Are You Asking the Right Question? How to Know & What to Do Instead

Sometimes, when you’re confused about something, when you can’t get clear direction, it’s because you’re asking the wrong question. Here’s what I mean:

Yesterday, I was doing a reading for a long-time client I’ll call Zoe. I’ve seen Zoe through job changes, and a couple of marital separations and reconciliations, but she’s in a pickle now that beats all.

Obviously, since she’s had a couple of marital separations, it’s never been the best of marriages. Though Zoe moved out a couple of times, she always went back to Neil to take care of her 3 daughters, the last of whom recently left the nest. (And we all know how many marriages break up when the last child flies the coop, don’t we?) To make matters worse, Neil contracted a virus a few years ago, that led to huge heart problems, and is now waiting for a new heart. To complicate matters even more, Zoe’s fallen in love with a single coworker — and the feelings are reciprocated. Both of them are simultaneously deliriously in love and horrified because of the situation. Oh, and did I mention that Zoe’s a devout Catholic, so divorce is out of the question?

Zoe’s been calling to talk, to explore what is the right thing to do. Obviously, the ‘right’ thing is to take care of her ailing husband (who has about a 50% chance of surviving), but she is so miserable at home that she can’t shut down the budding relationship. And divorce is even beginning to look like a viable option.

When I read for clients, I pretty much get answers to the questions they’re asking. That is the way they are focusing my attention, and so that is the information that comes through. So if my client asks me, should I leave my husband?, I ask her to clarify what she hopes to get by doing that. Then I give her the probability of getting the result she desires by taking the action she proposes. She decides whether to take the proposed action. (I never tell anyone what to do.) Sometimes it’s obvious — what you propose is highly unlikely to get what you want — and sometimes it’s unclear, a 50/50ish result.

This was the sort of thing we were doing yesterday — and it’s the sort of thing we’ve done before. She seemed to be going around and around the same subject, with the same emotional and thought patterns. But somehow, yesterday, Zoe cried out in anguish, “How the hell did I get here?”

And all of a sudden I ‘got’ that the problem had started very early in the marriage, when Neil, wanting to make Zoe happy, had agreed to move closer to her family. To me, Zoe protested that this made no sense to her as the main problem in her marriage. But it turned out that the move meant taking a lower paying job, which he didn’t like as much as his old one, as well as moving away from his own birth family, to whom he was very close. Though on the surface, everything seemed the same, Neil had never forgiven her for this, nor had he forgiven himself for agreeing to it. He had mentioned his regret (but not his slowly simmering anger) occasionally over the next 25 years, but Zoe had just sort of let that go.

Now that Zoe knew the root cause of their problems, she had something she could do to change things. She could bring it up. She could tell him she appreciated his sacrifice. She could understand and forgive the many small ways he’d been mean to her. She could apologize. She could ask him to forgive her. She could ask him to forgive himself. He may or may not forgive her or himself, but at least she can have more compassion for both of them.

The lesson here is that if you’re not getting a clear solution to a problem, then you’re asking the wrong question. This is especially true of a dilemma, which is a problem with only 2 options for answers. Here are a few questions to ask to get unstuck:

  • What is the deeper nature of this problem?
  • What do I really want?’ (rather than ‘what do I think I can have?’)
  • How did I get here?
  • Does this issue remind me of any other issue I’ve faced? How is it similar? How is it different? 
  • What am I trying to learn from this situation? What is my higher self (or God or the Universe or whatever nominalization you want) trying to teach me? (And there may be more than one lesson.) 
  • What other options are out there?
  • Is this even my lesson — or am I just helping someone else learn?

I’m sure you have questions that can be added to this list. Post them here, or send them to me privately — I’d love to hear them.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Links from today’s show (5/18/11)

Here are the two books I recommend on lucid dreaming. The first is a useful background book, and the second is more of a ‘how-to’. You might find the first at your local library; you’ll probably have to buy the second.

Click the link to see the YouTube video, “No More Secrets”, which is about how we are all connected. We really all can know everything that’s going on, and has gone on, through our intuition, if we develop it properly. 

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Links from today’s show (5/11/11)

This is a great book — why you should use positive reinforcement, as well as how to do it.
Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Are you too busy?

A while back, when I asked a friend of mine, a psychologist, how he was, he answered, “Working harder for less.”

I’m sure that’s true for a lot of us — it’s surely true for me. And when we’re making less, we have to give up the support services we used to use — the cleaning service, the gardener, take-out food, even prepared food at the grocery store. So now, besides working more hours at our jobs or businesses, we have a second shift at home. Okay, we always had a second shift at home, but now that takes longer, too.

Now, I believe that working hard and honestly is a virtue. I also know that reflection is often needed for learning, so that you don’t make the same mistake twice. Reflection is needed for clarity, as well, to be clear about what you’re choosing to create in your life (for work, a mate, etc.), what’s stopping you from creating that, what actions you’re going to take, even when those actions are simply changing your thoughts. [The Law of Attraction requires clear intention.]

Busyness can get in the way of that clarity. If you never have time to think or reflect, it’s really hard to get out of your own way and create a different life for yourself. So how do you get un-busy?

  • Put reflection time in your calendar – It’s important, so set it up as an appointment with yourself. And keep the appointment!
  • Multi-task (and I know this one sounds counter-intuitive) – For some of us, exercise is a time of reflection, especially if it’s repetitive and not particularly intense. Walking, jogging, using an ellicptical machine, set so it’s a bit of effort, and you aren’t huffing and puffing, can actually stimulate reflection.
  • Let go of some things – Is anyone really going to notice the dust bunnies under the bed? (And what are they doing looking under the bed any way?) Can the beautiful scrapbook wait, in favor of a few notes on a sticky attached to a photo? Right now make a list of 3 things that are not bringing you a monetary or emotional return on your time — and then quit doing them.
  • Let someone else drive – Maybe some people can use driving time for reflection. If that’s not you, let someone else drive (and really let him or her drive, don’t back-seat drive). Use that time for reflection or meditation. Carpooling can do more than save gas! 
  • Get organized – Searching for things takes up valuable time. If you are not a naturally organized person, trade her organizing for some skill you have.
  • Eat simply – Make a one-pot meal (think soup or stew in the winter and salad in the summer). Cook a couple of dishes in quantity, and eat them for a few days. Or freeze some in small portions, thereby making your own fast food.

Please add your ideas here — I’d love to hear them!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Dealing with a Drunk

Do you have, or have you ever had, an alcoholic in your life? I’m pretty lucky — I have never had a very close friend or family member have addiction problems. Until now.

Serena is a friend of several decades. We were roommates briefly, way back when, when I was changing cities, and a lease ended, and I couldn’t move for a couple of weeks. She was kind enough to take me in. At the time, I noticed that if we opened a bottle of wine, she drank the majority of it. If we went to a party, she had one too many, but she was a funny, sweet drunk, so I mostly just enjoyed her company. We were young; everyone partied; I excused it.

Then I moved. Though we kept in touch through job changes and moves and marriages and kids and separations and divorces, we really didn’t see each other much. When she got pregnant with her daughter, she told me she’d stopped drinking. I guess her husband insisted, and insisted she stay sober for her daughter’s entire childhood, which she did. But her daughter went off to college last fall, and her drinking resumed. To make matters worse, her husband left her.

Serena’s living in California now, has been for a few years, and so we’re spending time together. I’ve noticed that she’s drinking a lot. If I see her in the evening, I have to drive, because I don’t trust her to. Sometimes she slurs her words. I’ve seen her pass out, very genteelly, of course, but pass out nonetheless.

I’m horrified. I’m sad. I’m scared for my friend. I don’t really know what to do. I tried the Al-Anon website, which was not all that helpful, because I’m not family, or even close enough for Serena’s drinking to affect me, except for friendly concern. Then I found this article, by a recovering alcoholic, who is also a family member of other alcoholics, which is quite helpful.

So here’s what I’m going to do:

  • Take Serena out for coffee, early in the day on a weekend. (She only drinks in the evening, so she’ll be sober. We’ll be in a neutral location, in public, which is the safest place to have any difficult discussion, something I learned at Harvard Business School. Because it’s the weekend, we’ll have time to talk.)
  • Tell her specifically what I have noticed. (In NLP, I learned that people can’t deal with generalities, so it’s best to be specific.)
  • Tell her neutrally about my concern for her. (The article says that judging, labeling or shaming just make the problem worse. They give the alcoholic more reasons to drink. What the alcoholic needs is more resources, more ways to deal with the pain underneath the drinking.)
  • Bring information about the nearest AA meetings, both locations and times.
  • Listen neutrally and openly, using all the skills I’ve learned in NLP. (NLP has a whole model of linguistic rules which, when used by a listener,  help the speaker become more clear about what is going on.)
  • Be non-attached to the outcome. Perhaps Serena will take some positive step. Perhaps not. Perhaps, despite my best efforts, she’ll make me wrong for even bringing this up. I am prepared to lose the friendship, if that is what happens. 

Wish me luck! (And I truly welcome any additional ideas you’d like to post as comments here.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Life on the Plateau

I typically greet friends with the question, ‘What’s new?” Of course, they tell me, and then ask me the same question.

I am often stumped because, at least on the outside, there is not much new. I’ve been married to the same man and lived in the same home for more than 10 years now. Nobody’s died — or been born. My business has its ups and downs, but basically, it’s the same business. No family or close friends have gotten married lately. A couple of friends are getting a divorce, but that’s not mine to discuss. Depending on the week, I have more or less time for hobbies — and those haven’t changed much either. I can’t talk about exotic trips I don’t take.

Most of my changes take place on the inside — and I can’t share those with many people. And sometimes, there aren’t many of those, either.

That’s the real plateau — when nothing much is new, even on the inside.

Often, this is a good thing. We need to catch our breaths from all the change. So much is going on around us, if not to us — births, deaths, marriages, divorces, jobs ending, jobs and businesses starting, illnesses and recoveries, moves of home and/or workplace. Then there are all the societal and political changes, too many to mention.

Sometimes we even need breaks from internal change. I know that when a client does a big piece of change work with me, that client needs to let it integrate, often for a couple of weeks, before becoming completely comfortable with who (s)he has become.

As a culture, we are fixated on what’s new, what’s changing, rather than on the deeper truths. Maybe a better question is, “What have you learned lately?” Because learning goes on, even on the plateau. In fact, I suspect that is what the plateau is for — to help us deepen our learning. If you keep on doing what you’re doing, practicing what craft or skills got you to the place you are, learning new things, you’ll improve — and new opportunities will come, and with them, change, starting the cycle again.

[For more on life on the plateau, check out George Leonard’s classic,  Mastery — a wonderful short book on the virtues of practice for its own sake, and loving the plateau.]

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

A New Type of Gratitude

This blog is called “Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day” — and I found a new technique, a new practice, that really can do that.

It’s a truism in the New Age community that the ‘attitude of gratitude’ helps power the Law of Attraction, which simply says that what you focus on expands. So if you’re focusing on what you are grateful for, then you’ll get more of that.

The problem with this is that if you are only focusing on things you are grateful for, you tend to sweep the less positive things under the rug. And what you ignore, endures. That is, by not dealing with it, by leaving it there in your psyche, your energy body, it attracts more of itself to you, too.

A couple of months ago, I happened upon Melody Beattie’s “Make Miracles in Forty Days“. Beattie is famous for her books about co-dependence, which are very clear. This is completely different. In it, she talks about how, by admitting how bad things are, you can start to turn things around.

Her process is very simple. Each day, you spend 10 minutes writing what you are grateful for. The twist is that you are also grateful for seemingly negative events and circumstances, as well as the emotions around them. For example, here is part of what I was grateful for, as I wrote in the first post in my gratitude journal after learning the process (Jan. 29, 2011):

  • I am unable to lose weight
  • I’ve mostly given up trying to lose weight, because I exercise and I’ve tried everything (low cal, low fat, low carb), stuck to it, and nothing’s worked.
  • I dislike my body at this weight

Now it’s been more than 40 days, and I’ve been losing a pound a week for about 8 weeks. Yes, there is a real world mechanism here, which I’d rather not go into, and it is still a sort of miracle. 

More than that, though, is that there is a sort of peace from admitting this stuff, even if only to myself. I’d say the process works. Try it for yourself and see!

Here’s the process:

Take 10 minutes every morning (I set a timer) and write the date and then:

“Today I am grateful that:

[Insert the good and bad here. Beattie used bullet points, and within each one could use multiple sentences.]

“Thank you for all that!”

That’s it — that’s the whole process.

Obviously, in her book, Beattie elaborates more than this — and it’s still a very short book. It might take an hour and a half to read. Makes great bathroom reading, too, as it doesn’t go overly deep.

 
If you try it please let me know what happens.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

You may not know your significan other — or friend — as well as you think!

According to this research, we think we know our friends better than we do:

Couples sometimes communicate no better than strangers

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Dealing with Betrayal

Last week, I found out that someone I thought was a friend neglected to refer me for a consulting gig with another manager at her workplace. It would have been part time for about 12 weeks, and highly lucrative (probably $20,000 or so). Ramona knew I wanted — and could have used — the work, and that I am highly qualified. I might not have gotten the gig, but the fact that she didn’t refer me — and didn’t even tell me of the gig’s existence so I could apply, despite the fact that I had mentioned looking for exactly this sort of opportunity, really feels like a betrayal. A minor betrayal in the larger scheme of things, perhaps, but a betrayal, nonetheless.

To be fair, I had coached Ramona through difficulties with this particular manager in the past, and she probably just didn’t want to deal with the fallout from my interaction with him. Still…. she was acting in her own self-interest in a way that showed in how little regard she holds me.

Everything has its positive aspect, though: it got me to reflect on how to deal with a betrayal. Here are a few tips for how to act in the short run:

  • Be gracious – Keep your cool as you find out you have been betrayed — words once said can’t be unsaid, and in this day of electronic replication, may be sent far and wide, without context. You may not understand the whole picture at this point. Take the high road. Nothing good ever came of revenge.
  • Admit your feelings – Of course, you’re angry. You have every right to be — you were betrayed. Your trust and/or expectations were violated. Anger is normal in this situation, in fact, anger exists to alert you to violations. Talk to a trusted confidante, or write everything out in a journal. If your journal is in your computer, do NOT put it anywhere it could be accidentally sent out in an email. Don’t put it online. Again, in this day of electronic replication, what you write (or worse, damning excerpts) may be sent far and wide, without context.
  • Know that karma will take care of it – Know that people do get what they deserve — even if it isn’t in this lifetime. This is the concept of karma, a universal balancing out of energies. YOU  are not in charge of karma; the universe (or God, or Source, or whatever term you prefer) is.
  • Pay attention to your ROLE (Return on Life Energy) – Does it serve you best to focus on revenge? Or to focus on your own life? There’s an old saying that ‘living well is the best revenge’, so focus on what YOU are choosing to create in your own life. The betrayer may not be part of what you are choosing to create, or at least not in the ways you expected — and you should thank that person for showing you that. (Hat tip to Susan Bernstein for the concept of ROLE – to hear our discussion about this, click here and listen to the 3/30 show from about 10 minutes in.)
  • Ask yourself what you might have done to contribute to the situation – Did you excuse bad behavior in the past? Or willfully ignore what you already knew at some level? Was this a learning experience your soul wanted you to have? 

Here are some questions to help you decide what to do from here:

  • Was this a pattern of behavior or a one time thing? A spouse having a years-long affair is quite different from a ‘friend’ failing to disclose a job opportunity. If there is a pattern of betrayal, getting away is probably your best course of action. If it’s happened only once, though, perhaps the betrayer didn’t realize what she was doing, or perhaps he was in a situation where there were no good solutions.
  • Was this maliciously done to you, or were you simply collateral damage? Did the betrayer do this to hurt you intentionally, perhaps out of jealousy? Or was the betrayer just acting in self-interest, without thinking of you? If it was done maliciously, run in the other direction, as fast as you can. If you were the unintentional victim of self-interest, well, you know where you stand going forward. Act accordingly. 
  • Has the person apologized? Accepted responsibility? Offered to make amends? And to avoid this behavior in the future? All of these things are necessary to repair a relationship, and they will mostly likely take time and effort.
  • How valuable is this relationship to you? Is this someone who used to hang out with because it was convenient, and that was the extent of the relationship? You can let that one go easily. Or was this someone you trusted with your inner life, a close confidant? Or something in between? Are there parts of your relationship you can save?

 So here’s what happened with Ramona: I was gracious –  I listened to her tell me what happened (she was at a point where she knew I’d soon find out, and was mature enough to step up at that point and tell the truth). I kept my cool, saying very little as she told me. I do know that she and her colleague will get everything they deserve, good and bad, and so I am moving on. I spent a few painful hours grokking what had happened — and then I started to write this. That feels much better than wallowing in self-pity and anger. I did also look at what parts of my Self might have created this situation.

Here’s how I assess the situation going forward: What happened was a one time thing, and I was collateral damage to her own career aspirations. I know where I stand, and I’m grateful for that clarity. Ramona neither apologized (or maybe I was too upset to hear it), accepted responsibility, offered to make amends nor to avoid this behavior in the future.

