Romancing the Struggle

romancing the struggleIn my work with creative and healing business owners, I’ve noticed that some people really enjoy experiencing struggle. Where none exists, they’ll create some to ensure there is plenty to go around.

For these people, struggle makes them feel more alive, satisfying their need to complain, push against someone/something, and ‘have an enemy’ to confront.

Some are wired this way, and those who are not have subconsciously succumbed to the belief that there is no other choice—and they don’t question that thinking. Fighting amid the struggle allows them to justify the belief that nothing good comes without a struggle.

Romancing the Struggle

I know because a while back, I was among the unconsciously struggling group. I didn’t enjoy the struggles, but everyone around me was parroting that ‘life is hard’, ‘making money is a struggle’, ‘we all have to settle; no one can get what they want’. I listened to and believed their complaints and worries and fears, and never once did I question those thoughts.

At the time, I didn’t even realize I had a choice! I didn’t realize my own power to create struggle or create ease.

It took me a long time to realize that life was merely mirroring what I claimed to be true. I not only had a choice, but I could question the ‘life is a struggle’ thinking, and I could make room for ease and flow in my business…and every area of my life.

Bottom line: Your life and your business are only as difficult as you decide they are.

We decide each time we observe ‘what is’ and label it ‘the way it will always be’. Or observe others in struggle and claim ‘that will happen to me, too’. We can decide something different at any point, but only we can do it for ourselves.

If you enjoy romancing the struggle, then I’ll leave you to it. This post isn’t really for you, so you’re excused..carry on and have fun.

Ready to Start Romancing the Ease?

Here’s what you can do if you are ready to experience more ease and flow:

1. Decide to let go of your struggle romance. – Nothing can change until you decide you are ready to let that go. Write your struggle romance a break-up letter. Thank it for what it has taught you, and tell it goodbye. Then, get ready to make a new commitment. From time-to-time, you may benefit from re-committing to this decision when you find yourself slipping back into bad habits of struggle.

2. Make a new commitment. – Intend to experience more ease, flow, fun, and joy. Some people find it supportive to craft and use affirmations every day reminding them of that ease, which helps them move forward. Become a regular visitor to Easy World. Visualize the ease you’d like to experience. Tune into how you’d like to feel when all is said and done.

3. Question your thinking. – Once you’ve made the decision and commitment, start consciously choosing to shift your thinking into alignment.

What’s ‘in alignment’ mean?
• Thoughts that feel good are in alignment with committing to more ease and flow.
• Conversely, thoughts that feel bad are not in alignment with committing to more ease and flow.

When you find yourself spinning on a subject, getting caught in struggle, look at the underlying belief and apply The Work: Is this true? Can I absolutely be sure it’s true? How do I feel when I think this thought? Who would I be without this thought?

4. Increase your awareness of the physical feelings in your body. – The body compass can tell us way more than our mind, if we’re willing to listen to the messages. If you are stuck in your brain, chances are very good that you are obsessing rather than resolving your struggles.

Get still, become aware of your breath, feel your arms, hands, legs, feet, chest. Notice your heartbeat. As you sense your body, the thinking centers of the brain turn off. Notice where the tension is, and let it go. Notice where you feel tight, or have sensations like aches or pains or itching. Awareness of these sensations is not only healing, but opens space for old, stuck issues to come to the surface. This is an ongoing practice.

5. Find time every day to meditate and relax. – Brain science shows us that our best thinking happens when we’re relaxed, not when we’re stressed. Just 5 minutes a day of relaxed awareness on the breath begins to rewire our brain to be less reactive. There is a reason some successful companies require their executive staff to meditate regularly. You will be amazed by the health and mental well-being benefits of this one step, alone!

6. Look for ways to romance the ease already existing in your life. – Some people find it helpful to keep a gratitude journal, or an evidence journal, or a hybrid of both, to record the good, the ease, the miracles showing up in their life…and it’s a good way to become more aware of the ease already flowing.

7. Talk, Write, Think, and Act As If. – Put your new story of ease and flow into practice. Talk about the ease in your life. Write about the ease and flow. Think about (and give thanks for) the ease and flow in your life and business. Walk, drive, eat, and behave like a person who is immersed in ease. Be the business owner who embraces ease.

