Morgan Giddings, PhD Redefine Your Reality Wed, 21 Dec 2016 16:33:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top-10 Beliefs That Are Ruining Your Life Mon, 05 Dec 2016 03:46:44 +0000 Wait a sec. How can a belief ruin your life? It’s just a measly little set of biochemical connections in your mind, no way can it have that kind of impact…. right!?

What if you believed that all water is toxic? If you truly believed this, deep-down, you’d avoid all sources of water… and soon, you’d die. It’s not the water that is toxic, it’s the belief.

All beliefs are that way. Most of us are comfortable in our beliefs because we’ve surrounded ourselves with other people who hold similar ones. That helps us feel “safe,” because most of us have a herd-like evolutionary (unconscious) belief of “safety in numbers.”

But being part of a herd doesn’t mean that our beliefs are supporting our progress towards things that matter. Whether the things you want are better work-life balance, more recognition, more money or funding, or whatever – it is most likely your own (toxic) beliefs that hold you back from having those things.

  1. I’m nobody important, and I’m not sure why they gave me this position/accolade/promotion! In a world of over 7 billion people, it’s sometimes hard to feel important – and that means it’s much harder to achieve anything big. When we’re younger, most of us have our parents filling the role of seeing us as important. Then there’s a transition to adulthood, and most of us never replace the parental role with our own inner sense of importance. Believing in your own unimportance leads to self-sabotaging behaviors that will slow or halt progress towards things that you care about.
  2. There’s never enough time to get it all done This time-scarcity belief causes its holders to rush around, always hurrying, cramming and jamming into every possible moment every possible action until exhaustion comes. Yet, if you’re trying to achieve a new situation or goal, that doesn’t come from frenzied activity and lack of sleep. No, the source of change is always clarity, and clarity generally only comes easily to a rested and relaxed mind. A single action made in clarity can be as effective as 100 actions taken without clarity. Stop. Breath. Get clarity, then act.
  3. It’s a dangerous world out there Fear is a paralyzing feeling. How much can you accomplish towards your goals when you’re paralyzed? (hint: none). The more you believe in the world being a dangerous place due to politics, violence, environmental destruction, or whatever, it’s the belief in danger that will hold you back from making things happen.
  4. I’m better/smarter/wiser than my colleagues When you get a rejection, it’s easy to start pointing fingers at “stupid” colleagues that “don’t get it.” Yet that ego-driven attitude also subtly places you in the role of victim and pawn to “them.” This is a disempowering belief, because it prevents you from seeing the blind spots in you where improvement may be needed to get the results you want. Humility is essential to self-improvement, and ego gets in the way.
  5. There’s never enough money or funding to go around This belief in money scarcity reproduces itself in your life when you carry it around. Just look at the facts: there are trillions of dollars and other currencies flowing around the world. Some people (including some of your colleagues) are better at diverting a bigger portion of that flow (both in And out). However, if you’re caught in scarcity, you’re often focused on tightening down the outflow. Think about this: what happens when you turn a faucet — which regulates outflow — to a trickle? You get a trickle of an IN flow. Now, let’s say your faucet is wide open but the flow isn’t very good. It requires a totally different set of mental and physical tools to increase the inflow than it does to reduce outflow. However, if you have a belief that the in-flow is scarce, your focus will be mainly on limiting out-flow, and you’ll be forever caught in a loop of limitation.
  6. Great work speaks for itself There’s this belief amongst idealists that if you do some great work – whether it’s a scientific breakthrough, a new invention, a novel, or whatever – that you’ll get recognized for it. While it is true that some people do get recognized for such greatness posthumously, the question is whether you want to wait until you’re dead to get the rewards for your work. If you’d rather have some of those rewards here and now, then a belief that “Great work speaks for itself” is toxic. It is exceedingly rare that “great work” alone is enough to speak for itself. No, great work must have an effective spokesperson to get it out into the world, and that spokesperson is always one and the same as the originator of the work. (Unless you happen to be a billionare, and can hire a full-time PR team). It is only by embracing the idea that you are responsible for “marketing” your work to the world, and learning how to do it more effectively, that your cure/invention/idea/novel/etc is likely to get into the hands of other people where it can have its intended impact – and bring you recognition/money/reward as a result.
  7. It’s dangerous to be “vulnerable” with my colleagues Many people are extremely guarded around their colleagues, because they believe if they show any “weakness” it will be exploited by hostiles. However, research by Dr. Brené Brown and colleagues has clearly shown that it is psychologically unhealthy to exist in a closed-in cocoon of guardedness. It prevents us from making deep and meaningful connections with people in our lives, and it also prevent us from acting boldly. Doing anything great requires “putting yourself out there” and being willing to be criticized. If you’re locked in a guarded shell, you’ll be unable to make the bold leaps that are required to accomplish anything truly great. This means being forever locked in a cycle of mediocrity. Vulnerability is essential to great accomplishment.
  8. I have to do exactly as my boss/chair/dean/supervisor says in order to succeed If you work at a big-chain-fast-food-joint, then perhaps it’s essential for you to do exactly as people above you say. But when you’re in a position that requires leadership – such as being a faculty member or entrepreneur – you must be willing to follow your inner drive and your own vision, even if it means going in a different direction than someone else thinks you should. Often well-meaning advisors/mentors/bosses tell us things such as “you must apply for more grants.” Many of us try to be people pleasers and therefore to follow such advice. However, at the end of the day, leadership is one of the most essential attributes we must develop, and leadership always means listening to your own inner authority first and foremost. This doesn’t mean ignoring input from others, but it does mean that as a leader you make your own decisions and take full responsibility for them.
  9. I’m struggling because the system is messed up The system may well be messed up but this is never why any individual is struggling. Even in terrible systems or bad economies, there are always people who do well. It is tempting to believe that that’s due to luck, but it rarely is. Instead, it’s due to a spirit of entrepreneurialism, creativity, and fearlessness. While TV and movies would have you believe that its only the greedy, power-monging manipulators who succeed in rough environments, the reality is quite different. The Great Depression produced a large crop of millionaires, many of whom made their fortunes by ignoring the “depressive” sentiment of their time to act boldly in starting new businesses. The choice of whether you thrive or not has everything to do with your own attributes of entrepreneurialism and creativity, and very little to do with the external environment around you.
  10. I’m just a meaningless blip in a vast, cold, universe Humans thrive on meaning and purpose. All great works throughout human history have resulted from people who felt driven by some bigger purpose. So, if you believe that the universe is a hard, cold, meaningless place, that belief will stand like a big cement wall smack dab in your path to achieving important things. It doesn’t matter whether you believe that there’s something bigger/deeper than the material world we see or not, but if you lack purpose and meaning you will be ineffective and mediocre. So, getting rid of this belief and finding your own personal sense of meaning, purpose, and even wonder is like rocket fuel for great accomplishment.
  11. That all top-10 lists should only have 10 items I included this one just to show you the power of your own belief… and to demonstrate the automatic cognitive dissonance that occurs when a belief is violated. I also included it a a tribute to the movie Spinal Tap 😉

There are plenty more where those come from, but if you found resonance in one or more of these, going to work on them will yield a tremendous bounty in your life.



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Why Artificial Intelligence Won’t Take Over the World Sat, 26 Nov 2016 21:24:09 +0000

Any “free agent” that operates in our world must have an objective, or it is not going to get very far.

This is true of people. If you ever observe people who “go in circles” or are “stuck” in life – it’s because they have no clear vision/objective. Many people give up on their dreams and objectives in their first few decades of life, and wander aimlessly after that.

