Resolutions Don't Work. Do This Instead

Comment

Resolutions Don't Work. Do This Instead

New Year's Resolutions are okay, I suppose. Most people I talk with, though, say that they fail to uphold their resolution longer than a few weeks into the new year. Resolutions are not a bad idea, but there is something that is much more important that most people don’t do, ever: define what they believe about who they are, why they are here on Earth, and what is possible for their lives.

If you're doing anything to prepare for the new year, prepare by getting clear about what you truly believe.

Not what your mother believes.

Not what your sister believes.

Not what your neighbor believes.

Not what your boss believes.

Not even what you’re told to believe by anyone in a role of authority. All of these people may help shape what you believe—as could science and religion and experience and a number of other influences.

The key is to define what YOU believe. Go ahead, right now, and write down your core beliefs about the big, important concepts, such as who you truly are; what you’re here to contribute; how your family or origin plays a role in your life; and what the journey of your soul has been and will be.

Why define your beliefs? What you believe is true about you, your life, and the universe is determinant of how you think, the energy you put out, and the way you show up every day. You must have something bigger than yourself to pull you forward in life. You must claim something beyond a mindless routine of sleep, awaken, eat, work, watch Game of Thrones, repeat. You must, because no one else on this planet can believe on your behalf.

It’s critical to understand this point: what you believe dictates what you think and what you think directs your words, your actions, and therefore, your life.  As writer Annie Dillard explains in The Writing Life, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” How you show up every, single day is predicated on what you believe about this life.

You are responsible for our own life story, and that responsibility grows when you decide to take control of the one thing that belongs to you alone: the joy and bliss of your story. The core beliefs that I invite you to define are written from the, "I, me, my" perspective and create more joy, peace, compassion, forgiveness, love, and potential in your life. The beliefs that are truest to your inner knowing a free of conditioned limitations.

Here’s a concrete example of how powerful our beliefs are from a behavioral science perspective. In a study that was published by the American Psychological Association, researchers from Yale University documented that middle-aged adults who held more positive beliefs about aging lived an average of 7.6 years longer than those who held more negative beliefs, even when controlling for current health and other risk factors.

Whoa. Beliefs can even affect the length of your life. That's another reason it's critical for you to know what you actually believe.

So, for 2018, skip the resolutions and make it your priority to define your beliefs. 

If you want an exercise to guide your in writing your Core Beliefs, you can click here to receive my 7 Core Beliefs Exercise.


Anella Wetter is a writer, an intuitive coach, and a yoga & Pilates teacher. 

Comment

Darkness Before Light

Comment

Darkness Before Light

I landed in New York City before 5 p.m. yesterday to visit my daughter, and it was already dark here in the far eastern edge of the Eastern time zone. It's cold, too.

Today, the cold wind is warmed by the bright sunlight, and the city feels extra busy.  Snow is on the way, forecasters say. Holiday songs play as I stroll like a tourist to 34th Street to view the Macy’s holiday windows; this year’s theme is, “The Perfect Gift Brings People Together.” Each window depicts a scene about the joy of sharing this holiday season with those we love. I walk alone; my daughter is in her office for a few hours.

I spend time inside Macy’s, too, dazzled by the elaborately decorated ceilings. Tinsel, lights, and oversized ornaments are arranged into festive delights for my eyes. I see so much energy poured into the holiday of consumerism; it captures my attention more than ever. I’m disconnected from all that cheer this year, not because I’m bah-humbugging the season, but because I feel little desire to shop, stress, hustle, wrap, and adorn.

I end up at the main branch of the public library on Broadway, in the periodical reading room on the west-most corner of the building, adjacent to Bryant Park. Signs mark it as a quiet zone, and it is, except for the clicking sounds of computer keyboards. I check out the latest issue of Literary Review, whose tag line is “Britain’s Best-loved Literary Magazine.” I start with the cover story, “Becoming Sylvia Plath,” a review of a new book that chronicles 800 of the poet’s personal letters. I settle in and read for a couple of hours, intrigued by a review of a new book about Joseph Conrad, the writer inviting me to wonder what Conrad would think about this global world today. When I was a teacher, I assigned Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to my students, and we discussed its themes of hypocrisy, ambiguity, and moral confusion. I then read a review of Catherine Nixey’s new book about Constantine’s destruction of classical art and human life in the newly-Christian 4th century Roman Empire and pondered the writer's  perspective on the dark side of the rise of the Christian religion. I look out a window to notice the stream of shoppers wandering through the temporary stores erected in the park, another deference to the season. I return the Review to the desk clerk, noticing the articles I read focused upon the shadows of human existence.

