Monday, September 22, 2008

Book Review: FINDING YOUR OWN NORTH STAR, by Martha Beck

I first heard about Martha Beck after that friend of a friend of a friend who watches Oprah told me that Martha was on the show and talked about the law of attraction. In fact, not only did she talk about it, but she had several books on the subject. A sucker for LOA books, I decided to read one of her first mainstream books, Finding Your Own North Star.

This book is much more than a Law of Attraction book. It is more like a therapist-in-a-book, book. The book discusses how we already have programmed into us the things that would make us most happy and how many of us feel depressed and in despair because we are doing things that go against our true desires. Martha describes how we each have an "internal compass" and if we were to tune in to it, we would live blissfully. Babies and children have it, but as we grow up, societal norms, expectations and conditioning detach us from our internal compass. Martha writes about what to do to tune back into this internal compass, including how to heal emotional wounds. She discusses how many of us lose touch with this compass because we have emotional wounds which we don't even know about!

As we are able to tune back into our compass and follow our gut, the law of attraction will start to work wonders. I don't recall if Martha explicitly referred to is as the LOA since she wrote this book before the LOA was mainstream, but she did discuss how when you are in tune with the life you are supposed to be (ie. the life you want to live), bizarre coincidences will begin to happen which will elevate you and make you reach your goals even faster.

This is a true self-help book but more importantly it helps the reader figure out what's holding them back and what they want to do with their life. Many of us are not doing the things we desire for any number of reasons - maybe we think the profession we want wouldn't pay properly, or the partner we want wouldn't be accepted by our family. Who knows! But I can personally attest that when you block out all of the corruptive noises and just keep following the inner impulses within you (no, not the ones that say kill that guy that just cut you off on the road), strange and great things start happening in your life. The problem these days is we think and analyze too much instead of working from feeling. I recommend this book for those who feel lost or if something is missing in their life. Probably you are way off course, but don't worry, with the right work you can find you way. We all can.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Film Review: WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW?!, by William Arntz

I had heard about this flick a couple of years ago but didn't know what the !@## it was about so didn't watch it. Now that I know what What The Bleep Do We Know is about, I am glad I watched it and highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the science behind how the law of attraction works.

The movie has an underlying story in which the protagonist is played by none other than Marlee Matlin. It follows her unhappy life as she constantly replays her ex-husband's infidelity in her mind while she struggles to get through each day, trying to figure out where she went wrong in life. This story however is overlaid with a very wide variety of interviews with physicists ranging from metaphysicians to quantum physicists to spiritual types and other medical doctors. Considering the credentials of many of them, one can assume the science they discuss has credibility. Using simple language, fun illustrations and animated graphics, one can learn the fundamentals of quantum physics and see how this science is not as scary as it sounds.

It is fascinating to see proven experiments which show that our observation of the outside world actually influences what happens at the physical level. It sounds like mumbo-jumbo, but if anyone is interested, please look up the double-slit experiment. Another amazing one was the Emoto experiments in which he wrote different words on bottles of water. The picture on the left had "you make me sick" written on the bottle, whereas the photo on the right had "love and gratitude" written. Here were what the water crystals looked like as a result:



There's no debate about whether this is true or not as it is the building blocks of quantum physics. Since the science is still in its infancy, no one understands how it works, they just know it does what it does. They have also proven that the same object can exist in two different places at the same time, seemingly destroying our limited concept of "time".

This was a great movie for those who are interested in the scientific side of The Secret (did I mention one of the main people in The Secret is also all over this film?) and I highly recommend the book as it is even better. While still a developing science, it sheds a flood-light upon how the law of attraction is something that is actually possible (and real as many have experienced). Of course, it helps that there is a short sex-scene and a hot blond bending over in a mini-skirt. While the movie is a bit long (i think it was almost two hours!), you can definitely watch it in parts. I give this one a strong recommend.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Book Review: THE SECRET OF LETTING GO, by Guy Finley

So I first borrowed this book because I thought it was about using surrender to be able to more easily attract your desires. I was wrong. However, the book was still appropriate for me at the time since I was still hanging on to old memories of what could have been. I'm glad I borrowed this book.

Guy Finley has written this book as a sort of variety show. He has chapters which include interesting short stories, such as one in which a guy spends years digging in a cave for a hidden treasure only to find that once he stops trying to find the treasure it turns up in the most unexpected place. Guy also uses a lot of one-liner lists about letting go, for example "if you knew to do something differently, you would have." He goes on to discuss how letting go is freeing and means living in the present day to day instead of getting caught up in the past with regrets. I actually enjoyed reading the book.

Interestingly though, the better I felt over time, the more depressing the book was to read! I think that's a good sign though - when a self-help book sounds depressing that usually means you've been helped and are getting better. I checked out the author's website, and he has some online videos, however if you like the way he writes, I would recommend just read the books since the mystique of who is writing this nice material adds to its credibility in some weird way.

