Spring Cleaning

Spring is here and for many of us that means it’s time for Spring Cleaning.  We go through our closets and toss what’s out of date or what no longer fits us;  we wash the winter grime from our windows;  we move the furniture to get to those dust bunnies,  and often find something we’d long been searching for.

But when was the last time you did some spring cleaning in your psyche?  The last time you took stock of your habits and relationships,  eliminating the ones that no longer served you well?  Can you remember when you last cleaned off the lenses through which you see the world,  thus enabling you to see things more clearly?   When was the last time you pushed aside the attitudes you take for granted (i.e. the heavy furniture of your life) and looked behind, to discover feelings you thought you’d lost?

We all need to take stock of our lives now and then.   Maybe it’s time to cut loose that relationship that sucks your productive and emotional energy.  Maybe it’s time to look at a situation from a new perspective, even for a little while,  if only to notice how things feel different.   Maybe by breaking routine and forcing you to approach daily situations from a new direction, you will discover emotions and strengths you haven’t felt in a long time.

Change doesn’t magically descend upon us.  We have to be willing to work at personal growth and change.    You can start today,  by doing a little personal spring cleaning.


Lucky in Love

Lucky in Love:
Secrets to Being Irresistible

Lucky in Love

Change your life! Order your copy now! Click here.

Wisdom distilled from many years of loving, dating, failing, picking myself up again, dusting myself off, and getting back into the fray. If you follow even 10% of the advice in this book, your love life will improve 1000%. I promise.

“I think Lucky in Love is one of the best books on the subject of love and relationships I’ve ever read. I run the matchmaking program at a large singles organization and immediately ordered copies for every member of my program.”

Lisa M, W. Orange, NJ

“Lucky in Love is insightful, funny and full of great advice. I’ve reread it dozens of times already, and every time I do, I understand Adrienne’s philosophy a little more. It’s especially helpful when I’m in the midst of relationship problems. This really helps me put things in perspective.”

–Diane G., Stamford, CT

“From the first page, Lucky in Love had my attention. It explores all those things you already know, intellectually, about love and explains them in a way your emotions can understand.”

–Brian B., New York, NY

“I’ve been carrying around Lucky in Love in my handbag since I got it three weeks ago. I reread it every day, and every time I do, I absorb a little more of Adrienne’s very wise philosophy.”

Sandra L, Brooklyn, NY

“This book makes so much sense. It should be required reading! ”

Kelly J, Astoria, NY

“Adrienne’s lectures are so inspiring, and this book is a continuation of her positive and amazingly useful philosophy. Often her suggestions require a serious change of attitude on my part, but every time I follow her advice and make that effort, I see the benefit in all my relationships.”

Rachel S, Great Neck, NY

Take Charge of Your Own Journey

How would your life and relationships be different if your primary goals in life were self- knowledge and personal growth?  What if, in your relationships with others,  you recognized that they, too, were on a journey of self-knowledge?  How would your relationships be different if you respected the journey of others?  What if,  without pushing or forcing them,  you gave them the space to experiences and discover for themselves?  What if,  by your behavior and knowledge,  you could be a shining  example for others,  so they might find a better way to live their lives and be happy?

Ideally,  isn’t this how a parent raises a child?   And isn’t this, then,  the purest form of love?

In this way,  we can recognize the humanity in everyone,  even our enemies.   We can feel compassion – not hatred – for those who do not take self-growth and self-knowledge as a personal goal.   They are the people who will muddle around through life, unable to find true happiness;  unable to form emotionally  mature relationships.  These are the people who cut themselves off or numb themselves from their own feelings.  They live in denial.

If you could maintain this recognition of the journey of others,  how different would it be dealing with difficult people?  How much more compassionate could you be?   How might your thinking and actions be different if you saw others in this way?

“A very nice philosophy in the abstract sense,” I hear you thinking,  “but how does this help me practically with [pick one:  my tyrannical boss;  my difficult relative;  my immature spouse, etc.]?”