Back out in the city, I hear myself thinking about our decision not to put up a Christmas tree this year. We’ll decorate the mantles and hang the wreaths, but we’re not untangling lights and unwrapping each ornament one-by-one.  My husband and I agree that it’s okay that neither of us desire to invest our time in preparation. I want to invest my time in being with the people I care most about, in making some gifts to give, in my writing, and in taking ever-more care of my body. It feels like the season is beckoning me to do what feels lightest.

I’m interpreting the signs of nature’s shorter days to mean slow down, stay inside, bundle up, invite stillness, and allow time to offer its gifts to me. The season upon us is marked by the winter solstice, solstice roughly meaning that the sun stands still. As the night is longest on December 21, the day after begins the season of light where the days get longer and longer. Light grows more and more visible each day. I desire to be more mindfully prepared for the lightness on the other side of the season.

Before then, though, we are in the darkest time of the year. Darkness shrouds our ability to see, literally. Metaphorically, darkness hides the human condition and maybe the invitation of the season is for us to examine the ways we allow our own darkness to block our ability to be in sympathetic communion with others.

Slowing down may feel hard to do with holiday expectations. Yet, it may require slowing down in order to be more aware of the people we will spend time with this holiday. When we slow down, we become more present with ourselves, which is required in order to be more present with others. Slowing down will help us be receptive to the clues, guideposts, and messages that we will miss if we're over-doing, over-busy, and unaware. Resolve now to make the season truly joyous and hopeful by nurturing yourself. Invite your family to join you. Set a new trend, a new “perfect gift” to those you love, and find your way to stand still with the sun.

Sit with yourself in the coming days. Reflect upon the year that’s ending. Envision the year that’s awakening. Deepen how you care for your body. Give of your time to others. Think of ways that you can invest in you on the days you have off work. Maybe this year, do the opposite of what’s typical for you. Maybe you don’t rush and race. Maybe take cues from the long nights at hand and simply linger until there is more light.

Comment

Surround Yourself

5 Comments

Surround Yourself

Surround yourself with women who refuse to—

Place their agenda upon you, to make you into someone you are not; find the women who will be patiently with you as you become the fullness of who you are.

Need to impose a time line on your evolution; the women who trust in the organicity of your journey are seeking you, too.

View you as different from themselves; the women you want are the ones who see that common humanity in everyone’s life’s experiences.

Judge you; find women who see that any judgment is calling their own souls to look at what it is in them that is ready to be seen and be healed.

Feel envious of you; look for women who know that envy is an invitation to look at ways they are letting themselves down.

Surround yourself with women who will only—

See themselves in you, and love both you and them.

Hold you in their arms while you cry, grieve, scream.

Caress your head while you delve, dive, find the very bottom of the pain.

Speak what feels true to them, gently, compassionately, burningly.

Massage your feet as you move old wounds out of where they are lodged in your body.

Laugh when you are able to finally laugh.

Who are the women in your life who REFUSE TO and WILL ONLY? Write their names on your heart. Then, tell them you love them. 

 

 

5 Comments

More Like You and Less Like Me

Comment

More Like You and Less Like Me

As a child, I created a storyline, which I internalized as a belief, and have held it for most of my life. Like all stories, they feel true until we are willing to look at them fully and deeply. Looking into stories can be painful, and we've all also learned to avoid the pain. I did. I learned not to feel my sadness. I was often told not to cry when I felt really sad. The adults in my world wanted me to feel good and be happy, so their admonishment came from a good place, for sure, but I learned to not feel what was present for me. 

The storyline I created sounds like this: if I'm more like you and less like me, then you'll love me more. I learned this storyline deeply--embodied it--and I practiced showing up in life more like the people whose love I felt I had to earn, or whose love I was afraid to lose.

