Thursday, August 30, 2012

Breakout from Media Induced Anger and Fear

Can you find the lie in this headline?
Apple verdict irks South Koreans.

When a San Francisco judge ruled that Samsung had infringed on Apple patents and that headline hit the wires. It ran in newspapers from Australia's Sydney Morning Herald to the Chicago Tribune. Spot the lie? Do you believe a verdict can irk everyone who hears it?

You probably hear some version of that lie every day:
  • You make me angry
  • You drive me crazy
  • It makes me sad
  • He makes me feel guilty
  • It makes me nervous
  • He scares me
 No wonder so many of us believe our emotional well-being is at the mercy of people and events. That myth is built into our thoughts, language, and newspaper headlines. Therapists are trained (and train us) to ask "How does that make you feel?"

I have explored the "it makes me feel" myth with countless people over several decades and it has not proven true one time. Each time we looked deeply into the cause of an unwelcome feeling, we found that the pain was in the meaning. It could be anger, fear, guilt or any feeling that comes too often and stays too long.  

The usual approach to feeling bad is to change something, or a lot of things. But have you ever noticed that people who get angry a lot do that no matter how many things they change?

The same dynamic traps people who suffer from chronic fear so they never feel safe no matter how cautious they become.

That is because they are working on a false solution they find on a search in the wrong place. The easiest, often the only way, to feel happier is to find and discard the beliefs that cause the "irk" in the first place.

A reader who wrote about my recovery book "Travelling Free: How to Recover from the Past" explains it really well. He said:

Your one chapter is called: “The pain is in the meaning.” I had to read it a few times, because almost like some form of dyslexia, it kept turning around for me to: “The meaning is in the pain.” And I suddenly realized how much I’ve held on to pain because for some bizarre reason I’ve believed that I need the pain to produce my best work.

I’ve found a new meaning. It’s in inspiring others to live lives that have impact on the world and the people around them. Now, the meaning is no longer in the pain, it is in the impact.
Imagine spending years actually holding on to pain because you thought your creativity required it. Then bamm! The belief is gone and your new goal is to have an impact. Wow!
Hunting the meanings and beliefs that block happiness or success is a lot like searching for Easter eggs. Only instead of tucking them in your basket you can discard them. And be happy and irk-free no matter what the judge says about Apple and Samsung. It's a much more effective place to start if you want to still want to change things too!

To Your Irk-Free Happiness and Success!
Recommended resources:
Travelling Free: How to Recover from the Past by Changing Your Beliefs

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Grumpy People Need Love Too

 Report from my Experiment in the Judgment Free Zone. 

I sent out a lot of blessings! I had suggested that if we catch ourselves judging ourselves or someone else, we focus instead on what we want or send out a blessing. I was surprised at how often I caught myself. It wasn't so much in words, but a strong reaction inside to something I deemed wrong-ish and bad-ish. It was the same thing each time. Every time someone was cross, rude, or mean to another person, I sort of tensed and felt judgmental.

My friend Viki Markle made this pencil holder for me. She said it was to remind us that grumpy people need love too. It sits on my desk, but sometimes I forget.

I sent a lot of blessings to grumpy people during my Not Judgment Day. It felt so good I'm going to do it more.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Experiment in the Judgment-Free Zone

At a recent social gathering I said that happiness was unreasonable but that unhappiness (in all of its forms like anger, fear, guilt) always has at least one reason attached. I offered up Marilyn Monroe, Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston as dead proof that you cannot be beautiful enough to be happy. No amount of fame, talent or success will do it. Someone explained it all from her perspective, "They're just losers" she proclaimed.

I stifled a gasp and said, "I don't like to judge them." To my surprise, she responded, "I'm sorry. That was harsh. I didn't mean to be that harsh. She continued to explain how she had worked for everything she had and did not understand how they could be so stupid.

I sighed and slipped into observation mode.

For many years a good exchange of judgments took the lion's share of my conversations -- the harsher, the better. Harsh and funny topped them all. It is kind of like tossing a slightly toxic ball around. Feels great to catch it when it heads your way. What fun to toss it back with a fresh spin of meanness. What a good way to learn about what your friends and acquaintances like without having to reveal anything personal or challenge anybody.

