Monday, June 26, 2017

Creating a Conscious, Loving Relationship That Lasts

Looking at yourself into the mirror and speaking a vow to your deepest self, a commitment that goes something like this: I commit to attracting a loving relationship into my life, a love that lasts and grows over time.

Making that statement takes you off the bench and onto the field. That’s where the action takes place. Deep Love. 

Like many things in life, your relationships are a reflection of deeper aspects of yourself. understanding and working with this fact is key to creating conscious, loving relationships that last.

Caitlyn came to us at the age of 56. It was a year since the breakup of her second marriage, which had lasted six years. She was still heavyhearted about it.

“Is this the end of the line?” she asked us bluntly. “Should I forget about the whole conscious relationship thing and just settle for what I have?”

“Which is?”
“I have a really good life, just with no man in it.”

Caitlyn’s situation was like that of many single people with whom we’ve worked. She had a good life going on her own, but she was feeling the ache of something missing from it. She was up against a barrier so significant we call it Barrier Number One.

Getting past Barrier Number One: Do You or Don’t You?

The first barrier is when you haven’t landed on actually wanting a lasting, loving relationship in your life right now. Part of you does, part of you doesn’t. Perhaps without your even realizing it, this internal barrier is keeping you from success in the external quest to create a lasting conscious relationship in your life.

There is a solution to Barrier Number One—a way of clearing it out of the way. Best of all, it won’t cost you a cent to get a lifetime supply of it. The solution is a special kind of commitment, a vow you make in the sacred depths of yourself. The power of this commitment releases you from the grip of despair and sends you into the future equipped with a foolproof navigation tool for your journey.

Picture yourself looking into the mirror and speaking a vow to your deepest self, a commitment that goes something like this: I commit to attracting a loving relationship into my life, a love that lasts and grows over time.

Making that statement takes you off the bench and onto the field. That’s where the action takes place. One big problem we’ve found is that single people send out mixed messages about whether or not they really want to manifest an intimate, conscious relationship. The even bigger problem is that most of them don’t realize they’re doing it. When you send out mixed messages, the most unconscious one is always the one people hear. For example, if ten minutes into a lunch date you decide you don’t really like the person across from you, you’re stuck with an unpleasant alternative. You could go radically blunt and say, “I’ve decided I don’t really like you. Let’s finish eating by ourselves.” Most people, though, opt for a more conventional approach: you go ahead and finish lunch in a polite manner, while pretending your attitude of “I don’t really want to be here” isn’t there lurking in the background. The trouble with this approach is that attempting to silence or ignore your genuine feelings often makes the other person perceive them even more loudly and clearly.

A sincere commitment to creating a conscious, loving relationship breaks that spell. When you make a sincere vow to your deepest self and the universe around you, something like “I commit to creating the relationship of my dreams in real life,” you come off the bench and onto the field.
Getting Through Barrier Number Two: Settling for Less

Don’t stop there, though. There’s another key commitment you can make to amp up your relationship manifestation power.

Picture yourself again looking into the mirror and making a second sincere vow: I specifically commit never to settle for less than what I really want.

This sacred conscious relationship commitment is just as important as the first one; settling for less than what you really want in relationships is a virulent plague in the 21st century. To avoid the plague, you’ll not only need to make a sincere vow never to settle for less, you’ll also need to do some clear thinking about what you want and don’t want.

We spent the better part of a morning working with Caitlyn on these issues. As we heard more of her relationship history, it spelled out a pattern of undervaluing herself, leading to settling for less. She repeatedly put herself in unloving relationships with men that caused her to lose both self-respect and money. What she had put up with—from bankruptcy to drunk-tank bailouts to catching a new husband in bed with the maid of honor—astonished even us.

She also had to face an issue from her past that was causing her to be ambivalent about creating a new, loving relationship. During the whole year since the breakup, she had never simply sat with her grief and felt it consciously. Instead she’d kept herself busy by joining three different singles websites, corresponding with and rejecting “more than a hundred men” on the various sites, and even putting a highly detailed personal ad in the newspaper.

To change the pattern and begin the art of creating a deep, lasting, conscious and loving relationship, we first asked Caitlyn to devote a few moments to being with the grief through Full-Spectrum Presencing. “Take a few easy breaths and feel the places in your body where you still feel sad about the breakup.” Once she slowed down to honor her authentic feelings for a moment, her mood visibly brightened. She said, “Oh, wait, I think I just made a connection.”

At a certain point in each relationship she would start to bottle up feelings out of fear of causing conflict. Invariably, after a while the bottle would pop, leading to noisy conflicts of the sort she feared most. As she explored the issue she realized it was the central drama in her parents’ ongoing battle, which led to their divorce when she was five years old. Both her parents would hide their feelings until a blowout occurred every week or two. By the time they divorced, Caitlyn had soaked up so much of the pattern by osmosis that she repeated it unwittingly in her adult relationships.

Getting over Barrier Number Three: Placing Your Order

Full-Spectrum Presencing opened the gate for Caitlyn, but she also needed to do some “real world” work on attracting a new, loving relationship into her life. In our work with singles, we have found that in order to attract a quality conscious relationship, they need to identify at least three things they want and three things they don’t want.

Most people repeat old destructive patterns that sabotage their relationships because they haven’t made a clear commitment to something better. At midlife and beyond, the pressure intensifies to break free of these patterns and finally create conscious, loving relationship. One common pattern is to know what you don’t want but not know what you want. Another common pattern is the opposite: you’re clear about what you want but haven’t given conscious thought to what you don’t want in your relationships.

So if you’re single, check in with yourself. Are you clear on the top three things you want in a close, loving relationship and the top three things you don’t want? If so, take a moment to review them right now. If not, get clear right now by asking: What is the #1 thing that’s important for me to have in a lasting, loving relationship? Perhaps it’s honesty or freedom or a sense of shared beliefs—everyone’s #1 is slightly different from others’. What’s yours?

Do the same for your #2 and #3 most important things to have in a close, conscious relationship. If you’ve already gotten clear about the three things you most don’t want to repeat in your next relationship, review them now.

If not, start by asking: What is the absolute most important thing I never want to have in a relationship again? Perhaps it’s that you never want to be in a relationship with an addict again, or that you never want to be with someone who doesn’t like kids again. Whatever your three biggest “don’t want’s” are, make a list of them so you’re absolutely clear about them.

It’s like when you set off on a trip. If you’re absolutely clear you want to visit Chicago, Calcutta, and Copenhagen, and you also know for absolute sure you don’t want to go to Borneo, Brisbane, and the Bronx, your chances of ending up where you want to be are greatly enhanced.
Sometimes you need to be forceful in stating a “don’t want.” Certain relationship problems are toxic and need to be avoided, like an allergen. For example, Gay is allergic to sesame seeds and sesame oil, which he learned the hard way from his first trip to a Chinese restaurant when he was a kid. “Now, when I order in a restaurant, I go out of my way to ask if there is sesame involved. I also don’t handle MSG or peanut oil well, so I usually ask that they not be used either. I eventually even found a Chinese restaurant that caters to finicky people. The first time I went there, I asked my inevitable question to the waiter. He drew himself up in pride and said, ‘Sir, there has never been MSG or sesame oil on our premises.’” We think you should be just that finicky about your love life and your relationships.

Ordering up a lasting, loving relationship is like ordering a meal, but with one specific difference; you need to be clear about what you want and don’t want. When you order in a restaurant, you don’t usually need to list what you don’t want, unless you have experienced toxicity in some past relationship with an item. You can just say, “Short stack of blueberry pancakes, two eggs on the side, over medium,” as Gay did on a recent visit to Bonnie Lu’s Country CafĂ©, and with three simple, positive commands you can get the breakfast you want.

Relationships are different, because for loving relationships to succeed, you need to be really clear about what you don’t want. More strongly put, you need to be clear about what you absolutely will not put up with. You might have a list of more than three things fitting that description, but we’ve found it useful to start with a sturdy foundation of three.

Caitlyn’s three positive “wants” for a thriving, conscious, loving relationship were 1) we have respect and admiration for each other, 2) we’re best friends as well as married to each other, and 3) we have fun together. In past relationships she’d had glimpses of those qualities but had never put them all together in one deeply fulfilling, deeply loving relationship.

Caitlyn’s three “don’t wants” were simple, straightforward, and obviously based on a lot of painful life experience. She didn’t want anybody in her life with 1) financial problems, 2) addiction issues, or 3) a history of cheating.

The Ultimate Step

The ultimate step in freeing yourself from the past is also the ultimate step opening yourself to a new mate in your life. It only takes a split second to take the step, but it has such power that it influences every one you take from then on. It’s the moment when you love yourself unconditionally, exactly as you are, for everything you’ve done and not done. It’s the moment when you love yourself for being alone, the forgiving gift to yourself of celebrating your singularity.

It doesn’t matter if you love the unlovable in yourself for ten seconds or a tenth of a second—once you’ve felt it, even for a moment, you’ve opened the secret door to creating loving relationship magic.

Take a moment right now to feel the power of this new state of consciousness we’re referring to. First, let go of expectation: if you’re single, release the idea that you ought to have a mate or need to be in a relationship. Let go of any other future-facing fantasies you might have about your love life.

Then, let go of whatever has gone on in the past. Everything that happened is beyond your control now. Nothing you can do can change it. The healing move that allows you to go beyond the pain of the past is to accept it fully, as it is. Release your urge to want it to be different. Let it be.

