How to Self Improvement

The Art Of Self Improvement  

There’s no doubt about it: Self Improvement is big business. No matter where we look we seem to see men attired in business suits and fancy haircuts. Sporting dinky little ear-piece microphones, they speak to us as though we were attending the annual general meeting of their multi-national self-development business which, I suppose, isn’t that far from the truth.

They speak to us in sound-bites; “I’m gunna show you how…”, “you just need to follow my plan: no thought required; just follow the plan”. Success and winning, they preach to the audience, are a sure thing.

But is self development a sure thing? If, like me, you believe self development is a life journey that is never completed, you know that the only sure thing is that the search for self development is far from being a sure thing. The journey will entail more failures than successes, more loss than gain and more self-doubt than we think we can endure. The only way to improve one’s self is to challenge the habits and assumptions we have gathered along the way. To go out on a limb with no guarantee of finding what we want takes courage. No ‘success plan’ would contemplate such a course of action!

So, if we can’t get succor from the self improvement ‘gurus’, who can we turn to?

The answer, I believe, is to look to the people who have always explored every single aspect of the human condition. They did not always find the answer, but they all had courage. They are of course, the world’s artists.

How can a painting help us toward our goal of self improvement you might ask? Well, some paintings help to bring serenity and a feeling of inner peace; I feel this whenever I look at an Impressionist painting, especially paintings by Berthe Morisot. She was never recognized as a great artist during her lifetime; she was relegated to the category of “feminine” artists because of her usual subject matter

What Does It Mean To “Self Improve?”

Self Improvement has become mainstream. In the last few years, since I have been writing articles and submitting them to article sites, I’ve noticed that the category of “Self Improvement” has been showing up lately when it was never there before. To me, this is very good news.

But what does it really mean to “Self Improve?” What are we really improving when we self improve? And what “self” are we improving?

We each have two “selves” – our wounded self and our core Self. Our core Self is our true self, our natural soul self – our essence. Our core Self is our passion, our joy, our gifts and talents, our ability to love, our creativity. We come into this life as our core Self, and when this Self is loved and valued by our parents, we continue to naturally grow our God-given gifts and talents and manifest the fullness of our beings. This Self wants to improve by learning the skills necessary to fully express itself.

But when this Self is not seen and valued in the way we needed, we create an alternative self, a self we hope will have control over getting the love we need and avoiding the pain we can’t handle – a self to help us feel safe. This is our false self, our wounded self, our ego self. This self is filled with the false beliefs that we absorbed as we were growing up – beliefs that end up limiting our true, core Self. This self does not needs improving – it needs healing.

The term “self improvement” can sometimes be a bit misleading, because we do not want to improve our wounded self. We do not want to improve on the ways we lie, manipulate, and avoid in our attempts to have control over getting love and avoiding pain. We don’t want to improve on our many addictions to substance and processes. We don’t want to improve on our anger, our compliance, our withdrawal and our resistance.

We want to heal it.

Healing and improving are not the same thing.

We can certainly self-improve when it comes to skills. We can improve in sports, in art, music, writing, cooking. We can improve our health and wellbeing by improving our diet and exercise program. We can improve in the knowledge we need to be more successful regarding work and money. We might be able to improve our relationships by learning new communication skills. But what if acquiring new knowledge and skills does not improve our health, or our ability to earn money, or our relationships? And what if learning new skills does not bring us more joy and inner peace? It may mean that we need to heal the underlying fears and false beliefs that cause us to be anxious, depressed, stressed, guilt-ridden, shamed, withdrawn, angry, blaming, or sad.

Sometimes Self Improvement just means practicing a skill, and others times it means that we need to participate in a deep healing process. For example, many people try to improve their health by losing weight and exercising. But if their food addictions are covering over unhealed pain, they might not be able to just change their diet. They might need to open to a healing process in order to eventually improve.

If you are really trying to self improve but find yourself stuck and unable to progress, or find that you have no joy or inner peace, you might want to open to the possibility that unhealed pain and beliefs are blocking your progress and causing your pain. It is easy to improve yourself when there is nothing blocking the way. But if you have old false beliefs about your adequacy and worth, these beliefs may be blocking your ability to take loving action in your own behalf. All your efforts to self improve will not bring you the satisfaction you are seeking if you have beliefs that are keeping you limited in fully expressing your true, core Self. If you are stuck, then you need to seek out a healing process, such as the Inner Bonding process we teach, that will move you out of the fears and beliefs that limit you. Healing these fears and limiting beliefs will open the door to improving your life in all ways!

