New Leaf Mentoring … new thought. new health. new life.

Posts tagged ‘Andrea Connell’

Cultivating a High Tolerance for Happiness


A friend and I were discussing yesterday how attached humanity is to living life through the relative experience of pain. Our culture is full of euphemisms that reflect this idea. “No pain, no gain”, “The straw that broke the camel’s back”, “We wouldn’t recognize the good without the bad”, “Good things come to those who wait”, “survival of the fittest”. There is an unspoken heroism built into identification with suffering that needs to be abolished from our consciousness if we ever want to experience evolvement into love and freedom. We have come to equate a high pain tolerance with being brave and strong.
Quantum mechanics have proven that we are only able to focus on one thing at a time. There is only one reality that exists with certainty and that is determined by where we put our focus. The magical beauty of our world is that we each have the right and responsibility to create our own reality that serves our needs and intertwines with others’ realities as it further serves the whole. In metaphysics we come to understand that where attention goes energy flows and that where energy flows  – that’s what grows. When we continuously turn our focus and attention to what is painful in our lives we further stimulate and encourage the growth of pain, not freedom from it. When we consistently push our buttons to stimulate a painful response and reaction we create the tolerance for pain in the present moment. When we continuously relive past hurts and transgressions we bring them to life in the now. When we engage in repetitive painful emotions and situations we foster the growth of more of the same. Pain begets pain. Like attracts likes.
So many people are waiting for the last straw before they feel they would be able to make the changes they need to make. There is no successful ending possible to this story line. This ‘last straw’ scenario is actually a training program for enduring more pain. In weight training or resistance training you learn how to create strength in your body by adding incremental amounts of weight that you learn to counter balance. In time you become stronger, being able to resist more and more burden. In our day-to-day life the more pain and abuse we learn to live with the stronger we become in carrying and surviving it, and the less willing we become in changing it. We lose our natural bearings. By the time the proverbial last straw is placed we are already damaged. The healing from a ‘broken back’ is very difficult and requires significant time and a mountain of physiotherapy.  The damage created in the last straw situation won’t be healed just by walking away from the problem, in fact, you won’t be able to walk away at all, you will crawl away all broken and twisted.
The only way to heal pain is to not tolerate it; by not giving space to pain we won’t allow it to control one more minute of our lives. Pain is actually a powerful efficient teacher for when we’ve gone too far in the wrong direction. Pain should indicate that a change is needed. We must make a pledge to ourselves to live with happiness and love, not anger or resentment, not sadness and grief. We must vow to do what ever we can to step towards joy and freedom and not drag the heavy burdens of yesterday’s pain into our future. Never engage in any task unless you can find the way to do so happily. Never commit to any deed unless can do it with full heartedness.
Please don’t wait for the last straw, shake off your burden of pain today, learn to feel the weight of a single stem of straw, learn to act on your best behalf. Don’t settle for relative happiness; believe in experiencing bliss. No good comes out of having a high pain tolerance, only more pain. Build your pride instead on having a zero pain tolerance and start cultivating the growth of a high joy tolerance instead!

Ask and You Shall Receive!


I am often asked to do home tarot card parties. I usually don’t know most of the people who will be attending so as I drive to the house I do my normal routine of getting centered, focusing ahead to the evening and tuning in to the vibe of the night. Instantly I become aware of very specific emotions that are connected to the participants of the evening. It’s a very interesting phenomenon that the people who gravitate together for any particular event, be it a workshop, card party, Reiki class, or seminar have something in common with each other even though they may all be strangers to each other. It is an aspect of the Law of Attraction. Like attracts like even when we are not always aware it’s going on.

When I first started teaching I would notice and observe this happening and marvel at the coincidence. Today I take a more aggressive approach and throw out a silent “Thank you” to the universe for bringing the right people together in the moment before I arrive. Ok, so maybe that part isn’t all that aggressive but it is purposeful. Simply acknowledging that the right people have come together would allow the magic to begin.