When you free yourself from the future and the past, you are free to innovate now. Your energy is no longer tied up in wanting the past to be different or the future to be any preconceived way. You’re in the present, this very moment, an open opportunity to create your new life and your new loving relationship.

Now all you have to do is add a light intention to this open state of consciousness. A light intention is a gentle aiming of your energy in a certain direction. We call it a “light intention” to distinguish it from a heavy intention such as “I’ve got to manifest a mate or else my life means nothing.” All you need to do is nudge the universe in the direction of sending you the right sort of mate and conscious relationship for you. At the same time, let yourself and the universe know that you are going to be just fine without one, that the growing love and respect you have for yourself is big enough to embrace yourself whether you are solo or mated in a deeply loving relationship.

This article on conscious, loving relationships is an excerpt from Conscious Loving Ever After How to Create Thriving Relationships at Midlife and Beyond by Gay Hendricks & Kathlyn Hendricks. It is published by Hay House (October, 2015) and available in bookstores and online at

About The Authors

Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., has been a leader in the fields of relationship transformation and body-mind therapies for over 45 years. After earning his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Stanford, Gay served as professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Colorado for 21 years. He has written and co-authored (with Katie) 35 books, including the bestseller Conscious Loving, used as a primary text in universities around the world. In 2003, Gay co-founded The Spiritual Cinema Circle, which distributes inspirational movies and conscious entertainment to subscribers in 70+ countries. Gay has offered seminars worldwide and appeared on more than 500 radio and television shows, including Oprah, CNN, CNBC, 48 Hours and others. Visit his website:

Katie Hendricks, Ph.D., BC-DMT, is an artist of life who creates transformational theater events around the world. Passionate about the power of embodied integrity and emergence, she continuously promotes creative expression in service of a direct experience of life, wholeness and evolutionary collaboration. She has been a pioneer in the field of body-mind integration for over forty years. Katie has an international reputation as a seminar leader, training professionals from many fields in the core skills of conscious living through the lens of body intelligence. Katie earned a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology and has been a Board Certified-Dance/Movement Therapist of the American Dance Therapy Association since 1975. Visit her website:

**NOTE: The Six Levels of Higher Consciousness:
How to Make the Shift.

Editors Note: In the following article, non-dual teacher Mary O’Malley explains the six levels of higher consciousness and the shifts in perception, awareness and behavior that a person must make in order to move through each stage. For anyone on the path of personal and spiritual evolution, this is an extremely powerful framework to help you understand where you are at and what is coming next.

Higher consciousness is a state of elevated awareness and perception in which a person has a deeper understanding of the nature of reality, the self and various spiritual aspects of life that play an important role in one’s personal evolution and psychological development. As you move through each of the levels outlined below, you will make major leaps and bounds towards full self-realization and ultimately enlightenment.

Tife is not just a random series of events that happen because you did it right or you did it wrong. Instead, it is an intelligent unfolding that is revealing itself to you all day long, bringing you step-by-step from unconsciousness into a state of higher consciousness.

Take a moment now to feel how different that is from the way you usually perceive Life: as something happening to you that needs to be controlled, fixed and changed. Imagine what it would be like to let go of the whole game of resisting Life and instead to trust it. In this trust you could then open to it, listen to it, and grow from every encounter.

“Your life is a journey from unconsciousness to higher consciousness”

At the last Hawaii retreat I led on the island of Molokai, the core focus of the retreat was “All Is Welcome Here.” On the second day, one of the participants said that whenever that phrase was spoken, she heard “All is well. Come here!” When you learn how to stop trying to make your life be what you want it to be and show up for it instead (All Is Welcome Here), you discover that all is well and it is safe to be here. You can show up for the life that Life is giving you!  And when you do this you begin to shift into higher consciousness.

When Eben Alexander woke up from his seven-day coma, the first thing he said to his sister was, “All is well!” In order to open to “All Is Well” so you can truly be here for Life, it is important to recognize that the evolution which is unfolding on the Earth includes human beings. Everything is a part of this evolution, including you. You are Life evolving from unconsciousness into higher consciousness. Your life is not a random series of events. It is an intelligent and mysterious process that is for Life.

I like to call it the “flawless, methodical mystery.” It is flawless because each and every experience of your life is tailor-made to wake you up out of your unconsciousness. Also, it is truly methodical. There are basic steps we all go through on our journey out of the cloud bank of our minds back into recognition of the meadow of Life. And it is truly mysterious. Without fully understanding it, we can open to it, rediscovering what Joseph Campbell describes as “the rapture of being alive.”

The Six Levels of Consciousness

Your life is a journey from unconsciousness to higher consciousness. Michael Beckwith, minister of the Agape Church, describes this evolution in four phases. I have added two more, “Life happens in you” and “Life happens for you,” and call them the “Six Phases of Higher Consciousness.”

1. Life happens to you.
2. Life happens by you.
3. Life happens in you.
4. Life happens for you.
5. Life happens through you.
6. Life is you.

Let us take a few minutes to explore each level of consciousness. I invite you, as you read, to keep on checking in with yourself. You are being given important information in this article.

Remember that the most powerful thing you can do for your healing is to have your attention and your experience together, even as you are reading this and no matter what it brings up for you.
Dip the finger of your attention into the river of your experience. Allow whatever is here to be here. You have never experienced Life quite like this and never will again. This moment in your life is unique, and it is okay exactly as it is.

The 1st Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens To You

For a good deal of your life you have probably lived like most human beings, feeling that Life is happening to you. Life is so big and if you are honest with yourself, you never really know what is going to happen next. You wake up one morning and your heart is light and happy and the next day you’re unsettled. Bosses fire you, the flu debilitates you, people you love reject you, every day you get a little older and death is always lurking around the corner.

So it is understandable that the more unconscious you are, the more often you feel like a victim to Life. When you live in the belief that Life is happening to you, you often view it as a possible threat.

So you stay caught in your head, finding yourself lost in your storyteller that resists, reacts, defends and explains, hoping to figure everything out. It generally does absolutely anything except be open to Life, right here, right now.

The 2nd Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens By You

When it becomes too uncomfortable to live with this much powerlessness, you evolve into the belief that Life is happening by you. Rather than being a victim to Life, you believe you can control it. There can be a great feeling of personal power in this level of consciousness. It is a necessary step in moving out of the victimhood of the first stage of higher consciousness, but people get caught there. Men try to control women and vice versa. Religions try to control the masses. Countries try to control other countries. The majority of people try to control others who are not like them (gay, different skin color, dissimilar religions). Most of all, we try to control ourselves, hoping to make ourselves be what we think we should be.

There is an enormous amount of effort in this phase of higher consciousness. The storyteller believes that in order for anything good to happen it has to make it happen. So it loves to set goals and feels very ashamed when it doesn’t follow through (just think of New Year’s resolutions!) The storyteller eventually evolves into intentions. Goals are where you use your mind to try to make things be the way you want them. With intentions, you work with feeling what you want to generate. None of this is bad or wrong. These are important tools to use on the path of awakening and sometimes they actually work. But what would happen if you recognized that, rather than trying to make things happen, opening into Life will bring you what you most deeply long for!

There is a relatively new form of control where you believe you can control your reality. In this form of control, the storyteller says that all I have to do is think the right thoughts and I can make my life be the way I want it to be. The main difficulty with this is that, in the long run, it doesn’t work. To think you can control Life is like being a cork in the ocean believing it can control the movement of the ocean. Yes, it does change the movement of the water right where it is, but it can’t influence all the other powerful forces that make up the ocean.
To stay caught in this phase of higher consciousness is to be cut off from the creative flow of Life. Believing that you are in charge of Life, you are mainly identified with your conceptual world, trying to create a reality rather than showing up for reality.

“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”

When you have lived this level of consciousness long enough, you see the downside of it. First, you find yourself becoming fearful of your thoughts: I shouldn’t be thinking this way because I will manifest this in my world. Second, it can also bring forth shame, for when it doesn’t work the way the books promise, you think this is because you haven’t done it right enough or well enough. Author and speaker Carolyn Myss, who used to teach that you could manifest what you want if you just think right, evolved beyond that. When she was in Seattle in the 1990s she asked an audience of 600 to raise their hands if they had been able to create the reality they wanted. Not one person did!

As you are reading about to you and by you, your belly may have tightened again. Allow any holding you discover there to melt away. Smile and let this softening move all the way down into your pelvic floor and around to your back.

The 3rd Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens In You

You eventually begin to see that all of your reacting and controlling hasn’t brought you the ease and joy you long for. Instead of being the victim to your life and or needing to make it be any particular way, which is the endless game of struggle, you begin to get an inkling that Life is something to be listened to, opened to. This is where you start evolving into the next phase of higher consciousness, where Life is happening in you.

At this level of consciousness you begin to realize something very startling: most of the time, rather than experiencing Life, you think about it, seeing only the thoughts in your head! When you experience Life through your thoughts, you stop experiencing it as it is. Or, as the well-known French author Anais Nin once said, “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” You project your spells onto yourself and others rather than really seeing what is. When was the last time you truly saw a loved one’s face? If you are honest with yourself, it has probably been a long time.

