Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Resolution to Love Yourself Just As You Are

By Judith Froemming
รง December, 2010

The snow is falling, people are bustling, turkeys are roasting. The holiday season is here. Right after you've eaten your fill, opened your presents, and kissed your last relative goodbye, a sense of exhaustion washes over you as you realize that 2010 is over. A new year is about to begin. You think, with a sigh, that you haven't lost those 20 pounds, you're still working at the same unfulfilling job and you are still in the same power struggle with your wife/husband/lover/child/yourself. Where did the possibilities go?

A client recently said to me, “I have to make a New Year's resolution to stop procrastinating, but I'm better at breaking them than making them. Is there a trick to making a good New Year's Resolution?

There is no trick, except in the mind. The only thing that I have to do is question my thoughts about having to be better, work harder, and go faster. What if where I am is exactly where I'm supposed to be? My life is my teacher. What if I'm enough, just as I am? That's a peaceful thought, and in thinking it, I feel better. If I try to force myself to change through tricks and manipulations, I end up pushing the same rock up the same hill over and over again. So I stop pushing against and start going with myself.

Where did this need to constantly push and bend ourselves into a pretzel of twisted improvement come from? We were told a story. When I was a very little girl, I was told that there was a Santa Claus. About age seven or eight, a sixth grader told me that Santa Claus was made up. I was confused and sad, but my mom told me that it was true. She told me that I was growing up now and grownups don't believe in Santa Claus. I didn't find that very helpful, so she told me that I'd still get presents. I felt a little better. When she told me that I could help trick my younger brother, I felt even better. This is just one of the stories I was told. But at least I was told it was a story.

Another story that I was told when I was very young, was that I was born originally sinful (read: not good enough) and that if I didn't try hard to be better, I'd be punished. A lot. No one came back later and told me that this story was also made up. It was. And it was a very scary story for a child. Most of us carry a version of it with us today at the subconscious level. Even if we've personally walked away from this particular doctrine, its residue permeates the subconscious level of our culture.

In many ways we're still pushing, rushing, and forcing to get our lives right, to be better, to go faster because no one came back and told us it's all made up. We're good enough. Even rush hour is made up. I don't have to rush to improve my life. When I create calm hour and calm life, I thrive.

As it turns out, I'm originally blessed. When I live my original blessing, my deep sense of inadequacy dissolves. I begin to trust that my own life will guide me and teach me. I begin to trust that when I do what gives me energy, I thrive and become who I really am. I create my life's purpose with Joy and Balance. And no pushing is needed.

Life happens on its own. It's a flowing river. All I have to do is turn my canoe downstream and paddle with the flow instead of against it. I can trust the process; this natural flow of life. Instead of living my life, life lives me. It gets easier.

Discover the benefits of curiosity and openness. Learn to live in the flow of the Universe. Suzuki Roshi famously called this ability beginner’s mind. In his words, “we pay attention with respect and interest, not in order to manipulate, but to understand what is true. And seeing what is true, the heart becomes free.”

Here are three simple steps to help you begin:

Find a quite place to sit, close your eyes and take a slow deep breath into your diaphragm (visualize blowing up a balloon in your belly). Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Make your exhale twice as long as your inhale. For example, breathe in to the count of 4 and out to the count of 8. Keep it at the same pace. You don't have to do it perfectly. Human beings do better with practice.

Take another deep breath in (as above) and on the exhale say in your mind, “I live and breathe in the flow of the Universe.” Repeat this for 5-20 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day, until you feel calm and open. Be curious about what you notice. Rather than judge it, see what you can learn from it. As thoughts, pictures or memories come into your mind, thank them and simply return to your intention statement. You don't have to do it perfectly. There is no such thing as a mistake. There is only new information.

Through-out the day, anytime you are about to judge yourself or anyone else,
say to yourself (like you really mean it), “I love you, (your name)” and smile.

Trungpa Rinpoche says, “People always want to change their lives instead of using their lives to wake up.”
<a href="" title="New years in village">New years in village</a> by Jon Sullivan

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Authenticity: An interview with Awakening facilitator, Judith Froemming

Interview by Amy Putkonen for The Edge magazine, November, 2010

Is what you do, say and be in alignment with your beliefs? For many, if they were honest with themselves, the answer may be no. I believe that most people wish to live authentically, but many do not. I spoke with one of the most authentic people I know to get some ideas for how to try and capture some of that authenticity in your everyday life. Judith is a lovely testament to authenticity in her life. If you have the good fortune to meet, work or play with her, you will find that she really lives her talk.

