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I’ve shared the story about the first time I met Steven Morrison before. It was nearly 20 years ago, in L.A., just as he arrived back from an international peace conference in Croatia. I was immediately struck by how comfortable he seemed in his own skin and how unconditionally at peace he was, while also totally accessible, raw and authentic. We hit it off right away.

At the time, Steven was several years into Spiritual Workout, a practice he created based on the everyday application of 15 ancient, universally spiritual concepts. Steven had transformed his psychotherapy practice into Spiritual Workout after seeing the limits of psychotherapy and the possibilities Spiritual Workout presented in solving problems (and creating realities devoid of them).

At first, I must admit, the NYC, cool, critical thinker, “realistic,” intellectual, egoic mind in me was a little put off by some of what Steven shared. I was like, what in the cheeseball, Cali, new age spiritual, self-help, made-for-SNL bullshit is this!

And yet, I also recognized that most of the concepts were core values and beliefs I had already held. I always enjoyed how I felt when in Steven’s company because of his demeanor and wisdom, so I figured there must be something to this practice. Plus, it wasn’t like I was having much success with other (conventional) approaches or life perspectives toward being happy, healthy and living a life of purpose and meaning.

Something told me to suspend my judgment and open up.

The case for NOT using the inner critic as motivation

If you’re not able or willing to read the post below, have a listen to the audio above.

Many of us look at the inner critic as a source of motivation. Its voice of fear, doubt, perfection may appear as a catalyst for creating, performing and perfecting:

If we stopped listening to our inner critics, we’d be total slackers. We wouldn’t do anything. 

Isn’t the inner critic part of what motivates us to do meticulous, excellent work?

Isn’t it what makes us work hard and perform? 

Can’t the inner critic be a positive force? 

For years I used to believe this and went about my life very much driven by the inner critic. It wasn’t until I learned of the perils of using the inner critic as motivation from my longtime client Tara Mohr that I decided to drop the inner critic as my motivational force.

In her groundbreaking book Playing Big, Tara explains:

Self-doubt can indeed motivate us to work hard and achieve, but there are serious costs to being motivated this way. 

Costs to your quality of life. How much joy can you experience in your work if fear and a soundtrack of harsh thoughts about yourself play in your head every day? 

Costs to your professional life. The critic can lead us to work hard, but it often leads us to do the wrong work. When motivated by the critic, we’ll dot all the i’s and cross all the t‘s (many times over), but the inner critic can’t motivate us to take the […]

A Solid Sense of Self

If you’re not able or willing to read the post below, have a listen to the audio above. 

I recently came across a description of what constitutes a solid sense of self that was so clear, enlightening and inspiring. It is from psychotherapist James Masterson’s Search for the Real Self, and includes:

The capacity to experience a wide variety of feelings, as well as an ability to soothe painful feelings in a positive way;

The ability to express your thoughts and feelings authentically to another person without too much fear of either being engulfed or abandoned;

The capacity to tolerate your own aloneness;

The healthy sense of entitlement that life holds good things for you and that you deserve to have them;

The ability to assert your individuality and authenticity in the world; and

A stability of self, meaning that you are always aware that you are the same person regardless of who you are with, what you are doing, or the current circumstances (both good and bad) of your life.

As we can see, having such a solid sense of self is integral to self-actualization. So, I reflected on where I was with each facet in the description and saw where I was strong and growing, and also where I needed to put more intention and focus. It was a powerful exercise for deepening self-awareness, gratitude and integrity.

What about you? Where are you with this “solid sense of self”?

Intuitive everything

If you’re not able or willing to read the post below, have a listen to the audio above.

At the beginning of the year, I decided to try something different. I was feeling stuck toward the end of last year and prayed for some clarity, ease, inspiration and connection.

A couple of individuals, books, lectures and courses flowed my way, all which pointed to a decidedly different view of and approach to life for me that would become the answer to my prayers: follow my intuition.

What does that entail?

More feeling, listening and receiving, less thinking.

Instead of pushing or forcing myself, I would allow myself to be pulled, compelled, inspired.

For someone who has lived her whole life doing quite the opposite, this was a tall order. Pushing myself, pushing through, pushing forward had been my m.o. up to that point. For me, pushing was the only way I could attain, achieve and experience what I wanted. I thought, how could I possibly trust I’ll have the life I want if I don’t push?

And less thinking? I’m a person who values critical thinking and prides herself in being a critical thinker. How can less thinking possibly help me experience more clarity in life?

What does more feeling, listening and receiving even look like?

I was reluctant to apply this new approach, but I also knew that the way I was going about life wasn’t working all that well for me either. This allowed my ego to surrender a bit, and me to commit to this new […]

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Spotlight: Lianne Raymond

If you’re not able or willing to read the post below, have a listen to the audio above. 

I was first struck by Lianne Raymond‘s work when I read her explanation on the difference between actualization and ambition. It was incredibly refreshing to read a writer with such intellectual and spiritual integrity, a voice that stands for intellectual rigor and intuitive wisdom.

A life coach, teacher and lifelong student of human development, Lianne’s work brings together “the best of yin and yang, science and wisdom, intellect and intuition.” She is a champion for living life from the inside out and exploring what it means to be human, to be alive and to grow.

Although she isn’t widely known, Lianne has worked with and is lauded by some of the leading voices in personal development and spirituality. And I can see why. I consider Lianne one of the wisest voices we have today, and following you’ll see why:

[On actualization] Actualization is an awkward word for the beautiful and somewhat mysterious essence in every human being and every living thing to grow into the fullest expression of itself.

When we are swimming in actualization we feel light, buoyant, the water is supporting us and we don’t worry if we swim so far out that we occasionally lose sight of the shore. The water is warm. We are in our element. We feel at one with the water.

[On ambition] Once we become initiated into the world of ambition we often lose […]

DEPTH Picks

In the past few weeks, there have been a couple of series and films that have captured our hearts and minds…

Wild Wild Country: A documentary series about a controversial Indian guru and his followers who set up what some may view as an intentional community and others as a cult on a remote location in Oregon in the early 80s. What ensues in the next couple of years is laid out in a way that compels us to explore and question spirituality, humanity, religion, society, values, ethics, transformation, vision, actualization, power, force, love, evil and a host of other matters related to consciousness. The story is shocking and the fact that we have never heard of it is even more shocking.

Roxanne Roxanne: A stunning, hard-hitting biopic on Roxanne Shante, the first female solo artist in hip hop. Beyond seeing her emergence in the 80s hip hop scene, which will give anyone who’s grown up in 80s New York all the feels, we get a close look into Roxanne’s personal development outside of the music. The film does a great job of portraying complicated and multi-dimensional people, dynamics and relationships, and reminding the public of a young woman’s impact in the art form.

Behind the Curtain:Todrick Hall: An inspiring documentary on the making of artist and performer Todrick Hall’s visual album and musical about growing up as a black gay male in Texas and becoming successful in showbiz. We get to follow Todrick […]