It is in this phase of higher consciousness that you also realize that your suffering doesn’t come from the experiences of your life. Instead it comes from your stories about what is happening. It comes from inside of you! There could be a gray day and you’re just fine. Then on another gray day you could be miserable. You may say it is because the day is gray, but it comes from your story about the day, not the day itself.
This is where you begin to live what we have been calling the you-turn. You become less interested in being a victim to your life or even trying to make it be any different than it is. You realize that the healing you long for comes when you turn your attention within. When you get to know the spells that are the source of your suffering, you can unhook from them and come back to Life.

Do a you-turn and ask, “What is asking to be seen?” Be curious about what sits here right now.

The 4th Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens For You

The more you become curious about what is happening rather than reacting and controlling, the more you come to a wonderful realization that your life is for you. Rather than Life being something that is happening to you that you must control, you realize there are no ordinary moments! And you are one step further on the journey to higher consciousness.

Life is not a random series of events. It is a highly intelligent unfolding that is putting you in the exact situations you need in order to see and unhook from the spells that keep you separate from its flow. No matter what is happening in your life, you finally understand that Life knows what it is doing.

At this level of consciousness, rather than Life being something you have to mold and shape into what you want it to be, you begin to show up for Life exactly as it is. Yes, the flow of Life includes pain, loss and death. But resisting the pains of Life only turn them it into suffering, and the suffering that comes from resistance is always much greater than directly experiencing your pain. Instead of tightening around your experiences and turning away from them, which only thickens your cloud bank of struggle, you bring your attention to your experience, whatever it is.

“Life is not a random series of events. It is a highly intelligent unfolding.”

Even little moments of curiosity about what is going on right now sprinkled throughout your day are powerful! Every time you respond rather than react to what is going on inside of you, what was formerly bound up begins to loosen. Remember, your natural state is free-flowing aliveness. When that aliveness gets trapped in the spells, your energy and joy dim. When the spells receive the light of your attentiveness, they let go, and the trapped energy flows freely, bringing with it the bliss of openness. Remember: Life is setup, to bring up, what has been bound up, so it can open up, to be freed up, so you can show up for Life!

Close your eyes for a few moments and open into this living moment of your life. Hear it, sense it, feel it. This is the only moment that matters in your whole life for it is the only moment where Life is happening!

The 5th Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Happens Through You

The for you phase of higher consciousness shows you that there is no such thing as an ordinary moment in your life and helps you to see that Life is speaking to you at all moments. Becoming curious about what you are experiencing and giving it the light of compassionate attention so it can let go, you evolve into the next level of consciousness of allowing Life to move through you. This is where you recognize that Life is trustable. It is not always likable, but it knows what it is doing.

Imagine a life where you trust Life implicitly. Every morning you wake up with a sense of adventure. Your belly is soft, your mind is curious and your heart is open. Rather than struggling with Life, you open to it, even when you are facing deep challenges. If you find yourself caught in reaction, you give your reaction the attention it needs to let go.

Just as when you unkink a hose, the vibrant flow of energy that is Life can now move freely through you and this brings forth the joy and aliveness you so deeply long for. Creativity that you could never imagine on your own becomes clear to you, blessing yourself and everyone you meet with the wisdom of the meadow of Life.

You experience deep gratitude for absolutely everything. You see that your life is dependent on every ounce of creativity that has ever happened in the universe. You also see that all that has happened to you, even the difficult, has been a part of your journey back into Life. Step by step Life is bringing you into higher consciousness, into the ability to be fully here for Life. Now you can relax and show up for the adventure. As Cynthia Bourgeault so beautifully says in her book Mystical Hope, “You find your way by being sensitively and sensually connected to exactly where you are, letting ‘here’ reach out and lead you.”

The 6th Level of Higher Consciousness: Life Is You

The more you can stand with Life, allowing it to move through you rather than reacting to it or controlling it, the more you begin to get glimpses of the sixth level of consciousness in which you see that Life is you. You are no longer a separate being. Instead, you merge completely back into the creative flow of Life, understanding that everything—every rock, person, cloud, molecule and ladybug—is you. You are Life! As Eckhart Tolle said, “You are not in the universe; you are the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.”

All is well. Come here.

As you look closely at the Six Phases of Higher Consciousness, you will see that the first two are about fixing, changing, resisting and trying to control Life (Life is happening to you and by you). These phases are the world of your storyteller that doesn’t want what is here (doesn’t know how to open to Life) and wants what is not here (I can have what I want if I just think right). Throughout both of these levels of consciousness, there is a veil between you and the living experience of Life because neither phase is about showing up for the creative river of Life.

The next two phases of higher consciousness are about using your mind to be curious about what is happening rather than resisting and controlling. In Life is happening in you, you recognize that the storyteller inside of you is what separates you from Life. So rather than trying to change anything, you become interested in what you are experiencing in any given moment. The more you are here for Life, the easy and the difficult, the joyous and the sorrowful, unhooking from all of your spells, the more clear it becomes that Life knows what it is doing and it is for you.

The final two phases of higher consciousness are all about coming home to the meadow. The more you live the truth that Life is for you, the more you relax into the flow, bringing you to the joy of Life moving through you. As your cloud bank dissipates, you not only recognize the meadow again, you recognize that you are the meadow! Life is you and you are Life!

“You are not in the universe; you are the universe, an intrinsic part of it.”

Most people live in the first two phases of higher consciousness, to you and by you, never knowing that right in the middle of these beliefs is a doorway into the last four. Life is waking you up from the contraction of the first two and into the opening of the last four. This is not only for your own healing, but for the healing of all beings, because as you see through your cloud bank of struggle, you become a healing presence in the world.

There is a paradoxical truth that is important to acknowledge. Human beings are evolving from the first level of consciousness to the sixth. It is also true that most days you will experience a number of these phases. It is not about getting rid of any particular phase or making one better than the other. They are all part of Life, and as you evolve, you will recognize and be able to embrace them all.

The Truth of Trust

In order to evolve into and through the last four levels of consciousness, the tattered threads of your trust of Life need to be rewoven. You, like most people, don’t trust Life! It certainly feels untrustworthy. Life breaks your heart, brings illnesses to your body, and feels, at times, as though it gives you way more than you can handle.

If you don’t trust it, how can you show up for it, opening to all that it is offering you in every experience you have? How can you allow it to bring you, step by step, from unconsciousness into higher consciousness? There is a shift of perception that will help you immensely in relearning how to trust Life, discovering that your life, rather than being something that needs to be controlled, is something that can be opened to. The shift is: Life is smarter than you!

Most of us are so caught in our storyteller that we live in a small world. What we pay attention to all day long is the cloud bank around our heads that is made out of our spells. We don’t see what is going on here! And we definitely don’t recognize the meadow.

As a means of opening your awareness from the tight and small world of your storyteller into a more spacious perspective, I invite you into what I call a big-picture exploration. Imagine you are sitting on the moon, looking at the beautiful blue-green jewel that is our planet. See it as a living being that has been unfolding for 4½ billion years. Look beyond it into the black, velvety depth of space that is filled with more stars than there are grains of sand on every beach of the Earth!

Now bring your attention back to the Earth floating in front of you, and as you drink in its beauty, recognize that absolutely everything on this planet was created from atoms that come from the stars—and that includes you! So everything you see is made out of stardust!

Now in your imagination, see the evolution of Earth as a movie. At its inception it was just a ball of gas and dust. Fast-forward the movie in your mind’s eye and see land and water appearing as the Earth’s atmosphere forms. Then see Life beginning to come together into various rudimentary beings in the seas. Now see Life crawl out of the seas and onto the continents as a wave of green flows across the formerly barren land. Insects appear, animals emerge and dinosaurs come and go.

In the evolution of Life on this planet, there was a time when there were no creatures with thumbs, so Life could not be picked up to be used and explored. Now see life evolving a few million years ago into a form that had two arms with fingers and thumbs, along with the kind of brain that was interested in picking up Life and exploring It. Life had never shown up in this way before!

Now see early human beings coming together into tribes. As their frontal lobes became more complex, see them discovering language, figuring out how to use tools, cultivating the land, creating villages and towns, and then creating the wheel and ships that sail across the oceans.

“You are a community of 70 trillion cells that pump blood through 65,000 miles of arteries and veins”

Fast forward the movie again to just a few hundred years ago. See one set of your great, great, great grandparents being born, growing up, discovering one another, birthing one half of the partnership of your great, great grandparents and then disappearing back into mystery. This same cycle brought forth your grandparents, your parents and then you. Now see yourself appearing out of mystery at the exact place on this planet where you were born. Watch yourself evolve from a baby, to a young child, to a teenager and then into an adult.

As you are watching the movie of your life, bring it to this morning when you woke up, began your day and eventually came to the moment where you are reading this article. Realize that all of the millions of moments of your life have unfolded to this moment and this moment is the leading edge of the wave of evolution on this planet. Open to the knowing that this moment is no ordinary moment. Right here, right now, you are being given a very rare gift: the phenomenal gift of Life. For a short slice of time you get to be here, and then you too will dissolve back into mystery and Life will continue to unfold.

Pause for a moment and contemplate all of the creativity that has gone before you that allows you and everything around you to exist.  This simple act of contemplation can shift you into a state of higher consciousness.

Your Story

This movie about the unfolding of Life on this planet that we just explored is your story. You are a being who is an expression of 4½ billion years of Life evolving on this planet. You exist in this body because of the vast creativity that has gone before you. Let’s take your eyes for example. The first ancestors of your eyes came from polyps on the oceans floors that created cells that were able to differentiate light and dark.

