Friday, December 4, 2009
Mr Sivers’ note seems to be focusing on the "announcement" of the “goals”, rather than the intention itself and, in my mind, there is a clear distinction between a goal and an intention. A “goal” is defined as "The purpose toward which an endeavor is directed; an objective" and, while the word "intention" is often used interchangeably with the word "goal", when we use it in terms of "stating your intention", we are talking about a mindset that exists in order to achieve a desired outcome, rather than the outcome itself.
While Law of Attraction does say that knowing what we want is crucial to the process of manifestation, it does not suggest that we make public declarations about our goals. While stating our goals to others can feel helpful, and studies show that written goals are much more likely to be achieved, it is not at all necessary to “tell” anyone about them. In fact, it can actually be counter intuitive if the declaration is being used as a way to "convince" ourselves or others of something that we don't really "believe" is possible. If we are inclined to announce our goals, we may think we are doing so as a way of holding ourselves accountable but, in reality, we may just be doing it to cover up the fact that we aren't really committed to them in the first place hence, Mr. Sivers’ suggestion to ask a friend to “kick my ass” if I don’t lose 20 pounds is quite relevant.
If we use Mr. Sivers' example of eating healthy meals as being a successful goal, while going to the gym as being unsuccessful, we have to first examine what the "true" goal was and add to that what the underlying "belief" is regarding that goal. If the "true" goal was to be thinner, then there may be a "belief" that only one of the methods was really necessary in order to achieve it. Even though the person knows or agrees that going to the gym will help him to lose weight, he or she may not really feel that a commitment to it is possible, either because of an aversion to exercise, a belief that they just can't/won't do it or simply because, deep down, they just don't place as much value on fitness as they do on thinness and healthy eating.
Law of Attraction says "that which is like unto itself is drawn" and that simply means that what you give your attention to is what manifests. So, in this scenario, the formula using Law of Attraction would begin with a very honest assessment of what it is you "truly" want. If it is to lose 20 pounds, then why do you want that? Is it for health? To find a partner? To be more accepted in society? To look better? Once you know the goal beneath the goal, or the "true" goal, you can then identify your "intention" and, in doing so, set more appropriate, and therefore achievable, "goals". If the "true" goal is for health, then the next step is to begin thinking of all the reasons "why" you want to be healthy and what that will feel like and look like to have it come true. Say to yourself “wouldn’t it be nice if…?” and imagine how your life will be different and what will be possible once you have achieved this goal. Look for examples around you, of other people who inspire you in this area, especially those who may not have been likely to achieve this goal, but did it anyway.
The next step is to “ask” for what you want and this is where the declaration comes in. It is one thing to know that you “want” something, but in order for the Universe to do its job (which is always, without exception, to answer “Yes”) we must actually “ask” for it. This can be as simple as saying the words to ourselves out loud or in our heads or writing them down as a list of goals. Again, it is not necessary to tell anyone else about it. In that moment, your desires are granted.
The next step is to make sure your thoughts and beliefs are in alignment with what you have asked for. To help with this, you must be open an willing to see that what you want is possible. As the song says, "All the Proof you'll ever need is all around you" and this applies to much more than just the Divine. It applies to EVERYTHING. All you have to do is look for the evidence and you will begin to notice it everywhere (this is what we call "synchronicity"). THIS is when your goals start to really seem "possible".
Now, when you begin to see this evidence, let yourself get EXCITED, not only for what is possible but for what exists in you, ALREADY. Begin to look at yourself and what you can identify as the success that you have in this area. Most likely, you will find that you are quite healthy, and you just need to "tweak" a few things to really "step into" your picture of total health. Once you appreciate what you already have, taking it to the next level seems much more "doable". This is called the "rampage of appreciation" and is a critical stage because it helps you to bring forth positive emotion about the goal and ANYTIME we feel emotion about ANYTHING, the stronger we are attracting it. (That works for negative emotion, too. The more we dwell on something we don't want, and indulge our negative feelings, the more we attract it, because we are focusing on it and "energizing" it even further with negative emotion.)
So, when you are excited about what is you begin to send out a "vibration", that is a better "match" to your desires, and once you are a “vibrational match” to what you want, are in alignment with it and it has no choice but to manifest in your reality.
