Dr. Darcy Lord received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in Somatic Education which addresses the mind-body-spirit connection. She has been a speaker, trainer, and consultant for over twenty-five years, guiding groups and individuals toward their own empowerment and well-being.
I often think about how glad I am to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that change is possible. Not always easy. Rarely easy, as a matter of
fact. But always possible. I have been playing around with this consciousness "stuff" for a long time now, over two decades. I am getting clearer
and clearer about something. It’s not when the change is coming the easiest that the real transformation happens. Instead, it’s when you want to
give up, or cave, or forget it all, or start again tomorrow that the real possibility opens up to step into strength and real power to make changes.
I used to do a wonderful healing art form called Chi-Lel Qigong and it’s a good example of what I’m talking about. When I learned the mind-body practice
from Master Luke Chan, who brought the form to the U.S. from China, we were instructed to do it for 100 consecutive days—which constituted
one “gong” or level of practice. Everybody kept saying things like, “Well, if I miss day 49 then couldn’t I just add a day to the end of the 100
days to make up for it?” And I remember him finally saying something like, “You Americans are so funny. You always jump from one thing to another
trying to find a quicker, easier way. Just find something and do it. And then keep doing it.”
Some days it felt easy and good to do the 16-minute movement form. However, the real success came on the days when I so didn’t want to do
it because I was too tired or too busy—but I did it anyway. I think the same is true for all the times we try to make changes.
I’m all about effortless and easy. I love when changes feel fun and easy to do. But I know it’s when I am on the border of, "Maybe today I'll
choose to do what is truly better for me,” or "Maybe not. Maybe I’ll just do it tomorrow instead," that the real possibility of power and change
are present. Whether with food or exercise decisions, actions within my relationships, consistency around disciplining my thoughts, steps toward
expanding my career, or choices with financial habits, it always seems easy for awhile to do something new and thus to begin the change.
But when the freshness and inspiration start to lessen and it feels like my good is still a long way off—whether that’s the completion
of a 100-day Qigong practice, desired weight loss, increased wealth, or the success of a new book—when those things still seem to be a long
way off and when I’m not in the mood to stick with the change today, that is when one little choice—to do the highest and best for myself just in this moment—really matters!
So that is your provocation for the week. If you have been wanting to make a positive change, if you have tried and failed, if you are currently in
the process of making a change and are losing steam, or if you have almost decided to just forget it—each day this week decide on one small choice that you can make that serves you well. Maybe it’s writing just one paragraph of your book, or taking the effort to go to the bank
and put only $5 into a savings account, or being kind instead of impatient just one extra time with your spouse or child, or taking even a brief
walk, or not eating the extra dessert just today. Feel the power in that moment, in that possibility, in that space that resides between the decision
to do it or not do it.
And then ask for the courage and strength within to make one little choice that serves you well! You are wonderfully worthy of a life of great good.
We all are. Small choice by small choice we can get there.
I know I can be Pollyanna. I like that about me. I like that it feels true to the very core of my being that good is possible, positive change is possible,
healing is possible, love is possible. In all situations, at all junctures, good is. I know we don’t always act on it and I know that many
people are hurting. I do know that. And at the same time the possibility to experience good at any moment, on many different levels, is always present.
I think it might be true that out of all the things I like to write and talk about, all the things I try to live in my own life and to help others
remember, this one may be the most important to me: the fact that Life is good and is always for us. Always. Even when it feels not true
or possible. That is the thing that aches the most in my heart to have everyone remember. Because when we remember that, when down deep somewhere
we really know that, when we trust that Life is for us and never against us, it’s so much easier to remember our own magnificence. It’s
so much more possible to live our greatest version of ourselves. It’s so much more natural to come back to and live from our highest possibility.
And isn’t that always the point?
Albert Einstein was brilliant by most anyone’s standards. Someone once told me that Mr. Einstein said the most important question worth asking about
was if the Universe was benevolent. Was it good and kind? And his answer was, “Yes, it is.” I will always be in Albert’s camp. With a passion.
