How to Overcome a Limiting Belief

How to Overcome a Limiting Belief.

I was listening to a Hay House radio show the other day (my fave!) about limiting beliefs and how they shape our lives. The message was what we have all heard before but sometimes forget.

What we choose to believe determines our decisions and our decisions create our lives. 

What they didn't point out in the show, and what I think is important to note here, is that there are 2 kinds of limiting beliefs; ones that are conscious and ones that are subconscious. 

The subconscious ones are what I want to talk about today. 

These beliefs fly under our radar and can cause problems because we are not even aware that they are influencing our thoughts, feelings and actions every minute of every day. 

In fact, when I first started to recognize some of my subconscious limiting beliefs about 10 years ago, I was frightened to realize that I had been walking around making all sorts of important decisions based on irrational distortions of reality, which were rooted in these powerful beliefs that I didn't even know I had! OMG!

I was actually living in an alternate reality based on all these misconceptions that had become my foundation.

I believed things like: 

1. Life is something that happens TO me. I am a victim and that is just the way it is. I have no power. 

2. I am my childhood. I am my past.

3. I need to pretend to be someone I'm not because who I am blows.

4. Other people have an agenda and are looking for ways to manipulate me. I can't trust anyone. 

5. What matters above all else is what people think of me. 

6. Other people and outside circumstances are responsible for my happiness and/or misery.

7. I don't deserve anything good because I am not worthy.

8. Sacrificing myself for others makes me a good person with great character.

You can imagine how this kind of thinking effected my life. No wonder I was a mental and emotional wreck all the time!

Luckily, right before I was about to self-destruct, I happen to stumble upon an idea that was life changing. I can't remember or find who said it, but the message was one that stuck with me. 

"Once you realize that what you KNOW is more important and powerful than what you were TAUGHT TO BELIEVE, you will be forever transformed."

I

I took this sentiment as a challenge back then, and I immediately began to tackle the hidden beliefs that were holding me back. And in the end, I was indeed, a completely, different person.

Unconscious beliefs that are programmed into our heads as small children by our parents, culture, religion and society can have a massive effect on how we live our lives as adults without us even realizing it. 

Changing our limiting, negative beliefs and replacing them with empowering, optimistic beliefs, immediately starts to effect our happiness and success in all areas of our lives. 

So how do we change a limiting belief that we have been carrying around for years? The following is what has worked for me. I hope it helps you too!

How to Overcome A Limiting Belief

1. Take some time a really think about what beliefs might be hiding just below the surface and make a list. Thinking about your parent's beliefs, your friend's beliefs, your spiritual beliefs and your cultural beliefs may help you gain some clarity. Then, choose one belief from your list that you want to change. 

2. Determine how this belief is effecting your life in a negative way.  If I believe, for example, that "all the ideas are already taken", then I may not pursue song writing, and this would significantly limit my creative expression, as well as any future career I may have in music. 

3. Next, think of how it would feel and how you would act if you believed something different, like "There are tons of new song ideas out there!" 

4. Create an affirmation of the new belief you want to embrace, like "I am filled with new ideas and I am writing amazing new material everyday!" 

5. Write this affirmation down and say it out loud several times a day, over and over, for 21 days. 

6.

 Use the new affirmation, or an abbreviated version of it, as a mantra in your daily meditation.

It is completely ok and totally normal if you don't wholeheartedly believe what you ware saying at first. Over time, the writing down and speaking of your affirmation will start to re-program you subconscious mind. After you expose the subconscious mind to the repeated suggestion over and over, it will start to see it as fact. It will become your new belief. 

As Wayne Dyer says, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change".

Some ideas for empowering beliefs and affirmations: 

1. I am a good person and I'm getting better everyday

2. I am changing the world in a big great way

3. Anything is possible

4. Everything always works out in the end

5. I ask for help when I need it and people love helping me

6. I am writing everyday and I am filled with new ideas and inspiration!

7. I am awake and living my life on purpose

8. I am taking my power back I am no longer a victim 

9. I am responsible for my own happiness

10. I trust others and they trust me

11. I have more than enough time, energy, health, wealth and love.

And that is what I was thinking about today. 

