Chris Cade's Blog » Spiritual Development

You “Shouldn’t” Have Preferences

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

In many spiritual paths, great value is placed on becoming a person with no preferences…

This is an extension of the ideas around detachment / unattachment and nonduality. The underlying premise (promise?) is that if we don't have preferences about how life "should" go, then we won't have to feel pain, disappointment, and the other negative emotions that take away our peace and inner well-being.
    
You know what I have to say about that?

In most cases, it's total hogwash!

I don't know about you, but I kind of like having preferences. ๐Ÿ™‚

Suggesting that I "shouldn't" love chocolate, raw milk, sunshine, the beach, and my son is pretty ridiculous in my book.

While I don't claim to know the Divine purpose of life, nor can I explain lots of Universal happenings and mysteries, I do know one thing:

No matter what's happening, if at all possible then I might as well enjoy the ride!

More seriously though, I think a lot of people who subscribe to the "no preferences" theory are mistaking the difference between preference and the attachment to their preferences.

I absolutely love chocolate and have it both in my breakfast cereal as well as periodically throughout the day. And quite honestly, I prefer chocolate over vanilla.

That doesn't make vanilla bad. Nor will my peace of mind and heart be shattered if I never had chocolate again.
    
And I still prefer chocolate. ๐Ÿ™‚

When we are totally Present and living in the moment, we also discover something really special about preferences:

They are actually expressions of us being drawn to what we love.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Coming full circle…

"Enlightenment" isn't about becoming a mindless automaton who "has no preferences." That's no more enlightened than an ameoba. 

Enlightenment is quite the opposite…

It includes being a mindful, conscious present being who is totally in touch with his/her preferences.

(even when those preferences aren't manifested)

Sitting Beautiful Sunset Mindfulness Meditation

I’ve Been Sick :(

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

Gah! I've been sick for a few days…

Fortunately, I'm feeling notably better (probably a few more days until I'm recovered) and it's reminded me of a valuable lesson I learned when I was sick a couple of years ago.

See, a while back when I was previously sick, on one particular day, I had enough energy to take a short walk. I needed some sun and a little movement to help rejuvenate my body and spirit.

During this particular walk, I was reflecting on my gratitude for many things. I was asking myself whether or not I was feeling pleasure.

I noticed I was feeling grateful for many things! One of them was my gratitude for not being as ill as people who can't get out of bed or can't even appreciate the sun and fresh air that I had.

Then the moment hit me hard…

The aha that surprised me…

I realized I was actually being grateful for what I *didn't* have.

I was grateful that I didn't have the experience that others, less healthy, had. I wasn't being grateful for what I actually was experiencing and already had in my life.

I was stunned and immediately shifted my perspective to simply be grateful for what I have…

With no comparisons.

It's so easy for us to do that. Many of our parents taught us to be grateful for what we have "because other people aren't as fortunate." While well-intended, that approach doesn't foster a true sense of gratitude for what is. It's almost a guilt / shame approach to try and force gratitude where it might not exist.

And that doesn't feel so good.

So next time you find yourself grateful for what you have that somebody else doesn't, be it health or objects or relationships, take a few deep breaths and just ask yourself this simple question:

"What am genuinely I grateful for in this Present moment?"

See what you notice ๐Ÿ™‚

On a related note, one woman I am grateful for…

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There Is No Donald Trump

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

My previous posts have been rather long-winded. I've tackled some topics that many teachers or leaders either avoid completely or try to inject their personal biases into.

I'm no different in that regard, except that the bias I interject is different.

I'm not trying to persuade you to any political direction. I'm not trying to convince you that a particular candidate or President elect is good nor bad.

Frankly, those topics are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

My agenda is simply this:

To point each of us as close to our True Nature as possible. That is my bias. That is my intention. And that's where my heart is.

With that in mind, I want to explicitly state that none of my writings about politics are really about politics. I'm just using these recent events and the election to point at something much deeper.

This election has been a metaphor for ALL of the challenges we have in life.