I want us all to be able to feel the respite, relief and grand possibility that comes from believing—no, from knowing and feeling—at
a deep level that Life or the Universal Essence or God is always and forever for us; that we are inherently good, worthy and loved; that
we are guided every day all day toward living a beautiful life, toward creating a world that works for everyone.
I think we would behave differently if we really believed at the core of our beings that Life cared about us and wanted our highest and best. We would
breathe easier and sleep easier. We would more often hear the quiet guidance that says all sorts of things like, “Let it go,” “Who cares if others
don’t approve?” “Stop (or start) working now,” “Forgive yourself,” “It’s time to move on,” “Is it working for you?” “Let them off the hook,” “This
job doesn’t serve you anymore,” “You are allowed to be happy,” and on and on.
If we trusted that Life was good and that it was for us we wouldn’t push so hard and keep doing things that weren’t working. And I think we
would have a different perspective when things seemed to go wrong. We might simply breathe and shift our perception, or be more nurturing with
ourselves, or go in a different direction, or be more compassionate with another, or understand how strong we really are.
Even if it’s a stretch here is your provocation for the week. Practice seeing yourself and your world through eyes and a heart that believe, “Life
is good and is always for me.” I have found that it’s a choice more than a static belief really. Whether “good” or “bad” things happen
to you (and around the world) this week, attempt to reframe your judgment about it through a lens that sees and feels compassion and love coming
ever toward you and ever toward everyone else too. Pretend that you could assume that Life is good, that it is for you, that it wants
everyone’s happiest and best, and that it loves and approves of you always. After a few days you may be wonderfully surprised at how easily you
can breathe! Life is good and it is for us. It is for you. Always.
I just re-learned something really, really important. When I go through my days, as wonderful as they can often be, if I am putting off doing something
that is meaningful and important to me, something that I know I need to do—I am a shell of what I could be. I know that sounds a little dramatic,
but it’s true. I can tell when I am putting off something that I “need” to do because while I still look and sound nice enough and still get things
done, there is more of an edge to me. People that know me can sense that I am shorter and more impatient with people I care about.
I had been putting off writing. Which is strange because I feel awesome when I am writing, even just little bits at a time. Do you ever do that? Do
you ever have things that you know you will feel great about doing once you do them, but instead of doing them you let other daily stuff
get in the way? I noticed that I had been waiting until I had the time to do it in order to do much writing. But the days kept going by, and I
stayed wonderfully busy with other things—and the “time to do it” kept not happening.
Then I started writing again anyway, even without the magic “extra” time. I don’t even know why really. I just did. It’s unbelievable how much more
alive and full I feel when I simply do what I know is to be done by me, what I “need” to do—not based on some outside authority, but based
on that inner knowing, based on what feels right and clear and good. I feel more focused and “on purpose” inside—and more joyful. I have
had other times when it was as simple as calling someone I care about, going through my pile of “stuff,” going dancing, getting my finances more
organized or cleaning out a particular drawer. Whatever it is, we each have an inner guidance system that simply feels “off” if we are not doing
something we know is to be done by us, something that would serve us well if we did it.
What is something that keeps pushing at you? What is something you know is important but you keep putting off? Your provocation this week is to answer
those questions and then take just ten minutes to begin it. Even if you know it will take much longer than that to complete, something almost magical seems to happen when you just start. It is like a big procrastination layer comes off and you have more energy to move forward. Try it this week and see what happens—even if
you only accomplish baby steps on it. If you do more, great. If you don’t, great. Ten minutes. That’s all it needs to be.
There is a quote by Thomas Edison that says, “If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” I want to astound
myself! I want us all to.
Decide today that you are worth taking good care of. Then get started with something you “need” to do based upon a sincere intention to hear and play
in your highest possibilities.
Sometimes things happen that seem unfair or unethical. I have had people that I love, respect and admire feel like this. It’s hard to watch as their hearts
are in pain—seemingly because of the actions of others. Have you ever had something like that happen? When you feel you don’t have control over
something that truly feels wrong to you? It could be behaviors of your own children, co-workers, parents, governments, banks, health-care systems,
siblings, mentors, supervisors, spouses, clergy, etc. I had it happen once at a place I worked. Going through it feels gross.
