by Annika Hurwitt | Mar 10, 2016 | Article, decision-making, High-Performance, Mental Clarity, Optimism, State of Mind, well being
As we enter the time of increasing darkness, I think of the value of quiet. Since being introduced to the Three Principles, I have found on a number of occasions, when something unexpected happened that was overwhelming or (temporarily) frightening, a voice in my head saying loudly and clearly, ‘Time to get quiet.’
When the mind starts to rush and thoughts fly everywhere, your wisdom will often step in to remind you that there’s an eye in the center of that storm. When you look there, the noise of too much thinking will usually settle down. This returns you to a sense of faith and connection to a wisdom beyond what your mind can find through its frenetic searching. There, right in the center of us, is the answer we seek. In that quiet it reveals itself.
May you find your own wisdom in the months that lie ahead.
by Annika Hurwitt | Dec 7, 2014 | Article, Optimism, Spirituality, State of Mind, well being
Almost everywhere you look, people are running from their feelings. Whether it’s shopping, eating, drinking too much or, in some cases, exercise – people go to great lengths to avoid the feelings they’re afraid of.
I’ve even seen people try to use the ‘good feeling’ they get from listening to Sydney Banks, or 3P Practitioners, as a way to get away from their uncomfortable feelings.
This came up recently with a client who was going home for the holidays. There’s often a lot of tension and fighting at these events, so before she went she booked a session with me and asked me to ‘fill her up with good feeling.’
I explained that looking to get filled with good feeling under those circumstances would be like blowing air into a leaky balloon. As soon as that good feeling wears off, and your consciousness lands on the thoughts you’re afraid of, you’ll have the feelings you’re afraid of – maybe even a little worse, because avoiding feelings, and the thoughts that cause them, can be like adding fuel to the fire.
When you realize just one thing – that your feelings are coming from your thinking in the moment – even the scariest thoughts/feelings lose their power over you. You know instinctively that the quality of your thinking is changing all the time. So while you may be having an upsetting thought in the moment, it’s going to change. Realizing that that truly is all you’re ever up against gives you courage, and makes you more resilient. Those thoughts that have been bothering you will dissipate, and guess what shows up in their place? All those good feelings you were chasing after in the first place!
by Annika Hurwitt | Jul 5, 2013 | Article, challenges, Communication, decision-making, High-Performance, Leadership, Mental Clarity, Optimism, Relationships, Spirituality, State of Mind, Three Principles, well being
Optimism matters. We want to feel optimistic, that all’s right with the world, that whatever challenges we face, there is hope. When we are in an optimistic state of mind, we have a sense of being carried by life, by something that we can’t quite name or put our finger on; something that not only feels great but that we intuitively know will give us the resources we need to meet life’s challenges.Those of us familiar with the principle-based understanding of life would call that something ‘Mind’ – a formless energy that has a deeper intelligence that informs everything there is.
When our minds are calm and quiet, we’re in touch with that intangible something, and we know it by the feeling – feelings of love, joy, well-being, gratitude – to name a few. That mental quiet is the empty space between thoughts. When we have a thought and a feeling and the thought clears itself, we visit that mental spaciousness regularly. This is true of children, before the onset of mental habits, and of adults who have gained an understanding of the three principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought, and how they reveal the inside-out nature of life.
One of my clients, a successful real estate developer named Gary, is learning about this understanding. It’s been helpful, but he still loses touch with it sometimes and gets caught up in the illusion of thought when the going gets tough (don’t we all). This happened recently when an issue came up in his marriage that he has a lot of difficulty with. After he discussed it with me, I asked Gary if he had remembered that the feelings he was having were coming from thoughts in that moment. “No,” he said, “I couldn’t. I was too caught up in trying to fix the problem. I felt like I had to do that before I could do anything else.”
This is a common mistake so many of us make. When we get caught in the illusion of our thinking we feel like we have to fix whatever the perceived problem is before we can attend to matters like our state of mind. But those are the times when we need our mental bearings most. This is why our heads clear when we’re in a really big crisis – a fire or an accident, for example. Many people report that in these situations they were surprised to find themselves in a flow of thoughts that showed them exactly what to do. I assume that nature designed it this way to ensure the survival of our species – if our minds were muddied with a lot thinking in a crisis our chances of surviving would greatly decrease.