In between that first rudimentary step into seeing and your ability to see are vast amounts of creativity that allow you to see this article! And it is not just your eyes that are dependent on the entire ingenuity of Life. Your whole life, like everybody else’s, is dependent on every single act of creativity that has ever happened on this planet.

It is amazing to recognize the creativity that enabled Life to take stardust and make this planet and everything on it, including you. It is even more astounding to see that as you sit here reading this, you are a community of 70 trillion cells that pump blood through 65,000 miles of arteries and veins, send messages along your nerves at the speed of light, regulate hormones, repair cells and digest food without a single thought from you. If you doubt that there is an amazing Intelligence that permeates and penetrates all of Life, just acknowledge what is happening in your body right now.

Because you don’t recognize the Intelligence at the heart of Life, you believe you are separate from it. Believing you are separate from it, you buy into the illusion that you must control it. As soon as you believe you must control it, you become cut off from it, losing sight of the joy of being open to Life.  This perspective keeps you from living in a place of higher consciousness.

You actually trust Life a lot. You trust it enough to beat your heart and breathe your breath. But you think that the Intelligence at the heart of Life has nothing to do with your daily life. You, like most people, bought into the arrogance of the human ego that says that it is in charge. Because of this belief in separation, you think your life is just a random series of events that you must mold and shape into what you think they should be.

What would happen if this was not so? What would your life look like if you understood that the same Intelligence that keeps the planets spinning, heals the cuts on your skin, and brings spring forth out of winter is with you every step of the way? Can you open to the possibility that this creative Intelligence is weaving your life out of the primal opposites of dark and light and it is giving you exactly what you need in order to evolve from unconsciousness into a phase of higher consciousness? What would it be like if you understood that the same awesome force of evolution that created this planet and brought Life out of the sea and onto land is working its magic in your life?

To get even an inkling of what we are exploring here will allow you to let go of that grip of control enough that you can begin to feel the magic of trusting your life. The more you trust it, the more you will show up for it, and the more you show up for it, the more you will see that Life is wiser than you and is bringing you the exact set of experiences you need in order to come back to Life.

Lift your eyes from the page and recognize that in the vastness of all time this moment will never be repeated, and you have the privilege to bear witness to it.

What It Looks Like To Trust Life

When you realize that Life is smarter than you, Life becomes very interesting. Rather than being lost in your storyteller, you realize something very extraordinary is happening here: there are no ordinary moments in your life! You become much more alert to what is happening, both outside and inside of you. If one’s life is like an iceberg, most people just pay attention to the part above the water while what is really going on is happening underneath the “water level” of their everyday awareness. 

“You realize something very extraordinary is happening here: there are no ordinary moments in your life”

It is true that you are driving, working, showering, cooking, arguing, making love, raising children, birthing and dying. But underneath it all is the unfolding of intelligent evolution, and you are a part of that. You are evolving from an unconscious human being into a conscious one. This is happening in every experience of your life—every experience! Life is for Life. It is supporting your shift from being asleep to being awake. Just as Life assists a peach tree in creating fruit by sustaining it with sun, rain, bees and the nourishment of the Earth, it is giving you exactly what you need in order to know the fruit of a conscious human being, which is the ability to be awake to Life.

Living from the truth that your life is for you, you begin to let go of the belief that your suffering is caused by something outside of you: other people, your job, the shape of your body, the kind of mate you have, the type of health you have, the kind of past you had, or the sort of mind you have. You begin to see that your suffering is coming from inside of you, caused by the spells. Yes, there are difficult things that happen in your life, but when you don’t get lost in your stories about them, you respond to the situation, gathering the gifts that are always embedded in the challenges of your life.  This is the gift of higher consciousness, you see that life is conspiring in your favor.

As you awaken into higher levels of consciousness, you become less interested in trying to change anything in your life and more interested in what is going on inside of you, especially in difficult situations. You have a deeper sense of allowing Life to put you in the exact situations you need in order for the core spells that make up your storyteller to be brought to the surface of your awareness. It is there that you can see them, watch them in action, and discover that they are just spells that were conditioned into you when you were young and that you no longer need to buy into them.

It is almost as if these deep and ancient spells of fear, shame, doubt, jealousy, not being enough, loneliness, and anger, to name a few, are like champagne bubbles that have been trapped inside of you. As your resistance to experiencing them lessens, they begin to loosen, arising to the surface to be seen. As they are fully seen, they burst, and the energy that was formerly trapped in them lets go. Rather than being afraid of this purification process, you begin to welcome it as the longing to be fully awake to Life becomes stronger than the fear of your spells.

Pause for a moment and check into your belly. Allow any holding you discover there to melt away and let a smile fill you with its healing presence. Allow this softening to move all the way down into your pelvic floor and around to your back. Feel the essence of your unfolding higher consciousness.

The Joy of Response-ability

Whether it is an illness, pain, a difficult neighbor, a compulsion, a financial crisis or any other challenging situation in your life, it can be initially threatening to your storyteller to take responsibility (the ability to respond) for your own experience. Old reactions that come from spells can be very strong. But you learn how to become like one of those three-foot tall inflatable dolls with a weight in the bottom. When you’re in a difficult situation, you feel like the doll when it is hit and falls over. More and more quickly, however, you do the you-turn, becoming curious about what this is bringing up inside of you, and you bounce back up again just like the doll does. You see that each situation is gently nudging you to expand into even higher levels of consciousness.

“All of the joy, clarity and aliveness you long for have always been with you, right here, right now”

This is where you truly begin to trust Life. You know that difficult situations are for you. You see that just as the body cleanses itself of foreign viruses and bacteria, your being will cleanse itself of the old spells. The more you want to see your spells, the more Life puts you in the situations that will bring them up so they can be touched enough with the light of your consciousness to let go. Thus you are no longer the victim to your life.

Even feelings like aloneness, or unending sadness, or the black hole of nothingness that seem so deep and real when you are resisting them become something to say “hello” to and touch with compassion. As you stand with them, they no longer have the power over you they used to have, and the energy that was bound up in them is released, opening you to the meadow that is always with you.

It is important to remember as you are bringing higher consciousness into your daily life that you have never left the meadow; you just thought that you had. All of the joy, clarity and aliveness you long for have always been with you, right here, right now. You just haven’t seen it because your storyteller has grabbed hold of your attention and rarely let it go. The more you allow Life to put you in the situations that bring up the core spells of your storyteller, the more your cloud bank will thin and you will be able to recognize and live from the meadow of your being.

This article originally appears in the Spring 2015 Issue of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine.  

This article on higher consciousness is excerpted from Mary O’Malleys awareness expanding book What’s in the Way is the Way.

About The Author

Mary O’Malley began changing her relationship with her challenges after a powerful awakening in the early 1970s, freeing her from a lifelong struggle with darkness. Mary’s new book What’s In the Way IS the Way, provides tools and techniques for healing fears, anxieties, shame and confusion, and transforming struggles into the peace we all long for. Mary is committed to helping people heal their inner wars, so they can become a part of the healing of our planet. Eckhart Tolle says “Thank you, Mary, for your contribution to the evolution of human consciousness.”   Visit her website:

Finding Your Life Purpose: 10 Deep Questions to Help You Create a Wildly Fulfilling and Meaningful Life

Finding your life purpose, as the phrase implies, is usually accomplished by looking deep within to discover your essence.

Connected, curious, and courageous, we can channel our energy into things that are meaningful and find meaning in things that trigger pain. We can focus our creativity on building a flourishing future instead of frittering it away maintaining patterns from the past. Our guiding light is our life purpose. We cannot thrive until we discover it; and we cannot fail to thrive as long as we align ourselves with it every day. Everyone has one, and each person’s is different. Lasting happiness can never come from achieving goals, no matter how audacious, because the glow from every success—whether it is winning Olympic gold or a golden Oscar—fades eventually. However, every problem we have is an opportunity to discover more about our purpose, providing us with a joy that shines brighter with every passing day.
You may think a lot, even worry a lot, about what you “should” do with your life. Should you keep your safe job or leave it to follow your bliss? Should you have a baby now or party hard? Should you make lots of money while you can or travel the world? Should you start a non-profit organization or change the system from inside it? It’s easy to trip out on questions like these, but they are the wrong questions to be asking if you want to thrive.

“Our guiding light is our purpose. We cannot thrive until we discover it.”

Your purpose has nothing to do with what you should do (or not). It is not about being right or wrong. It has nothing to do with what your parents think. It has nothing to do with being rich, respected, or famous. It’s not even about what you want or desire. Instead, your life purpose emanates clearly from your body/mind once it is free from patterns. It is your truth once you have reached peace within. Every time you hear yourself or others say “I should” or “I must,” you are hearing a story that pain has locked in place. Heal the pain and you are free to co-create a new story with the IS-ness of life, which can guide you to thrive for the rest of your days.

Purpose is not a big, hairy, or audacious goal. Instead, it is the way you can be each and every moment of each and every day that brings the most of your potential into the world. It is the glue that connects your brilliance with what your community needs most. Purpose is a conversation between your heart and the heartaches of the world. It is a bridge between your unique gifts and what the world wants most from you. You can’t second guess it with your head or force it to be something it isn’t with your hands. It may not be convenient, moneymaking, or safe. Many of your loved ones may not understand it. Some may resist it. Yet, it does not matter who thinks what about it. It is your truth.