Whether we call them…

"Trump or Clinton"

"Republican or Democrat"

"Unemployment or Death in the Family"

"Medical Emergency or a Broken Heart"

It doesn't matter what label we give it, we are reminded of this simple truth from A Course In Miracles:

"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God."

Or phrased differently such as the subject line of this email: There is no Donald Trump.

The labels we use are designed to pull our attention away from the simple truths of life…

Simple truths such as the reality that as humans, we are fragile.

As spiritual beings, however, we are invincible.

That's easy to forget when times are tough.

It's even easier to forget when times are good. That's because the Universe is DESIGNED to bring out our best through challenge and adversity.

Look at nature for a moment…

A baby chick will die if an egg is broken from the outside. Yet in order for the chick to survive, it must break the shell from the inside. Then it can grow and even create life.

Similar is true of butterflies. If we help them out of the cocoon, they will never develop the strength they need to fly. They will die on the ground. However, if we let them be challenged, they break away and spread their beautiful wings… bringing life wherever they go.

Those are just two examples. Everywhere we look in nature there are examples of challenges that bring out the best in life.

So while I can sit here and write all about the election, Donald Trump, his intended policies, and the social effects of his election, my bias and intention is simply this:

Look deeper.

Go beyond the politics.

Go beyond the social unrest.

Go beyond any fear you may have.

Go beyond all the labels of your fears, doubts, and illusions.

And answer one simple question for yourself:

Whatever you're facing now…

How is life challenging you to GROW into your BEST self?

Your wings are beautiful.

"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God."

Nothing Real Can Be Threatened (Donald Trump, Part 2)

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

With so many people scared of what a Trump presidency might entail…

So many scary "what ifs"…

I was struck by this thought yesterday:

What if…

Because of his massive ego….

He actually strives to be the greatest President that ever lived?

And what if…

He succeeds?

Or even got halfway there?

I didn't vote for Trump. However last week well before the election, a dear beloved friend asked me if I could live with a Trump Presidency.

I was clear that I could. And that if it happened, I believe it's for the highest good.

Some people may wonder why I’m not scared or stressed. Some friends might say it’s because I’m white and male, so therefore quite privileged – especially in a Trump-led nation.

Though that’s not something I can “do” anything about, it unquestionably affords me a larger degree of safety than any racial, religious, or gender minority that is actively prejudiced against.

For me, that’s mostly unconscious. Still, it’s also undeniable in our culture.

Having friends of many different backgrounds who have been heavily prejudiced against – and who have serious concerns about some of the social unrest already caused “in the name of Trump” – I understand at least a little more about social privelege than others who share my gender / racial social benefits.

I recognize there is MUCH more for me to learn, and much more for me to listen to. That is happening.

I also accept the responsibility that comes with that privilege, including advocating with those of us who are targets of prejudice.

Still, when I think about why I personally don’t have the same fear over these changes to our nation – something else comes to my mind and heart.

For those closest to me, they know what I've been through. They know a story about me that few ever will.

And after being through my Dark Night of The Soul, after having almost lost everything and everybody that I hold dear…

A Trump Presidency holds no fear in my heart.

Only love.

Love is the only choice that can create miracles when our illusion of control is taken away.

I remember during my Dark Night having many emotions –

Fear, anxiety, insomnia, pain, depression, hopelessness…

And I held in the other hand, prayer, hope, visualization, and a genuine compassionate well-wish for my perpetrators:

"Forgive them, they know not what they do."

I don't know what to expect for the next four years.

What I do know is that with all of our government legislature Republican, we will finally see a lot of change.

My prayer is for it to be overwhelmingly good.

If it isn't, then in 4 years the country will see more clearly… and hopefully, choose again (as A Course In Miracles says).

What comes may not be easy, though I can pray it will be.

What comes will produce change and awareness on a scale our generations have never seen before.

Now more than ever we need open hearts and broader perspective.

“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”

Giant Meteor… Or “Trump vs Clinton” ?

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

I haven't written about politics before…

DISCLAIMER:
Though this is written through the lens of politics, do not mistake it for a purely political post. If you truly grasp what I'm pointing at, then the implications are huge for all aspects of your life:
    
Big and Small, Local and Afar, Outer… and Inner.

