Archive for July, 2009

Jul 23 2009

Mental Aikido – A Key to a Friendly Universe – Issue #21

Albert Einstein said, “I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the Universe a friendly place?’” One of the reasons that this question is so important is that scientific research has verified that how we perceive the Universe affects our stress level which in turn affects us at a cellular level, greatly impacting our health and quality of life. In other words, believing in an unfriendly Universe can literally damage our cells and make us sick, not to mention miserable.

Most of our beliefs are formed at a very early age and become deeply ingrained. By the time I was 19, I felt trapped in an unfriendly Universe, locked up in the cage of my hardwired beliefs. I began searching for a key that would free me from that cage. One of the things I did was read the book, The Power of Positive Thinking. I found that learning to think more positively did help: however, I also found that there was more to it than that. In fact, when we try to force positive thoughts that we don’t really believe, the critical part of our brain becomes activated and resistant. Our critical mind scoffs, “Nice try Pollyana, but you can’t fool me.”

I eventually learned that the best way to change a belief and shift a feeling is to first come into union with it. In the spirit of Aikido, a Japanese marshal art in which you blend with the energy of the opponent, (Aikido literally means “way of adapting the spirit”), you can be with beliefs and feelings in that same way by aligning with them, listening to them, being present and accepting them as they are. Then – here’s the key to changing it – give it a twist upwards by adding onto it a true and positive suggestion that shifts it to a whole other place. I call this Mental Aikido. To anchor this concept, just imagine…what does A Key Do? It aligns with what is there and then you give it a twist upwards and it opens the door to a whole new state of being.

For example, when I’m sitting at the dentist office in the electric chair – I mean dental chair – I have often felt terrified. I actually twitch and tremble sometimes and have even been known to cry on occasion. I feel like a big weeny. If I tell myself, “Just relax, you’re safe, this will be over soon,” it doesn’t help me. Trying to push away my fear is like trying to push a basketball down in water. It just doesn’t work.

What I’ve learned to do instead is to align with the fear and flow with the energy of it by saying to myself, “This is scary isn’t it? Someone is poking at your gums and teeth with a sharp instrument. I totally understand your feeling scared. It’s okay to feel scared. Let yourself feel it.” Then something amazing happens: I feel seen and heard, and my breath softens and my body starts to relax a bit. That creates an opening where I can give an upward twist by introducing a true and positive suggestion, telling myself, “I think you are courageous for coming here and taking care of your teeth, even though you’re so afraid. You have done a great job finding a caring and highly competent dentist and hygienist who know what they’re doing and are gentle with you. You are taking such good care of yourself. I’m proud of you.” I begin to relax even more, trusting myself, seeing myself as a courageous winner, instead of a wimpy, weepy wiener.

I’ve been using this Mental Aikido over the past several months with my experience of having uterine cancer. My fear of cancer was one of the bogeymen hiding in the shadows of my Universe. I have come face to face with this bogeyman, accepting that it is what is, allowing and fully feeling the feelings that have come up…And then turning the key and opening my mind to a friendly Universe by focusing on the great gifts that are coming from this experience, such as seeing the courage I didn’t know I had, feeling appreciation for the gift of life, and making a commitment to live my dream and do what I feel passionate about. Through the magic of Mental Aikido, the bogeyman that was cancer has been transformed into an ally in my spiritual growth, and my Universe is transformed into a friendly place.

What is your experience of the Universe? Is it a friendly place? Do you have beliefs about your world that are keeping you from feeling safe and happy and living your fullest life? I highly recommend using Mental Aikido as a key to transforming your perception and experience of the Universe. It is a powerful tool that can help us answer Einstein’s question in the affirmative: “Yes, the Universe IS a friendly place.”

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

P.S.  I gave this newsletter as a speech this morning at Toastmasters. Click here to see the video.

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Jul 16 2009

A “Muse” Letter from the Heart – Issue #20

On Sunday Tom and I drove up the coast to pick some peaches at the beautiful El Capitan Ranch, where groves and gardens adorn the hillside overlooking the ocean. Everything on the land was thriving – there were huge, fragrant, happy looking roses of every color, a datura tree resplendent in angel trumpets, succulent peaches, and oil rich avocados. The woman who owns and works the land told us how she nourished everything that grew there with a special ingredient – love. She is in a heartfelt love relationship with the land, the trees, the plants, the flowers. She told us that she talks and listens to them, and they guide her in how to care for them. That love gave birth to the sweetest, juiciest peaches I have ever eaten. (Love tastes good!).

I believe that when we are in love with what we do we are guided and wonderful things come from that. I have been in a love relationship for over 25 years with my muse, creating crafts to sell at the Sunday Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show. I named my company after my muse, A-Muse Ink. Over the years this love has spawned many “children”. One of the first of these children was a little pig, which came into being this way: I said to my muse, “I need something that will make people say, ‘That’s too cute, I have to have it.’” I wanted it to be something that was easy and inexpensive to make. Then a vision came to me of a pig wearing sunglasses lying on a rock, “bacon in the sun”. That day, in magical synchronicity, just the right materials and equipment to easily make the pig presented themselves. After a period of labor I gave birth to my Bacon in the Sun line of pig magnets and flying pigs. Through the years I have often heard people say about them, “That’s too cute, I have to have it”. Those little guys helped me bring home the bacon.

