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16 – THREE pars in 9 holes!

The last two years, I golfed four times and often tripled par. This summer I golfed 3-4 times a week and twice by myself which since no one was behind me, I played up to 5 balls. Some called this cheating; I called it practice. The man at the driving range got to know me after going three times in one week. I came to love golfing in the rain for it kept down the bugs, crowds and heat.

Eager to play more, and feeling a new hunger for the game, I joined the Metro Ladies Group in Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada). In a few short weeks, I played new courses, made new friends, and my game improved to where I parred three times in 9 holes. Joining a group made it more fun and got me adventuring an hour outside of Halifax.

Hole 11
Hole 11 PAR

15 – CURE Panic Attacks

Panic happens because one gets scared and holds their breath. The longer one holds their breath, the more the panic increases. In truth, if one were to pass out, the body would immediately resume breathing. It is the frightened mind that has one panicking for air BECAUSE they are forgetting to exhale.

Solution

Say out loud for an entire exhale (until you run out of breath) “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…”

Why does this work?

By saying aloud “ha-ha-ha-ha-ha” you are exhaling, and the body is no longer terrified you are going to die. The body automatically does an inhale after you exhale. It’s when you won’t exhale, there is no room for a new breath. For without any conscious effort, the body will automatically inhale. Now that the panic is over, you have the energy and wherewithal to deal with the problem that scared you. And it doesn’t seem nearly as bad as dying, so you feel empowered and more confident, as well as more clear-headed for having taken a big breath.

14 – Appreciation Epiphanies

— Jack Canfield and others suggest starting each day with appreciations, and I determined to stay out of my two-month funk, so I began with the basic litany:

I appreciate having electricity.
I appreciate having running water.
I appreciate having a house.
I appreciate having a husband.
I appreciate having a comfortable bed.
I appreciate being alive.
I appreciate my two daughters who are wonderful.

After five minutes, I began to get bored so wondered if I could keep doing appreciations and be productive. The result fascinated me.

I appreciate that I have so many ideas I can’t do them all.
I appreciate that many of my ideas would be fun but are expensive and even impractical.
I appreciate that my husband and I have different opinions.
I appreciate that what is important to me isn’t important to my husband.
I appreciate that I get bored easily.
I appreciate that I love challenges and love coming up with ideas.
I appreciate that some of my ideas truly excite me, but might result in causing others harm.
I appreciate that I care hugely about everyone and everything.
I appreciate that I’m smiling.
I appreciate that I don’t know what to do to remodel our house.
I appreciate that I am interested and willing to make the house more to my liking.

For an hour I walked the neighborhood, appreciating that some people fix up their houses and some don’t. I appreciated that some may not have the time, money or interest. During the walk I had epiphanies of what I could do to our house that made me laugh or ponder.

I shared with my husband what I was doing and he said, “At least it makes you light. That’s a nice change.” Then he appreciated me and broke into a grin. I’m still smiling and laughing an hour later, even after dipping after hearing about drama and mayhem.

I appreciate that I’m a sensitive soul and get upset hearing all this drama and anger.
I appreciate that my husband can almost laugh at other people’s craziness.
I appreciate that I get a bit crazy hearing other people’s craziness.
I appreciate that I only want to feel laughter and joy.
I appreciate that life is so much easier and productive when I come from appreciation.
I appreciate that I manifested a playful, fun, adoring marriage after two hours of non-stop appreciations.

I APPRECIATE JACK CANFIELD, HIS TEAM (ESPECIALLY PATTY AUBREY) AND MY CLASSMATES FOR HOLDING A SAFE PLACE THIS PAST WEEK WHILE I SLOGGED THROUGH UPSET, ANGER, FEAR, PRIDE, DEPRESSION, OVERWHELM, INADEQUACY, etc.

I appreciate that I never gave up even though I was afraid I might.
I appreciate that I gave myself a long leash to entangle myself.

I appreciate that this morning I got up almost immediately and didn’t let myself fall back asleep implying that what I do doesn’t make a difference, that I can’t improve my life, that I shouldn’t care and not even try. Part of me didn’t want to get up and in truth, I vacillated three times because I didn’t have enthusiasm, didn’t have a plan, and considered escaping back into dreams. But my quiet voice said, “Get up,” and while part of me worried and doubted, a stronger voice said, “You are not going to slip into depression; get up, get dressed, make your bed, make the other bed, do appreciations.”

And voila! My husband and I have laughed and enjoyed each other. It’s rare my brain is quiet, so learning how to keep calm is a huge leap in growth.