No More “Shoulds”

Are you exhausted from running toward or away from the hopes and desires of your parents? Tired of benchmarking your success with that of your friends? Undecided whether to focus on fame and fortune or making a difference to society? Confused by competing myths spun by the media about what the good life is? Overwhelmed by just how much you could do with your talents? Unsure what following your bliss would even look like? Help is at hand. Or, rather, in your heart.

often times finding your life purpose requires a major leap of faith.

To find your life purpose, first you have to let go of all the patterns that have gotten in its way for years. Every time we ask ourselves, “What should I be doing right now?” we are letting the Protector dominate our lives. This is a question it (the Protector) likes to ask because the answer might reassure it that it is “right” and so we are safe. Being right, and righteous, is a trap our Tiny Me falls into when it desperately attempts to create certainty in a constantly changing world. It (the Tiny Me) reasons that if it finds the “right” thing, then everyone will love us, respect us, and appreciate us as we deserve. It reckons that if it works out what is “right,” then we won’t experience disappointment and disapproval again.

Our expectations around the kind of life we “should” lead are always driven by lack. The “shoulds” start early in life. Parents naturally want a better life for their kids than they believe they had. Education, money, power, fun, love . . . whatever they thought they lacked, they will urge their offspring to go out and seek. Teachers, friends, and the media then pile on the pressure for us to perform, even if they do it with the best of intentions. Most of their suggestions come from patterns created to defend against their own lack. Being young and impressionable, we pick up a load of these “shoulds” and start to live our life according to their rules. The “shoulds”—designed to defend against the pain of having no job, no money, no worth—become more bricks in the wall we put up as a front. We then use our career choices, relationship choices, life choices as evidence we are a “good” person or have done the “right” thing.

News flash: The world is in constant flux. There are never any absolutely right choices. This is a judgment based on some arbitrary belief system. There are just fitted ones, appropriate ones, which can be discerned by constantly paying attention to what is. “What “should” I be doing with my life?” is a worry of the Protector rather than a creative inquiry from the Connector. This way lies suffering. Instead, sense what fits the effervescent changes that are going on within you and outside of you. Over time, your life purpose will emerge. It is a conversation. If the old stories about what is “right” and “wrong” get in the way, you won’t be able to stay in tune with the chat. We have to stay in a biodynamic, responsive relationship with what is, not what our Tiny Me thinks “should” be.

From the cauldron of love that resides in every healed heart, purpose pours forth like molten metal ready to transform the world. In the place of all those tiring “shoulds,” you unleash fresh insights and ideas that allow you to live fully—right now—in appropriate, fitted ways.
Free from “shoulds,” you are liberated to express yourself most creatively in the moment.

This doesn’t mean that, once you discover your life purpose, you will have life all neatly sorted out on an Excel spreadsheet. Far from it. Purpose is alive. You can’t control it. You can’t plan in detail how it’s going to work out. You just have to feel it and allow it to emerge from you, free from patterns. The trust you build each time you switch on allows you to live purposefully like this: Half in control, half out—at the edge of chaos.

“Free from ‘shoulds,’ you are liberated to express yourself most creatively in the moment.”

Purpose is who you are when you are free from being protective, fearful, or aggressive. It is the future pulling you into it, uniquely shaped by the experiences in your past. Your life purpose is something you cannot fail to be as long as you align yourself continuously with it, letting go of any bullshit that gets in its way. The patterns—the stories of should and must—will distort your clarity and deflect your purpose and leave you unable to thrive.

Finding My Place

For the first three decades of my life, I had no purpose. Or rather, I had one (because we all have one); I just had no idea what it was. So, making big decisions—about whether to stay or leave medical school or keep or shut down my (unethical) business—were tortuous. I had nothing solid to gauge anything against. It was like being a ball in a pinball machine, and everyone else’s ideals were the flippers. All the competing ideas of what I “should” do with my life created so much noise that I couldn’t hear the faint whispers of my life purpose calling me. I knew I must have one, yet I struggled to find it. This was frustrating, annoying, and often bewildering. It also meant I wasted my creative energies on things that just weren’t a good fit for me or for the world.

I had to give it all up to find it. I gave up a medical career (which offered instant kudos, social standing, and family respect). I gave up being a multi-millionaire (albeit on paper)—and the trappings of both fortune and entrepreneurial fame—when I exited the successful agency I had co-founded. I gave up being respected by my atheist friends and father when I became totally convinced of our oneness (and began to live my life from that realization). I gave up being admired by the global social change “scene” when I decided that rather than commit my life to treating the symptoms of a messed-up world, I would focus on dissolving the underlying drivers, the suffering that comes from separation, lack, and pain.

Once I had given it all up, I was ready to grok my purpose. Now, whenever my heart breaks with the suffering of those around me, my purpose shoots forth like a bolt of lightning. I know in these moments my place in this universe and what I was born to do. Every day I learn how to express it in new and ever-more relevant ways. It even gives me an empowering story that allows me to join the dots between my experiences as a bullied, fat, depressed kid; my family history of anti-Semitic suffering and Holocaust survival; the talents and creative, intellectual, and practical skills I have honed; and the rich experiences I’ve had in my life, both painful and pleasant. This empowering narrative allows me to metabolize problems consistently into opportunities and so unfold more of my life purpose.

Weaving a New Story

If all our old patterns are enshrined in stories that limit us, hooking us into blame, shame, and complain, our life purpose is a new story that opens up a world of possibility to us. The more of the old story we give up, the more of the new story we reveal. We have no idea how the story will play out, just that we are enacting it in the moment in constant, biodynamic interplay. By getting into the conversation that is purpose, we start to weave a tale that makes sense of the things that have happened to us; and how they can be meaningful for the problems we (and usually other people too) are having today. Here are two examples of people finding purpose in big problems. I have met both personally:

A brain tumor and its devastating physical impact…SWITCH ON…became the stimulus to give up a successful business and commit to being a wisdom teacher bringing more love and truth into the world (which then led to writing a book and more).

A terrorist bomb and the loss of both legs…SWITCH ON…became the stimulus to leave a job in marketing and be a proponent of peace in the world (which then led to the start of a social enterprise focused on peace-building).

No one can tell you that the new story you are weaving is “right” or “wrong,” least of all your parents or friends. That doesn’t mean to say that they can’t challenge you or give you useful feedback when you are off track, off purpose. But it does mean that it is always your choice how to make sense out of all your experiences, both painful and pleasant, so you can focus your attention meaningfully on the here and now. Only you can weave the story in which you are playing the lead role.

“We are all on a Hero’s Journey. Every problem we face is a call to adventure.”

In many myths and movies, the hero or heroine embarks on a journey to find a special object, such as the Golden Fleece or Holy Grail. It symbolizes the search for your life purpose. Joseph Campbell, in his magisterial study of myths called The Hero with a Thousand Faces, calls the object the “boon.” In epic tales, the world is in trouble. The hero/heroine must find a boon, which can save their people. What the world lacks the hero/heroine is called to discover inside before they get the reward. On the way, dragons and monsters must be overcome—symbols of our patterns, representations of our dark side. While we think we are watching the hero/heroine find the Ark or Excalibur, they are really learning about their purpose, which then helps them change the world.

We are all on a Hero’s/Heroine’s Journey like this. Every problem we face is a call to adventure. Each problem we switch on to reveals another facet of our life purpose. As we chomp down on problems, metabolizing them within, we come back with many boons. Each is a plot line in the emerging story of our life’s purpose. It is up to us to join all the seemingly random dots in an empowering, nourishing, and energizing way that galvanizes us into action and adventure.
If you can’t tell an inspiring story about where you’ve come from and where you’re going to, nobody else will do it for you. Ask yourself:

+ Are you living out your life as a cameo role in the story of your parents?

+ Are you playing a bit part in the story of your teachers by agreeing that you are “bad” at mathematics or only “good” at sport?

+ Are you choosing a walk-on part in the capitalist story that you may not fully believe in?

+ Are you prepared to cast off any of these hackneyed tales to forge your own story, even if you can’t predict or control exactly how it will unfold?

If you have the courage to set off on one Hero’s/Heroine’s Journey after another, you will bring to life more of your purpose. From a haze of past experiences a powerful narrative will emerge. We thrive in the world to the extent that we can metabolize the things that happen to us into fresh threads for our emerging story.

The story is alive because you are alive. Treat it as a done deal and it quickly ossifies. While the gist of your story will stay consistent, the details will unfold in surprising ways, as you co-create your life with the Big U. This is like Picasso spending decades exploring, in painting after painting, what it means to be a Modernist or Cubist.

The more problems you metabolize, the more inspired your new story becomes. The world is always presenting us with problems, inviting us to switch on and let go of the assumptions that underpin the old world order. Perhaps the most famous story of this surrender is J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Unlike most epics, where the hero/heroine has to get something cool, Frodo has to find a way of getting rid of the ring of power, control, and domination. He has to relinquish the controlling nature of the Tiny Me to defeat evil and allow the world to be restored to a state of thriving.

Who Cares Wins

Purpose is the connection between the gifts of the Tiny Me (the part of us that has tangible skills and talents in the “real” world) and the ask of the Great We (what we as a community and planet are missing in some way). Our life purpose is always as much about the world—the people we love and the communities we live in—as it is about us.