I value her talents and insights, as I still believe she values mine. That is definitely the basis for a limited relationship, one where we give each other professional advice. It is probably not the basis for a true friendship, but who knows? Life paths have many twists and turns, and our paths may grow closer in the future.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How to Talk to Yourself so Your Unconcscious Hears You

Last week on my radio show, “Your Life, Your Relationships”, I had a caller who was so frustrated with his body and his situation that he wanted to ‘break up with himself’. He had reached a place where he was feeling negative about everything in his life and wanted to be more positive. I suggested a particular language intervention for him.

I think I should pass this on to you, along with a few more ways of helping yourself think positively. It does take work to make a practice of using these positive language interventions — and it is well worth the effort.

What follows is a list of what to do to change our most common ways of thinking negatively into more useful thoughts.

  • Avoid the word “not” – The unconscious mind is very literal — and it believes everything you tell it. Unfortunately,  it is incapable of hearing the word “not”. (Don’t believe me? Don’t think of a purple walrus. What just happened? If you’re normal (and don’t know the game), you just thought of a purple walrus. Why? Because you have to make a picture of something in order to eliminate it.) Notice I used the word “avoid”, rather than saying “Don’t use”.
  • Eliminate the word “but” – When you use the word, “but”, you are implying that what came before it is somehow false, or partly false. For example, when you say to a friend, “I like that dress, but the color isn’t great on you” implies that you don’t really like the dress, because when your friend asks you if you like it, “do you like it on me?” is implied.
          It’s much better to use the word “and” – “I like that dress, 
          and the color isn’t great on you” sounds very different, doesn’t it? 
          Eliminate the word, “however”, as well. As my friend, Janet 
          Crawford, says, ‘”However” is just “but” dressed up in a tuxedo.’
  • Avoid the word, “can’t” –  When someone uses the words, “I can’t”, what (s)he usually mean is “I won’t”. It’s not that she can’t come to your dinner party, it’s that she isn’t willing to do whatever is necessary to come. Occasionally, when someone says he can’t, he really is disabled, as is the man in the wheel chair who says, “I can’t run”.

          If you choose not to do something, take responsibility for
          that, and say, “I have other plans” (even if the plans are to stay
          home and watch TV). This implies that the other plans are more

          important for some reason, and that’s okay. It’s okay to make
          choices — that’s life.
  • Avoid the passive voice – “It can’t be done” is just a way of avoiding responsibility; what the speaker probably means is either “I can’t do it” or “I won’t do it”. Plus passive voice is boring and confusing for the listener. If you mean, “I’m not willing to do it” — tell the truth — say that.
  • Avoid the words, “I’ll try” – Right now, put your right foot flat on the floor. Now, try to pick it up. Don’t pick it up, just try to. This is what Yoda meant when he said, “Do or do not… there is no try.” 

         Make a commitment. Yes, you might fail — and you are much
         more likely to succeed than if you just “try”.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Podcast of yesterday’s (3/23) show is up!

To listen online, click here.

To download by RSS feed, click here, and scroll to the bottom of the page for ‘Your Life, Your Relationships”. You can get iTunes there, or you can click here to go directly to iTunes.

If you subscribe, you’ll get all this great information automatically delivered to you!

My guest,  Andrea Adams-Miller, can be reached at www.sexualitytutor.com .

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Those gut feelings? WAAAY more important than you think!

You have to read this (it’s short)! Your gut influences not only things like your immune system, but perhaps things like your personality and ability to learn.
Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

WHY Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

My friend, Zoe, is a single mom, divorced for over 5 years now, who works in corporate HR. But for most of that time, she hasn’t really been single, she’s had a ‘boyfriend’ (that term seems so inappropriate for people in their 40s). She finally realized last summer that this was not a particularly good relationship for her, and so she ended it.

When I had dinner with her about a month ago, she was telling me all about her new, um, crush. Jeff was a very unconventional sort, living in an intentional community, working as an occasional carpenter. He’d sold a software business a while ago, so it seemed as though he might not even need to work. He rode a motorcycle, which was an aphrodisiac for her. The relationship was still in the stage of ‘will we or won’t we?’, both of them having a great time together, but neither willing to say what exactly was going on.

When Zoe won tickets to a rock concert in a radio station contest, it was the perfect excuse to ask him out on a real date. She had the time of her life!

Last Wednesday, right before my radio show, Zoe texted me, “Jeff just pulled the plug — pray for me”.

The metaphor was very apt. I’m sure Zoe felt like she’d been unplugged from an energy source. Why? Because when we have a relationship with someone, we grow energetic cords between our energy bodies. If you’ve ever felt drained after being with someone, and didn’t know why, here’s a possible  explanation. If you’ve ever felt drained after breaking up with someone, this is an explanation. And there are things you can do to manage your own energy.

You can visualize yourself being protected, or fed energy by loving beings, or even imagine cutting those energetic cords.

There are other explanations, too. Evolution has wired our brains for bonding. According to Rutgers University professor Helen Fisher, being in love lights up the same areas of our brain, parts of the dopamine reward system, that are lit up by various chemical addictions. Remove the beloved and your brain acts like that of an addict deprived of its substance of choice, especially cocaine and nicotine.

As reported in Psychology Today, “UCLA psychologist Naomi Eisenberger, who discovered that social rejection activates the same brain area-the anterior cingulate-that generates an adverse reaction to physical pain. Breakups likely stimulate pain to notify us how important social ties are to human survival and to warn us not to sever them lightly.

“Although Eisenberger didn’t study romantic rejection, she expects that it actually feels much worse than the social rejection she did document. “If you’re getting pain-related activity from someone you don’t care about, it would presumably be a lot more painful from someone you share memories with,” she points out.

“The intensity of the pain may be what compels some spurned lovers to stalk their ex-partners; they’re willing to do just about anything to make the hurt go away. Fisher believes that activation of addictive centers in response to breakups also fuels stalking behavior, explaining “why the beloved is so difficult to give up.”

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Quit Being So Nice!

My friend, Stacy, is a well-known marketing maven, having had several books published by major publishers. She called me in a complete panic on Saturday morning. Apparently, she had just had the latest in a series of run-ins with a former collaborator, Stan, and couldn’t figure out what to do.

Stacy and Stan had written a couple of books together about a decade ago. He began undercutting her right from the beginning — they agreed that he’d do the East coast promo, and she’d do the West Coast, but of course, he booked a fair amount of the West Coast promo for himself. They had agreed to do the TV shows together, but he just booked shows, and never told her, so of course, he did them alone. After their first couple of successful books, he got a four book contract for himself, without ever mentioning to her that he was even thinking of more books.

In the last few years, Stan’s begun one of those seminar businesses where people pay several hundred dollars to be told that they, too, can have his success, if they just buy more courses from him, and from the other people who are selling from his stage. (Of course, he’s paid half of everything everyone sells from the stage.) Stan keeps inviting Stacy to be on his stage, but only as part of a panel, or in a very short time slot — and tells her she can’t sell from the stage in that case.

Last weekend, he invited her to be a part of a panel again. It wasn’t worth her time to travel to LA for just that, but she figured that if she taught her usual Marketing 101 course on Thursday and Friday, then she could work the panel in on Saturday, and maybe schmooze a little and pull in a few new clients. It happened that Stan’s ‘seminar’ and Stacy’s course were held in the same hotel, a hotel they’ve both used for years.

When Stan found out that Stacy was teaching (all of 9 students) in the same hotel he was preaching his ‘seminar’ to several hundred, he hit the roof — and began screaming at her in front of others. (Did he think he owned the hotel?)

Believe it or not, Stacy was worried about how she could fix this! She was worried that she’d offended a ‘heavy hitter’ in her industry.

As I pointed out, there was nothing much to lose — he had never helped her, only himself. While she had picked up some clients from networking at his events, she could definitely live without them. And given his explosive nature (this was not the first time he’d blown up over pretty much nothing), why did she want to deal with him at all? Why expose herself to this horrendous treatment?

Stacy felt that way for a number of very common reasons, listed below. Do some of these apply to you, too?

** As a spiritual person, you feel that you must be accepting – Acceptance does not mean being a door mat for other people’s bad behavior. Rather, it means accepting that this person is acting however he (or she) is acting, and that you can’t change it.

The only choice you have is how to respond. By allowing someone to treat you badly, you are depriving that person of the lessons he needs to learn to grow. So a good way to operate is to have some boundaries, to have the attitude that the person can act however he chooses, and that you will not be present for it. That is, ‘do whatever you want — anywhere but here.

** You feel that if a relationship isn’t working out it’s your fault, so it’s your responsibility to smooth things over It takes two people, acting with integrity, respect, honor and mutual appreciation, to have a good working relationship.

Own your own part — are you acting honorably, respecting the other person? And is the other person honoring and respecting you?

If the answer to this second question is ‘no’, then it is your responsibility to bring it up with the other person, along with clear consequences for not acting honorably and respectfully towards you. If this is not realistic, that is, if the other person is not likely to listen to your point of view, especially if he is in a position of power over you, then your only responsibility is to take care of yourself and get away from the situation.

** You worry about negative consequences of letting a relationship end, especially on a bad note. — Yes, there can be negative consequences, sometimes serious ones. Most often, though, these are temporary, because when you remove a less than positive relationship from your life, you make room for better relationships. 
 
More than that, every time you allow yourself to be treated badly, you damage your own self-esteem. How can you think well of yourself if you are clearly allowing others to think less of you? Even more, each hit to your self-esteem makes it even harder to extricate yourself from this relationship and others like it. (How do you think battered spouses get that way? It’s not all at once, it’s a thousand little cuts, each a tiny bit more serious.)
Stacy heard all of this, and decided that the email she had sent explaining the situation was more than enough. She took a deep breath (or three) and decided to let it go — and enjoy her newly found free time in LA.
Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Who can you trust?

True confessions time: even with my healthy skepticism, even with all my intuitive abilities, even with my guides (who are a *lot* of help), sometimes I’m not sure if I can trust someone. It’s hardest with people who are completely congruent, that is, they totally believe what they are saying —  they aren’t lying, they’re just wrong.

I do trades with a few people whose abilities & integrity I trust, some for psychic reading types of things, some for more NLP/hypnosis types of things. Some of these are very regular, some are very occasional; some are formal (I do a session for you, then you do a session for me), others are informal, more like conversations where we both bring all of our selves and all of our guides. Some are planned, others are accidental — I have clairvoyant friends whom I’ll call just to chat as friends do, and occasionally those conversations morph into a joint channeling session.

So last week, when I did a trade session with a friend I’ll call Patrick, I had every expectation that things would go well. Our sessions are intended to be joint channeling ones, where each of us brings questions, and all of us answer. Patrick is an engineer by trade, with several patents in his name, trained in several spiritual traditions, so he is a smart, hardworking guy. He has only the best of intentions.

But something was really amiss. Patrick said, before we even started, that if I didn’t do something (I don’t remember what), he couldn’t continue working with me. And he said it in a way that implied I’d be losing out if I didn’t continue to work with him. That should have set off alarm bells. 

Given that this was a joint session, why did it feel like he was teaching me? And that he was not open to learning from me, at least not much. I had this ‘one down’ feeling, like he was somehow better than me.

I know from experience that he tends to be in his ego, that is, on a sort of power trip, and that everything is always ‘not working out’ for him. He’s tried many ways to make extra money to solve a perennial financial problem; all of them seem to end with him fighting with someone, or him being ‘taken’. Since I haven’t looked at most of these situations, I don’t know what really happened, but still, it should be a clue that something’s off.

The problem is, he ‘sees’ some things I ‘see’ — so I tend to expect that everything he ‘sees’, even the stuff I don’t ‘see’ — is right. That’s just not true! No psychic is 100% accurate, no channel is 100% clear. Particularly with channeled information, you always have to filter the information through your own BS detector. (This, by the way, is a standard propaganda tactic — mix the truth with lies, so it becomes more and more difficult to distinguish which is which.) 

More than that, he used his knowledge of my own greatest desires and greatest fears to get me to do what he said his guides told me to do. I’m not sure any of that ‘channeled’ instruction was true — even though I believe he believes it.

So, how do I avoid this in the future? How do you? (And I’m not just talking about spiritual teacher here — the pointers below are just as valid if you are hiring an accountant or a plumber.)

Here’s what to watch out for:

  • You feel coerced in some way — The truth doesn’t need coercion to succeed (Qaddafi needs guns to stay in power, the protesters, who have the moral right on their side will eventually win in any case).
  • Something rings false – Maybe it feels wrong, or sounds wrong, or doesn’t jibe with things of which you are sure. Time to check in with yourself.
  • You are discouraged from thinking/evaluating for yourself — By definition, anyone who says, “Trust me, I’m right” is not to be trusted. Sometimes this is simply the person’s ego talking, and sometimes it is an intention to disempower you, or cheat you. (This last comes from a friend with whom I shared my story — she had a much more toxic experience with a ‘teacher’.)
  • You feel bad about yourself — Spiritual teachings for developed souls should not make you feel bad about yourself. That is the province of religious teachings (hellfire & brimstone) designed for less developed souls, who need clear lines drawn between right and wrong.

I’m going to take my own advice, and not work with Patrick unless/until I can find a way to do it safely. 

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Updated Prayer for the World

After Libya began to get bloody, my guides would no longer join in with me when I did my daily prayer. (I used to her them chime in.) With their help, I have adjusted the prayer so as to minimize the killing. Here is the new version:

“My the hearts and minds of those in power be turned to the good of the Earth and her children, or may they be removed from temporal power quickly and permanently.


“May the Earth and her children rise up in peace and claim their birthright, their divinity, the ability to co-create peace, justice, abundance and freedom for all (including the deposed).


“My only those who have chosen martyrdom be the ones to die or be maimed.”

I have to admit that there is a part of me that liked the old, simpler, somewhat stronger version better, but then again, I don’t like to see people die unnecessarily.

If you like the prayer, please use it.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Tracy McMillan: Why You’re Not Married

Great article — very honest. And it explains in just a few words why women have to get to know a guy before they have sex:

Tracy McMillan: Why You’re Not Married

(Thanks, Kimi, for alerting me to this.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What do you choose to remember?

I began my daily walks in the late 1990s. Then FaceBook came along, and then I got an iPhone, so now, I can take a photo each day on my walk, and easily post it to FB. (If you’d like to see some, click here.)

Last weekend, my husband and I went to visit friends in Las Vegas — well, technically N. Las Vegas. N. Las Vegas is a sort of sprawling suburb that was all built in the last building boom (90s? 00’s?), the kind where large houses are placed on small lots inside defensive walls (what are they defending against?), with tract names like Hidden Gardens.  If you want to walk very far, you are forced to walk outside the defensive cement block walls on 6 lane boulevards with left turn turn-out lanes. (The photo to the left is what it looked like where I was walking.)

I went on my morning walk each day. You could
see lovely mountains in the distance, but partly because it’s the desert and partly because of the walls and boulevards, and partly because the iPhone has no optical zoom, it was difficult to find something I really wanted to share on FB. I did, eventually manage this photo (on the right) by showing a lot of sky. I like it much better — more peaceful, more beautiful.

And that’s when it hit me: We have a choice about what to remember and how to remember it. We can choose to remember the unvarnished truth, up close and personal, or we can choose to remember the best version of an event — or the worst. Yes, the large stretches of asphalt and the cement block walls are there, along with the power lines and street lights — and we can choose to focus on the snow-covered mountains instead. (Or as our host said of my photos of The Strip, “You make it look so much better than it actually is.”)

When you think back over your life, what are you choosing to remember? Are you choosing to remember every time you messed up, or every time you succeeded — or both? Are you choosing to remember every time you were slighted, or every compliment paid to you, every kindness done to you? Or both? How do you hold the ‘negatives’: as a victim, or as things you can learn from? It’s all your choice — and one set of choices will make you happier than another. (BTW, it’s possible to shift these memories — if you’d like help, call me at 888-4-hollis.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

“Your Life, Your Relationships” from 2/16 is up on the web

For iTunes link and RSS feed, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page, then click on the link.

To listen and download directly from www.ProgressiveRadioNetwork.com, click here.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How a Relationship Starts Predicts How It will Continue

Last week, my radio show guest (who helps me fill 20 minutes, so I’m not doing an entire hour all alone) was a no-show. Yeah, I was annoyed, partly at the guest, but partly at myself. I should have known better.

Every time I called the guest, it took 4 or 5 days for him to return my call. I actually gave up on having him on the show. But each time, he apologized for taking so long to get back to me. Anyway, I wanted someone who would cover his subject matter, non-violent communication, so I overlooked this issue.

On Monday, I sent him all the info I send everyone before the show, things like what they need to send me (a bio, e.g.) and when and how to call in. I know he got it, because he answered my questions by email (and I have copies of the emails). I got all that yesterday, and sent him an email reiterating the time and phone number. I don’t typically remind people to call — if they are professional enough to have done things that are worth talking about on my show, they should be professional enough to keep a calendar and use it. This has never been a problem before (and I did a weekly show with interviews for 3 years).

