Stop Terrorizing Yourself

In my early 20’s, I became conscious of a negative voice in my head, as I was walking to work, that regaled me with terrifying scenarios, each worse that the last. I remember wondering who that was in my head and how they got there? It sounded so different than my own voice that I couldn’t even imagine it was me!

Ten years later, I was introduced to A Course in Miracles and got my answer. Yes, the voice was my own, a part of me named The Negative Ego. While you cannot murder it off – everything is energy and while you cannot destroy energy, you can transmute it to something else. The first major benefit from studying the course was to heal my relationship with God. I realized that everything I had been taught about God was inaccurate and that God is not outside of myself but within.

The second major benefit was equally life-changing. Not only did I learn that I am the generator of the thoughts I think but that once I become conscious and aware that I am thinking a negative thought, I can choose to think another thought instead. I saw how thinking negative thoughts was an attack on myself – why would I put myself down with such velocity, why would I terrorize myself with fear thoughts that kept me awake at night? Did I hate myself that much? No, I didn’t. I just didn’t understand that we create our reality from our thoughts and emotions, so to indulge in a bout of negative thinking was actually asking the Universe to bring it on!

Rather than beating myself up for the quality of my thoughts, I simply said aloud, “Cancel! Cancel! Cancel!” and then picked another happier, more positive thought to think instead.

Forty years later, I recognize the gift I was given. Unlike so many people, I refuse to terrorize myself through the thoughts I think. For example, I refuse to worry about money, health, whether my partner of 14 years will leave me or what old age will bring. A belief is just a thought you think many times over, so instead, I believe that the

Universe is always conspiring with me to bring me my highest good. Even if something happens that doesn’t immediately look like a plus, I sit with it, asking, “Is this good or is this bad?”

Inevitably, either sooner or later, it is clear that the Universe was serving me.

As we go through these chaos years, you can make it so much harder than it need be by imagining the worst. We asked to be here, we intended to grow as much as possible; why then do we resist when clearly shown that what we think, say and do isn’t working anymore?

Embracing change is just another thought, then we flow with the energies versus being battered by them.


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Making Friends with Uncertainty

Does your life feel like a roller-coaster ride: one moment, you are experiencing new heights, new world views, and exhilaration, and in the next, you feel like you are hitting bottom, back where you started and terrified?

We are being asked to take responsibility for choosing to be here, wanting to be here and even fighting to be here! Billions of souls wanted to be on Earth for the unprecedented Shift of the Ages and you are here! Think of it as purchasing a ticket for a roller-coaster ride and then going through the ride, screaming, cringing, holding on for dear life instead of whooping it up with every high and low, shift in pace and enjoying playing right on the edge.

We are in the chaos years; a time of rampant instability – there’s no help for it, whomever and whatever has a lack of integrity in its foundation needs to come down in order for it either to be replaced or rebuilt – not remodeled or renovated on the old foundation!

What does this mean to you? You can embrace the times we are in, align with the need for more integrity in government, in business, in relationship with all beings. Every life experience presents us with a choice – we can choose to process our feelings and then move forward with our next highest choice, or we can sulk, give our power away by deciding we have no choice.

One thing is for sure, it will get worse before it gets better!

So, I encourage you to make friends with uncertainty, to choose to see life as an incredible adventure where the rules are constantly changing and you learn to shift on a dime. We did this in childhood play and we can do it again.

It requires us to keep letting go of life as we’ve known it, to not be attached to beliefs, decisions, behaviors and relationships that no longer work for us. There’s aliveness in uncertainty and deadness in rote, the same old, same old.

Resistance keeps us stuck but openness allows in new considerations: what opportunities does change contain?

What if you stopped viewing the problems as red flags, as show stoppers, but instead looked at how to solve the issues they raised; to shift from problem finding to problem solving.  To see what the potential actually is?

Over the course of my life, I have done this repeatedly, as,“the air went out of the tires” again and again, re-routing me in my work, living situations, relationships until it started to feel normal, a new normal. Holding on to lost causes prolongs the pain. Is it better to rip off the band aid in one tug or to inch it off painful moment by painful moment? I’ve also learned that I’m not alone in this journey – look around, you’ll find many allies along the path. We are stronger together.


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Letting Life Be In Charge

Are you ready to stop letting your personal fears dictate your life and instead simply surrender to what life has in store for you? Are you tired of trying to control everyone and everything?

Despite your best efforts, life rarely unfolds the way you want it to! Although you don’t want to
face that you are not in control – it actually is self-evident! Life is the natural result of all the forces in creation, not just the way you think things should unfold for you. You are never powerless in how things do unfold for you; you use your will to chart your life course and to navigate what does come your way.