Whereas, the Protector asks, “What do I need to stay safe?” the Connector (taking things much less personally) asks, “What can I do to share my gifts with the world?” The job description of the Connector is to collaborate, care, and contribute. It is always looking to help or heal others. However, this is not only about others; it is also about finding our sweet spot, our special sauce, where we blossom. If we are on purpose, then both we and the people around us start to thrive.

Rather beautifully, nature has conspired to make service as enjoyable and beneficial to the giver as it is to the receiver. When we contribute, oxytocin is released, which deepens our relationships and inhibits stress. Giving can stimulate our immune system and give us the kind of dopamine-fuelled buzz we get from eating chocolate.

“Our happiness is massively dependent on how we connect with, and contribute, to others.”

Our happiness is massively dependent on how we connect with, and contribute, to others. In a survey of 200,000 adults across 136 nations, people who gave to others were the happiest. That was true whether they lived in rich countries or impoverished ones. When we care, we get a boost to our happiness levels equivalent to someone doubling our income overnight. Being of service to others can even extend life expectancy and boost health! Caring for others can be more important than having self-esteem when it comes to our own success. Being self-centered also costs us a lot of energy, as we have to keep fighting our natural desire to contribute, which kicks us out of flow.

However, we must find a balance between giving to others and nourishing ourselves. Purpose needs to be grounded in our wellbeing as well as that of others. We have to keep rooted and resourced. The Connector wants to give but if we become sick, we are no use to anyone. If you find yourself becoming addicted to giving in some way, it’s probably a pattern (for example, one that tries to have people like you because you are “nice”). Drop it and come back to your life purpose. The last thing you want to do is be so committed to others that you neglect your own health and happiness, and that of your loved ones. The world wants us vibrant and vital. Giving must flow from the power and energy of the Great We, as opposed to the limited Tiny Me, which soon runs out of puff.

Compassion, service, and generosity are only authentically of service to the world when they come from the heart and not the head. Don’t be of service because you think it is “right.” Don’t do it to make people like you. Don’t do it because someone has told you that you “should.” The moment you flip back into doing it to get something out of it, you blow it. The Tiny Me, driven by the Protector, will always try and hijack our good works to make up for what it thinks it lacks. Only the Connector can give freely without needing something back, because it already has everything it needs within.

Be of service because it comes gushing out of you, because it is inevitable. Do it because it is who you truly are. Do it because, if you aren’t of service, you can’t be your truth. Then it will be serving you as much as others, even if it is not done with that intent. This resonates with the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which means “I am what I am because of who we all are.” I was struck powerfully by this life philosophy when I worked as a science teacher in rural Zimbabwe, aged 18. All of us live in a complex network of people and places, whether we can see it or not. We are all interdependent. Ubuntu says that our joy is inescapably dependent on the joy of others. When we serve others and collaborate authentically, from love not strategy, we thrive collectively. Purpose is how we connect with the world most effortlessly in love, truth, and creativity; with heart, head, and hands all opened up to what is possible.
Discovering Purpose

Purpose isn’t a career choice, brand vision, or goal. It is how you care and share at any time, with anyone. It may involve winning a Pulitzer Prize, yet it’s just as likely to involve looking out for the people we love, expressing ourselves freely when we feel stuck, or discovering how to be better friends and parents. Yes, you may have big dreams. You might have a vision for a business empire or want to make a great movie. You might be desperate to start a family or fired up to end world poverty. Yet none of these are your life purpose. These are big, hairy, audacious goals and we’ll be looking at how to find and bring them to life next. Purpose may inspire them, help define and refine them . . . yet it is not them.

Purpose can fuel an enterprise or a project, but it is just as much at home in the line for the restroom at a nightclub; in the middle of a dull meeting; getting the kids ready for school; or on a first date. The more practiced you are at allowing purpose to flow, when the shit hits the fan, you will be ready to serve others as opposed to play out strategies and patterns.

When you let go of all the “shoulds,” you will almost certainly discover that your purpose amplifies one of: playing, experimenting, creating, learning, sharing, loving, caring, teaching, transforming, adventuring, or healing. These are all ways to contribute to the flourishing of others while blossoming yourself.

Free from doubts and fears, cynicism and self-criticism, your life purpose is the sum total of every bit of love and wisdom you have gleaned from your life experiences, mixed with the skills and talents that you have honed through engaging with them wholeheartedly. All of it is then distilled down to a tiny drop of pure essence, which you express as the moment sees fit. Your most intense life experiences leave an imprint in your body/mind, like a garment stained and stretched from being worn. Rather than attempting to scrub out the marks, you can harness them. Your scars become beauty spots, your greatest assets. This essence percolates through your entire body/mind, bubbling up into every experience.

Your life purpose is who you are when you feel most alive, most of use, most awake. This is not necessarily the same as when you feel most approved of. If you think your life purpose is to make lots of cash, be famous or win something, it just means the Protector is doing the talking. Thank it for its contribution and help secure it by appreciating it for trying to protect you. Then ask your Connector for the real answers. It knows your purpose inside out. In fact, it has always known. Purpose, love-in-action, is the energy that animates it. It’s the part of you that has led you to heal, gain insight, and take risks to get you to where you are.

Your life purpose is unique to you. It cannot be right or wrong and it certainly cannot be better or worse than anyone else’s. Purpose is your creative spirit, free from blockages and limitations, as it engages with life and helps you and others thrive. It is exultant, powerful, and inexhaustible. The only person who can stop you from letting it out is you.

“Your scars become beauty spots, your greatest assets.”

Don’t worry if you can’t define your life purpose in words. Having the exact words to describe your purpose is not nearly as important as feeling it burn like a flame within. As long as you feel your purpose inside, you’ll know whether you’re “on purpose” or “off purpose.” When you feel on purpose, it radiates out through your feelings (heart), thoughts (head), and actions (hands). Just as when a baseball connects with a ball, every time you make a choice how to be or behave, either you feel a “meh”—this is off purpose—or you feel a “schweet!” If you can feel that sweet spot, you are on purpose. You can find your sweet spot no matter what curve balls come at you.

What Will You Do With Your Purpose?

Think about your day today. What did you do when were you on purpose? What about when you were off purpose? No matter what your actual career or trade, whether you are unemployed or a hotshot executive, stay-at-home parent or a traveler, your life purpose will help you create meaning out of every moment.

You don’t get to choose your life purpose. It is the result of the unfathomably complex interplay between genes, experiences, upbringing, and environment. But you do get to choose what you do with it.

If your purpose is to do with play, you could start to introduce a cheeky “get to know you” game at the office and bring things to life a little. If your life purpose is to do with family, you could work to create more trust and community within your team. If your purpose is about healing the world, you could help your roommates understand why recycling is important (without judgment of course). Anything at all can become fundamentally meaningful and purposeful if you choose it to be.

If you (or rather your Tiny Me) ever think that your circumstances are just too awful for your life purpose to engage with them, then the Oscar-winning movie Life is Beautiful is an awesome inspiration. The hero, played by Roberto Benigni, is a man whose imagination and playfulness radiates from him. His purpose is to make people laugh, smile, and see beauty in life. Facing imminent death, he focuses on making his son laugh, even as their Nazi captors are preparing to kill them both. Now that’s living purposefully.

Living purposefully doesn’t mean that life will suddenly be “easy” though. Your purpose may compel you to change how you act inside your home or in your workplace. It may influence the projects you invest in; even how you like to spend your vacations. Our life purpose is rarely convenient. Often it is not even socially acceptable.

You don’t have to share your purpose with anyone. But, if you do, it’s not unusual to share it with passion and conviction, only to find the people around you responding to your beaming face with looks of disbelief or downright fear. Our loved ones may not get it at first. In reality, they may never get it. People who haven’t found their life purpose, and who don’t feel deeply connected to themselves, are often challenged by those who live purposefully. It can freak them out. Change can be extremely threatening, so it’s important to empathize with your loved ones and allow them time to adjust to your higher frequency lifestyle. It may take a while.

Whether people around you get it or not, they are not you, and you cannot live your life for them (and they can’t live theirs through you). This doesn’t mean being selfish or ignoring your duties. It means finding how to join up all the competing needs in your life within a purpose story that comes from your truth, from your connection to the Big U, and nothing else.

Whatever you do, don’t bend to others’ opinions when it comes to your life’s purpose. Of course, feedback from other people is always useful and coaching can help you to find your blind spots, pesky assumptions, or resistance. But ignoring your life purpose brings with it the most excruciating suffering a human being can know. To choose not to express your unique essence, your role in service of the Great We, guarantees that you will suffer. A searing definition of hell is coming to the end of your life and meeting the person you could have been, if you’d followed your purpose.

“To choose not to express your unique essence, your role in service of the Great We, guarantees that you will suffer.”

Please don’t sell yourself out because other people aren’t able to get or appreciate your vibrancy. Trust yourself. Trust the Connector. As long as you live your purpose each day, you’ll stay fitted, awake and thriving.

Now, with all this mojo rising, what do you want to create?

Switch On

Switched Off: Purpose is a myth because life is inherently meaningless. The right thing to do is to be rich/famous/professional/educated/ethical/hedonistic/world-changing (delete as appropriate).

Switched On: Purpose is revealed when we release our patterns and express our essence. Purpose allows us to make meaning out of even the harshest experiences. By contributing to the wellbeing of others, we enact an empowering narrative of growth, learning, and thriving.