I appreciate that tomorrow this technique may not work for me.
I appreciate that if it doesn’t, I will find some new latest greatest way to bring myself back to joy.
I appreciate that I need joy more than the average bear, or, I’m just more aware and determined.
I appreciate that I am a joy expert and have a skill that’s fun to teach.
I appreciate that not everyone wants to unleash their joy.
I appreciate that I’m often wrong.
I appreciate that I love being the Pied Piper and the tune I use to attract a following is joy.
I appreciate that I have no idea who I’m going to meet or who is going to resonate with my ongoing quest to find and spread joy.
I appreciate that I’m getting older.
I appreciate that I’m getting wiser.
I appreciate that I have a husband who encourages my becoming happier and immediately responds by becoming happier, too.
I appreciate that not every day is great.
I appreciate that dips are potholes to try to go around, but if hit one, to just appreciate that pothole for showing how I didn’t react fast enough to detour around it.
I appreciate that my old computer is still working.
I appreciate that I am a joy junkie.
I appreciate that I get so joyous that I don’t want to do the mundane like cook, clean, grocery shop, unpack.
I appreciate that I am a good cook.
I appreciate that I have a house to clean.
I appreciate that I have a husband who likes my cooking.
I appreciate that I like organizing.
I appreciate that grocery shopping especially in Bedford, a half hour drive along a beautiful lake.
I appreciate that we have a house that has a pond three houses away.
I appreciate that the waterfall two blocks away is bigger than ever.
I appreciate that I get so excited about new and different that I’m easily distracted and don’t finish projects.

I appreciate that you have read all this.

Love and Hugs, Kathryn

13 – Shame to Wisdom

— I was frustrated with being depressed and thus decided to see if processing up through the emotional levels might lighten my mood. Not only did this technique work, it articulated things bothering me. It was grand to watch myself grow positive slowly, almost organically (meaning no drugs — other than coffee and sugar — and no harping “must be positive or I will die” histrionics).

The process took an hour, but could be done while driving, walking, exercising, cleaning house, cooking, etc.

Shame is not wearing sandals because your toes aren’t painted.
Shame is apologizing or not going out in public because you don’t have on your makeup.
Shame is avoiding friends and family because you’re not your normal joyful self.
Shame is feeling stupid/mean/ungrateful/panic that you who are an “expert” on joy keeps getting sucked down to depression.
Shame is believing you must be always at your best or you’re letting yourself down.
Shame is wanting to quit, disgusting yourself because you know you have so much yet to live for and contribute to the world.

Guilt – I feel guilty that I have so much and am not happy.
Guilt – I am wasting precious minutes being glum and dispirited.
Guilt – I am letting down those who love, like and trust me, even more those who need me.
Guilt – I am letting down myself.

Apathy – Who gives a fuck?
Apathy – If I can’t have joy I’d rather be dead.
Apathy – You can judge me, I can judge me, but God/Universe/Spirit doesn’t.
Apathy – It really doesn’t matter how much I bounce around spreading joy, negativity will still pervade.

Grief – I miss China and feeling adored, conscious I was making a positive impact on 200 students’ lives every day.
Grief – I miss living an outrageously bold life in a strange world.
Grief – I miss being part of a team of great teachers who also loved working in China.
Grief – I miss Darryl Goodridge living in our home.

Fear – I am afraid I’ll never be that happy and joyful again.
Fear – I’m afraid that my negativity and anger and frustration will undermine this marriage.
Fear – I’m afraid I’ll do desperate acts that I will regret in an effort to pull me up from this funk.
Fear – I’m afraid that I’ll make myself sick with this negativity.
Fear – That I’m missing opportunities due to be negative.

Desire – I want to be happy.
Desire – I want to be happily married.
Desire – I want to live in a house I adore.
Desire – I want to be around positive people.
Desire – I want to spread joy.
Desire – I want to smile and laugh and hug and play games.
Desire – I want to travel and to look forward to returning home.
Desire – I want to make more than I spend.
Desire – I want to be a grandma and see my granddaughter often, really know her and her to know me.
Desire – I want to become a trainer, leading seminars teaching others how to get epiphanies and find joy.
Desire – I want my book JOY IS GENIUS to make a difference in the world.
Desire – I want to be part of a huge positive progressive team that tackles the impossible because they know it is possible, and it’s fun trying.
Desire – I want to live smiling, singing, dancing, joyful which turns working hard into hardly working because it feels like playing.
Desire – I want to feel good about myself.
Desire – I want to lose 20 pounds.
Desire – I want to have vibrantly dreams at night of living in houses I adore filled with friends and family who are laughing and enjoying themselves.
Desire – I want to wake up eager to jump out of bed.