Ground Yourself in Gratitude

Deep in my memory there is an intense, black and white picture of a mother squatting next to her small son surrounded by barren land in Korea. The caption underneath reads, “Where will their food come from now?” Printed by our Sunday Journal many years ago, it made me feel sad that they didn’t have any food and lucky that I was born in America and did not have to worry about food. In fact it never occurred to me to even think about where my food came from. It was a blessing I took for granted.

Life seemed simpler then. As children, we played all day long worry free, at the vacant corner lot. Men listened to the ball game on their front porch after a hard day at work. The smell of dinner lingered from the kitchen stove. Neighbors said hello to each other as they passed by on their early evening walk. Television had just been introduced and most people did not have it. We listened to music and loved to sing and dance.

Today, rushing seems to be the norm and life is much more complicated. Children cannot go outside to play even in front of their own home without fear of being taken or shot. Many parents are in front of the TV after work, eating fast food purchased on the way home after picking the children up from Day Care. The local and national daily news reports tragedy, crime and murder
twenty-four hours a day. Obesity is a national crisis and though we live longer, our quality of life is questionable.

Those of us who remember, long for those simpler times, wondering if they are gone forever. Unable to turn back time we beg the question, “Is there anything that will make our lives and the lives of our loved ones simpler? Can we slow down on this fast-paced road to the slaughter of stress? Is there a magic formula? Does it have a name? Is it simple? Remember, I don’t have
much time.”

If you are speeding through your life, chances are you are whining and wailing and missing out on the blessings that are right in front of you just like I was. Imagine a tiny shift in your perception moving you into a state of joy. Something to reactivate your thinking and make your life work again. Living in gratitude and counting your blessings is that something. Each moment
counts when we are grateful for it.

Everything begins with a thought. Thoughts are mental whispers that give direction to our lives. They set the tone for our day. Check it out. When you first wake up in the morning are you thinking happy thoughts, inspiring thoughts, uplifting and healthy thoughts? Are you seeing the world partly sunny instead of partly cloudy before you even open your eyes? Or, are you, like so
many others feeling tired and grumpy because you’re already focusing on unpleasantries before your feet reach the floor?

If you would like to snap out of those doldrums while still warm and cozy under the covers, think of five things that you are grateful for in the very first moment after you wake. If you have difficulty coming up with something, hold your breath for a minute or two. Or, imagine yourself being newly blinded or having lost the ability to smell. What if you had experienced an auto accident the day before that had left you paralyzed from the neck down and this was your first
day of awakening to it? What if you were that woman or her son that had been born in a Country torn apart by war? Can you see how much you have to be grateful for even before you get out of bed?

But there’s more to it than that. Before long you will realize that everything is connected to everything else. Take for example a beautiful flower. Without its stem and leaves and a root system that grows in the ground, loving the sun and the water, it just wouldn’t be. It is the same with us. We have a mind and a body, food to eat, clothes on our back, a home to live in, a place to work, furniture to sit on, money to purchase things, and friends and family to share with. The list of things we have to be grateful for is endless.

Counting our blessings is such a simple concept that most of us miss the importance of it. Instead of focusing on all the good in our lives, our lopsided perceptions have us moaning and complaining about things we can’t do anything about. Taxes, the weather, the raise we didn’t get. The American way, that many of us so often find fault with. But what if, just what if, you had been that women or her son, whose memory pops up every so often in my mind? Where do you think you would be today? How much would you have to be grateful for? Is it possible their experience of gratitude would be more sincere because they had less and appreciated more?

When I first began to focus my attention on gratitude, I was amazed at life’s new meaning for me. I felt I was seeing and hearing things for the very first time. The early morning song bird was singing just for me. The flowering crab apple trees in spring were like fourth of July firecrackers standing still so I could enjoy them all day long. I welcomed the gray clouds with each falling rain that provided relief for our parched earth. And the pure white of winter snows
was renewing and refreshing. But my newfound love for the abundance of nature could not compare to the newfound love I felt in my heart for my family and friends. By seeing their good in a new light and expressing my gratitude for them, each relationship is more comfortable, feels more loving, and we are having more fun. Remember the words of Abraham Lincoln, “A person
is just about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.” And by choosing gratitude you will be happier. You will begin to notice your good just by paying closer attention to it. In my opinion it’s insane to live without gratitude.