Switch On Now: 10 Deep Questions to Help You Find Your Life Purpose

So, right now, get your Connector into the mix. Breathe. Relax. Maybe close your eyes. Choose to switch on. Trust and surrender as much as you can.

Heart: Feel into your emotions, all the way through your body/mind. Breathe away any fears or upsets, shoulds or musts.

1. Over the last seven days, what moments have given you feelings of great love, deep satisfaction, or purpose?

2. Over the last month, when have you felt most switched on? What were you doing? Who were you being?

3. Over the last six months, when have you felt most alive and electrified? What were you doing? Who were you being?

4. Head: What are the greatest problems you have encountered in your life? In overcoming them, what talents, gifts, and ideas have you developed?

5. What do you want your epitaph to be?

6. What do you want your grandkids to say about you?

7. Hands: Letting go of any shoulds or musts, thinking across an average day, what activities most inspire you?

8. What about when you were a kid, before any seriousness or ambition snuck in? Which memories most electrify your body/mind when you think of them?

Breakthrough Questions

9. If I have been put on this planet by aliens to use all my insights, experiences, and gifts to bring more love to the world, what would I do each day?

10. If I never had to work again and everybody adored me as I am, what would I spend my days doing to feel most fulfilled and most alive?

This article on finding your life purpose is excerpted with permission from Switch On: Unleash Your Creativity and Thrive with the New Science & Spirit of Breakthrough by Nick Seneca Jankel.

About The Author

Nick Seneca Jankel, the author of Switch On, is a 21st Century shaman who has helped over 50,000 individuals, hundreds of world-class organizations, a number of national governments and millions of TV viewers across the globe to “switch on” so they can breakthrough real challenges and thrive. Nick is a Cambridge-educated scientist, wisdom teacher and practical philosopher and world-renowned innovation and leadership expert. Visit his website:

Living in Bliss: How to Experience Unconditional Love For Yourself and Others

unconditional love knows no bounds and no obstacles

To experience unconditional love, we must understand its nature and possibilities. By turning our attention to the inner realm of thoughts and feelings, we can explore our personal notions and ideas of love. Only then, do we learn how to evolve it into its highest expression of unconditional love. Let us begin looking at how we currently may be viewing love.
The Power of Love

The qualities of love are endless and the expressions are infinite. Yet, without recognizing our ability to understand and use the higher aspects of unconditional love, we have trained ourselves to know only a very narrow band of humanly qualified love. We categorize and label it according to the sensory experiences encountered with it. For example, the activity of sex is frequently the only aspect of love some people identify with as a genuine expression of the state. They perceive that the physical action equates to love, while it is often merely no more than succumbing to a physiological release. The physical senses become the definition and total understanding of what they perceive it to be. Focusing solely on outer physical conditions and responses, we confine love and limit its infinite true expression.

“Everything we do has a deeper unconscious pursuit to experience love.”

For others, the idea of love is a verbal description of our emotion. In an attempt to feel it more fully, we label our outer experiences with the word and not the meaning. We equate love with an experience we think we are supposed to be having with our relationships, friends and family. Out of a sense of duty or obligation, we feel required to use the term to state and show our connection with others, even if we don’t really feel it. Similarly, people misappropriate love as a power struggle and use it to wield strength or weakness in an attempt to receive affection and attention. For example, we may say, “I love you,” yet, our motives are for personal gratification or recognition. This actually reveals a deeper personal insecurity and attempt to bind our self to another for validation or acceptance. Our intent does not have the heartfelt quality and depth of feeling found in unconditional love.

“I love my job” or “I love my house,” are also examples of the descriptive and frequently intellectual use of the term love. What does “love” mean to us in this way? We learned to use the word without ever really questioning its meaning or effect on our lives. Ironically, we constantly seek its deeper manifestation in our lives. Our endless daily pursuits have an underlying desire to find love in every fiber of our existence. Everything we do has a deeper unconscious pursuit to experience unconditional love. Whether seeking personal or material success, engaging in friendships or relationships, or even pursuing addictive and destructive habits, love or the lack of it, drives us.

It is amazing how we go to great lengths to shield ourselves from really experiencing love. A focus on external love lacks the understanding and inner commitment known with real unconditional love. It is often felt as a safer way to experience it by removing the need for intimacy or vulnerability. We allow our love to be experienced only at the surface level and shy away from genuine expressions of unconditional love thinking we may somehow be hurt or rejected. This superficial expression misses out on the deeper levels of honesty and truth which are the reward for these actions of intimacy.


mountains. photo: danka & peter

Through many protective approaches, we limit our understanding and experience of love to the literal word and a few basic feelings. When it is missing, pain and suffering appear. We, in turn, accept the pain as truth, instead of pursuing a higher expression of love. The more we focus on painful situations and experiences, the greater the separation from love and the harder it is to understand and embrace love. As you can begin to see, with love itself being such a challenge to grasp and experience, unconditional love must be a notion beyond the reach of anyone, so why pursue it?

Love is the natural and divine part in each of us and resides within the heart. With it, we flourish, prosper and unfold our unlimited potential. When we know and understand love, we share this energy with every particle of life. It gives purpose and meaning to our existence and provides the foundation for every thought, feeling, and action. It is always within us whether we recognize it or not.
Without it we cease to function and exist on this physical plane. The weight of doubt and negativity weigh heavily upon us, often backing us into perceived corners where we lash out with destructive energy. Over time, the absence of love causes us to slowly wither away as we feel further removed from our light and sustenance. The illusion of life without love often becomes the excuse to dismiss it even more. Only when suffering becomes too great, do we rise up and call to be released. This call, once made, is our decree to return to the reality of unconditional love. It never needs to come to this level of extreme suffering since we have the choice to cultivate and use love here and now.

“Love in its higher expressions goes beyond the common ideas of being involved in romance, desires, sexual gratification, friendship and other physical pursuits.”

Love in its higher expressions goes beyond the common ideas of being involved in romance, desires, sexual gratification, friendship and other physical pursuits. Real, unconditional love is within these and all other experiences and also transcends the momentary physical reality with an eternal connection to the pure spirit of love itself. This true spirit of unconditional love involves qualities that are ceaseless and ever available within.

What is Unconditional Love?

To help us come to a closer understanding and useful definition of unconditional love, we will look at the two words unconditional and love. Let us begin with love. When we say love, we are using more than a descriptive word to characterize our experience of life. Love is energy. It is a power that permeates the universe and at times, we glimpse its immense nature through an experience in our world. It is a process and way of living life. It is an expansion of certain qualities we can feel physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. When we engage it, our experience of life expands and evolves.
Love is a sense of personal peace and joy. It is an expression of kindness, compassion, and understanding. When we comfort and support ourselves and our world, we are tapping into it. To invoke the use of love is to forgive and release the appearances of our experiences. Love trusts, is patient and does not judge or hate.
When we love, we do not fear or doubt. Similarly, we do not blame, shame, use aggression, control or manipulate. Criticism and condemnation dissolve by this infinite power. Love is freedom from the limiting beliefs that encourage our inner hatred, prejudice, anger, and frustration.
Love releases the need to be in control. We allow lack and limitation, guilt and worry to go free into higher expressions of dreams and possibilities. The simple stillness of the experience of it washes over our concerns and sweeps them away, providing new opportunities to experience life in joyous ways. Love is a thought and feeling we hold within.
Love is an attitude we have about life. When we love, we are allowing the highest level of our awareness to permeate the experience of the moment. We are literally vibrating to a higher frequency of energy and allowing that energy to move forth into our world, where it changes and lifts everything it contacts. It is an ever-evolving journey. It is truly a way of being.

Now that we have defined some aspects of love, let us turn to our other word, unconditional. To be unconditional, is to be without condition – or limit. To be unconditional is to be unlimited. This means no strings attached, no stipulations, and no expectations.
Simply stated; unconditional love is an unlimited way of being. We are without any limit to our thoughts and feelings in life and can create any reality we choose to focus our attention upon. There are infinite imaginative possibilities when we allow the freedom to go beyond our perceived limits. If we can dream it, we can manifest it. Life, through unconditional love, is a wondrous adventure that excites the very core of our being and lights our path with delight.

“As we expand, the world expands.”

When we love ourselves and everyone around us, we experience the freedom of creativity. We turn within to our imagination and design the constructive lives and experiences we desire and dream of. We allow others to seek their own dreams and fulfill their personal destinies. Listening to our inner guidance and wisdom, we act upon our highest aspirations without hesitation or limitation.

Love is a process, not a goal. Each of us experiences a unique understanding as we encounter new ways of applying it. We change and grow every moment through unconditional love. When we love ourselves without any limit, we release the old beliefs and ideas of life that no longer work. We seek our truth and become it. We honor the truth of others and allow each person the same freedoms we aspire to. As we expand, the world expands.

Love is no longer to be limited as an act of divine province. It is the practical and inherent way to approach and live life. This form of love is the natural expression of our inner divine nature. It is an impersonal love that cares deeply while being detached from the form expressed in the moment. If we desire to live freely, joyfully and in peace, we need only love ourselves and others unconditionally. In this way, we experience it firsthand.

The Art of Forgiveness

The most magical power we have, for cultivating unconditional love and otherwise, is our ability to forgive. It is the exquisite healer in all of us. Forgiveness is the key to releasing any emotional baggage we have continued to carry, our outdated and outmoded perspectives, and any other attachment that keeps us bound to the past and separated from the experience of it. It is the only way to really let go of negative energy we have stored within us. This form of release has no comparison and by using it, we unleash the power of love. When we say “yes!” to forgiving ourselves, another person, place, condition or experience, we are accepting love to guide and fill our lives with infinite joy.