anger – I am so angry that I don’t love my house.
anger – I am so angry that I can’t work in Canada until I get permanent residency.
anger – I am so angry that my husband is not happy living 30 minutes from town.
anger – I am so angry that to remodel the house to what I’d like prices it way above the neighborhood, and my husband balks at the idea of moving.
anger – I am angry that my ideas are questioned especially since I don’t know if they would work until I try them, and frankly, just trying makes me feel better, so to not try frustrates the hell out of me.
anger – I am frustrated that having more than we had in China is not making us happier.
anger – I am frustrated that I can’t solve this dilemma. Maybe I should work in Africa?
anger – I am frustrated that I’m not joyful.
anger – I am frustrated that my frustration upsets others, as though I should shut up and be grateful and accept this is my life, that I’m supposed to fit into their cookie cutter idea of happiness.
anger – I am frustrated that it’s not okay to ask ask ask for what you want, to embarrass my husband for going after my dreams as though he isn’t providing me well enough, isn’t good enough. I’m only unhappy because I feel it’s not okay to bluntly and aggressively work to fix what is not enjoyed.
anger – I’m so angry it’s not okay to be dissatisfied with life and want to make it better even if have a better life than 90% of the world.
anger – I’m so angry that I wasted hours being upset and missed out on enjoying all the beauty of my surroundings.
anger – I’m so angry that I didn’t follow my bliss, and expecting to avoid upset, created upset.

pride – I am an American.
pride – I worked for eight years in China.
pride – I am married.
pride – I have two wonderful daughters.
pride – I am soon to become a grandma.
pride – I am a college graduate.
pride – I have self-published 12 children’s picture books.
pride – I have written a book teaching joy.
pride – When happy, I look younger than I am.
pride – I live in Nova Scotia.
pride – I did a 5-day retreat with Jack Canfield.
pride – I don’t give up.
pride – I have lived 60 years.
pride – That I’m intelligent, well-read, well-traveled and studied many paradigms.
pride – That I’m an amazing speaker, writer, visionary.
pride – That I love learning, growing, being positive.

courage – I was courageous to go to China.
courage – I was courageous to stay 8 years in China.
courage – I was courageous to divorce twice and create lives which brought me more joy.
courage – I was courageous to marry again.
courage – I was courageous to move to Nova Scotia.
courage – I was courageous to get out of bed this morning.
courage – I am courageous to return home when it’s not a place of joy.
courage – I am courageous to search for ways to bring myself up from gloom and doom.
courage – I am courageous to meet up for lunch with a childhood friend who adored my mom, meaning it will bring up bittersweet memories of missing her and times long past when I was happier and had life better than most anyone I knew.
courage – I am courageous to not give up and shut down but to keep asking and searching for ways to turn our house into a home I adore and feel safe in, where I can write and thrive.
courage – I am courageous to smile and be determined to make this marriage be fun, playful, and full of laughter, joy and travel.
courage – I am courageous to keep on going.

neutrality – I am safe even when challenged.
neutrality – I am safe even when upset.
neutrality – I am a good person even when upset.
neutrality – Neither my husband nor I are right or wrong, we just have different points of view.
neutrality – I am safe even if don’t get what I want.
neutrality – I don’t have to have all the answers or vision of what path I am to be on.
neutrality – I am calm regardless of circumstances, the news, my husband not understanding or agreeing with me.
neutrality – Just because I don’t understand or agree doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect; and I don’t need to waste time getting upset.
neutrality – “God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

willingness – I’m willing to reassess every aspect of my life and clean up what isn’t working.
willingness – I’m willing to look at all options.
willingness – I’m willing to have this transformation be fast, easy, and painless.
willingness – I’m willing to manifest a home I adore; a marriage that is fun, playful and full of laughter and joy.
willingness – I’m willing to create a business teaching joy seminars; manifest that my upcoming book JOY IS GENIUS is a New York Bestseller meaning it is effective in bringing joy to millions around the world; my children’s picture books are Amazon bestsellers and read all over the world; my body is strong, flexible and feels good; I am a grandma and see my granddaughter every other month.
willingness – I’m willing to learn how to manifest my dreams, meaning working more effectively rather than harder.
willingness – I’m willing to smile.
willingness – I’m willing to enjoy today.
willingness – I’m willing to return home.
willingness – I’m willing to manifest cheap, easy, fun ways to add curb appeal to my home.
willingness – I’m willing to open my heart to joy even when not liking the situation.