I have come to trust 100% that in universal energy we are always aligned with others with whom we can co-create a new possibility. The main obstacle is that we don’t communicate our needs with others and miss opportunities because we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves and our problems. I do know for sure though, that in any group you are bound to get a wide variety of perspectives of experiences, worries, fears and successes. Just by acknowledging this diverse dynamic seems to allow the like forces to begin matching up. The universe seems to work in mysterious ways – suddenly you may find yourself saying something or doing something that you wouldn’t normally ever say or do only to find the person next to you totally gets it and has the ability to help you.

I’m not suggesting that you go around blathering all your troubles far and wide. Discretion is still important, but consider that there is someone in your immediate vicinity with a solution to your problem or just a piece of advice that can help. Become still, listen carefully, and follow your heart. Your heart is the transmitter – receiver that will guide to the next best step. Trust your universe, your heart, and your self. You – no matter how you see yourself, are a  co-creator worthy of receiving the bounty of universal wisdom. Ask and you shall receive all the help you need! But you gotta’ ask!!!

The Restoration of Gratitude – It’ll just take a moment!


I woke this morning with a feeling of being blessed. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the temperature with my bedroom window wide open was perfect. I had spent a great evening sitting outside until almost midnight chatting with a dear friend that I hadn’t connected with in quite some time. All felt right in my world. I ruminated on our various discussions from the night before.

At one point we talked about gratitude. My friend has experienced so much turmoil and pain in her life and yet that’s not what she wears on her face. Her face shows the world her hope, her acceptance, and her belief in herself and in others. She is remarkably grateful. She is grateful for every kindness, every opportunity, every experience that crosses her path. She takes nothing for granted. Every small thing is a meaningful blessing. Her life is not charmed, things don’t come easy to her. She has worked harder than almost anyone I know at everything she does, she never hides from a challenge and always tackles anything put before her. Every so often life overwhelms her and her edges crumble a little bit, but in the end she is like the stone in the river bed that millions of tons of water has washed over and made smooth. She is willing to be tumbled around a little bit if it enhances her perspective of life. She is willing to hit some other rocks in the river if it means that she will learn something new about herself. And just because she is willing to engage with life, life engages back. She had always stood apart in her innocence.

But something  had changed. She was worried and sad. Fearful of pending changes. Feeling the need to protect herself. I don’t know her this way. She has always lived in the moment, looking for the opportunity, and seeing the good in it. It usually works; but it wasn’t working now. She didn’t know why not. It took me a good long while in the morning light to understand and identify what was different.  Often epiphany comes when we are doing the mundane, when the mind can aimlessly drift about without clinging to intentional pieces. While washing dishes this morning I realized what it was.

In the same moment I realized what had changed, I also knew why it had changed and why I didn’t see it.  In short what had happened was my friend wasn’t being herself, she had become the way the world typically functions. Her language reflected the way the world talks, she was listening to things the way the world listens to things, she was behaving the way the world normally behaves. And because she wasn’t living intuitively as she normally does, she became lost. I didn’t catch it because she was being normal, as in the same as everyone else. She wasn’t standing alone in her light, she had mentally, emotionally joined the common way of a world immersed in fear.

She had begun to worry about the future. She was fearing the potential loss of her great love. She had become attached to potential failure. She began to anticipate the worst and was looking for the clues in the moment, in order to protect herself for the future. She stopped living in the moment and started living for the future. She was living suspiciously, second guessing, doubting her senses, listening to the onslaught of negativity that spews so abundantly from the minds and mouths of mass population, media and government. She was a like fish out of water.

I see so many people afraid of engaging with life fully because they are afraid of the pain that seems imminent. We are so preoccupied with living the promised fairy tale happy ever afters that we end up judging our lives negatively in comparison. We worry, we anger, we shrink and shirk and blame, we judge, anything to try to separate us from the world around us that we see causing so much pain and failure. Unfortunately by doing so we become part of that darkness that squelches out the possibility of a better way.  My friend had stepped out of her light filled innocence into the shadowy norm and it didn’t fit well. Trying to squeeze all that light and hope into a limited, typical, too small dark box was hurting her. Her compass became disoriented, she didn’t know where or who she was anymore. And worse still she couldn’t find the way out, her re-course became to isolate. That alone broke her heart.

In the end she re-committed herself to seeing the good, looking for the silver lining, and counting her blessings in every moment. In the end she went home grateful for the life she is blessed to have. She’s the bravest soul I know! Are you brave enough to stand in your light? Alone if need be?

In A Perfect World


Part of my job is helping people get to what they want in life. The other part of my job is helping people understand what they want to get. This is by far the most challenging piece. Amazingly, people usually don’t know what they want. And even more amazing is that they don’t know they don’t know!

So just to get the ball rolling, I like to pose the questions, “What does your perfect world look like? Who’s in it? What do you do? How do you live? Where do you live? What do you look like” Usually I get answers that paint a very different picture from the life being lived. Sometimes I get I don’t knows, but very rarely do I get the true answer, which is of course – “close to what I got”.

In a perfect world we are not enslaved to live the life we’ve got, we are free to make choices at will that guarantee our happiness every day. In a perfect world we have no worries, no anger, no fear. We are perfectly matched to the love of our life, and have purpose. The stuff of fairy tales and romance novels.

So here’s the rub…our world is perfect. Your world is perfect.

It is the perfect alignment of cause and effect. Like attracts like. What you have in your life is the result of the seeds you have planted and nurtured to thrive. How can it be any more perfect than that?

Your life today is the life you believe in. It’s the life you believe you deserve, it’s the life that makes sense of your choices. Your life today reflects all of the faith you hold in your self, your loved ones, your god, and your past. What ever the struggle, the torment, the pain you suffer you believe in it.

We live in a world of free choice. But instead of making our choices that support our happiness and happily ever after dreams  we do any number of things that screw us up and set us on ‘the wrong’ path. We lie, we cheat, we get hooked on various addictions, we compromise our decision-making by doing what other people want us to do when we don’t want to – from sex, to careers, to marriage, to schedules, to having kids, we give our power away. When you give your power to choose the quality of life away you immediately become aware of feeling that you no longer live in a perfect world. When you believe that someone else’s dream is more important or better than your own you start living in someone else’s version of life and dream.

Come to understand that even when you make a decision to follow someone else – it’s still your choice. Once you get that part, commit to it! Don’t wish otherwise! Accept where you stand! If you don’t like it – change it! Come to independently know your own mind. The world can’t be anymore perfect – you co-created it. You are living your choices. If you understand that and still think you feel trapped and can’t make changes to change your situation then accept it. Don’t torment yourself and others with self-pity. Self pity has a soul shattering dynamic all its’ own that works to serve victimization belief systems. Once you believe you are victimized you are doomed to follow along. Then the serious whining begins!

Instead congratulate yourself on being the master creator of your world – with the power to make choices, look for options, do what you can, understand the compromises you intentionally make and let yourself off the hook. Just stop complaining about it. Work hard at loving your life, at creating a life you love, finding the things you love about your life, and doing the things you love. Anywhere you spend energy in your life (which is everywhere) make it loving energy! Loving thoughts that support your choices will in turn create other options that create more love. Anger, fear, bitterness and resentment may still crop up but just to show you what is still out of alignment. In the loving of your life you will soon be living in a perfect world, all your own with everything you love in it.

Just Get Out of Your Way!


The people I do tarot card readings for can generally be divided into 2 groups: group 1 wants me to tell them their future, group 2 wants to know what to do about something. They all have questions but the first group is not empowered in their present moment and just wants to hear good things about what is coming along, while the second group feels very empowered in the moment and wants to solve a problem. In the end all people must fall into the second group if they want a future that is different than the life they are presently living. To create a future that is different from the way life looks right here, right now we have to DO something different. We have to create a change.

As anyone who has had a reading by me knows I don’t do readings to tell you your future. I do them…and the only reason I do them, is to help people identify what their strengths and weaknesses are, what their possibilities and challenges are, and mostly to identify their true obstacles. I use the tarot to help people get out of their own way.