And what do you know? The guy who couldn’t return my calls promptly didn’t call in for his interview. Maybe there was some mix-up on his end, I don’t know. But the relationship started off with him returning calls late — and ended (at least for now) with him not showing up to an on-air phone appointment.

It reminds me of my first post-college job. I interviewed on campus with Arthur Andersen in November of my senior year at Princeton, and was thrilled when I got an interview at their offices in New York. I expected that at the end of the interview day, either I’d be offered a job, and feel great, or not be offered one and feel terrible.

That’s not what happened. I had about 6 interviews — and really enjoyed them. At the end of the day, they offered me a job. Then they leaned on me so hard to take it right then, which I refused to do, that I felt terrible. Job offer — feel terrible. What’s wrong with this picture?

In the end, I took the job. Big mistake! I was treated horribly for 2 years, as was everyone else with whom I worked.

The lesson: Be very aware of how you are treated at the beginning of the relationship, when the other party wants something from you, like PR or your body. If it’s not good at that point, it isn’t going to get better, when they have what they want. 

PS – The guest did email me the next morning to apologize. There was no good reason — he just was working and… forgot! I accepted his apology, and I’m no longer upset, but I’m looking for someone else to talk about Non-Violent Communication on the show.  

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Evidence for Homeopathy

The number of dis-eases for which homeopathy has been shown to work (studies published in peer-reviewed journals) is truly surprising, especially for Americans (homeopathy has been much more widely accepted in Europe than in the US).

Another Nobel prize winner, Brian Josephson, PH.D., professor emeritus at Cambridge University, described “how many scientists today suffer from “pathological disbelief;” that is, they maintain an unscientific attitude that is embodied by the statement “even if it were true I wouldn’t believe it.”

Dana Ullman: Luc Montagnier, Nobel Prize Winner, Takes Homeopathy Seriously

On a side note, it is sad that this groundbreaking research is being done in China, not the US.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How do you know what to do?

How do you know what to do? What the right course of action is?

Sometimes your body gives you clues. Here’s what I mean:

My friend, Jenni, like so many people, is unemployed, and has been for over a year. She’s managing by moving in with her elderly parents, and helping to take care of them while she looks for work.

One thing that buoys her spirits is the spiritual course/community she joined for the year. It meets weekly, is reasonably priced, and has helped her maintain a positive attitude. As part of the course, she was required to attend a retreat weekend, to which she readily agreed, though she didn’t know how much it would cost. It turned out to cost $275, which, she said, was more than she’d spent on anything in over a year. She was committed, as it was part of the curriculum, and because she’d given her word, which she takes very seriously. She had an immediate visceral reaction, literally feeling sick to her stomach — and that reaction recurred every time she thought about the retreat. She also found it hard to eat.

Finally, she couldn’t stand the feeling any more, and got up the courage to explain her situation to the group leader. Of course the leader was sympathetic, and asked her what she could afford. She told him $125, to which he readily agreed. While that was still more than she’d spent on anything in the last year, she felt the money was well worth spending. And her digestive distress went away completely!

Here’s another example:

I ask people I talk to casually to call my radio show if they have any relationship questions, because I do need callers, ideally about 5 per show — hint, hint. (Oddly, though, the people who have called in are not the people I’ve asked.) So I asked Ben, whom I met at a party a few weeks ago to call in. He agreed to call that same week, and I was thrilled.

A few hours before the show began, he called to ask if it was okay if he didn’t call in to the show, saying he was under pressure at work.His call surprised me —  I’d forgotten that he’d agreed, and anyway, if I had a dime for each time someone said they’d call and didn’t, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t still be doing client sessions. Of course, I said it was fine if he didn’t call.

Here’s what he told me later: “I felt so much better after you let me off the hook, it was amazing! I had
walked down to my PO Box, and my head was pounding. My blood pressure has been going up and I’m sure this was a new record. The world looked dark. 

“When I make a commitment to someone, it’s cast in stone, but I decided I should at least find out what my commitment meant to you, so I called. When you said it was fine if i didn’t call the show, the day literally got brighter — it was a beautiful day and I had not known that.

“Oh, and my head stopped pounding.”

So here’s the take-away: At a deep level, you know what you need. And since mind/body are one system, your body knows what’s best. If you don’t yet have a well-developed intuition, you can begin by listening to your body — it will guide you to do what you need to generate positive results. 

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Are All Meditations the Same?

Fascinating look at how different types of meditation affect the brain, both during and after meditation:

Are All Meditations the Same?
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Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What Can You REALLY Change?

Last week, one of the callers to my radio show (listen to the podcast here or here) talked about dealing with a mother-in law (who is mentally ill), who, frankly, lies about what’s going on in her life, what people have said and done to her. The mother-in-law then requests certain treatment based on these falsehoods.That’s one of life’s icky situations, the kind for which there is no goodanswer. Maybe there are some less bad answers, but certainly no good ones. Thinking about it, there are really three options here, and we’ll take each of these in turn:

  1. Leave the situation
  2. Change the situation
  3. Change yourself

1) Leave the situation – Taking everything into consideration, is putting up with the situation worse than leaving? I don’t know the caller’s situation, but maybe she has a happy marriage, and her mother-in-law is the one fly in the ointment. Or maybe she has young children with her husband, and mostly, things are okay. In these cases, leaving makes no sense. (I’m guessing this is the worst thing going on in her life, because you don’t call a radio show about #10 on your list of problems.)

2) Change the situation – You can’t change someone else’s mental illness.So that’s out.

3) Change yourself – You are always in charge of your own actions and reactions. That’s the ticket! You can pinpoint specifically what makes the situation hard for you, or exactly what triggers your emotional reactions, and then work with that. There are a million ways to work with your own emotional landscape, from affirmations to keep you pointed in the right direction to hypnotic processes to reshape internal paths away from the quicksands of childhood imprints to anchors to keep you focused in present reality rather than getting sucked into the past.

You may know a few of these tools — you just have to remember to use them! And if you don’t have tools that work for you, call me at 888-4-hollis (888-446-5547)! I can help.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Does this happen to you?

or Bad Hypnosis

Last Friday, I had to go to the HMO for my annual checkup — no big deal, I’m pretty healthy. However, the doctor looked at my electronic records and said, “You know, you haven’t had a tetanus shot in more than 10 years, and you probably ought to.” It comes with whooping cough and diptheria, and we’re having a whooping cough outbreak here in CA, so you know they’re pushing the vaccine as a method of outbreak control, which is cost control for them.

I’m not one for the new-fangled so-called flu vaccines, but I remembered being given this particular vaccine a couple of times as a kid and agreed. So I got sent down the hall to the injection lady.

The injection lady, trying to make this seem not so bad, said “It’s going to feel like you went bowling after not going bowling for a long time.”

“What?”

“Well, your arm’s going to be sore and heavy for a couple of days. It’s important to move it around, even if you don’t feel like it.”

I don’t know if it’s state or Federal policy, or if it’s just this HMO, but they actually give you a sheet with all the side effects, and make you sign an informed consent statement. So I read the sheet before I signed the statement and discovered that yes, the most common side effect is a mildly sore arm — 2 in 3 people, in fact. But that means that 1 in 3 people don’t have it.

I couldn’t help myself — I gave her a brief lecture on bad hypnosis. When people come into a medical setting, they’re probably nervous, and that means they are extra suggestible. So her little lecture was helping to create the bad side effect. I explained this and said, “You could say that this is the most common side effect, but you could be one of the people who don’t have it.”

She replied, “Oh, yeah, when I had the shot, I really wasn’t sore at all, except when I slept on that arm. I had to turn over and sleep on my other side, and then it was fine.”

Eureka! SHE didn’t have the reaction, so she could share that fact. 

Watch what you are suggesting, people! We are all in and out of hypnotic trances all the time. In trance, the words you hear bypass all but your most critical faculties. (‘Hypnotic trance’ just means that our brain waves, at least in part of our brains, are running at a lowered frequency to common beta waves, which are 12 – 15 cycles per second).

That means that when you are talking to someone, you may well be making a hypnotic suggestion. It’s just that most of us don’t know we’re doing it, and we’re not trained, so we do it badly. We make all sorts of negative suggestions and commands all the time. The idea is to state things in the positive. (More on this below.)

And listen for all the negative suggestions out there. Medical ads are great for this — they’re suggesting you have some made up syndrome so they can sell you something to fix it. I have a friend who calls them ‘symptom installations’, instead of ads.

The conscious mind does not hear the word “not”. Quick, try not to think of a purple elephant!

What just happened? If you’re like most people, you thought immediately of a purple elephant. Why? Because you have to make a picture of a purple elephant in your mind in order to erase it.

So when you say “Don’t do that!”, we all hear, “Do that!” Which brings me to one of my pet peeves, nicely illustrated by this sign:

“Don’t forget to vote” is tantamount to saying “Please forget to vote”. A much better solution is to say, “Please remember to vote.”

Please remember to listen to my new radio show on Wednesday at 6PM EST, 3 PM PST on www.ProgressiveRadioNetwork.com ! (Set an alarm or a computer reminder — these work even better than memories.)

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Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

New Meditation Research: Putting the ‘Om’ in ‘Chromosome’

Have a seat… you may end up living longer:

Wray Herbert: New Meditation Research: Putting the ‘Om’ in ‘Chromosome’

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Is Precognition Real? Cornell University Lab Releases Powerful New Evidence that the Human Mind can Perceive the Future | h Magazine

Is Precognition Real? Cornell University Lab Releases Powerful New Evidence that the Human Mind can Perceive the Future | h Magazine

Powerful Postures Versus Powerful Roles — Psychological Science

Powerful Postures Versus Powerful Roles — Psychological Science: “Powerful Postures Versus Powerful Roles
Which Is the Proximate Correlate of Thought and Behavior?”

Why I Do What I Do OR A Letter Every Healer Should Read

Bill Keller was a famous programmer, and a grad student at Princeton. (I guess that’s why the story caught my eye, the Princeton Engineering connection.) He committed suicide earlier this week, due to the lingering effects of childhood sexual abuse.

He left a suicide note that affected me deeply. I never met Bill Keller, though I wish I had. I don’t know if I could have helped him, but I wish I’d at least had the opportunity. If I have ever, or will ever, stop this needless pain, needless death, even once in my life, then that alone would justify my existence.

Keller writes very clearly and articulately about his predicament — and why he never chose to talk to anyone about it. It is a pretty good indictment of the medical establishment, as well as fundamentalist Christianity. Every healer should read this note, because this is what your clients are probably not saying to you. It is a clear window into a very troubled soul, and it is good to see the world through your client’s eyes.

Warning for non-healers: It is very disturbing, not for the faint of heart.

http://documents.from.bz/note.txt

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Dr. Douglas Fields: Rudeness Is a Neurotoxin

Some really interesting info here, including the facts that verbal abuse is more damaging to kids in the long run than physical abuse, and that peer verbal abuse is most damaging in the middle school years because that is when the corpus callosum, the bridge between the right and let brain hemispheres, develops.

Dr. Douglas Fields: Rudeness Is a Neurotoxin

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Truth Wears Off

Wow! Very thought-provoking article about the relationship of science and the truth:

“Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.Long, but worth the time.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer#ixzz1A4b22sGW

The Truth Wears Off

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

NY: Land of the Human

What no one tells you about NY is that there is no way to escape the reality of other people.

The thing about living in California, or probably any suburb, exurb or rural area in the US, is that you can avoid other people, except those you choose to let into your life. Most of them just float by, hermetically sealed into cars, and so you never have to acknowledge that they are, in fact, human. Or you float by, hermetically sealed into your car, so fast that you can pretend there are no humans in other cars or buildings. You may zoom past the occasional pedestrian, but it happens in such a blur that they seem more like mannequins than people.

But in Manhattan, you are literally elbow to elbow with other human beings the minute you step out your front door. Sixty or so human beings are on that subway car with you, and another few thousand at the museum, not to mention the hundreds you pass as you walk. Behind every lighted window, behind every shop door, there are human beings with hopes, dreams, fears, neuroses, friends, skills, talents, ambitions, proclivities — each human a universe unto herself.

It makes me very curious — and a bit overwhelmed.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

A Baker’s Dozen of Tips for Pushing Stress Away at the Holidays

A few years ago, I was privileged to be part of a conversation of wise women about how to manage the holidays so that you can actually enjoy them. It turned out that there were common themes — that we’d all gradually discovered the same things. Here they are:

1)    Know what’s important to you about the holidays — For one friend, it’s the spiritual aspect of this season, so that she can constantly remind herself of it and put the rest into perspective. For another, it’s simply time with the family, to enjoy each other, so that they have happy memories. Be clear about what’s important to you and build traditions around what you value.

2)    Find opportunities to serve other families and help other people — Research shows this will increase your happiness, as well as others. I know one family who adopts a family to help each year. Their children are a part of this too, and they say it adds meaning to their celebration of the holidays.

3)    Keep it simple  — One acquaintance says, “When our children were growing up, Our tradition was to give each of our children 1 new outfit of clothes, 1 book and 1 toy for Christmas. Now that our children have their own families they tell us that they now understand and appreciate their own childhood traditions even more.”

4)    Make a list and stick to it  — Do what you say you’ll do and don’t be tempted to do more than you’ve agreed to.

5)    Keep a binder of resources in one spot — The binder could include a gift list, recipes, task list, projects, mailing list for holiday cards, directions for making decorations, locations of stored items.  It also helps to keep special things you use for the holidays in one place (e.g. linens, pans, decorations).

6)    Plan ahead – Do as much as you can during the days before your celebration. Only do what absolutely has to be done at the last minute on the day of the celebration. Having a written plan is essential.

7)    Do what works — There’s no need to reinvent what you do every year for the holidays. If something you’ve done before has worked (e.g. a recipe, a seating arrangement, decorations) keep doing it. Include what works in your written plan. Having components of your celebration that you repeat becomes a part of the tradition and people look forward to traditions and annual “rituals”.

8)    Delegate wherever possible — As the old saying goes, “many hands make light work.” Everyone wants to help and be a part of the celebration, even small children. Other people have talents and skills that you don’t. You really can’t do it all — at least not if you want to be healthy, sane and have some fun yourself! If you need babysitting so you can shop, ask for that. If you need help moving furniture, ask for that. One particular case of this is:

9) Have others bring food — Even if you’re not hosting a potluck, others enjoy contributing food to a holiday celebration. They feel more a part of the celebration if they’ve contributed — and food is a particularly primal way to contribute.

10)  No One Cares What Your House Looks Like  -– Who is looking at whether the floor has been vacuumed? No one — they’re too busy with each other and the food and presents. Would you even want to hang around anyone to whom a clean floor is more important than the celebration? Again, an old saying works here: “The people that matter don’t mind and the people that mind don’t matter.”

11) Get support — take care of yourself. Do something to feel supported, whether that’s a massage or just time alone.

12) Set Good Boundaries — What anyone thinks of you is none of your business. Stay away from people and places that stress you.

13)    Breathe— Remember to breathe. Breathing brings you back into alignment.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The cancer in your soul

Every now and then I read something that says what needs to be said in such a clear and elegant way that I wish I’d written it myself. This is one such piece:

The cancer in your soul | The Intention Experiment

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Relatives for the holidays? Here’s help!

We all know that being with our families, especially if we’re going to our childhood home, or if we’re going to be on ‘their’ turf, can bring up old feelings, old ways of being, that we’ve outgrown. We feel uncomfortable, or even miserable. We begin to wonder what’s wrong with ourselves, and why we aren’t acting like the person we know we’ve become.

You know, you go home, and your mother makes a comment about your clothes, and all of a sudden, you’re 15 again, and resentful. Or your uncle is drinking again, and everyone rushes into their old enabling ways — and you now see them for what they are.

And maybe you blame it on them.  Remember — all relationships are two way streets. As the old saying goes, it takes two to tango.

Here’s what you need to know to cope:

  • It’s not about the present, it’s about the past — Because you have such a long history between you, you automatically fall into old patterns. These have been hardwired into your brain through long practice. 
Research shows that anything you do regularly creates neural pathways in your brain, and then you automatically run down those paths. A good analogy is lots of people walking between the same two buildings across a grassy field will literally create a dirt pathway, which new people then follow. 
Don’t beat yourself up about this, just notice it and consciously choose a new path. This is work — go easy on yourself.
  • They’re not evil, they’re just being who they are – If you’ve changed, and maybe even if you’ve just gotten some distance and some new reference points, you’ll see dysfunction in things that just used to be normal

Judgment is singularly unhelpful here — acceptance is a much better choice, even if you choose to set some boundaries for yourself around the dysfunction. At one point in my life, I decided that when I didn’t want to hear an elderly relative’s racist comments, I would just get up and leave the room, as quietly and unobtrusively as I could. There was no point in trying to change her, and no point in hanging around and feeling angrier and angrier. BTW, going to the bathroom is a useful ‘excuse’ in this situation. (PS – no one ever noticed.)