acceptance – I accept that no one is perfect, including me, and that that was never the goal.
acceptance – I accept that the only clues I have are now and feelings, that I can’t change what happened but I can my feelings, and that I am 100% responsible for finding my own joy.
acceptance – I accept that much of life makes no sense to me and that that is okay, it keeps me curious and exploring and it’s not my job to change anyone or anything.
acceptance – I accept that often it takes years to see that what happened was necessary and important as part of my journey this lifetime.
acceptance – I accept that I cannot control most anything and in fact have a hard time controlling my thoughts and habits, yet just by striving to become a better person, I am enriching my life and thriving.
acceptance – I accept that joy is a state of mind, not a reflection external events.
acceptance – I accept that daydreams and imagination are the playground of joy.
acceptance – I accept that I must vigilantly and constantly give myself permission to go there alone by disconnecting from the mayhem and upset of the common life.
acceptance – I accept that while joy is everyone’s birthright, it is not the goal of the majority.
acceptance – I accept that I can find joy anytime, anywhere, for it spawns from the depths of my core.
acceptance – I accept that while anger and pride are warrior actions, warriors are in constant battle for otherwise they are not warriors.
acceptance – I accept that I am bored and tired of killing and being killed, if only metaphorically.
acceptance – I accept that transitioning from warrior to wise is uncomfortable and that I will make many mistakes in my journey.
acceptance – I accept that living life at less than joy doesn’t interest me.
acceptance – I accept that I may drift away from friends and family who do not share my goal.
acceptance – I accept that being alone with joy is more fulfilling and kinder to my mind and body than being with others who are not at courage or above.
acceptance – I accept that I am the only one who can choose where I go.

wisdom – Wise is aloof. It hears all, sees all, judges none, yet has clarity of vision and fortitude.
wisdom – Wisdom is above emotional mayhem. It sees eventualities based on trajectories.
wisdom – Wisdom is in the present tense.
wisdom – Courage, neutrality, willingness and acceptance are usually in the present tense, too.
wisdom – Wisdom is knowing that to be calm, I must make calm more important than being right.
wisdom – Wisdom is guided by the heart.
wisdom – Wisdom is above conflict.
wisdom – Wisdom is when everyone wins.
wisdom – Wisdom is not making wrong those who would rather be right, and not to be sad that they rather be right than have joy, that they have a choice and made one different than me.
wisdom – Wisdom is a child-like view of adult things.
wisdom – Wisdom is stopping and getting through security and to my gate without worrying or rushing.

Hugs and joy, Kathryn
Friday the 13th – April 2018

12 – The Day After

The downside of drinking is coming down from that care-free state. It’s not that I drink so much that I vomit or pass out, but the next morning I feel sluggish and fuzzy-headed. It takes about four hours to regain my buoyancy and verve for life. So if already struggling with depression, it compounds the funk. It takes two strong coffees heavily laced with sugar instead of just one.

11 – Happy Drunk

This post is to test whether I make sense drunk. I’ve been drunk only a handful of times and never to the point of passing out or vomiting. Yet it took so many tries to get into my website that I’m afraid I’ve lost what I wanted to share. Yet I had the patience to persevere, meaning that I haven’t been able to access my website because I got so irritated that I gave up in the past few weeks, which is why you haven’t heard from me. That’s not to endorse drinking, but again, citing this an experiment.

Most people I’ve known drunk have been sad drunks or angry drunks. However, Canadians like my husband are amorous drunks to the point of saying “I love you” and kissing me in public, both typically not comfortable nor common actions shared in public.

So it surprises and delights me to find I am a Happy Drunk. I’ve had two vodka-mint-raspberry drinks; one was enough to know I was in no shape to drive; two had me barely able to keep my eyes open, yet my auditory skills seemed heightened. This post is to test whether that while I cannot walk a straight line nor barely navigate stairs that my mind is lucid.

The new title of One-a-Day Joy seems the most suited for my upcoming book. Why? Because I need help every day!!! It’s like I well remember being born a joyful creature and resent and get frustrated when my joy is thwarted. Hence, most every day I need a new way to find joy. As blasphemous as it sounds, God hasn’t been enough nor have anti-depressants nor have techniques that worked brilliantly the day before.

My life has been a quest of finding new ways to find JOY today.

TODAY’S JOY: Spending $200,000 dollars.

Inspired by Abraham-Hicks’ book The Processes (Ask and It is Given – Part II), they advise to imagine spending money. They believe that the psyche doesn’t know the difference between spending the money in reality versus spending it in imagination.

They purport that to attract money one must be willing and ready to receive it, and imagining spending money puts one in a state of such joy that one is ready to receive money in actuality.

I cannot describe the joy it has brought me all day spending this sum a dozen times. It is the largest sum I could tangibly conceive of having in my hands. It has made clearer what I really want to spend my money on and more importantly, how just the thought of buying is enough to bring me joy, that I don’t actually need to make the purchase.

