We have gathered together posts from other Three Principles blogs as well as our own ones. As time goes on we will be offering more services based on the Canadian West Coast and nearby islands. Look out for events and feel free to contact me to let me know about any events you think will be of interest to others in this area.
Have you played outside? It’s summer! What’cha waiting on?
Recently, I was sitting at an airport waiting for my luggage to arrive… on the NEXT flight. My bags weren’t loaded onto my plane. As I waited, it occurred to me that I could sit and seethe about this inconvenience or I could see what else was available to me. As I found a place to use my $10 inconvenience meal voucher, I settled in to wait. To be transparent, waiting is not my strong suit!
While I waited, I started noticing how many families were moving through the airport. There were kids of every age, shape, and size. I also noticed how distinctly different the experience of moving through the airport was for the adults versus the kiddos. This got me interested in observing kids. Since this felt so fresh and new, I was intrigued. As I watched a big population of passing kids, I observed:
They yell out, Daddy!
They jump for no reason.
They seem to grow before your eyes.
They fall out of chairs and scream.
They get a hug and go back to playing.
They wear barrettes.
They wear sweats.
They catch a ride on a leg.
They find a toy in everything.
They look at life with eyes wide open.
As I watched, I got curious about what happens to that easy going, adventurous spirit that seems so natural to the kids. It didn’t take long before I saw how naturally kids show up and move with the flow of life, at the speed of life. In a flash, it occurred to me that an invitation was being extended to me to do summer more like a kid and less like a bothered, inconvenienced adult. Surprisingly, after accepting the invitation, gratitude for the delay showed up, out of the blue.
Cherie Ray, MLA, is a 3P coach/consultant for individuals, families, and businesses where collaboration and creativity are elemental to success.
Human Potential Creativity
How often do you fall for this innocent trick of the mind: You attribute what you’re feeling on the inside to what just happened in your life on the outside?
We all do it. In fact, this process happens so fast that, almost always, we overlook that feelings actually come FIRST—and then we pin them on a particular life event, person, or circumstance.
Consider, for example, the gloom that tends to coexist with rainy days. Sure, it appears that rainy days cause gloomy feelings. But take a closer look. Do you always feel gloomy when it rains? Of course, you don’t. Meaning, the weather doesn’t cause gloomy feelings. Your feeling state (inside) precedes the world that you see (outside).
You might now be wondering: “Okay, that makes sense; but since the world outside doesn’t cause my feelings, what does? Feelings, like gloom, just don’t crop up on their own.”
Indeed, they don’t.
What causes feelings is THOUGHT. Thought is responsible for your feeling state, and from there—based on the form thought takes in the moment—the world looks gloomy or bright; negative or hopeful; intimidating or friendly.
Lastly, as the title of this article suggests, when it comes to your thinking, feelings, and perceptions, you are always completely innocent. No one controls this trick of the mind. Therefore, it’s not wrong for it to appear that what happens on the outside determines what you feel on the inside. It’s not even wrong to blame your feelings on life events, people, or circumstances. However, your ace in the hole, your salvation, is knowing that no matter how much it looks like you work from out to in—you never, ever, do.
Reality is strictly a one-way process. Thought generates feeling, causing your view on life. You’re innately resilient because a trick of the mind is only problematic if you accept it as real.
June 12. Monday into Tuesday.
The last day of the training began in the morning with Yoga again, thanks to Mark. Then the complete gratification of our final insight-sharing period and closing circle, so heartfelt, so moving, so loving and, most important, witnessing the changes that have taken place in people’s lives, especially in those who have been doing these trainings with me and us before.
John, who had to leave early, a miracle, completely off the charts, sending in an email letter that Sheela read to everyone.
Sally, also off the charts after her lifetime addiction to alcohol, feeling so much more self-confidence.
Holly, feeling and looking so solid now—so beautiful to see.
Richard, having come through all his pain and now feeling so much more grounded (he achieved a very prestigious award in Sweden for his accomplishments in music, poetry and more).
Amanda, who showed up only for the last day, but showed her enormous, almost unbelievable resilience after her house burned down and she lost everything.
Michael, moving from his prior continual questioning to becoming very grounded.
Katja, who used to live her life in fear with all kinds of ailments, now a healthy, inspiring teacher of the Principles.
I could go on and on. To a person, everyone there, even those for whom this training with us was the first, said they loved this training retreat, and everyone seemed to have insights and got so much out of it for themselves. So humbling. These people are truly wonderful.
