May all your dreams come true

 03408b60d6942626cdae99f067493261Where do you want to be in 2017? You probably have goals and desires that you want to fulfill. With a fresh new year ahead of you, you might make a list of resolutions or intentions, but have you stopped to think whether these dreams are what you really really want?

After all, it is possible that you will set an intention, and see your dream unfold, but you may still not be satisfied after you get what you think you want.  

There is something more, something deeper, that you may miss if you continue to just reach one material goal after another.

Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz found out at the end of her journey, what she really wanted was inside of her all along. Everything you want, everything you are going for, is already here. It is your point of view, your perception, that needs to change. So if you change the way you think about what you want, you may find that you already have it or that you don’t really want it at all.

Changing your mind is easier said than done, but it will happen if you go within.  Pay attention to sychronicities. Pray. Consider what your subconscious is trying to tell you by remembering the dreams you have while sleeping. And most importantly, meditate.

We want to wish everyone a joyous and meaningful 2017. May you all align with your true desires by going within.

Are you successful?

jacket picMost people want to be successful, but what is success? For many, it is about the things they own, their personal status, or how much money they make.

The Definition of Success

Some measure success as if it should follow an upward path, and improve with each passing year. They see it as perhaps being in the right place financially for their age, or at least having the right title. They feel they should be at a certain level of affluence by a certain point in their lives. Others do not give much credence to the path, but rather see success as equated with assets.

How high on the ladder do you need to climb, or how much do you need to own to consider yourself a success?

We say that you don’t need to climb any ladder, and you don’t need to own a thing. The above definitions of success are flawed. Society has conditioned us to follow our egoic longings and so we continue to want more. When we are in the process of pursuing the American Dream, we do have some satisfaction, but a sense of dissatisfaction often emerges.

Success is Happiness

Instead of thinking about what it will take for you to be successful, think about this: When asked what people really want, they generally say they just want to be happy. They think that society’s definition of success will make them happy, but what they really want is to experience joy as much as possible. Make sense?

So success is feeling joy most of the time. While perhaps easier to attain than something outside of yourself, it does take some practice. To be happy, we have to train ourselves to think differently.

How to be Happy  

We have to unlearn some of society’s programming. But to do this, we only have to do two things. One, we must be grateful each day for what we do have, including the people in our lives.  Two, we must connect with our higher selves so that we become comfortable in that inner space and experience who we really are.  When we are satisfied with our choices, are appreciative of all we have, and are in touch with our true selves, we will move toward happiness and create a very successful life.

What We Think About Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers has a special place in our hearts. Sandrine’s mother joined Weight Watchers several times and Rhonda’s grandmother was most proud of her WW pin denoting her 25 pound weight loss.

Our book Change Your Mind: Lose Weight takes a different approach from Weight Watchers, but what we have in common with the program is attention to weight loss and healthy living. The bottom line is that our program differs largely on one thing, which is that we want you to pay attention to your inner journey, as opposed to deriving motivation from anything outside of yourself.

The points system developed by Weight Watchers has received much acclaim, and many people who follow the system lose weight. Yet, just like any diet you try, you will only be as successful as your inner motivation allows. In other words, Weight Watchers or any other program will “work” because you are working the program. It is you who are doing it. You are losing the weight! You will be successful if you have done the inner work, which is what we help you do in our book.

Bottom line is that losing weight is a calories in/calories out equation. No matter how you lose weight—by counting calories, by counting points, or by not counting at all—you will only maintain that weight loss if you do the inner work. How do you know if you have done that work? You will make food choices most of the time that are based on sound nutrition. You stop thinking points and calories and begin to think about how to nourish your body.

Another sign that you are there is that you are not obsessed with food. You live your life and then your stomach grumbles and you realize you are hungry. You are likely not planning your lunch while you are eating breakfast. You are just enjoying your breakfast. The idea of overeating makes you sick. Once you are almost full, you feel good, and you do not want to take another bite. It is this kind of success that we see as life-changing. There is no longer a fear of gaining weight because overeating does not appeal to you. You go to a party and taste this or that. You never binge. Why would you? Eating too much is uncomfortable and you know this at your core so overeating is just something you would never want to do. And you exercise because you want to, and not only to avoid gaining weight.

Getting to that place requires doing more than counting calories or points, or using behavioral methods of compliance. You can lose weight by following WW guidelines, but maintaining a weight loss requires more than just following the rules and it requires more than learning about nutrition.