1. Taking my daughter and her husband for a $50 dinner = 4,000 times.
2. Assuming it costs $300/hour to rent a helicopter = 667 hours of flying = 16 weeks of flying 40 hours/week… can you imagine the joy of flying so many hours in a helicopter? I’ve flown straight up waterfalls in Maui, over San Francisco Harbor and the Grand Canyon, out to Catalina Island, over volcanoes in Kauai and New Zealand; it’s always bliss.
3. Buying 5,000 Mimosa Trees — paradise to imagine lying amidst a large meadow of such glamorous trees.
4. Buying 100 Macbook Air computers (11 inch, 2 lbs.), keeping one and gifting 99 to others.
5. Putting the down-payment on a house in Santee, California.
6. Putting the down-payment on a house with a view of water in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia within the city limits that pleases my husband, too.
7. Traveling the world on a cruise for a year, both me and my husband.
8. Gifting the money to cause that would do good.
9. Going to a remote area where $200K would truly change their lives.
10. Renovating my home AND putting in a down-payment on a house in Santee, CA.
11. Handing a dollar to two hundred thousand people and hugging each one.
12. Giving $400 to the first 500 people who came to see my one-woman show called “A Funny Thing Happened When I X-rayed Myself.”
13. Giving $40 to the first 5,000 people who came to see my one-woman show called “A Funny Thing Happened When I X-rayed Myself.”

There are more, but with even just those daydreamed while attending class, I spent $2.6 million dollars.

Previous processes had me stuck at spending $500K. Yet it was so easy to imagine spending this sum of money. It gave me joy in a way that delighted me. That sounds profound. Joy always delights.

Advice to you: Take your bank account, or the amount you could borrow, and imagine spending it over and again in all the wild and fun ways you can imagine. See if it doesn’t bring you joy.

Why is JOY so vital? Joy makes priorities clear which makes decision-making easier. When Joy fills the bored hours, the sleepless hours and lifts one from the depressed hours, the time is well spent and enjoyed. Joy makes life interesting and more colorful and often more productive.

JOY is your best friend in bad times, in bleak times, and in alone times. Joy works whether you believe in God or not. Joy is always there if you are willing to see it. Joy never abandons you. It is you that abandons JOY.

Let me know your reaction to this post. If you liked it, tell me why.

I need feedback.

Hugs and joy, Kathryn MacIntyre

10 – I almost gave up yesterday

Yesterday I awoke down in the dumps, and by the time I got out of bed felt like I couldn’t succeed at doing the one-woman show, and seriously considered cancelling the upcoming fundraiser for Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax. The flyers hadn’t been posted, no advertising had been done, so it wasn’t too late to cancel the event.

The thought of cancelling made me feel worse.

Then I had an epiphany: I would blame my husband forever for my not going forward. Then I had another epiphany: I can’t do that to him. I have to go forward. And I have to do a great job and have fun preparing for it.

My mood perked up, but I was still in a bad mood. Determined to shake off the malaise that lingered like sticky glue, I got dressed and went for a walk before dawn. Bundled in my long red coat and gloves, I felt better immediately. From the moment outside and listening to Abraham-Hicks’ audiobook “The Vortex,” I was loving life. Within a few blocks, I felt empowered, joyful, loving the old Victorians and Craftsmen homes.

Of course I could do the show! Of course it would be a success!

This is another example of how getting outside and MOVING revitalizes flagging spirits, energizes the body and makes the impossible seem possible once again.

I didn’t know HOW I would pull off this success, but I knew I wanted to try.

Confidence is mostly faith, trusting that you can achieve something new and huge, and if you can’t, you’re glad you tried and learned lots, made new friends, and perfect just looked different than you expected. In that frame of mind, you can’t lose.

Admittedly, sometimes it takes a strong sugared coffee to boost my spirits when tired or depressed, but after a few sips, I feel better. Amazing how having more energy makes me feel more confident that I can accomplish everyday things and brand new challenges.

9 – Sobbing to Thriving in 26 Days

I remember the moment I realized it’d been 26 days that I’d stopped crying.

I wrote my daughters, “It’s still summer and I’m already cold, hahaha I love to start the day on my computer on the deck, but brrrrrr…. my ankles are cold!”

I loved the deck especially since I’d added five flower baskets — it was my outdoor desk — and while I was shivering from the unusual snap of cold weather that had locals complaining, and even though I was now very apprehensive about enduring my first winter in Nova Scotia considering I needed furry boots to sit outside on that first day of September, I was loving my life.

More than that, I wasn’t missing China! How was that possible? China was now officially relegated to my past life. My future was so enterprisingly entrenched in Nova Scotia that I was eager to start each day and expectant that more good was to come. I loved my future!