The understanding of the inside-out nature of life gives us that lifeline on a moment-by-moment basis as we go through our day. As long as we know that there is only one place to look – our feelings – and their source – Thought- (and its source – Mind!) our awareness of our feeling states grows. As it does, and we remember its source, much of our unnecessary and unproductive thinking withers on the vine. Saying that you can’t remember about your state of mind until you’ve fixed your problem is like someone who cried out in their sleep and, when their friend tried to wake them, said, ‘I can’t wake up until I’ve killed the monster who is chasing me!’
Optimism is a natural state of mind that is really our default setting. It’s what our minds return to when thoughts clear themselves and settle on a regular basis, as they do when we are in our mental well being. From there, getting good ideas to meet life’s challenges is a no-brainer!
by Annika Hurwitt | Mar 16, 2013 | Article, Leadership, Optimism, well being
A Story of Awakening
I’m struck more and more these days by how being awake to the feeling states we live in is essential to our well-being and our capacity for leadership and productivity. I did some intensive coaching recently with a global leader called Carla who was struggling with stress and burn out. It had gotten so bad that she was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning – so unlike this woman who had a great enthusiasm for life and was used to waking up looking forward to her day.
I talked with Carla about the connection between our thoughts and our feelings, which made a lot of sense to her. But it soon became clear that she really didn’t know what feeling states she was experiencing – they had become a blur. So I gave her some homework – to draw a pie chart with slices representing the feeling states that she experienced throughout her day.
After that first session, the pie chart Carla drew had a big slice she called “anxious,” medium-sized ones for stress, indifference and annoyance, and slight smaller slices that represented feeling relaxed and tired.
Becoming aware of how much time she spent in negative emotional states had a profound impact on Carla. She had known it in a general sense, but her awareness of what she was actually feeling had been tuned out. Once she turned her awareness of her feelings back on, and started linking her feelings back to the fact that her own thoughts were creating them, everything began to shift.
When Carla returned from her next break, the feeling/pie chart she drew had slices representing feelings of calm, happiness, relaxation, stress, busyness, feeling tired and feeling interested. Her feelings had begun to make a big shift away from purely negative to visiting more nourishing feeling states.
After the third session, the chart showed feelings of happiness, inspiration, contentment, joy, busyness and productivity. Carla was back in her state of natural mental health, and glad of it!
It’s natural to be aware of our feelings as we experience them, and when we are, the thoughts that generated them clear and move on, making room for the next set of fresh thoughts that are responsive to whatever is occurring in your life at that moment. When our minds are functioning in this way, we naturally experience a sense of presence, and the deeper feelings that go with it. But we can all develop habits of tuning out our feelings, especially the ones that are uncomfortable for us. This is when mental congestion begins, leading to experiences of stress and burnout, as happened for Carla, or any of the varieties of mental discomfort that we as human beings are capable of.
TIP: What feelings are you awake to? What feelings are you asleep to? Waking up to the feelings you tend to tune out may just be the key to your bliss. As Sydney Banks once put it:
“Find the feeling, then you might find the thought behind the feeling, and then it’s all over!” Ref: Sydney Banks, Mind & Insecurity.
by Annika Hurwitt | Oct 21, 2009 | Article, Couples, Optimism, Relationships
A Couples’ Story: Sally and Sarah have been learning the prinicples, and it has changed their marriage. A couple in their mid-30’s, they had been married for 7 years. Their relationship was up and down, due to lack of communication and fighting. Whenever they would get into a disagreement, they would talk and talk, trying to sort it through. The more they talked, the more their relationship would spiral down. They had tried couples’ counseling before, and it had only made things worse. The more the therapist pointed them in the direction of their problems, the worse they felt about themselves and the more they fought. It was to the point where they were losing optimism about being able to make it as a couple.
The first thing that hapened after learning about the 3 spiritual prinicples discovered by Sydney Banks, was that Sally got more lighthearted, and Sarah became more confident. “I never realized before how much I keep things on my mind that weigh me down,” Sally said. “I’m feeling so much happier! I was completely happy for 4 days in a row – that hasn’t happpened ever in my life that I can remember. Then I went back to work and started to get down again, until I noticed that I was thinking heavy, serious thoughts, and then it lifted and I l felt great again. This is amazing to me.” Sarah said: “It used to be whenever I was mad or upset with Sally I would pretend that I wasn’t, because I didn’t want to upset her. Now I have the confidence to feel the way I feel without worrying about Sally so much. I don’t take it out on her, but I’m not afraid to tell her how I feel.”