No situation in life is beyond the act of forgiveness. Many people think they want to hold on to their traumas and pain to remind them of the past mistaken experiences. They assume that by keeping these memories alive they can somehow insure not to repeat them in the future. This is an unfortunate reasoning process. When we keep negative energy alive within us, we fill our now moment with this energy and create a future moment for the same type of energy to return. The very desire to avoid more hurt by holding on to the past causes us to experience the pain repeatedly. Only forgiveness and release can stop this process permanently and reconnect us with the essence of unconditional love for ourselves and others.
The mistakes of the past are just that, an opportunity that we experienced to learn something about our use of universal energy. When we identify and associate pain, suffering or limitation with a particular experience, we add this negative energy to our mental and emotional memories and carry it within our consciousness. Each time we encounter a similar situation it triggers this energy to come forth and influences our present expression with whatever we are feeling. In reality, whatever is before us is simply a reflection of energy we sent out in our past and if it is less than loving, it is our opportunity to forgive and release the appearance. Only through a complete release can we move forward in freedom towards unconditional love.

The beauty of forgiveness is that we are the ones who can take charge and make the necessary changes in our lives. From the grandest perspective, there really is no one to blame or even to forgive. We use the act of forgiveness to release our hold upon the limitations and painful memories, both personal and societal, that we have become attached to. Forgiveness allows us to release these obsolete and limiting perspectives of past experiences and permits freedom and unconditional love to take their place.

“When we remember that each of us does the very best we can at any particular moment, we are well on our way to forgiving everyone and everything.”

When we remember that each of us does the very best we can at any particular moment, we are well on our way to forgiving everyone and everything and moving into a space of unconditional love. Unconditional love is just that: without condition and so, by its very nature, we must move into a space of authentic forgiveness if we hope to experience unconditional love. If we have anger for example, and lash out at another, it is all we can do at that moment. Hopefully, the next moment the anger will have passed and we can come from a more loving position. We must accept both scenarios as valid even if they produced different reactions. By acknowledging our behaviors, we instantly see how and why others behave the way they do.

Forgiveness is not just a statement of release from our actions; it must be understood and felt as well. We cannot shirk or circumvent our responsibility with a casual glance and vague apology. We are striving for greater personal understanding and healing of our thoughts and feelings that have bound us to a past expression. Forgiveness is a gracious tool when used with genuine intent.

Forgiveness is only effective when we feel it within our hearts as we thoughtfully release the experience, condition, person or event. Our motivation must be true and sincere. Equally, we must be willing to take corrective measures to insure we do not engage this type of energy again. It may take several attempts at forgiveness to thoroughly release the negative limitation and emotional bond. Eventually, hurts and traumas of the past become the learned lessons and joys of self discovery in the present.

Loving Ourselves

The most courageous act we can ever undertake is to love ourselves and life unconditionally. Each moment we have the opportunity to accept it and its perfection as our expression. Shedding the limitations of the ages we can free ourselves to experience life as it was designed to be lived and by listening within and allowing our love to express naturally, we can claim our heritage and unfold our potential. We literally become a blazing light of truth radiating our inner strength and beauty.

Love from an standpoint, insures the energy of life flows through us uninhibited and free of judgment and misqualification. We are the source of our joy, which reminds us we must cultivate the qualities of love to experience them. Each quality of unconditional love, like peace, harmony, trust, or wisdom, for example, comes from our inner awareness and is then expressed in our outer conscious activities. It is a focus of our attention upon the higher and more positive attributes that then become a part of who we are.

Loving ourselves unconditionally is a continuous process, not a goal. Each day we can find greater ways to share the natural love that abides within our hearts. The momentary obstacles we encounter provide the opportunities to reach deeper and surge forth with the grace of love. Traumatic or delightful, each situation is for our growth and is there for our lesson and personal expansion of the feeling.

The personality/ego tries to make the process of self love complicated. It continuously seeks examples of it in the outer world of form. It pursues and accumulates material things and experiences looking for some type of love to be engaged. These relationships with people or things are momentary meetings with aspects and reflections of the self. When they are agreeable, we perceive a closer experience of love. When difficulties arise, we tend to then question and judge the encounters and eventually attempt to discard them in order to avoid the pain associated with them.

“Traumatic or delightful, each situation is for our growth and is there for our lesson and personal expansion of love.”

Loving ourselves unconditionally works the same way. Forgive every past mistake, condition, person, and thing, including yourself and then watch as the new self emerges like the Phoenix out of the fire. Once we release ourselves from the limiting experiences, we are free to create from the heart and it knows only love of the highest nature.

Loving ourselves begins with accepting ourselves right now. We must look at every vestige of limitation as a creation of past thoughts and feelings. Whether it is a personal weight problem, inflated ego, mistaken activities, or engaging in angry and hateful events, we can release all of them. When we are ready and willing to do the work, release the baggage, and move on with life, we leap into the arms of our divine angelic selves.

No one can ever do it for you. Unconditionally loving the self is a personal commitment and a lifelong journey. Personal honesty is the foundation and patience is the primer. Believe in yourself enough to listen to your inner wisdom. Know what you know and be who you are. There are many who will come to your side and walk with you during times of need. Lovingly release anyone who discounts or attempts to stifle your growth and expansion. Sift through the old timeworn images and beliefs; retain the ones that still work for you and let go of the rest.

Practices for Experiencing Unconditional Love For Yourself and Others

1. Embodying the Qualities of Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love represents the essence of certain unique qualities. These qualities are within each of us and await our cultivation and use. By focusing on and understanding what they represent to us, we bring them into our personal experience. The following list can give you an idea of what it may mean to you.

Use this list and apply a quality of unconditional love for each day and see what happens. You can start by focusing on a particular quality during your meditation or visualization and then keep yourself reminded of that quality and use throughout the day. Practicing in this way allows the quality to grow and expand in your experience of it. Initially you may find that when you begin to incorporate these loving qualities, the opposite experience may occur in your life. For example, we may focus on harmony for the day and encounter chaos. Through these types experiences we learn how to express the quality in all circumstances.

You may also choose to use the words “I am” before each quality while repeating it to yourself several times. For example, “I am peace, I am peace, I am peace,” allows a more personal and direct connection to the power held within the quality. This will cause a change in your perspectives and experience in life so be prepared to become a new you.





2. Love and the Mirror

Another experience that is very powerful for unconditional love is what I call the mirror experience. Over the years, I have watched people come before the mirror at my workshops and literally dissolve ages of negativity on the spot. It is a moment of truth when we stand before ourselves in loving acceptance and cast aside all judgments and perceptions allowing love to come through.

How many times do you look at yourself in a mirror as you prepare for your day? Yet, do you ever really see your true self? Are you willing to accept all that stands before you in that mirror? Unconditionally? It can be challenging at first to really embrace your total self in this way. The rewards though are fantastic.

1. Find a time and space where you can take a close look at yourself eye to eye in the mirror. Stand before your own self and accept all you have become and all you are becoming. Forgive yourself and everyone else for the past mistakes. Let go and feel the love that wants to express itself through you. Release the judgments, opinions, and beliefs you have about your size, shape, appearance, intelligence, wishes, dreams, and desires. For now, just be. Look deeply into your eyes and see the love looking back. Say aloud, “I love myself unconditionally.”

2. If you do not feel the connection right away, keep at it. Do it each day until you feel you can say “I love myself unconditionally” and really mean it. From then on you can stop for a moment each time you look in a mirror and wink at the angel you see smiling back.

3. Bridge of Light and Forgiveness

Another helpful technique for experiencing unconditional love is the bridge of light. You can use this when experiencing difficult moments with people, places, things or conditions. This form of visualization allows you to connect with and discuss your challenges with someone or something in a safe and loving way.

1. Begin with a meditative approach as previously described. When you are at peace, picture yourself on one side of a bridge of light and the issue or person on the other side. Walk to the center of the bridge as the other person (or concern) comes to meet you in the middle. This process ensures you do not invite negative energy into your personal space and you don’t have to go into theirs.

2. Share whatever you have to say and ask for any messages or response. This is your time to speak from your heart and share everything you would like to discuss in the privacy of this neutral space. Use this as a dialogue to uncover the reflections, motives, intents, etc. You could view this as an aspect of yourself, for example, that is trying to protect you or help you in some way—however misguided, or discordant it may be. Try to forgive, resolve or agree on a higher solution.

3. Close by asking for the highest and best to come from the situation and feel forgiveness and love for each party involved. Walk back to your respective sides and return to your waking state, knowing the situation will resolve itself. You may repeat this if greater clarity is needed or until you feel more inner peace.

This article is excerpted with permission from Unconditional Love—An Unlimited Way of Being by Harold W. Becker.

About The Author

Harold W. Becker has dedicated his life to living and sharing the practical application of unconditional love. Since 1990, his consulting company, Internal Insights, has had its focus to “empower people through self awareness and unconditional love.” In 2000 he founded the globally recognized non-profit, The Love Foundation Inc., with the intent to “inspire people to love unconditionally.” He blends incredible insight and intuition with humor, compassion and kindness for a strong inspirational and motivational vision in all of his endeavors which also include business, writing, speaking and personal guidance. Visit his website:

No comments: