How to Act “As If”

I was skeptical. I could get caught up in a negative spiral of waiting: For the other shoe to drop, for the inevitable to happen, for my failure at hand. I was great at worrying, awfulizing and catastrophizing. It’s easy to get sucked into the negative vortex. The “What else could possibly go wrong?” kind of thinking. I’ve been reading about the law of attraction for at least a decade. The law of attraction is basically the belief that if you truly imagine the best outcome, whether it be more money, the love of your life, or spiritual awakening, it will happen. The key is to believe. If you are skeptical, as I was, it won’t happen.

1001460_10151736416273688_1777667065_n

I am here to tell you I do believe, and it works wonders. I’ve been in a financial stalemate with my home for more than 16 months. I rode the roller coaster of foreclosure, bankruptcy and financial windfall for all of that 16 months. But the key to my success was the belief that I can attract the outcome I want. It wasn’t easy. I fell off the wagon a few times with a negative battle or two with the Universe. In the end, I kept acting “As If.” And I am finally over the financial hurdle that has plagued me for over a year.

Here are some ideas on how to act “As If”:

Affirmations.  I read affirmations every single morning regardless of what country I am in or how early my flight to Atlanta is. It grounds my day. I know I want to continue to be sober, to manifest money and to make a difference in people’s lives. There are affirmations all over the internet but you can start by reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. He has free resources on his website. I have been reading his morning affirmations for over a year and keep adding to my list with other programs I have read or listened to. The key to any affirmation is to say it in the present tense so that it is a truth rather than a wish. My affirmation list is now four pages but you can start small! Even one or two sentences will start your day off right.

Gratitude.  I have been writing a gratitude journal for over seven years. There are a lot of ways to write a gratitude journal. I used to write three things at the end of the day. In the last year, I have been writing five things I am grateful for first thing in the morning. I have read you should write more than one word like “bacon.” It’s better to write: “I am grateful for delicious, crispy bacon.” The more detail, the better. It insinuates it into your well-being. I read recently that you should try to be grateful for a different thing for up to 21 days. I have a friend who recently told me she writes down 1,000 things she is grateful for every day. That is a challenge I have not taken on, but I imagine truly gives you a grateful heart. A grateful heart attracts more things to be grateful for.

Act. The biggest shift for me over the last year was investing in my house. This seems a bit crazy, doesn’t it? Why put in a new sidewalk or landscaping if you are expecting the mortgage company to padlock the door? This, above all else, was my biggest leap of faith. I didn’t know where I would find the money or skilled labor but I kept moving forward. The contractor would show up. The money would show up. The mortgage company would make a concession. The Universe wants me in this house. The Universe wants my dog to continue to be in the house she has grown up in. I bought the plants, I hung the pictures, I fixed the dripping sink, and made the bed every day. I act everyday “As If” this will be my forever home and it has been transformative.

Mindful. I participated in the Happiness Program from the Art of Living some nine months ago. I have been doing their meditation daily ever since. I have had several people mention that I seem so much happier. Less stressed out. That’s pretty amazing considering some of the correspondence I have received from the mortgage company. It’s a mindset. Everything will work itself out but enjoy the moment right now. My dog is next to me on the floor next to my desk. I have a wonderful cup of coffee. The sunrise has been spectacular this morning. It’s great right now. And now. And now. Be here right now and take it all in.

I am a work in progress as I assume we all are. I have had intermittent moments of doubt. I can fall into being the devil’s advocate. But when I embrace the law of attraction and act “As If”? The day is brighter, my smile is bigger and I appreciate where I am right now.

5 Insights from a Silence Retreat

I cannot tell you how many people (especially women) looked at me in sheer terror when I said I was going to a silence retreat over Labor Day weekend. “There is NO WAY I could do that!” “I wouldn’t survive even an hour.” “What is wrong with you?” This is just a smattering of the reactions I received. I have to say, I was a bit terrified myself, and if I wasn’t going through an enormous pivot in my life, I probably would not have devoted an entire holiday weekend to meditation and silence with a total group of strangers. In retrospect, I was glad it was strangers and that I only had to be responsible for myself.

kristina-flour-185592

The Art of Living has become a way of life for me now and it is fantastic. I began on this path in June and attended the Happiness Program. It coincided with my huge life pivot. I learned of a Silence Retreat that is offered at their retreat center in Boone, North Carolina. My curiosity got the better of me. After all, the Happiness Program had changed my life! In the end, the program was the best thing I could have ever done and it was the most arduous. The silence wasn’t the arduous part–it was facing my own thoughts through meditation. But in the end, the sweet, glorious clarity was worth all the pain.

 

So here are my insights from my silence retreat:

 

  • Authenticity. During the first 24 hours communication is allowed. Most of the group were complete strangers. Everyone I came in contact with were truly present and authentic. We did activities like sharing our life story in ten minutes (it’s amazing how at 56 years of age, I ran out of material) or sharing our top ten qualities and weaknesses with a complete stranger can break down our façades. It’s impossible to share an idyllic “Leave it to Beaver” childhood when your partner just shared their father was an alcoholic and their mother psychotic. It’s humbling, real and raw.

 

  • Childhood. There were several activities that were rejuvenating, like dancing with our eyes closed and coloring with crayons like we were eight-years-old again. When was the last time you made a smiley face on blank white paper with purple crayon or swayed freely to music without worrying that someone was watching. There is joy. There is freedom. There is connecting with yourself without the parameters of adulting. I learned to embrace my inner child.

 

  • Relax. When we entered the silence portion of the program on Saturday afternoon, we were not allowed to read, write, text or use our phones. As our instructor Mona said: “This is a time of relaxation.” So relax. It might have been the altitude or perhaps the lack of constant distraction of being “connected” to the outside world, but I was exhausted. Perhaps it was from the lack of cortisol constantly spiking from text and Facebook notifications, but I really relaxed. I am not a nap taker, but I can tell you that every free moment I had was back in the television free room, laying on my twin bed “relaxing.” Perhaps even better, I didn’t feel guilty in the least about relaxing. This was my weekend, and I was going to relax.

 

  • Clarity. We spent probably ten hours a day in meditation. Yes. Ten long freaking hours, mostly in silence or in periodic “focus on your nostrils.” This was the arduous part. There were several times where all I wanted to do was to run screaming from the room. There were parts of my body I didn’t know could hurt from sitting in meditation for an extensive period. BUT – the moments of clarity? When my mind was completely and utterly free of thought (which is rare for me, even though I meditate daily), that was complete nirvana. It may have been for just ten seconds. It may have lasted a minute. But to be completely detached and in full consciousness was completely liberating. I learned how to find clarity.

 

  • Humanity. The final activity after we had broken our silence was completely life affirming. There were some fifty people on this silence retreat (including four – yes, four – married couples). Even after the first day of interacting with folks, I didn’t know the majority. For some 60 hours, no one said “please”, “thank you” or “sorry”. Perhaps a smile or holding the door for someone, but besides that, we were all islands. In the final activity, I was seated across from a woman I didn’t know. I was told to look into her eyes as if she were a child. She smiled. I smiled. Her eyes welled up. My eyes welled up. In silence, I was completely connected to this woman and her face is forever etched in my memory. We don’t need words to connect to each other. Sometimes we just need to look into someone’s eyes to see their humanity – to feel them and to feel as one.

By Sunday morning at the retreat, I swore I would never do it again. But now that I am home and in such a state of peace and balance, I know I can and will do it again. The metaphor that is frequently used is the snow globe no longer has the flakes swimming around. The clarity and peace is priceless.