For those of you who think they have some old baggage they need to get rid of, I moderately recommend this book. You definitely don't need to read it from front to back - it's more like one of those things you can pick up, open it up to any page and get a sample of inspiration. But I think this is a better book for those with deeper wounds from their past. It might not cure you but if you can open your heart a bit, it may help guide you towards greener pastures. And those pastures will not have cow dung in them.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Aspects of Commitment Phobia, Part 1 of 3

Commitment phobia is one of those pop-culture terms which people throw about without really understanding its meaning. More often than not, the term is one that women use to describe men who don't want to settle down with them. Often the case is that the guy has doubts about that particular person and doesn't want to hurt their feelings. Other times, the guy (or girl) may just have a difficult time deciding what to do. I write this to shed some light on commitment-phobia so that you can decide whether you have it, and also to understand that it's not necessarily a bad thing as its connotation might have you believe.

For years I struggled with making small and big decisions. It was interesting because I just thought I was over-analytical (which of course helped me do extremely well in school). I also recognized it as indecision, which it was. But throughout the years I never thought to attach the term commitment-phobia to my persona. Looking back though, I have had time to see how the indecisiveness of making small decisions lends itself to having a fear of making a commitment. The real fear is making a decision about something that you think you can't undo.

Do you have the same issue? Take a look at some of these examples to see if they sound familiar:

1. do you find yourself taking a long time to decide which restaurant to eat at? Then when you get there it takes you longer than everyone else to decide on what you want to order. Finally when you do order you call the waiter back, change your order, then regret your decision later.

2. do you prefer being on a month to month term with your cell phone because you don't want to be locked into a contract, for example, being stuck with one company for over a year?

3. are you renting a place or did you bite the bullet and buy a place? Or are you on a month to month tenancy so that you can pull out at any time? Also, do you hold off on buying any decent furniture, for years, because you figure you'll take care of all of that stuff when you finally settle down and buy a place?

4. when you make plans with someone do you find yourself only tentatively agreeing, even though you have no other plans at that time? Do you find yourself canceling those plans for no reason other than to stay home?

5. when deciding between two things, jobs or something at the supermarket do you find yourself always whittling your choices down to two things, then mulling over for a ridiculous amount of time, which one of the two you should purchase? No matter, what you choose, you always end up questioning your decision.

6. have you avoided applying for jobs because you're afraid that you might, *gasp*, actually get it?!

If any of these situations sound familiar to you, you may also be suffering from an aversion to commitment. It's not just indecision which makes these seemingly simple decisions difficult and excruciating, it actually has some roots in being afraid of committing to the wrong thing. Ultimately, whether we are conscious of it or not, we are always afraid of choosing the wrong thing. But I promise you, there aren't wrong choices for most things. So you ordered the Big Mac instead of the cheeseburger - maybe you would have enjoyed the cheeseburger more, but guess what? That wasn't the last meal of your life and next time you can order the cheeseburger.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Aspects of Commitment Phobia, part 2 of 3

Roots

In order to fix the problem, it helps to figure out where it began. When it comes to relationships, many who have a phobia of commitment often come from homes where their parents are divorced or the relationship between their parents was turbulent. For others, a tragedy during their childhood years made them subconsciously fearful of committing to something out of fear they would get hurt again. It may even be more straight-forward - they once made a bad decision which had a big impact on their life. While they may not have realized it at the time, this programmed them to question their decision making abilities for thereon in, thereby creating indecision, fear of committing to a decision and ultimately wreaking havoc in their personal and social lives.

For myself, I have had a difficult time figuring out where my indecision arose. I used to be great at making decisions and sticking to them. I come from a fairly stable home so I can't blame it on any divorce. I believe my commitment issues arose from three areas. 1) several years ago I chose one school over another to do my MBA. The experience ended up to be unpleasant and I always felt like I would have been much better off at the school that I turned down. 2) letting other people influence my decision making process, and 3) seeing friends marry and settle down with people that are probably not the greatest. So for me, over time, these things made me phobic of making wrong choices.

Take a step back from yourself and ask yourself what goes through your head every time you have to make a decision. Whose interests are you considering? Yours, your friends, society's? Also, consider that the magnitude of most of the decisions you make each day probably aren't nearly to the extent you think they are. People decide to get married, have babies and buy houses much quicker than many of you out there reading this would take to decide whether you should eat at McDonald's or Burger King. And I'm not exaggerating.