Lastly, be aware of what provokes your negative feelings and beliefs about the goal. It’s possible that certain actions or behaviors that “should” be helpful only serve to add to your stress and cast further doubt about whether you can achieve this goal or not, especially if it’s something that, deep down, you don’t believe will work. For instance, focusing on “healthy eating” rather than “diets” has been proven to be a more effective strategy, largely because dieting causes you to focus on precisely what you are trying to have Iess of: FOOD. So, what are you attracting? MORE FOOD!
Putting it simply, it’s like wanting to hear a broadcast from 1010 AM and then setting your radio dial to 99.9 FM. The frequencies don’t match up. It’s not that 1010 AM isn’t possible to tune into, it just takes awareness in order to know how to tune into that particular station. Likewise, your thoughts and emotions are frequencies and they have to line up with what you desire.
So, why not try this? Start with something small that you have little emotional investment in. Be careful, because if you are skeptical, you will be sending out a contrasting vibration which will inhibit the process (like the “static” when two stations are close together and you can hear them both but neither comes through clearly). See if you can practice the above techniques in relation to this goal. Do this for a couple of days and let yourself be open to finding the evidence to support it. It takes practice to master it, but it will be well worth it, I promise.
"Shut up! Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them"
A note by Derek Sivers, 2009-06-16
Shouldn't you announce your goals, so friends can support you? Isn't it good networking to tell people about your upcoming projects? Doesn't the “law of attraction” mean you should state your intention, and visualize the goal as already yours?
Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen. Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you're less motivated to do the hard work needed. In 1933, W. Mahler found that if a person announced the solution to a problem, and was acknowledged by others, it was now in the brain as a “social reality”, even if the solution hadn't actually been achieved. NYU psychology professor Peter Gollwitzer has been studying this since his 1982 book “Symbolic Self-Completion” (pdf article here) - and recently published results of new tests in a research article, “When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?” Four different tests of 63 people found that those who kept their intentions private were more likely to achieve them than those who made them public and were acknowledged by others.
Once you've told people of your intentions, it gives you a “premature sense of completeness.” You have “identity symbols” in your brain that make your self-image. Since both actions and talk create symbols in your brain, talking satisfies the brain enough that it “neglects the pursuit of further symbols.”
A related test found that success on one sub-goal (eating healthy meals) reduced efforts on other important sub-goals (going to the gym) for the same reason. It may seem unnatural to keep your intentions and plans private, but try it. If you do tell a friend, make sure not to say it as a satisfaction (“I've joined a gym and bought running shoes. I'm going to do it!”), but as dissatisfaction (“I want to lose 20 pounds, so kick my ass if I don't, OK?”)"
Thursday, December 3, 2009
As some of you may be aware, 2007 was a year of incredible transformation for me. Within a few months I dealt with a serious health issue, saw my 19 year marriage come to an end and began a major shift in my professional life. As a result, I felt it best to take a partial leave of absence from my psychotherapy practice so that I could give full attention to my physical and emotional health, my children and our adjustment to the massive upheaval that was taking place in our lives. In the spring of 2008, I also made the difficult decision to close the doors of Soul Spa.
As we move into the holiday season of 2009, I am happy to report that my health, my personal life and my professional life are flourishing and I am in an active process of rebuilding my practice and my personal and professional network. I have a new name, a new location and a new website (www.tracybrichards.com) where you can view all of my up-to-date information, including links to my Blog Articles, Twitter Updates, upcoming Club Sangha: Gatherings to Inspire Soulful Connections events and more!
I hope that you will take the time to drop me a line, give me a call or check out my site. I’d love to know how YOU are doing and I’m eager to connect with each and every one of you so we can share insights about this amazing, roller coaster ride we call LIFE!
I am very fortunate to have found the inner strength that it took to make it through the many challenges in my life and I am grateful for these personal experiences because they have made me more qualified and committed than ever to helping others do the same.
Not surprisingly, my client base is largely made up of individuals and couples who are dealing with issues in relationships and who seek a better understanding of themselves so they can experience authentic, “conscious” relationships. I have also received training to assist low to medium conflict couples who are already moving toward separation by helping them find a “comfort zone” regarding their issues and facilitating the creation of a co-parenting arrangement and help minimize the emotional stress and confusion for their children.
If you feel that you, or someone close to you, can benefit from my services, I would be happy to help, I am presently available to see clients in York Region on Wednesdays and have recently opened two more days at my new home office near Mt Pleasant & Eglinton.
I look forward to hearing form you soon. Until then, as always, I wish you
All the Best!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
We have become a wasteful society. It is so easy for us to indulge ourselves in unnecessary things for the sake convenience, pleasure or merely distraction. We create or procure much more than we need and then discard the leftovers in favour of the next indulgence. We can’t seem to get enough of what we want and end up with too much of what we want to get rid of. Today, I realize that goes just as much for our emotions as it does for anything else.