Affter this initial progress, the couple had a honeymoon period of enjoying their relationsip more than they could ever remember. And then they had their first big fight. “I had been saving money for over a year so that we could have another child, and I went into that account and discovered that Sally had taken out a good part of that money and used it for a bill, without telling me. I was so upset – she knows how hard I’ve worked to save that money, and how very much I want to have another child. I couldn’t even talk to her for the rest of the day. But things went so differently when we talked about it! Normally I would have approached her very upset. But I waited, because I now know that wouldn’t work. She asked me if I was upset before going to bed, and I said I was, but that I couldn’t talk about it at that time. I waited until the next day, when I was feeling more calm about it. When we found a good time to talk, I asked Sally about the money, and instead of getting all upset and angry about it, the way she normally would, she said ‘of course I can see why that would upset you.’ Then she explained why she needed to draw on that money for an immediate need, and how she had more money coming in to replace it. I couldn’t believe how easily we resolved this. Of course what she told me made sense, but if I hadn’t waited until I was feeling better, I wouldn’t have been able to hear that. Something that would normally have dragged on for days or weeks was over within a day or so. Its like a miracle! Sally: ‘It was hard for me when Sarah wouldn’t talk or be affectionate before we went to bed that night. But it was different from before. I could tell that she wasn’t being cold or mean, and that made it easier for me to wait. Then when we talked about it it went so easily! It wasn’t even an arugment. We were back on track with our relationshp in no time! This is like a miracle for us – we are so happy!” Sally and Sarah say that they now have a confidence in their relationship that they didn’t have before, and confidence in their future together.
by Annika Hurwitt | Aug 31, 2009 | Article, challenges, Optimism, State of Mind
Here’s a report from a client who was really struggling with challenges from the economic downturn, and then turned the whole thing around:
I’ve been going through a very challenging period – probably the hardest time of my life. The economic downturn hit me and my family hard. I’m having to move out of the dreamhouse I just spent a year building, and re-locate, as there’s no work where I live at this time. I’ve been feeling really bad and so tired of feeling bad and wanting to know why I was feeling so bad. I felt insecure, and I had self pity about my own insecurity.
No wonder I was feeling that way – I was letting the external determine how I was feeling internally. And no wonder I was feeling bad, because my circumstances were really difficult, & I was making them even more difficult with the way I was responding to them. And then it just dawned on me. It was as if my wisdom was trying to get through to me the whole time, but I was jamming it with my own insecurity. It suddenly dawned on me that the inner creates the outer & I had the whole thing upside down; I was letting the outer affect my inner life. When the impact of that insight hit me it was as if everything stopped – all my insecure thinking, all my anxiety, my working on my agendas – and I felt this incredible sense of relief.
A sense of clearness and cleanness opened before me. I could see that it was a beautiful day, and that I was in a beautiful place, and that I might be in the middle of challenging circumstances but I didn’t need to let that run my entire emotional life. It was as if I became changed from an insane person to a sane person. The insane person was running & running, chasing its own thoughts, & then the sane person was totally content with the present that I felt . It changed my whole perspective .
It Happened Again. Later that day, my thoughts started getting funky & I started to feel insecure & anxious again. Then I realized that this is what I do – I get tired & hungry and chase my insecure thoughts around . So I ate something, and reflected on the insight I had earlier about how the inner affects the outer. I started asking myself for more clarity on that experience – how can my inner reach the outer – & I had this incredible experience of peace that came over me, and satisfaction, and a very simple gratitude, and I felt myself in my body – I felt my toes, and the fibers of the muscles in my legs – things I’m not normally aware of. This presence brought all my different faculties into the moment. I was experiencing the divine intelligence of life within. To me it came like a feeling of the long lost beloved – we spend so much time seeking things externally, and then when we get something internally, it’s like the answer to the ultimate question, whatever that is. I hear people say when you get really deep you can’t be alone because you have this experience of god in your body. And I’ve had thoughts like that but I’ve also experienced being alone, or lonely. This experience was so rich I was completely not lonely for the first time in my life. Even though I was alone I had this great satisfaction and wasn’t lonely.
I just have to remember that this is the most important thing in life, that the challenge of having to live with bills is no comparison to this experience of the inner life.