringing was otherwise very similar – with lots of other equally limiting beliefs getting in the way of us being truly ourselves.

Whether it’s parental conditioning or religious indoctrination, your programming prevents true self-dominion. Yet your programming is the very thing that will get in the way of you realizing that it is the very thing getting in your way. If you could manage to crowbar your way inside your brain, to reach your raw, untainted thinking processes, you’d discover a vast world of untapped potential.

Your subconscious mind is a powerful magnetic force that causes you to attract very particular people and circumstances in accordance with how it has been programmed. This means that your programming literally determines your circumstances. You’ve been positively programmed in many ways too, of course, but if your negative programming remains unaddressed, you’ll attract struggle and negative outcomes in your life and you’ll fall short of your potential. You may think that God or the universe has prevented you from having the love, money or success that you want, but it’s your programming that decides. If you’ve been programmed to believe that you don’t deserve to be wealthy, there’s no point in praying to God for the big bucks. The answer to your prayers will only come when you’ve enhanced your subconscious self-worth.

This is not to say that there is no God but that, if there is one, it is in you or operating through you in ways that religious and political leaders would have huge resistance to accepting. Ironically, these leaders are usually no more aware of their inherent power than you are of yours. What they do know for sure is that generating fear and guilt among the masses is the most effective way to make them do what they want—and to keep themselves in power. If they knew the true meaning and nature of personal power, there would be no need for—and no satisfaction in deploying—any kind of fear-mongering, bullying or manipulation.

Because you’ve been taught to believe that your life is beyond your control, you won’t think in terms of having created your own circumstances and will, instead, blame them on God, destiny, bad luck, the economy, random chaos or your next-door neighbour. It’s an elaborate set-up that will keep you stuck forever unless you can suspend your negative beliefs and find a way to infiltrate the vast, complex terrain of your subconscious mind to change your programming.

It’s an inside job...

How much do you know about your subconscious? Do you know what’s in there? Do you know how much it runs your life? Of course you don’t, because it’s the biggest undercover operator that you’ll never get to meet. Your subconscious holds the key to the way you think, the beliefs you have, the way you operate and how successful, loved or wealthy you are in life. It controls you more than you can possibly imagine, making true personal freedom impossible. It decides what happens to you, what you think you’re worth and who you’ll marry, regardless of what you might ideally want. And it processes millions more pieces of information per second than your conscious mind—without your permission or knowledge.

Whatever your beliefs (and all religions have some aspects that are worth believing in), it’s far more important to know how you arrive at your beliefs, whether they are truly yours, how well they work for you, and whether they support you in being powerful, loving and fulfilled.

Do you choose penance or power?

Many religions preach penance and damnation, teaching us that we are worthless, undeserving and sinful—as if these negative, disempowering beliefs could actually serve us in some positive way. How can thinking of ourselves as sinful or disempowered help us? And if we believe in a vengeful god, who does that serve? It’s hard to see how living in fear can truly serve us as individuals, but it’s easy to see how promoting fear, guilt and dependency among those too disempowered to think for themselves supports the vast religious infrastructures that perpetuate such collective co-dependence.

Religion is essentially someone’s interpretation of reality. Based on something that supposedly happened centuries ago, a story unfolded and conclusions were drawn. Beliefs were then handed down from generation to generation, and accepted wholesale, without ever being tested for their validity by each new mind that took them on. Yet religious fervour can run so deep that we may be killed for speaking out against another’s beliefs. Why this intense investment in having others believe what we believe? Why is it not okay to believe what we want and to let others do the same? Why should someone else’s beliefs represent a threat to us? Would you care what others believed if you had never been forced to believe in certain things yourself? And if a belief is just a thought that got implanted in our mind by some person, place or event, why is it so important to hang onto it, when other, more life-enhancing beliefs might serve us better? What do we stand to lose if we let go of, or even think beyond, a particular belief?

