Tag Archives: Susan Jeffers

Dare to Connect Off the Internet

Dare to Connect Off the Internet
Adapted from the works of
Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

We’re more connected now than we’ve ever been before. But are we truly connecting? Through the internet we have easy, instant access to communicate with friends, acquaintances, and strangers the world over. Yet, so many of us find it hard to say ”hello” to a stranger in a coffee shop. It seems that it’s becoming harder and harder to create meaningful real-life relationships when it’s so much easier to be in touch behind our screens.

In Dare to Connect, Susan advises that, ”It’s important to go out into the ‘real’ world and make one-on-one connections.”

That’s not to say that online relationships can’t be meaningful. They can be. Many of us know wonderful couples who met online, or friendships that began online. It’s also a great way to stay in touch with people who live far away. But hiding in the technology space is not a replacement for everyday face-to-face personal interaction. Shaking a person’s hand, giving (and receiving!) a hug, the touch on your arm when your friend shows concern, watching someone’s face as you speak with them … this physical affection and acknowledgement is vital to our very elemental, human experience.

Numerous scientific studies show that the touch of another human has the ability to reduce stress, improve communication, bolster our immune systems, and more. A recent study published last June from the University of Colorado shows that the touch of a loved one can help reduce the feeling of pain. So why do we so often choose to hide behind our screens when we know it is so important for us to be in physical proximity to other people?

According to a TED talk given by Sherry Turkle, a social psychology professor at MIT, “Technology appeals to us most where we are most vulnerable. And we are vulnerable. We’re lonely, but we’re afraid of intimacy. And so from social networks to sociable robots, we’re designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.”

For some, the idea of interacting in person with other people takes too much effort. By interacting online, we lower our expectations. It’s easier not having to worry about how we look, or if we act awkwardly, or say the wrong thing. And it’s much easier to disconnect when it’s not in person.

Susan knew a night club singer who always ended his shows with the line, “The most important thing that I’ve learned in my travels around the world is that there are no strangers, only friends I’ve never met.” This might be the perfect motto for the internet age. So many of us use social media with the mindset of embracing others. However, when it comes to interacting with strangers in person, we put up a wall, unwilling to reach out and comfortably interact.

Why do we feel so insecure when it comes to face-to-face interactions? As Susan wrote in Dare to Connect, we are brought up to be Somebodies – to be important and successful and wealthy, but really we wind up feeling like Nobodies because our self-worth is based on how other people see us. This conditioning, whether we are successful or not, leaves us with a pervasive feeling of being flawed and inadequate human beings. When we feel like this, we have trouble forging real life relationships.

Susan suggested, “Imagine yourself standing at the door of an unfamiliar room, facing a room full of ‘strangers’ and feeling very nervous indeed. You can’t ignore the quickened heartbeat, the churning stomach, or however else your nervousness makes itself felt. How can we overcome these feelings of discomfort? Can we ever learn to look into a room full of people and simply decide to have a wonderful time connecting with everyone we meet?”

Here is Susan’s secret: Once we understand that EVERYONE feels like this, we can use that knowledge to help us break through the barriers that keep us from personal relationships.

”By acknowledging that every ‘stranger’ in that crowded room would love to feel cared about and has often felt themselves to be a Nobody, just as we have, we are in harmony with them even before we ever say hello,” offered Susan. ”When this happens, we begin to understand the truth behind the words, ‘there are no strangers,’ and the world doesn’t seem so lonely anymore.”

So keep in touch with long-distance friends and family through social media, but don’t forget to cultivate face-to-face, in person relationships. Let’s follow Susan’s advice and stop hiding behind a screen, or anywhere else for that matter. Greet someone with a handshake or a smile. Listen to someone’s confidences. Be affectionate and kind. Let’s DARE TO CONNECT!

Copyright © 2017 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.

Saying YES While Setting Boundaries

Saying YES While Setting Boundaries
Adapted from the works of
Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

”Say YES to the Universe” was one of Susan’s most cherished affirmations. By saying YES, we open ourselves up to all the blessings the Universe has to bestow on us, but that can sometimes be a struggle when we still have our day-to-day stresses to deal with. In End the Struggle and Dance With Life, Susan noted, ”We need balance in our everyday world. This balance is often difficult to achieve in the middle of the multitude of things happening around us…children crying, traffic roaring, televisions blaring, bosses yelling, work piling up.” Everyone experiences the pressures of life.