Interested? First, check your beliefs: do you absolutely believe that the Universe means you well, that the Universe wants you
to have what is highest and best for you? Do you believe that the Universe knows best as to when it can address your needs in the best possible way?

Are you aware how your thoughts and feelings derail your sense of peace and trust in the timing? Isn’t it shocking how the mind imprisons you with its fear, anxiety and tension? It seems that one minute, you are calm and confident and the next you disappear into the grip of the mind, no longer present or peaceful. Similarly, do you notice how your feelings can overwhelm you – that is, if you hold on to them versus letting them simply pass through?

When in the thrall of negativity that makes you feel you are not doing enough, realize that pushing through is not helping: the more you push, the more you push away the result you want and, even worse, the “push energy” goes into your work!

When you first begin practicing letting life be in charge, you quickly get in touch with your resistance. It is as if whatever the Universe sends, you find ways to reject it: it isn’t your preference,
the timing is wrong, it doesn’t fit your pictures.

I did this at first, with the invitation to write a monthly article for this magazine! Fortunately, I quickly recognized that my mind was doing its usual number of trying to create a problem! Then I had a profound realization that my resistance was controlling me! I learned to say, “yes!” and to see where saying, “yes” would take me instead.

Another area of concern revealed itself to me on this path: I got nervous when business slowed down. My agitation sent me spinning into activities that never went anywhere. I over-rode my intuition, my needs and my vision closed down, limiting my options. Instead, I decided to align with the ebb and flow of the Universe, allowing myself to rest and integrate while waiting.

(July, 2018 edition)

Integrating the Head and Heart

Have you ever been given feedback in such a gentle way that although you felt loved and cared for, you weren’t at all clear what was being said?

Or, perhaps conversely, you were crystal clear but didn’t feel seen or valued within the exchange?

It is important to Conscious Business Women that we are gracious and connected to our hearts and yet not blurring the lines of communication with our caring. I like to think about it as the integration of the head and heart. The heart wants to assure you that you are appreciated, cared for, and that support is available; the head wants to make sure that you know exactly what you are doing that needs improvement, that you are committed to finding a solution and that you are aware of the potential consequences of not changing your behavior.

From my own executive experience in Corporate America, the head was more honored than the heart. Being called, “soft” was not a compliment! And yet, those managers who, “called it the way they saw it,” with little regard for the feelings of those they were addressing, didn’t fare any better in the annual employee feedback survey.

Whether you are trying to improve the behavior of your spouse, your child, your employee, your colleague, or even yourself, protecting the person’s self-esteem is vital. If you cut a person down, they will stop believing in themselves; if you imply they can do nothing right – you will find yourself trapped in the role of constantly telling them what to do. And yet, if you are so intent on building them up, you will confuse them as what the actual issue is and they will see no reason to change!

The solution is to balance the input from the head and the heart.

The heart wants to make sure the conversation is held in private, and to ensure you understand that you are doing most things well; yet understand what needs to improve.

The head needs you to understand that this one thing is undermining the rest of your performance and that not fixing it will have specified negative consequences. Then, the head and heart want to work together to help you to resolve the issue and commit to it. The head wants the specifics clearly defined and the heart wants to offer whatever support is needed. The head wants to be sure that when the conversation is over, you walk away with a clear understanding: what the issue is, why it is unacceptable, how to fix it and the consequences of not fixing it.

This process works as beautifully for self-coaching as it does for coaching others. Some see the head as a masculine trait and the heart as a feminine trait, but actually we all have both traits regardless of our sex. What a beautiful modeling of the equality between the sexes and how working together in harmony yields a higher and better outcome for all.

(June, 2018 edition)

Letting Go of Control

Aren’t you tired of trying to control everyone and everything – it is so exhausting!

And, despite your best efforts, life rarely unfolds the way you want it to. As a conscious business woman, I didn’t want to face that I am not in control – but it actually is self-evident! Life is the natural result of all the forces in creation, not just the way I think things should unfold for me. Of course, I am not powerless, I use my will to chart my course through life and how to navigate what does, in fact, come my way. And, I absolutely believe that the Universe means me well, that the Universe wants me to have what is highest and best for me. It even knows when it can address my needs in the best possible way.

Yet, I am also aware how my thoughts and feelings derail my sense of peace and trust that all is unfolding the way it is meant to. It is shocking how the mind imprisons me with its fear, anxiety and tension. It seems that one minute, I am calm and confident and then suddenly I’ve disappeared into the grip of the mind, no longer present and certainly no longer peaceful.

Similarly, I noticed how my feelings could overwhelm me – if I held on to them versus letting them simply pass through.