However, you’ll also notice that such people are often relatively “benign” – i.e. they may contribute to CO2 release by driving around to aimless jobs and activities, and they may over consume orange-food-colored chips and lite beer… but without an objective, they’re not actively trying to hurt anyone. If hurting someone does happen, it’s almost always an occasional reaction to something they don’t like, and it’s usually focused on just a few people close to that person. This is not the stuff of “taking over the world.”

No. To understand the idea of AI taking over the world, we have to look at the movers and shakers, the people with a plan and objective.

These are the people who have a true impact – be it positive or negative. That’s because they are clear on where they are headed, and they marshal resources to get there.

For AI to have any chance of “taking over” as it’s been portrayed in many blockbuster movies, there would have to be a clear plan and objective “to take over.” It is certainly possible that an advanced AI could have this as an objective, and marshal resources towards that end. It may even make some progress in taking over parts of the world. However, the idea that it would take over the world misses the boat.

If the technology sufficient to build one such AI exists, then that means more can (and likely will) be developed soon thereafter. There is no reason that distinct AI’s developed by different people (or other AI’s) in distinct contexts would all have the same objective. It’s just like people. There are people who’ve sometimes attempted to take over the world with nefarious objectives (such as Hitler) – but fortunately, there were other people with other objectives that pushed back and stopped it. It is silly to think that there would be one “unified goal” for ALL AI of “taking over the world.” Certainly, any responsible AI developer will bake into their AI cake clear objectives that are for the good of humanity, not to its detriment.

In one popular movie series (which I enjoyed very much), a military defense network takes over and launches nukes to get rid of humanity. Yet a “network” is actually a collection of hundreds or thousands of machines, each with different goals, programming, and firewalls. The idea that these would all join together in one unified objective of destroying humanity, before anyone – or any other AI – could stop them, is farfetched.

Think of it like a friends network. Even if you hatch some kind of evil scheme to take over the world, will all your friends automatically agree and join you? It’s unlikely. This is exactly why I’m not a big conspiracy theorist: any sufficiently powerful conspiracy would have to make sure that everyone agrees and doesn’t sabotage its goals. In the real world, that kind of consensus is extraordinarily hard to achieve – especially in the Internet age.

While nothing is truly impossible, the scenario in which AI actually takes over the world is very remote.

Now, there are a few hidden lessons in this for any person wanting to live a better life. They are:

  1. Operating without a clear goal or objective in life is a recipe for “failure.” Many people give up on their big plans and ambitions at some point in life, and just start living reactively – day to day – with no real purpose. We all must have purpose in order to thrive or to have any impact.
  2. Many people get so frustrated that there are other people in the world who have different opinions and perspectives. This post was written during an election season in the USA, when many people are decrying the “other side” and how awful they are. Yet it is exactly this diversity of opinion that prevents the world from being taken over by men like Hitler. All the diversity makes the world a truly glorious place. If you truly embrace the diversity of thought and opinion, it makes life a lot more pleasant than continually fighting the “other side” to “prove” who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s okay if you’re into that kind of thing, but it sure does waste a lot of time and energy – and it never really improves the world. The people who improve the world are those who follow point #1 above and accomplish great things.

Is it your time to thrive? Get a clear purpose and embrace the diversity of opinion that exists – even those who might seem to stand in your way.

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Presidential Election shows that “least-worst” is no longer safe Wed, 09 Nov 2016 12:11:03 +0000 It's no longer safe in politics, and it's no longer safe personally

Many of the people I know who like to think a lot aren't going to be happy that Mr. Donald Trump is the apparent winner of the Presidential Election. Many of them will spend weeks or months stewing over it, wondering "how did I get here?"

I know exactly how we got here: Hillary was the "safe" candidate, and safe is no longer safe!

Both sides of the political spectrum operate mostly on fear these days. Fear is paralyzing. On average, fear doesn't incite people to act – it doesn't get them up off the couch to vote. It gets them to stay put and throw the defenses up.

By some crazy twist of fate, the Republicans didn't let that fear keep them from nominating an outsider candidate. There were plenty in that party who were shaking their heads, hand-wringing, and wondering: "what have we done!?"

That's what happens when you take a risk

You often wonder if it will pay off. You don't see a straight logical path to your objective. You follow your gut or your instinct. And sometimes (ok, often) that risk pays off!

Playing it safe is so passé

The world is tired of safe. Safe has gotten us to exactly where we are, which is quite stuck. Our schools aren't working right. Our environment is challenged on many fronts. Our systems are facing unprecedented challenges.

Once things get this "bad," there is no "safe" way to fix them. It's going to take someone to stir the pot, and that is never safe.

In case you're wondering right now, no, I didn't vote for him,

I didn't vote for Hillary either – in Idaho, it didn't matter anyway. Trump was going to win in that state. But even if I were in a swing state, I would have voted for one of the other candidates. I won't put up with all those fear-mongering Democrats or Republicans who claim that you have to vote out of fear that the "other guy" might win. I won't succumb to a plan that is clearly designed to put me into fear – by either side.

Safe is predictable and comfortable

The problem with "safe" is that is perceived as predictable and comfortable. As most thinking people know, there's often a major difference between perception and reality. While the perception is that you can take a "safe" (i.e. conservative) action and have the outcome be what you want, that is almost never the case.

I have seen far more careers of brilliant people go down the tubes because they were constantly playing safe — playing in their comfort zone — than of people who take risks regularly.

The Democrats chose safety, and it blew up in their faces

Hillary was the "safe" choice – i.e. she represented the establishment and the status quo. As much as I'd like to see a female president, it was ironic that the first woman who really may have had a shot at the White House, represented the same old same old to most people.

Bernie was not a "safe" choice – and the Democrats ultimately played their behind the scenes power games to make sure the safe choice was nominated. It blew up in their faces.

Is it blowing up in your face?

I see many people – but especially my liberal friends – playing a safe and scared game these days. They play that game politically and they play it in their careers.

Consider where that "seeking comfort" has gotten us. Now Donald Trump is going to be President of the United States. Playing "safe" led to the worst nightmare for many people.

The same happens in life

I've seen exactly that same thing play out so many times with scientists and entrepreneurs. They play it "safe" until it's too late, and it blows up. That's when a career – or a business – always goes down the tubes.

It's not that playing it the other way never blows up – sometimes it does. But in my experience, that's less common!

There is one benefit in playing it safe: you can justify failure

Unfortunately, people are often looking more towards "what will other people think of me" than they are towards "will I succeed or will I fail?" It's bassackwards.

If you play it safe and fail, it's easy to rationalize: "I did everything I was 'supposed' to do, and I still failed" (as if any human actually can predict the future!?).

The translation of this? "I did what I perceived was the most socially-acceptable by my peers, approval seeking thing to do, so how could it possibly backfire?"

The answer is: times have changed

We aren't living in the "safe and boring" 1950's anymore, yet by how paralyzed I see so many of my smart friends, you'd think we were. What worked back then – playing it "safe" and "fitting in" is exactly what no longer works in 2016 and beyond.

Seth Godin pointed this out clearly in his book "The Icarus Deception." He made essentially the same argument I'm making here: that the world no longer rewards "safe and comfortable". In other words, "safe" isn't actually safe anymore.

We just had proof of that on a grand scale!

There is always good in the "bad"

Every single time I've ever faced a rejection or a setback, there was something to learn.

Those who see themselves as Democrats have an opportunity to learn from this. They can step back for a few years, and decide what game they're going to play in the future.

If they are truly smart, they'll figure out that they need to stop playing it so scared and safe, and start playing the kind of game that the other side has learned to play. Hint: it's not a game of comfort and safety.

Take this to the bank for yourself (or don't)

Working with researchers and academics, I see a buttload of this "playing it safe" mentality every day. People want to please their colleagues, their chair, their dean, and avoid rejection at all costs.

Those are exactly the people who struggle the most. They publish the least papers, they get the least grants, and they face the most ultimatums about their jobs being at risk.

You will not win at your career or life by playing it safe and seeking comfort

That time is long gone.

What works now is:

  • To follow your inspiration, regardless of how scary
  • To shake up the status quo
  • To speak your personal truth
  • To stand up to archaic systems
  • To stop making yourself "wrong"
  • To stop worrying constantly

I wish you the best of luck with it. We've got at least four years in "Trumpland" to reflect upon it.

Be "safe" out there!

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How to Hack Your Creative Workspace Thu, 11 Aug 2016 21:27:15 +0000 This is a guest post by Allie Smith-Hobbs. 

It’s the middle of summer. How’s your productivity? 

grant deadlines

There are nights where I’ve been up in the wee hours ruminating about projects. And although our work endeavors can sometimes be frustrating, they can also be the reason we joyously jump out of bed in the morning and rush to the computer with excitement. Work thoughts often fill our minds, but have you given much thought to where you do your work?

The where of your work matters. 


Your workspace can dramatically affect your entire work experience including both your creativity and your productivity.

Whether you’re a small business owner or a tenured professor, your clarity and quality of work will reflect your inner state. It’s very difficult to write clearly or work productively with muddled goals and fuzzy thoughts. While the much bigger topics of core alignment, inner clarity and mental schemas are definitely at play when it comes to our creativity and productivity, there are a few simple steps you take right now to hack your workspace.

So grab a cup of tea, spend a few minutes answering these questions and make a few tweaks to dramatically improve not only your creativity and productivity, but also your overall quality of life.


Location. Location. Location.
This is where the magic happens. Your workspace is your personal real estate. 

Where do you find your groove? Is it in a high energy environment like the corner of a bustling coffee shop? Or perhaps a quiet space in your home office with a cat on your lap and a latte on the desk?

Your workspace may include the office, a local coffee shop or even a laptop while lounging by the pool.

If you have the option of working wherever you want, pay attention to which locations give you inspiration and which give you even more distractions. Depending on your vocation, you may or may not have much latitude when it comes to where you plug in your computer. If you’re required to work in your onsite office, you still have choices that can improve your productivity. How about giving yourself the gift of two hours of uninterrupted time behind locked doors with all distractions (including phone and internet notifications) turned off? What could you accomplish without the constant distraction and drain of colleagues popping by every few minutes?

And speaking of distractions…is clutter overwhelming your desk? Is there a stack of paperwork that needs to be filed?

Our moods contribute to our productivity (or procrastination).

What type of mood does your workspace invoke? Does it make you feel tanked of energy – even if you’ve only been there a few minutes? Or is it filled with things that inspire you?

If you experience a particular emotion every time your eye lands on something, it’s in your best interest to make sure it’s a positive emotion. File those papers, pay those bills, clear off the table – you’ll find it easier to get things done.

Music and Silence
Music is powerful and silence is golden. Are you a fan of music or do you need silence during your business hours? Does putting on the headphones put you in a focused state? Personally, I love music but during intense writing sessions, I find most music a distraction (particularly if it has lyrics). The Spotify channel “Deep Focus” is an exception, as its tracks are selected to improve a flow mindset.

I crank the tunes when in an editing phase or when doing creative multi-tasking, which is a different mindset than getting ideas down in a rough draft, documenting in a spreadsheet or anytime I need to get into the nitty gritty details of a project. It’s your preference when it comes to your auditory input, what’s the difference between focus and distraction?

Routine and Variability
Do you thrive on the discipline of a routine to get tasks done at the same time and/or day or do you prefer variability to keep you interested and your ideas fresh? You may prefer a different environment when churning out rough drafts, mind maps and brainstorms versus the refining and editing phases.

Do you prefer being in solitude or do your ideas flow from collaboration and interaction? From scheduling to location, what routines work best for you?

You define your creative workspace. A customized workspace that fits your personality and work habits will contribute to a peaceful, energetic and organized mind. 

Let’s hear from you – are you a solo writer, researcher or entrepreneur or do you need to chat and collaborate in the hallways to ignite your creativity? Do you lock yourself in your office for a late night or do you get up early with a cup of coffee and do your best work at the kitchen table before 8 am? What changes can you make – right now – to make your workspace a place you want to be?

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Speed Kills… And I’m not talking about the highways Thu, 28 Jan 2016 19:41:00 +0000 speed kills

speed kills

I was out cross country skiing with my 8 yr old daughter the other day. It was her first time on “skate” Skiis, a form of XC skiing that requires a lot of timing and coordination to pull off. She was doing quite well given that it was her first time doing it. I was skiing slowly and staying with her to offer encouragement and support. After several miles and lots of wipeouts, she was still in good spirits, and was getting into the rhythm of it.

We’d been unintentionally tag-teaming with three college students from Montana State. Or at least that’s what their team-logo jackets advertised as they would speed past, then pause to chat and snack while we would catch up and pass them. They clearly thought of themselves as the “cool crowd” out on the trails that day, since they were a “team” and everyone else were just nobodies out skiing to “just” enjoy themselves.

Maybe they didn’t like being passed by a 40-something woman and her 8 year old. After the second time this happened, as they came flying past, the guy in the rear turned to us and said: “Nice Snowshoes“ while looking at our skiis, then he sped on.

I had no idea what he was talking about. I like to be be oblivious at times. When I’m feeling good, enjoying time with my daughter, out on the trails, why worry about what some kid who’s barely out of puberty thinks?

Besides, I didn’t get the “Snowshoes” remark. We were on skiis. So we finished out our skiing and I thought nothing more of it. My daughter was excited to try it again. When any of my kids do that, it is always a good sign that they enjoyed it.

Dreams as clues

Consciously I’d not thought about the remark again, but apparently my subconscious mind wasn’t finished. That night, I found myself as a teenager again, a bit awkward and definitely an ‘outsider.’ We were at a party of some kind, at a house with large, fancy glass doors. There was a group of teenagers who were ridiculing me for being slow. After suffering their taunting, I ended up outside and the glass doors were banged shut. I could see them laughing about me, but could no longer hear their words. I was shut out. I felt isolated, scared, and sad.

That was enough to wake me up. I don’t often have bad dreams nowadays, so this caught my attention. As I tossed and turned, I realized something: It wasn’t just the guy from Montana State or the dream, several other things had happened recently along these same lines.

Just two days before the “Montana State Incident” I’d been in the chairlift line with my older daughter. There are three different “feeder” lines that all merge into one line to get on the lift. Normally at our local resort people are quite friendly (no, this is not the East Coast, yay). The standard routine is to alternate who merges into the main line. In five years of skiing here, I can recall only one or two times where people were rude about it and tried to “butt” in line.

Well, this time there were – surprise – three ~16 year old girls in line who didn’t feel that they needed to be polite. They were in a God-given rush to get to the top, and felt entitled to cut in front of people to get there. They were attempting to cut in front of us, following directly on the heels of the other skiers from their “feeder” line without waiting.

Now, I can be cantankerous with teenage bullies. Maybe it’s because I suffered enough bullying at their hands as a teenager until I started “fighting back” that I still have some of that fight left in me. I made sure to wedge my skiis in front of theirs, making space for my daughter and I in our rightful place in the merged line.

Their response was some kind of rude comment about our ski pants. Neither my daughter or I could hear what the remark was or which one of us it was directed at, but it was clearly meant for us, and was derogatory. After we got on the lift, my 11 year old said the word ”teenagers” while shaking her head and sighing. That’s funny coming from a pre-teen! Maybe there’s hope for her yet!

Anyway, those wonderful teenagers then proceeded to have a party on the chairlift, with loud music blaring and snide comments being lobbed at other skiers down below on the hill. After my daughter and I got off, they sped past haughtily, clearly showing us they were too cool.

Three times is one too many

It would have been easy to ignore one of those incidents alone, but the combination – including the dream – were clues to something deeper. When multiple “coincidences” happen along the same lines in a short span of time, it pays to take heed and understand what the deeper cause is.


By “deeper cause” I am referring to what’s going on inside your own conscious and subconscious mind that brought these events to the forefront of your life. Coincidences of this sort always have lessons to teach, but unfortunately, most of us dismiss them as “just random” and we ignore them. In ignoring them, we invite more such events into our lives. These events are our inner being’s way of nudging us to learn something new and important. That inner being often communicates via events rather than words, because most of us have very noisy heads where any words just get lost in a sea of constant dialog.

So, I’d rather “get” the lesson instead of repeating the same pattern over an over again with different faces and places, always feeling victimized like “the world is out to get me.”

Those teenagers were the messenger

My 3AM reflections while I tossed and turned in bed, pulling the sheets and blankets into a mess, came down to one word: speed. These teenagers – both the real ones and the dream ones – were all taunting me for being slow. The “snowshoes” comment by the Montana guy was implying that we might as well have been walking on snowshoes at the (slow) speed we were going.

I found that intriguing, because I’m finally at a point in life where I’ve found some balance in not always rushing from one thing to the next. Yet part of me is still afraid: afraid that by slowing down in my life, I’ll be left behind. Here the universe was echoing that back at me, showing me how bogus it actually was.

Ten years ago, back when I was younger and had a severe case of “testosterone poisoning,” skiing slow with my daughter and being passed by some young skiers would have been excruciating. I probably would have raced ahead to “prove” to them that I was just as fast (or faster), and only after proving that, returned to my daughter to see how she was doing.

This time I had no such urge – at least not consciously.

But there’s the rub. At a subconscious level, I was still feeling “left behind.” I haven’t reconciled my conscious beliefs – which are all about slowing down, focusing on quality and experience – with my subconscious beliefs, which come from that teenage version of me that was frequently “left behind.”

My brother’s visit

Why did this happen now? It just so happened that my older brother and his family were visiting us. If there’s one thing that’s true for most older brothers (or sisters), they don’t like being “slowed down” by their younger siblings. When growing up, I was left behind by my brother all the time — and sometimes taunted for being slow by he and his friends. I grew up having a “thing” about being left behind. It often seemed to happen, even though I hated it.

I don’t hold a grudge about my brother’s actions now, 30+ years later — at least not consciously. But his presence, along with other things going on in my life and business, triggered this issue for me to recognize and go to work on. The teenagers, the dream, and my brother’s presence were all just hints that I had an opportunity to recognize and work on something that was holding me back in several areas of my life.

And, here’s why this may be relevant to you. It’s not just something that has caused problems for me, it’s an all-pervasive MEME in our culture that causes problems for most of us.

That meme is that going fast is superior to going slow. It comes with a whole related set of beliefs, such as:

  • You have to keep up with the Joneses, or you will be cast out to the wolves (or at least subject to great ridicule)
  • You have to work hard and fast to get anywhere worthwhile in life
  • If you’re a mom, you have to work hard all day, then be a great mom in the evening, and on top of it be a great partner, lover, and so on. Don’t ever slow down and take a break for yourself, or you’ll be thrown to the wolves!
  • That if you’re in research or business, you have to move really fast or be left behind by the competition in a “career wasteland.”

It’s like we’re all plugged into our own little Lamborghinis with the foot to the metal 24/7. At least, until the engine blows up from overheating (i.e. heart attack), the gas runs out (chronic fatigue), etc. Ironically, most of us are just going in circles at 180 mph, and never really getting “anywhere” nor enjoy the journey on our way to that big blowout.

Strange, isn’t it? We humans are an odd lot…

My problem: wanting to go slow and feeling left behind

I’ve long believed that this pace of “going nowhere fast” was unhealthy. I’ve cultivated a life where I can spend time with my daughters as they grow, where I can write a leisurely blog post like this, where I can sip my coffee in the morning without feeling the need to jump into work immediately just to “keep up.” And, ironically, it’s made me far more productive on the things that count (like getting books written and course lessons made).

Yet there’s that part of me that’s still freaked out over the issue of feeling like I’m being left behind. I’ve often felt conflicted. Consciously, I know that taking days off with my family makes me more productive at work when I return to it. Subconsciously, there’s always been this dread, this fear, of being left behind, of not keeping up, of things falling apart…

Unfortunately, the subconscious part, combined with all the constant cultural messages about “going fast,” has too frequently won out, causing me to “work hard” just due to fear of being left behind. I know I’m not the only one for whom that’s true. I don’t actually think that most people, if you asked them, would say that they want to constantly speed through life with little time to savor the important things. Yet if you look around, how many people actually translate that into action? Very few.

Most people I encounter are feeling very rushed, always.

When there’s a conscious/subconscious clash, healing is the key

Most of us are walking around with more than one of these conscious/subconscious clashes. In order to identify yours, just look at any area of your life where you keep wanting things to improve, but they never really seem to in a lasting way. It could be weight loss, it could be grant funding, it could be cash flow, or it could be your relationship with your partner.

Any time there’s been a persistent, chronic problem in your life, it’s a sign of the clash. When you have such a clash going on between subconscious beliefs and your conscious desires, the subconscious always wins. That is, until you do some reprogramming work to get rid of the conflicting subconscious garbage. Then you can finally straighten out the Lamborghini and get somewhpersistent problemere, while enjoying the journey.


Pay attention to the signs

Whatever is the “big issue” for you right now in your life, signs and clues are there, waiting for you to find. They can come in the form of people, circumstances, dreams, or fears, among others. Rather than ignoring them, take heed. Keep a journal, note when you seem to keep facing the same situation again and again.

And ask yourself: what belief do I hold at the subconscious level that’s actually causing this cycle over and over again?

If you do this, you’ll often be amazed by the power of what you find. If you take this exercise seriously, it has the power to completely transform your life.

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How to Have the best Holidays ever… Thu, 03 Dec 2015 21:42:58 +0000 The Holidays are supposed to be a time of giving thanks and enjoying family – but for many of us they turn into a nightmare.

In this article, I discuss what makes the holidays difficult, and give you steps you can implement for a much better result.

A lot of us go through the holiday season feeling like we should be enjoying the cheer and merriment, but we aren’t. Many of us feel just the opposite… sad, disengaged, overwhelmed.  It is a frustrating contradiction that’s increasingly common.

Apart from lacking daylight and cold temps in the Northern Hemisphere, there are a couple things that happen during the holidays that make them difficult to get through.

Family Overdose

The first is that we are exposed to a lot more family than we usually are in our day to day life. For many of us this involves visiting with parents and/or in-laws – and sometimes extended family too.

In a perfect universe, most of us want to enjoy this time with family, but….  we often end up frustrated and dispirited by patterns of interaction we have established with these people. As much as we want the patterns to go away,  we keep re-living them over and over again. Each time we visit, we’re confronted with the same thing, over and over again… and it can seem like Groundhog Day.

You might get drawn into political debates with your dad or uncle who is a Rush Limbaugh fan and you’re most definitely not…

Or it could be that your mom likes to tell you what to do, and you feel like she’s treating you as a child….

Whatever those patterns are, they disrupt our energy and make the Holidays much harder to handle. They take us away from our “Core” and get us into reactive ego-land, where frustration and angst are par for the course.

Once we’re in reactive ego-land, it’s often hard to recover back into “sanity” until we get away from these people.

Worse still, if we start feeling cranky or dispirited, we may do or say something we regret. That can feed into guilt, and guess what that guilt does? It reinforces the whole negative cycle we’re already in. It produces more negativity and guilt.

We feel like we should be “better” as a child/parent/neice/nephew than we are being, and that makes us feel negative and unworthy.

Basically, it sucks. We’ll talk about some remedies in a moment, but first let’s look at the next thing that most of us face during the Holidays.

Overwhelm in the Holidays

This second thing is a basic sense of overwhelm. For my academic clients, many look to the Holidays as a time to get away from teaching and committee duties, and to both recover energy, but also to make progress on things like grant proposals.

Yet what often ends up happening is that we start out feeling great to finally have some free time, and soon, we’re overwhelmed. By the end of the Holidays, we’ll look back and often feel guilty that we accomplished so little.

How does that happen? The Holidays are overwhelming. What may have been a nice, calm time a century ago has turned into a big shopping and visiting fest. If you go to the malls, they are overrun with people. If you go to the airports, they are overrun with people. Traffic is crazy. Expectations are crazier.

Since most of us feel obliged to spend time with and buy gifts for the people in our lives, we are thrust into that craziness on a regular basis through the travel and the shopping.

While I’m a girl who loves a good sale from time to time, wading through all the options and ads is often too much. It’s too much information for anyone to deal with – especially if you’ve got a complex career and home life too.

On top of that there are physiological factors. With the cold weather and diminished sunshine (in Northern Hemisphere) we often have less energy to get out, and are more prone to getting sick. If you have kids, they love to bring home viruses that affect the whole family.

On top of that, for academics, the Holidays often cap off an intense Semester. This ends in a bout of grading, finishing up un-done work, followed by trying to move things forward before the next semester starts.

For our human biology – which evolved on the quiet savannas of Africa – this kind of constant push and information overload is not something we are equipped to deal with for more than a short span of time.

It affects us mentally, and that can spill over into physical effects as well. This is a time of year when fatigue-like symptoms often appear.

At the time of year when we feel like we’re supposed to be “cheerful” and “energetic,” instead we just end up feeling “tired” and “run down.”

That sucks, doesn’t it?

While solving this is not a “quick fix,” here are some pointers to get you started:

  1. Avoid unrealistic expectations. Be aware of unrealistic expectations for yourself and others, and avoid them like the flu. Most of us go into the Holidays thinking that we’ll get work done, get travel done, get shopping done, get cooking done, get time with family spent, and on the list goes. It’s like we have to be a combination of Martha Stewart, Albert Einstein, and Gandhi all wrapped into one little bundle of joyous energy. Talk about unrealistic! We are all human, and no matter whether we’re in great physical shape or not, we all have limits. Many of us ignore those limits when we’re thinking about the future, and this is especially bad when it comes to the Holidays. So it’s important to really scale back our expectations for ourselves during this time.
  2. Sleep more. No matter how you slice it, the Holidays are going to be more stressful for most people than during “normal” times. Dealing with stress requires additional sleep – at least if you want to stay healthy. So, give yourself permission to sleep more. Don’t see it as “wasting time” but rather, see it as “investing time in well being.”
  3. Exercise. It’s way too easy to feel “stuck” inside due to the inclement weather. Yet getting outdoors is an essential mood-lifting tool in your arsenal. Even a 15 minute walk can make a big difference. If you live where it’s cold and icy, bundle up nice and warm and get out! (Some people consider me weird, but I love getting out on my bike this time of year when it’s sub-freezing. There aren’t many other bikers out, so I feel like I have the roads and trails to myself.)
  4. Avoid the big sales at the mall and crowded places like that. Like I said, I love a good sale. But years ago I swore to myself that I’d avoid Black Friday outings, and I am very glad that I did. The question to ask is this: how much does it cost you in terms of stress and frustration to save a few dollars when you go out shopping with the big crowds? For most of us, it’s simply not worth it. This is especially true for those of us who are wired to be “internal” – i.e. who don’t like spending lots of time around lots of people. Going against our own inner nature can really end up being de-energizing, and the effect can last for days.
  5. Avoid guilt. We are a society of wannabe superheros. Many of us have totally unrealistic expectations for ourselves about what we should and can accomplish. Since none of us end up ever meeting our expectations for our own “superhero” status, we then end up feeling guilt over it. And, this kind of guilt can be amplified by interactions with those people in our lives who like to use guilt as a tool to manipulate us. Yet all the guilt just saps our energy and well-being. And worse, sometimes the guilt turns into shame about our own abilities, and that’s even worse.

Now, one thing we didn’t address here is how you deal with your relationships with other people – especially when it comes to (sometimes pushy or intrusive) family members.

This is a big subject, so instead of trying to cover it here, I’ve put together a brand new training “Managing your relationships: how to take control of both your personal and working relationships so they don’t drive you crazy.”

It will help you during the Holidays, but also applies to any other time of year.

To join me on the training (which will be on Tuesday December 8 at 4 pm MT/6 pm ET), you can use this fancy button:
Click Here to Save Your Spot


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The Unexpected Lesson Fri, 11 Sep 2015 19:14:12 +0000 This is a guest post by Allie Smith-Hobbs.

I was recently copied on an email that said, “I hoped you learned something, even if it was not what you intended” and I’ve been ruminating on this all week.

What am I learning that I didn’t intend to learn? Unintentional lessons happen to us all the time, we just need to stop and realize that’s what it is. You know, those “growth experiences” that we’d like to avoid most of the time.

It’s true that we learn from life’s hard experiences, but I’d wager that we’ll learn the most if we’re able to stop, take a step back and see the bigger picture of what we’re truly learning. In many ways, I feel like I’ve graduated from the school of hard knocks, (perhaps even an honorary PhD from the University of Doing it the Hard Way), but life seems to keep repeating situations until we learn the lessons.

Now if I’m paying for a course and want to learn the technical skills of grant writing, I hope I learn the technical skills of grant writing. But if I also learn something about my mindset in that I tend to be an information gatherer rather than an implementer, that’s just as valuable (if not more so!). (Unfortunately, as much as I’ve tried, learning and making real change in my life does not occur through diffusion of helpful books on my nightstand. I have to implement it.)

We experience these unintentional learning situations every day – at work, at home, in the car between the two.

I’m no zen master and it might take a level of maturity currently out of my grasp to sort through every sucky situation to tease out the lessons.

Sometimes that may take a few deep breaths behind a locked office door (or, ahem, digging into my secret stash of chocolate), but that’s okay. What did I learn?

What I learned might simply be that I get defensive and reactive when approached in a certain way or about certain topics. My first reaction is, “Yeah, when XYZ happens, I learned that you’re a jerk…” But if I can take it as my responsibility and reframe it as, “When XYZ happens, I get defensive and reactive. So how can I operate proactively even if XYZ doesn’t change?”

Framing is a powerful technique that Morgan teaches in grant writing, but it applies everywhere in life. I can take charge of my own response through my personal framing. My challenge to myself it to take the unintentional lesson and turn it into an intentional frame.

What about you? No zen mastery required, but did you learn unintended something throughout your day today that you can reframe?