The answers are in our programming. It shapes our sense of self and determines whether we see ourselves as worthy and powerful and whether we take responsibility for our choices, our emotions and our lives. If someone is blindly or fanatically attached to their beliefs—whether those beliefs relate to religion, politics or vegetarianism—it says far more about the believer than about the beliefs. Any kind of rigidity around certain beliefs demonstrates a deep insecurity that has nothing to do with the belief being so fervently defended. At some point in our programming, certain beliefs become so inextricably linked to our sense of security that we cannot separate them from our self-identity—and may defend them to the death. But we only ever feel the need to prove our validity when we subconsciously believe we’re ‘less than’. And it is only when we lack our own sense of security and power over our lives that we latch on to beliefs that hold the promise of salvation.

The nice thing about believing in your own power is that you can prove its validity to yourself—and, once you do, it won’t matter whether anyone else believes in it or not. Once you figure out how the subconscious works and how you can change your negative programming in practical ways, you start to realize just how much power you have over your circumstances. You understand why your life has unfolded the way it has and that every challenge is designed to strengthen a part of you made wobbly by your programming.

You also begin to see through the tactics used by parents, politicians, pastors and presidents to get you to do what they want. Whether it’s your parents (“Now, Johnny, if you’re a good boy and do what you’re told, you’ll go to heaven, but if you’re bad ...well, you know what happens to bad boys.”), a president (“If we don’t pour billions of dollars into military defence, we’ll be attacked by evil terrorists and you’ll lose all your freedom.”) or a religious leader (“Repent, you evil, worthless sinner, or you’ll burn in hell – and please don’t forget to put your offering in the basket.”), it’s all a form of negative programming designed to keep you disempowered.

So I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to church, but that the power you should be in awe of is the one inside you. It’s not ‘out there’, you don’t have to do penance to earn it, and you don’t need a go-between to create what you want. The power is in your programming. Fix that, and you’ll make a world of difference.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Still praying for the American dream? Here’s a wake-up call to stop the nightmares

Once upon a time there was a great nation. It led the world in democracy, innovation and apple pie. It preached decency, family values and personal freedom. It helped smaller nations, promoted free enterprise and encouraged individuals to be the best they could be. It was loved; it was respected; it was admired. Its name was America.

How do you begin to revitalize a nation that’s been brought to its knees? How do you change a collective mindset cemented by centuries of dysfunction? You look at the symptoms, find the underlying cause and correct the problem at source. And, ideally, you have a powerful, honest man at the top to lead the way. Debt, divorce, depression, abuse, addiction, obesity, poverty and war are the glaring symptoms of a race that has failed to fully understand or empower itself. And if we are disempowered as individuals, driven largely by fear, need and despair, how can our nation be anything but dysfunctional?

With the election of Mr Obama, Americans have a wonderful opportunity to say goodbye to dysfunction and fear-mongering—in government and in their personal lives. More than just a politician, Mr Obama has shown himself to be an exceptional human being who embodies the wisdom, integrity, charisma and authenticity so lacking in American politics and life. He’s a glaring reminder of just how far America has strayed from what is right and good; he’s a man who believes in himself and in his ability to do something extraordinary; and he’s a symbol of hope and optimism in a disempowered nation.

It’s an inside job

Most Americans have been disempowered since birth. They’ve been programmed to think of the world as a competitive place. They’ve been taught that they’re at the mercy of circumstances, that there’s no free lunch, that life is a lottery, and that they’re not worthy, acceptable, lovable or beautiful enough to create what they want. We’ve ALL been programmed that way. We’re not taught that we’re powerful human beings; we’re not taught self-mastery; and we’re certainly not taught that the true source of our problems and our power is in our subconscious minds. Instead, we’re taught to fear, fight, litigate, go to war, and exploit others’ weaknesses in order to get what we want because, deep down, we don’t believe ourselves to be worthy.

The fears, insecurities and negative beliefs passed on to us by parents and society make us victims in a seemingly random world, oblivious to our power. This negative programming robs us of our self-worth, thwarts our potential, distorts our sense of self and crushes our dreams. Most importantly, it determines our circumstances. Only when we understand how our programming causes us to attract the outward manifestations of our fears and low self-worth can we take control of our lives. Only then do we realize that we are the real originators of the scenarios, dynamics and drama that we call life.