How did I go from sobbing to thriving in 26 days?

1. Made the decision to stop crying for one year, realizing it takes time to make new friends and build a new life.
2. Decided that that wasn’t enough, that I had to make Canada be even more great big huge, more outrageous and more wonderful than China or else I would resent my husband FOREVER!
3. Decided if I could not legally work in Canada until I attained Permanent Residency that it would be a good time to finish writing my book: Joy for Dummies.
3. Hired a writing coach to keep me accountable, to be a reader who would give constructive feedback, so that I would finish this book.
4. Alisia (my editor) found my writing inspiring. To have an impartial reader was a new experience. To have my words quoted back to me was a brand new heady experience that inspired me to write more and write better.
5. I started sending Alisia vignettes of my life in China. She loved them and said, “This has to go in your book.”
6. I joined Curves for Women, and while gyms intimidated me, this did not! In fact, women exchanged recipes while working out, recommended movies to see and discussed the weather. I even began to sweat (which until then had been unilaterally opposed to doing).
7. Going to Curves almost daily got me meeting people, making friends, out of the house and MOVING. Have you ever noticed how just getting busy doing something usually makes you feel better?
8. Started listening to the Principles of Success by Jack Canfield – this book lifted my spirits and directed my thinking and got me energized!
9. Realized my life purpose: to spread joy!!!
***I use my joy, compassion and vitality to inspire and build confidence, and to elicit joy to create a world where everyone is calm or exuberant and creatively doing activities that nurture them and make people smile and feel good. – Kathryn MacIntyre, author and motivational speaker***
10. Listed 100 things want to do/see/feel in next 20 years per Jack Canfield’s book – and that was FUN! It got me excited about the future!
11. Listed 100 victories – wow!!! Again, per Canfield’s book and felt so surprised and validated that even in times of feeling down, I’d been succeeding!!!
12. So many more victories I could have listed.
13. Realized I focus on my failures and mistakes rather than my successes!!!
14. Got excited about my future!!! Was not sad to not be returning to China.
15. Had four sets of overnight company in one week.
16. Made blueberry pancakes four mornings.
17. Started 10-day Transformation with Jack Canfield.
18. Day 1: Five things want to change most in this next year.
19. Had so many epiphanies – listed so many ideas took 3 pages.
20. Day 2: Took 100% responsibility for my unhappiness.
21. Vowed to watch less TV and write more.
22. Excused myself from company watching a movie and spent a wonderful 2 hours writing!!!
23. Day 3: Gave up blaming others for my unhappiness.
24. Wrote new thoughts to replace negative thoughts.
25. Day 4: started Daily Victory Log.
26. That’s when it hit!!! Wow!!! I’d done so much since landing in Nova Scotia on July 27th.

In 26 days – I’d accomplished so much!!!
I’d gone from sobbing to thriving!!!

8 – What Every Teacher Wants to Know

Artwork by Rachel Jiawen Yang

Every teacher wonders: how effective are they? How much are their students learning? Do their students remember them?

To receive this letter from Rachel Yang was a joy that surpasses words. To find out she submitted it as her entry into a writing competition astounded me.

Joys for “Dummies” by Rachel Jiawen Yang

I picked up a pen and started to write about Ms. Kathryn. It was hard, because I had so much impression about her that I don’t know where to start. I haven’t seen her for almost six months, but everything about her stayed vivid in my mind. To me, she is a teacher, a librarian, a storyteller, a writer, an enthusiastic scholar, a motivational speaker and a true optimist. And all these words could not describe what a marvelous person she is.

The very first impression I had for Ms. Kathryn was—always laughing, optimistic and sometimes dramatic. Her class was relaxing and interactive. We read, played games and listened to stories about herself, literature, western culture or just some of her new discoveries. Maybe these are not something that grade 10 students would usually do, but our class was comprised of newbies who were first introduced to an English-immersion programme, and her classes had been vital in preparing us for the further study in this programme. At the beginning of the semester, she assigned us with many activities that some of us found ridiculous. Once we were asked to write a list of all the students’ name in the class, and five hobbies we have in common. At first we found this task was completely a waste of time and meaningless, but when we really started doing it, students cooperated and communicated with each other. We really felt the bond connecting the members in a community being built between us. More importantly, we made friends quickly as students getting to know each other in a much more creative way.

Another unusual class experience we had was one day when she suddenly asked us to laugh for one minute, non-stop, in class. She even timed us with a stopwatch. The whole process was awkward and puzzling. Our faces soon became stiff and sore. When the time was up, she told us a story about how laughing had saved herself when she was alone in the apartment, having a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius.