In recent years I’ve been doing a daily meditation where I imagine shimmering light showering onto me, into me, and all around me. I wanted my booth at the craft show to shimmer like that. An idea came to me of butterflies balancing from a thread that dangled from a wire attached to a rock. I found the perfect holographic shimmering material to make them with, and my dancing butterflies were soon born. My booth shimmered in the sun as they danced and sparkled in the breeze, delighting me and my customers.

Many other ideas have come to me in this way. I’ve found that the creative process is like the birth process – it’s best when it begins with love. From that love, conception occurs. Once I conceive an idea, it is time to let it gestate and develop. Then I go into labor, doing the grunt work, which eventually results in birthing the idea into form. Finally I present my baby to the world. Some of my “children” became big stars – a line of Animal Guardian Angel Pins I created was sold in stores all over the country.

I have loved being in relationship with my crafty muse and with the Arts and Crafts Show all these years. However, relationships can eventually become stagnant, the joy is gone and we fall out of love. I was feeling that with the show – it had lost its sparkle for me – it became more a drudgery of labor than a joy of birth. I was feeling labor pains for something new to be born. Then, several months ago, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I don’t know if the cancer was born of that stagnancy, which in turn gave birth to  the impetus to do something new that excites my soul and stirs my juices. What I do know is that is the result. During these several months I’ve taken a leave of absence from the show, and in that time I have been developing a relationship with my writing muse. We have intimate conversations, and I listen and receive guidance. I have fallen in love, and that love is birthing these “muse” letters.

There is a law of the Universe that inflow needs to outflow and outflow needs to inflow. I had been inflowing a lot of information, spiritual learning, and growth over the years, but I wasn’t outflowing very much of it, I wasn’t sharing it. The pressure built and the dam has burst, and like a birthed aliveness, creativity flowed out in the form of writing.

I feel excited about this relationship with my writing muse – Tom-Cruise-jumping-on-Oprah’s-couch excited! This new love is juicy and sweet, like the peaches at El Capitan Ranch. While I was dealing with the cancer, I felt more captivated by the joy of writing than the fear of cancer. It is a loving partnership that I nurture by taking walks in nature, and eating healthy foods that keep me clear-headed and better able to connect with that higher part of myself. Like any good relationship, the more I talk to it, the more it responds; the more I listen, the more I hear.  Sometimes my mind is blank, I don’t know what to write and my muse assures me, “Relax, just listen, it will come.” And it does.

Commitment is an important part of relationship. Therefore, I am committing to this new relationship by publicly declaring my love and letting go of my old relationship. I feel a little scared and sad about that. My longtime relationship with my crafty muse and the Arts and Crafts Show has been a central part of my life for over 25 years. It has shaped and formed my week. It has been a steady dependable income. My mind wonders, “How is this new relationship going to work?” Yet my higher self is urging me to take the leap into the unknown. As I wrote in a prior newsletter, the quote keeps coming to me, “Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions – All life is an experiment.”  Higher Self is compelling me to “Go where the love is and trust you will be guided.”  And so I am.

Are you in a love relationship with where you are and what you are doing in your life? Are you feeling urges to go where the love is? Trust that when you follow the love, all that you need will come to you.

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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Jul 09 2009

M.I.R.A.C.L.E. – Issue #19

My brother Norm has been living with a brain aneurysm for years – and I mean LIVING! Nine years ago he was wracked with an excruciating headache. The doctors discovered that it was from a leaking aneurysm, and rushed him into surgery. After a 7-hour brain surgery, they determined that his aneurysm was inoperable. When he realized that he could die any day, he chose to LIVE every day – he followed his bliss, buying a sailboat and sailing to the Caribbean where he is having wonderful adventures in paradise. He stopped thinking about the aneurysm and lived as if it was gone. A few weeks ago he had an MRI, which showed that the aneurysm has completely calcified and there is no longer a threat of it rupturing! He considers this a personal miracle.

What I see is that he had a powerful intention to live as if he were whole and healed. The seed of intention that is well tended and nourished can flower into coincidences, synchronicities and miracles that heal the body, boggle the mind, and lift the spirit. I’ve created an acronym for the word miracle:

            My Intention Radiates Apparently Coincidental Luminous Events

When these “coincidental” luminous events happen to me and the people in my life, it reminds me that there’s more going on than meets the eye, there is an unseen energy that responds to our deepest and most focused desires. Einstein said, “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.” For me, they are God’s way of saying, “You are not alone.”

