Monday, January 30, 2017

Are you ready to stop repeating life mistakes?

Break loose from old tiedowns
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you say to yourself, “Dammit! I did it again. I’m back in the same old situation, only different. Obviously I’m making some mistake that lands me back in the same kind of situation. I’m supposed to learn a lesson from this, but what the hell is it? Why am I back here again?”

There could be a lot of reasons you keep repeating the same problem, but it doesn’t matter why. If you have any life experience, of course you’ve experienced this broken record.  

The question is, how do you break free? Here is how.

These “same old situations” are tethered to an emotional life experience. It imprints on our brains and bodies. The obvious example is childhood abuse. A beating gets imprinted on our bodies. A frequently repeated put-down gets imprinted on our brains. As long as the imprint remains, we’re doomed to repeat the same stuck feelings and thoughts.

One lady recalled a memory when she was eight years old. She was talking with a trusted uncle when suddenly a sense of dread filled her. Her heart racing, she ran into the kitchen where she found her mother. She recalled that nothing bad actually happened, but throughout her life she experienced the same sense of danger anytime she began to trust a man. At age 48, she had managed to marry once for three years, but she reported that she always felt anxious until divorced.

An imprint can be from real trauma or from a rule of life that we decided to live by. Over time the origin of the rule faded away, but we still recreate similar situations, trying to resolve that old imprint. We relive it over and over, trying to make it have a different, better outcome. We keep walking into the wall expecting a door to appear. Obviously, personal experience tells us that doesn’t work.

Anytime we have a imprint experience, our minds keep going back to it, rehashing it over and over. That’s your brain trying to find a solution, trying to resolve the imprint.

Here’s how to get beyond it. Researchers have found that, if you repeatedly retell the story of the bad experience, it slowly relieves the imprint.

So, first, write your story. Then rewrite it and add any details you want.

Retelling the story brings up the old pain, and we naturally want to avoid pain. So you may find yourself trying to avoid the story because of the associated the pain. But if we don’t retell the story, we remain stuck in the imprint.

The next step is, once you have your story written, find someone you trust to listen to you tell the story over and over again. Each time you retell the story, the emotional imprint will fade some. 

Over time you’ll become desensitized to the bad feelings associated with the story. Once the feelings are resolved, the story becomes an ancient faded memory, and you are freed to move forward in your life.

This works no matter how long ago you had the bad experience, but it works best in the first 90 days after it. You may have several old imprints to overcome. Go through this process for each one of them, as well as for any new ones that come up.

And next time you feel inspired to do something new, step through any discomfort and test your new freedom. Once you’ve released your old imprints, there’s truly nothing holding you back. 

Copyright © 2017 Christopher Aune

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Human beings are problem solvers eager to be challenged

Decades ago the newly elected parish council at the Catholic church I attended voted me to be their president. At our first meeting, in the parade of old business, there was a scheduled pancake breakfast that no one knew about. The kitchen and hall were scheduled, but we were otherwise unprepared for it. It was unfunded, and it was just four days away.

The priest pastor immediately dismissed it, said that it wasn’t going to happen, and started to move on to other business. I jumped right in.

“Wait a minute. Not so fast,” I said. “A lot of people already know about that breakfast. What would it take to make it happen? How many people do we expect to come?”

People contributed several guesstimates, and we decided to plan for 70-90 people.

“I’ll buy two sliced whole hams,” I said. “Who will buy the pancake mix, eggs and milk?”
Margaret Mead

People split that up among themselves, and others added coffee and orange juice and paper plates. We already had cups and tableware.

“Now, how do we divide up the work?”

In short, that pancake breakfast went off without a hitch, and in the process, we built a collaborative team out of our parish council.

Human beings are problem solvers, folks. Quit listening to the naysayers. Stop giving up before you’ve even begun. And realize that money is never the issue. 