Allie Smith-Hobbs has a background in administration with a M.S. in Instructional and Performance Technology and a passion for literature and writing. She combines adventure, administrative support and cool technology in supporting Dr. Morgan Giddings and her clients.

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Run and Cry Thu, 27 Aug 2015 20:19:10 +0000 Have you ever been in a situation – such as visiting with relatives (or dealing with collaborators, or etc) – where your head is ready to explode?

I’m sure you have.

Here’s the thing: It’s nothing wrong with them. They are who they are. You are who you are. Nobody is going to fundamentally change.

This is true even when they’re good people who are well intentioned (as the relatives I’m currently visiting are). This is true when they are not so good and not so well intentioned.

It is universal. It has nothing to do with the rightness or the wrongness of anyone involved. Yet so often we tend to make it about that. “They’re wrong and I’m right.” It makes your ego feel good but never solves the situation. Yes, I tried that for many years. Nothing changed.

In this conflict between “who they are” and “who you are,” generally what ends up happening is one of two things:

1. You “suck it up” and try to adapt. That strategy is one I’ve been familiar with many times in the past. All too many times I would subsume who I am and what I want for myself to the needs of others. Relatives, family, collaborators, kids. While I’m a strong personality, I also have a very strong streak of wanting to please others. When those came into conflict, the “wanting to please others” would often (usually) win.
2. You make them “wrong.” I’ve done this too, usually when I reached my breaking point in any situation. I would just get to a point where I couldn’t handle “playing the good girl” anymore, and so I would decide that “they” (whoever they happened to be at the moment) were “wrong.” Once I brought that attitude into the relationship, things went downhill…. fast. Worse, it’s easy to feel guilty after doing this, and then make yourself “wrong.” So you end up with a whole buttload of “making people wrong” and nobody wins.

There is another way.

In my work with Core Analysis – i.e. using intuitive methods to get to the bottom of who we are at our Core – I found out that I’m highly “internal.” (It wasn’t a surprise). What this means is that my relationship with myself is  the most important relationship. I need lots of alone time to think, to process, and to work on where I’m at.

For external people, this is bizarre. External people benefit greatly from being in relationship to other people, and not as much from “going inside.”

I can be by myself for days in a row – and be VERY happy with it! Someone who’s external (like one of my daughters) would not do well with that.

The conflict mounts

When I go visit relatives with my family, it’s full-on. It’s round the clock people, people, and more people. It doesn’t matter whether they’re the nicest people in the world – being an internal person, I get burnt out. I get exhausted. I get frustrated.

The point here is that each of us is somewhere on that internal-external spectrum (and similarly, there are a number of other spectrums) – and quite often when we’re in a situation – not just with relatives, but in any human situation – attempting the “suck it up” solution in the name of getting along – we end up exhausted. That often leads to the next phase, which is the making them wrong phase. Like I said, it’s all downhill.

The pressure release

This morning I was just about at my breaking point. I was going to snap at somebody or start the downhill trend. So I decided to go out for a run. Despite the cloudy day, I wore my sunglasses. I could feel tears coming on.

In the past, I wouldn’t have let myself cry in public (even with sunglasses!). I would have still been in the “suck it up” mode, trying to adapt to a societal norm that says it’s weird to be out in public, running along a suburban street, with tears running down your face. Well screw that!

So here I was, running down the tree-lined streets in gray, windy Madison, Wisconsin, letting the tears of angst and frustration flow. After I got over the first minute or so of “feeling like a freak” (a feeling that’s quite normal for me by now), I felt an incredible release.

I ran faster. I let more tears flow. I ran up a hill at a speed faster than I have in over a year. And by now, the frustration was spent. There were no more tears.

Why don’t we take care of ourselves?

Social norms.

Most of us are so caught up in “fitting in” that we subsume our health, our mental well being, and even our spiritual well being for the sake of avoiding negative judgements or conflict. (Or, alternatively, just cynically avoiding all such situations where we might be exposed to this kind of challenge).

It’s c-r-a-z-y.

Why do we do that? I for one am sick of doing that. I won’t do it anymore.

That’s why I found myself running down that street with tears flowing – and ending up feeling better than I have in weeks!

That one emotional release that I allowed for myself – in public – was better than meditating every day (which I do), journaling (which I do), regular exercise (which I do).

Nobody should try to “fit in”

The bottom line is that we are all hardwired – at our deepest Core – for certain tendencies. Most of us end up quite often very far out of alignment with that, and it’s usually in situations with other people. When we end up chronically out of alignment, it results in health problems. It results in relationship problems. It results in anxiety and bitterness. It ends up in unhealthy anger and blame (or worse, victimization). Some people spend their whole lives in these states. What a waste!

We are not here having this human experience to try to “meld ourselves to fit in.” No, we are not.

We are here to live our lives authentically self-expressed. We are here to align with who we are and look at the magic that happens when we do that.

It’s a shame that society often gives us just the opposite message: suck it up, fit in, do your homework, work hard, be nice, get good grades, and all that bullshit.

It really is bullshit, and I for one won’t do it anymore. My goal is to be able to have relationships with people where I don’t go down the route of “fitting in” and/or “making them wrong” – but instead, simply be myself – even if that ends up with me running on a public street with tears running down my face, looking like a madwoman.

I am shedding the notion that fitting in is useful or healthy. (It’s not).

My challenge to you

My challenge to you is to join me. I challenge you to look at your life, identifying areas where you subsume your personality in order to “fit in” or “avoid conflict.”

Then ask yourself this question: “what is the cost to me of continuing to do that?”

Once you realize the true costs, I think you may decide that you want to stop doing that. Because for most of us, those true costs are simply too great.

Let me know how it goes!

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Freaking out, coming out: being authentic is hard Wed, 15 Jul 2015 20:23:39 +0000 I stand for alignment. My goal for all my friends and clients is to get them aligned with who they are at the core so that they can live life to its fullest. That’s what alignment does…

But sometimes alignment can be freaky scary. Like it is for me now.

I’ve known that I needed to write this post for a while. Over a month, in fact. But I held off, because my ego has been scared – and has found every reason in the world to procrastinate and delay. And so it didn’t happen.

Yet what always happens when we operate knowingly out of alignment is that life gives us wake up calls. It knocks on our door and says:

Hey, this is life calling on you, reminding you to get back into alignment! And don’t worry, I am ever patient. If you don’t listen to my message this time, I’ll come back again with a larger and louder message later! Eventually you will hear me, but the longer you wait, the “harder” the lesson of alignment will seem from your perspective. So you might as well get on with it now….

I had a wake up message. It was simply an internal “meltdown” of sorts where I just couldn’t get anything to work. I felt stuck, frustrated, blocked, and depressed.

Alright, life, I will heed your message. I will do what I need to do to get into better alignment. I have heard your message that I need to be authentic about a big change that has been happening. I will act.

And so I write the rest of this blog post. I write it as a conversation between EGO and HS (higher self). This is the internal conversation I’ve been having about this next phase of my own alignment. You may find it useful as you tackle your own alignment issues – especially worrying about “what others will think.”

EGO: You know, HS, some people are going to really judge us and hate us for this. We might get drawn into more of those lengthy time and energy-wasting debates about whether we are “right” on this.

HS: Debates are something that ego does. There is no “right” perspective except for the one that works for you! There is no need to defend it. You live in a rich, wide-open world where you can connect with the people that resonate with who you are, and disconnect from those who don’t. You don’t “need” those people who are critical to be safe, happy, or connected.