When in the thrall of negative feelings and thoughts that make me feel I am not doing enough, I realize that pushing through does not help: the more I push, the more I push away the result I want and even worse the “push energy” goes into the communications I am sending!

When I first began practicing letting life be in charge, I quickly got in touch with my resistance. It was as if whatever the Universe sent me, I found ways to reject it: it wasn’t my preference, the timing was wrong, or it didn’t fit my pictures.

Fortunately, I quickly recognized that my mind was doing its usual number of trying to create a problem! Then I had a profound realization that my resistance was controlling me! I learned to say, “Yes!” and to see where saying, “Yes” would take me instead.

Another area of concern revealed itself to me on this path: I got nervous when business slowed down. My agitation sent me spinning into activities that never went anywhere except depleting me. I over-rode my intuitions, the needs of my body and my vision closed down, limiting my options. Instead, I decided to align with the natural rhythms of the Universe, ebb and flow, and to allow myself to rest and integrate while I was waiting.

Getting out of my own way, allows the Universe to bring me more and more of my heart’s desires, giving me integration time so that I can receive even more of what serves me.

Can you relate?

(May, 2018 edition)

The New Normal Includes Chaos

There is no denying that we are experiencing chaos worldwide. We are in the chaos years that have been predicted for thousands of years.

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

This week during a client session Aimée and I were sharing how the current energy patterns are disruptive and creating chaos in order for each of us to do our deepest clearing work, or we will suffer even more. She exclaimed “haven’t you been talking about energies like these being present for years? When will it end”? We have been talking about this for years and it will not end, it will shift to another level yet will not end. When we are able to relax into the chaos that is presenting itself there is more peace even if for only a moment.

We experience chaos every day in large and small ways. The car won’t start, traffic is at a standstill causing distress that we will not make an appointment, sick children, aging parents with unpredictable needs, heartbreak, the list is endless. A new neighbor moves in that plays loud music and has parties that go late into the night, they own the house so nothing is going to change anytime soon.
Chaos IS good news? Chaos creates the openness where things fall apart and new creations arise. When you nearly crash your car or slip and nearly fall you are immediately thrown into present time and can experience open space. As a loved one is preparing to leave their body our experience of the now, one moment at a time, is a powerful experience.

Another way chaos is good news is that when things seem very bad, there is a big opportunity for something good to take place. It takes shifting your focus, asking, is this really true that I am holding this situation as bad can open you up to new possibilities.

The pain and confusion are now so vivid in the world that we have no choice but to acknowledge it. The possibility exists that we will all come to our senses and collectively discover and make higher level choices. Only by staring at the confusion and chaos while examining it will we discover a way forward. To enlighten means to “fully illuminate”, we see the problem and find a solution. Being unaware of the problem is not being enlightened it is being ignorant. Even on a personal level, when we have challenges in our life, the answer is already there; we just need to embrace it. If we are tired, rest, if we are overeating, stop and eat with moderation, if we are lonely make a connection with another.
Every morning we get to contemplate what we are doing in our life today and choose the energy we want to bring to it. Are we adding to the fear and anxiety or are we adding to the positivity, compassion and encouragement?

When we consider that chaos is good news, whatever comes our way -good or bad- has less power to throw us off track and obstruct our progress.

Chaos is in your midst, so be extra kind to yourself and others, you will be much happier if you are kind.

Love and blessings,

Karen & Aimee

A Conscious Business Woman Manifesto

When I heard the Dalai Lama say, many years ago, that it was the western woman who would save the world, I took it personally.

I had long been working in the field of business, first as a corporate executive and then, like so many other women disgusted with the corporate politics, I became an entrepreneur. The issue, I eventually realized, was that the current business model was written by men for men. This is not a criticism but a fact.

I resolved to do business differently, consciously and ultimately developed, with my business partner, Karen Halseth, a Conscious Business Woman Manifesto with nine tenets. We identified what made us uncomfortable in the male business model: for example, corruption, exclusion, competition, patriarchy, and greed. Our Manifesto would focus on such qualities as integrity, active listening, collaboration, inclusivity, sustainability and sharing the wealth. A Conscious Business Woman knows that women are her allies not her rivals.

When we introduced it at one of our monthly networking gatherings, Developing Alliances: Professional Gatherings for Extraordinary Women, our audience roared their appreciation. It was one our finest moments to witness 70 women standing, reading the Manifesto aloud and then sitting down to sign it. As Conscious Business Women, we hold enormous power; we choose who we do business with, invest with, and partner with.

Today there are almost 250 million women running businesses across the world and on average more than a third of global firms have female owners.

