Sunday, May 31, 2015

Are We Too Connected?

I’ve logged a lot of social media hours for the past several months as a bit of an experiment.  I wanted to understand it from various perspectives and although I’m not finished yet, there are some definite impressions that I come away from it with so far.

First, it can be very fun but also a very all-consuming thing.  There is so much information out there, so much to learn, so much to see and so many amazing people to meet and it’s all right at your fingertips.  The ego must be totally thrilled with the instant gratification gained from wanting something and having it in seconds thanks to Google, Amazon and others!   I know mine is.

Second, some of the relationships built are not false and fake as you think they might be just because they began electronically, so-to-speak.  I cannot tell you how many truly good and wonderful souls I’ve met through social media.  So many wonderful souls have been so willing to impart their knowledge and experience on any number of amazing topics.  I’m so very grateful for every single one I’ve run across and I can tell you that they’ve made a lasting impact on my life in so many very good ways that I will always cherish.

Third, there is a dark side to the internet.  You can’t tell me you are surprised at this.  It is no different than the real world where darkness helps to contrast the light.  There is no shortage of drama, bullying and manipulation or worse. But if you’re confident enough in yourself and who you really are, this isn’t a problem.  Just be a wise user and do protect yourself or disconnect from the drama, bullying or any form of manipulation if it finds you.  For those individuals already dealing with challenging malware running rampant in their human consciousness operating system (emotional trauma), this darker side can really be a detriment. 

Realize that people have feelings whether they are here in front of you or on the other side of the screen.  Let us remember this and choose if we can kindness, compassion or if nothing else be assertive with your boundary setting when necessary and don’t be afraid to say “No” or “I’m sorry” or whatever else an online situation calls for.  Remember too, anything you say or post is available for all to see (governments, your boss, coworkers, family members, ex-friends, husbands, wives, etc.) and you can’t wipe it out or take it back.  Conscious consideration is necessary for any time spent online engaged in internet or social media activities.  Consider this, what you use it for, you will get back.  If you use it for vengeance, guess what you're likely to find?  If you use it for stalking, spying or otherwise causing harm to others, guess what you get right back in some way?  Everything matters, never forget this and nothing truly goes unnoticed.

Last but by no means least, my impression overall is that we can become too connected.  We are living breathing beings; an amazing and wondrous part of life.  If we are stuck to our chairs, desks or couches surfing the internet all the time, it makes you a bit soul-weary and you may be missing out on other also very important opportunities.   Be respectful of the connections made on the internet and use the internet wisely and considerately for your entertainment, research or business but please, please, please do not let it consume you.  There are amazing skies to see, trees and flowers to commune with and birds outside to listen to.  Take some time to connect with what is real so that you don’t get too caught up.  It won’t be long, I think, until internet addiction is categorized outside of it’s current status as a connection with “compulsive disorders” of sorts.  Want to know more?  Hehehe Google it.

If you’re a social media maven or social savvy being, that is fabulous and I congratulate you.  Just don’t forget that you are part of physical reality here too.  We do sometimes also need down time, time to pause, consider and reflect on what we’ve taken in.  Thich Nhat Hanh said in his book Peace is Every Step (I think it was) something to the effect of being mindful about what you fill your head with.  This is important as well with social media time.  Be good to yourself and considerate of those you encounter both online and in the real world.  Have fun.  That’s what life is for.  Just don’t forget to be human, don’t forget to take time outs and reconnect you with you or your loved ones.   Everything matters.  You matter.

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Friday, May 29, 2015

My Soul is from Elsewhere

My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there - Rumi

I ran across a quote by Rumi.  As with all his words, you can’t just quickly run past them.  You really have to sit with them a bit and reflect.  As I consider the words, “My soul is from elsewhere” alone, there is a strong resonance that echoes through not only my soul but the entirety of my spiritual consciousness.

I don’t believe we were created from nothing with a sudden appearance here on this Earth.  We’d have to come up with a much better and clearly defined understanding of consciousness in order for me to believe that.

I think that we always existed and even as we project our focus here in this dimension, there is still a part of us that remains part of that “Elsewhere” of which Rumi spoke. 

Notice, maybe as I have, that he never said “return there” as if we had left and would some day return.  He said, “End up there.”  I think the concept of “End up there” is a little closer to the truth.  Perhaps we never left Elsewhere at all and everything we experience here is this massive, amazing and wonderful dream just for the delicious beauty of the experience of it.

