Are You Haunted by Ghosts?

Halloween is a big thing around our house. My wife is  a Halloween nut, so consequently my two daughters, Matrix Chick and Fingers ( who from here on will be referred to as  The Rock ) have been frothing at the mouth about getting dressed up and trick or treating. One was a fairy and the other was Minnie Mouse. We were going to take them trick or treating but didn’t because they were having too much fun handing out candy to other trick or treaters.

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The Fairy and Minnie Mouse

With all this Halloween Hoopla and stuff on TV,  The Chick has been seeing ghosts lately. “Dad, there’s a ghost in my room”  or “I think there’s a ghost outside.”  Of course, I tell her that there’s no such things as ghosts, even though I know that there are.

I was watching Larry King interview a couple of guys that have this ghost lab that investigates paranormal occurences. One of the guys suggested that a ghost is the residual energy of a deceased person that won’t go away because there is unfinished business.

I wonder if you are  haunted by the energy of unfinished business? Are you aware of spectres from your past that keep you stuck in fear and trepidation? For some people, these demons are very real.

It’s said that ghosts, if indeed they do exist, don’t know they are dead or don’t want to be dead. They try to stay among the living, caught in a netherland of not alive but not dead.

How true that can be for many of us that are haunted by past tragedies, traumas, mistakes, and failures. Did  events happen in your life that should have stayed buried  that you continue to resurrect from the grave of  the past? Oftentimes these memories can take possession of us and keep us from moving forward.

Failed businesses, painful relationships, bitter divorces, the loss of a loved one, letting someone down big-time,  stupid yet costly mistakes, times when we felt we did not measure up to our ideal self. All can become goblin-like, so scary  that we never even try again or make judgements about ourselves which are no longer (perhaps never were) true. So we stay inside, windows shuttered, doors locked, afraid to venture out into possibility.

We all have a tendency to look to the  past for information about how to act in the future. But the future does not have to equal the past. What’s also true is that we are human, and as such, we will make mistakes, suffer loss, hurt people, and fail, perhaps many times before we get it right.  You are human, are you cool with that?

I’m no ghostbuster, but I think that  to allow these ghosts to rest in peace, you may need to:

  • Forgive yourself
  • Forgive someone else
  • Apologize to someone
  • Make it up so someone
  • Reconnect with someone
  • Write a letter but don’t mail it
  • See the experience from a different perspective
  • Recommit to our ideal self
  • Find the wisdom and learning from the experience and move on.
  • Change something major in your life (it’s said that those ghosts don’t like remodeling)

If you need a little technique to release the past, try this:

Close your eyes and get comfortable, taking some deep breaths. When you feel centered and grounded, See, feel or get a sense of the situation, person, or experience you want to release. Imagine cords of light connecting you to this situation, person, etc. See, feel or get a sense of a magic or special knife or sword or scissors in your hand and begin to cut the cords connecting you. When you are done, reattach the cords back to your self and imagine the cords of the person or situation reattaching themselves back to it or them. Imagine the situation or person fading away or getting smaller or smaller until they disappear. Imagining a grave where the situation/person is buried can be helpful to some people.

This is a good time to talk about letting these ghosts rest in peace; today is Dia de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead. Honor what came before and what is no more, taking the legacy of knowledge and wisdom and moving courageously into tomorrow.

How Selfish are You? (Part 1 of 2)

You would not believe the bad luck I’ve had lately. Can hardly believe it myself.

One night last week I was watching television. It got later and later but I just kept watching it, even though I knew I should go to bed. I watched TV until 5:30 am, then I slept for an hour and a half. When my daughter Matrix Chick tried to wake me I snarled at her and she started crying.  Boy was I tired and grumpy!

Since I woke up late I didn’t get to eat breakfast before work. By the time I was done with my first client I was starving! There was some Halloween candy in the lobby of my building so I ate a bunch of candy corn, Tootsie Rolls and mini Three Musketeers.  If I thought I felt bad  before, I had another thing coming – I developed a horrible stomach ache!  Can you believe that!?

During my session with my next client, she actually got up and said, “I’m leaving because you keep falling asleep while I’m talking to you.  And why don’t you wipe that chocolate off of your chin?” What nerve! Can you believe the bad luck?

It seemed as if I was doomed to have a wretched day so I cancelled the rest of my appointments and went home determined to force myself to work like a dog on computer stuff that’s been piling up. I worked all afternoon. My wife came home with the kids but I kept on working. She said that dinner was ready but I kept on working. She said that dinner’s done would I help clean the kitchen but I kept on working. She asked if I would help put the kids to bed but I just had too much to do! Then she got really angry with me and we had a big fight. Can you believe the rotten luck I had that day?