When Susan wrote about opening our hearts to receive all the wonderfulness the world can offer, she never meant that we should open ourselves up to everything – positive and negative alike. Part of being open to blessings means closing ourselves to negativity. Being open to the Universe also means finding the balance between our duties and obligations and discovering the path that leads us to connect with our Higher Selves.

Learning to say YES to the Universe is also learning how to say NO when necessary. So many of us feel guilty saying NO to our family, friends, coworkers, and bosses. We feel like we need to be there for everyone all the time. Yet setting boundaries is an important part of saying YES. Setting boundaries is about how much you will do for another person, how far you will go. And it’s an important way to get past our own insecurities and fears. As Susan said:

”Say YES to saying NO! Initially, saying NO to tasks brought before us can bring on great anxiety. That’s OK! Feel the fear and say NO anyway! Very quickly, you will realize that our motivation for doing most of the tasks brought before us has less to do with the tasks than it has to do with making ourselves feel more important or more secure or more wanted.”

Creating healthy boundaries is not closing yourself to universal blessings… it’s giving yourself room to really feel them. If you’re being held back by a negative or needy person in your life, you are not being open to the Universe. If you believe your obligations leave you little space, then you aren’t ready to receive all the blessings in store for you. We all need to carve out time for ourselves, time to breath, time to think and listen, time to feel, and time to just BE. Even if it’s just a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood every day or five minutes at work with your eyes shut repeating affirmations to yourself, we must take the time in order to get in touch with our Higher Selves.

When we tune into our Higher Self we can find the blessing. Find the lesson to be learned. Find the strength we never thought we had. Find the triumph in our lives.

Yet learning to say NO while saying YES to the Universe is a challenge in and of itself. Finding that balance, finding that center part of yourself is no easy task. But, of course, nothing worthwhile ever is.

Susan wrote, ”Ask yourself, ‘How can I begin creating more balance and trust in my life? How can I fill the emptiness I feel when I am quiet?’ Then… listen to yourself. Assess, identify, understand and accept your own needs. Once you do that, you begin answering these important questions with all the masks stripped away, and you can then use the many Spiritual tools available to you to heal any of the hurts or fears that may have been controlling you.” This is how we create balance in our lives.

When we look inward, we are expanding our connection to the world. When we examine the reasons we feel the way we do, when we try to understand our fears and insecurities, we are stepping beyond those things that hold us down, where the Lower Self rules. When we say YES to saying NO, we are creating healthy boundaries and connecting with ourselves. And when we connect with our Higher Self, we tell ourselves and say to the Universe YES! YES! YES!

Copyright © 2017 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.
http://www.susanjeffers.com/

Recognizing Your Creative Self

Recognizing Your Creative Self
Adapted from the works of
Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

There is so much beautiful art to appreciate. Paintings and images brighten our walls. Music of all types evoke our feelings. Books and movies tell moving stories. Creativity in all forms brings us joy, making the world a better place. Do you ever get the feeling that you are only a spectator of such creativity? That it is not within you? That you simply aren’t the ”creative type?” Look within yourself. Each and every one of us has the potential to be creative. Often we are already perfectly in touch with our creative selves, we just aren’t giving ourselves credit.

Creativity is a part of who we are, part of what makes us human. In today’s society, emphasis is put on limiting creativity in service to production. Deadlines, goals, appointments, and ”getting things done” are stressed. Yet these things serve our Lower Self. When we live only to get things done, fearing what will happen if we don’t, then we aren’t living our best life. And if we aren’t living our best life, we need to take another look at ourselves. We need to find our Higher Self.

The Higher Self is the dwelling place of all good things such as love, power, creativity, joy, satisfaction, and abundance.

Living through our Higher Selves, we can see that creativity is part of every day living. It is not something that only ”artists” can do. It is something we can all do if we open our hearts and minds to it.

Susan wrote in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, ”There is a body of psychologists who believe in the existence of the Higher Self and the influence it can exert upon the individual. They have proposed that this Higher Self is capable of a high degree of sensitivity and attunement to a harmonious flow within the universe. It is the container of many sublime virtues – creativity, intuition, trust, love, joy, inspiration, aspiration, caring, giving – everything we, in our heart of hearts, would like to experience.”