Thank you so much for reading!

With love and gratitude,

Annie 

Movies, Inspiration and Belonging

Movies, Inspiration and Belonging

Day 8

Mindfulness and Authenticity

I just watched the inspirational movie, 

Pele: Birth of a Legend,

with my sons, Will and Ben tonight. 

The movie chronicles the soccer superstar’s miraculous rise from the slums of Sao Paolo to leading Brazil to it’s first World Cup victory in 1958 at the age of 17.

While we were discussing the movie afterwards, the boys and I were asking ourselves some big questions.

What if a movie was going to be made about us right now? What would our stories look like? What if they were going to make a movie about us in 20 years ? How would we want our stories to be then?

Now we had been inspired by

Pele, Birth of a Legend

, so as you can imagine, we had some pretty lofty ideas. We all agreed that in 20 years we wanted to have achieved his level of greatness at something. We wanted to be as inspiring as Pele!

But why? And why did his story inspire us so much?

Obviously, he and the entire nation of Brazil were the ultimate underdogs and that always makes for a great story, but what else about Pele as a person stood out?

We kept going back to a point in the movie when Pele was about to quit. He was struggling in the pro league and the coach didn’t like his style of play which embodied the “Ginga”. 

"Ginga

is an almost indefinable, mystical quality of movement and attitude possessed by Brazilians and evident in everything they do. The way they walk, talk, dance and approach everything in their lives. The

ginga

(literally: rocking back and forth; to swing) is the fundamental movement in capoeira, a martial art that slaves brought to Brazil from Angola. 

Ginga was what made Brazil different, made them unique, and made their style of soccer eventually come to be known as "the beauttiful game". But in 1958, no one embraced this. Ginga had been blamed for Brazil’s terrible showing in the previous world cups, and Pele's "savage" style represented failure and shame in the eyes of many.

A

fter being criticized by his coaches, teammates, the crowd, and the press and encouraged to play the "European" way, Pele

 decides that he doesn't have what it takes, packs his suitcase, and heads to the train station to go back home. Luckily, the scout for the team, one guy who has always kept the faith, catches up with him.

His message to Pele is, “You either have to summon the courage to embrace who you truly are and find out if you have what it takes, or you can take the train home today and you’ll never know.”

He encouraged Pele to not conform, to play the way he knew how to play, to embrace Ginga, to be himself, to let go of belonging and being liked and just do it his way.

It brought me back to high school when there was all that pressure to fit in and "being yourself" was something I didn't know how to do yet. I don’t know about you, but at that time, BELONGING felt like a matter of life or death and affected most of my decisions.

I remember my mother would say, “Just be yourself!”, “Be a leader, not a follower!”, “Don’t follow the crowd!” And I remember rolling my eyes and thinking she was crazy because the opinion of the crowd was all that mattered to me.

What I didn’t know then was that BELONGING is programmed into our DNA. Back when we lived in small tribes, fitting in mattered big time. We relied on the other members of the tribe for survival, so being cast out was connected to death.

The famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow, who created the Human Hierarchy of Needs said, that aside from our physiological needs like food, water, sleep and the need for safety and security, a sense of belonging is the most important thing homo sapiens need to survive.

So it makes a lot of sense that we would have anxiety over it and why we feel compelled to conform and not stand out. Our culture today still strongly encourages this behavior.

When we witness someone who has fought the urge to conform, who has made the decision to stand out and not cave to the naysayers, the haters, the negativity and their own self doubt, and just do it anyway, that’s inspiring because we KNOW how hard it is.

And when that person becomes a champion, the way Pele did, it's even more amazing. 

Champions do it their own way and, as the saying goes, believe in themselves when no one else does.

What if you’re not a champion yet? Remember, it takes conscious effort and awareness to resist the urge to follow the crowd and be yourself, but with practice we can make it a habit and I'm convinced that that is where our true greatness lies. 

That is where we can create our own beautiful game.

Dr. Seuss summed it up when he said, 

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because the people that mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind.”