And finally, the real secret of gratitude is that the more you are grateful for, the more you will have to be grateful for. Life is a gift, be grateful for each present moment.

Live a Life You Love: The KEY to Overcoming the Two Biggest Blocks

What is the key to living a life you love? First, you must know your vision, then you must transform those life-beliefs and patterns which hold you back from realizing that vision. OK, but how do you do that? In three words: CONNECT TO SOURCE. This can be said a plethora of different ways and certainly has been, over thousands and thousands of years. Yet, the message is as pertinent and urgent, perhaps more so, than ever before.

You see, we are born into this world connected to Source, and then over time we lose that connection. It’s normal, natural, and divinely designed that way. In our need to integrate successfully into society we have to develop a “self” that is distinct and can interact in healthy ways with other “selves” we find ourselves surrounded by. Some call this process domestication. Through this process we must define who we are as separate from others, as separate from the world; we are developing our personality and our place in the world. With that done, however, the task then becomes to reconnect to the source from which we came. Sadly, many people never achieve this next level of maturation in their experience of being human; they continue on, productively or unproductively, as individual personalities in the sea of life.

However for others, the call of spirit is clear and we must respond. We feel a yearning in our experience that we can’t quite explain. Something is missing, and it ain’t “out there.” This often begins a journey of seeking and exploration. We’ve got to find something that fills the hole inside, that meets the need of this yearning we are experiencing.

Some turn to drugs, others numb out with TV and distractions, others paste it over with whatever they can, by being busy, busy, busy and pretending all is OK. But in the end, the only thing that will fill that hole and meet that need forever and for good, is Great Spirit, the Source of life, the Unified Field, the Vacuum, your Higher Self. It goes by many names. Ultimately, they are all the same.

Now, you may think I’m starting to sound religious, and this is not a “religious” newsletter, unless you think of religion as I do, which is from the words re and ligous, or re ligament, meaning to re-connect. Yes, under that definition, this is a religious message; I want you to reconnect to the source of life, to that place from which we came and to which we all return.

When we do that (and we do it again and again, and again) our life is exponentially expanded. You are now literally connected to INFINITE intelligence. This infinite intelligence, since it knows all, offers you the highest, best, and most inspiring vision for your life. Anything else comes from small, little, separate you, and because of that is fraught with issues, challenges, and ultimate dissatisfaction. You must connect with your Highest Self to access your vision and purpose for being alive, the vision that has all the power you’ll ever need and leads to the fulfillment for which there is no substitute.

So, to get the vision for your life that leads to the fulfillment you desire, you must connect to Source. Now, what about all the limiting beliefs holding you back? The beauty of a Source-inspired vision is that it has all the energy and power within it to pull you through those limiting beliefs. This vision is bigger than you, it’s about more than your little separate-self getting things, controlling things, or having some pleasurable moments (all things our fear-based ego wants). This vision is beyond you and will make a positive impact on the planet for many people. Because of that, you’ll find that you will have the energy, desire, and capacity to deal with your limiting belief patterns and get on with manifesting your vision.

You see, when a vision comes from our little, separate-self it is “all about us.” And, quite frankly, we don’t have the energy to clear the belief patterns holding us back when it’s all about us. However, when it’s about us AND other people, NOW we have the energy to get up off our butts and deal with whatever we have to deal with. While most of us are willing to hurt ourselves (be lazy, not take care of ourselves, and wither away), we would never want to do that to others. Hence, when our vision becomes about other people, we must “take care of our crap” so others can receive the gifts and benefits of our Source-based vision. It’s beautiful how it works this way.

To clear the subconscious limiting beliefs you may have to engage various techniques and processes. However, because you have a truly inspiring vision, which positively impacts the lives of others, it will pull you forward. You’ll deal with these things and get moving on. So, get connected to Source, outline your vision coming from there, and start walking down the path!

Try this:

On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being no connection, and 10 being deep connection) how connected to Source, the Unified Field, Infinite Intelligence, Great Spirit are you? Take a deep breath and ask inside: “How might I increase my connection?” Write that down and consider taking action on that insight. Then ask: “How Source-inspired is my vision? Am I living the highest, most plugged-in vision, for my life?” Take a deep breath and ask inside: “What is the highest, most plugged-in vision for my life?” Make a note of what comes up and consider shaping your life vision accordingly.

Congratulations – you’re one step closer to your mojo!