So many of us seem to be searching for something outside ourselves to make our lives complete. We see artists living their lives through the Higher Self and believe that it is unattainable, something we can’t ever experience. We tell ourselves that we don’t have any talent. That we have no imagination. That artistry is something other people were born with. None of that is true.

Creativity is more than talent, and we’re all born with a connection to it. The Universe grants every person born the same access to the creative. We are all capable of imagination, originality and individuality. We are all innately creative. Most artists who make their living through their creativity will tell you that it takes a lot of hard work to create. They have to really believe in it and be willing to put in the practical hard work to achieve worthwhile art. That intricate soothing sonata was not born in a burst of effortless creative frenzy, but after years of study and practice. The award-winning writer doesn’t just sit down one day and write the perfect novel. It takes practice. Hours and hours of thinking, reading, first tries and second tries and sometimes dozens of tries, before that novel takes shape.

Maybe you’re not inclined to dedicate your life to making timeless pieces of art, but there is no reason that you can’t be in touch with your inner creativity. We’re willing to bet that you are far more in tune with the creative side of yourself than you know. Think about the times that you tweaked a recipe, adding a little something extra, to make a dish fabulous. Think about that time at work when you came up with a more efficient way of doing something that cut a lot of time out of your schedule. Or when you were in the store last week and found the perfect throw pillows to complement your couch and curtains.

There are so many ways each of us is creative in our everyday lives, yet we don’t recognize it for what it is. We think of it as ”just the way we are,” and it’s true, but it doesn’t mean that it’s any less special. By connecting to our Higher Self and the creativity that comes with it, we are fulfilling our purpose to live our lives fully opening our hearts and minds to all the bounty that is both external and internal.

Susan said it best when she wrote: ”Having experienced life from the vantage point of both the Lower Self and the Higher Self, my choice is the latter. I will do whatever it takes to open myself up more and more to a mind and heart filled with love, joy, creativity, satisfaction, and peace.”

Connect with your Higher Self. Use your imagination. Find your creativity. And finally, give yourself some credit.

Copyright © 2017 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.
http://www.susanjeffers.com/

Lighten Up When the World Seems Heavy

Lighten Up When the World Seems Heavy
Adapted from the works of
Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Don’t be concerned about being disloyal to your pain by being joyous.
– Pir Vilayat Inagat Khan

Have you ever felt that you can’t experience any form of happiness when you are hurting? You could be stressed out, grieving, brokenhearted, angry, scared or disappointed, but then something wonderful happens – maybe small, maybe big – and you feel like a traitor for enjoying the moment. Why? Most of us have no problem letting something put a damper on our happiness. Why should we treat our pain any differently?

Just because the world seems like a worrisome place
doesn’t mean we can’t laugh too.

All of those feelings described above are elements of pain, and pain acts as a damper to living the best life we can. As Susan wrote in End the Struggle and Dance With Life, ”It seems that we live in a very ‘heavy’ world at the present moment. There is so much that seems to be weighing us down. Lightness and fun are missing elements in most people’s lives.”

Seriousness tends to be people’s natural state – we work so hard to be rational, logical and structured. How can we learn to ”dance with life” when we are so serious all the time? ”Dancing with life, by definition, means curving, blending, bending, circling and flowing – like nature. ‘Bad’ dancers are straight, stiff and methodical, totally out of harmony with the ceaseless flow of the energy of the Universe.”

The worry and discord of life will always be here, but there is no reason we can’t also enjoy the beauty that life offers us. Yet how to connect to it? When we are weighed down, it can seem so far away. Susan’s advice?

Clearly, first and foremost, we need to learn how to LIGHTEN UP!

”Angels fly because they take themselves lightly!” said G.K. Chesterton. If we allow ourselves to be weighed down, we’ll never be able to experience our joy as earnestly as we do our pain.

”In all my books and tapes,” Susan wrote, ”I’ve talked about the Spiritual Journey. Let me emphasize that nowhere is it written that the Spiritual Journey has to be somber and joyless. In fact, the one characteristic that I have found to be universally present in highly Spiritual people is their enchanting sense of humor. They have learned the wisdom of laughter and lightness.”