That day she was ill and felt all the energy had been drained out from her body, and there was no one around to help her. She had no more energy than just move her mouth, so Kathryn told herself, since this is the only thing I can do now, I might just as well laugh. She was not happy, not happy at all, but despite of that, she just made an expression that resembles laughing. But here is how the miracle happened: as time went by, she started to feel better, physically. After discovering this she laughed even harder and she got even better. She conquered illness just by being happy.

Most of us didn’t believe her. How could this phenomenon ever be able to be explained by science? However, later time in my life, when I was depressed and didn’t have the energy to smile, I would force an ugly and awkward smile and tell myself, “Things are gonna be okay”, and they were. Maybe this does not need to be explained scientifically at all. It is just the power of strong will.

In the summer of 2017, she decided to leave our school. As the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, I organized an interview for her with the members of the staff. We asked her about her feelings about China and her future plans. When she told us the real reason that drove her to China, we were astonished. In fact, she wasn’t always a happy person. Her last marriage did not go well and got herself in serious depression. In despair, she had never given up the hope of retrieving her happy and optimistic self. So she made a bold decision and went to teach in China. Here she met students who lit up her spirit and the man who she decided to live together. Now she is going to live with her new husband in Canada, which is a brand new journey for an American like her.

On the last day of school, I went to see her in the campus and said goodbye. We had a long talk about both of us—future, past and whatsoever, just like those talks we used to have in the past two years. Then I received a present from her—the book Little Women which she read when she was young. I have treasured this book and kept it as a reminder. The brave and optimistic girls in the book convey the same message that Ms. Kathryn had taught me with her own experience.

Later I heard from Kathryn that she had started a channel on the internet called “Joys for Dummies”, teaching people how to be happy. I saw her in the videos, wearing her familiar smile and teaching more people the tricks we have learned from her. I can imagine more people being lead by her, stepping out of the shadow and facing the sun.

A real optimistic person is able to get back even when her life is surrounded by negativity. Kathryn has always been my personal inspiration and a reminder to me that even when the difficulties in life hit you on the face, hard, you need to smile back and keep on. She was never a “dummy”, but someone who really understands the quintessence of life and conquers the bumpy parts of it, with a big smile on her face.

7 – Levels of Consciousness

This is a re-posting of Steve Pavlina’s blog with his permission as he generously gifts these writings to the public domain. [https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/04/levels-of-consciousness/]

It is the best summation of David R. Hawkins’ theories about the levels of human consciousness as detailed in Hawkins’ groundbreaking and world-renown book that I’ve listened to literally over 100 times, learning or hearing something I swear was not there before, but obviously I was ready to finally understand and assimilate.

In the book Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins, there’s a hierarchy of levels of human consciousness. It’s an interesting paradigm. If you read the book, it’s also fairly easy to figure out where you fall on this hierarchy based on your current life situation.

From low to high, the levels of consciousness are: shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride, courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy, peace, enlightenment.

While we can pop in and out of different levels at various times, usually there’s a predominant “normal” state for us. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re at least at the level of courage because if you were at a lower level, you’d likely have no conscious interest in personal growth.

I’ll go over these levels in order, mostly focusing on the ones between courage and reason, since that’s the range where you’re most likely to land. The labels are Hawkins’. The descriptions of each level are based on Hawkins’ descriptions but blended with my own thoughts. Hawkins defines this as a logarithmic scale, so there are far fewer people at the higher levels than at the lower ones. An increase from one level to another will result in enormous change in your life.

Shame – Just a step above death. You’re probably contemplating suicide at this level. Either that or you’re a serial killer. Think of this as self-directed hatred.

Guilt – A step above shame, but you still may be having thoughts of suicide. You think of yourself as a sinner, unable to forgive yourself for past transgressions.

Apathy – Feeling hopeless or victimized. The state of learned helplessness. Many homeless people are stuck here.

Grief – A state of perpetual sadness and loss. You might drop down here after losing a loved one. Depression. Still higher than apathy, since you’re beginning to escape the numbness.

Fear – Seeing the world as dangerous and unsafe. Paranoia. Usually you’ll need help to rise above this level, or you’ll remain trapped for a long time, such as in an abusive relationship.

Desire – Not to be confused with setting and achieving goals, this is the level of addiction, craving, and lust — for money, approval, power, fame, etc. Consumerism. Materialism. This is the level of smoking and drinking and doing drugs.

Anger – the level of frustration, often from not having your desires met at the lower level. This level can spur you to action at higher levels, or it can keep you stuck in hatred. In an abusive relationship, you’ll often see an anger person coupled with a fear person.