The programming conundrum

While it may be hard to believe that your programming could possibly determine your circumstances, it could be the most liberating piece of news you’ve heard this decade. When we understand the power and purpose of our subconscious programming, we can break free of struggle, hardship and self-defeat. We can get our lives—and our nation—powerfully back on track. The problem is not out there in the shaky stock exchange or in the rising price of oil; these are just the symptoms of our dysfunction, not the cause. The problem and the solution lie deep within each one of us. When we realize that our programming determines how much love, money, ease, success and fulfilment we have, we can start to take charge of our lives.

Taking responsibility for our lives means taking responsibility for our bodies and our minds—where all the action is. We need to learn how our bodies work and understand what they’re trying to tell us when we get sick; we need to delve more deeply into our minds to cultivate the discipline and determination required for healing; and, most importantly, we need to identify and transform the negative subconscious programming that has been running—and ruining—our lives. But transforming our negative programming is not about having good intentions or thinking positively. It’s about demonstrating whatever qualities we failed to have nourished in us as children—qualities such as acceptance, respect, validation and trust. When we take actions that demonstrate strong self-worth, we change our negative programming and, consequently, our negative circumstances. No one can prove this to you, and most people will dismiss the idea as absurd; but you can prove it to yourself and, if you do, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Who’s in charge of your dream?

America’s current crisis shows us how far we are from living the real ‘American dream’—a life of harmony, financial prosperity, loving relationships and professional success. Making that dream a reality requires an individual commitment to greater self-awareness and self-responsibility. If every individual took responsibility for their fears, beliefs and actions, rather than being driven by collective insecurity and hopelessness, America could truly become the super-power it has always claimed to be. Health-care systems are failing to meet our needs because we are meant to be masters of our own bodies, not dependent upon outside expertise. Our deteriorating environment is a reflection of our internal neglect, with the dumping of our toxic emotions every bit as damaging and prevalent as the dumping of toxic wastes. We are meant to take charge of our own lives, our own bodies and our fragile environment—not just take a pill, defer the responsibility or hide out in hopelessness.

Americans may like to think in terms of democracy and freedom, yet most live in fear of attack from other nations and/or from people in their own neighbourhood; and they fear not being acceptable to their partner, boss or others. Fear is the direct result of negative programming and it fosters dysfunction. Look at the average relationship and you’ll see degrees of control, co-dependence, emotional or physical abuse, manipulation, resentment and blame. You may despair of ever having the love or life that you want, but every challenge you face is designed to trigger your negative programming and show you what’s missing inside. When you take practical steps to fill in the qualities you’ve been missing in your relationships (such as acceptance, respect and trust), you will start to attract those very same qualities in your life. Relationships are where we get to practise being human and fully empowered. They are the key to us becoming whole and fulfilled.

Micro/macro healing

Healing within and between nations requires healing at the personal level. Everything around us changes when we change ourselves. If we cultivate strong self-worth, while practising self-respect, personal responsibility and integrity in our relationships, we will begin to experience these values in our relationships, our community and our world. Once we recognize dysfunction in our own words or actions, we can recognize it in others and take steps to change things. Becoming empowered in our own lives is the key to building a truly empowered nation.

The basic principle of personal empowerment underpins everything we do, whether we realize it or not: we attract whatever circumstances we need to come face to face with ourselves so that we can figure out who we really are. Whether we attracted President Bush or the girl next door, it’s all the same thing. Others show us who we subconsciously think we are; they reflect back to us the dysfunction created by our negative programming; and they challenge us to be human, in a world where everything tends to disconnect us from our hearts and our ability to make a difference. The bombardment of e-mails, the distractions of cell phones, the mind-numbing commute to and from work, the lure of technology, the pain of abusive relationships, the hype and drama of the media, and the frantic pace of everyday living—all keep us stuck in survival mode. In the midst of all that, can you even begin to care if street children are gunned down in Guatemala, if thousands are made homeless by floods in Asia, or if your 80-year-old neighbour sits alone in the dark after losing his wife of 50 years?