But here is what I propose. Life is good and is always FOR us. Always. Even when it doesn’t seem to be. This week’s provocation is for if or when you
are having difficulty with a situation that seems out of your control. You can use these tools to more gracefully move through a past situation
as well. When something feels difficult, unfair or not controllable by you, first and foremost be soft and nurturing with yourself. Truly, that
is the first step. Then go through the three activities below and see if any resonate with you. If they do, use them gently.
Provocation #1. Before you fall asleep at night focus on the feeling that is opposite of the difficulty you are experiencing. For
example, if you are watching a family member being hurtful to themselves or to someone else, try to get to the feelingof how good it feels when
harmony, respect and safe boundaries are practiced by the people you love. If someone at work or church is being unethical, practice the feeling
of how wonderful it is to be around people you trust, who act with high levels of integrity. If your heart hurts because you are distant from someone
you love, focus on how good it feels when you simply love and appreciate them. If someone has taken something from you, you could practice how
much you love feeling safe and feeling like you have more than enough of everything you need to make life happy and fulfilling. It’s not about
the words; it’s about getting to the feeling that brings relief. It takes energy and effort to get to the opposite feeling, but that’s
the important part.
Provocation #2. Take 5 or 10 minutes to sit quietly and ask yourself, "Am I being called from somewhere within me to say something, take a stand or
otherwise try to change the situation here?" Gently notice what emerges when you ask yourself. No guilt. No pressure. Just ask.
Provocation #3. Ask yourself, "Is this another indication that it’s time for me to move on, leave or make some changes in my own life?” Again, just
ask yourself and see what happens inside you. As with #2 give yourself some quiet time to listen within and reflect on whatever answers emerge.
If any of those three provocations call to you, go through the activity for a whole week. As things begin to shift—and they will—remember
to be gentle and loving with you and with any others involved. Some of my most positive and empowering changes occurred directly as a result of
me making it through what seemed like the most difficult situations. This week’s provocations take courage and effort. Be gentle and kind with
you as you play with them. We are such wonderfully bright, loving and empowered beings. It takes our intentions and our conscious choices to make
it through difficult situations in such a way that we grow and gain goodness from them instead of closing our hearts or being squished up by them.
Your beautiful life is worth that. So is mine.
I love when I take a vacation week. I stop a lot of my “busyness” and I trade it for extra naps, walking, writing, dancing and meditating. Awesome! I remember
a particular vacation when a cool thing happened; I felt like I found myself again. Interesting, since I had not even realized I was missing. Does
that ever happen to you? Do you ever feel like you are going day by day making it through all the routines of work or home on auto-pilot, and all of
a sudden you notice you are hardly even there?
I think it happens even more for people who are not enjoying their usual routine. I enjoy most of my routines. I love the people I get to be home with
and I love the people I get to work with. I love what I do for work and I love what I do for play—when I take the time to play. But even though
I enjoy many of the routines of my daily life, doing those things on auto-pilot is so much different from doing them consciously, by choice. Auto-pilot
mode sucks the life out of us.
I start going on auto-pilot when I feel tired and overdone. It’s my protective mode when I feel fried. And I feel more fried, tired and overdone when I
rush around on auto-pilot. It’s one of those nasty downward spirals that adds to stress. While it’s true that a week off from work can help get me
back, I don’t have to wait for vacations to remember to be present, and therefore to be more fulfilled and happy, both at home and at work. Neither
do you! So here is a provocation to help bring relief and fullness back to your days when you may need it. Throughout the week ask yourself why you are doing whatever you are doing.
If the first answer is “To get done,” or “Because I have to,” then ask again and again until you feel your heart move back into the answer.
Here is an example when I was writing one of my weekly “Blurbs.”
“Why am I doing this?”
“Because I write these on Tuesdays.”
“Why do I do that?”
“Because that’s the day I send it out to people.”
“Why are you doing that?”
“Because it is my highest intention and great hope that it will uplift or benefit someone in some way. And because I always feel happy and proud of myself
when I complete one.”
Ah, yes—that is why. You can do the same thing with anything you are working on whether personal or professional simply by asking until
once again you feel the real reason, the primary reason, the heartfelt reason why you are doing it all anyway.