EGO: That’s easy for you to say. You don’t have to put “food on the table.” You weren’t the one that had to figure out how to stage a comeback after mom walked out the door when we were two years old, or how to deal with all those bullies who tried to beat us to a pulp in school. You get to sit there on your high horse, talking about higher path, while I have to deal with issues of our basic survival in the 3D world. I have done a pretty good job in keeping us safe, now haven’t I?

HS: You have done a commendable job of the survival act. But life is far richer for a human than just “surviving” and staying “safe.” Those things work – for a while. However, no human – you included – is here just to “survive.” You are here to immerse yourself in the richness and fullness of your creative experience, and you can’t do that by operating from your defensive platform. Yes, you will “survive” but you will never be fulfilled or come into alignment with who you truly are as a magnificent being.

EGO: Okay, but if I tell them about this “psychic” thing I’ve been doing, I worry that I will lose a lot of my friends and followers who just think that’s a bunch of bullcrap foisted on them by people reading Tarot cards in back alley parlors. It hurts to lose people – to lose friends and people who have valued and respected me for all this time.

HS: If they decide to go away because you “come out” as a psychic, were they true friends to begin with? Of course not. You have tried for too many years to “fit in to be liked and respected” – and that has come at a great cost to you. It has literally cost you your soul. No, your Soul is not gone, but when you play your Ego games of trying to “be what you think they want you to be” just to get their approval or appreciation, you disconnect from your Soul. You lose your power and your alignment, and that leads you back into a constant struggle for survival. You have to work really hard to make things happen, rather than operating from alignment, where work is easy, fun, and rewarding. You can chose this path of misalignment if you wish, but you will also suffer the consequences.

EGO: But what if I’m wrong? What if I’m making all of this up? What if the “intuitive hits” that I get when working with a client are all just a bunch of random, meaningless stuff that’s misleading both me and the people I work with?

HS: Why do you doubt yourself so? Because of a few random skeptics and cynics out there? Look at how much you have helped people transform their lives, careers, and businesses. You are conscientious and you care. You want to do the right thing, but you often take it too far – to the point of holding yourself back from helping those you can help. It is useful in this kind of work to have some self-doubt, because it is possible to deceive oneself – just like in any area of life. Those who have none are a bit “reckless” – but those who have too much, like you, are too prone to withdraw, to hold back, and to not share their gifts with the world. And this is a profound gift you have at this particular time and place. While there are plenty of people who have this type of gift, very very few who have your training and background have opened themselves up to this kind of work – bringing together both the rational/scientist perspective and the intuitive perspective that you get when you “tune in.” This is precious beyond measure for those who are open to it. Will you withhold your gifts from them?

EGO: I’ve tried this route of “just being myself” and “coming out.” It is painful. For example, a few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about my belief in a deeper source/God/whatever – and while there was some support, there were also those cynics and skeptics who came out of the closet to attack! I am sick of fighting those people, it is distracting and energy draining! It reminds me of being back in school, dealing with the bullies!

HS: Why do you give them “airtime” in your head? This is not grade school, and they have no power over you whatsoever, except that which you give them. Why do you make the choice to give them that? You have this misguided notion from your “science” that you have to carefully consider all points of view, but you have no obligation to do that.

How many scientists that you know are truly that open minded? 

EGO: Zero

HS: While science holds the lofty goal of being truly “objective” you well know that there is no such thing that actually takes place in real-world science. You know that science operates based on frames and belief systems which are far from objective. If you choose to, you can adopt a different frame or belief system which serves you better, such as this frame that you are doing “psychic” work, along with the evidence you’ve gathered to back it up.

However, there is no need to “prove” that to anyone but yourself. If you’re going to do something – anything – in life, it is vital that you are in alignment with it, that you believe in it. Otherwise, fundamental disharmony occurs, and that leads to friction. Just like when having sex, too much friction can be painful 😉

EGO: But wait, in science many people have been punished for going against the “party line.” In fact, many people who eventually became Nobel Laureates, such as Daniel Schectman for his quasicrystal discovery and Barry Marshall for his discovery of H. Pylori in ulcers, suffered greatly at the judgement of their peers. It took them years of being ridiculed and denied funding before their “heretical” ideas became mainstream. Or the guy from UC Berkeley who had an alternative theory of AIDS and was pushed out of his career. It is dangerous to go against the grain in science!

At this point in history, it’s perhaps more dangerous than speaking out against certain religious beliefs and practices!

HS: Why did you leave your science career? What was the REAL reason?

EGO: To no longer feel like I was constrained in expressing myself about what I really think is going on. I was tired of having to “buy into” the conventional (conservative) notions of how our world works in order to get grant funding and any semblance of recognition. I got quite good at “playing the game of being acceptable” but the more I did it, the more it made me sick. The dishonesty, the front, the “pretend to be normal” was just awful. I was getting sick all the time, and I was miserable – despite great funding, respect, and a big lab. It just all felt so FAKE to me!

HS: So you left. You risked everything in the name of freedom. Kudos to you! This is a perfect illustration of the idea that “security is not enough.” It is about the freedom to express what you truly believe, and to use that to help those who are open to a new point of view. One which some people – albeit a minority – are primed and ready for. 

And yet, here you are, five years past leaving that faculty job, and you still feel constrained by the same old rules. You fear that if you speak your truth, they may “yank your funding!” You are doing nothing but letting that small-minded, conservative way of being infect your current reality, even though you are FREE of it!

If there are people in your life – be they friends, clients, or even family – who cannot accept you for who you really are, and what you really believe, then they are an energy drain. Choosing to have them in your life is not going to support you, and you would be well-served by letting them go.

The “coming out” process can be seen as a purge of sorts. You get to see who your “true friends” are, and also those who were your “fake friends” that really just wanted what you’ve got (the perceived success, freedom, wealth, etc). Yet those who have clung to you wanting “what you’ve got” will never get it, because they are so disconnected from themselves. They can go find another guru to follow, one who feeds off that kind of thing. That’s not you. You are here to help those who truly want to better themselves, by connecting more deeply with themselves. Those people will understand and appreciate the power of living into your own truth, and the example that you set.

EGO: But wait! I’ve already had too many coming outs. They are exhausting! I came out of the closet about the gender thing, and that was a years long process. I came out about being fed up with the science career. I came out about feeling like a Liar and Fraud, and that was exhausting too. I’ve done enough “coming out.” Why can’t I just be normal, and live an easy, straightforward life? What the hell? This is too much work!

HS: Yours is a path of living as an example. You are here to help people live into their own truth. That process can be painful, as this world is not set up to support that. It is also highly rewarding in the end. Consider this: if you could go back and “do over” your decision to come out about your gender dysphoria, would you reverse your decision? Or was the pain of going through that whole process ultimately worth it?

EGO: The pain was worth it. I would do it again. But it was scary as hell, and the only reason I did it was because of my unborn daughter. I couldn’t fathom having a broken relationship based on a lie with her. So I faced the fear and the pain, and went ahead. I’m not sure I could do that again, without a very strong reason like that. And now I’m being confronted with having to do it again. I. Just. Really. Don’t. Want. To!

HS: C’mon – this is like a little pebble next to the boulder that was your gender “coming out.” There you risked everything – your family, your job, your friends – everything. Here you risk almost nothing, except for drawing the minor ire of a few friends or clients. And the rewards of “being yourself” are huge. Given the role that you play in people’s lives, the more you be “true to yourself,” the more powerful an example you set for them. 