Prayer is another form of intention that reveals our interconnectedness with the powerful forces of the Universe. In my early twenties I was feeling deeply depressed and asked for a sign from God that life was worth living. Just then there was a sound of movement in the room. I looked in the direction of the sound and saw that a tall, thin candle in a wrought iron candle holder on the wall had fallen to one side, pointing to the calligraphed poster next to it that read: GET THY SHIT TOGETHER. I smiled to myself and thought, “Is that you God?” The next day as I was writing about it in my journal it happened again! It excited me and made me want to stick around, to live, play and explore in this magical energy field of life.

Another time, several years ago, I was having another “dark night of the soul”, feeling deep despair and praying for guidance. As I was crying and journaling about it, a card that was displayed on the bookshelf beside me fell to the floor. I picked it up and it had a beautiful flower on the cover with the words, “You are so loved.”

I love how, when we’re open to it, just the right words, experiences, and people that we need fall into our life. It is a wonderful synchronicity that my brother has recently shared his healing miracle with me; it inspires me to let go of thoughts of cancer (knowing that I have made all the healthy life changes I could) and continue to focus on seeing myself whole, healed, and connected to the miraculous forces of the Universe. That’s the image and feeling I want to cultivate, nourish and nurture – That’s the intention I want to radiate out into the Universe.

I believe that the deepest intention of our soul is to be vibrantly present, whole and alive. I have experienced that seeming adversities such as aneurysms, depression and cancer can be valuable and necessary stimulants in bringing about that intention, resulting in the miracle of our full participation and appreciation of life and living our wildest dreams.

Do you have an intention that is bringing forth miracles in your life? Is there adversity in your life that is serving as “miracle grow” to help you flower into more vibrant aliveness and living your dream?

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

P.S. - Speaking of miracles – Several weeks ago, my cat Zeena was given a 15% chance of survival by the vet who examined her, saying her jaundice and liver failure was too far advanced. I am thrilled to report that Zeena is alive and licking! No longer yellow, she is in the “pink”, and is purring beside me as I write this. Through the miracle of prayers, (yours and mine), lots of love and affection, and hand feeding her (having her lick Fancy Feast off my fingers), she made it! Thank you for all your loving thoughts and good wishes.

 

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Jul 03 2009

Can You Hear Me Now? – Issue #18

I’ve been immersing myself this week in news about Michael Jackson, planting myself like a vegetable in front of the television and the computer, reading about and relating to his anxiety and insomnia, and the drugs he used to relieve them. My 3-month checkup at the cancer center is due, and I’ve been feeling anxious, unable to sleep and have been “drugging” myself with television and the Michael Jackson drama. The immersion distracts and disconnects me from my fear, but it also disconnects me from my spirit. The voice of my higher self, growing ever fainter in the distance, is saying, “Move your body. Take a walk.” I move my body over to the couch, pick up the remote control and search for more MJ news.

I can see how being stuck in the contracted energy of fear has kept me from doing my daily disciplines of dancing and walking, actions which help me connect with my spirit. It’s like when we lose connection on our cell phone – in order to reestablish connection we need to keep moving to another position, asking, “Can you hear me now?” until the reception is clear. I have lost clear connection with my spirit, but my spirit hasn’t moved out of range of reception – I have, by numbing my fear with hours of escapist drama.

I’m aware that whenever I feel occasional twinges of pain, fear is activated and my worried mind asks, “What is that? Is it cancer?” Fear is like a barking dog, barking at the slightest noise. The barking is now waking me up, reminding me that I have moved out of range of my higher voice – reminding me that it’s time to take my inner barking dog for a walk in nature and get reconnected to my spirit – taking my God for a walk. When I change my position and move my body, I get unstuck and  can then hear the voice of my higher self, reminding me, “You are safe. You are so much more than a body, so much vaster than your fear.” That helps put the fear into perspective – it’s just a little bitty scared dog nipping at my heels.

Anticipating my checkup, I literally shake my body like a dog shakes water from its fur. Shaking helps release the grip of fear. As I nervously sat on the exam table waiting for the doctor to come in, I acknowledged to myself, “I feel scared.” That always invites a big spacious breath. Then I affirmed, “I am so much more than a body.” I imagined the vastness of my spirit inside and all around me, and I calmed down. When the doctor examined me and said, “You’re fine. I’ll see you in 3 months,” I was tail-waggin’ happy!

Deepak Chopra said that when his friend Michael Jackson danced on stage, “It was there that he was no longer a person in emotional distress, but instead someone dancing in the world of the spirits.” Dancing, shimmying, shaking, moving our bodies helps loosen the grip of fear and allows us to reconnect with our spirit.

Fear is a great motivator – it is designed to be compelling in order to get us to take survival action in the form of fight or flight or freeze…or take ‘thrival’ action by facing into the fear, feeling it fully, and therefore freeing ourselves from it. I have felt compelled this week to face my fear, feel it, and free my body to move into a place where the reception is strong and clear. My higher self asks, “Can you hear me now?” “Yes, I can hear you now.”

What is your current response to fear? How do you connect with your spirit? Is the reception clear? Is it time for some movin’ and groovin’ to the tune of your higher self?

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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