No one can say with certainty but I think it’s a nice thought for now.  Beliefs are not entirely useless.  I guess their usefulness depends on what you allow them to motivate you to do.  If your belief keeps you happy, smiling, kind and supportive of all life here on planet Earth, then I’d have to say your belief would not be a bad thing in my book.  If your belief stirs up chaos and strife or intentionally harms life on this planet, I’d have to reflect very hard to be understanding of such beliefs.  I could do it but I may not like it.

It’s a funny world we seemingly live in but to me it is more than a pleasant thought to consider my soul comes from Elsewhere and one day I intend to end up there.  I don’t think I ever left there and I don’t think anyone else did either.  I can’t prove it but neither can you definitively disprove it.  That is the beauty of this intricately woven and matrixed experience called life.

So, let us go about our lives then regardless of potential origins or conscious residence.  Perhaps we should just live our lives to the fullest no matter our beliefs or the beliefs of anyone else. Respect all, love all and hold compassion for all.  Maybe we simply continue to move towards that which stirs us in a beautifully resonating fashion for therein lies our true strength and authenticity.

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Perfectly Imperfect

This body may be imperfect by your standards,
But it's mine, I own it and I am quite comfortable in it.
My smile may be imperfect by your standards,
But it's mine and I shall choose to give it often.

My hair is turning gray and you might like to take pleasure in that,
But I am grateful, each strand represents a lesson I won't have to repeat.
My mind may be imperfect by your standards,
But it's mine and after many years, I have learned to make it my friend.

My emotions may be misplaced by your standards,
But they are mine and I shall choose to display them authentically.
My compassion for all may seem undeserved for some by your standards,
But I will always strive to see the beauty in every soul regardless of your opinions.

My physical stature may make me stand out to some as a six-foot tall woman,
But my physical stature is less important to me than my capacity to love.
Poke fun at me as you will but deep down inside, I know and you know,
You take pleasure in my pain only from your own unhealed wounds,
The ones we both know other unthinking souls have left you with...
And that very fact will evoke love and compassion in me for you.

I may not be the best writer, poet, mother, employee, family member or friend,
But I love with all of my heart, I exist to serve humanity and will love every moment of it.
I stumble on words sometimes for fear of how they may be misunderstood,
But I will always find the courage to speak them, straight from the heart.

Despite what this world might think of me,
Like you, I have the right to be here, live, love and exist.
I'm not here for your pleasure or to be the recipient of your painful actions,
But I will always hope you find the love and light in your life...
That my existence may somehow help improve yours,
And that this world brings you more than ever you'd have hoped for.

No, I may not be perfect by anyone else's standards in existence,
But after all of my travels and lessons in life,
I have finally come to love and accept me as I am...
And I will strive always and ever to show you,
You can love and accept you too
You are perfectly imperfect as are we all.

© 2014, Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Anger and the River of Compassion

There are things we see in life that make us very angry. For different reasons ire can rise and before long we are so negatively affected, we lose our ability to think with any form of balance.

Anger and forgiveness are two sentiments which do not seem to go together at all but one can help heal the other. However, you will be unable to navigate the passage way between these two points without opening to the idea of understanding and then compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh discusses this topic in several of his books and in one book that comes to mind, Be Free Where You Are, this concept is so simply explained. It is so very easy to judge in anger and to even take action on that anger when emotional.

But if we can stop for just a moment and reflect on the message anger is really trying to bring us, we might have an opportunity to glimpse that beautiful light path of understanding that flows like a river of compassion to forgiveness.

It seems impossible to apply to some situations, people or even things we’ve had to contend with. I guess there is a choice to be made and that choice is either carry the heavy weight of anger or open our hearts to the possibility of healing.

We can be angry and justifiably so for any given situation but how does that really sit with you? Do you see that anger, like other emotions is a message to you from you that something within you is trying to push you beyond the superficial and into the deeper end of the river of compassion and love?

It may take a leap sometimes but these passage ways exist. They exist but they don’t really come from the outside. They come from within you. Every emotion and choice begins and ends with you. Whatever you choose, you will choose rightly for you.

If you find discomfort in your choice, reflect. Reflect long and hard on the message that is trying to rise within and you’ll be carried further down stream from anger to forgiveness.