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Be a Friend

True friends stab you in the front. - Oscar Wilde

A friend is someone who will let you talk through your pain until you come out the other side … someone who won’t interrupt and tell you that you’re negative based on an incomplete report of your pain … someone who lets you talk through things without making sense … who tells you what they just heard you say … who listens as you correct them… who keeps trying to understand until you feel understood …  who keeps listening and coming back until you turn positive and hopeful, and the light comes into your eyes. 

A friend is someone who will suggest a parade of things you could do about the situation, knowing that you’re not likely to do any of them. A friend sticks around anyway. A friend wants to be included, but doesn’t impose.

A friend is someone who trusts you enough to doubt themselves even when they suspect you have a hidden agenda. A friend tells you about their hidden agenda; and when you want to help, they figure out some way you can be included.

A friend asks you about what you’re trying to do … your recent thoughts, activities and plans … and long after the conversation is over, remembers your struggles and finds something that might be helpful to you … and gives a little humor, a little information, a little taste of something great, and most importantly, a little encouragement.

“That’s a great idea!” “Wow! You actually started that? Most people don’t even get started. You’re doing great!” “Amazing that you keep pursuing that. I never knew anybody who was so passionate about something.” “Golden!” “Smokin’!” “You’re a good-hearted person.” “You have a golden heart.” “You’re the expert in that area. I wish I knew how to do that. Tell me how you do that.”

A friend sometimes tells the truth, even though it might hurt you. But a friend doesn’t insist that you always be honest with yourself. A friend values your happiness, your illusions, and your dreams … even though they may be totally unrealistic. A friend encourages you even when your goals are pretty wild, and allows you to keep your dreams alive.

Friends are loyal: They defend you when you’re not there, even if you did something stupid and indefensible. “That’s not like him. He must have had an off day.”

A friend is happy and grateful to receive anything from you, just because you thought of them and are trying to help them. Friends give back when asked. You can tell if a person is a friend: If someone is willing to receive from you, but is consistently unwilling to give back; that’s not a friend. A friend has your best interests at heart, keeps an eye out for ways to be helpful, and tries to give back when possible, especially when asked.               

Copyright © 2013 by Christopher Aune, www.ChristopherAune.com

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What to do when you trust nobody, no way, no how, uh huh, ain't gonna happen

Sometimes in life you end up in deep dark places. Especially if you're an upbeat, trusting, hopeful type of person, you can get overwhelmed by lack of support, being betrayed and even being attacked. What do you do then?


I had spent 20 years building a great reputation and proving myself over and over. I was recognized with 17 awards and 20 military decorations during those 20 years. Suddenly, it went downhill, and then then it went over the cliff straight to hell. I didn't change. The people I trusted did. I wasn't just hurt, I was devastated. I couldn't even walk on the same side of the street as other people. I trusted no one, no way, no how, not, nadda, don't even think about it.

Now, 17 years later, I'm okay. How did I get back?

First, I realized that not trusting was my problem, not "theirs;" that I was hurting, not them.

Then I decided "Screw that! Not trusting hurts me, not them. I'm not doing that anymore."

Then I sorted out who I don't trust and just stayed away from them. If anyone tried to join the "not trusted" list, I let them. Very low bar. Any discomfort for any reason, list 'em.
Protect yourself: woman with sword
Protect yourself from evil people.

Protect yourself: woman with sword

Protect yourself from evil people.

Later, I insisted on trusting only the best people and screw the rest. I was still very wary. Very. But I allowed trust to grow with a few people. It was interesting how certain people showed up.

After a long time, I decided to take the emphasis off others and put it on me. Now I'm in charge of what I do, who I allow into my life and how they are in my life.

It turns out that I was really bad at loving myself, taking care of myself and protecting myself from uncaring or manipulative people. Since I now know and accept that, I am generally cautious, and have learned to listen to my heart.

If I don't feel comfortable with someone, I trust that feeling and stay away from them.

Also, if I feel attracted to some one, I don't ever pursue them, but I just be myself with them. If they are meant to be in my life, they come to me, and we slowly grow closer.

There are still less than a handful of people I trust, but the truth is that, the only ones I truly, really trust are myself and the Universe speaking in my heart. That's all I truly trust. That's the main thing. It guides me with all other relationships.