President Bush showed us what was wrong with our world—inside and out. Mr Obama represents the positive end of the spectrum, demonstrating the greater power of human decency, integrity and strong self-worth. We count on him to lead with wisdom and awareness, but he can only do so effectively if Americans become leaders in their own lives too. When we take responsibility for our relationships, our dysfunction and our fears, we can generate the success and fulfilment we desire. Empowerment happens one mindful, responsible step at a time. It’s not just about who we elect; it’s about who we elect to be.

Olga Sheean is a relationship and personal empowerment coach who uses muscle-testing to identify and address the subconscious programming that runs our lives. She is the author of Fit for Love – find your self and your perfect mate, and the creator of DiscoverYou, an e-course in self-mastery. For more info:

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Empowerment in recession: get the message and thrive

Does your spine tingle with dread when the post arrives? Is your credit card red-hot from constant use? Do you have nightmares about queuing for the dole? If the current economic crisis has fanned your financial fears into full-blown panic, then it’s time to take a look at what’s really going on.

In a crisis like this, we blame the banks, bad investments and dodgy government. We feel powerless, angry and resentful about what’s been done to us, beyond our control. But what we don’t realise is that the real culprit lies much closer to home. It’s buried deep inside each one of us and it’s causing us to attract very specific challenges, with a very particular purpose in mind. It determines how much money, success and fulfillment we have in life and it operates completely under cover, without our knowledge or permission. If you want to resolve your money issues, once and for all, you must go and find this part of yourself and have a serious talk with it.

Your subconscious is the part of you that you’re least likely to meet, without a formal introduction, and yet most need to meet because it’s running your life. While it’s the last place you’d think of looking for a solution to your financial problems, it’s the source of every conflict, challenge and crisis you’ve ever faced. Confronting it and understanding how it works could be the most lucrative, life-changing thing you ever do.

The power of your programming

While you were still in nappies, your subconscious was busy absorbing the negative beliefs, fears and insecurities of your parents, teachers and whatever religion you happened to be born into. This negative programming creates a deep-seated unworthiness that prevents us from being fully ourselves or from believing we can have what we want in life. Just how worthy or acceptable we subconsciously believe ourselves to be determines our quality of life. It’s not just in our heads; our subconscious literally causes us to attract very specific circumstances, in accordance with how it’s been programmed.

Take Martin, for example. Married with three children, he recently lost his job as a software salesman. His wife, Terrie, has a part-time job but doesn’t earn enough to support them all. Martin was angry and frustrated. “What did I do to deserve this?” he said. “I’ve been a dedicated employee for that company for 15 years and they’d no right to do this to me.” Martin did nothing to deserve this—consciously, at least. Subconsciously, however, this crisis has been brewing inside him for years.

The dynamics in Martin’s life provide the clues to what’s been going on beneath the surface. He’s overweight, with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. He spends all his time catering to his family or doing his boss’s bidding, working long hours and often making last-minute trips across the country to make a sale. He never takes time for himself, rarely exercises, eats on the run and is constantly stressed.

Martin grew up in an abusive environment. His father was an alcoholic and his mother never had the backbone or self-esteem to stand up to the abuse. Martin learned that life was risky, you had to watch your back, and you had to work hard to stay out of harm’s way. He was never praised at school and he never learned healthy self-acceptance or
-respect. He was never taught to put himself first or to go for what he wanted. As a result, Martin never felt worthy of ease or success, and he acted accordingly—putting everyone’s needs before his own, working too hard, juggling crises, etc. What he failed to realise was that his early negative programming was generating challenges designed to trigger his low self-worth so that, ideally, he could change his negative programming and, consequently, change his circumstances.