If you know me then by now you may have guessed  that none of that really happened (I don’t like candy corn.)  But if it was true you might be saying “You didn’t have bad luck, you were just being irresponsible!” And that would be true.

In the imaginary scenario I just described, it can be summed up like this: I was not being responsible for my own self care. Taken to that extreme, I would say that I was being negligent; neglecting my own basic needs, therefore, I ended up neglecting  the needs of those I love.

I’ve come to the conclusion that self-care is vitally important and necessary to leading a happy and fulfilling life.

How is your basic self-care? Are you getting enough sleep? Eating right? Taking care of your health? If you are neglecting any one of these, chances are that you are seeing the consequences in some part of your life.

But let me suggest that self-care doesn’t end there. There is another level:  Are you learning? Growing, spiritually, mentally, emotionally? Are you having fun, experiencing joy, and giving yourself opportunities to become the best you can be? Paying attention to your loved ones?

 Jim Rohn said “The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, ‘If you will take care of me, I will take care of you.’ Now I say, ‘I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me.'” –

For many, the idea of being good to yourself or taking care of yourself flies in the face of everything we have been taught about being selfish. “Don’t think about yourself, think about others. Help others. Care for others. Don’t be selfish by focusing or thinking  too much about yourself.

We are all selfish on a most basic level. Everything we do we do, we do because we get something out of it. This is one of our drives as human beings. I’m not advocating living your life totally for your own pleasure and amusement, I’m suggesting that living your life for everyone else may leave you wasted, burned out and resentful and no good to anyone, least of all you! After all, you’re no good to your child on an airplane if you are passed out because you put their oxygen mask on first. You’ve got to take care of yourself first.

I think that much of life is about balance. And the hard cold truth is, it’s not easy to do. In fact, for some of us, it may be easier to live for everybody else because it gives us an excuse to shirk responsibility for our selves and our needs, especially if that was your model growing up. If that is the case, it can be really hard to do something else.

More next week, and please view my Happy Halloween post.

A Powerful Daily Practice

I was talking with my soon to be four year old daughter the other day. She said “Dad, if I blink my eyes, then it’ s nighttime.” Out of the mouths of babes…I said “Yes sweetheart, in the blink of an eye, it’s next week, then next month, then next year..”

James Tayor said in a song:

Now, people live from day to day
But they do not count the time you know
They don’t see their days slipping by
And neither do I

When I was a child, the days were long, and it seemed like forever until Halloween, or Christmas or my birthday. Now, one day runs into the next, one week becomes the next and on and on. I used to work with a guy, who, in the middle of summer, would say, “Christmas is almost here” He was only half kidding. What is the biggest difference between the long, slow days of childhood and the rapid fire pace of life now? I think it was that we counted the days as kids. We didn’t need to make each day count, it just did. And then one day, all of a sudden, there was “stuff that needed to get done.” And only so much time to do it in.

I start each hypnosis session with a client by having having them breathe. In and out. I have them notice each breath, and this creates relaxation. Counting the breath, like counting the days, slow things down.

The most powerful practice I have in my life is to take time to myself to be with my life. What does this have to do with hypnosis? Well, it is possible to become hypnotized by the routine. Like a hamster on a wheel, it’s just what many of us do. Get up, work, come home, go to sleep, get up, work, come home, go to sleep, a seemingly endless cycle of activity. Throw in a few vacations here and there.

To break out of that hypnosis we must step out of the stream of our life. For me, that looks like getting up a little earlier in the morning when it is quiet. For you, it may be going to bed a little bit later. Why? What for?

To read, maybe. Not the paper, or a novel, but something that inspires you or challenges you. Or to meditate, just sitting, counting the breath. Maybe to just sit and welcome another morning, or at night, to say goodbye to another day. Perhaps to examine your life, your goals, what is it that is meaningful to you. To just drink some tea, or a cup of coffee. To consider: Who are you really? A job? A role? An activity? No, you are something much more. Take time to get to know what that is, or to re-mind yourself. Pray.

You may say that you hate to get up early. OK. But you have to get up sooner or later, yes? Get up a little sooner. Or go to bed a little later. If I don’t do this, then I really don’t have a life, I have a schedule, mostly. But it’s not easy to do. It feels like slacking. But it’s not. It is one of the most important things you can ever do. Is to be. With. You.

Did you know that many people cannot be alone because they don’t like being with themselves? If that is the case, wouldn’t you want to know that? Could you handle that insight?

How can I explain or relate the power of being present to your life by just stopping the continuous activity? I can’t. What I can do is suggest: take time to be with yourself. Alone. When it is quiet, before the day takes off,  like a ball from a  cannon. Or in the evening, after the tv’s are off and computers shut down and kids are in bed. Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Take time to look, listen, and feel. What comes up? You may be surprised.