And I can’t even tell you how inspiring it was to work with Gabriela again. She’s the best. And to think I came into this new (for me) topic with trepidation. And then it was over—except it wasn’t. Because after going to the beach, and after I got a massage from Amanda, we all went out to dinner together in the beautiful little town of Altea, up to the outdoor balcony of a restaurant with its spectacular views. Then we said our heartfelt good-byes.
After that, I packed up late into the night, had to get up again almost immediately at 2:50 AM to catch a 6:30 AM flight from Alicante, caught a cab with Richard and we both ended up on the same flight to Stockholm, where we bid each other farewell. I had an almost 4 hour layover there—way too long—and then a 9 hour flight—way too long. And I flew back across the ocean to home, getting almost no sleep. My son, Dave and his girlfriend, Josie, picked me up at the airport, we had a nice dinner, then I drove home getting in around 10:30 PM, completely exhausted. I can’t believe I’m home. And thus I end another European Trip and blog. Another incredible trip. I’ve got the greatest job in the world.
June 11. Sunday.
Last full day of training. Hard to believe. It has been a spectacular trip. Really couldn’t have been much better.
The day began when I woke up and knew the direction we had to go in the training today; how to focus on the formless/essence/Oneness end of the spectrum. And when I told Gabriela about it, she concurred. And it did work out wonderfully.
I love going in this powerful direction, and it is a direction that, in my view (and in the view of research), is often not focused on enough in Three Principles teaching and coaching. This is a very close-knit group, and it is a pleasure to be around these people.
But before the training day began, I had asked Michael, who runs a gym, if he would give me some hints about how to use the small weights I had bought at home, because I had never lifted weights in my life, never got any instruction, and realize in my old age that I’d better start, as I can feel myself getting weaker every year. I looked for him in the morning and found him in the little gym at the hotel. While assessing me, he saw what I’ve known for the longest time, that my hamstrings are inordinately tight. I knew I was in trouble when he asked me how my pain tolerance is. When I said something like, “Not bad,” he had me lie on the floor face down and proceeded to rip every fiber of my hamstring muscles apart. Whoa that hurt! I had to do La Maz breathing just to get through it. But I felt lighter when I got up (after I punched him in the face—only kidding).
That afternoon most of us went to the beach again, and I took another 20 minute swim in the Mediterranean. Gorgeous!
The two other beautiful things that happened were that everyone had signed birthday cards for me and Sheela, jumping the gun for me by 8 days (and Katja said in Germany it is really bad luck to open a birthday card early, but I ignored that superstition and we’ll see if I make it to the 19th), and people wrote such nice things to me in that card it really moved me. They brought it out in our evening session with candles stuck in ice cream, and my favorite flavor here at that: Straciatella, along with Sheela’s favorite, Limon sorbet, which we shared with everyone.
The day was capped off with Lise singing to us, and talk about being moved! Lise is one of the best singers I have heard. Such incredible talent. All I can do is shake my head.
June 9 & 10. Friday and Saturday.
Yoga Mark began the day with Yoga on the roof. Beautiful up there in the morning overlooking the mountains. Wonderful way to start the day. Mark ran it both days, in fact, but for some reason I thought he was skipping a day, so I missed Yoga on Saturday. Instead I decided to walk/run up to the lighthouse and back. We then met for the training day.
On Friday we spent a day longer than I’d anticipated understanding what the personal is and why it subtly and insidiously has such a grip on us. The group itself went in and out of personal thinking themselves, and we could watch the ebb and flow of the feeling in the group, accordingly. Mostly, everyone seemed in a good feeling. This was helped immeasurably by the structure of the retreat, as again most of us spent the afternoon at the beach. I took a dip in the Mediterranean; the sea water felt great.
On the way to the beach that day, Richard, Holly and I stopped for some gelato and had a really lovely conversation. Then Friday night, after our evening session I went to dinner with Gabriela in a restaurant by the sea with the gorgeous full moon rising over the still-blue sea. We were supposed to be planning, and we did—at little. Delightful.
Then Lise led us through one of her glorious singing workshops. This time I took the plunge and sang a wonderful song a friend of mine wrote called Children So Long. I was amazed that I had felt so confident singing it on the beach in Florida away from everyone, but as soon as I got up to sing in front of the group, the personal crept in and I got really nervous. But I made it through, with Lise’s assistance. She is so good at what she does; everyone left Lise’s session feeling wonderful.
The next morning in the training retreat came my favorite part of the retreat thus far, as we talked about insights that people had, which lead to a spectacular with a beautiful feeling.
After the break we talked about what transcending means, and again didn’t get as far as I would have liked. During the very long afternoon break I talked with one of the participants who needed extra help, then we joined the others on the beach, where I took a long swim. How great is this!