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo and words)

Is Your Success Hollow?

There are many definitions of success in practice in this world. Some would consider success in mere financial terms, some might consider success only in social terms and some might consider success to mean positions of power. To each, success has its own definition and for a very good reason.
Far be it for me or any other to judge another’s version of success because we just cannot possibly know what another’s life lessons entail. Perhaps for some, they wished to learn about poverty, lack, or strife and struggle? If they achieve those life lessons, would they not also be achieving success if they are truly learning from those things?

I once measured success by the standards of others and took every step to get where my goal set by the ideals of others would have me go. When I achieved them (which I have to admit I have achieved everything I set out to do when I put effort and imagination into it with all of my heart), I realized that my version of success is not what everyone else’s is.  It did not result in happiness for me.

So, I gave up position, title and extra money. I gave up pursuing the ideas of what others would normally consider success and spent some time focusing and reflecting on what success truly meant to me. In an instant of clarity amidst much chaos, everything changed.

I found what success meant to me and decided to align my efforts with that idea and focus on the challenging and beautiful parts of my life to better understand them. My idea of success no longer includes money, too many possessions, position or power. I’ve simplified my own version because that is what called to me.

The result? Much more peace, much more happiness and much more time for further reflection and refinement of my focus on what matters to me most. I wish to understand my life lessons. That’s it. So simple. That is success to me: learning to live and understanding the little things that drive us to do what we do.  It matters more to me the things that'll stay with me when I one day choose to leave this realm when my last breath is taken.

Whatever your definition of success, pursue it with all of your heart and you will achieve it if you’re ready to take the steps, build courage and the tenacity to do whatever it is you set your heart and mind to. Never mind how anyone else defines success and please resist the urge to measure yourself worth by the success of others. When you achieve someone else’s version of success, the victory is hollow. Focus on what means most to you and your own life enrichment because THAT is the definition of success that matters most.

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Let Us Change the World

Would that we could live in a world where our differences were celebrated with earnest and innocent curiosity. To me, the dichotomies we experience in our cultures, our beingness, and our spiritual practices are the most amazing parts of our Earthly existence. We would not fear our differences so if we could but take one single moment to open our hearts and strive for a moment of understanding.
So much strife do I see in this world and to me it seems unnecessary but as much as it pains me, I wonder does it have a purpose I have yet to understand? Not that I promote the fear and division machinations in existence for as surely as I am here breathing I would emphatically state, I do not.

If we could learn to feel a little more, I often think — feel that space within us that twists as we engage in any activity that minimizes any class, culture or practice just because it is not our own, oh my what we might learn! I’m an idealist at heart I suppose and mostly an optimist but it is the realistic part of me that feels heavy with emotion at the things I see and hear.

I wish only to understand, to lend a hand and learn to take greater command of my own emotions for they do not help with these already weighty worldly things. Instead I think I should like to see a world striving for a bit more harmony. A silly wish from the innocent child within me still maybe? But maybe it’s something else. Maybe there is yet a power within us all from that moment of freedom still resident within us carrying our youthful tolerance where we didn’t care about borders or colors or differing practices. There were those moments we embraced our play together in the schoolyard. What happened to those days and more importantly, that shared sentiment?

These thoughts do not have to be put away as childish things for I think we have much to learn from the child within and it is simply this: Keep your heart open, stay curious and find compassion for all. When you seek understanding and listen to the heart’s voice within, you change the world. 

Let us change the world.

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo: NASA)

Emotion: The Pendulum Swings

In terms of our very complex human emotional processes we must simply understand sometimes that the pendulum of emotion swings. It just does that and sometimes for very good reasons we may one day understand more clearly.

Emotion Strikes

We sometimes tend to worry or become upset when emotions strike. Really, there is no need to get overly annoyed or excited about it. Just observe, seek the understanding that lies beneath the emotion, beneath the thoughts that create it, and grab a hold of the feeling and the message it is truly trying to bring you.

The Pendulum Swings

It is often easier said than done, I know. But if you can learn to find that place…that space within you where you can go knowing you are safe from your emotions, you’ll not be swallowed whole or carried away by them.  You can ride the wave of certainty that for your ultimate good, you can and will master the moment whether it goes by quickly or seems to drag over-long.