Glad you asked…because once you understand the mechanics of this, it all becomes much clearer.  An example:

Jerri and Tom had been in a live-in relationship for a couple of years.  Tom was very jealous of Jerri’s friends and outside interests.  Initially, Jerri was flattered by Tom’s devotion and attention,  but eventually it became claustrophobic.  They would fight about it constantly.  Jerri loved Tom,  but she couldn’t stand his suspicion and his sulking and the inevitable arguments.  When, on the rare occasion she went out with her friends and left Tom home alone,  she would feel guilty that she was hurting him.  It was an untenable dynamic.

Once Jerri started to see her life in terms of a journey,  in which every experience, encounter and relationship is a lesson in self-knowledge, everything changed.   She began to question why she’d been attracted to Tom.  She started to examine the glue that held them together.

Initially,  she misinterpreted Tom’s clinginess as  “deep and abiding love.”   His possessiveness and jealousy “proved” to her that he would never leave her.  This placated her own insecurity and abandonment issues, which she had never confronted before.

She eventually came to understand that Tom’s jealousy was not a representation of his love for her, but rather a lack of love for himself – the flip side of her own coin.   Now that she was confronting and taking responsibilities for her own issues,  she understood that Tom needed to confront and take responsibility for his.   She no longer felt guilty when she didn’t give in to his unreasonable demands.  More importantly, she didn’t need his jealousy and possessiveness to assuage her own fears.

Now, when Tom got sulky,  instead of apologizing and feeling guilty,  she would remind him,  in the kindest way,  that he needed to deal with his own insecurity and fear of abandonment.  She simply shifted the responsibility back to Tom,  gently and lovingly.   Once she changed her behavior,  his only choices were to either embrace the change or end the relationship (to find someone else who would play his game, and allow him to continue with his limiting beliefs.)

To Tom’s credit, he was able to self-examine and grow, and their relationship is better for it.  Their problems haven’t vanished completely,  but the dynamic has certainly changed for the better.  Finally,  they are both taking responsibility for their own feelings and their own paths in life. They rarely push each others buttons anymore.  They have found a deeper love for each other because there is a growing respect for each other’s personal journey.

If you would like to know how you can take your journey to the next level,  please contact me via my website,  www.artofepiphany.com for one-on-one counseling or group lectures.

Get Off That Mental Hamster Wheel!

I have a dear friend who continually beats himself up psychologically and obsesses negatively, to the point of crippling himself into inaction.  (Or  perhaps it’s the fact that he’s crippled into inaction by fear that causes him to beat himself up and obsess negatively.)

A couple of years ago,  I designed a series of challenges for him,  to help shift his thinking,  some of which I thought readers of this blog might find useful.

Here is one of them:

Next time you get stuck on your mental hamster wheel and can’t find a way off, try this. It’s a method which I have used, myself, with great success.

When you start to have negative thoughts, especially obsessive ones, STOP for a moment and say to yourself (aloud whenever possible) “I CHOOSE not to think about this” or “I CHOOSE not to think in this way.” Immediately replace those negative thoughts with something positive. Repeat as often as necessary.

It is important that you use the word CHOOSE, so you eventually understand on the deepest possible level that how you think is a CHOICE; that you DO have control over your thoughts and actions.

It’s not magic. Initially, you will quickly drift back to the negative thinking. (Hey, I never said it was going to be fast or easy!) At first, maybe you will only be able to stay away from the negative for a few seconds at a time — but if you keep repeating the mantra and replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones, slowly you will find you have more and more control over these kinds of thoughts (instead of letting your negative thoughts control you.)

There are two main kinds of negative thoughts: 1) thinking about bad things that have already happened (i.e. “regret”) or the possibility of bad things that may happen in the future (i.e. “worrying”) and 2) thinking badly of yourself and/or having limiting thoughts. (i.e. “I am worthless, incapable, hopeless, etc.”)

I find it helpful to have a happy, positive fantasy ready to think about when I start to think negative, especially in the first case. When you worry, it’s easy to create elaborate scenarios that start to feel real and/or inevitable. That’s why it is important to have something equally strong and elaborate but POSITIVE and HAPPY to replace it. The point is, you cannot replace a big worry which completely occupies your head with just a single, simple thought. You need a positive fantasy which you to imagine in a lot of detail, so you can really get involved in it and “experience” it mentally and emotionally. (Make it sexual, if you like! As long as it works!) Again, this may take time to develop. In the beginning, you may find yourself using the same fantasy again and again. This can be useful because you will have it “ready to go” whenever you need it. Sooner or later, you may develop/use different ones. Whatever works for you is fine.