Now it’s your turn: Are you ready to let go of the struggle and begin romancing the ease? Have you already made the shift? Share your stories below…

Image credit: niserin

Is Your Business on the Creative Plane?

The Creative Plane is felt and known

In the Autumn of 2006, I was contacted by a Silicon Valley design firm, a potential client, to work on a new project. They requested that I go with them to one of their client’s offices to meet with the executives.

Once we entered the conference room, there was one thing that was really clear to me: The executives at this company neither liked or agreed with each other on a number of topics. Although they were not speaking when we entered the room, they were glaring at each other and the energy of the room was thick with un-ease.

After the introductions, the discussion began about what kind of help they needed and how we (my potential client and myself) could be of service to them. As they began to speak, and disagree with each other, I had a flash of insight.

To explain this insight, I first have to mention that over that previous summer, I had watched the movie The Secret (first version with Esther Hicks) and purchased several DVDs for myself and family. I had the chance to re-watch the move and the DVD extras that included a conversation about Wallace Wattles’ book, The Science of Getting Rich, which inspired the movie.

In his book, Wattles explains the difference between the Competitive Plane and the Creative Plane. The competitive plane is contentious, fraught with difficulties and antagonism, while the creative plane is heart-centered, filled with ease, focused on service and win-win solutions for all involved. When I read this part of the book, I could see it as two overlapping dimensions of reality. Both are invisible, yet undeniably felt in our bodymind and heart. We get to choose which one we play in.

You see, we are ALWAYS creating…whether we are conscious of it, or not. Whether we believe in the Law of Attraction, or not. We are creative beings and the Universe is always assisting us in creation based on our vibration. Wattles knew this, and he knew that those who choose to run their business in the Creative Plane look for ways to be of service and benefit greatly from that choice:

Wallace Wattles wrote:

“When you enter upon the creative plane of thought you will rise above all these things and become a citizen of another kingdom.

But remember that your thought must be held upon the creative plane; you are never for an instant to be betrayed into regarding the supply as limited, or into acting on the moral level of competition.

Whenever you do fall into old ways of thought, correct yourself instantly; for when you are in the competitive mind, you have lost the cooperation of the Mind of the Whole.”

—excerpted from The Science of Getting Rich, pg 145, 1915  edition

So, back to this contentious business meeting in the conference room and the insight I received…

As the executives resumed fighting among themselves, I realized they were all (unconsciously) playing in the Competitive Plane! As I sat there observing them, I consciously CHOSE to be in the Creative Plane. Although I said nothing, I changed my own energy from what I was feeling in the room to one of appreciation, and I wrote on my note pad “Creative Plane”, establishing my commitment and as a reminder of where I was choosing to be.

Within moments, the heated argument settled down, and one of the executives turned to me for input. From there, I expressed ideas that bridged the ideas expressed by the executives in the room. They began agreeing, nodding their heads, and I felt the shift in energy in the room. I knew, in that moment, that they had been receptive to my suggestions because I was speaking to them from within the Creative Plane. They might not have been able to articulate that, but they clearly felt it…and were responding accordingly.

By the time we left, we not only had consensus, but the energy of the entire project had shifted to one of cooperation and satisfaction.

Abraham has often said that it only takes ONE positively focused and clear individual to shift the energy of thousands. On that day, in that conference room, I was the one who chose to shift the energy.

When you have business meetings, make business decisions, and take actions in your business, are you functioning in the Competitive or the Creative Plane?

Here’s how you know from which plane you are operating:
• If you and others around you are in the Competitive Plane, people are jockeying for position and recognition. Everyone’s feeling un-ease, decisions are difficult, frustration abounds, and the whole experience is draining.

• If you and others around you are in the Creative Plane, everyone feels heard, ideas are flowing, there is a fun feeling of cooperation, ease abounds, decisions are easier, and the whole experience is uplifting.

Just from reading these descriptions, chances are good that you’ll recognize where you spend most of your business time. If the Creative Plane is sounding a lot like ‘Easy World’, you’re right…both are an alternate reality where everything is easier and more relaxed.

If you are spending more time in your business in the Competitive Plane than you’d like, and reading this post has encouraged you to consider shifting into the Creative Plane, it’s easier to do than you might think.