Perception Changes and So Do You

Allow yourself to feel however it is you feel and know that you are going to be fine even if it doesn’t feel fine in a moment. The pendulum swings, it doesn’t stay “stuck” for long. Sometimes it only seems stuck…a perception for good reason, again.  Emotion can seem to slow or speed time.  It’s all perception, emotion isn’t you – please remember. It is just part of the experience of life here.

Let it be as it is…let you be you…you can do this.

Note:  If you struggle too much with emotion for whatever reason, please seek the assistance of a licensed trained mental health counselor.  They can make the challenging parts of your emotional journey much easier to manage.

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Obscuring the Light or Finding It

Of all of the secrets of life, one key to our well-being is understanding the nature of the behavior of humanity. Through this understanding, we can come to love humanity as it is with compassion. There are those who have no concept or idea that:
  • Their flame does not shine brighter by extinguishing someone else’s,
  • They do not need to take the flame of another in order to shine, and
  • That their flame exists and if kept from obscuring debris, can help them improve their life experience as well as keep others striving to shine and stand in their own light.
This is a tough game that the ego just cannot grasp but let us not pick on the ego too much as that has been overly done for far too long. We cannot escape this by blaming the ego and walking away. We must address this matter head on, courageously, intentionally and with much faith in our own ability to shine.

We cannot find another’s flame for them as that is not our role. Our role, in truth, is to learn to find our own flame within and identify that which has blocked it. Once we can do that, our own flame shines forth like a beacon lighting not only our path but the paths of those around us.

We are all bearers of the flame of which I speak but some of us do not yet understand what this means. It doesn’t help to call those out who have lost sight of their flame or are ignorant of its existence. We must lead way through the darkness by finding and then standing squarely in our own light. In other words, we simply live the example.

The truth is, we all can shine. We simply must just choose to, learn as best as we can how to shine our light and for those that struggle with this concept, we need to realize our role is merely to lead an example.

In summation, we are never made better by taking someone else down. When we stand together and support each other, we are stronger because we are working in alignment with our light rather than working against it.

These little things are no trivial things. Twist this spiritual concept into psychology and familial relationships, into the work-place, into your friendships and begin to understand how they may apply. By working together and supporting each other, we all shine.

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo: NASA)

What Matters?

Life is fragile and tenuous. We often take it for granted as we focus on objectives, goals or just the acts of everyday living. There are so many things in this world to distract us from what is truly important for us. That thing that is so very important now, may not be of true and lasting value to us in the end.

Life is fragile and tenuous

If you think of just our physical existence, and I don’t mean to paint a frightening picture, but we live on the surface of a planet with a molten moving core. The surface levels shift, change and move on us when we least expect it wreaking havoc in our lives. Changing weather patterns bring us higher water levels and the flora and fauna are affected by the changes that we create.

We have choices to make

 There is so very much that we take for granted caught up in the things that are not of a truly valuable and lasting nature. But that is the beauty of our choice here as we live I suppose. We can wake up every morning grateful or angry. It is up to each of us to decide just how we are going to show up in our day.

As I woke up this morning I realized how far away I’ve gotten from the things important to me. The things that really matter the most. I felt a moment of regret and then realized something. Each day and in each moment we are given the unique and amazing opportunity to change our focus, our thoughts and our actions. There are no wasted moments here really because in each of those moments we learn something.

What is in focus?

 I do not wish to be carried away for moments on end by things that really don’t matter. What I wish to do is dive deeper into those things that matter most. We spend so much of our energy and time on the frustrating things we encounter and by doing so, we increase their scope in our experience. If that is the way we best learn so be it. But know that we don’t have to learn that way always.

We can learn also by focusing on the positive and beautiful aspects of our lives and put our energy there in much more abundance. I find that when I commit and then follow-through in making the time to do that, life becomes sunny and bright even in the middle of a rain storm.

There are choices to make and life to be lived

 As I pause and reflect on these thoughts come full circle for me, the regret is now gone. There’s not a single twinge left. What I feel is a gracious in-flow of gratitude and optimism for life. Life is truly amazing with all of its diversity, dichotomy, wonder and enchantment. Life! That is what I wish to focus on with all the joy in the world I can muster. What about you? What do you want to focus on?

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Deadly Belief

One of the deadliest beliefs for the human psyche to hold is, “I’m not good enough.”