  • They expect you to be who you used to be – Why wouldn’t they? They haven’t been with you when you’ve had transformative experiences — and unless you’re extraordinarily close, you probably didn’t mention them over the phone, either. 

My mother still thinks my favorite cheese is Jarlsberg, even though I’ve discovered I’m mildly allergic to cow’s milk, so my new fave is Manchego, a sheep’s milk cheese. Yes, I’ve mentioned it, but why would she remember? I’m gracious, as I thank her for trying to remember my preferences, as I remind her — and then I eat a sliver, because I do still like it.  

  • You expect them to be who they used to be – This is the same thing – you may be surprised to find out your relatives have, in fact, changed. You could make a game of noticing – or asking – what their biggest discoveries have been since you’ve seen them last. In that spirit of rediscovery, you might find it easier to change the old annoying ways of relating. 

Armed with  these tactics — have fun! Something new may await you.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

BPS Research Digest: Which is worse: your partner having a heterosexual or homosexual affair?

BPS Research Digest: Which is worse: your partner having a heterosexual or homosexual affair?

The impression you manage appears to be your own!

We all know that when we try to stage manage ourselves, to appear in a certain way (“I’m confident”, “I really know what I’m doing”), things feel a little weird. Here’s evidence that your own perceptions change when you try to manage those of others:

BPS Research Digest: Trying to create an impression can alter your perception of others

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Are some people more likely to get SAD — just because of when they’re born?

Season of birth may have long-term effects on personality, study suggests

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Think of the Devil…

Most people know to call me on my land lines, not my cell phone, so my cell phone doesn’t ring much. 

Last night, I was at a lecture where Marilyn Schlitz, the head of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, was speaking about their project on worldviews, based on her book, Living Deeply , and taking that into the schools. I thought strongly of a friend of mine, who is a middle school teacher in inner city LA, because I knew it was just up her alley. We were really good friends in college, but we don’t talk all that much now — we’re both busy with work, family, etc. We hadn’t spoken, in fact, since August. I actually wished she were there with me, listening to the lecture, so she could get fired up about it. 

During the lecture, my cell phone rang — my friend in LA!

As I explained to her, telepathy needs two participants — a sender and a receiver. I’m a powerful sender, and I guess she’s a pretty good receiver. 

I really want to hear from you — does this happen to you? When? Why? How?

PS – The title of this comes from the old expression, “Speak of the devil and he appears.” I am in no way calling my friend the devil.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Read this book!

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin

I got this because I love her stand-up comedy, enjoy ‘My Life on the D-List’, and figured it would be good light reading. And it is — it’s fun, although you can skip the first three chapters, which were so boring I almost quit reading. (Sorry, Kathy — and I know you’re reading this, because you google yourself obsessively every day.)

The reason I’m writing about it here, though, is because there’s a deeper message. Kathy describes very bluntly and clearly how show business works, and how deeply and completely committed you have to be to succeed, even when you’re talented. She had plastic surgery to succeed (as did Lisa Kudrow, apparently). She reinvented herself many times. She paid for her own billboard in Hollywood in her campaign to win an Emmy. The list goes on from there.

This would be a great book to give a star struck teenager (Kathy’s pretty blunt, it’s definitely PG-13) so the teen knows what show biz is really like, and can decide if it’s really for him/her.

But you should read it, too — you’ll find yourself laughing, and really liking Steve Wozniak.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Ignore at Your Own Peril

I reached a major milestone last Thursday, at least major for me — I’ve now completed everything I need to do to be really on top of things, so I can move forward to new projects. I have renewed my CA real estate broker’s license, cleaned out my files, reorganized them and shredded what had to be shredded, caught up on the bookkeeping, cleaned out the garage, overseen a few large real estate maintenance projects, dealt with the death of a beloved cat, and the exit from our home of my stepson. All of this, of course, on top of my usual reading/coaching sessions, and responsibilities to my business and our home. It feels great! 🙂

So when I finished my client work that day, I wanted to celebrate by — okay, I know this doesn’t sound like a celebration, but for me, on a weekday, it is — going grocery shopping. Grocery shopping sounded like heaven! I could stop in at Trader Joe’s and have a snack before I bought the 3 items I needed. I could wander around Costco and window shop before I bought my groceries. I could take my time, because there was nothing I really had to do.

But my sense of duty to my business said, “No, you have to send out your ezine. The main article is written, it will just take a few minutes to do the format changes to send it out, get it out.”

So of course, iContact lost the work I’d already done, and refused to accept changes when I tried to start over. I spent an hour and half on the phone with a techie at iContact, who couldn’t help me, and in the end just filed a bug ticket. (I’m doing someone else’s QA again!) So there went 2 hours — with less to show for it than before I began.

I should have just gone shopping!!

Many years ago, someone (wish I could remember whom) said, “Sometimes God speaks to us through our desires.” Or maybe it’s our guides or angels. Whatever. I should have listened to them last Thursday.

What did I learn? Ignore your guides’ advice at your own peril.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Give the Gift of Clarity & Get Something for You, too!

Do you have a friend, or a family member, who is having a hard time in a relationship, or a business? Who just can’t sort out which path to follow? Who can’t decide whether to stay or go? Who can’t see the forest for the trees?

This holiday season, rather than giving a quilted frog, or a book your friend might or might not read, give them what they really want — clarity! One session with me will often help someone make huge changes. Here’s what my clients say (posted on LinkedIn):

  • “After my very first session with Hollis, I felt vibrant and vibrating, as if I could power the lights of an entire city. Through her amazing insight and remarkable accuracy, I achieved a sense of calm and purpose, as well as usable tools. I was able to feel the results of our session immediately, and in fact, the tools came in handy that very evening. Much gratitude and looking forward to our continued work.” Sharon King, Real Estate Agent
  • “An hour with Hollis gave me the equivalent of two years of psychotherapy. Her insights are outstanding. I would not hesitate to give her my highest recommendation.” Ethan Hay, Educator
  • “I was facing a tricky career situation before I contacted Hollis. This situation left me with great uncertainty and worry. But after only one session with Hollis, she provided me with much greater clarity and understanding of where my direction should be. I noticed an almost immediately increase in self-confidence and have been able to forcefully move in this my direction. Hollis helped me visualize my current state, and then gave me some exercises to help me continue to move in my new direction. I had never had a reading before and was a bit skeptical. But, Hollis took away all that skepticism and replaced it with confidence….and a new direction.” Jay Lipe, Marketing Consultant & Business School Lecturer
  • “In less than an hour, Hollis helped me access and easily let go of my biggest unworkable habit, the need for approval. Since then, I’ve felt confidence and peace. I no longer have the need to please authority figures or certain other people. Letting go of that has made a huge impact! I can now speak up for myself, for what I want. I really appreciate the session we did, and am looking forward to more. I highly recommend Hollis Polk as a coach to get past blocks to success, joy and a better life. Great job!  Patricia Ogilvie, Web Marketer/Coach

To make this a bit easier, I am offering an unprecedented 20% off for sessions of an hour or more paid for by Dec. 25, 2010. And along with this, I’ll offer you this same 20% off for your next session of any length, completed by Feb. 28, 2011. Call me at 888-4-hollis (888-446-5547) to set this up, or send me an email at hollis@888-4-hollis.com.

(This offer is not to be combined with other programs, offers or discounts.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

With Much Love and Gratitude

I’m really grateful for everything in my life — the good, the mundane, and even the so-called bad, because I get to learn and grow from it — and I reflect on that daily. A partial list of what I’m thankful for includes:

  • you, for reading and supporting me, today and throughout the years
  • my friends and family (even if they’re not reading this!)
  • my guides, without whom much of my life would not be possible
  • nature, without whom none of our lives would be possible
  • technology — where would we be without electricity, radio, TV, the internet, automobiles, transit, etc.?

As I said, I think about this every day, and Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to speak about with  you.

Gratitude is important for two reasons. The first is the simple, “What you focus on, expands”. If you appreciate things, you get more of what you appreciate. The second is that it is actually good for your health! According to research at the Institute of HeartMath,

“…true feelings of gratitude, appreciation and other positive emotions can synchronize brain and heart rhythms, creating a bodywide shift to a scientifically measurable state called coherence. In this optimal state, the body’s systems function more efficiently, generating a greater balance of emotions and increased mental clarity and brain function.

“Sustained feelings of gratitude have real benefits, including the following:

  • Biochemical changes – Favorable changes in the body’s biochemistry include improved hormonal balance and an increase in production of DHEA, the “anti-aging hormone.”
  • Increased positivity – Daily gratitude exercises can bring about a greater level of positive feelings, according to researchers from the University of Miami and the University of California, Davis who studied this process in 157 individuals over 13 days.
  • Boost to the immune system – The IgA antibody, which serves as the first line of defense against pathogens, increases in the body.
  • Emotional “compound interest” – The accumulated effect of sustained appreciation and gratitude is that these feelings, and coherence, are easier to recreate with continued practice. This is because experiencing an emotion reinforces the neural pathways of that particular emotion as it excites the brain, heart and nervous system. The downside is that you also can reinforce negative emotions.”

Actually, I suspect that the coherence is what helps generate what you choose to create, so the first statement could more accurately be, what you focus on coherently, expands.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Siblings Share Genes, But Rarely Personalities

This is a good article, which details 3 theories about why siblings can be so different. It leaves out a fourth possibility, however, which is that we are born different (doesn’t every parent know that their children were different from each other from the moment of birth?), because of either innate soul differences and/or experiences in different lifetimes.

NPR.org � Siblings Share Genes, But Rarely Personalities

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Meditation reverses aging in brains

Yet another addition to the long list of meditation’s benefits:

Meditation reverses aging in brains

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

We ARE all one!

If these particles are entangled at the quantum level, how is it possible for atoms, and molecules, and cells, and organs, and whole beings not to be entangled? 

Physicists demonstrate a four-fold quantum memory

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

New Meditation Research: Putting the ‘Om’ in ‘Chromosome’

Yet another demonstration of the reasons to meditate:

Wray Herbert: New Meditation Research: Putting the ‘Om’ in ‘Chromosome’

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

City Life Is Hard On The Brain | Apex Global Network Solution Inc.

When I lived in Manhattan and worked in midtown, I used to walk to work through Central Park. I wonder if that counts?

City Life Is Hard On The Brain | Apex Global Network Solution Inc.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Meeting Jessica’s Mom

There is a moral to this story, but I don’t want to give it away, so please read all the way to the bottom.

If you’ve ever been out with me, you know that I’ll pet anything on four paws that will let me. I look to see if they’re friendly, and if they are, I get into rapport with them. Part of getting into rapport is getting down on their level and letting them smell my breath by almost touching my nose with theirs.

Yesterday, I was on my usual walk, when I came upon a woman walking 2 small white dogs. They were both friendly, wagging their tails as they approached me excitedly. As I got down on their level, both came even closer. I reached to pet both of them, and then let them smell my nose. The Jack Russell terrier began to bark and growl, so I rocketed back up to standing position.

Their human apologized, saying that Woody had been a bit aggressive since, well, “I lost my daughter recently.”

“I’m so sorry,”  I answered.

Then, before I could say anything else, she said, “Jessica died in the explosion”, that is, the PG&E gas line explosion in San Bruno about a month ago. And then it hit me…

Woody didn’t know what happened — Jessica died suddenly, outside Woody’s presence — and he was a little freaked out. These were partly Jessica’s dogs — she walked them often and was home with them during the day when mom was at work. So now Woody is alone during the day, and he’s wondering, what happened to Jessica? Why isn’t she here? and perhaps feeling a bit abandoned.

I told Jessica’s mom that she needed to explain to Woody what had happened. She could do this by sitting quietly with him (even waiting till he was asleep if necessary) and telling him, or telepathically showing him pictures of Jessica going into the light.

So the moral of the story is this: you never know when — or how — you’ll be of service.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Positive well-being to higher telomerase: Psychological changes from meditation training linked to cellular health

Positive well-being to higher telomerase: Psychological changes from meditation training linked to cellular health

Yoga’s ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety is linked to increased levels of a critical brain chemical, research finds

Yoga’s ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety is linked to increased levels of a critical brain chemical, research finds

‘Be Here Now’ is Still the Best Advice

Mind is a frequent, but not happy, wanderer: People spend nearly half their waking hours thinking about what isn’t going on around them

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

4 Ways to Deal with Death and other Losses

My sweet Creature, my faithful companion of more than 18 years, aka ‘the reading kitty’, left her body a week ago. She loved nothing more than literally being on me, sitting in my lap while I did client sessions (An animal communicator once told me that Creature thought she was getting a healing each time.) She was fine till two days before she checked out (the vet gave her an AOK about 3 weeks previously), then suddenly had a hard time walking and finally didn’t want water. I knew the end was near, and she breathed her last while in my arm, immediately after a reading. [If you’re reading this on Facebook, many thanks for your thoughts, stories and prayers. I’m not rehashing old ground, rather, I’m sharing what I’ve learned from the experience.]

The experience got me thinking about the human experience of loss, what makes it so difficult and how to make it easier. I see four issues/remedies. The first two are for just about any loss of a person/relationship — a romantic or marriage breakup,  a child going off to college, going into the military or just moving out, the ending of a friendship due to betrayal, and of course, your garden variety ‘death’, that is, one of sickness or old age, or even accident. [Murders feel very different — trust me, one of my friends was murdered a while back.] The second two really relate only to ‘death’. 
Issue 1 – Cords:  When you have an intense and/or long-term relationship with someone, your energy bodies (that is, the electromagnetic fields we all have) create electromagnetic connections with each other. These are  called ‘cords’ because they literally look like cords of energy between the two of you. This is why we say things like “my heart goes out to you” — we have created an energy cord between our hearts. When one of you drops your physical body, or ends the relationship abruptly (even if it’s planned), the cords, and their connections to your energy body are abruptly torn, leaving holes in your energy field. This is generally interpreted as emotional pain, though in truth, it’s quasi-physical (one of the layers of the electromagentic body is emotional). This will usually heal in time, because bodies do know how to heal themselves. You can also intentionally heal the holes through visualization (call me at 888-4-hollis if you want help).
Issue 2 – Triggers: When you see your pet’s favorite chair — now empty, or hear ‘our song’, or catch the waft of a familiar cologne on the breeze, or taste Grandma’s madeleine,  it can trigger a strong memory of the relationship you used to have. What you do with that memory, how you compare it to what exists in the present, and how often you access that comparison affects your experience of the loss. If you only compare what was (which you liked) to what is — and label that change ‘missing’, you are probably going to be miserable. One really simple solution to this: if you are constantly experiencing the comparison, and finding it unpleasant, just ‘Be here now” — focus your attention in the present.

Since memories are carried holographically in our energy field, you can change them. What you do is  change yourself, your energy field, to match what is, not what was.  (Again, call me at 888-4-hollis if you want help, because there are specific NLP ways to deal with triggers).

Issue 3 – Beliefs: Many people have the mistaken notion that mourning, feeling bad, somehow honors the dead. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why would someone you love want you to suffer? This is the experience of one of my clients, who is also a medium. He says he’s had multiple encounters with those on the other side, who say, ‘please tell my loved on to move on — I want him/her to be happy.’

If you truly believe your loved one is in a better place,  then you should be happy for him/her — and the only person you are feeling bad for is you. And you can change that — see (1) and (2) above.

Issue 4 – Transcommunication:  Which brings us to communication with the other side. Yesterday, I ‘got’ that Creature wanted to show me how much she loved me, and I could feel her little paws on my thighs as I sat. Now that I know she’s fine, I’m fine. So do your best to communicate across the veil, and if you need help to do it, get help.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Whining can be fun! & So can listening to it!

Next time you catch a regular complainer in the act — even yourself — try this great technique:

  1. Set a timer (most cell phones have them) for 2 minutes. – This limits the amount of time for the whining to something you actually have time for.
  2. Complain for a solid 2 minutes. The catch is that the only word you can us is “blah”.

Frustrated? Blah BLAH blah blah blaaaaaah blahblah blah blah blah.

Annoyed? BLAH BLAH blah BLAH blah blah BLAH!

Super ticked off? BLAH BLAHBLAH BLAHBLAHBLAHLAH!!! BLAH!

And go on for 2 minutes. Run out of rant on one subject? Switch to another: blah blah blahblah blah!

If you’re listening, then respond as you usually would — but again, only using the word, “blah”: a soft blah blah blahblah.

You’ll be amazed at what happens! I don’t want to tell you, because I want you to try this for yourself, but there were 2 main reactions in the group of 40 or so people with whom I learned this, and both were good. Try it, post a comment here, or send me an email, and I’ll let you know how you compare to the group.

[Big thanks to Suzi Smith, who taught this technique at last weekend’s NLP conference.]

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Meditation Enhances Positive Emotions

Not exactly new news, and still good to be reminded:

Meditation: Can it strengthen positive emotions? – Point of View

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Death & Halloween

The current merry celebration of Halloween — the costumes, the candy, the decorations with simulated ghosts and skulls — belies a deeper truth. I’ll get to that in a minute, after a brief detour. 

What we call ‘death’ is simply the release of the eternal soul from the physical body. That is, the soul doesn’t die, it just continues on without a physical instrument. If you aren’t yet convinced, then go here, read some of the info (there’s a lot!), and follow some or all of the links. Another great source is here. A great, easy to read book is Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, by Ian Stevenson, M.D (Stevenson found over 2500, but only 20 are chronicled). After you look at all that info, it’s pretty hard to deny the reality of an eternal soul.

That soul, without a body, may or may not be able to perceive things in physical reality — we don’t really know, and it may vary from soul to soul. The lack of a body also makes it really hard to communicate with most humans, because the emodied humans aren’t capable of non-physical perception. So you can think of the ‘death’ of a loved one as a change of state. You miss that person more because of a lack of communication skills on your part than anything else. 

Back a little more than a century ago, if someone moved from the ‘old country’ to the US, or from the Eastern seabord to the frontier, that person might never see his family again. If that person or his family were quite poor, he might never speak to them again, either. So today, communicating across ‘the veil’, is not so different from communicating across the Atlantic back then. In fact, we can use technology to communicate with those on the ‘other side

What does his have to do with Halloween? According to Wikipedia, the word, Halloween (or Hallowe’en), comes from All-Hallows-Even (“evening”), that is, the night before All Hallows Day. 

Further, Halloween is 

“linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, whose original spelling was Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)”.The name is derived from Old Irish and means roughly “summer’s end”…   The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half”, and is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year”.
The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family’s ancestors were honored and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces. 
“Another common practice was divination, which often involved the use of food and drink.

So if you’re going to try to contact a loved one who is ‘on the other side’, this weekend would be the time to do it! 

(And if you’re really missing a loved one, I can help you with that. I’m not a medium, but I can help you with the ‘missing’ part, the longing. Give me a call at 888-4-hollis, which is 888-446-5547.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Drivel on FB is more important that you think

Bayho, Inc.

the importance of weak ties

Yes, Virgina, ESP does exist!

Although scientists can’t explain it using current models, a meta-analysis of empirical scientific studies for over 150 years shows that extrasensory perception is real. My favorite line is

“traditional cognitive and neuroscience models, which are largely based on classical physical concepts, are incomplete.”

Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Perception and Quantum Models of Cognition

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Evidence of changes in human mass consciousness

This is really stunning:

“… the number of people in Western society experiencing a lucid dream has increased by up to 40 per cent in the last 30 years.

In fact, current estimates are that most of us — eight of every 10 people — will experience a lucid dream at some point in our lives.”

There is a lot more in this article, including info on how lucid dreams differ from ‘normal’ ones, and from waking consciousness, as well as info about the personalities of lucid dreamers and geomagnetic effects on human capacities.

In all our dreams | The Intention Experiment

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Quick: Would you rather be liked or respected?

Yes, I know, you want to be liked and respected. But if you had to choose only one — because sometime you may have to — which would it be? Your answer to that question could change the course of your life.

Confession time: I was 9 years old, in sixth grade, and in a new school for the third time in 3 years. That alone, being the new kid, 2 years younger than everyone else, made me different. Furthermore, this particular school had a very, um, developed culture, one which I neither knew nor understood. To make matters worse, I quickly ended up on the ‘wrong’ side of a political discussion, that is, taking the opposite point of view to everyone else (I’m pretty sure we were all parroting our parents’ beliefs, and my parents just thought differently than the other parents).

To my parents’ great surprise, I instinctively framed the question as one of being liked (for agreeing with everyone) versus being respected (for backing up my opinion with research, which I did). I held my ground in arguments for a week or so, during which time I was ostracized, and then the whole episode faded away. What I took from it, though, was the knowledge that I could stand up for my point of view — and live.

Wanting, or needing, to be liked is natural, and inculcated in us as toddlers. If we act in ways that please our parents (aka the adults who control our lives), then we get fed and held and smiled at and other treats. If we don’t please our parents, we’re punished in a variety of ways. So we learn to please others as a way of getting what we want, or at least avoiding what we don’t want.

But it often goes too far, and becomes co-dependence, a state in which you deny your own needs to the point of not even being able to recognize them any more. You value others’ approval of your thinking, feelings and behavior over your own. This people-pleasing behavior may even attract (or allow) abuse. Eventually, you no longer know who you really are. You go along with the crowd, you think inside the box, and you wonder why you’re unhappy.

Choosing being respected over being liked, on the other hand, means following your own conscience, even when it leads you to do things that others don’t like. That can get you ostracized, which can mean feeling mighty lonely.

The upside of this is that you’re clear about who you are, and what you want. You’re free to learn what you want, think what you want, to say what is right and appropriate, to stand up for yourself. This is very difficult as a kid, because you are truly stuck — you don’t get to choose your neighborhood or your school. But as an adult, you can move, you can change jobs, or even fields — or you can just find new friends!

Now: which do you choose, being liked or being respected?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Love means… never having to feel pain?

Intense feelings of love use the same parts of the brain that pain uses. So preliminary research shows that when you’re feeling madly in love, you are less likely to feel physical pain.

Love takes up where pain leaves off, brain study shows

Maybe this is why a break up hurts so much? Because you’re now feeling pain you haven’t felt in a while?

The study also shows that distraction alleviates pain, too. This is something you can use. Next time you feel pain, enumerate sports that don’t use balls — or think of your favorite food, or your happy place.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Book Recommendation #2: “Crowdsourcing”

What do iStockPhoto, Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign, “American Idol” and Wikipedia have in common?

They’re all crowdsourced, which means that a vast number of people contribute, either information, opinions or money. This is the wave of the future, and is already changing a number of industries, from journalism to publishing to entertainment. More than that, it’s changing society, back from a consumer culture to one where the line between producer and consumer is blurred (think about it, before mass production, a small group pretty much consumed what it produced).

The rewards that drive the crowd are not, primarily, monetary. They are, instead, the ability to create, to share what they’ve created, to learn, collaborate and to have a good reputation among their peers.

The book has a clear history of crowdsourcing, and why it works, as well as a first take on the ‘rules of crowdsourcing’ — how to make a crowdsourcing effort work. Oh, and a great investment tip, too!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Book #1: This Isn’t the Story You Think It Is

If you have ever tried to stick to your spiritual beliefs (like staying positive) in a crisis, this book is for you.

It’s a beautifully written memoir, by a woman navigating a crisis that threatens to tear her life and her world apart. She writes clearly and candidly about what she sees, like this:

“…here’s what I am convince of. In fact, I think it’s the key to a relationship. Any relationship:

“If you get out of someone’s way, they will fight and they will kick, but eventually, there’s nothing they can do but look at themselves and get real. Very, very real. Or totally self-combust in a life of lies. Or that dear opiate, denial.”

She holds her ground, using Buddhist principles (though she doesn’t mention Buddhism till about page 200, and then only in passing). She uses the situation to look at herself, learn lessons, and shift — an example for us all.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Reading and Writing

I read a lot. Really a lot. Usually at least one book a week, often two — and I’ve done that for most of my life. When I was a kid, my dad used to refer to me affectionately as Connie, the Constant Reader (he inculcated the habit in me). I’ve even been known to read while walking. It was a big relief that at Harvard Business School, other people were doing that, too — I was no longer the only one!

I’ve been wanting to share the really good books with you — the ‘keepers’, the ones that either make a big impression on me, or the ones that I know I’ll be referring back to with some regularity. Now Amazon has made that easy! I can’t promise that I’ll have a book of the week, or even a book of the month, because I read a lot I can’t strongly recommend. I do have a backlog, though, so there may be more than I think…

As an aside —

I credit reading with any writing ability I have — William Goldman (author of The Princess Bride, Marathon Man, and many others) taught me to write. I was captivated by his first book, Boys and Girls Together, which my dad shared with me when I was probably way too young for him to have done that, maybe 13. So I searched out other books Goldman had written, and loved that he told stories not in any fancy language, but as if he were literally talking to me. (The Princess Bride is really amazing for this. Although the movie depicts the fantastic story-within-a-story very colorfully, it pretty much leaves out the real world part, which was my favorite part. If you loved the movie, you should still read the book.) Adventures in the Screen Trade and Which Lie Did I Tell? are two more ‘write as you’d speak’ books.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Obesity In Children Linked To Common Cold Virus – Science News

Obesity In Children Linked To Common Cold Virus – Science News

Pollution comes home — in a deadly way

Air Pollution Appears To Foster Diabetes – Science News

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

My Life in Pictures

If you are my friend on FB, you know that I post a photo just about every day (courtesy of my iPhone). It started as a way to share the amazing things I saw each morning when I walked. Then I realized it was a way to show up without having to think of anything to actually say. Because there are lots of days when I don’t have anything special to say.

Now I realize it’s a photographic diary of my life. Because all those photos of flowers and dogs and rabbits and turkeys and mountains and beaches are my memories. When I look at one  of them, I can recall exactly where I was standing, and who, if anyone, was there with me, maybe even the conversation that happened. It’s a full 3-D recall, partly in my body, looking at the phone’s screen as I framed the photo, and partly outside my body, looking down from the sky. Looking at a photo, I can reach back into that morning, and maybe even recall a bit about how the rest of the day would unfold.

Does that happen for you?

I don’t think it happens for everyone. In fact, my teenaged stepson has a kind of inverse reaction. A few months ago he told me that the only thing wrong with last night’s party was that no one had taken his picture. The gist of the conversation was that if he wasn’t in anyone’s photos, then somehow, he wasn’t quite there.

I’m rarely in the photos — I’m usually the one taking them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Depressed? Get out the sneakers and the yoga mat.

The Real Cause of Americas Mental Illness Problem

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Men ‘check out’ emotionally during a row while women become more clingy, say experts | Mail Online

Men ‘check out’ emotionally during a row while women become more clingy, say experts | Mail Online

In Praise of Doing Nothing

We live in a culture that prizes busyness — as if, the more busy we are, the more important or valuable we are. That’s a fallacy.

There is a difference between being busy and being productive. You can be busy doing almost anything. I know one woman who managed to make cooking and cleaning a 3 bedroom apartment a full time job — for over a decade. And that worked for her.

But if you are continually doing something, and you’d rather be doing something (anything?) else, then you need to compare how you are spending your time, to see if it matches what is important to you. Try keeping a diary of how you spend your time for a couple of normal (i.e. non-vacation) weeks. You can do this easily by keeping a small (2″x3″) notebook with you, and noting the time that you changed activities. You might learn some really interesting things about yourself.

At a minimum, you might figure out what to let go of. Do you need to change the sheets every week? Would every other week be okay? Do you have to do the laundry? Can someone else do that?

On the other hand, productivity can look very lazy. Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, TV’s The West Wing) recently said that when he writes, he spends a long time, months even, pondering all aspects what he’s going to write before he puts pen to paper. And that pondering can look like a lot of watching ESPN.

Even when you’re not pondering, sometimes there’s just nothing to do. You’ve done all the prep you can, you’ve made all the calls, and you have to wait for an answer, whether it’s from a huge potential client or the universe. You can make yourself crazy while you wait — or you can relax and do nothing.

So what looks like doing nothing can be a precursor to something big.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Dancing in the Shadows of the Moon

I’ve decided to start writing about some of what I’m reading — only the good stuff. And only the non-fiction (unless you want to hear about the trashy novels, too?).

Dancing in the Light of the Moon is a really transformative book. In it, Machaelle Small Wright shares what she has learned in living ‘a science fiction life in a science fact world’.

The Future of Privacy

Are you upset about the lack of privacy on the web? About how current or potential employers can see those photos of you from college, or worse, high school, of you doing the stupid things you still can’t believe you did back then? Perhaps a little historical perspective is in order.

Back when humans lived in small clans, and even when we lived mostly in villages, everyone knew everyone else’s business, all the time. You couldn’t have an adulterous affair, and expect not to be branded with the letter A. If your acts were too outrageous, you had to leave the tribe or clan, which in some cases meant certain death. Consequently, people moderated their behavior to suit the norms of their society.  Yes, it was stultifying, and you can read about that in countless Victorian novels. (There are still places like this, places where entire extended families sleep in the same room, and so nothing is private, not even sex between a husband and wife.)

Towns and cities grew. More people moved away from their farms and small towns to live in these cities. Living alone in a city, you began to feel that what you did was private, and largely anonymous. (Please note that anonymity is often conflated with privacy here.) The result of this privacy/anonymity is the feeling that you could indulge in all sorts of debauched or nefarious behavior without anyone knowing, which is to say, without consequences. And you feel the strongest privacy/anonymity within your own home, your refuge from the outside world. (In the US, this is partly because of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, which states, in part, that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated”.) 

Along comes the Internet, and especially Facebook, which has made it ridiculously easy for you to document your own life if you have access to a computer and/or a smartphone. Unfortunately, all your friends can do this, too. So now, any unguarded, embarrassing behavior, even done in your own home, can now be opened up to the scrutiny of the entire world. Global village, indeed! We are, in fact, coming full circle. Or as Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, says, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

Now imagine that the internet is a precursor for humanity’s development. Envision a world where the internet is unnecessary because everyone can tap into the same knowledge base, where everyone has internal access to all knowledge all the time. Envision a world where everyone has fully developed intuitive abilities — especially external clairvoyance (the ability to see everyone’s energy fields), clairsentience (the ability to feel other’s emotions) and telepathy (the ability to know what others are thinking). This is where I think we’re headed.

You’ll have to modify not only your behavior, but also your thoughts, which cause your feelings, or everyone will know. The good news is that you’ll know everything about everyone else, too, so they’ll have to modify their behavior and thoughts, as well. This will result in more fair trade, because everyone will be aware of the consequences of their purchases. It will also result in a lot less crime, as it will be intuitively obvious to everyone that a crime is about to be committed, and people will choose to intervene gently. People will eventually be easier on themselves, too, because they’ll have example of how to change their thoughts, so they don’t have to beat themselves up.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

A Prayer for the Year

The Jewish New Year, 5771, begins tonight at sunset. Beginning the year in the fall, when the harvest comes in and school begins has always made more sense to me than when we celebrate it on January 1. Anyway, a few years ago, I came across the following prayer, and want to share it with you. Please read all the way through — the good stuff begins at the fourth paragraph. 

Rosh Hashanah Prayer


On Rosh Hashanah it is written 
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed:

How many shall leave this world; and how many shall be born; who shall live and who shall die, who in the fullness of years and who before; who shall perish by ire and who by water, who by sword and who by a wild beat; who by famine and who by thirst, who by earthquake and who by plague, who by strangling and who by stoning; who shall rest and who shall wander, who shall be serene and who disturbed, who shall be at ease and who afflicted; who shall be impoverished and who enriched, who shall be humbled and who exalted.

BUT REPENTANCE, PRAYER AND DEEDS OF KINDNESS CAN REMOVE THE SEVERITY OF THE DECREE.

Each of us is an author
Writing, with deeds, in the Akasha
And each of us has the power
To write lines that will never be lost.

No song is so trivial,

no story is so commonplace,
No deed is so insignificant
That it is not recorded.  

No kindness is ever done in vain
Each mean act leaves its imprint
All our deeds and thoughts, the good and the bad,
Are noted and remembered in eternity.

Remember always
What you do lives forever.
The echoes of your words
Resound until the end of time.

May our lives reflect this awareness
Mar our deeds bring no shame or reproach
May the entries we make in the Akasha
Be ever acceptable to You.

[Note: I have changed a the words “Book of LIfe” to Akasha and “Him” to “You” to make it feel more personal.)
Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Work Ethic on Tour

Q: What do you do when you’re the headliner at a music festival, and you’re sick?

Yesterday was my annual day of being a roadie at the Sausalito Art Festival, which actually has a huge stage and features live performances by formerly huge acts. This year’s lineup included The Bangles, The Fixx, Pablo Cruise and Dave Mason. Dave Mason was the headliner yesterday, filling the last slot from 4:30 – 6PM. I heard that Dave Mason wasn’t feeling well, that he was recuperating from some bug.

I was working security to backstage, which basically means making sure no one goes back there without a pass. This is a bit tricky, because the performers have to walk back and forth from the real backstage across a public walkway to the dressing room area, they don’t wear their passes because that would look silly on stage — and although I know the music, I wouldn’t know any of these people if I fell over them. In addition, the bartenders keep their booze back there, but are not given backstage passes. So you have to watch faces, and I do.

Right before Dave Mason was supposed to start, one guy without a pass, muttered “I don’t wanna go to work today” as he walked from the dressing room area to the true backstage. I figured it was one of the musicians — who else would be saying that?

A few minutes later, I was watching the show from back stage — and the guy who ‘didn’t wanna go to work today’? Dave Mason.


A: You show up, give it your all anyway — and leave the crowd happy.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Does Your Language Shape How You Think? – NYTimes.com

Anyone who has ever studied another language has probably wondered about this. I remember thinking about the English word, ‘well’, which is translated into ‘bien’ in French. ‘Bien’ has many more shadings of meaning than the adjective or adverb ‘well’ — and ‘well’ is also something you get water from in English, while the French word for that is ‘puits’.