Now I have a guide for knowing who to trust and how much. People are going to do what's right for them, whether it bothers me or not. That's okay, I let them do their own thing.

If they break trust intentionally, I'm prepared to lose them, and that's part of life. And sometimes they break trust intentionally but unconsciously. They don't realize they're doing it, and they deny it even while they're doing it. But they're doing it. You know they're doing it. And the fact that they deny it or "didn't mean to" has no bearing on the matter. These days I always ditch toxic people no matter what. A year later I might give them a chance, but I'm twice as quick to cut them out of my life if they're still doing the same crap.

But sometimes people break trust unintentionally. I can tell if they have a good heart. I can feel it in my heart. I can be fooled for a little while, but the breaking point is simply this: If it doesn't feel right, it isn't right. If you aren't sure, then it's not right. If you're confused about it, it's not right. End it with huge distances and high walls. And don't let them be violated.

You have a right to feel good and to surround yourself with only the people who make you feel good and support you doing the things you want to do. Screw the rest of them. Protect your heart. Period. End of story.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What if your hunger isn't actually hunger?

A lot of people eat when they are not hungry. I have, and sometimes still do. I think it’s because we are trying to feel better. We are trying to fill a hole in ourselves that cannot be filled with food, things or other people’s love.

So, the first thing we need is self-love. Love is the miracle cure, according to Louise Hay. Loving myself works miracles in my life. Self-love helps me make changes easily.

If that sounds selfish, think again. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. He just assumed that you love yourself. So, love yourself first. Then you have the wholeness to love others.

If you haven’t been loving yourself first, how has that been working for you? If it doesn’t feel inspiring and healing, isn’t it time to try something else?

A hole in your heart cannot be filled with food. Stuffing your discomfort with food becomes a symptom, not the solution. Learn to love yourself; it’s priority one. I recommend any and all of Louise Hay’s books and recordings to learn how to love yourself.

While you’re healing the emptiness in your core being with self-love, understand and manage your eating. A lot of other people have written about dieting, but probably the most important thing they skip is understanding what is hunger is not. 

People think that any discomfort in the abdominal area is hunger. They respond by eating ... even when that discomfort is caused by being overly full and bloated! The truth is that the discomfort in your gut is rarely hunger. People can go for long periods without eating and still not actually be hungry. Modern humans eat much more than their body actually uses. 

What else do people mistake for hunger? Often stress causes a discomfort that’s mistaken for hunger. You feel stress as a tension in your gut. Mistaking it for hunger, you eat to cure the discomfort. But eating doesn’t fix stress. You can reduce stress in several ways. First, do a centering meditation. Your mind is often on the children, the car, the house, the bills, or that person who slighted you. All those things are outside of you. They are not in you.

So, to reduce stress, draw your energy and attention away from those outside things and put your attention on the energy inside your body.

First, take your attention away from outside things. Sit down and be quiet. Say to yourself, “I am not the house payment. I am not the car that needs repair. I am not the screaming children. I am not the husband who doesn’t help. I am not the wife who demands more of me. I am not the dishes in the sink.” Imagine a smoky stream of energy flowing out of all these “things,” and back into your heart and torso.  

Then, put your attention inside yourself. Say, “I am who I am. I am enough. I do only my best, and that is always good enough. I am a great _____. I feel good about myself when I _____. I love me! etc.” (Hay is the master of self-affirming statements, and has books and audios filled with them.)

A second way to reduce stress is to exercise. Walk for a while every day. It doesn’t matter how fast, but walk a little more each day until you are walking at least 30 minutes. Exercise reduces stress, activates hormones that make you feel great, burns calories, and eliminates that hungry feeling.

Thirst is also mistaken for hunger. Water is good. Keep a glass of filtered water around all the time. Not only does it keep you from feeling hungry when you’re not, but it cleans out all the toxins that can make your sick and tired.