This is in no way intended to endorse any specific candidate nor their ideologies. Instead, my hope and intention is to offer a way of thinking that goes beyond what is being most frequently presented.

The subject line of this blog post, forgive me, was taken straight from a news article that pointed out in a random survey of 853 Americans, 13% of the people polled would rather have a giant meteor hit the Earth than vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

That points to just how "disastrous" this year's political primaries have been.

While I do have a few friends who genuinely are behind Trump or Clinton, the vast majority have voiced opinions that their vote will go to the "lesser of two evils."

And interestingly enough, no matter who my friends are voting for, they've presented rational perspectives on why their particular candidate is, in fact, the "lesser."

Some will vote the Party Line, even though they have publicly denounced their own candidates. A few are considering third-party candidates and ignore the fear-based rhetoric that they would be "throwing their vote away."
    
With that in mind, now seems like as important a time as ever to illuminate possibility beyond the fear, hate, and disappointment that is currently running the circles.

Both of the major parties are positioning this election as an enemy war — even going so far as to say "If you don't vote, then you're voting for the other party's candidate." The math on that isn't exact, though non-voting does hurt candidates who depend on the voters who vote for the "lesser of two evils." At least in the current US political system as it's designed.

But what if there is another way of looking at this?

What if we look at the opportunity being created?

Many people complain about a "two party system" yet most haven't given reasonable support to third-party candidates… at least not enough to boost them higher in the polls to be included in presidential debates.

Here in the US, any candidate who has at least 15% of the popular "vote" during unofficial polls is allowed to participate in public presidential debates. Yet most people never even hear of other candidates, and therefore, those candidates don't poll high enough.

While it may be a "throw away" vote to commit to a third-party candidate, the opportunity is this:

Raise public awareness of third-party candidates like Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) & Jill Stein (Green Party) for the simple purpose of getting them into the public debates. Allow more voices to be heard in our public system.

Even if neither of them win, America will have an opportunity to see more views beyond the prominent two parties.

Our country faces a grave proposition: The 2nd worst rated presidential nominee against the 1st worst rated.

That may not change by the time November rolls around.

And it *definitely* won't change if third-party candidates aren't in the debates to introduce the public to views and possibilities beyond what has already been presented.

So if your heart has already committed a vote to Clinton, by all means vote for her. If you've already committed your vote to Trump, by all means do that too.

I'm not trying to change anybody's political views.

That's NOT what this is about.

The invitation I am making is this…

Consider that just because you've committed your vote to a specific candidate doesn't have to stop you from also supporting a larger political dialogue in America — by raising awareness of third-party candidates enough to get them included in public debates.
    
If you truly believe in your candidate, then your views will successfully hold steady amidst authentic conversation, constructive criticism, and healthy compassionate debate. In fact, it will strengthen your conviction… not lessen it.

Gary Johnson is reasonably close to the 15% popularity he would need to be included in public debates, and Jill Stein could potentially gain enough visibility as well.

So if you want the US Presidential debates between now and November to include more than just "the lesser of two evils," then include Gary & Jill in your political dialogue…

But don't do it just because you believe in what they stand for. To do it just for that reason alone is to entirely miss what I'm talking about.
    
Instead, let's talk about 3rd party candidates because more voices need to be heard in America.

Instead, let's talk about 3rd party candidates because comparing and contrasting them with your chosen candidate will make you more knowledgeable, wise, and committed to the choices that ring true for you.

Instead, let's talk about 3rd party candidates because by doing so, you will learn more about yourself.

And instead, let's talk about 3rd party candidates because it gives us an opportunity to think outside the box and become more self-aware…

Individually, and collectively.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you may have picked up on my undertone: This entire post is NOT actually about politics…

Politics here just serves as a metaphor for any aspect of life which feels like we have to choose "between the lesser of two evils" or we feel that we are "between a rock and a hard place."    

This metaphor is a reminder that there *IS* another way of looking at your life — no matter what is going on in it.