Does Your Language Shape How You Think? – NYTimes.com

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Intentions, Affirmations, Decisions

Do you set an intention before you do something? I often do. I like to ask participants in my classes to set an intention for the state that they’ll be in during the class, or for what they choose to get out of the class. I’ve noticed that when people do this, they tend to get more out of the class.

Have you ever done an affirmation? If you have, you probably know how powerful they are. In case you’ve never done one, it’s a positive, present tense statement of something that  you want, that can be controlled by you, as if it already existed. I’m a huge believer in affirmations, because a few of them have really changed my life, including the one that brought my wonderful husband to me. (Want to know how that can work for you? Call me for a session.) Others have changed my relationship to time and to myself. 

Just today, though, a very wise woman pointed out that there is something even more powerful — a decision. Normally, we think of decisions as being choices of what to do or not do. She was talking, however, about deciding what to think and what to believe. Yes, you can choose your beliefs, that is, you can choose what you take as real. You can decide what to believe about the world — and about yourself.

No matter how cavalierly we use them, words have actual meanings — meanings which carry the energy from their root words, and from the billions of times the words and their roots have been used.  So it’s important to pay attention to the distinctions between these words:

Intention is from Latin intendere, to stretch out for or aim at. So when you intend something, you are saying, ‘this is my goal — but I might not make it’. You are allowing the possibility of failure.

Decision is from Latin decisio, a cutting short. The implication is that you are cutting off all choices but one. This manifests in reality. When you decide, you are only allowing that one thing to happen.

Affirmation is from Latin affirmare, to present as fixed, or make firm. So in order for an affirmation to work, you must first decide that this is so.

It seems from these definitions that you can have a general intention, but for actual results, it’s best to make a decision, which you then restate regularly in an affirmation.

Neurolinguistics teaches us that nominalizations, which are nouns made from frozen verbs, rather than real things you can touch, are less powerful than the verbs that spawn them, because they hide lots of information. That is, you can ‘make a decision’ and it’s a complete thought, but if ‘you decide’, that is not a complete thought. It requires you to state what you decide. Similarly, you can ‘have an intention’ while you must intend something in particular, and you can ‘do an affirmation’ while you must affirm something specific.

To get results then, what works best is to decide something, and then to affirm that decision regularly.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Compassion and Boundaries

My husband and I have a friend, whom I’ll call Jim, whom we met about 18 months ago, as part of our volunteer work. Jim had time for this volunteer work because he’d recently been laid off from his software job. He was happy being a stay-at-home Dad to 2 small kids, and didn’t seem too worried about finding another job, as his wife was making very good money as an attorney. We liked him — he was outgoing, smart and perceptive, had lived many places and done a number of things for work, so he had all kinds of stories.

Then last October, Jim’s wife decided she was done with him. While he was out of town, visiting his elderly parents, she emptied their bank accounts, packed up all their stuff of value, moved, and didn’t pay the rent for that month.  Then she instigated one of the uglier divorces I’ve seen. That left Jim unemployed, broke except for unemployment checks, and homeless.

A mutual friend, Joe, who lives in the Central Valley, let Jim stay rent-free in a Bay Area studio apartment that Joe rented so that he could be near his Peninsula work place a couple of nights a week. The idea was that this living arrangement would give Jim the stability to look for work, without overly inconveniencing Joe. The lease on that studio was up at the end of May, and Joe decided not to renew it, as the timing of his work had changed enough to render it unnecessary. So Jim was now homeless again. It’s not clear that Jim ever looked for work, but in any case, he was still unemployed, as well.

Jim, however, had volunteered to do a big computer project for the organization through which we’d met him. Because we believed in his abilities, as well as the organization’s mission,  we agreed to let him move into our spare bedroom long enough to do it. Jim worked his butt off — pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with enough time off to sleep and see his kids. We felt like supporting him while he did this work was our contribution to the organization.

When the project ended, my husband and I were unsure of what to do. We didn’t want to just throw Jim into the street — that didn’t seem like the compassionate thing to do. On the other hand, we didn’t want to let him live with us rent-free indefinitely, either, as there were very real costs to us (decreased privacy, increased cleaning and cooking for us, and increased utility bills). So we had some boundaries, as well. Jim couldn’t afford rent, thanks in part to Congress, which was not funding unemployment. So we hit upon the idea of Jim doing handyman work in exchange for rent. (There were a few small things that really needed doing, and I maintain a list of improvements, which would be nice, but never seem important enough to either do myself or to fund.) Jim agreed to this as a fair trade. I gave him my prioritized list, and told him to work down it, asking questions as he went.

But then, for two weeks, he barely did anything at all. He put up a towel rack, nailed in a loose board on the deck, watered half the potted plants once (to be fair, I never asked him to water the plants). I had to nag him to put some things on freecycle, to measure the house for insulation and to shop for the best price online. This was not my idea of of how this was supposed to work.

Meanwhile, my husband, who dutifully goes to a job every day, was getting more and more agitated at Jim’s lack of progress. He never seemed to be looking for work; he resisted calling the VA, or even a contact of my husband’s at the EDD (CA unemployement folks), for help finding work. My stepson, whose job is triaging PC help calls for the Geek Squad, offered to steer IT work Jim’s way, if only Jim would sign up as a provider. Jim never bothered to sign up.

On top of this, we went out of town one Saturday night, and Jim had an, um, overnight guest — who was still there when we arrived home at 3PM — without asking in advance if this would be okay. This was the last straw. 

We knew we had to confront him. My husband spoke for both of us when he said he felt betrayed. [As a friend, who is expert in Transactional Analysis pointed out, a broken agreement is a betrayal.) I was left to give Jim a choice: either figure out how he was going to make up all the time he hadn’t worked for us, and give us a schedule, or move out. He chose to move out, saying that were he in our position, he’d never have asked for a trade. To his credit he did move out within 24 hours, whining at the end that he’d just ‘find the local homeless shelter’! (Actually, he found someone else who was willing to host him within 24 hours, too.)

Even though both my husband and I know we did the right thing, it was still hard. So here are my take-aways:

  •  compassion, feeling for someone else, is part of what makes you human (although this turtle might disagree), so you should offer help to those in need
  • compassion without boundaries allows people to take advantage of you, so you have to know when to stop offering
  • you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped
  • some people just feel they are entitled to be supported, and those people will continue to get kicked till they figure out that they have to contribute, as well
Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Using 4 Models of Time to Create Your Ideal Life

We generally assume we live in a three dimensional world, that is, length, width and height (or the x, y and z axes of Cartesian coordinates). The truth is that we live in a four dimensional world. The fourth dimension is time. It seems to me that you can’t have physical reality without time, because then things would literally run into each other constantly.

Over the millenia, how people think about time has changed. I know of three models:

  • cyclical time
  • linear time
  • ever present time

In cyclical time, the time of ancient people (and still the time of plants and animals), we live in the rhythm of days and nights, as well as the cycles of the moon and of the seasons. For example, Easter is the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon (calculating the Paschal full moon is complicated).The image for this is a circle, or perhaps a spiral.

In linear time, we are on a sort of railroad track from the past to the future. We can look behind us, or in front of us, but we can’t revisit the past, nor can we jump to a future date without going through all the dates between now and then. The image for this, obviously, is a straight line.

In ever-present time,  we focus on the idea that in non-physical reality, all time is somehow simultaneous, that is, that all time is the present.The image for this is a bubble, with you, creating physical time, sitting in the center of it.

I was recently shown that there is, in fact, a fourth model of time. It is a composite of the other three. Imagine the three dimensional bubble moving along a straight line in a flat plane (with the two dimensions of the plane representing three dimensional reality), with a spiral of time moving down around the bubble, perpendicular to the plane in which the bubble is moving. That is, although you act in this three dimensional world, your consciousness is pulling one probably reality into physical existence from the many which exist in non-physical ones.

How do you select one probable reality from the many which exist? Emotion.

Why emotion? This has been emphasized ad nauseam by Abraham, as channeled by Esther Hicks. I have to say this puzzled me for the longest time, but the answer is actually quite simple: most human emotions are those of the body, which is physical, not those of the soul, which is not. Human bodily emotion is what pulls things into the physical world, because it is the only way for the body to experience the events desired by the soul.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

On Not Being in Control

A  former high official from the Drug Enforcement Agency recently said publicly that the so-called War on Drugs is over, and we lost. He continued, saying that we should just legalize the drugs, standardize them, distribute them through approved outlets and tax them. This would both take the money out of drugs, discourage crime at many levels, and provide safer drugs for those who are addicted.  Apparently, over time, the number of addicts will decline, because although the drugs are cheaper, they are never given away free, which is how many get hooked originally. (This is what is happening in Switzerland, as a result of their policies and laws.)

There’s a huge controversy simmering over what to do about illegal immigration. I’m not going to take sides here. However, there is large scale sociological research which shows that stricter enforcement of our borders has made the illegal alien population larger, rather than smaller. Why? Because now, once you get here, you can no longer afford to leave — you might not get back in to the US again.

The largest economy in the world can neither enforce its drug laws nor control its borders. What can you or I control? Our bodies? Our thoughts? Our emotions? Our actions?

Most of our bodily processes, like digestion, regulation of body temperature, and heart rate, are beneath the level of our conscious awareness. You can breathe consciously, but that takes so much of your attention that you really don’t do much else consciously while you’re doing it (this is why it’s a form of meditation). Digestion is accomplished largely by a community of friendly bacteria, not even strictly by ‘us’.

Some say that 80% of our thoughts are habitual and unintentional, that is, out of our control. Over time, you can change deep beliefs, or substitute positive thoughts for negative ones, again, with a fair amount of intention and effort. This is what hypnosis and NLP and certain other healing modalities are for.

Your emotions are caused by a combination of a triggering event (which is out of your control), along with the deep belief structure (also normally out of your control), which create thoughts, which create emotions.

Your actions are under your control — at least to the degree that you can consciously override all the beliefs, thoughts, and emotions. And to the degree that your actions affect your body, you can control your body.

Let me suggest, then, that control is a pretty outmoded idea, born of the industrial age, in which everything was related to a machine. In a machine, you control the parts, how they fit together, how fast they work.  People became cogs in the great machine, its acolytes. But the entire world as a great machine? An illusion. Perhaps a useful illusion, because it encourages action, which may change things, but still an illusion.


Perhaps being in the flow, or being in alignment, is a better idea. Think of it this way: a dam is the illusion of control; water is the flow of life. Would you rather be the water or the dam? The water will continue to flow, forever. It is powered by the sun, which evaporates water from everywhere, and earth’s gravity, which brings that water to earth as rain, which runs downhill. Water will fill up rivers which have been dammed, and flow over the top to the sea. The dam slows them down, perhaps, but doesn’t stop them. Eventually, water will wear down the dam.

If you think of yourself as a drop of water, then your goals might be different. You might choose to be in the center of the flow, where it’s calmer (there’s always turbulence at the edges, because of friction with the sides of the channel). You might want to know where the river is heading, while realizing that you don’t control the direction. That might help you get back into the center of the flow, if you’re at an edge, where you feel the turbulence. You might choose to enjoy the scenery as you pass, knowing that you can’t stay in the same place, can’t hold on to the view. You might choose to connect with the other droplets of water, because collectively, we can change the course of the river.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The 5 Stages of Transformation

Lately I’ve been ‘seeing’ a ridiculous number of relationships ending, mostly among my clients, but among friends, as well. The relationships vary: marriages, lovers, friends, siblings, coworkers, a man and his job, a woman and her home. And I’ve noticed that the pattern remains the same. Often I can see that it’s really over before my clients do. Why?

It’s because the pattern is obvious to me, partly because I’ve seen it so many times, and partly thanks to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (On Death and Dying (Scribner Classics), who identified it in terminally ill patients in the 1960’s. The pattern she identified, consisting of the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, really applies to any death — death of a relationship, losing a job, losing a home, etc. All deaths precede a transformation; after all, physical death is the ultimate transformation. Conversely, it seems that all transformation is preceded by a death, even if that is the death of a single belief.

For a relationship, the five stages go something like this: He isn’t really ignoring me, he’s just working really hard (denial). How dare he stay out so late — three nights a week? How dare he treat me like this? Is there another woman? (anger) Maybe if I lose weight, and cook a good dinner for him every night, and don’t mention my suspicions (which he denies), then maybe he’ll come home to me (bargaining). Can’t I do anything right? Am I not good enough for him? I’m so depressed, I can barely get out of bed in the morning to go to work. I have to force myself to smile at him (depression). Oh, I get it, he really is out of this relationship — he’s been seeing another woman for six months. Now what do I do? (acceptance)

For the loss of a job, the five stages might go like this: I know there are going to be layoffs, but it won’t happen to me (denial). Maybe if I do an extra project, I can make myself so essential that it won’t happen to me (bargaining). I got laid off! How dare they do that to me, after 10 (or 15 or 20 or 45) years of service? (anger) What did I do wrong? Why is this happening to me? Who am I without this job? I can’t bear to even look for a job, I’m so upset (depression).  How am I going to survive? What do I do next? (acceptance)

The stages don’t necessarily go in neat order. It’s quite common to bounce back and forth between, say, denial and anger, anger and bargaining, anger and depression, or depression and acceptance.   

If you’re in one of the stages of loss, i.e the stages of transformation, what can you do about it? If you’re in denial, not much, because you don’t know what you don’t know. The good news is — that can only last so long, because something, perhaps a physical ailment will call your attention to the impending transformation.

Once you get to the stage of anger, there is something you can do. You have to ask yourself, what specifically am I angry about? What am I pretending not to know that keeps me here? What is my part in this? Is there an internal change I can make? When you change, aka transform, your reactions will be different, so the world, including the relationship, will be different.

If you are already at the stage of bargaining, there is a different set of questions. If you are having to bargain to keep something, you have to ask yourself if you want it badly enough to do all the extra work. Maybe the answer is yes; maybe not. In my experience, though, once you are even at this stage, it’s really over. It may take years for the whole thing to play out — you can bounce back and forth between denial (everything’s okay) and anger and bargaining (we hit a rough patch again) for a long time. Occasionally, in a lover or marriage relationship especially, the bargaining forces a real change in one or both of the parties, so the relationship transforms, but without breaking up. 

The difficult thing about depression is that a lot of times, people get there without even knowing what specifically depresses them. People will often medicate themselves out of the feeling of sadness or depression,  with cigarettes, alcohol, or legal or illegal drugs, without ever dealing with the underlying issue. (I’m not a doctor, but I do understand that there are some depressions that are purely chemical, that is, from neurological problems; brains that don’t produce normal amounts of certain chemicals. I’m not talking about these people.) You have to deal with the underlying situation. Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometimes you really have to think back to what triggered the feeling.

It helps to ask yourself what you lost, or what you fear losing (though if you’re here, it’s probably already lost). And what you lost doesn’t have to be a person, or a job, or a thing. It can be just an idea or a belief — and sometimes these are the most profound triggers of transformation. When you lose something (or someone), it’s important to ask what you have instead, because that points in the direction of hope or actions you can take to move into acceptance of the change.

When you realize what is going on, you can consciously choose to move through these stages.  By asking the questions above, as well as others unique to your situation, you can shorten the time frames of the stages of transformation. You can see the glimmer of acceptance, and a new situation, even as far back as the stage of anger.

If you want help moving through your particular situation more quickly and easily, please call me at 888-4-hollis (888-446-5547) to discuss options.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?

According to the Bible (Matthew 27:45-46), Jesus is reputed to have asked this on the cross. The New English Bible translates this as, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” There is lots of speculation about why Jesus would have said this. Most of the speculation boils down to the idea that Jesus was acting like a normal human in a terrible predicament, which, of course, he was.

But I don’t think that’s what it was. Not that I’m a biblical scholar, or even Christian. (Although perhaps that’s an advantage, as I wasn’t programmed to believe anything in particular.) This is how my guides explained it to me:

If you choose to serve humanity or the earth, that is, the common good, or even the higher spiritual good, you must choose to serve of your own free will, not because it is your path, or because you are guided. You must choose to serve without the intervention of anyone, including guides, angels, or whatever your conception of God. That moment of choice is probably the only moment in your life when you are truly alone.

Choosing to serve of your own free will is the next step in spiritual mastery. It is the invitation for the Christ energy, the energy of evolution, to enter you.

There is, of course, no requirement to choose to serve — all choices are honorable when made in full consciousness. 

So should you ever feel truly alone in making a decision, especially if you are accustomed to getting any sort of spiritual or psychic information, please understand that this is an invitation to your spiritual evolution. There is a reason you feel alone — and you can take an ironic sort of comfort from that — you must be doing something right to even get the invitation!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Reflective Listening

In reflective listening, you get into rapport with your subject (the joke is: smile, lean forward and nod), occasionally repeat what they’ve said back to them, and let them go on. This interview is a great example of that.

Rielle Hunter (the mother of John Edwards’ love child) insisted that if she were to go public, she’d do it in her own words. This is, therefore, a verbatim transcript of the interview.