Then we all went out to a new Japanese Restaurant and I completely pigged out, and as I write this I am terribly full. As of this moment I am also baffled about what to do tomorrow. Gab and I figure we’ll start with their insights again tomorrow morning and hope something comes to us, because I’m not sure that what I had planned earlier is still relevant.
On June 8, 1986, Bob Rotella, a pioneer in the field of sport psychology, wrote an insightful New York Times article titled: “Winning the U.S. Open in the Battlefield of the Mind.” Although I was quite young when I read it, the article captivated me (the original clipping still remains in a scrapbook that resides in my attic). In fact, looking back, this very piece of writing helped spark my life-long interest in the human mind and spirit, not to mention the great game of golf.
Last week, for some reason, I decided to reread the article after all these years. And what I discovered is how dramatically the field of mental performance has evolved since 1986. So, to illustrate this evolution, I’ve listed below nine takeaways from the article, and then discussed where the field, in my opinion, is at today. What you’ll find is that back in 1986, mental performance had yet to be introduced to the unwavering principle that golfers (and all human beings) work strictly from inside to out. Those in the field had yet to consider that states of mind are innately variable, have nothing to do with environment, and regardless of a player’s state of mind and how life looks to him at that moment in time, he is 100 percent whole and capable.
Here, then, are those nine takeaways, compared to how I see things currently. Hopefully, you’ll find my stance on the evolution of mental performance helpful. If you don’t quite grasp where I’m pointing, feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to bring you up to speed.
- To win the U.S. Open, a player must confront and overcome psychological and emotional battles.
Now: To win the U.S. Open, a player must understand that psychological, or inner, battles need not turn into emotional, or outer, battles. Players who grasp that the variable nature (or ebb and flow) of feelings is normal don’t waste energy trying to confront or overcome something that isn’t broken and they don’t control.
- To win the U.S. Open, a player must develop psychological skills.
Now: To win the U.S. Open, a player must understand that he is innately resilient. The more a player works on the mental game, or tries to perfect in-born skills that cannot be improved upon, the more he shrouds his innate ability to self-correct. Every player owns a psychological immune system. Because the psychological immune system doesn’t need help to function, it’s always best to stay out of its way.
- To win the U.S. Open, a player must overpower his fears.
Now: To win the U.S. Open, a player must understand that fear and faith come and go within him. And that is and always will be the human experience. As alluded to earlier, whether he’s feeling fear or faith, a player’s ability to excel doesn’t waiver. In fact, the only way to obstruct the flow from fear to faith is to try to overpower fear. That holds fear in place.
- To win the U.S Open, a player must control self-defeating emotions like anger.
Now: To win the U.S. Open a player must understand that a feeling, anger included, cannot be abnormal. Anger can only become self-defeating if a player looks outside for circumstantial causes and strategic cures in a quest to fix it.
- To win the U.S. Open, a player must fight off the desire to complain and not allow the course conditions to get in his head.
Now: To win the U.S. Open, a player must understand that complaining is merely a coping strategy. And coping (managing one’s thinking or fighting one’s experience) is never in a player’s best interest. Besides, it’s not a matter of not allowing course conditions to get in a player’s head. It’s a matter of knowing that they can’t.
- To win the U.S. Open, a player must think positively on every shot.
Now: To win the U.S. Open, a player must understand that the content of thought, positive or negative, has no bearing on his ability to hit a desired shot. Actually, trying to think positive requires a ton of personal thought and effort. This jams the ebb and flow of the mind—which clearly is not helpful.
- To win the U.S. Open, a player must be unwilling to play a shot until the mind is where it must be.
Now: To win the U.S. Open, a player must understand that the mind doesn’t need to be anywhere. It will be where it will be, and, try as he might, a player cannot deliberately improve his mindset. Rather, he must hit shots regardless of mindset. If a player does not try to fix or cope, he is sure to bring out, and not shroud, his best.
- To win the U.S. Open, a player must have confidence in himself and his game.
Now: To win the U.S. Open, a player must understand that while confidence, like all feelings, ebbs and flows, he’s good to go (fully capable) regardless. Chase confidence and a player’s sure to go on a mind-bending wild-goose chase with no end in sight.
- To win the U.S. Open, a player (in contention) must not become scared by the possibility that it might get away
Now: To win the U.S. Open, a player must understand that win or lose he’ll be perfectly fine. In truth, there’s nothing in life that can get away. Thankfully, there’s a greater plan a work; a plan that human beings, even great golfers, simply don’t control.
There’s the list. We’ve come a long way from a paradigm of doing, thinking, fixing, and controlling—to one of understanding what the human experience really is and that all feelings are normal.