Sleepiness causes tension in the gut, which can be mistaken for hunger. Sleep is essential. Go to bed at the same time every night and rise at the same time every morning. If you start dozing off in the middle of the afternoon, go ahead and take a nap. You can reset your brain clock with a 10-15 minute nap. But you may want to sleep for 30, 60 or 90 minutes, especially if you’re not feeling fully up to par. When you wake up, lay around until you feel happy about getting up. Love yourself! You can be sick and only notice that you feel tired. When you feel sick, tired or on edge, sleep more! Never feel ashamed of getting enough sleep. Sleep is essential.

We also feel tension in our jaw muscles, and we interpret it as hunger. Try a piece of sugar-free chewing gum. A lot of times, chewing relieves that stress that starts in our jaws and extends down our esophagus into the gut. A simple piece of chewing gum can stave off that discomfort for hours!

If somebody upsets you, you may feel stress that can be mistaken for hunger. Don’t stuff your feelings. Sometimes we keep repeating a memory of a perceived insult or injury. Everybody gets upset sometime. But few people realize that you can choose your feelings. Go up several paragraphs and practice centering your attention and energy within yourself.

Instead of living in the memory of hurt, forgive the perpetrator (unless it’s criminal, then report it). These feelings are yours, and the perpetrator probably already forgot about it. Why would you want to carry this around? Release the hurt and anger to the universe. Stop dwelling on the pain. Refuse to live there. Release yourself from that prison.

Replace sad, angry and fearful thought with a happy memory: a happy place or event. Every time the repeating thought comes up, replace it with the happy thought. Stay with that thought for a few minutes. Keep coming back to it every time you notice you drifted away. With practice, you’ll learn to go to your happy place in a snap.

You can be preemptive about it. As you go through your day, notice beautiful, happy things: Gems, flowers, a nice view, a couple holding hands. Remember these and the feeling they give you. Recall them often so they come easily, even when someone upset you. Why get hungry when somebody else is being a jerk?

Okay, sometimes you’re actually hungry. Check all the various things that might be causing that hunger feeling. Make sure it’s really hunger. Some important ones are listed above, but you’ll notice others, too. Try the suggested solutions, or you can make up your own solution.

If you think you’re actually hungry, try drinking some water before eating. Or eat an apple, drink some water or wait 30 minutes, or all three! If you’re still experiencing discomfort in your gut, and you think it’s really hunger, you can choose whether you need a small interim fueling or a full-sized healthy meal. You always get to choose.

For an interim fueling, I drink a Green Schmoo: a smoothie made of half an apple, half a banana, an amount of kale equal to the apple and banana, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, some unsweetened almond milk and water. Blend thoroughly, maybe a full minute. The sweetness is satisfying, and the fiber will fill you up. You can omit the banana for less sugar. If you’re diabetic, you may need something different, like a cereal bowl of blueberries, pecans and home-toasted rolled oats covered with some unsweetened almond milk. Yum!

Of course, we sometimes get hungry for a full-sized meal. If you've done your best to stave off the hunger, go ahead and eat a meal of single helpings. 

Realize this: It’s okay to be hungry. In fact, if you want to lose weight, start with fasting. Make abstaining your norm instead of eating. Fasting turns on your cells’ healing powers and allows for toxins to be expelled from the body. Intermittent fasting allows you to eat healthy for a period of four or six hours each day. You can fast two to five days a week.

I have some Bulletproof Coffee in the morning, a Green Schmoo at 3 p.m., then eat normally between 6-10 p.m. I fast from 10 p.m. one day to 3 p.m. the next day. That’s 17 hours. (Water and Bulletproof Coffee doesn’t count.) It’s easier than it might sound because, instead of breaking fast in the morning, I simply extend the fast until the afternoon, taking an hour long walk, drinking water and a cup of coffee till then. There are lots of different ways to fast intermittently. Figure out a schedule that works for you. Search for it online or find videos of Dr. Jason Fung on DietDoctor.com.