One last thing to think about: If someone was going to produce a movie about you in 20 years, how would you want the story to go?

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow!

Love,

Annie

The Practice of Shin Rin Yoku

The Practice of Shin Rin Yoku

Day 6 

Mindfulness and Authenticity

May 26, 2016

“The art of healing comes from nature, not the physician.”

       - Paracelsus, 16

th

 century German Swiss physician

“It is the marriage of the soul with nature that makes the intellect fruitful and gives birth to imagination.”

      -Henry David Thoreau

When I was a kid I was basically an only child. My sister, 10 ½ years older than me, was my only sibling, and by the time I had turned 7, she had graduated from high school and was off to college.

I grew up in a big, old house on 6 pristine acres of woods, fields and gardens. I never fully appreciated it until the day I found out my parents had lost all their money. I was 11.

Eventually the bank came and took the house and all the beautiful woods, fields and gardens, and we moved to a one bedroom apartment.

The first 11 years, however, were spent exploring the great outdoors with my friends.

We lived on top of a hill, far from a neighborhood, and there were no kids to play with, so I am not talking about Human friends.

I’m talking about my dog - Kim, my cats - Dorothy, Snoopy, Butterscotch, Meecha, Smoky, and Chicken, Turkey and Ham. (Chicken, Turkey and Ham were siblings and all in the same litter). There was also a very special cardinal, all the other birds and bugs, and a horse named Smidgen.

These were my friends and I felt lucky. It was not a lonely childhood.

But there’s more. I was also friends with the cedar trees out front in which I spent countless hours climbing and playing. I was buddies with the blue and yellow irises in the back yard, the purple crocuses in the side field, and the beautiful peonies in my mother’s garden that bloomed in many shades of pink and white.

I was friends with the giant dogwood tree across from the irises, and the lilac trees that lined the driveway and smelled so good. I would chat with the bright yellow archway made of forsythia, and the moss that grew in between the bricks on the front walk. And I can still remember all the different shades of grey rocks in the stone walls.

There was a giant pine tree with one low limb that I could reach and I would sit there in silence and literally watch the clouds roll by.

It was a magical world of exploration and adventure and happiness for me.

If you think back to your childhood what do you remember about your natural surroundings? I bet, even if you grew up in the city, that you can remember what the grass looked like in the neighborhood park, or the flowers in the window box, or maybe you can still feel the presence of a big, old tree that you used to walk by on your way to school. What do you remember?

Why does this stuff stick with us? I don’t know for sure but I think children, before the corruption of the modern world, have the ability to be completely present and one with their surroundings. Having recently arrived here from the spiritual realm, they are also innately able to see that nature is not an external thing. It’s not separate. It is a part of who they are. Nature is them and they are nature.

When I was a kid nature was my santuary. It was my refuge. When my parents were fighting or I had a bad day at school, I would go climb that pine tree and feel better. When I was having a good day, I took joy in something as simple as a flower or a rain shower.

What I didn’t realize as a kid, and what new studies are now beginning to show, is that all that time I spent outside with my “friends” actually was more than just a healthy spiritual experience.

It fueled my brain too! It made me sharper, more able to focus at school, helped me handle stressful situations, helped me grow, made me more compassionate, more mindful, and kept me healthy.

I had no idea at the time, but I was taking part in a healing practice that had yet to be created. My daily solo immersion in nature now has a name. It’s called Shin Rin Yoku .

Shin Rin Yoku originated in Japan and translated means “Forest Bathing”.

Shin Ruin Yoku is the practice of simply being in the forest and taking in the forest atmosphere, as medicine. It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

Japan and South Korea have created actual healing forests for Shin Rin Yoku designed for people who are immersed in stressful urban environments, who work long days under massive academic and career pressure, and who suffer from digital addiction and chronic illness.

Japan has the 3

rd

highest suicide rate in the developed world and the rush hour is so crowded that they have workers whose job is to shove people on to metro trains. People are stressed to the max.

Yoshifumi Miyazaki is a physiological anthropologist and Vice Director of Chiba University’s Center for the Environment, Health and Field Sciences. He believes that because humans evolved in nature, that is where we feel most comfortable. He points out, “Throughout our evolution we’ve spent 99.9% of our time in natural environments and our physiological functions are still adapted to it.”

Miyazaki has taken over 600 people into the woods and has discovered that leisurely walks in nature reduce cortisol levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and sympathetic nerve activity.

What’s even more exciting is the research coming out of Nippon Medical School from Qing Li and immunologist in the Department of Hygene and Public Health.

He has started measuring Shin Rin Yoku’s effect on NK cells. NK cells are a type of white blood cell that sends self destruct messages to tumors and virus infected cells. The more NK cells you have in your body, the better, because they help fight infections and cancer.

He did a study with 40 businessmen from Tokyo. He brought them into the woods for 3 days, and afterwards, blood tests showed that their NK cells had increased by 40%! And a month later the NK count was still 15% higher than when they started! By contrast 3 day urban trips had no impact on NK levels.

In addition, Korean researchers have been using functional MRI to watch brain activity in people viewing different 2 dimensional images and the results are significant.

When volunteers looked at pictures of an urban environment, their brains showed more blood flow to the Amygdala, the fight or flight center of the brain that processes fear and anxiety. In contrast, when they were shown

pictures of natural scenes, the anterior cingulate and the insula, areas associated with empathy and altruism, lit up.

How cool is that? Nature makes us nicer!

Lastly, a study by a guy named Stephen Kaplan, an environmental psychologist

at the University of Michigan, found that a 50 minute walk in an outdoor park improved executive functioning, such as short term memory, while walking in the city did not.

Kaplan concluded, “Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, is readily available, and can improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost. It exists. It’s called interacting with nature”.

Nature seems to calm and focus the mind, creating what sounds to me like a transcendental state of healing along with enhanced mental acuity and creativity. Not bad!

There are too many studies to list, but it is clear that spending time in nature is good. Real good.

But for all of us caught up in the achievement culture, the constant exposure to technology and the electronic world, and the quest for more of everything, it’s easy to be lured away.

Richard Louv, author of the Nature Principles and the guy that coined the term Nature Deficit Disorder says, ”There is no denying the benefits of technology, but electronic immersion without a force to balance it, creates a hole in the boat, draining our ability to pay attention, to think clearly, to be productive and creative. The best antidote for negative electronic information immersion is an increase in the amount of NATURAL information we receive. The more high tech we become, the more nature we need.”

We have some major Nature Deficit Disorder here in the US. A Nature Conservancy Poll found that American teens spend less than 10% of their time outside every day and American adults spend only 5%. Shin Rin Yoku programs are starting to pop up here in the US which is encouraging, but it certainly is not popular and has not been embraced by the medical community or the government. 

Frederick Law Olmstead, John Muir and Ralph Waldo Emerson believed in the spiritual and emotional case for creating the worlds national parks by claiming that nature had healing powers. They had no “data” or “research” to go on. They only knew from their own personal experience.

David Strayer, cognitive neuroscientist and avid backpacker and advocate for eco-therapy from the University of Utah sums it up well, “At the end of the day, we come out in nature not because science says it does something, but because of how it makes us feel.”

I go to the woods now because of how it makes me feel as well. I go to experience what I experienced when I was young. I walk, I run and I climb trees and smell the flowers. I feel connected to all things, listening to the birds and the trees swaying in the wind. I feel young, and light and free and like a little girl again and definitely, not alone. 

“In the woods

a man casts of his years,

as the snake his slough,

and at what period soever of life,

is always a child.

In the woods,

Is perpetual youth.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

And that’s what I’ve been thinking about today.

See you tomorrow!

Love,

Annie

Seeing and The Practice of Non-Judgment

Seeing

and the Practice of Non-Judgement

Day 4

Mindfulness and Authenticity

“Love is the absence of judgment” - Dalai Lama

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” 

- Carl Jung

“Every time you judge yourself you are blocking your inner potential. Self judgment is the most limiting factor in the failure to reach our dreams.”

– Deepak Chopra

One of the things I have been working on with my mindfulness practice is trying to develop a habit of not judging myself and others.

I don’t know if any of you feel this way too, but when I catch myself beating myself up, I automatically judge myself for judging myself. When I catch myself criticizing someone else, I feel guilty and judge myself for that. And when I don’t catch any of it in the moment, I can easily get caught up in an automatic, unconscious internal dialogue that doesn’t serve me.

As part of my

21 days of Mindfulness and Authenticity

, I want to start tackling this issue with some urgency. It’s time.

When I was driving to the gym this morning I had an idea. I decided I needed to do 3 things.

1.

Set my intention – I intend to stop judging myself and others.

2.

Make the Commitment – I commit wholeheartedly. I’m all in.

3.

Take immediate action – Initiate Operation Abandoning Judgment (OAJ)

I decided that starting tomorrow, whenever I catch myself judging myself or others, I have to immediately stop what I’m doing and do 10 burpees. This is less about punishment and more about bringing attention and awareness to the situation. As you know, I actually don’t mind burpees that much :-)

The “catching myself” piece is a mindfulness practice because we can’t catch ourselves unless we are awake and aware in the present moment.

Every time I am aware and awake enough to realize who or what I have judged, I will crank out the burpees in a state of gratitude for the SEEING. Catching myself is SEEING.  

And Seeing is the goal of this whole 21 day journey.

“Seeing” in the Shamanic tradition is a word that represents compassion and forgiveness. When we are in a state of compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and others, it is impossible to judge.

I remember holding on to judgment of my mother for many years until I started doing an exercise that changed everything. I would imagine my mom as a little 5 year old girl all dressed up, on a big stage, struggling to remember her lines in her Kindergarten play while I, as an adult, sat in the audience.

Shifting my perspective this way allowed me to SEE! Suddenly I understood that she was a vulnerable human being just like me, doing the best she could with the understanding, awareness and knowledge she had in the moment. I forgave her immediately. The judgment was gone.

Sandra Ingerman, Shaman and author of

Awakening to the Spirit World

 says, “Seeing is the most powerful method of releasing blame, guilt and shame. Seeing ends the war within us just as it resolves conflicts and externals and paves the way for our cooperation and extension….when Shamans speak of “seeing” they are actually talking about clearing away the projections and distorted thoughts of the conscious mind onto the world at large and in all its forms”.

The cooperation and extension that Sandra is referring to is our ability to collaborate, share and grow with others. Humans are social animals and in order for us to thrive and reach our full potential we need to work together. When we are judging ourselves and others this collaboration is impossible.

So why do we judge others so much anyway? Here are a few thoughts:

1.

It’s an unconscious habit that can be amusing and a way to pass the time.

2.

We do it because deep down we are intensely critical of ourselves and the judging of others becomes the external projection of our internal world.

3.

When we judge someone else it makes us feel right, and being right puts us in an imaginary position of moral superiority.

4.

 We operate from a scarcity, “not enough” mindset; a belief that we need to compete because there is not enough to go around.

And why do we judge OURSELVES so much?

I’m no expert but I believe our low self worth is rooted in some or all of the following:

1.

Difficult childhoods and relationships with family

2.

Cultural and religious codes and pressures

3.

The DNA that we inherited

4. Our lack of spiritual fulfillment, values, and purpose in this life

In the unconscious state of judgment it becomes impossible for us to grow and contribute to a better world and we are likely to struggle in our relationships, our health, our finances, our work and more.

What if we could start opening our minds to the uniqueness and greatness in everyone, including ourselves?

Mr. Rogers once said, “There’s no one that you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story”.

Sometimes we forget that that sentiment is also true for ourselves!

We need more compassion all around and I imagine a future world in which we habitually encourage and support each other and ourselves as we travel along life’s winding path. I imagine that someday there will be a collective change of consciousness, one of inclusivity, kindness, awareness, understanding and trust.

In the meantime, Operation Abandoning Judgment (OAJ) starts tomorrow!

I know there are probably a lot of burpees in my future but that’s ok. Come join me or make up your own game and tell me about it!

I’d love to hear your ideas!

Talk to you tomorrow!

With love and zero judgment,

Annie

21 Days of Mindfulness and Authenticity

21 Days of Mindfulness and Authenticity

Day 1 

May 21, 2016 

4 minute read

I have decided today that my goal as a parent from now on is to try to teach and model for my 10 and 12 year old sons only one thing: how to return to complete presence in the moment, the state they were in as little children.

The innocence of childhood to me is the state of mind or way of being before the achievement culture has taken hold. Once it does, and it doesn’t take long, we begin to take part in 3 destructive behaviors that change our lives completely.

We start to:

1. Worry about the future

2. Regret and feel guilty about things that happened in the past

3. Start to feel like the present is “not enough”

I believe the only way back from this insanity that we are all caught up in is mindfulness.

For the last couple of weeks I have been trying wrap my head around all this. It started with a question. What is radical authenticity?

Until recently, I was under the impression that I was a pretty authentic, real person, that I didn’t play a “role” anymore. By a “role” I mean an identity created by our culture that we seem to fall into automatically. An archetype or an idea of who we are SUPPOSED to be.

Here’s an example. For many years I was playing the “role” of perfect homemaker. When I got married and had kids I automatically attached myself to this idea that I had to be a combination of Martha Stewart and Maria Von Trap as portrayed by Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.

Because I was caught up in the achievement culture and needed something to prove that I was “enough”, I latched on to this archetype and it took over. My identity became completely linked to being the perfect mother, perfect wife, perfect homemaker, perfect hostess and entertainer, and, and this is a big one, to being happy and in a good mood all the time.

I had no idea I was doing this! I wasn’t consciously aware of it. And over time, because this was not inline with my true self, I failed. I failed at all of it. And along the way, at every turn, I felt like “not enough”.

That is just one example but you get the gist of it. Anyway, I thought I was past all that “role” playing and that this lack of awareness was a long gone, less evolved version of myself.

Turns out though that this quest to become free of the “not enough” mindset might be a longer, more serious challenge than I originally thought.

Partly because we live in an achievement culture where we are rewarded for accomplishment and punished for falling short. Not achieving, especially in the traditional ways that our culture encourages, is viewed as being lazy, being an under-achiever, a slacker, a fuck up, undisciplined and scatter brained. 

To avoid the pain and guilt of the potential judgment and the embarrassment of these labels, and to gain the praise and awards and status of “success”, we push ourselves towards achievement in school, work, finances, fitness, parenting, belonging to certain social groups, and more without even thinking about why we are doing it.

How do we escape this craziness and become authentic and present and free from the approval and criticism of others? How do we break free from the cultural “roles”?

At this point, I think the only way is to awaken to the idea that we are not a “role”, we are not our physical body, and we certainly are not our thoughts and emotions. We are not even “our story”.

We are the AWARENESS of our thoughts and emotions and bodies and story. This awareness and the realization that we are not inferior or superior to anyone, only becomes clear when our mindfulness practice becomes a way of life.

I am convinced that mindfulness leads to an awakening of the soul which leads to true peace, and this is what I want for my kids and the world.

As I said in the beginning, little children model mindfulness as a way of being. They are completely present in each moment. But as soon as the achievement culture starts to take over they unconsciously start to lose their foot hold. And this is the root of all suffering as I see it.

The opposite of this is living in a state of mindfulness, aware of our thoughts and emotions but not governed by them. And this allows us to be authentic in the moment and to be at peace in the moment.

So, back to the question of what is radical authenticity?

My definition of authenticity is Presence. If we are being authentic we are being completely present and we are not being governed by an agenda attached to thoughts and feelings about the past or the future. Presence is true and honest and real.

That is my discovery for today.

I am going to blog for 21 days to try and burn the concept and practice of mindfulness into my brain for my own sanity and my kid’s. Come join me! I could really use some buddies because creating habits is not my strong suit!

What do you think? Please comment! Thank you and I’ll see you tomorrow.