In other words, to win the U.S. Open in the battlefield of the mind, what a player needs to know is that the inner battle need not be conquered at all.
Enjoy the tournament,
In this short piece, let’s consider a few things that you may have overlooked regarding stress. Cool? Okay, here goes:
Do you ever feel stressed? Right. You do. I do. Everyone does. But how about these questions:
- Do you know that stress has nothing to do with the circumstances of your life?
- Do you know that stress can’t be strategically fixed?
- Do you know that stress is a normal byproduct of innate resilience, a sign that your psychological immune system is working perfectly?
Take the label of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The approach of most mental-health professionals is to actually take the suffering person back to the moment in time, the circumstance, which initially “caused” the stress. No wonder PTSD is running rampant. Yes, stress FEELS traumatic. But, again, feelings aren’t caused by circumstance (when faced with the same circumstance, some get stressed and some don’t), and feelings can’t be strategically fixed.
What, then, is the answer to stress—or prolonged periods of it?
Merely understand that stress is meant to come and go within you. And this coming and going happens independent of circumstance. In fact, all feelings have a profound or spiritual purpose. In the case of stress, it’s to remind you that you’re not seeing life clearly; to prevent you from behaving in an unproductive, disingenuous, or untruthful manner.
Keep in mind: The ONLY way to hold stress in place, or become debilitated by stress, is to search for circumstantial (or outer) causes and then strategic (or outer) cures. Rather, see stress as an inner thing, or the normal and beneficial feeling that it truly is, and, rest assured, getting stressed about stress becomes pretty much impossible.
Thanks for reading,
June 8. Thursday.
And so the Transcending the Personal Retreat begins. It is really heartwarming to be in the presence of these wonderful people.
It feels a little tricky with half the group coming back from other trainings of mine, and half being new. But a beautiful feeling developed in the first morning. Then Gabriela and I felt a little drop in the afternoon. I’m not exactly sure why—it don’t think it was because Richard and Michael showed up in the afternoon and missed the opening circle; it might have been because I had the group jump into a deep listening activity before we had fully processed the morning small groups about reckoning with exactly what the personal is and what it does to us.
I love this retreat format; we all had the afternoon off and came back together from 6:00-8:00. So a few of us went to the beach. It was so sunny and beautiful, and not too hot (although Sayed thought it was). Gabi and Fredrik went swimming. I fell asleep on the beach after talking with Lise, which I really needed, because I woke up really refreshed.
That evening Gab and I broke off from the crowd to debrief and plan for the next day, ate at a restaurant overlooking the sea, with the near-full moon coming up and the beautiful blue colors; it was truly gorgeous. It’s tough for us to attend to the work we need to do because we keep catching up on personal matters, since we haven’t seen each other for six months and are real good friends. Got to bed later than I wanted to. A bunch of our group was still at the bar partying.
June 7. Wednesday.
It is truly wonderful to see these people again coming in for the training retreat: Gabriela, Sheela and Katja, of course, Holly and Sally again so soon, Lise, Fredrik, John, Dr. Angela from Italy again, and new people for me Declan and Eimeer from Ireland, and Carelyn from Utah. Sayed, Michael and Richard, and new person, Steen from Sweden will be coming in tomorrow. Gives me a really warm feeling.
I got quite a shock earlier in the day when I found out from Sally and Lise that we begin tomorrow instead of the day after. Then when Gabriela arrived, after she and Sheela heard I was a day off in my calculations, they decided to tell me that we were really starting at 4:00 that day, and I was wrong again. Uh oh! I couldn’t believe I’d been so wrong and wondered what in the world I would do for those first couple of training hours today because I was not yet prepared—but I was cool on the outside. Then they told me they were joking. Gullible me. I’ll get back at them somehow.
Gabriela and I went down to the beach by the sea to prepare, sitting and lying in the sun. What a way to work! We spent much of our time catching up. I absolutely love being and working with Gabriela; she is a true friend. I am so honored to be working with her again. Co-facilitating with her is so easy, even though we sometimes see things a little differently. We are so open to learning from each other. She had some big insights that I am really excited about hearing more.
June 6. Tuesday.
The first people have started to trickle in for the Retreat. Sally and Lise arrived this morning and we had lunch with Sheela. That was after I walked up toward the lighthouse again and took a different route down to the sea to sit again by the peaceful blue water splashing against the rocks. I really need these few days to recover before doing this big retreat again. While on my walk, after talking some planning into my voice recorder for the retreat, I bumped into a voice audiofile I did about 4 months ago that I’d forgotten all about that has everything to do with the retreat, and it was great, if I do say so myself. Now I’ll use that, too.