Also, eliminate sugar. Sugar makes you hungry. It burns a lot of minerals and vitamins, and when your trace minerals get burned up, you get cravings – intense hunger - which leads to binges. Sugar is addictive, so it can be hard to kick. The best way is cold turkey. But expect to fall off the wagon several times before you get clean. It took me a year of keeping on trying. I just kept doing it over and over until it stuck.

Finally, you may feel hunger very strongly, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat a huge meal. Often, you can get strong feelings of hunger – like you could eat a whole cow with the trimmings or a whole gallon of ice cream – but if you’ll give yourself a single serving or two of healthy foods, you stave off the hunger. You only need a small amount to stop the strong intensity hunger. And that gives you time to think and to prepare something very healthy that you can stuff yourself with.

In conclusion, you may not be hungry. If you really are, it may be okay to not eat immediately. You may only need a single serving of something healthy. Stave off the hunger until you can put together the healthy, filling meal that you really want. Find what works for you.

You’ll feel blessed for implementing your solution.
© 2018 Christopher Aune
SuperClear™ podcast on Facebook Live and YouTube
Healthy-Not-Hungry on Facebook

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The end of sorrows

Today is Sunday, and I went to Tiny Church, where I've been going for a couple of years now. I hugged Pastor Martha and felt her vibration. I've been doing that more and more lately: Sensing my own and others' vibrational energy.

Anyway, I discovered something during the sermon. We read in the Bible, Matthew 24:6-8:
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
That last sentence suddenly made sense to me.

I've written elsewhere about how we get caught up in the memories of painful experiences and project that as the fear of future painful experiences. We live in our pain. The pain no longer exists, but the memory does and the fear does. We live in an illusion. But how did we get there?

Well, the beginning of sorrows is famines, pestilences and earthquakes. These are all things beyond the control of any human being. They cause initial pain. Once we have the experience, we live in fear of the possibility that it could happen again. It drives us crazy. We react to anything that causes any discomfort as though it a precursor to famines, pestilences and earthquakes. We get agitated, angry and even violent. We relay that anxiety to our families and across generations. That leads to wars and rumors of wars. Yes, it really actually happens that way. It even activates our DNA so we are born afraid and ready to fight. Not a good thing.

So, here's the fix. As soon as you have a painful experience, go talk to a good listener about it. The sooner the better, otherwise you get into the habit of carrying that memory and fear around with you, and it gets harder to deal with. The scientists have demonstrated that the way to dissipate and eventually remove the pain and fear is to talk about it, re-experience the memory and pain over and over again in a safe setting until you can talk about it without the emotion. It works ... unless you live there in the memory of pain. Don't live there.

Step Two is getting out and collecting good, positive, upbeat experiences. Recall them over and over again. Anytime your thoughts go toward negativity, stop! Tell yourself, "Stop that! I don't live there," and then replace it with your favorite happy memory. Live in the happy memories. Notice beauty everywhere, every day. Notice when something brings you joy. Dwell there! Share the good stories of your life. Talk about the good things that have happened to you.

What about painful experiences that happened years ago but are still living in your mind? Do the same thing. Talk about it with someone who knows how to listen. Share the emotion associated with the pain in a safe place. Do it over and over until the emotion no longer bothers you when you talk about it. Replace negative memories with beautiful memories and feelings. Do it every time until it becomes an automatic habit.  Repeat them to yourself in the mirror until the stories come naturally and automatically. Share the positive stories with anyone who will listen. Share the joy, don't annoy.

Famines, pestilences, earthquakes and wars may be the beginning of sorrows, but now you know the end of them. The reign of heaven is at hand! Live it! - Christopher Aune

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Foundations

I want to do the "greater things than these" that Jesus Christ said we would do.

There. I said it. I had to say that right up front because that's why I started this blog. I'm going to be exploring the astounding things I've learned about meditation and prayer, plus my progress toward my dreams and goals. I'll be sharing my attempts, my failures and my triumphs.

To start, I'm focusing on Foundations. It may not look like it, but all these things fit together to make a life I love. All the following posts are encounters along The Way.

Click on image for a larger view
My Best Day - added May 2019.