About 15 years ago I had a reading from a very gifted psychic who told me that I would do just fine if I could only learn how to stay out of my way. I had been starting to suspect that I was sabotaging myself on a regular basis but I just couldn’t find my way through the madness and I was very stubbornly trying to figure it out all by my self, which really just complicated things off the scale. I decided I needed a new best friend…don’t get me wrong I loved my best friend but she loved me too and there was a mutual non verbal no hurting each other policy in place. I needed to hear some brutal truth now and again. So I bought a deck of tarot cards. I learned to read to myself in the third person so I could be really tough on myself and wouldn’t take it personally ( hey whatever works!) and it worked. I got really good at identifying when I was getting in my way. I even got good at listening and doing what needed doing. Life got better – much, much better.

Most people don’t know when they are standing in their own way. They hate looking at the things they don’t like to see, and so they don’t… and they hate knowing what they don’t want to know and so they don’t! But I have come to realize that when someone is there to support you and tells you that what you are seeing is real, or what you ‘know’ intuitively is true, people can face the most difficult of truths. Once we can face something we are able to create change. And that ‘s why I do what I do. I am very willing to not always be the bearer of good and happy news, I am willing to say the low, down and dirty things. I don’t always like it but I will help you see what is real in your life. I have found that people have amazing resources of strength when they are face to face with what is real, it’s the illusions that we build that are difficult to stand up to. When dealing with illusion we literally feel disoriented, confused and usually immobilized.

Other than showing us the truth of a situation, the tarot will reveal another really key thing to solving our problems; it shows what is most relevant to deal with. So often we tend to focus on the wrong things, blow them out of proportion and then get very busy trying to solve them. But in making mountains out of mole hills we tend to lose our direction and just stay unhappily preoccupied. As we spend our time ineffectively chasing our tails, grumbling about how hard it is to get anywhere, we dig ourselves in deeper and deeper until one day we realize that we are totally exhausted and mired in the muck up to our necks. We also come to bitterly realize that the problem hasn’t changed. The tarot helps us identify what the real issue is  and what the most important thing we can do to get through it. Like it or not.

The other thing I like about using the tarot to understand my problems is that it never overrides my choice. I always get to choose if I want to listen, I never have to fear being judged, I never have to do anything I don’t want to do. It’s only a touchstone, a way to check in with myself. If I decide today to do nothing about something I’ve learned, the message will still be there tomorrow when I am perhaps more able to get out of my way.

Opening to a Beautiful Mind


I woke up this morning, early, 4:45am. I got a ‘thought knot’ in my brain and couldn’t unravel it while I was lying there so I was forced to get up. On top of that, my dreams, all night, were disturbing to say the least. My life – in my dream – was eroding, earth falling away to gaseous fire pits, big snakes, rotting dying people, secrets, hiding. Obviously some deep messages to figure out…or not! My dreams were being affected by some bad TV watching (serial killers, snakes and mystery). My crazy collection of random thoughts were tying up in knots creating unsolvable problems. So I got up, planted my feet in the real world and made a coffee. As I sat with my coffee in the early morning gray, still mostly black, light, (did I mention it was really early?)  I found myself reflecting on how thought full my brain and life was. I know better than to try to figure my way out of a thought knot. Thinking only makes it worse. ‘Thought knots’ have to be untangled. Carefully. Slowly and deliberately.

As I consciously began to unraveled my ‘thought knot’, I became aware of the huge variety of thoughts that swirl through my brain in any given moment. Gradually, as the various ideas started to let go and flit away, I started feeling better and more centered. My brain stopped its’ swirling and my focus was restored. In the back of my brain I noticed feeling very grateful that I had the awareness to sort through my mind problems.