Now this particular belief is so very complex that likely the majority of those who hold it are not even aware that they hold it. The belief has become like an insidious form of malware hidden deep within the operating system of our consciousness.

I’m Not Good Enough!

 This belief is interesting in that originally it was given us by the outside world in some way. In part we agreed to it based on the evidence our perception was convinced was real. But it wasn’t real. The sad part is when this deadly agreement was formed between the outside world’s insistence and the internalized doubt of a fragile consciousness, it ended up rooted deeply within the psyche and began to shape our view of ourselves, direct our perceptions, assumptions and ultimately our actions.

You won’t necessarily know that you hold such an unconscious belief until you learn to spot the signs of its existence in your life. Those signs can be many and varied. From something as simple as tolerating bad behavior, abuse of any kind or routinely running into people who verbalize or in some way show us we are unworthy to becoming co-dependent or a people pleaser in defense.

 Is it true? How do you know?

 It’s a challenging life lesson to be sure but there is hope and there is help! We can learn to identify hidden beliefs by becoming very curious about what upsets us, what triggers us into codependency or people pleasing, looking at the fears we hold and our reaction to life all around us. When we realize the feelings rising within us are in part messages from somewhere within us that rejects this hidden belief, that is when the fun of eliminating the belief begins.
We can take these kinds of beliefs apart but we have to be courageous, we have to be strong and we have to fearlessly embrace all that seemingly frightens us deep within the inner cores of our beings. Some of us can’t do this on our own and need trained assistance to get there. So do whatever it takes to get there because when you do, when you’ve learned to heed the call of your inner being, you set yourself free from the frame of an ideal formed based on a false belief that never really had anything to do with you.

 Get Yourself Free From That Frame!

 When we find the hidden beliefs within and seek to understand them, we then can decide which ones we wish to continue learning from and which ones we don’t. When you begin to toss away the deadly belief of “I’m not good enough,” your life will change for the better. It’s not an over-night assignment from which to learn. It takes time and patience as well as a true willingness to work at it.

I have met so many souls who carry this hidden belief within them that it breaks my heart. I can see it because I too used to hold that belief and I held it until it nearly broke me. But when my world seemed to begin to break apart, I found the belief trying to get my attention all along. When I understood its source and found forgiveness and gratitude for the opportunity to learn the lesson, I was free. The rest of the surrounding lessons then become concerned with habit breaking and that is easy (says the former smoker).

Clearer Internal Vision Improves Your life. You Are Worth It!

 You must understand how amazing you truly are and you will when you find each of those things that fogs your vision and prevents you from feeling the truth. You deserve the truth, to see it, to touch it and to feel it. The mind can play tricks on you but that deep inner knowing will not. It will just continue to try to get your attention by bringing you people and situations that attract you to the most painful parts of that hidden belief until you find it, learn from it, understand it and then let it go. There won’t be any parties, trophies or awards when you let go. But you’ll be paid in something worth much, much more than any of those things – self love and self-respect. Is it worth it to try? For me, the answer was definitively YES!

Just some food for thought! Be amazing! You are that!

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

When a Cold Breeze Blows

Oh the things we miss with an untrained eye, a closed mind or a walled off heart. I guess sometimes ignorance is bliss. That is until certain things become too painful to miss.

Something as simple as a breeze and the way we react to it is a fine example. Have you ever noticed how you normally react to a chilly breeze? We usually turn our backs to it without even giving much though to the action itself. The body simply begins to move in order to protect itself.

There are people in our lives like a chilly breeze and maybe it is we who are that chilly breeze wondering why our approach finds us seeing the backs of others as they turn away.  It can be painful until we learn to understand.

Alternatively, consider a warm sunny summer breeze. Have you ever encountered one and turned directly into it as if it would fill you up with blessed beautiful light? We unconsciously will turn toward a warm and beautiful sunny breeze. It’s very natural. The body just begins to move in order to reward itself and enjoy an uplifting moment.

There are people in our lives like a sunny summer breeze or maybe it is we who are that sunny summer breeze grateful to find our approach is met by outstretched arms to greet us.

With little ability or desire to observe, so much goes unnoticed. But with even a little effort we can grow in our understanding. The cold breeze doesn’t know it is a cold breeze, it just is. The sunny summer breezed doesn’t care if it blows, it just does. But what about people who fall into these metaphorical categories? What about them?

Is there a right way or wrong way to be or to react? I don’t think so really. We will protect ourselves when necessary and shouldn’t doubt ourselves when everything in us says it’s time to turn away. We can do so with love in our hearts for ourselves and our need to protect what we hold dear. We’ll also open ourselves when necessary and shouldn’t doubt ourselves when everything in us says we shouldn’t be so open.

There are actions in this life and there are consequences. There are thoughts and judgments about all we encounter. Some of life’s greatest lessons are bound up in just the way we show up and present ourselves. Be you a cold breeze or a warm sunny one from a personality perspective, you will live and you will learn and you will teach all around you. There is merit in this teaching and learning and I for one choose to see it this way rather than in terms of what is wrong and what is right.

If you want to be embraced, seek you the company of those warm of heart and perhaps allowing them to teach you the way. You will learn from them about love. If you wish to better understand your own turning away or others that turn from you, seek you the deep well of understanding within you for there is a great life lesson afoot and you can learn if you have the desire to learn.

However you are and what ever you do, be authentically and beautifully you. Enjoy this life as it is and all of humanity just as it is as well.  Blessings.

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Life: Ugliness and Beauty Through the Eyes of an Artist

There can be beauty in ugliness

From the outside, some may not think of photographers as artists but I say truly they are. Among my many creative outlets, photography is one. It requires an artistic mind to not only compose a shot but to think ahead about the light and shadows, the colors and over-all emotion of a scene we plan to capture and then there are of course the technical components of the capture.

So many of us take great pleasure in showing the beauty of life. We can zero in on the tiniest beautiful flower in a field of pure ugliness, focus in on the shot, take it and voila! We have now made something beautiful emerge from something not so appealing. The very picture I’ve posted with this article is an example.

California is in drought and nothing I do can keep my plants alive when I have to cut back on water (yes, I’m one of the few who actually follows the rules). So, my last remaining potted plant to survive the unending streams of heat waves and lack of water gifted me a few last tiny little flowers.

If I hadn’t stopped to look, I’d have missed its last hurrah. I’ll try to save it if I can because it’s so beautiful but it’s just not looking good. From this picture, all you see is the color, the set up and the vision I wanted you to see. You don’t see all the dead and withering blooms all around it. You don’t see anything other than the beauty I want you to see.

What you focus on, you create

Likewise, some of us wish to train our lens on the plight of those who struggle in the city, in sparsely populated or even overly populated areas. Even in an ugly city, an artistic photographer can capture beautiful lines in the architecture and compose the shot in beautiful harmony despite the surrounds.

This form of art is to me quite a spiritual endeavor. You see, we create sometimes from pure ugliness a work of beauty or we take the ugliness and show you hope. The artists of this world are often starving because of our love of the challenge of showing you something from another perspective. As a practitioner in metaphysics, it’s part of my job to show you the beauty that dwells deep within you and within this amazing and wonderful universe. It’s my role to show you how much power you have to paint your life like a skilled artist even when you’re dealing with the ugliness.  When I'm taking pictures, I'm reminded that we have the power to see from only certain perspectives or to show certain perspectives.

Color your world the way you want

We are the artists of our lives too. We can train our eyes on the beauty or the ugliness as we so choose. We can feel the emotion of it or ignore it. So many choices do we have. Just like the photographer who chooses carefully what he or she most wishes to convey with one perfectly timed shot. So too do you live your life whether consciously or unconsciously.

However you choose to present yourself, there will be those who will see your beauty and there will be those who see your ugliness. We all possess both to a degree as does this amazing world we live in. But, I remind you again, YOU are the artist and you get to choose how you show up here and which perspectives you will give life to. Thank you for showing up here. I challenge you to let that artistic part of your being come out every now and then and like a photographer or painter, capture something before you in your mind and study it a moment in silence and with appreciation. You can choose what you will bring out of that moment and the perspectives you will carry from it. It’s up to you and how creative you wish to be.

© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

You're Gonna Choke

Have Faith In Yourself and Know You Can Do it

When I was a little girl in 1976, I watched Nadia Comaneci and Olga Korbut perform in the 1976 Olympics in gymnastics.  I was just 10 years old but in watching them I wanted nothing more than to go to the Olympics.  Big aspirations for a ten year old kid right?!  Grandma signed me up for gymnastics at the local YMCA and with much very hard work and sheer determination, I made it to the YMCA's competition team.