The best way to start taking ourselves more lightly is to laugh. Susan noted that we don’t even need a reason to laugh. Even at our most miserable, we can still laugh. At the very least, if there is nothing else to laugh at, we can laugh at ourselves for our own seriousness.

Humor creates a shift in perception that allows
us to better center ourselves in a powerful place.

When we laugh, we step away from the heaviness of our lives at that moment and detach from the drama. This gives us a look at the all-important bigger picture. When we can get a good look at the bigger picture, we can see that, along with misery and crisis, there are multitudes of blessings that are happening at the exact same time. Being able to connect with our blessings helps to balance out our most painful or negative feelings. By connecting with the lightness that comes from humor we are connecting to our Higher Selves and are in a much better place. We see that pain is not our whole life. In fact, it is a relatively small part compared to all the good in the world.

So lighten up when the world seems heavy. There is no point in glorifying our pain when so much more satisfaction can be found by connecting with our joy. Look for the humor. Let in the laughter. It leads to the bounty in our lives.

Copyright © 2017 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.
http://www.susanjeffers.com/

Can You Handle It?

YOU MAY NEVER KNOW ALL THE ANSWERS
Adapted from the works of
Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

So many of Susan’s favorite affirmations were based on trust – ”I Can Handle It!” and ”It’s All Happening Perfectly,” just to name two. They are about trusting ourselves and trusting that the Universe is working for us. As she wrote in End the Struggle and Dance With Life , ”What I do know is that our human minds are not capable of understanding the Grand Design. I don’t know the larger dimensions of the Universe that are beyond my grasp as an ordinary mortal. What I have been learning to do is simply trust.”

Trust is not about having the answers. It’s not about having the full story. It’s about faith. Susan’s spiritual path taught her that she needed to trust that there are reasons for everything that happens. ”I may never understand what those reasons are, but that is irrelevant. When trust is there, explanations are unnecessary. I have been humbled by the miracles I have seen all around me; I no longer have to know all the whys. I have accepted the fact that there is so much I don’t know. There is so much I will never know. So when your Lower Self asks ‘Why?,’ just say to it…

I don’t know, but I trust it’s all happening perfectly.
It’s all part of the Grand Design.

Trusting without evidence can be an incredibly difficult undertaking, especially when we consider how most of us are brought up and educated. In Western society, we are taught to think only logically. Intuition, or what our ”gut” tells us, is often dismissed as irrelevant.

As Susan wrote so eloquently, ”When we add intuitive thinking to logical thinking, we expand enormously our inherent capability of living life in an incredibly powerful manner. We realize that we have available to us much more wisdom and guidance than we thought we had. The logical mind draws on the teachings of the physical plane; the intuitive mind draws on the teachings of the Spiritual plane. When the two are combined, our resources for guiding us into the future are unlimited.”

In order to combine the two, we need to retrain ourselves to listen to our intuition. A good way to begin is to spend some time each morning in contemplation or meditation. If there is something bothering you or a decision you need to make, ask yourself out loud ”What should I do?” Contemplate it for a few minutes then go about your day. As the day progresses, be aware of any feelings you have, any inner messages that suddenly pop into your mind. This is your intuitive mind speaking to you. When you receive a message, do what it asks of you, follow the ”urge.”

Retraining the way we think is not something we will accomplish in a day or two. It takes time and dedication, just like any practice. In the beginning, you may hear nothing, but eventually you’ll begin to sense the guidance of your intuition coming through. It may not be what you want to hear, but it will feelright. Trust that. ”I have found that when I listen to my intuition,” wrote Susan, ”I am led to places that I would have never gone had I listened only to the logic of my rational mind. And the results have been magical.”

You may have problems you’re struggling with or questions you want answered. Questions will always come up; so don’t drive yourself crazy trying to find the answers. Some questions have no answer. It is the mistrust, the fear, that drives the Lower Self and makes us demand an answer. Yet when we give in to our Lower Selves, we miss out on all the blessings in our life. So when the Lower Self wants to know ”Why?,” simply tell it, ”Because.” No further explanation is needed. When we trust ourselves and the Grand Design, we are listening to our Higher Selves and able to perceive and embrace all the good around us. Maybe one day the answers will come, maybe they won’t. Susan reminds us that it ultimately doesn’t matter because…

When trust is there, your life works beautifully whether you know the answers or not.

Copyright © 2017 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.