The technique is great, and okay, it’s maybe a little titillating in that, “ooh, here’s someone else’s dirty laundry in public” kind of way. Enjoy!

Hello, America, My Name Is Rielle Hunter: Politics: GQ

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Do Vacations Make you Happy?

Turns out, not so much:

How Vacations Affect Your Happiness – Well Blog – NYTimes.com

But planning them does, so plan away!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Have I become a cyborg?

I have always laughed at those folks, walking around with the blue tooth headsets, seemingly talking to no one. (How can you tell if that person talking to no one is normal or schizophrenic? By the presence — or absence — of a blue tooth headset.) I jokingly call them cyborgs — the next step is implantation of that headset in the ear.

Actually, I think that blue tooth technology and wireless devices are just proxies for the coming of widespread human telepathy. Or maybe we’re using technology to reclaim part of our birthright.

I obviously don’t have a blue tooth headset. But I’m beginning to wonder if I’m part cyborg, myself.

I’ve been without my Mac for over a week now, except for one day, during which I rescued the two main documents I’m working on, and a bit of my calendar, which I had to (eek!) write down by hand. The substitute Mac I have is even more unreliable than my main one, in that it shuts down randomly (save your work often!), and it doesn’t have my address book (BOTH my address book backups died simultaneously with my Mac hard drive), nor can it access my email.

I’m feeling really out of sorts. Everything takes twice as long on this old machine, and the keys and the touch pad don’t feel the same. I feel unproductive, at sea. There are lots of things I can’t do, but I’m also avoiding things I can do online, like write this, just because it’s not the same machine. Have I become so attached to this computer, this thing, that I’m not myself without it? And does that make me a cyborg?

But here’s the even stranger thing: I’m noticing my own telepathy more. I am planning to hike with a friend, M, in Marin on Saturday afternoon. Since I don’t go there all that often, I decided to visit another friend, J, afterwards, around 5:30, and arranged that over a week ago. This morning, it popped into my mind to stop and see a third friend, A, but I dismissed it, because I don’t have my address book, so I don’t have her phone number. Here’s what happened:

I was talking to a client this morning. We were almost done with our conversation, just saying our goodbyes, when the phone cut out. I hit *69, as she had called me, but got connected to M instead!

M said that she was planning to visit A on Saturday (wow, what a coincidence!), and could I shift my plans to accommodate that?

Well, I had to call J to see if she could meet at 6 instead of 5:30 — but I wanted to visit A, as well. Luckily, M had A’s phone number (remember, I don’t have an address book), and it turns out that A’s birthday is Saturday, so I was invited to her open house!

And J had emailed me this morning (but I have no email) to ask if I could arrange our meeting to be at 6 instead of 5:30!

Maybe I’m connected on the innernet, even when I’m not connected on the internet. And maybe you are, too.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What is a Teacher?

George Leonard, black belt aikidoist, prolific author and co-founder of Integral Transformative Practice, dropped his body permanently yesterday. I learned a number of things from George, one of which changed my life, or at least my experience of it, completely and permanently (I’ll get to that later). George was a Teacher for many people, and it got me to thinking about what a Teacher is.

Lots of people are teachers, which I define as having knowledge or skills that others don’t have, which they pass on. But a Teacher is more:

  • A Teacher has wisdom you don’t have, and passes that on, along with the knowledge and/or skills.
  • A Teacher sees you, in the African, or Na’vi, sense — seeing into your soul, seeing who you really are.
  • A Teacher, by passing on what (s)he knows, and by seeing you, allows you to have more access to yourself, and to universal wisdom.

One person’s Teacher may be someone else’s teacher. It has to do not only with the teacher, but also with the student. Perhaps the student doesn’t want to be seen, or isn’t ready for the wisdom the teacher has.

Or maybe there’s just a connection between the two that allows the teacher to be a Teacher for that particular student. I had a chemistry teacher in high school like that. I don’t think she was a Teacher for much of anyone but me (and she was only a teacher for a couple of years, before going back to school to get her PhD and into industry). However, I learned not only chemistry, but also that being an adult didn’t mean being serious all the time, that it was okay to explore the offbeat (she taught me how to do grave rubbings), and lots of other things.

A parent, while always a teacher, is not necessarily a Teacher. Maybe the parent is very screwed up. Or maybe the parent is so invested in what (s)he would like the child to be that (s)he is incapable of seeing the child.

Teachers don’t have to be human — nature is a wonderful Teacher. For me, it’s the ocean. For others, it’s the woods, or the mountains. Animals can be Teachers, too. I’ve sure learned a lot from my cats.

Teachers don’t even have to be physical. Throughout history, people like Jesus and St. Teresa of Avila have talked about their discarnate Teachers.

George invented this exercise, which he called ‘Take the Hit as a Gift’, which came from his aikido training. It involved someone scaring you half to death, and you using the energy and moving with the energy till you actually felt that you had more than before you were frightened. It totally worked for me! and my neurology has never been the same. It used to be that when something lousy happened, I’d crawl into bed for a while, usually a few hours, but occasionally more. Now, I just go for a walk — and the worse the hit, the more I walk. And staying in action makes me feel less like a victim, and more like there’s something I can do, even if I’m not in control. So thank you, George, for this and many other lessons. Have a great trip — and take the hit as a gift! 🙂

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Learning from the Year End Review

As I write this, it’s already 2010 in parts of the world. Wow! Where did 2009 go?
I ask myself that every year, beginning right after Christmas, and then do a kind of year end review. What were the highlights? What could I have done differently? What did I learn?

This year, just doing the review was a real learning for me.

I was tempted to call this a ‘lost year’, in the same way that financially, the 00’s were a collective lost decade for the U.S. I worked really hard, and it seemed like not much happened from all that work. Recalling Thomas Edison, I did learn a lot of ways not to accomplish my goals. If anything, I’m in a worse financial position than a year ago — but it’s not terrible, and day to day, life seems much the same. I’m living in the same house, with the same husband, who has the same job as a year ago. My health is the same. I guess I have the blog to show for the year. (And for those of you who are considering blogging, it’s a terrific way to remember your year, a kind of living journal and/or scrapbook, even if no one ever reads it.) And of course, though it’s hard for me to remember, other people have what they learned from my classes, or private sessions, or just our interactions. So in a way, I guess I have a lot to show for the year, it’s just that it’s not mine.

And then I thought about what had happened to the people around me: one was killed, several others had death threats for various reasons, one began a nasty divorce, a couple lost their homes, others were unemployed for long stretches. And those were just my friends!

So now I’m really grateful for the sameness of last year. Maybe I was protected, or maybe all that work kept the wolf from the door. I don’t know. But I do know that I’m really grateful for the health that I have, the roof over my head, the food in my belly, and the friends and family around me.

So I guess what they say is true: sometimes no news really is good news!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Sha la la la la Live for Today…

There’s a song from the 60’s, by (I think) the Grass Roots, called “Live for Today”. It’s on my iPod, because I’ve always loved it. Turns out I should be living by it more:

Findings – The Psychology Behind Putting Off What Can Be Enjoyed Now – NYTimes.com

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Your Gift

YOU have psychic abilities, whether you acknowledge them or not. Ignore them at your peril. Maybe you’ll see yourself in this:

Last weekend, I went to a holiday party, given by one of my clients, an acupuncturist. Because I’d helped her pass her acupuncture boards, which she’d failed 3 times before, she kept introducing me enthusiastically as a clairvoyant and coach. That meant that all of my conversations centered on things psychic, intuitive and/or spiritual (which was actually fun for me!).

The conversation that struck me most was with Joe, a many-degreed, successful high tech engineer. Joe has those bright blue eyes that evidence great intelligence, as well as an Atlantean past (if you don’t believe in Atlantis, just ignore that part), complete with psychic ability. (I see this sometimes, but only in blue eyes; with other color eyes, it just isn’t immediately obvious to me.)

Joe was curious, no, fascinated with my psychic abilities, because he said he didn’t have any. I told him that we all have some degree of psychic ability, but that it comes in different ways; the most common is what people call ‘gut feelings’. Joe admitted that he had those, and joked about providing ‘psychic tech support’. But then he said that he couldn’t trust them much, as evidenced by his horrendous people judgment, which led to horrible relationships, both romantic and business, which led to very expensive legal problems. I could see the activity in his third eye, and told him he was clairvoyant, whether he knew it or not.

As we talked, Joe complained of knowing things that other people didn’t want to hear, telling them, and being ostracized for it. A classic psychic’s complaint! The problem is not knowing what you know. The problem is not knowing what other people don’t know, or don’t want to know. The problem is in knowing how, when and to whom it is safe to disclose what you know.

Joe told of downloads into his mind of information, which he described as a 3 1/4″ floppy being inserted into the left side of his head. This is classic telepathy!

It turned out that Joe had always had this telepathy, but had had so many bad experiences as a child, that he had turned off his ability to access the information he got through it. Ignoring his deepest level of information left him incredibly vulnerable to people who could and would callously take advantage of him.

Your psychic abilities are your gift, no matter what form they come in. They might come as gut feelings (clairsentience), pictures of things (clairvoyance), the still small voice within (clairaudience), downloads of information (telepathy/channeling), or smelling or tasting things that aren’t there (clairolfaction or clairgustation). No matter — they are your birthright. Would you willingly blind your physical vision? If you are ignoring your psychic abilities, you are doing effectively that — and your life is much the poorer for it.

You can change that — right now! You can resolve to notice what you notice, and know what you know, even if you don’t know how you know it. No matter what your abilities, no matter how developed (or not), you can practice — and practice makes perfect. (And if you are ready and willing to claim your psychic abilities, as well as how to talk about them, send me an email (use the box in the top right corner), and I’ll let you know when I’m teaching another psychic development teleclass.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Entropy is where my reality meets yours…

In case you who don’t remember high school chemistry, entropy is the tendency for ordered systems to become disordered. Combating entropy takes energy. And I feel like that’s where most of my energy has been going for the last day or two.

In the last 24 hours, here’s what I’ve done:

  1. taken the cat to the vet to deal with his wounds (he apparently got into it with another cat)
  2. picked up my husband when his car wouldn’t start
  3. found out how to track down a water leak, which my water bill shows has begun
  4. bugged someone from whom I need information, who apparently can’t be bothered to return my call
  5. chased a tenant who isn’t paying on time (good tenant for a long time, but now…)
  6. set up my Intuition Development teleclass for Monday on MaestroConference — along with a backup call on FreeConference, because last week, for HypnoCoaching, Maestro was just too busy to let my scheduled call actually happen
  7. work on how to make up for the call Maestro wouldn’t let happen
  8. try to get Maestro to make a reasonable restitution for what happened (still waiting)
  9. got a notice about another tenant who promised to repair the damage they’d done to my apartment several months ago — and didn’t

Now, I’m a big believer in “You create your reality through your beliefs,” but I can’t imagine what belief might have caused all this. In fact, when I’m acting as a real estate broker, I know that much of what I get paid for is to manage entropy. I suspect that entropy is created by the friction between ‘my reality’ and ‘consensual reality’.

Consensual reality is actually the aggregate of each individual’s realities. What if a million people want rain in a given metro area, and another million don’t? (And btw, there is some evidence that human consciousness affects the weather in Serge Kahili King’s ‘Urban Shaman’ and in a wonderful study on weather in Princeton around graduation by Roger Nelson, now of the Gaia Project.) Maybe it drizzles, or maybe there are patches of rain and patches of dry. My wish for rain comes up against your wish for dry, and neither of us gets exactly what we want.

So let’s look at those 9 items again, from this perspective:

  1. the cat wanted something that whatever other animal didn’t — and I accepted the fallout because I love the cat.
  2. my husband manifested a car that wouldn’t start because he doesn’t want to go forward on something — and I accepted the fallout because I love my husband.
  3. water wears things away as it moves, eventually resulting in a leak — and I accepted the fallout because (a) it’s my property and (b) I’m mindful of our local drought.
  4. I want the information, and it’s higher on my priority list to get it than it is for the person who has the information to give it to me, so I take on the responsibility to bug her.
  5. I care about getting the rent, so that I can pay the mortgage — there are large negative consequences to me for not doing that, so I take on the responsibility to chase the tenant.
  6. It was more important for Maestro to service their big clients than small ones like me, and since I want to provide a good service for my students, I take on the responsibility of setting up a back up.
  7. I want my students to have an optimal experience, so I take on the responsibility to make up for what MaestroConference messed up.
  8. I want MaestroConference to make up for what they are costing me in time.
  9. It’s my responsibility to manage my property — and now I know that this tenant can’t be trusted to live up to the lease by repairing their own damage.

So I have created most of these items, if not all, by a beliefs that (a) I’m responsible and (b) responsibility means taking action. Obviously, in most of these items, the other party has no such belief about responsibility, or at least not in these particular instances. And it’s the friction between these beliefs, the friction between my reality and either another person’s reality (the person who won’t call me back) or consensual reality (water wears things down), that manifests in this way.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Are you choosing heaven, or are you choosing hell?

I was recently shown this image:

· Each person on Earth is standing in front of two doors.

· Through one door is evolution. This door leads to ‘heaven’ or paradise – all green fields & forests. In this reality, humanity solves its dilemmas, works with the Earth to create a peaceful, sustainable society.

· Through the other door is hell — rigidity in an effort maintain the status quo. This eventually leads to disintegration, because change is inevitable. If you fight change, it happens anyway, just more slowly and more painfully. This is the door to ‘hell’ – a fiery reality, because fire sets free the energy trapped by photosynthesis in wood. (This is why hell is always seen as fiery.) The disintegration sets free the energy in these souls to be reused, to evolve. This is the reality envisioned by “Mad Max”.

I was told that 70% of humanity has chosen which door he/she will go through, and 30% has not yet chosen. Of the 70% who has chosen, 2/3 has chosen to evolve, and 1/3 has chosen to disintegrate. That is, about half of humanity has chosen to evolve, about 30% has not chosen and about 20% has chosen the door of stuckness/disintegration.

It is very difficult to change your choice once you have chosen. It is possible, but you’d have to change who you are to choose the other door.

It used to be that you could only walk through the door after you ‘died’. The Earth is vibrating faster now, and this is no longer true, but people still think it is true. Now you are actually encouraged to walk through while you still have a body.

There are a variety of reasons why people don’t walk through a door after they have chosen. They wonder

* Is it real?
* It looks okay, but is it? I’m still scared.
* Who will I be after I’ve walked through the door? How will I act?
* What will the world look like to me after I’ve walked through the door?
* Will I leave others behind? What happens to them?
* Does the door close behind me?

I am unclear as to what happens as more and more people walk through their chosen doors. It looks like the earth eventually splits in a kind of mitosis, into a faster vibrating Earth (the evolving Earth), and a slower vibrating Earth (the disintegrating Earth).

The Earth which vibrates more quickly will seem like the fabled Paradise, more green, more comfortable somehow, than today’s world. It still has its problems, of course, but humanity has decided to work together to solve them. Apparently this decision alone goes some way towards solving the problems, because Gaia feels our intention and works very hard to heal herself.

The Earth which vibrates more slowly will seem like an even more screwed up version of today’s world. The problems which exist now will have gotten worse – more pollution, more disease, more inequity, fewer resources to go around. There will probably be geophysical catastrophes to hasten the disintegration.

If I’ve chosen to evolve, and my neighbors haven’t, do they disappear from my world, and I from theirs? Or do we just never see each other? I don’t’ know. What happens to their house in my world, if they disappear? I don’t know. I have the sense that some of the splitting comes from migrations, that people who choose to evolve have already moved to, or will move to, places like the Bay Area. Does this explain all of it? I doubt it.

How long does this take? I don’t know. But I do know this:

The process of the Earth splitting is awkward and uncomfortable. At some level, everyone feels the bi-directional pull, and it makes us uncomfortable. People who have chosen to evolve feel the urgency of the situation, see ways out of it, and are moving towards those solutions. They are frustrated by, and have little patience with, those who have elected to try to maintain the status quo. People who have chosen the futile effort to maintain the status quo are frustrated and frightened by the inevitable prospect of change.

You can already see the awkwardness in those people who are doing anything in their power to stop change, and how polarizing they are. A good example is white supremacists, who would like to turn back the clock to an imagined better day when the US was mostly white. First, as most of us know, this is simply not going to happen. Second, because the white supremacists know this at some level, they feel very threatened – threatened to the point that they feel their best recourse is violence. This violent streak offends many, in fact, many more than those repulsed by their views alone. It’s hard to be neutral about someone who is willing to be violent to you for not agreeing with them. Thus these groups are even more polarizing than their views alone would warrant.

While these white supremacist groups are one example, you can see many others: watch the health care debate going on on Capitol Hill, where those who oppose change are willing to lie to (temporarily) thwart change. Watch any sort of so-called fundamentalist religious group, whose leaders twist the words of holy writings (mostly written millennia ago) to support their own beliefs, and their own amassing of power.