For Martin, this meant finding practical ways of building strong self-acceptance—the key to lasting prosperity and fulfillment. It meant putting himself first in healthy ways; taking time out to eat well and go to the gym; saying no to compromises, demands or anything that didn’t feel good; having healthy boundaries with his wife and children and allowing them to take more responsibility for themselves; expressing his opinions, sharing his feelings and generally starting to live life on his terms. By demonstrating greater self-acceptance and self-respect, Martin started to attract much more positive dynamics into his life. He’s just had a promising job offer and his relationship with his wife and children has improved dramatically. Six months ago, he’d have scoffed at the idea that he could have caused his redundancy. Now, he sees the positive impact of changing his negative programming and he’s beginning to understand that a part of him has been in charge all along; he just didn’t know how it operated or what it was trying to tell him.

Money is a measure of how well we’re operating as human beings. Whatever financial problems you have reflect the parts of your negative programming that are asking to be addressed. The economic crisis may look as if it’s someone else’s fault, but if you’re personally affected by it, there’s something you’re being called upon to do—and no one else can do it for you.

Whether you’ve lost your job or lost money you’d invested, your circumstances reflect your particular ‘missing pieces’. These are the essential formative qualities—such as acceptance, trust, respect, validation and support—that we need to experience as children in order to be whole, but often fail to learn because our parents had these same missing pieces themselves.

Our ‘missing pieces’ determine how we act, the choices we make, how successful we become, and how fulfilled and happy we are. They also cause us to hide certain parts of ourselves for fear of rejection, to suppress our individuality, to deny our value, to diminish our creativity and, most frustrating of all, to attract problems and crises that ultimately leave us feeling defeated and hopeless.

Finding the missing pieces of the puzzle …and filling them in

Identifying and decoding your subconscious programming can be a slippery process, since it’s beyond your awareness. Transforming it can be daunting, too, because it means challenging some of the beliefs that have shaped your life. But disregarding it generates dysfunctional relationships, struggle, conflict, debt, depression, ill-health, compromise and diminished potential, without you ever knowing why. At the very least, you will fail to be personally fulfilled in your life.

We all have three or four main ‘missing pieces’ and our circumstances are usually the only way that we discover what they are, or that we are incomplete in some way. When we identify and fill in our missing pieces, we can break out of self-defeating cycles and turn our lives around.

Identifying and filling in your missing pieces is the key to having the financial abundance and security that you want. The more you fill them in, the more complete you’ll be and the more you’ll experience these same qualities in your life.

To identify your missing pieces, ask yourself these questions:

1. What qualities have been missing for you in your relationships? Your answer might be acceptance, support, trust, honesty, communication, commitment, intimacy or any other form of human interaction that’s an expression of love. When you identify what’s been missing (even if it looks as if it’s your partner’s ‘fault’), you will have identified your own missing pieces.

2. How have you been perpetuating these missing pieces yourself? If acceptance is a missing piece, for example, ask yourself if you’ve been putting others’ needs first, making compromises that don’t feel good, holding back a part of yourself from your partner or friends, or putting yourself down, deflecting compliments, not allowing others to give to you or rejecting yourself in some way. All these behaviours demonstrate a lack of self-acceptance, perpetuating a pattern of self-rejection that’s guaranteed to bring you precisely what you don’t want.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Are you human? Take the test

The Humanity Index

The Humanity Index is a way to gauge your willingness and capacity to be a decent, fully functioning, powerful human being — with a sense of humour and with the magnetism to attract what you want. It will provide a measure of how engaged you are in life, how committed you are to being fully you, and how much you believe in your ability to make a difference.

(If you’re too jaded to fill it out, or if you just can’t find the time because you’ve got 5,000 friends on Facebook, 1.5 million people following you on Twitter, and a dinner date with your pet goldfish, then you might want to consider just how meaningful your life is - and whether anyone really cares how chummy you are with everyone from The Secret.)


-Are you true to yourself—speaking and acting in alignment with your values and beliefs?

Usually - 3 Sometimes - 2 Rarely - 1 Never - 0


- Do you feel compassion for others and act on it in practical ways, taking time to listen/provide support?