Justification

Of course we can each justify our lengthy decision making process. By being overly analytical perhaps we have avoided settling down with people that were no good for us, or turning down a job that would have made us miserable. But how many great things have we missed because we mulled it over too long? I want to tell you something from someone who is still fairly young - life is SHORT. You all know that. In the blink of an eye, ten years can pass. And while you were waiting, moaning and mulling things over, life was passing by, people were getting married, having kids and having fun. In fact some people were already getting married for a second time (and who knows, maybe a third!).

I tend to now believe that it is better to make a decision that may be wrong later, than to not make any decision at all and later fantasize about what could have been. Especially for commitment-phobes, one of our greatest assets is our fantasies, however that is also our greatest liability. Our rich fantasy life makes us always think ahead to what might be if we wait a bit longer and commit later, but in the meantime when we lose out on something good, our fantasy mind goes into overdrive wondering about how great life could have been had we made a decision.

It is never too late to change. But the first step comes with recognizing it. Too often the term commitment-phobe is thrown around and marginalized so people don't pay much attention to it. But if someone calls you that or if any of the examples above seem to fit you, take a step back and look at your life and you daily routine. Maybe you do have commitment issues that go beyond simple indecision. Perhaps you actually have a fear of committing to things.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Aspects of Commitment Phobia, part 3 of 3

Baby Steps

Once you recognize you have a problem, don't go out and ask your girlfriend to marry her tomorrow. That's not the solution. I don't mean to sound like an alcoholics anonymous group, but take baby steps en route to your "recovery".

Start with the small things. Next time you go to McDonalds, tell yourself you'll take one minute to decide what you want and no matter what your choice is at the end of that minute, you'll place your order and never think of it again. All this talk of McDonalds is starting to give me a Big Mac attack. Gradually, bit by bit, you'll see how much easier your daily life is and how much quicker you make decisions. Once you feel comfortable, you can move on to bigger things, such as deciding where to go for a weekend vacation. The key in all of these instances is to stop thinking about the decision once you've made it, and move on to the next part of your life. Eventually you'll see how easy life flows when you just keep making decisions without looking back. In fact, you would be shocked as to what opportunities start presenting themselves for your benefit.

Also remember if you're in a bind as to a decision, in most instances you already know what you want. We refer to it as our 'gut' instinct. Chances are when you are hungry, you already know exactly what you want to eat, but your consciousness kicks in and starts making your choice much more difficult than it needs to be. There is a reason why your first choice on a multiple choice test is usually the right one. The same goes for making decisions. Once you are thoroughly in tune with your gut and listen to it without questioning it all of the time, you will be amazed at what the universe will deliver to you.

In Closing

In closing, I'm not sure how this blog entry ended up being so long, but I don't care either. I just want to tell you that there are lots of great girls and guys out there for each of you. Seriously. No one is saying you have to get married tomorrow, or even force yourself into a relationship, but do spend some time to figure out if maybe you spend too much time trying to make decisions and suffer from a phobia of commitment. If you do, chances are, you see it in many areas of your life and not just in relationships. Take time to work on yourself. Remember - baby steps. Before you know it you'll realize that each decision you make is not the end of the world, and in many cases may be the beginning of an entirely new and better one.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Book Review: A NEW EARTH, by Eckhart Tolle

A friend of a friend told me about "A New Earth" so since I needed something to distract my mind, I decided to read it. But it was a friend of a friend who recommended it, and not Oprah since I don't watch Oprah. It was a friend...of a friend.

This book is marginally related to the law of attraction but worthy of being reviewed since it focuses on shedding all of your negative thinking, past regrets, and worries about the future. Even the author mentions how once you are able to enjoy the present moment without carrying around self-defeating thoughts, somehow good things start happening, and those desires you had in your heart begin to manifest. Don't get me wrong though, manifesting is not what the bulk of this book is about. However, this book is one method that some may find useful if they want to clear out feelings of depression or regrets about the past or worries about the future. This will in turn clear the way for positive thinking which is the key ingredient to attracting what you want.

I don't usually feel any emotion when I read books, but this is the first book that I actually felt uncomfortable reading. The whole tone of the book was very eerie, disturbing and depressing. The author says that we are all insane (can't really disagree with him on that one), and how we need to just focus on every thing we do in front of us. Although I know this wasn't his point, it almost came across as though we were to walk around as present-focused robots. As humans however, we all identify ourselves by our past experiences and our future desires. I thought the most interesting part of this book was the description of the "pain-body" which is essentially a subconscious addiction to pain/anger that we all carry around and want to feed. This addiction is why society gravitates towards negative news stories, and killing in movies.

I recommend taking a look at this book in a bookstore or borrowing it from the library before you commit to buying it. See if the tone suits you. The Power of Now, the predecessor to this book, said the same thing but with a much nicer tone. It made society seem hopeless but more importantly didn't make me inspired about feeling better either. I wasn't feeling great before reading this book and considered murder-suicide after reading it. (just kidding in case any of you are suddenly thinking of calling 911).