A Wise Man I Never Knew Once Said…

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

A wise man once stood in front of an audience and cracked a joke, and everybody laughed like crazy.

After a moment he cracked the same joke again. Less people laughed this time.

He continued to crack the same joke again and again until there was no laughter in the crowd.

Then he smiled and said:

“You can’t laugh at the same joke again and again. So why do you keep crying over the same misfortunes over and over again?”

Story originally posted on the SuperheroYou FB page. To get free access to replays of their most recent 2016 conference, click here.

Carrying A Cross

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

Gratitude to Paulo Coelho for this story…

In a certain village in Umbria (Italy), there lived a man who was always bewailing his lot. He was a Christian, and found the weight of his cross too heavy to bear.

One night, before going to sleep, he begged God to let him change his burden.

That night he had a dream; the Lord led him to a warehouse. "Go ahead and change it," he said. The man saw crosses of all sizes and shapes, with the names of their owners. He picked an average size cross – but when he saw the name of an old friend written on it, he left it aside.

Finally, as God had permitted, he chose the smallest cross he could find.

To his surprise, he saw his own name written on it.

Reflection Questions

  • How big is the "cross" that you carry?
     
  • Under which circumstances would you ask for a different cross?
     
  • Bring into your thoughts another person who has a cross. Would you give that person a lighter or heavier cross? Why?

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When you think about the future… how do you feel?

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… with delight, joy, and unquestionable faith that an awesome future is inevitable?

It's an important question to answer, because…

How we feel today determines what we will experience in the future.

The vibration we send out influences what the Divine brings into our lives.

Ironically, worrying won't help (because that vibration isn't supportive). And fortunately, even if we are feeling anxious or negative, that doesn't mean we're destined to a gloomy future.

In fact, quite the opposite is true. By being aware of how we feel now, we can deliberately choose a brighter and better future. We can always choose anew. ๐Ÿ™‚

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She couldn't have done it if she stayed stuck in guilt, worry, fear, and other unpleasant feelings.

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Neutering Your Negative Thoughts

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

Considering I had recurring nightmares as a child about being overrun with ants, I used to have a knack for smashing ants even more quickly than I did spiders. That all changed on the day I found an ant inside, trapped it, observed it for a moment, and then released it outside. The ant then went on its merry way, away from our apartment and back towards the wild.

In that moment, I was reminded of the true power of "Trap, Neuter, and Release" — a program devoted to resolving the problems associated with trapping and killing wild cats. Instead of killing feral animals (due to problems related to overpopulation), the program neuters and then releases back into the wild. Here is a related article excerpt which I think is relevant that I'd like to explore further:

"An estimated sixty million feral cats live in the United States today. Local animal control often try to eliminate them by trapping and killing. This does not work. Instead of reducing their numbers, killing makes room for new cats to move in and the breeding process begins all over again. So does the suffering.

"Half of all kittens born into these colonies die soon after birth. Their mothers spend most of their lives pregnant and hungry. Unneutered tom cats roam across busy roads seeking mates, getting in fights: untreated wounds can eventually kill them."

The above quote serves as a wonderful metaphor for discussion about compassion; however, I'm ironically not talking about compassion in relation to others nor animals, but rather, towards ourselves.

How often do we beat ourselves up over things?

Many of us carry regrets such as "I should have done this" or "I shouldn't have said that."

These thoughts are no different than the wild cats…

Some people might say not to worry about these wild thoughts: "Don't carry guilt or regret… because guilt and regret are living in the past, and I 'should' be living in the present." That's all well and good, but it doesn't acknowledge the basic fact that we're feeling guilt or regret right now. And that is the present moment.

The real questions are these…

How do we learn to release some of the guilts and regrets we have?

How do we learn to accept ourselves, even when we feel so completely unacceptable?

In the context of the metaphor… how do we learn to neuter those negative thoughts?

What I propose is, rather than looking at it from the perspective of accepting ourselves, or of not feeling certain negative emotions because we're not "supposed to," instead apply the "Trap and Release" to our thoughts. How, you might ask? Try this…

The next time you have a thought that isn't pleasant, observe it. That's it, just observe it. After a moment, let it go.