My friends, it's hard to be someone else. 

I'll make a distinction between emulating someone we admire--whose positive characteristics are ones we desire to cultivate in ourselves--and believing that someone will reject us if we don't become what they want us to become. 

This belief I took on was my own choosing, offered to me by loving adults, who also told a version of this story to themselves. Most of us take on the fearful belief that we must be less than the fullness of who we truly are in order to be accepted and, ultimately, loved for who we are. 

Beliefs are deeply powerful and personal ways that we create meaning about the world. When we arrived here as babies, we were open-hearted, pure love, and intimately aware of our connection to the Divine. We were also wholly dependent on others for survival, and it was our deepest desire to stay, with our family of origin. So we attached ourselves to the adults in our life as we began Earth school.

Most of the adults we chose, though, had been completely conditioned and therefore, most had wholly forgotten their own infinite nature. As we grew, we created a mental construct to reconcile the conflict in our consciousness between what we knew and what we experienced in the world around. The stories we created were to help us make meaning. The resulting beliefs cause us pain, beliefs like:

I’m not good enough.
I can’t have what I want.
Nobody listens to me.
I must follow the rules to receive love.

When we name our own, painful beliefs, we begin the process of unraveling our stories and coming home to ourselves. Part of this process means letting go of our ways of masking the pain.

My primary pain-avoidance practice has been busyness, because as long as I'm too busy, I can't take time to look at my own pain. I've over-invested myself in caring for others, building a career, and ignoring parts of myself that I just didn't want to see.

This work of slowing down, of learning who I am, and of being the fullness of me, is my life's work.

Last year, I left my corporate career and, now, I can see the gift I gave to myself. I stripped away all the outside busyness--the things in my life that gave me no choice but to be very, very busy. For months, I felt lost. I felt fearful, because there is nothing--outside of me--to point to and say, "that's the reason I can't be all of who I truly am." 

If we desire to feel a peaceful freedom from the stories we've created that cause us pain, the only option is to own our beliefs because, unless we own them, we can't change them. 

What this planet needs now, more than ever, is humans who are willing to be the fullness of who they are. Will you join me?

Comment

Me too, and Why The Conversation Starts Here

2 Comments

Me too, and Why The Conversation Starts Here

You’ve seen the #metoo movement?

You’ve posted Me too?

In case you’ve been disengaged, let me quickly catch you up. Millions of women, all over the world, are posting Me too as their Facebook update, with the additional copy/paste of these words:

If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Please copy/paste.

This is my copy/paste, because I need to say more. I believe we all need to say more. I believe this is the beginning of a conversation most of us have never had.

For all the times I’ve been out for a run in the summer’s heat, in running shorts and a sports bra, I say, me too. I wasn’t inviting your whistles and whoops. It was 90 degrees at 6 p.m. and I was logging 8 miles. I was training my body to be ready for many a 12.1 and a couple of 26.2’s. I was training my mind to believe I could. You didn’t take me out of my zone. I noticed, for sure, but I didn’t respond.

For all the times, after my divorce, I moved my right-hand ring to my left hand before I sat down at a hotel bar, I say, me too, surprised by how many married men said, “that’s a beautiful ring.” I never intended it to be a conversation starter; I intended it to be my personal symbol of transformation, a symbol of beauty that came out of my darkest days. In those conversations, I heard, “let me buy you a drink.” I was curious to see where this man’s mind was going. I was curious to understand how this new game was played. Me too, for all the business cards I received, followed by, “Travel here often? Keep in touch.”

For that time a senior acted really interested in me, a freshman, and I wore his scarf around in school. And then, he tried to unzip my pants in the backseat, while we were parked on a double date, I say, me too. I resisted. He lost interest. He never spoke to me again.

For the way I was asked, when I was eight, to put my mouth on him, a child himself, no more than eleven, I say, me too.  My little mind was curious and confused. He, a playmate whom I named in my nightly prayers, told the other boys, who teased me from the back row of the school bus. For that merciless teasing, I say, me too.

And now this conversation is open, this me too, invites looking inward, because that’s where the answers always rest.

I felt hesitant to claim, me too, at first, because I wasn’t raped by the senior boy, and so many women have been violated much more severely.