Last night, I attended a wake for an old grade-school acquaintance who recently took her own life. Even though I did not know her very well, nor did I have any contact with her in the last 30 years, I was compelled to attend the wake and pay my respects, nonetheless. I’d be lying if I said that my decision didn’t have anything to do with the fact that she died by her own hand. I suppose I feel that there is something sacred about suicide that makes it more important than ever for me to acknowledge the life that was lived. It’s kind of like when our fallen soldiers are brought home from war and people from all over gather on the overpasses along the Highway of Heroes to say a final farewell. It doesn’t matter if you knew that soldier or not, you just have to be there. That’s the way I felt last night.
Whether it be Peace on earth or Peace within, there is woeful irony in the lives of those who knowingly make the ultimate sacrifice in their struggle to maintain it. What makes one of us choose to put his life on the line and fight for a cause while another ends her life because she feels she has no fight left in her?
As I think about the friend whom we honored last night, I recall the many conversations with those who knew her best, and it gave me a greater understanding of what kind of person she was. They described her as incredibly smart, talented and strong. Someone to emulate and look up to, even a kind of “mother figure”. Not exactly what you would expect to hear about someone who had taken her own life. It made think that they could just as easily have been describing me and, while I don’t feel there is any chance that I would ever commit suicide, I do recognize that the deeper the pain I am in, the harder it is to reach out, even though I would likely be characterized as someone who “has it all together”. I couldn’t help but think about our friend and wondered if she might have described herself that way, too, not so long ago.
Many said they knew that she had been suffering recently and they expressed feelings of guilt and regret about not being more proactive and involved, but I’m not sure anyone could have predicted the ultimate outcome. We get so good at putting on a brave face and protecting others from our struggles and when we say “I’m fine” we want to be convincing enough for them to believe us. We may know we need help and yet, how do we find the courage to let our true vulnerability show in order to get it? Therein lies the paradox.
Hopefully, the rest of us will never know what it feels like to want to end our life but it makes me think about what we can do to make sure we never get to that point.
I know many people, including myself, who have occasionally fallen victim to the debilitating grip of hopelessness. We all know what it feels like to be in pain and to wonder how and when it will ever be resolved. In theory, we want to be happy and we will naturally look for ways to help us feel hopeful once again. But, for some, there is an even greater struggle and perhaps a tendency to indulge in what I have come to view as “emotional wastefulness”. There can be a seductive quality to certain negative emotions because they serve to validate distorted beliefs about ourselves and in turn, give us a feeling of security, not because they feel good, but because they feel familiar. The pain of these feelings is no longer a deterrent, because it also gives us an escape from accountability and an excuse to avoid taking on responsibility for anything but ourselves, and there is a great degree of relief in that, for sure.
However, this way of escaping accountability can become a habit and, whether we realize it or not, we find ourselves identifying with it. It becomes part of our story about “who we are” and we even find ourselves defending our right to be “sad”. The time we spend on these emotions becomes “wasted” because, even though these emotions may be cathartic at first, the concern lies in the reliance on them as an effective way to avoid moving forward. It is further enabled by others who, out of compassion, are inclined to put their needs and expectations of us on hold until we’re feeling better.
In truth, I think we may have another energy crisis on our hands but its one that our society has yet to become acquainted with. As human beings, we are only given so much emotional energy to expend at any given time and its amazing to me how so many of us spend so much time indulging our negative emotions and then wonder why there’s so little energy left for feeling good. We have become “ emotionally inefficient”, allowing ourselves to spend too much time processing our negative emotions and too little time looking toward that which gives us hope. It would serve us better to focus on things that inspire us, bring meaning to our lives and are just, plain FUN, thus investing our energy in a way that can only yield positive results.
Recently, my friend and I have been creating an “Adventure List” of things we want to do together because we realize how short life is and we want to “do it all”. An “adventure” is anything new and different that we want to experience and every time I have a free day or weekend, I mark my calendar and choose something from the list, depending on how much time there is or what is possible, given that day’s circumstances. So far, it has allowed me to learn new things, meet new people and has given me a sense of freedom and accomplishment, even from something as small as deciding to explore new neighbourhoods by sampling the coffee from independent cafes around the city once or twice a week.