In the second case, when you are having limiting thoughts (“I can’t…” “I’m hopeless…” “I’m not worthy…” etc). focus on your good qualities or things you have done that you are proud of .  Or,  simply congratulate yourself on the progress you have already made. Keep a mental list of these things, and make a point of adding to the list all the time. The goal is to have such a long, positive list that by the time you are finished reciting it in your head, the bad stuff looks miniscule in comparison.

This is a technique which takes time and constant practice to learn. Do not become discouraged if it is difficult in the beginning. Certainly, do not beat yourself up over lack of progress, and thus feel even MORE negative thoughts!!!! Just re-dedicate yourself to doing the technique. I can tell you from my own experience, that slowly but surely, you will find you have more positive thoughts than negative ones. You will begin to have confidence that you CAN control how you think. Eventually you won’t need the mantra; the process will be completely internalized.

You can do this!

Be Careful What You Wish For…Your Wish Just Might Come True

Wishing for something is another way of saying “focusing mental and emotional energy on” it.   If you’ve never seen the movie, Bedazzled,  (either the Peter Cook-Dudley Moore 1967 version,  or the Brendan Fraser- Elizabeth Hurley 2000 version) I recommend them both highly…not just because they are both equally brilliant and hilarious,  but because the premise is a wonderful metaphor for how we desire.

Essentially,  Stanley sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for seven wishes.  All his wishes center around trying to get a certain woman to fall in love with him so they can live happily ever after.   The Devil,  however,  (being a devil) takes him at his word and each time,  gives him exactly what he asks for, which of course,  never turns out to be what he wants.  There is always some element which frustrates him and/or makes him miserable.

One of  Stanley’s big mistakes, is that he focuses too much on either superficial things or on the structure of the relationship,  leaving the Devil ample latitude to mess with feelings.  For example, in one scenario,  he is wealthy and powerful and married to the love of his life — just what he asked for — except she is in love with someone else.

Are you focusing too much on attaining goals which are only superficial to your ultimate happiness?   If you got EXACTLY what you wanted,  would that satisfy you? Make you happy?  Are you certain?  What about that situation or achievement would make you happy?  Is  there perhaps a surer path to that goal; one that may be more in your control?   More within your ability to attain?

These are questions a good life coach can help you define and answer.

Before You Can Trust Others, You Need to Trust Yourself

“I don’t trust him,” she said.

“Why?”  I asked.

“I’m afraid he’s going to hurt me.”

And that about sums things up in a nutshell, doesn’t it?  Mistrust of others is a way to protect ourselves.  We doubt their sincerity . we keep up our guard. We proceed under the assumption that others want to cause us harm,  in order that we may avoid the harm.

But what if, hypothetically,  we were invulnerable to harm?  What if we could know another’s true intentions? What if we were so emotionally strong or flexible or Teflon,  no pain could stick to us?  What if we could avoid or roll with any punch?  What if we were emotional Supermen in the face of some two-bit bully?   Would we still have to be so careful about keeping defending ourselves?

Obviously not.   The less fragile you are,  the less careful you need to be.

When you mistrust,  you are essentially saying is,  “I don’t have the ability, experience or knowledge to ascertain real danger,  nor to withstand psychic punches. Thus, I must avoid them at all costs.  And if I err on the side of caution, so be it.”

What if you could hone your instincts about others so you always had a good sense of their intentions? What if you could develop your emotional muscle so you were better equipped to handle life’s slings and arrows?  What if you had utter confidence in your ability to get up, dust yourself off and press on,  unscathed,  like the Emotional Terminator — no matter how many times you got knocked down?  What if you knew how to handle any issue in a productive, satisfactory way?  What if you knew the secret to using pain and disappointment to your advantage?

In fact,  all these are learnable skills, which come with practice (and the right philosophy.)  The better you get at them,  the more you can relax  your guard; the fewer reasons you have to mistrust others.  And the less you mistrust others, the more you can open yourself to love.

There can be no complete love without complete trust,  so before embarking on your quest for True Love,  first, you must learn to trust yourself.

(c) 2012  Adrienne E. Gusoff   All Rights Reserved