For example, let's say that somebody says something that hurts your feelings, but inside you know they didn't mean to hurt your feelings. You end up telling yourself, "I shouldn't feel hurt. I know they didn't mean it." The challenge we have with this way of thinking is that we end up judging ourselves ("should" is usually an indicator that you're judging) for how we feel instead of understanding it. This judgment ends up causing us to feel even worse about ourselves… after all, what's worse then feeling bad? Feeling bad *about* feeling bad!

We end up trying to "kill" the thought by fighting against it… but fighting against something only serves to bring on another fight. Every time we say "I should" or "I shouldn't" we are fighting against ourselves and only serving to reinforce and build up our weapons against ourselves.

Internally, this has the same effect as a country fearing war so they start a draft and spend more on defense. Then another country sees this, they become fearful, and they start building up their defenses. Eventually, there's so much fear and so many weapons that people not only forget the original reason why they were fighting in the first place, but if somebody even sneezes wrong it could cause World War 3.

So now back to an example with ourselves…

In that moment, rather than say you "should" or "shouldn't" feel whatever it is you're feeling or thinking, instead just accept the fact that you feel hurt without trying to change it. Pause for a moment and just allow without judgment.

If you feel you can't avoid judging yourself, then offer to give yourself a temporary "cease fire." Say to yourself, "While I am observing this thought/emotion, I choose not to judge myself. However, in another five minutes I'll let any judgments I feel come into my awareness." The point behind this is to allow yourself to be accepting of that thought or emotion you are observing, at least for that moment.

What is the point of all of this? Why "Trap and Release"? Another excerpt from the article…

"Our goal is to catch the adult cats, spay or neuter them and release them back to their 'neighborhood.'"

If you continue to observe each of your judgmental thoughts (we all have them, even if it's something as simple as, "I don't like the way I feel right now" or "I wish that person would talk less."), you will begin to see the thoughts as they are.

You will begin to understand that the judgments you carry now, the negative thoughts you have today, are many times not because of what's happening in the present moment, but because what's happening in the present moment is poking at something painful or upsetting from your past.

If you want an extra challenge…

After pausing, ask yourself why you feel the way you do or had the thought you did. From our example, you might ask yourself, "Why does this hurt even though she didn't mean to hurt my feelings?" Be honest with yourself in that answer, and again remember not to judge your answer but just to accept and observe it.

Logically, you know you are not hurt because of what this person said (since they didn't mean to hurt you), but that you're actually hurt because this situation reminds you of something in your past that hurt. Maybe you are consciously aware of this thing in the past which hurts, but more than likely, you're not conscious of it (otherwise it probably wouldn't hurt when an unrelated event in the future causes this pain to be brought back up).

Eventually through this practice, the "wild cats" (i.e. negative thoughts) come in, become "neutered," and then go back to their "neighborhood."

Any way you look at it, though, by trapping, observing, and releasing your thoughts, you are allowing and accepting the natural flow of energy instead of impeding it. By stopping the "fight" within yourself, over time you will notice a progressively increasing sense of peace as you become more understanding of yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings.

This happens because as you allow yourself to be as you are, warts and all, your need to defend yourself… against yourself… becomes less and less prevalent.

You will feel less and less need to build up your arsenal of weapons preparing for war, and instead allow the weapons to be dismantled and set aside. They're still there, but they're benign and ineffective.

Eventually so much so, that you're able to walk across the boundaries of the war zone, shake hands with those you once feared…

With yourself you once feared…

And relax in peace.

Stop Feeling The Way You Know You Shouldn’t

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

A while back I shared with you my thoughts about "The LIE About Positive Thinking." Today, I'd like to expand on that topic in a different way. Specifically, the question is: Is it okay to have our thoughts?
 
On the surface, it seems obvious. Of course it's fine to have our thoughts!

But what if they're judgmental? Or so anti-Law Of Attraction that they're negative or hurtful? Shameful? Is it okay to have those thoughts too?
 