There is so much I have yet to experience and, after last night, it hit home more than ever that if I want more of the good stuff, I have to spend less time lamenting the bad stuff, when it comes. “Carpe Diem”, as they say, because in reality, every day can be an adventure. It’s all in how you choose to look at it.
Monday, April 13, 2009
It's Easter Monday as I write this, and I'm all excited and nervous to be starting this new blog, but all I can concentrate on is the "Pokemon" theme. My nine year old son, Julean, is hanging off the end of my bed, bouncing up and down in rhythm to the music emanating from the blue Nintendo DS that has been glued to him for the past week and a half. My stomach is in knots. Why is it that, whenever I decide to do something that will fulfill a purpose in my life, there's always some other urgent or distracting item put in my face that can't be ignored?
I've created an atmosphere where my boys can feel that I am accessible 24/7, which is fantastic, but it makes it really difficult to get any privacy when I want to have an hour or two of uninterrupted time to focus on anything that requires solitude. It can really drive me crazy sometimes. I wonder if Moses ever felt that way.
As my son stomps back and forth across the floor in response to my requests for him to let me concentrate, I ask myself "What the hell is the lesson here?"
Back to Moses.
The other day, I had a real heavy insight about what significance Moses has for me, or as Oprah says, I had a "light-bulb moment". As a result, I think I finally understand why he has been showing up as a guide for all these years. To be honest, when I see him, I question it because I wonder "who the hell I am to be having Moses in my meditations, anyway"?
The insight happened when I was blow-drying my hair and thinking about my divorce. I was contemplating how amazed I am by how my ex's family has completely ex-communicated me. It being the Passover season, the story of Moses and the Jews being cast out of Egypt immediately came to mind and as I thought about it, the comparisons just came flooding through. Here's an excerpt of my journal entry for that day:
April 5, 2009
"I understand why Moses is guiding me because the story of Moses is very similar to my own. I have been cast out of my adopted family for reasons that I can only attempt to understand. And even though it is painful, it is a small price to pay for the deep understanding and freedom that has come on this journey of discovering who I really am. Even though it means relinquishing my rights to the "throne" and being an outcast among those people who took me in and whom I came to know as family, I have no choice but to realize that the only loyalty I can depend on is that which I have for myself and where I came from. I can no longer be ashamed of my heritage and the way I grew up. I must embrace and stand up for the parts of me that have been apologizing for all these years. Through discovering my value, regardless of my circumstances (then and now) I can lead by example and help others out of the bondage of their self-recrimination."
Since my separation and the other catalytic events of 2007, I felt for a long time as though I had disappeared, wandering alone in the desert, like Moses. I felt lost and forsaken and truly questioned my faith on all levels. I needed to shut down, in a way, and learn that I no longer am, or need to be, in control of the outcome of my life. Instead, I needed to learn to let the Universe take over and discover that when I can let go and trust the guidance I am given, I am always taken care of. Living in Love, keeping the bigger picture in mind and finding the lesson and the meaning of the difficult times are the only ways to get thought them.
So now, I feel like I'm (finally) climbing the mountain, my own version of Sinai, to hear the guidance that will get me through the long journey ahead. My people (friends, family, colleagues, clients) are wondering about me...where I have been for all this time and when I will be back to help them continue our journey together in search of a greater experience of peace, harmony, community, growth and trust.
I'll be back soon. Promise.
Yesterday, Julean and I saw Hannah Montana: The Movie. During the critical scene, when Miley, as Hannah, is giving a benefit concert to the Tennessee community where she grew up, she realizes that she cannot continue the deception (the secret that Hannah is actually Miley), especially to these people who she cares so much about, and reveals her true identity. She then sings a song that she wrote for them called "It's the Climb". As I listened, (and cried) I was reminded, yet again, of the synchronicity of the universe because the theme of the movie and the message of the song resonated so strongly with what I have been reflecting upon recently in my own life.
And the message is this:
Follow your dreams, remember where you came from and, no matter what you are faced with, keep on climbing. The view just gets better and better.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Q & A from the Thornhill/Richmond Hill Post Article March/09
Post: How did you become interested in inspired living?