A. Start with the clear decision to operate in the Creative Plane. It sounds simple, but making the decision is part of the shifting process, and it sends a strong signal to the Universe that you are changing course. When you really make this decision, it makes it easier if/when you are tested to remain in the Creative Plane.

B. Find the feeling in your heart of love, appreciation, and enthusiasm for your business, and everyone affected by your business including your clients, your vendors, business/joint venture partners. Let the positive feeling for your business and all the people it touches overflow in your heart.

C. Know that you are in the Creative Plane when you are functioning from your heart, then ask yourself: What could I do in this moment to be of greatest service?

Whatever answer you receive, do it even if the answer surprises you. The answer to this question might be solving an existing problem, or it might be something like ‘go meditate’, or ‘take a walk’, or ‘take a nap’, or ‘call that customer and offer them an olive branch’. When you are in the Creative Plane, even the tasks that previously felt draining will now feel doable and good-to-do in this moment.

Have you had experiences running your business in the Creative Plane? How about struggling with your business in the Competitive Plane? Share your experiences in the comments below…

Image Credit: Composite image created
by Barry-Jansson & Associates, from
images by Igor Goncharenko (sky)
and Mark Grenier (pattern)

Effective Solopreneur: Aligning with Your Natural Creativity Cycles

I was recently reminded of the Creative Cycles and realized that it is not exclusive to artists, but everyone ~ as we are all creators of our life experiences. I share this
information with you now so you can begin asking yourself how you can use these cycles to help yourself and your business.
Are you aware of your creative cycles?
Are you taking advantage of their natural ebb and flow to enjoy creating your art, your life, your business?
About 7 years ago, when I was creating a lot of fine art watercolors, a fellow artist friend shared a small hand-bound bound book that explained the natural cycles of
creativity. To be honest, up to this point, I hadn’t even noticed that there were predictable cycles. Although, I had noticed that if I wasn’t creating in some way it was hard to
get the creative process going again.
The book was written by a woman, an artist herself, who was getting her Masters in Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, I don’t remember
he name, but this gal had noticed a creative cycle in herself and others and decided to self-publish a book about the process. She knew my friend and had given her one
of the hand-bound copies of the book, and my friend shared the book with me. So, I began reading the little book and was amazed how much it not only resonated but
explained a lot!
The author suggested there are four common stages of creativity: Gestation, Inspiration, Creation/Birth, Renewal/Rest. These cycles happen in a certain order, like seasons
of the year, but differ in their length from artist to artist, and project to project.
If you are a successful non-commercial fine artist or a writer of novels, whether you are consciously aware of them or not, you are successfully managing these cycles. If
you are just starting out or an unsuccessful artist, you may not be taking advantage of what these cycles can do for you. If you are a commercial artist, designer (interior,
web, etc.), these cycles are most-likely tied more to the projects you are working on for clients.
Here’s the breakdown of the four stages, as I recall them:
Gestation
This is the stage where things are quiet creatively, but you are feeling hopeful because you are noticing interesting experiences, gathering ideas, deciding what you want
to work on next.
Inspiration
This is the stage where you find a new idea that *excites* you. It might be a single idea, or one idea that quickly spawns many additional ideas. It may be something you
observe outside of yourself or something that pops into your mind. The topic feels juicy and pregnant with potential. You begin whittling down the ideas collected to decide
what you really want to focus upon.
Creation/Birth
This is the stage where you begin taking action toward materializing the inspired idea, from start to finish. The creator’s energy is high, and they often feel full of life and
vibrant. The work may take on a *life of it’s own*, possibly even going in a new direction not considered in the Gestation or Inspiration stage.
Renewal/Rest
This is the stage creatives enter upon completion of the Creation/Birth stage. Often, the artist has been focusing so intensely on the previous stage, that this stage may feel
like a shock. New or Inexperienced creators may find this stage comes relatively unexpectedly. Most creators might find themselves feeling low, possibly even feeling
depressed, in comparison to the high-energy stage of Creation/Birth. Doubt creeps in, and in this low energy stage, the creator begins questioning if they will ever do
anything worthwhile again. In extreme cases, a creator susceptible to addictions may do drugs or drink to deal with the low energy, doubt, worry, and fear. However, if the
artist is aware of these stages and knows *this one, too, shall pass*, they can embrace it and move through this stage relatively quickly~sometimes hours, versus days,
weeks, or months.
How Does This Relate to You?
For centuries, farmers have known to sow seeds, nurture the plants, and harvest with the seasons. Following the natural cycles makes farming easier and more productive.
The same is true for your business. When you read through these stages, above, did anything stand out for you? Did you find yourself seeing connections in your own
creative cycles?
At the end of large client projects, I often got ill or, at the very least,  needed to sleep 14 hours a day for at least a week or more. Prior to understanding the cycles, I would
often beat myself up about getting ill or needing excess sleep. I doubted myself and wondered if I was depressed, even though I felt optimistic the vast majority of the
time. Once I knew about this stage I realized it was not only to be expected, but a good thing that I could look forward to experiencing. I prepared myself for it and
arranged lots of self-care in advance knowing it would be most appreciated. As a result, this stage went from 2+ weeks down to a few days, sometimes just a weekend or
a self-care-filled-afternoon to recharge. Knowing about this stage, preparing for and embracing it made a huge difference!
I also began appreciating the Gestation and Inspiration stages more, instead of putting all of my focus on the Creation/Brith stage ~including the expectation of being in that
one stage ALL the time~I began to see how each stage had value to my creativity.
What stage would you say you are in right now?
What can you do to embrace this stage and prepare for the next one?
How can you use these stages to plan your business activities (including Marketing and Service/Product Creation) so they are fun for you, rather than forced?