Yet, I want to honor that I felt diminished.

Diminished in my silence. I was afraid to be seen as a bad girl. I’d felt the shaming and blaming on the school bus. Why didn’t those boys shame and blame him? Was I the bad one?

Yes, I felt diminished.

Diminished that my smiling, curious way of being would be read as an opening into my body.

Maybe that’s the first lesson from me too. We can no longer accept as taboo what’s been hushed. We all, now, have an invitation to speak what’s true in our experience. As a wife, I invited a conversation with my husband about me too, and we shared with honesty about what we each have experienced. As a mother, I will speak more earnestly with my grown children about me too, and be a listener for my daughter and my son.

Now is the perfect time for all of us to speak, me too, and reject the discomfort of talking about our bodies and our experience, about abuse and power and force and consent and the sacred temple that we all are.

Now is the perfect time for each of us to claim a new relationship with our bodies, one that is steeped in self-love, self-care, and a deep, abiding gratitude for its strength and its resilience and its messages to us.

Now is the perfect time to embody the new knowledge that is this century’s greatest scientific gift from the field of quantum physics, and described this way by writer Dianne Collins:

Scientists began to prove in the laboratory what sacred texts have revealed and what many of us have felt in our hearts and souls—that the universe is a multidimensional unified whole, and that all of us and everything are intricately interconnected.

Now, then, is the perfect time to learn that when we harm another, we also harm ourselves, and its corollary of truth: when we harm our divine, sacred self, we harm each other.

Now is the perfect time for a new conversation.

2 Comments

“I read the news today, oh boy.”—The Beatles

2 Comments

“I read the news today, oh boy.”—The Beatles

It’s Monday, and I read the news. Then, this Beatles lyric popped in my mind. I’m not a Beatles expert—I just like their songs. I was born in ’64, and my older uncles played a lot of Beatles tunes in the mornings when they were getting ready for high school, drying their mop-tops with the vacuum cleaner.

The news today isn’t good. Mass shooting. Terrorist attacks. Wars. Lack of diplomatic discipline.

My stomach hurts, and I feel so sad for us humans.

I remember when some other terrible shooting happened in the U.S. when my children were small, more than twenty years ago, and I wanted run away. I wanted to take my kids to a country with almost no gun homicides; there are many countries like that. I wanted to go, to hold them safely in my arms, and to reject our policymakers' dangerous kowtowing to gun lobbyists. I wanted to distance myself from my country that built the military-industrial complex, my county that did insidiously fund the nation’s defenses as a tool of economic stimulus.

Today, I don’t want to run. I want to be in my own pain long enough to hear it, to know it. Today, I want to transcend criticizing my country’s practices and focus all my energy on our common humanity. Borders of voting districts, states, and countries are all made up, invisible lines. They are illusory.

Today, I ask you to be with your pain. All of it. Do not numb it by binging on Hulu or Facebook or M&M’s or wine or anything else that dismisses your feelings. Do not try to soothe your pain by pointing your finger at someone who wronged you. Do not join the blame game. Be all of your humanness.

And as you feel and see all of your humanness, tell yourself the truth: that we are all human, and we are all divine. Therein lies the paradox.

I am like you. You are like me. I am completely unique. You are completely unique.

Today, ask yourself: how can I see myself more fully, more clearly, and more compassionately? How can I look at my own wounds, without judging or being a victim? How can I see my pain for what it wants to teach me?

That is the divine work of being human. To stay in my own sadness, frustration, anger, heartbreak, disappointment and fear, long enough to see it fully. For it’s only when I see it that I can address it, claim it, diffuse it, transform it.

Today, when you speak with those you love, don’t speak of the blame you have for who’s done what in the world. Speak of how you feel about yourself, with compassion, and speak what’s true about you. Share beyond the minutiae with those you love and by whom you are loved. Make connection. See each other’s humanity.

Today, don’t read the news again and again. Call your mother instead. Visit a friend. Do a favor for your neighbor. Learn something about them that you don’t know, something about their own humanness. Talk about it. Share what’s on your heart.

We are here on Earth for each other. Let today be a day that we live like it.

2 Comments