Tracy: That’s an interesting question. The truth is that I’ve always been a Seeker...of experiences, relationships, and what makes people tick. I’m a pleaser by nature and so I developed very keen skills for how to determine what others needed at a very early age. It was a way to manage my environment and keep myself feeling safe. I felt that it was my job to “fix” everyone and everything. (It’s no wonder psychotherapy came so naturally to me). However, as I became more self-aware I began to realize that being focused on others’ needs and emotions had prevented me from finding out what makes ME tick. This, I believe, was the missing link between me and the peace and contentment I had been seeking. I didn’t really KNOW myself because I hadn’t really wanted to LOOK at myself for fear of what I would find. So I kept busy trying to live up to an unrealistic ideal of what my life SHOULD be, instead of really asking myself what I WANTED it to be.
I began living an Inspired Life about 12 years ago, after the death of my step father. That experience was a wake up call for me. Before that, I think I had been sleepwalking” through life, going through the motions based on old patterns, conditioning and unrealistic expectations of myself as a woman, wife, mother. After my Dad was gone, I realized over time that something was incomplete in my life and as I became more self aware, I saw that he had been a major motivator for many of the choices I had made, some of which did not reflect the deeper values that I held. When he was gone, I questioned if the life I had created was really working. With that awareness, I became committed to learning more about who I was and that journey has allowed me to get closer to myself, know my truth, forgive myself for all my flaws and thus, learn to really love and accept myself for the first time. I’m still a work in progress, but I now allow myself the freedom to be who I am and I try not to judge myself too harshly for the mistakes that I make, because with each mistake comes the blessing of wisdom and growth. I am now building a new foundation based on a sense of wholeness and a deeper understanding of my Self and my purpose in this world
Post: What is you educational background?
Tracy: After high school, I went to Ryerson for Business. I was headed for a career in the restaurant business (my step father was a well known Toronto restauranteur) but I changed directions to pursue a more stable career in marketing. I left that career when I got married and was a stay at home mom to my 3 boys for 10 years but, after my step father’s death, I felt I needed more. I enrolled in the Spiritual Psychotherapy Program at Transformational Arts College in Toronto (www.transformationalarts.com) and by the time classes had started, I was 3 months pregnant with my 4th boy! I then went on to do Advanced Studies in Dream Therapy, Past Lives, Homeopathy, Meditation and Energy Work. I have also been studying and teaching the principles of Law of Attraction (of The Secret fame) for more than a decade.
Post: What are you doing now?
Tracy: I am recently separated and am now embarking on a new Chapter in all areas of my life, including my professional work. I no longer operate Soul Spa as a Wellness Centre, but I still see private clients at the same location which is now known as Yonge & Wellness, 7756 Yonge Street, 2nd floor. I plan to expand my practice into the downtown area and I’m currently looking at a place in Carrot Common. My main focus, however, is to reach larger groups of people and help them discover their passion and purpose through my writing. seminars, workshops and events. I’m excited about further developing something I started under the Soul Spa umbrella called Club Sangha: Workshops and Events to Inspire Soulful Connections. The idea is to bring people together to socialize, discover and grow in meaningful and inspiring ways. We’ll be offering things like movie nights, retreats, personal growth workshops and seminars as well as opportunities for outreach in the community.
Part of what Club Sangha will introduce is a social support network for “newly single” adults called “Suddenly Solo”. This program will help to empower and uplift individuals during the often traumatic transition of divorce, or death of a spouse through networking, social events, support groups and self help seminars covering a range of topics from legal advice to how to hook up your computer. The focus will be to reinvent the experience of life after marriage and make it a powerful opportunity for transformation!
I’m also offering my signature Inspired Living program called “Project ME” where I mentor others on their personal journey of self discovery.
I am on the faculty of the Transformational Arts College.
Post: Any new, cutting edge services that you provide that I should know about? Please describe.
Great Question! Well, believe it or not, the MOST advanced and fool proof way I can suggest for truly Inspired Living is to be committed to finding our TRUTH. Now is the perfect time to connect to our deeper values and challenge our beliefs to find the real truth that lies beneath, because the world as we know it is changing before our eyes! From the environment, to the economy, everything is upside down and in turmoil and NOW is the time to clean house and build new foundations based on truth, rather than fantasy and love rather than fear. I strongly believe that the state the world is in right now is our greatest blessing because it is full of nothing but opportunity to creat the new world! That is the most revolutionary thing I can think of!
In terms of the services that I provide in relation to the above, all of my work is based on my own life experience, and I believe that I serve others best when I live and learn from my own Inspired Life! I incorporate all the insight and wisdom that I gain from my experiences into everything I do and try to lead my clients, and those I come into contact with, through my example. I think the best thing I can say about that is that I am far from perfect, and so I have learned the importance of practicing compassion for myself as well as others.