I recall years ago that whenever I wanted to feel a specific kind of emotion, I'd change my music to something that mirrored what I wanted. If I wanted to feel energized, I put on Dream Theater, Van Halen, Metallica, or Robert Miles. If I wanted to feel mellow, I put on some Diana Krall, Enigma, or Enya. For whatever mood I wanted, I put in the music that would take me there.

It wasn't until I ventured further down my spiritual path that I realized how detrimental that was to myself. I thought I was doing myself a favor by "picking myself up" naturally. Sort of like when you have a bad day, and a friend comes over and says, "Hey, let's go shopping and get some dessert. Forget that loser ex of yours for a while."
 
On the surface, that seems empowering and compassionate. The intention is well. However, all those examples have one thing in common:

Rejection.

Each one of them is rejecting the moment. It's rejecting the person's experience. It's rejecting the possibility that being right where you are is exactly where you're supposed to be.  It is fundamentally saying to yourself, "Stop feeling the way you know you shouldn't." And as I teach in Liberate Your Life, every time you use the word "should" you're identifying with Your Inner Critic, limiting your growth and minimizing your happiness.
 
So then what's the alternative?

Honoring the moment.

Instead of telling yourself how to feel or trying to change how you feel, just accept it. With regards to my music, I found a real deep peace and a kind of magical mystery when I switched my mindset. Instead of finding music to cover up what I felt, to ignore my emotions, to try and transcend them, or try to evade them…

I found myself putting in music that honored exactly who I was in that very moment.

The result was profound. Instead of having an underlying agitated state of rejection and frustration, I was listening to the perfect music for that moment. Because the music was aligned with my inner state, there was a resonance which created a sense of peace.
 
It seems counterintuitive.

After all, sometimes I'd feel a deep sadness. Maybe an anger. Maybe shame. Delight and joy. Excitement. It could be anything. And yet when I put in music that completely honored the emotion I was experiencing, I also felt peace.

The other emotions didn't disappear. I didn't stop feeling sad or angry. What changed was that instead of rejecting my sadness or anger, I was at peace with it…

And that made all the difference.

4 Childhood Experiences We MUST Release To Move Forward

Written by Chris Cade on . Posted in Spiritual Development

Studies on the human mind have proven that as a child, our minds are like sponges. Everything we see, hear, encounter and experience gets absorbed deep in our subconscious minds, and continues to influence us from behind the scenes for much of our lives.

This subconscious influence can be either a blessing or a burden, depending on how it drives our thoughts, emotions and beliefs.

The ones that cause unwanted emotions like fear, self-doubt and negativity should be scrubbed from our subconscious minds – and the first step to achieving that is knowing exactly what childhood experiences are adversely affecting us and why.

Here are four of the most common types of childhood experiences we must release to move forward with our lives:

  1. Moments of uncontrollable, paralyzing fear
  2. Situations where procrastination paid off (in the short term)
  3. Inability to find a pursuit, skill or purpose that made your heart sing
  4. Moments of self-doubt caused by judgmental parents and role models

The above kinds of experiences create subconscious triggers that become implanted in our minds. These unfortunately work in the background like computer viruses, so we don't even know they're there or how they're holding us back.

They cause us to say things we don't mean, give in to bad habits, and make poor choices – that leave us frustrated and wondering "why?"

We'll go into more details on all four of those childhood experiences. Before we do, it would be really helpful to identify exactly which one is most likely negatively affecting you.

To help you do that, my friend Natalie Ledwell (see pic below) has created a quick eye-opening quiz that will bring you face-to-face with the BIGGEST Negative Childhood Imprint holding back your career and finances:

Discover Your #1 Negative Childhood Imprint

Empowered with that information, let's look at the four most common types of experiences that create Negative Childhood Imprints. And even though the quiz helped you identify the biggest one, if you're like me then you'll recognize yourself in ALL of these situations.

(unfortunately, but hey… we're all human and as they say "shit happens")

1. Moments of uncontrollable, paralyzing fear

Fear is a natural part of growing up. As children, we fear speaking on stage. We fear failing school exams. We fear asking out a potential prom date. We fear standing up to the school bully.