“Why do I do these things that sometimes feel like ‘too much’?”
“Because I love being the best mom I can be.”
“Because I feel great when my house is clean and beautiful.”
“Because I am happy when there are wonderful groceries and healthy dinners to eat.”
“Because I really like doing my job well.”
“Because it feels awesome to have a strong body.”
“Because I love to feel my spiritual connection.”
“Because it rocks to get paid for doing my work.”
“Because I feel proud of providing for my family.”
“Because I love helping people.”
The list can go on and on. When you bring your heart back into why you actually do what you do—then simplicity, relief, fullness, love and
well-being move into and through your day to day routines. That for me is worth the effort!
I rarely watch the news. I particularly avoid it anywhere near bedtime. Dr. Wayne Dyer used to say that whatever is in our consciousness right before we
go to bed “marinates” there all night long. When I think of a typical news broadcast it’s not what I want to marinate my thoughts, feelings and consciousness
in all night long. I have found something interesting about the news, however. It’s “News” because it’s newsworthy, right?
I think of newsworthy as relating to things that are new, different, exciting, timely, need to know—i.e. not commonplace. This
is a little weird, but follow me here: Because the situations and stories in the news are usually negative, and aren’t commonplace, it means
that much of what is going on in the world which is commonplace is often positive and life affirming, or at worst mundane and neutral. That’s the real news. Here are a few examples:
For every person or group of people on the “News” committing hate crimes or acts of terror, how many other groups of people are living out their days with
kindness and inner strength, with respect for diversity, being socially responsible, hoping for, or actively working toward peace, prosperity, compassion
and respect for all people.
For every mom on the “News” who abandoned or killed her child, how many moms are on the planet right now who are loving, responsible, committed and truly
want the best for their children, even if they are often exhausted and impatient?
For every politician or government entity on the “News” who cares more about money and power than all else, how many public servants at local, state and
national levels are attempting to serve the public in the best way they can, with high degrees of integrity—even if we don’t always like their
For every gang member on the “News” that has turned to drugs and violence, how many young people go to school most days (even if they are bored
with it), volunteer their time somewhere, act with courage when someone needs help, follow their parents rules (at least mostly), help out with finances
or siblings, and truly want to make a positive difference?
For every man on the “News” who has raped or beaten a woman, how many men go through their days respectfully, responsibly, honorably and with an attempt
to live up to personal commitments, financial obligations, others’ expectations and most of society’s rules?
For every organization on the “News” whose leaders care only about profit, even at the expense of others, how many professionals are actively attempting
to run a legitimate business in such a manner as to create a win-win situation for everyone?
Here’s your provocation for the week, whether you watch the news or just hear about it from other people. Whatever is the negative, newsworthy situation,
make a strong, active attempt to find 5-10 situations or people anywhere who are doing the opposite. I think you may be wonderfully surprised
to see just how many people are living with integrity and honor, guided by higher principles and loving freely and openly.
What we look for expands. Until there are shows that air the “Real News” let’s all keep looking out for it anyway.
I want to talk about Coherence and how it’s actually possible to “spread” that wonderful high quality state. Coherence is a scientific term that refers
to when the heart, mind, emotions and body are all working in sync. It’s an actual physiological state when the major systems of the body are working
together and we experience an inner state of ease, calm and composure; mental and emotional flexibility and balance; the ability to self-regulate and
“take charge” of ourselves, maintaining composure (even in the midst of stressful circumstances); and we have a smooth and rhythmic heart pattern that
looks like a sine wave or rolling hill. Oh yeah, and it feels really good too.
Order, balance, poise, inner calm and composure… Anyone besides me wanting to experience a little more of that right now?
There is a simple HeartMath technique that we can use to get there (and I’ll share it at the end) – but the really cool thing is some new research that
shows how we can actually spread Coherence to others. Participants in a study were organized into 10 groups, with four people in each group. Each group
of four was seated around a table, each wearing a heart rhythm monitor to measure heart rate and Coherence levels. Two weeks earlier, three of the
four participants in each group had been taught how to shift into a Coherent state. The three people who had been taught how to get Coherent were instructed
to shift in and out of Coherence at specific times. The fourth person had no knowledge of what the other three were doing.