I was recently reminded of the Creative Cycles and realized that they are not exclusive to artists, but everyone ~ as we are all creators of our life experiences. I share this information with you now so you can begin asking yourself how you can use these cycles to help yourself and your business.

Are you aware of your creativity cycles, or are you forcing yourself to be always “ON”?

Are you taking advantage of their natural ebb and flow to enjoy creating your art, your life, your business?

Creativity Cycles

About 7 years ago, when I was creating a lot of fine art watercolors, a fellow artist friend shared a small hand-bound book that explained the natural cycles of creativity. To be honest, up to this point, I hadn’t even noticed that there were predictable cycles. Although, I had noticed that if I wasn’t creating in some way it was hard to get the creative process going again.

The book was written by a woman, an artist herself, who was getting her Masters in Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the author’s name, but this gal had noticed a creativity cycle in herself and others, and had developed a hypothesis about how to work with the cycles. She noticed that everyone benefited by working with the cycles, rather than against them, and decided to self-publish a book about the process. She knew my friend and had given her one of the hand-bound copies of the book, and my friend shared the book with me. So, I began reading the little book and was amazed how much it not only resonated but explained a lot!

The author suggested there are four common stages of creativity: Gestation, Inspiration, Creation/Birth, Renewal/Rest. These cycles happen in a predictable order, like seasons of the year, but differ in their length from artist to artist, and from project to project.

Here’s the breakdown of the four stages, as I recall them:

1 | Gestation

This is the stage where things are quiet creatively, but you are feeling hopeful because you are noticing interesting experiences, gathering ideas, deciding what you want to work on next. This stage comes after the creator emerges from the Renewal/Rest stage.

2 | Inspiration

This is the stage where you find a new idea, or series of ideas, that really feels *exciting*. It might be a single idea, or one idea that quickly spawns many additional ideas. It may be something you observe outside of yourself or something that pops into your mind. The topic feels juicy and pregnant with potential. You begin whittling down the ideas collected to decide what you really want to focus upon.

3 | Creation/Birth

This is the stage where you begin taking action toward materializing the inspired idea, from start to finish. The creator’s energy is high, and they often feel full of life and vibrant. The work may take on a *life of it’s own*, possibly even going in a new direction not considered in the Gestation or Inspiration stage.

4 | Renewal/Rest

This is the stage creators enter upon completion of the Creation/Birth stage. Often, the creator has been focusing so intensely on the previous two stages, that this stage may feel like a comparative shock. New or inexperienced creators may find this stage comes relatively unexpectedly.