We realized that many business women have been trained by men in the art of manipulation, using bullying techniques such as shaming and creating false states of urgency to keep the pressure on. We committed to only bring in speakers who were aligned with the Manifesto, and to not reward those salespeople who were invested in the old model. As Conscious Business Women, we value developing a relationship with another business woman first, the “know-like- and trust” model. I want to know who you are, what you stand for, and to see if we can relate to each other before I sign up for one of your programs. Don’t you?

The heart has been trashed in the old model, it’s clear that the head rules when you look at decisions made by share-holders and governing bodies that are greed-based and demonstrate their disregard for the wellbeing of those less fortunate. And yet, it has been proven that the heart is actually more intelligent than the brain – no surprise there!

What if we all worked together for the good of all people?

Can you imagine a world like that?

We are seeing another powerful way that women are saving the world through the “Me Too!” and “Time’s Up” movements, by finding their voices and speaking out.

How are you playing your part? We’d love to hear from you.


In Praise of Ease

Up until now, pain is seemingly a non-negotiable, but suffering is a different matter; it is a choice.

Instead of suffering and struggling, we could choose the path of ease and joy. Suffering comes from resisting what is happening. Ease and joy comes from flowing with it. Every time you experience suffering, it is a sign that you are off track and have stepped out of the flow. Suffering comes from pushing our bodies to perform beyond the balance point that preserves your wellbeing. Continuing to work in this “danger zone” further stresses, depletes and exhausts you.

With so many choices and responsibilities in life, you may find yourself pushed to your limit, unable to relax when you do have a moment and disconnected from the people and activities you most enjoy. What’s perhaps even worse is that you always feel stalked by failure, fear, anxiety.

One popular solution is to live a simpler life, but, what if there was a way to navigate your life in a way that allowed you to fully show up for the people and activities that truly matter to you, and let you refuel, reboot and rejuvenate along the way?

A few benefits: When your body is at rest, you are your most creative, powerful and strong. When stressed, vision closes down and reduces your options; when you are relaxed, vision opens up and you are able to see many choices. Stress creates more problems; you get to waste time cleaning up your messes, instead of getting it right the first time. Ease and joy become ways you navigate through life; course correcting each time you
recognize you have chosen off path.

I was lucky that in my late 20’s, I heard a term that really got my attention: restful alertness, the ability to be deeply at rest in the midst of activity. The teachers of this meditation practice were
peaceful and yet dynamic, and charismatic. Later, I explored the idea of being “comfortable in my own skin” through a process of grounding and centering. These two practices have become a way of life for me. My life partner added another, “Don’t hold unnecessary tension in the body.”

I keep my choice for joy and ease top of mind. My body is now a tool of discernment. I trust it completely. Its innate wisdom helps me determine what I want to do (my body opens, moves
forward, feels upbeat) and what I don’t (my body contracts, moves away from and feels overwhelmed). My body also lets me know when it needs a break; I lose the ability to focus, feel restless or start yawning. These breaks can be as short as 5-10 minutes, time for a walk around the garden, drink a cup of tea mindfully, or close the eyes for a few minutes.

If you believe that life is a struggle, remember that Maya Angelou says, “When you know better, you do better.”


Relationship Versus Relatingship

We are all familiar with the term relationships, we talk about them all the time. We talk about relationships with our loved ones, kids, family, friends and clients. We talk about the potential to improve our current relationships, while for some, the topic is finding the relationship of their dreams.

Photo by Roberto Nickson (@g) on Unsplash

We have a relationship with our work, with nature, with time, the list is endless. The word, relationship, is used thousands of times a day without much thought.

The definition of relationship (noun): the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other: a romantic or sexual friendship between two people: the way in which two or more people or things are connected.

Even though we have contact throughout everyday in one way or another, many people are finding themselves feeling disconnected and unfulfilled.

What is it that keeps so many going through the motions of relationships and finding they have a longing for so much more? What is the missing piece? I believe it is relating that brings a deeper connection that leads to fulfillment.

The definition of relating-ship (yes, I made it up): The verb, relate, means “to make a connection.” If you can relate to someone’s story, something like that has happened to you or someone close to you. Relate also means “to give an account of something verbally,” like relating details of something important to you. That meaning of relate comes from the Latin word, relatus, meaning “to recount, tell.”

Here is a simple example of relationship vs relating-ship:

Recently a middle-aged man with two cats moved into the unit above me. When we passed, I would always smile and say hello. He would lift his eyes for a moment, mumble hello, and lower his gaze as he walked by. He was not unkind – only reserved, and I realize that not everyone wants to know their neighbors.