Get this! When the three participants shifted into Coherence – the fourth person also became more Coherent even though they didn’t know what was going
on! So when we get ourselves into a more balanced and composed state (or peaceful, or loving, or calm, or appreciative, etc.), we literally can help
shift other people into that state as well! How awesome! Have you ever been around someone and notice you feel a bit better just from having been in
there presence? Let’s all learn to be one of those people – because we can!
Here we go. It’s this easy to get Coherent.
Here is HeartMath’s Quick Coherence Technique:
1.Focus your attention in the area of the heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper
2.Make a sincere attempt to experience a regenerative feeling such as appreciation or care for someone or something in your life. (Try to re-experience
the feeling you have for someone you love, a pet, a fun or positive time in your life, a special place, an accomplishment; or focus on a feeling of
calm or ease.)
So your provocation this week is to get Coherent and then intend to “spread” it by purposefully being Coherent around others. I bet we’ll all
find conversations this week that could use some inner composure, ease and calm.
What if I were so filled up with my own passion, purpose and genuine power that I didn’t have time or interest in criticizing you or anyone else? What
if the love and appreciation that I had flowing through me right now were so big and so constant that I could view everything and everyone with eyes
of compassion, possibility and wonder? What if I were so busy finding ways I could uplift that I forgot to rail against groups and organizations behaving
What if I decided to walk my own path so clearly and boldly that I knew everyone else could do it too? What if I practiced trusting that still
small voice within so much that I felt the divine presence of well-being even while things seemed so fast and chaotic? And what if you did it too?
I think we can do it. I think it’s actually possible. But somehow we learned to wait. Wait until we are more ready; wait until others tell us we are good
enough; wait until people are nicer and the world is more ethical; wait until we graduate, get a different job, get married, get the house, retire,
elect the right government officials. Mostly I think we are waiting around for everyone else to do it too. Or just someone. Anyone. To do what? To
focus on being the grandest version of themselves that is possible in this very moment.
What do you think it would look like if a few of us started doing that right now? If we started being the grandest version of ourselves that we
know to be? Right now with the imperfect, messy work situations, relationships, finances and bodies that we have in this moment? Right now in the stressed
out, relief seeking culture we live in? Right now when we don’t have time to do anything more? I want us to choose to do just that, to live the grandest
version of ourselves that we can. Because I think amazing things will happen when we do. And we will laugh and love more. And we will start a ripple
effect of good that can help heal the planet. And we will surprise ourselves with our own inner goodness and beauty.
If it feels too big and vague to say, “I’m going to start being the grandest version of myself that I can be,” then here is a wonderful way to put it into
motion. This is your provocation for the week. Choose a quality or essence that resonates with the grandest version of you that you can imagine. It
might be love, strength, laughter, gentleness, discipline, patience, compassion, appreciation, persistence, joyfulness, honor, etc. There are so many
so just choose one that seems to be calling to you right now. Intend to embody that quality so fully that you experience it all week—within your
thoughts, your feelings, your heart and your actions. Each time you find yourself feeling tired, squished up, frustrated, drained or “out of sorts”
imagine this quality flooding through your entire being. Feel the essence of your grandest version as it begins to flow through your daily experiences.
The reason I know it’s possible to begin living as our grandest selves is that I have experienced people practicing it. I have watched some of them, read
their work, run into them at the store, listened to their music and been inspired by their words or actions. I have been assisted by them and blessed
by them in countless beautiful ways. And I believe with all of my heart that their ranks are growing. So this week be on the lookout for those who
are practicing their grandest version; feel for them; hope to see them; expect to find them. And more importantly, let’s choose in this moment to join
them, to be them. Ah, the power of returning to our grandest version!
When people talk about “stress reduction” what usually comes up first are things like breathing, meditation, yoga, relaxation, or massage. I love those
things! They can bring such a wonderful sense of peacefulness and nurturing as they move us away from the fast-paced, incessant “busyness” of continually
having too much to do. But there is another really important part of true stress reduction and self-care. That's the part I want to focus on in this
week’s provocation. Do you ever have times when it feels like the real problem isn’t just all the hurrying and rushing, but that it may also be the
squishing, deadening, or sleepiness you feel from having lived for days, weeks, months or longer without feeling truly awake, inspired, frisky or alive?