This can be a very critical stage for creators because most find themselves feeling low, possibly even feeling depressed, in comparison to the high-energy stages of Inspiration and Creation/Birth. Unprepared, doubt, worry and fear can easily creep in during this time, and in this low-energy stage, the creator begins questioning if they will ever do anything worthwhile again. They simply don’t have the energy to contemplate something new, and often feel defeated because of the low energy levels.

In extreme cases, a creator susceptible to addictions may retreat to drugs or alcohol to deal with the low energy, and/or soothe doubt, worry, and fear. However, if the creator is aware of these stages and knows *this one, too, shall pass*, they can embrace it and move through this stage relatively quickly~sometimes hours or days, versus months or years.

The creator knows they have left this stage when they find themselves entering the Gestation stage as they gently begin gathering more data and being intrigued by new ideas of theirs or other creators.

How Does This Relate to You or Your Business?

For centuries, farmers have known to sow seeds, nurture the plants, and harvest with the seasons. Following the natural cycles makes farming easier and more productive.

The same is true for your life and your business. Do you force yourself to create when you really need to rest, or try to rest when inspiration is striking? Do you honor or resist your natural creativity cycles? When you read through these stages, above, did anything stand out for you? Did you find yourself seeing connections to your own creative cycles?

At the end of large commercial client projects (Rest/Renewal), I often got ill or, at the very least,  needed to sleep 14 hours a day for at least a week or more. Prior to understanding the Creativity Cycles, I would often beat myself up about getting ill or needing excess sleep. I doubted myself and wondered if I was depressed, even though I felt optimistic the vast majority of the time. Once I knew about this stage, though, I realized it was not only to be expected, but a good thing that I could look forward to experiencing! I prepared myself for it mentally, and arranged lots of self-care in advance, knowing this stage was on its way. As a result, my experience of Renewal/Rest dropped from from 2+ weeks down to a few days, sometimes just a weekend or a self-care-filled-afternoon to recharge. Knowing about this stage, preparing for and embracing it made a huge difference for me!

I also began appreciating the Gestation and Inspiration stages more, instead of putting all of my focus on the Creation/Birth stage ~including the expectation of being in that one stage ALL the time~I began to see how each stage had value to my creativity.

Here are some questions to ask yourself now:

What stage would you say you are in right now?

What can you do to embrace this stage and prepare for the next one?

How can you use these stages to plan your business activities (including Marketing and Service/Product Creation) so they are fun for you, rather than forced?

How can you combine these stages with your knowledge of the Law of Attraction to create true synergy?

I invite you all to share your insights and thoughts below in the comments to other readers will benefit…

Let’s Talk about Money!

This past Tuesday, I hosted a group call for the AffirmingSpirit Affirmation Study Group. Our guest speaker was Janet Carol Ryan, creator of Abundant Blessings CD.

Janet recommends that we pay attention to how we talk about money. Using the word only in relation to money is limiting. When we say “spend money”, we imply depletion. I really like Janet’s suggestion, instead, to see yourself circulating money. Most of us think about getting and holding onto money, but the reality is that we are really just centers of energy (money) circulation. MoneyThe Abundance Book w/CD flows in, then we flow it out in exchange for services and experiences. Ideally, a percentage of it stays with us as it flows to serve other purposes in our lives. Either way, it’s always flowing…are you making the choice to receive and circulate?

In John Randolph Price’s book The Abunance Book, he created an acronym for money…My Own Natural Energy Yield. To me, that ties in with the thought of energy circulation. Are you welcoming your own energy yield? How so?

I was listening to the audio verison of Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Richard T. Kiyosaki, and rich Dad was always saying, “Money in not real.” or “Money is what people decide it is.” While he does not stress these as spiritual points, they really are both true and spiritual concepts at their core. Money is neutral. We, as citizens have decided that paper cut in a certain shape and printed with a certain pattern in a certain colors has a value that we can exchange for services and experiences. We are the ones who decide what value everything has, including how we experience our economy!

Robert Kiyosaki mentions that his wealthy friends always talk about money and business, and brainstorm ways to help each other, while his poor friends prefer not to talk about money at all, thinking it rude. Hmmmm….interesting observation. We can all ask ourselves how we talk about money…in hushed tones with only certain company, or in excited, open dialogs where you look forward to receiving more?

Share your comments about money, circulation, and how you feel about it all. What are you willing to do to create a positive relationship with your flow?

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