Pride – The first level where you start to feel good, but it’s a false feeling. It’s dependent on external circumstances (money, prestige, etc), so it’s vulnerable. Pride can lead to nationalism, racism, and religious wars. Think Nazis. A state of irrational denial and defensiveness. Religious fundamentalism is also stuck at this level. You become so closely enmeshed in your beliefs that you see an attack on your beliefs as an attack on you.

Courage – The first level of true strength. I’ve made a previous post about this level: Courage is the Gateway. This is where you start to see life as challenging and exciting instead of overwhelming. You begin to have an inkling of interest in personal growth, although at this level you’ll probably call it something else like skill-building, career advancement, education, etc. You start to see your future as an improvement upon your past, rather than a continuation of the same.

Neutrality – This level is epitomized by the phrase, “live and let live.” It’s flexible, relaxed, and unattached. Whatever happens, you roll with the punches. You don’t have anything to prove. You feel safe and get along well with other people. A lot of self-employed people are at this level. A very comfortable place. The level of complacency and laziness. You’re taking care of your needs, but you don’t push yourself too hard.

Willingness – Now that you’re basically safe and comfortable, you start using your energy more effectively. Just getting by isn’t good enough anymore. You begin caring about doing a good job — perhaps even your best. You think about time management and productivity and getting organized, things that weren’t so important to you at the level of neutrality. Think of this level as the development of willpower and self-discipline. These people are the “troopers” of society; they get things done well and don’t complain much. If you’re in school, then you’re a really good student; you take your studies seriously and put in the time to do a good job. This is the point where your consciousness becomes more organized and disciplined.

Acceptance – Now a powerful shift happens, and you awaken to the possibilities of living proactively. At the level of willingness you’ve become competent, and now you want to put your abilities to good use. This is the level of setting and achieving goals. I don’t like the label “acceptance” that Hawkins uses here, but it basically means that you begin accepting responsibility for your role in the world. If something isn’t right about your life (your career, your health, your relationship), you define your desired outcome and change it. You start to see the big picture of your life more clearly. This level drives many people to switch careers, start a new business, or change their diets.

Reason – At this level you transcend the emotional aspects of the lower levels and begin to think clearly and rationally. Hawkins defines this as the level of medicine and science. The way I see it, when you reach this level, you become capable of using your reasoning abilities to their fullest extent. You now have the discipline and the proactivity to fully exploit your natural abilities. You’ve reached the point where you say, “Wow. I can do all this stuff, and I know I must put it to good use. So what’s the best use of my talents?” You take a look around the world and start making meaningful contributions. At the very high end, this is the level of Einstein and Freud. It’s probably obvious that most people never reach this level in their entire lives.

Love – I don’t like Hawkins’ label “love” here because this isn’t the emotion of love. It’s unconditional love, a permanent understanding of your connectedness with all that exists. Think compassion. At the level of reason, you live in service to your head. But that eventually becomes a dead end where you fall into the trap of over-intellectualizing. You see that you need a bigger context than just thinking for its own sake. At the level of love, you now place your head and all your other talents and abilities in service to your heart (not your emotions, but your greater sense of right and wrong — your conscience). I see this as the level of awakening to your true purpose. Your motives at this level are pure and uncorrupted by the desires of the ego. This is the level of lifetime service to humanity. Think Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Dr. Albert Schweitzer. At this level you also begin to be guided by a force greater than yourself. It’s a feeling of letting go. Your intuition becomes extremely strong. Hawkins claims this level is reached only by 1 in 250 people during their entire lifetimes.

Joy – A state of pervasive, unshakable happiness. Eckhart Tolle describes this state in The Power of Now. The level of saints and advanced spiritual teachers. Just being around people at this level makes you feel incredible. At this level life is fully guided by synchronicity and intuition. There’s no more need to set goals and make detailed plans — the expansion of your consciousness allows you to operate at a much higher level. A near-death experience can temporarily bump you to this level.

Peace – Total transcendence. Hawkins claims this level is reached only by one person in 10 million.

Enlightenment – The highest level of human consciousness, where humanity blends with divinity. Extremely rare. Even just thinking about this level can raise your consciousness.

I think you’ll find this model worthy of reflection. Not only people but also objects, events, and whole societies can be ranked at these levels. Within your own life, you’ll see that some parts of your life are at different levels than others, but you should be able to identify your current overall level. You might be at the level of neutrality overall but still be addicted to smoking (level of desire). The lower levels you find within yourself will serve as a drag that holds the rest of you back. But you’ll also find higher levels in your life.

Think about the strongest influences in your life right now. Which ones raise your consciousness? Which ones lower it?

Look at this hierarchy with an open mind and see if it leads you to new insights that may help you take the next leap in your own life.