Regularly – 3 Occasionally – 2 Rarely -1 Never - 0


-Do you express what’s in your heart and tell the whole story (not just the ‘safe’ bits)?

Often – 3 Sometimes – 2 Rarely -1 Never - 0


-Are you fully committed to being the best that you can be, actively doing your utmost to realize your dreams, and to staying healthy, fit and engaged in life?

Always – 3 Sometimes – 2 Rarely -1 Never - 0


-Are you connected to your gut instincts and do you trust/act on them in all important decisions?

Always – 3 Sometimes – 2 Rarely -1 Never – 0


-Do you give money to support your community and give to the homeless/selected charities, spontaneously and with an open heart?
Regularly – 3 Occasionally – 2 Rarely – 1 Never - 0


-Do you explore and engage in creative activities that inspire you and feed your passions?

Regularly – 3 Occasionally – 2 Rarely – 1 Never - 0


-Do you take time to cultivate friendships, without being needy or a pleaser?
Regularly – 3 Occasionally – 2 Rarely – 1 Never - 0


-Are your relationships based on trust, respect, healthy self-acceptance and understanding?

Yes – 3 Sometimes – 2 Rarely – 1 Never - 0


-Do you openly and confidently express yourself verbally, creatively and in the way you dress?

Regularly – 3 Occasionally – 2 Rarely – 1 Never - 0


-Are you connected to your feelings and fully able to connect with others by expressing and receiving affection and intimacy, and by sharing the deepest parts of you (the good, the bad and the ugly)?

Regularly – 3 Occasionally – 2 Rarely – 1 Never - 0


-Do you take responsibility for your emotions, reactions, actions and circumstances, regardless of whether others blame bad luck, politicians, the economy or any other ‘outside’ force?

Always – 3 Sometimes – 2 Rarely -1 Never - 0

Your rating on the Humanity Index

If you scored 30-36 points:

You’re almost angelic and an inspiration to humanity. You have exceptional magnetism and can effortlessly attract and create amazing things in life. Consequently, it makes no sense to disperse your energies on things you’re not passionate about; focus instead on what fills you with joy. You are a natural leader and a mentor. You could be using your wisdom and awareness with young people, if you’re not already, and this would bring you great fulfillment. Deepening your emotional and spiritual connection to yourself and to others is likely to be the most rewarding pursuit for you—but don’t forget to include large doses of fun and laughter.

If you scored 18-29 points:

You’re unsure of yourself and your role here on Earth. You blow hot and cold when it comes to personal and/or professional commitment. Because of this, you experience patchy success and fulfillment – attracting some great stuff but also some real downers, which keeps you stuck in unrewarding cycles. You have significant skills and would do well to focus on solidifying your personal boundaries so that you become more fully defined as an individual—and more magnetic, as a result. Avoid making any choices based on fear; say no to anything that feels wrong and only say yes to things or people that feel really good. You would also greatly benefit from exploring your creativity more deeply. (You’ve really only skimmed the surface – being careful and playing ‘safe’.) Delve more deeply, challenge yourself and play more; your creativity is the key to you thriving. Acting, working with children, or being a Big Brother/Sister would also help you to solidify the emotionally wobbly parts of yourself.

If you scored 10-17 points:

You are only partially activated as a human being and have great difficulty attracting or connecting with good stuff in your life. You need to come out of your self-absorbed little shell and start interacting with the rest of humanity. Your magnetism is barely registering, but only because you’ve kept yourself turned down so low. Increase the volume, speak up, show up, dress up, wake up! It’s all up from here, for you. Focus on giving to others and see how it feels when you allow yourself to be generous, present or simply open to being liked. Breathe more and move your body. You’re like an iceberg, with only a tiny percentage of yourself visible or available to others (or yourself). But even icebergs thaw with a little consistent warmth. Get active, join a club, volunteer at your community centre, take up singing—and you just might be surprised to find that there’s a worthy, lovable human being in there (somewhere).

If you scored 0-9 points:

Hello? Is there anybody there? HELLO??? Anybody? Mmmmm... I guess not.