This went on for a number of weeks – it was our relationship. I wasn’t expecting anything, knowing that I will always say hello as I pass by. Recently a large new shiny silver truck replaced the sportscar in his parking spot. I smiled and acknowledged the change with “nice truck.” He responded with a smile and “yeah.” The next time we passed on the sidewalk, I said “good morning” this time he changed. He looked up, smiled and started talking about how cold it was. He was on the way to work at the Hyatt hotel where he is employed. I shared that I had worked at the Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa in the past – we were now relating. He shared that he may move to Tennessee and work at a Hyatt that is being built there. I commented that his truck would be perfect in Tennessee, and a big grin crossed his face. His last comment was “I have a heavy walk, I hope that I don’t disturb you when I am home, I try to be quiet.” Yes, we were relating.

To be in full disclosure, I often wish that he would take off his shoes when he came home. I wished he went to bed earlier so he didn’t wake me, I agree he has a heavy walk. After we had a relating moment, I don’t mind the noise as much; I have connected with the person, it made a difference.

To relate means to share, to relate means to love. To relate requires a certain level of vulnerability.
Using a nature analogy: two seeds cannot relate, they are closed and protected there is no space for relating. Two flowers can relate, they are open, they share their fragrances, they bask in the same sun and blow in the same wind.

We each have the opportunity to allow the seed to open and become a flower. It is your choice and each moment the choice has to be faced; each moment you are at a crossroads. Millions of people decide not to open or to only open within their comfort zone. How can they relate? It seems safer to keep a distance, at least to some degree. The flower is exposed, to the elements. Anything can happen to the flower, everything can happen to the flower. But to remain a seed is not to live fully, which is the price of staying secure as a seed.

Relating is a process, avoid doing relationships and go deeper and deeper into relating. Life is not a noun it is a verb, it is living. It is not a song, it is singing. It is not relationship, it is relating. It is not a dance, it is dancing. It is not love, it is loving.

To live your life consciously there is always an invitation to go deeper; if it was easy we would be doing it already. Look at what you say you want and may not have in the moment and ask how you are contributing to that outcome; it takes courage and vulnerability to look within. There is strength in vulnerability and it is essential for relating-ships.

Before you can relate with anything or anyone else, relate with yourself, find your center first. That is the basic requirement that needs to be fulfilled. With it, nothing is impossible. Relate with a flower, with the wind, relate with a child, relate with a friend or a lover, relate with laughter – yours and others – just relate.

I invite you to choose one area that you are willing to deepen and move from relationship to relating-ship.

Share your area in the comment section or email I look forward to creating a relating-ship with you.

Love and blessings,

Karen & Aimee

Living From Pleasure to Pleasure

Have you ever wondered why two people who face the exact same set of circumstances in life react in very different ways? One appreciates all that she does have; the other focuses on everything she doesn’t. One changes everything she has the power to change in her circumstances; the other complains bitterly about being dealt a poor hand.

Many years ago, I had a breakthrough in my thinking when I realized that the quality of life is all in how you hold it. We know that what you put your attention on expands and yet, many of us do not question the context of our lives. For example, do you believe that the Universe really does mean you well? That it is always partnering you by bringing you what you say you want through your thoughts, words, feelings, and actions? That it really does conspire to shower you with blessings? Or, do you spend your life living in fear, waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Growing up in England, I didn’t understand that I could choose again if I didn’t like the consequences of a choice I had made and that I could choose again and again until I did. I was taught that “Once you’d made your bed – you had to lie in it.” But, luckily, once on the spiritual path, I learned that you navigate your life through your choices, most of them unconscious.

Bringing my choices into conscious awareness was my first step and recognizing that the quality of my life was dependent on the quality of the choices I made was the second. I started weeding out or delegating what I didn’t love to do and releasing the people in my life that brought me down. I let go of should do’s and have to do’s. I replaced them with want to do’s. And, then a truly radical idea occurred to me: I could choose to live my life from pleasure to pleasure! What a concept! I saw how from the moment that I awoke, setting the energy of my day through meditation and gentle stretching, enjoying my morning tea in a beautiful cup and then nibbling on delicious fresh berries, I moved effortlessly from pleasure to pleasure throughout my day.

I could say that I am fortunate to love my work but more truthfully, I take responsibility for constantly redefining it, along with my client base, even my business partners – with each change increasing the quality and my pleasure. I am fully present with each activity and each client; before moving to the next one, I refresh my energy through grounding and centering so that I am always presenting my best self. In this way, I have energy left over for my evening with my intimate partner.

If I am not experiencing pleasure, I recognize that I must have made a wrong choice and simply choose again.


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