Without these...without the powerful childlike qualities of feeling excited about life, being playful and imaginative, feeling drawn to accomplish great
things, and being passionate about new adventures, stress reduction processes will only be a shadow of what they could be.
In light of that awareness here are some important questions to inspire your friskiness! They are in no particular order and each question can stand on
What (or who) makes you really laugh? (A few weeks ago I was out in the California Redwoods with two of my wonderful friends and a few times we were laughing
so hard that I literally almost peed!)
What have you ever done, or do now, that makes you have a sense of awe or feel really inspired - you know, where it could almost take your breath away
because of the "bigness" (metaphorically or really) or beauty or importance of the thing?
No matter your age right now, what's one beautiful thing you could accomplish before you leave the planet? (Yep, that's my way of saying "before you die
or pass on.")
What can you spend hours of effort doing that feels more like play than work?
What sorts of conversations and topics make you feel alive and engaged?
If limited time, money, health or energy were not issues, what could you do that makes you feel playful, creative, passionate, curious and fully awake?
Quite simply and clearly - who or what makes your heart sing?
Your provocation for the week is simple, and wonderful! Go through the list of questions above and give a sincere attempt to answer each of them. You can
just think through your answers, or say them aloud, or write them down. As you do this notice how you feel, both as you read each question and as your
answers start to emerge. Bask in the deliciousness of starting to remember what makes you feel really alive. Then, take one step, no matter how small
or large, toward an action which is in alignment with an answer to one of those questions.
There are so many foods we are supposed to stay away from, or at least limit, according to experts in the industry. Depending on which dietitian, nutritionist,
physician, book, or PBS special you are currently in alignment with, here are some of the possible things to steer clear from: fats, red meat, all
meat, carbs, anything not organic, anything not locally grown, all processed foods, MSG, hydrogenated oils, dairy, salty snacks, sugary snacks, alcohol,
corn syrup, any grain that is not a whole grain, white anything (flour, rice, bread, sugar, pasta), preservatives and on and on. But I have an idea.
While there is a good possibility that many of the different eating guidelines have merit, before you pick which foods to embrace and which to throw away,
do something really awesome. Instead of basing your decision on logical arguments from all the external authorities, decide first how foods feel—to you.
Here’s your provocation. This week intend to be fully present and mindful of you and your food before, during, and after you eat. How does your food
look? Does your whole body want it or simply your taste buds? How does it smell? Is your body asking for something different instead? Can you really
taste the food or are you rushing through it? Then, and this is the important part—10 to 20 minutes after you have eaten, simply notice how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Are you sluggish or energized? Do you have any aches? Are you mentally clear or foggy? Do you feel “deadened” and numb or frisky and alive? Don’t make
it a judgmental, criticism thing, just notice how you are doing. You may uncover something that can be really helpful.
Here is what I’ve found. Generally food serves me well, unless I use it for stress-reduction or relief, then not so much. Sometimes I eat sugary food because
I consciously choose to have a bit of the yummy taste. Other times I crave it and it feels not so much a conscious choice, but rather like I “need”
it. Most often those times are: when I feel sleepy or drained around 3-4pm with an afternoon lull; when I feel nervous, anxious, mad, or even excited
about something; when I am tired from not getting enough quality sleep; when I am low on water but don’t realize I am thirsty. When I eat something
sweet at those times, it tastes good on my tongue as I eat it. It also feels like it brings me some sort of relief. Then shortly afterward I usually
feel more tired, drained, sluggish, and sometimes even mean. No fun really, but it is actually cool to know—because that awareness creates my
point of power to be able to choose differently if and when I want to.
Our bodies rock! Your body rocks! Notice it this week. You have the opportunity to take lavish, loving care of it. Not because you “should.” Not because
you need to “guilt yourself” into it. But quite simply, because you deserve to feel good. Whether or not anyone ever told you that, it’s true. You deserve to feel good.
And noticing how foods feel from inside you is an amazing and powerful way to put that knowing into practice.
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