Getting there means you must take that inner journey. You have to know yourself and love yourself. When you are at that point, you will make generally healthy choices and that is what we see as success. Success is not how many pounds you lose. Success is how you live.

Final Thoughts on the Self-Love Series

When you incorporate the suggestions in the self-love posts we wrote over the course of the past couple of months, and make them a habit, you will develop a new liking for yourself. This will come through the recognition that much of what you think is associated with your perception of events and relationships and not the actual events or relationships themselves. Then the renewed attention to your inner-self will develop into the love you crave from others.

If you are not at the place you want to be now, start by asking yourself questions. Meditate. Read our posts. Remember, we define self-love in the guest post we did for Daily Muse so you might want to start there.

Loving yourself is about creating yourself. It is about asking what kind of person you want to become and growing into that ideal. It is about embracing the Sara Bareilles definition of bravery and fearlessly expressing yourself without worrying what others think. Above all, self-love culminates in turning yourself inside out to show the world who you really are. When you really love yourself, you will become the person you are meant to be.

Don’t Let Your Ego Get in the Way

Understanding yourself at the core level is knowing yourself as both your inner self and your ego. It is this self-knowledge that allows you to not only make the best decisions for your life, but it provides you permission to laugh at yourself, to make mistakes, and to live with uncertainty. Knowing yourself completely nurtures your confidence so when you go forward with your life, you understand that you are equipped to handle anything that comes your way.

The ego is the part that you recognize as your body and your image and all the concrete identifications you may come up with. It prompts you to feel unique and separate from other people. It creates needs, wants and expectations in relation to the outside world. It reinforces the illusion of the human experience, making you believe that it is all there is. The ego is there to dictate and rule your world, and it will as long as you let it. If you are oblivious to it, your ego will make your life miserable, but it is only a part of you. The other part is the higher self.

The higher self is the part that whispers. It breaks through often unexpectedly in situations where you feel conflicted. The higher self is that quiet voice you will easily miss if you don’t pay attention. Your higher self is also equated with intuition. Sometimes, the higher self manifests as a feeling of peace and love that overtakes your entire being for seemingly no reason. It is the juice of creativity, where you feel alive and passionate about what you are doing. It is that undeniable knowing coming from an unknown source that guides you forward. Its job is to prompt you to recognize the oneness with the world, making you feel connected with everyone, and to nudge a realization that love is the most important thing there is. It infuses you with the desire to give more and act in a loving way towards the people around you. The higher self creates magic, cementing an instant and intrinsic understanding that we are part of one another. Your needs, wants and expectations change because it is not just about you anymore. As a result of this connection, your world expands.

We all have a higher self, but it is hard to connect with that beautiful, spiritual energy all the time. Also, we would not want to be without the ego anyway. The ego manages our outer functioning, prompts us to forge solid experiences in the world, protects us from what it perceives as harm, and directs us to protect our things. It is our shell, the image we project to the world. We don’t want to do away with it. We just want to tame it enough so it will not block us from experiencing our inner selves.

We know who we are, and of course the ego helps define our desires, but the inner world feels so right when we can access it, and it is where we want to be most of the time anyway. So how can you experience your higher self more often? First, you need to know that this part of you functions in opposition to your ego. If the ego reacts, the higher-self shuts down, at least momentarily, but if you allow your higher self to shine through more often, simply by connecting with it purposefully, you will know that nothing is ever really threatening. Your inner self is the peace and strength that when accessed, allows your ego to take a break. When you are able to connect fully in this way, the ego can relax because you no longer need protection.

There is really nothing to fear, not ever. You, as a spiritual being, will live on and nothing can stop that. Living by the light of your higher self fosters this comprehension. Understanding the difference between the ego and the higher self, and learning to recognize the ego in life situations, stifles reactivity. When you are more aware of your higher self, you respond to situations in a more positive way. Think about it. Many people often react to what is in their environment, and they do not tap into the positive energy that will release the grasp of the ego and allow spirit to flood in, or when they do, it is too late. The situation has passed, and they regret their actions.

Many times, situations are caused by our inability to cope with our feelings, but if we can set aside the transient emotions, we will be able to experience a true unearthly connection. This is not easy to do, and no one is able to do this all of the time, but the sooner we recognize that the ego is the trickster that makes us feel as if we are separate in our human condition, the better we can connect to source. When we allow the connection, we regain consciousness and revel in the peace of our higher selves.