The mind is an amazing thing with enormous potential to trap us in useless circles or free us into beautiful dimensions of new possibilities. I prefer to spend most of my time in the latter state but occasionally find myself locked in the former. We all do. Fortunately, I have learned to have faith in my brain and in the power of my mind. It’s not always easy to shift your brain away from swirling patterns to useful ones but I have always considered it a very essential piece to my freedom and happiness to be able to access the power of my mind rather than be victimized by the habits of mindless spinning. Within all the mental madness, all the swirling under tow is clarity, focus and direction. Underneath all the muddy thinking hides a crystal clear beautiful mind capable of outstanding feats.

Learn to meditate, spend time contemplating life, play games, find things to laugh at, try new things, say yes instead of no, practice non-attachment.

I have come to trust that my mind is the interface between the outer world and my heart. What I want in my heart will be made manifest through the power I own to wrap my mind around what it takes to get it. If I never discover what I am all about mentally, my challenges are sure to overwhelm me and I’ll never be able to access my power to create the life I want.

My happiness, your happiness will be determined by the freedom we feel to exercise the choices of our mind and we can’t do that if we constantly get bogged down in ‘thought knots’. Happy untangling.

In the End It’s Still My Choice…All Things Considered


People have choice. It’s our birthright. We come to life and have the responsibility to make the choices in life that suit us. And that’s a blessing. I’m really glad that I get to make my own choices but I’m  also constantly surprised by how hard it is to make my own choices. In every choice I make I consider tons of people, issues and possibilities. And this is also our responsibility, to be actively conscious of the repercussions of our personal choices. As much as we are free agents we are still ultimately responsible to our partners, families, friends, community and consciousness on the whole. Heavy baggage!

It’s no wonder that we’ll grab opportunities to let someone else make our choices for us. Sometimes we just want a break. Letting someone else decide for us let’s us off the hook temporarily and it’s nice to feel looked after – like I said…temporarily. The way someone else makes choices, how they consider things, how they weigh the value of factors either appeals to us or doesn’t. It determines the success of our partnerships in business and marriage, it determines how well we play with others, it determines how well we raise our children.

Making decisions is a powerful responsibility. Invariably what we decide will also determine the fate of others. It can’t be helped. The quality of our life is determined by the quality of the decisions we make.  It becomes very important to know what you stand for. What are your morals, ethics and values about life? What do you condone, tolerate, and hold in esteem? If you can come to understand what is truly important to you and what is not, you will create a guideline for your life. When you have that it is much easier to know how to make your decisions.

Come to know where your weaknesses lie, where you need help in making decisions, where you need to trust others almost completely. Not choosing to decide is still a decision – probably one of the most important stands you’ll ever make. When we give all our power over to someone else to decide in our stead, we better be able to trust them implicitly. They hold our life in their hands and they better be strong enough to carry us. When we give that power to someone weaker than us we will surely fall. I’ve seen people choose to do exactly that just so they can ferociously lay blame and fault, not realizing that it was their own fault for giving up their right to choose.

In marriage we have to decide our decision-making roles. Do you like to be led, do you like to lead, do you need to need a partner with whom to hammer out solutions with? Or more likely it’s a mix of the three. Do you know over which issues you like to assume which hat? Do you realize what your emotional triggers are that ultimately drive the choices you make. I’ll give you a hint; fear and love are the driving forces behind all decisions. Making good choices depends directly on how willing and ready we are to look and accept the truth of a situation. If we are continuously making bad decisions with miserable outcomes we have to look at what our personal motivation is. Another hint: behind every bad decision lies a mountain of fear. It’s fascinating how blind to the mountain we can become.

The thing with making decisions is while we are dealing with very personal, close to the heart kind of decisions we also have to keep our eyes fixed on the greater good. There are usually people watching, waiting, knowing they are going to be influenced by your decision, usually our children, partners and co-workers, and they are learning. They are not just idly sitting by twiddling their thumbs. Based on how you make your choices they will learn how to make theirs. Where you are weak, they will be strong, where you are wobbly, they will learn to manipulate, where you waffle they will decide. Even in weakness you have responsibility, you just won’t have the power to look after your highest good!

We exert our power in our life through the decisions or lack of decisions we make. It’s your choice!