Judith Froemming is a Formerly Serious Person, Consciousness Coach, Five PATH™ (Five Phase Advanced Transformational Hypnotherapist), Seven PATH™ Self-Hypnotist, HNLP and ESM Practitioner and an InterPlay™ Instructor. She facilitates the process of awakening in both group and individual sessions in the Twin Cities area. You can find her online at:

I think the cultural structures
that define us sometimes limit our authenticity. 
What do you think, Judith?

When I question my limiting beliefs, I set myself free. While it appears that cultural structures define me, what happens if I ask if this is true? What if cultural structures don’t define and limit me? What if it is my mind that defines and limits me?

When I accept limiting beliefs, I notice that I feel overwhelmed, stressed, afraid and dis-empowered. When I believe that these same cultural structures don’t define and limit me, I feel calm, peaceful, grateful and I notice the abundance of options that I actually have. I notice that it is MY MIND that defines me and sometimes limits my authenticity. I see now that cultural structures are neutral. They are there to create contrast so that I can see what I want to choose. I take responsibility for my choices, now.

Life in this dimension is a buffet. It is a table loaded with every conceivable dish. I can fill my plate with everything I don’t want, then complain at the checkout how terrible this buffet is, or I can fill my plate with everything I love and be grateful for all the wonderful, tasty choices I’ve made! I notice that this is a universe of contrast. I taste the pickles and I don’t like them. Good! Now I know not to take more pickles. I take the potato salad. I like it. Good! I’ll be taking more potato salad. In a free-will universe, I notice what creates suffering or what creates joy and balance for me...if I’m awake. And I can choose.

How can people break free
of these limitations without alienating the people they love? 
Byron Katie’s humorous, and pointed statement,“Other people’s opinions of me are none of my business,” powerfully challenges the impossible expectation of the above statement. Have you ever noticed that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t please everyone? I end up exhausted and resentful. Once I give up trying to control how someone else feels or how they feel about me, I can return to being.

There is a famous bible passage, “...You shall love your neighbor as yourself...”(NAS, Mark 12:28-31) It seems to focus on loving your neighbor. But does it? If I look more deeply, I begin to realize that I’m not capable of loving anyone any better than I’m capable of loving myself. If I try to avoid alienating someone by pleasing them at my own expense, I am not true to my spirit and I’m not loving myself or them. It may look good on the surface, but it’s not authentic.

Being true to my spirit might be interpreted as egotistical. Outside of my consciousness, I do anything to avoid feeling unworthy. I shop, control, gamble, sex, accumulate, drink, smoke, rage, and work to excess. This is what happens when I don’t believe I’m lovable enough to ask for what I want and need...until I wake up. When I love and accept myself, I can finally Love and accept you without expectations or attachment.

Can you teach people to be authentic?
If I want to be authentic, I am willing to create a practice of Love. I am willing to question my limiting beliefs, belly breathe to calm myself, and be still. I listen to what my Body, Nature and Source have to teach here now. I will raise my emotional intelligence, give up dualistic thinking and end war with myself.  I do what gives me energy and stop doing what drains my energy...I become a formerly serious person and love that I won’t do any of this perfectly. It’s not required.

When I slow down, I cultivate awareness, which opens me to sit quietly and learn to actually live in my body. Acculturation has taught me to avoid pain, but now I lovingly observe my pain. My body teaches me as layers of tension gradually release, my neglected body heals and energy returns. I can only be authentic if I am present.
I am unattached to the outcome of my choice, I just notice the information coming to me and make the next choice. I act rather than re-act. As I remain unattached to the outcome, I’m free to be grateful for what this choice reveals to me, what it teaches me. It’s simple. I made up that it was more complicated than that.

I am my own best teacher. If I seek guidance, the wisest teacher will tell me that the answers are within. When I commit myself to the practice of Love, my mind and body open to previously unknown dimensions of life. I do not need to improve myself, I only need to remember myself. My intention to practice loving-kindness creates a life of joy and balance. It frees me from my alienation, suffering and distractions and I’m finally able to love others, as myself. An authentic life is in the moment, being true to my own spirit, my own journey.

Do you believe that self esteem and authenticity are related?
Self esteem is rooted in accepting my original blessing or original nobility. When I am absolutely accepting of my being-ness, I love myself just as I am.  My mind is quiet, my brain signals the production of healing chemistry and my body releases pain and tension and channels wisdom. I am grateful for this magnificent buffet and the opportunity to choose. EVERY choice I make is mine. Self-esteem allows me to own my choices...all of them. When I own my choices, I empower myself to live authentically.
The authentic heart is the spiritually mature heart. It is not a perfectionist. It has compassion for my being rather than goals for my future. It loves what is. Its only desire is to love 
and be free.

Thank you, Judith. It was a joy to read your words. So true and so beautifully said!
<a href="" title="Silhouette of boy">Silhouette of boy</a> by Leon Brooks