For most of us, that fear was validated when we failed at certain tasks or challenges – and the consequences left us embarrassed, unworthy and doubtful of our own abilities.

For some of us, that fear has solidified into a suit of armor we've carried into adulthood; an excuse to avoid taking risks or explore beyond our comfort zones.

Be mindful that our purpose in life is to grow; and fear is a necessary ingredient towards that growth. Even award-winning performers like Adele still get fearfully nervous on stage, but that doesn't stop them from stepping up time and time again.

And as George R.R. Martin says, "The only time a person can be truly brave is by first facing a fearful situation – and tackling it head-on anyway."

2. Situations where procrastination paid off (in the short term)

Our brains are hardwired to shield us from harm – which is good when you're stepping aside to avoid a falling tree; but not so good when your brain convinces you to stay put, sit still, and not do today what you can do tomorrow.

As children, we quickly begin to encounter situations where procrastination pumps us up with a (short-term) high.

Skipping homework to play video games is fun. Staying up a few extra hours past bedtime is nice. And mowing the lawn tomorrow so you can go play basketball today, sounds like a great idea.

Sure, just like smoking and eating unhealthy food, there are consequences to your temporary high – but once we become addicted to procrastination, pushing them to the back of your mind becomes second nature.

What makes procrastination even more damaging is that as we get older, the stakes get higher.

Our careers, finances and health all require our immediate attention.

…and sometimes holding off on an important task for even just a few days is enough for everything to come crashing down.

So don't procrastinate on shaking off your procrastination habit: respect yourself, your time and your life by treating it with the urgency it deserves.

3. Inability to find a pursuit, skill or purpose that made your heart sing

You probably remember at least a few people from your childhood who pursued a hobby or skill, like dancing, playing a musical instrument or a sport, and went on to turn that pursuit into a successful lifelong career.

Most of us, however, tend to drift away from the paths we explored as children, if we had the opportunity to explore any in the first place.

Instead, we follow what's available and convenient, sacrificing the discovery or pursuit of what truly fulfills us on a deeper level.

Then, as the bills, responsibilities and deadlines of adulthood stack up, we completely sideline any notion of honoring our passions; instead, we settle for admiring other people's passion-driven achievements.

But, as the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said, "Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion."

On your deathbed, a passionless life will be one of your biggest regrets. So remember that honoring yours is equally as, or even more important than, wealth and professional stability.

4. Moments of self-doubt caused by judgmental parents and role models

From our grades to our fashion sense, it's normal for our parents, mentors, teachers and role models to act judgmentally towards us as we're growing up.

This behavior often boils down to a well-meaning protective streak that manifests as excessive scrutiny on our actions, decisions and academic performance.

Unfortunately, being constantly put under a microscope can manifest a sense of unease and nervousness each time we're faced with a decision that should be ours and ours alone to make.

"What will they think?" and, "Will I let them down?" are common questions we ask yourself when we're plagued by the self-doubt of excessive judgment.

To overcome this block, it's crucial that we reinforce the understanding that we are the captain of our own ships, and that nobody has the right to judge us.

While it is, of course, admirable to make our parents and mentors happy, our own happiness comes before anything else – and those who truly love us must remember this fact.

Knowing the 4 most common damaging childhood experiences isn't enough though.

It's crucial to know which one is affecting you most. The tricky thing is, because these experiences exist in yur subconscious minds, it's hard to figure this out by ourselves – in fact, the truth may be the complete opposite of what we think.

That's why my friend Natalie created her free 30-second quiz that, through a series of carefully arranged questions, helps you identify the primary childhood experience that is likely to be the most damaging to your career, finances and life.

(Or as she calls it, your Negative Childhood Imprint.)

After the quiz, you'll receive a personalized video report detailing your results, plus detailed action steps for erasing this Negative Childhood Imprint from your mind:

Click here to take the 30-second quiz and discover your most damaging Negative Childhood Imprint.

I especially love the timing with the fireworks in the background! ๐Ÿ™‚

Of the four types of Negative Childhood Imprints, which one is affecting you the most?

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