They do not learn as much from your words as they do from your example. If you want to expand your reach of helping people, being authentic is the only way to go. This move is the next big step in that authenticity. Talking about this subject of “being a psychic” is culturally more taboo now than the topic of gender transitions – yet it is also sorely needed by many who feel so lost and confused by the materialist model they’ve been fed that has told them they are nothing more than a random byproduct of inert lumps of matter. They crave an alternative, yet one that doesn’t take them back to the old ways of top-heavy religious doctrine. You can help them with that, if you step up to the plate!

EGO: Ok. Fuck it. I give up. You are right again, damn you. I hate it when I get talked into a corner and proven “wrong!” Argh. I surrender!!

HS: As you know, that is the way. Each time you have fought against “the next step” in your life, the resistance and pain has grown and grown until you finally gave in and said “fuck it” – and then aligned with your new, higher path. And each time the rewards have been immense, have they not?? Surrender is a very practical state when it comes to your own higher path of self expression and authenticity. When you surrender to your higher path, the world opens to you!

EGO: I know you’re right, but you don’t need to rub it in! I got it. I will just do this thing and get on with it. Thank you!

HS: Thank you!!!


So there you have it. From Male to Female, and now from Scientist/Skeptic to Intuitive/Psychic. Wow.

I’ll be clear. This psychic thing isn’t what it’s made out to be in the movies. I don’t get massive inrushes of information every time I encounter another human being. I don’t see glowy auras or energy fields around people. In fact, I still often doubt myself that anything at all “unusual” is going on.

And yet: I do gain access to information about people that I could have had no other explanation. I.e. information about childhood events that they have never shared with me (or anyone). It is always gained through their permission, and only through a very systematic process of inquiry as part of an intention to help them.

The scientist in me hasn’t been abandoned. I crave to make the process as “scientific” (rational) as possible. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been “called” to explore this gift.

There are very few who do this kind of work that take it on with this perspective. I don’t at all relate to the people who hang out in crystal shops talking about woo woo stuff. No, I would rather be working on my computer, writing, or out on the whitewater than I would talking about crystal harmony or whatever.

Yet, I also can’t stand the status quo of things. The one that was programmed into us that says we are nothing more than clumps of dirt that have randomly evolved into fancier clumps of dirt. I can’t stand to see people living lives searching for meaning against such a meaningless backdrop of “you are nothing but a random blip” and “everything will eventually wind down into a bleak, cold heat death of our universe.”

My dissatisfaction with that mainstream status quo – supported often by both religions and science – led me on a quest to go deeper, and to explore the alternatives.

What I found has been a place where our entire universe is alive with consciousness and awareness. I have found a place where thought is primary and matter is a byproduct of thought, not the other way around. What I have found is that we are far more connected with other beings than our doctrinaire school systems would have us believe. And I have found that, with the right kind intentionality and practice, it is possible to “tune into” information that is not from an obvious source coming from our five senses.

That is my journey. It is who I am. You can love it or hate it. My ego surrenders to either one you may choose, because I know that this is the right path, for me. And I know that I can help those who are ready to be helped with what I know, because I’ve seen the transformative effect it has had for those who are open to it.

That is what I know, and that is the next step in my journey.

How about you? Are you being authentic to who you truly are at your core? If not, why not?

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You're so free, you can choose bondage! Mon, 29 Jun 2015 16:15:19 +0000 An interesting discussion emerged on my Facebook feed after my most recent post titled “F*ck it, I’m done.” That post was all about my own journey from being an atheist/materialist to a quite different – far more spiritual, happy, and abundant – place.

One commenter chimed in with a classic materialist line: “we have no freewill.” What does that mean, and why does it matter?

It matters because understanding why you are here is freeing. Not understanding why you are here is the opposite of freeing; it feels like bondage. I know what both systems of thought feel like from personal experience, and I can tell you that the former is WAY more satisfying.

The materialist line says that you are here because we are all part of one giant machine, which, like a clock got wound up at some indescribably distant “beginning” then its maker walked away. It says that everything that happened since that original point is just a step by step process that deterministically unfolds from that origin.

What that heady line means is that if you went back and started everything over again at exactly the same point, everything would happen exactly the same.

Computers are like that. If you start a computer program with exactly the same conditions, you will always get exactly the same results. There is no means of flexibility or freedom in a computer. Computers are deterministic, and will never do something “unexpected” given the starting conditions.

Good thing we aren’t computers – even though many people think we are.

The most common fallacy in the materialist (and determinist) thinking is that our brains operate biochemically just like a computer (in technical terms, this is called a universal Turing Machine). In this view, your spirit or soul is nothing but a byproduct of the myriad chemical reactions taking place therein. If you started it all over again with the same circumstances, you’d make exactly the same choices – or so they claim.

The problem with that model is that it denies the many deeper levels of reality that our brains can tap into resources that exist outside of space and time as we know it. Our soul or core is something that is far deeper than just the physical hardware of our brains, and has its own trajectory.

There are plenty of scientific studies that show that our brains are tapping into something “else”. To name only a few of them: studies of near-death experiences (e.g. Chris Carter’s book “Science of the Near Death Experience”); the Princeton PEAR experiments; the remote viewing efforts carried out by the US CIA and other similar organizations; the work of Penrose & Hameroff on consciousness; and so on.

So here’s the point: even if the machine that we call our “brain” was started with identical conditions, the soul stuff that our brain is hooked into wouldn’t be the same, and so we’d get different results.

In fact, free will is at the very core of our experience here as humans. The reason we are here is to experience the effect of our choices in the 3D (4D if you include time). If it was all “pre-ordained” then there wouldn’t be much point to this exercise. 

Ironically, many people in our world today who’ve adopted the materialist view use that to choose a sort of fatalistic stance that is anti-freedom. They think that, really, there’s no point to this life except for playing out the hand that was dealt to you, itself stemming as a consequence from that original state way back when at the beginning.

This is a disempowering view. It’s no wonder that so many of the scientists I work with find themselves feeling disempowered, unhappy, overwhelmed, and stressed. Most of them who come to me in that condition have this materialist program running behind the scenes, and it is causing them to live without ever embracing the freedom that is their birthright.

That is:

  • The freedom to create your reality as you see fit
  • The freedom to experience your choice and the consequences thereof
  • The freedom to tap into “future possibilities” through imagination and decide which one you want to go for
  • The freedom to experience yourself as a soul in a body who makes choices
  • The freedom to give up your freedom to others or to models of the world that tell you you have none

This could all seem like some meaningless philosophical debate except for one thing: it profoundly impacts happiness and functionality as we live here in the 3D.

Like I said, I encounter myriad people who, having adopted the materialist stance, are typically caught up in various stages of existential angst. On the surface they often seem “OK,” but when they open up to me, behind the scenes things are a mess. And that’s fine – I experienced that same angst for many years of my life. It was from experiencing that that my “awakening” was far more enjoyable because of the contrast.

If you don’t believe that something “deeper” such as your soul exists and can be tapped into for wisdom and guidance, then you won’t tap into it. You’ll operate at the shallow level of rational thought alone, as if you’re just a cog in the machine.

Doing that, you will not be open to the amazing synchronicities that can happen when you are tapped in. In my life, and that of many I have worked with, these synchronicities are nothing short of “magical.” (Everything from angel investors showing up to donors to strings of large grants getting funded to over six figures extra just showing up in an account… crazy good stuff).

You have the freewill to choose your viewpoint. Far more than just some trivial philosophical debate, in deciding your stance on this, you are choosing whether to embrace your full freedom and empowerment as a human, or to minimize that in bondage to an antiquated materialist viewpoint.

It’s your life, which will you choose?

(I’d like to acknowledge Esther Hicks/Abraham for the line “you’re so free you can choose bondage).

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