Some of the poison rubs off though, with each toss and catch. After awhile your heart closes up. Your creative juices flow through one shallow ditch. As I relished the anger and contempt we expressed during the those judgment days, I did not see the connection between my mode of communication and the isolation I felt. It's hard to feel connected to your fellow beings when you use them for stealth target practice.

As I began to break out from the prison of my own unconscious, robot-like way of life, those conversations lost their appeal, little by little. Now when I end up in the middle of one, I feel a little sick and a little trapped. Sometimes I cannot find a true place to stand. I know it's not up to me to tell other people how to live. I don't even know if I am right or wrong. I  don't think it matters. I simply prefer to wish people well. I like to see courage. I wonder with compassion what makes outright cruelty seem like a good idea to so many of us.

If you are familiar with my work, you know that acceptance (not to be confused with resignation) is the foundation of all of it. I have pondered this issue for decades. The courage and discoveries so many people have shared with me convince me that we all do the best we can with what we know and what we believe at every moment. How exciting that it can change profoundly in the flash of a second with new insight.

I would so like to encourage everyone to break out from the prison of perpetual judgment! I am not selling  rose colored glasses here. Just looking for some fellow seekers of truth in a judgment-free zone.

Would you like to join me in an experiment? Take a One Day Break from Judgment. For one day, simply remove judgment from your thoughts and conversation. That includes judging yourself if you slip. If you notice contempt or disdain creeping in, let it go and think of something else. Catch yourself scoffing? Turn your focus to what you want in life or send out blessings instead.

I would love to know how it goes. Posting a comment here is a wonderful way to share your discoveries and insights. It inspires the rest of us.

Can't wait to hear from you!

Please share and spread the word.



Much more info at

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Exercise Your "Emotional Options" -- My Big News!

Would you would like to be happier now, even before you fix all of the things you would like to change about yourself and our world?

"Emotional Options: A Handbook for Happiness" tells you how to break out from the (often hidden) limiting beliefs that block your happiness and success.

Save time, money and travel. This workshop-in-a-book serves as a complete course. It is filled with workshop-tested exercises and insights from decades of experience with thousands of intrepid inward-bound explorers.

Just out in a new edition by Yes You Can Press, "Emotional Options" is available now in paperback, for Kindle, and as a PDF at:

Will reading "Emotional Options " be the next step to freedom that comes when you breakout from anger, fear, guilt, shame and other painful emotions? The result is happiness, expanded creativity, and energy. Often with a sweet sigh of relief!
I must still have some limiting beliefs to explore. I can tell because I love my book. I'm proud of the contribution it has made to people in English, Dutch and Japanese. The changes it helps readers to make in relationships, health, finances and other important areas of their lives move me deeply. But I still find tooting my own horn  a big challenge.

So I'm letting other people do it. I copied, word for word, the review headlines from the prior edition on Amazon. You know how publishers pick the best reviews and hope you don't find the others? I did not do that. Here they are for you to see the impact "Emotional Options" has on readers – all of them – not one deleted! Typos included.

"Amazingly Helpful! A Big Help, Most valuable little book, Best In Show, Key to Happiness, Breakthrough book! Truth and Acceptance, New and Improved! Simple and powerful, Useful and Enjoyable to Read, Perfect little gem, Is Everybody Happy? Sooooo helpful!!!! Elegantly Simple, Practical, & Charming, Four simple but powerfull questions, Emotional Options, another great book! Emotional Options Is a Powerful Transformer, The real deal. Emotional Options: A Handbook for Happiness."

Order at 

If you have already read "Emotional Options" please consider giving one to your friends, especially anyone who may be struggling with painful emotions.

Order at:

Thank you for the privilege of sharing my big news with you. I appreciate our connection. To Your happiness and success!


PS, So far, there is no way to associate the Amazon reviews from the prior edition to this one. If you've read Emotional Options and liked it, a quick review and/or star rating of this new edition (the blue and green one with the mountain) will sure help to spread some happiness! Thanks.