As a child, I never had any fear or doubt about doing what I wanted to do.  For two years, I worked very hard and in my very last competition, out of 200+ girls in Beverly Hills, California, I placed for the first time.  No small fete considering my coach told me I was going to choke that day.  I spent my time in between events focusing in my mind performing every routine flawlessly.  My coach taught me this many times – “See it in your mind performed flawlessly-know that you can do it just the way you see it and then just do it.”  Such valuable words were these.

"You're gonna Choke."

At that last competition I was nervous and doubtful for seemingly the first time as it was the biggest gymnastics meet I had ever competed in.  There were so many people and it was throwing me off during practice.  My coach’s words that day stung when she told me I was going to choke and I was mad but I went back to her prior words – “See the performance in your head flawlessly completed, know that you can do it and then do it.”

That is exactly what I did that day.   I didn’t take first place but I placed 6th in the all-around and in one or two other events and for me, that was just the best thing ever.  By age 12 I was very quickly growing much too tall to be a gymnast and social things were quickly becoming much more important than my 10 year old dream.  I chose to end my career as a gymnast.  I went out on a good note and I always felt good about that.

Many moons later, I had my eye on Corporate America.  Well-meaning friends and others told me I couldn’t get in because back then, I had no degree or training.  So, I researched various jobs, studied for them, talked to people, practiced what it would take to do them and then I went for it.  I visualized and practiced nailing the interview.  I got it.  I was roughly 19 when I went into Corporate America as an Administrative Assistant.  I worked for several different kinds of companies and watched the leaders of those companies.

I grew up very poor and didn’t care to continue that for the rest of my life. So, I had dreams of becoming an executive because getting into Corporate America wasn’t enough.  As I began to pursue my goal, I was told I could never be an executive because I had no degree.  I didn't let that deter me.  Again, I studied, I listened, I learned and I watched those women and men who were very successful in Corporate America.  I was promoted and promoted and promoted.  I visualized the next level, I watched those who did it successfully and I went for it and achieved level after level ultimately achieving my set goal somewhere back in 2005 or so. 

I think that many of the New Age approaches over simplify the process of attraction by saying “just see it and feel it and you’ll attract it to you.I say that is absolutely not true at all.  If it is your path to create certain things, you will create certain things.  If you set a reasonably achievable goal, get the facts about what it will take to get there, learn what is necessary to achieve a set goal and then go about taking every step with good intent, confidence and demonstrated ability, the only thing that can stop you then is fear or doubt.

These two stories represent very different scenarios of my life that carried the same theme:  Visualizing and then achieving a goal (okay - others too but let's stick to the one easiest to get to on the surface and I'll get to the others in another post).  It’s important to remember that we’re very often NOT handed what we think we want for a very good reason.  The journey is the destination in goal achievement really.  The things I learned after I set goals and went after them are worth more than the actual goal achievement itself.  Naysayers do absolutely nothing for you but trigger the ego into fear.  Action based on fear leads to trouble eventually and you may find goals set in fear aren’t always so satisfactory once achieved.  That is also something I learned.

Life Lessons Learned

No matter what goals you set for yourself or how you go about achieving them, you’ll learn even if you seem to fail.  I have failed so many times in my life seemingly but when I step back and look at what I’ve learned to create out of nothing and when there was seemingly no hope, I am just in awe.  I have created much in my life that I’m grateful for and I wouldn’t trade a single thing.  I did realize something important though.  The goal isn’t always as important as how you get there.  I am not a wealthy woman in terms of assets and dollar signs.  But I’m infinitely rich in knowledge in terms of love, a confident knowing that I can create whatever my heart truly desires and that I can do what I love.  These are the things that create a wealth to me.

I like to look back at this picture every now and then and see a little girl raised on welfare from a broken home.  Even with everything stacked against her, she let nothing deter her - Not social status, not naysayers and not lack of much outside support.  I learned a lot in my life and will continue to and that makes me smile.  I don’t have to be the smartest, the richest or the best dressed to make me happy.  Along life’s little mini journeys I’ve learned to appreciate people, diversity, challenge and beauty.  It’s all part of a much bigger goal of getting through life.  

© 2015 JL Harter (photo, I believe was taken by a teammate’s parent, most likely the Wells or Dornis Family - I'm pictured standing in the back row, farthest to the left)