This choice of evolution/heaven or disintegration/hell is playing out every day in ways large and small. Just watch the news!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Why Loneliness Can Be Contagious – Well Blog – NYTimes.com

Why Loneliness Can Be Contagious – Well Blog – NYTimes.com

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Stop me if I’ve told you this before…

Apparently, it’s normal to remember where you got information, but not to whom you gave it:

Mind – Memory Study Looks at Why We Repeat Ourselves – NYTimes.com

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Giving to Others is Giving Health to Yourself

Taken with the last post, giving, which is part of our nature, can be seen as a pathway to health. And good health, happiness & success are a self-reinforcing triumvirate.

Well – Daily Giving Is Seen as a Healthful Treatment – NYTimes.com

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Some Biologists Find an Urge in Human Nature to Help – NYTimes.com

Some Biologists Find an Urge in Human Nature to Help – NYTimes.com

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Be thankful for the crap in life!

It’s getting to be Thanksgiving, a wonderful American ritual, which originated with the Pilgrims holding a feast to thank the natives for their help, without which they would not have survived in the New World. It’s common to say a round of very specific thanks before today’s feasts. So I started thinking about thankfulness and gratitude.

People talk a lot about gratitude, and for good reason. Since energy follows thought (this is teh Law of Attraction), and your gratitude increases your attention to those things for which you are grateful, then you get more of those (presumably positive) things.

There is a case to be made for being thankful for the crap, as well. Why? Here are a few reasons:

The crap uncovers beliefs you have, which no longer serve you, which you can then heal, so you no longer attract the crap. For example, if you believe that learning has to be hard, you’ll attract lots of difficult situations to learn from. This is a belief! If you choose to believe that “learning is easy” or (my personal affirmation) that “I learn through awareness and joy”, then life will get easier almost immediately. Try it and see!

The crap uncovers vows or agreements you’ve made, which you can then heal, so you no longer attract the crap. If, for example, I vowed, either in this lifetime or in another one, “to never be rich”, perhaps because the rich people you saw were evil, then you’ll always have money problems in this lifetime. Vows can be identified and broken! Break this one and you’re likely to have a more positive relationship with money.

The crap helps you locate places where you have disempowered yourself in your own life. If you were brought up always to respect authority, then you will give your power away, always trusting those with external power, such as political power, even when it is against your best interests. The Republican party consciously took this strategy with uneducated whites, especially in the South — these were people who were brought up to respect authority, whether it had on clerical garb, a police uniform, or a business suit. The Republicans spoke to them in an authoritative voice, and got them to elect representatives who then voted to ship their jobs offshore. (Don’t believe me? Please read John Dean’s “Conservatives without Conscience“.)

It’s important to realize that you have give control of some aspect of your life, however small, to someone else — and then to take it back, to make conscious choices about how you will govern this aspect of your life. You may, in the end, make the same choices you would have in the past, but by making them consciously, you have the freedom to re-choose if the original choices don’t work out too well.

A ‘negative’ event often opens up room for change, for better things to come in to take its place. As with my friend, Joe, last week, divorcing to end a bad marriage opens up the space for a new, better relationship to eventually take its place.

You can look at excrement as crap, or you can be grateful for it and use it as fertilizer!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Telephone Telepathy

For many years, I’ve suggested to my students that they try guessing who’s on the other end of the phone as a way to improve their psychic ability. (Of course, I do it, too!) Turns out that telephone telepathy is one of the most common forms of psychic ability. Watch the video — then make it a practice yourself!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

4 Surprising Reasons to Love Rain

Manifesting Money — or, Be Careful What You Ask For

This might sound over the top, even for me, but I swear, every word of this is true:

I really enjoy cooking. I like working with my hands, I love seeing a successful result from the work — and I love eating the fruits of my labor (pun intended)! So last Saturday afternoon, I had a marathon cooking session (chicken broth, wild rice & vegetable soup, polenta, a huge chopped salad, 2 beer-can chickens, healthy refried beans, and chocolate bread), to turn the farmers’ market’s bounty into meals for a week. As you can imagine, this took about 4 hours — and I was having a great time!

I was in the kitchen alone for the entire time, with all the doors closed. The door to the back deck was closed because it was really blustery, the door to the dining room was closed because my husband was working in there, and didn’t want to hear the noise of me banging around in the kitchen, and the door to the hall was closed because if it’s open when I cook, our overly sensitive smoke alarm goes off.

My husband and I were the only ones in the house.

My clothes had no pockets. I was in and out of the refrigerator constantly, in particular, using the vegetable bins which are at the bottom of the fridge. This meant that I saw the floor in front of the fridge regularly, and it was empty (okay, a little dirty, but empty).

After about 3 hours of cooking, there was a $20 bill, neatly folded in fourths, sitting on the floor directly in front of the refrigerator!

I questioned my husband — had he been in there the one time I went to the bathroom? No. And furthermore, he asked how the twenty looked on the floor. I told him in fourths, and he said, ‘couldn’t have been me — I fold my bills in half’, pulling a wad of greenbacks out of his pocket to show me.

There is a skirted sofa in the kitchen, next to the fridge, but even if there had been a twenty under there, how would it have gotten out? Remember there was no real air motion, because all the doors were closed. There is nowhere else a $20 bill could have hidden.

So I conclude that somehow I manifested the twenty!

Why would this be?

Well, my guides have been telling me for some time to chill, to quit working so hard (I’ve noticed that it does not seem to produce any significant result). And when I thought back, I realized that for several years (though I stopped a couple of years ago), I had done the following affirmation:

“By being who I am, and doing what I love, I now prosper beyond my wildest dreams.”

Perhaps, by doing this affirmation, I was precluding succeeding by working hard! Because if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. For me, doing sessions with people and teaching classes doesn’t feel like work, at least not often. But all that marketing stuff — definitely work! So maybe, by working hard at things I don’t love, I preclude the kind of prosperity which I simultaneously affirm.

I guess the question is this, does an affirmation preclude what is not consistent with it, e.g. ‘by being who I am and doing lots of things I hate, I now prosper beyond my wildest dreams’? I’m beginning to think so. After all, I was having a great time, cooking, which in my book is kind of f*#cking off, and there was the $20.

I have to admit that the idea that, having done that affirmation, working hard is a bad idea — really challenges me. (I grew up with that old Protestant work ethic.)

Now, how do I manifest a $10,000,000 cashier’s check? 🙂

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Entangled Minds: Skeptic agrees that remote viewing is proven

Entangled Minds: Skeptic agrees that remote viewing is proven

For a scientist (whose work I admire and use) to argue that you need higher standards of proof for remote viewing than other areas of science is just absurd.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How to Navigate This Economy

Things have changed. You can see it all around you, in the empty store fronts, the friends or relatives who have lost jobs or homes or businesses. Maybe you’re underwater on your home, or you’ve lost money in the stock market. Maybe your business is off. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched in one way or another.

And the things are not going back to the way they were any time soon. Consumer spending is 70% of the economy, and we’ve gone from having a slightly negative savings rate (people were not only spending everything they made, but also their savings and/or borrowing to spend) to one that is 5 – 6 %, and might approach 8% in the foreseeable future. More savings are great on an individual level, but if those savings are not lent out by the banks (which aren’t lending what they were in the recent past), there is less spending in the aggregate.

If you run a small business, you set the tone for your employees. You set the structure for your business, even if it’s just you. If you can’t keep your own act together, how will your business succeed? A lot of us small business owners are, as a friend of mine put it, ‘working harder for less’.

If you have a job, you know that you are being expected to produce more with fewer resources. This often translates into working more hours for the same pay. Or actually having your pay cut. This can feel like you aren’t appreciated, even if it’s happening company wide. And it’s hard to stay motivated when you feel unappreciated.

If you are looking for work, you know that finding it is basically a full-time), unpaid job. And it’s hard to stay motivated when you’re working hard for literally nothing. On top of that, you’re probably worrying about your financial situation.

But there are lots of things you can do to keep up your motivation! Here are three, and I’ll add to the list periodically:

  1. Accept reality without blame. Blaming never put you into a positive, creative place, and it never will. Try this now: think of a situation you’re unhappy with, and decide who is at fault. Now, imagine that person (or a person representing the institution) is standing in front of you, and point your finger and really accuse that person. Doesn’t feel very good, does it? Now, let that go, and just notice the details of the situation. Feels a bit better, right?
  2. Forgive yourself. The situation is what it is. Even if you had a hand in creating it, you were doing the best you could, given the information you had, and given the rules of the game as they were constituted at the time. Too much credit card debt from using the credit cards to pay medical bills? Did you have another choice? Maybe, maybe not, but you were doing the best you could, given your resources. That should feel a little better, too.
  3. Forgive everyone else. They were doing the best they could, given their situations and the rules of the game.

This should get you to a neutral place, so you can look clearly at where to go from here.

  1. Analyze the situation and decide where to go from here. Is business off? What can you do to improve it?Where can an increase come from? How can you apply what you do to things that people need? How can you lower your costs while you are rebuilding your business? What are you doing that isn’t bringing you business? Let go of it!
  2. Control your costs — which you have much more control over than you do over sales, or any other sort of income. Are there services you are paying for that you’re not using, like extra bandwidth on your ?
  3. See what you can learn from it. There are 2 levels of this:
  • First, the personal: Maybe you did something out of ignorance. Got into an exploding mortgage? Next time, you’ll read all the loan documents, and not sign them if you don’t like them or don’t understand them.
  • Second, the rules of the game: The rules of the game recently included huge, short term incentives on Wall St. for a series of asset bubbles (dot.com, real estate, etc.), and an increasing intertwining of big business (the military-industrial complex, big media, big pharma & health insurance companies) with government through campaign contributions. (Did you know that upon retirement, your Senators and Congressional Representatives get to keep unused monies in their campaign funds?) You may decide it’s now appropriate for you to work to change the rules of the game.

What happened to the economy — and what it portends for the future

From the Boston Globe:

“Minsky called his idea the “Financial Instability Hypothesis.” In the wake of a depression, he noted, financial institutions are extraordinarily conservative, as are businesses. With the borrowers and the lenders who fuel the economy all steering clear of high-risk deals, things go smoothly: loans are almost always paid on time, businesses generally succeed, and everyone does well. That success, however, inevitably encourages borrowers and lenders to take on more risk in the reasonable hope of making more money. As Minsky observed, “Success breeds a disregard of the possibility of failure.”

As people forget that failure is a possibility, a “euphoric economy” eventually develops, fueled by the rise of far riskier borrowers – what he called speculative borrowers, those whose income would cover interest payments but not the principal; and those he called “Ponzi borrowers,” those whose income could cover neither, and could only pay their bills by borrowing still further. As these latter categories grew, the overall economy would shift from a conservative but profitable environment to a much more freewheeling system dominated by players whose survival depended not on sound business plans, but on borrowed money and freely available credit.

Once that kind of economy had developed, any panic could wreck the market. The failure of a single firm, for example, or the revelation of a staggering fraud could trigger fear and a sudden, economy-wide attempt to shed debt. This watershed moment – what was later dubbed the “Minsky moment” – would create an environment deeply inhospitable to all borrowers. The speculators and Ponzi borrowers would collapse first, as they lost access to the credit they needed to survive. Even the more stable players might find themselves unable to pay their debt without selling off assets; their forced sales would send asset prices spiraling downward, and inevitably, the entire rickety financial edifice would start to collapse. Businesses would falter, and the crisis would spill over to the “real” economy that depended on the now-collapsing financial system.

Whole article here.

This is what it means for you:

  • We are going back to much more of a ‘pay as you go’ economy. You know, the one you grew up in if you’re over 40.
  • Retail sales (remember, 70% of the economy is consumer spending) are going to be at a much lower level for a long time, first because people have to pay off their debt, and then because they’ll have to save to buy things, because credit is and will be harder to come by.
  • We are actually experiencing deflation now. We all know real estate prices are down, sharply in many locations. But you know all those ‘sales’ at stores, even grocery stores? Those are deflation in action. Here’s a personal example: I bought my first GE toaster oven around 1977. I think I paid $29 for it. It broke and I bought a new one, sometime in the early 90’s — I think I paid $49. It broke and I bought a new one around 2001, again $49. It broke and I’m going to Target later today to buy a new one — ‘on sale’ at $15. Looks like pretty much the same model I’ve had, over and over again.
  • In deflation, people hang on to their cash. This makes sense, because you can buy an asset cheaper later than you can buy it now. Yet another reason for lower consumer spending.
  • This may not change for a generation or more. My grandparents were adults, raising their families during the Great Depression. My parents, who were kids then, were part of the ‘save before you spend’ crowd, and I am too, because they trained me well. People who got caught in a debt trap this time around, and their children, will remember this painful lesson for a long time.
  • You have to give people a REALLY good reason to buy something now, because they’ll begin to expect that they can get it more cheaply later. Or it has to be something for which they’re desperate.
  • What are people desperate for? Food, shelter, and clothing (although most of us have enough clothing to last us a few years). And end to their physical suffering, i.e. health care (though I understand that even Kaiser Permanente’s business is off). A way to stretch a dollar. A way to make more dollars to pay for food, shelter and clothing. Transportation to get to those places where they make the dollars. After that, it’s all ‘nice to have’. So how do you relate what you do to one of these things?
  • When people need things, they’re more likely to turn to the underground economy — paying in trade (I have a friend in rural OR who gets paid for some of her services in pot, which she then uses to pay other tradespeople), or in untraceable green cash.
  • People are more likely to buy things used — that’s part of the rise of craigslist and eBay. Flea markets will be busier, too, because people still like to handle the merchandise.
Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Is Happiness Catching? – NYTimes.com

Really great article and not just about happiness:

Is Happiness Catching? – NYTimes.com

My favorite findings:

– the more friends you have, the likelier you are to be happy
– your spouse’s weight will affect yours less than your best friend’s weight will

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Ever made a bad decision, even though part of you knew better?

You know how it is — you take a job, even though you have a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach. Or you get into a relationship, even though that still, small voice inside says, “No!” Or you say ‘yes’ to a project, even though a red light flashes internally.

It doesn’t have to be that way! You can learn how to access your own intuition, your own psychic abilities, and test them in a low stress atmosphere, so that you learn to trust that feeling, that voice, that vision. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s coming to a telephone near you.

I’ve been doing psychic readings as an expert intuitive for over 25 years. In that time, I’ve teased apart the building blocks of intuition. After you know what these building blocks are, you’ll begin to identify what your special gifts are, and how they manifest for you. You’ll also learn an undetectable method of using your hands to get information anywhere, any time, under any circumstance.

Once you know these things, you can practice — the class provides safe opportunities to practice. You’ll also learn how to practice on your own, so you can build the self confidence to trust your intuition when it really counts — for the job offer, the relationship, the project.

The class meets twice a month for 5 months — and the first month costs only $1!

To learn more, click here. Space is limited, so if you already know this is for you, call me now at 888-4-hollis to sign up.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

10 Coach’s Tips for Getting Yourself to Do Something You HATE

We all have things we need to do that we don’t want to do. As a coach, I know many of them. I found myself having to put a few to use this morning to get myself to do my bookkeeping (which I hate), and I thought I’d share them with you.

  1. Chunk it down — Break it into smaller pieces, so it doesn’t look so huge. For me, this means saying, I’ll just balance one electronic checkbook today.
  2. Time delimit it — This is a variation of ‘chunk it down’: you’re chunking by time instead of by the task. For example, I’ll just work on this for one hour each day.
  3. Set up a reward system — Reward yourself for doing a set amount of the chore, or accomplishing some goal. The rewards have to come often enough to keep you motivated, but not so often that they mean nothing, or that you get nothing done. For example, for each hour I spend working on the project, I get a 10 minute break.
  4. Set up accountability — This can be a partner (including a coach) to whom you must report, or it can be a negative consequence for not doing what you promised. There is economic research to show that this works very well. Perhaps a $100 check to someone else’s favorite charity?
  5. Remind yourself of the natural negative consequences of not doing it — for example, if I don’t do my bookkeeping (ever), my taxes never get done and I end up with a huge IRS problem. Make this look bigger and bigger, and you’ll get it done.
  6. Find a way to make it pleasant — Can you play music while you do it? Listen to the radio? Watch TV? (I actually listen to daytime TV, which makes me feel like I’m at a coffee klatsch, instead of doing a chore.)
  7. Set up a regular time to do it — if it’s not a one time thing. So I’ll just do the bookkeeping at a set time each day. This, btw, is particularly good for exercise, because your body gets used to it, and the day will begin to feel wrong if you don’t exercise when you’re used to doing it.
  8. Do it with a friend — This one doesn’t apply to bookkeeping, so I’ll use a different example. Years ago, I was bemoaning the need to clean out my garage to a friend, who confessed the same need. We decided to do it together, one Saturday at her garage, and one at mine. And that actually made it fun! It went more than twice as fast, and working with someone who is emotionally neutral about the task makes it easier. (I didn’t see that ugly umbrella stand as a gift from her long dead aunt, I just saw it as unused and really hideous. That made it much easier for her to give it away.) Plus we exchanged some charity pile items, so working in my friend’s garage felt a bit like Christmas to me, as working in my garage did for her.
  9. Delegate it — You can pay people to do many things! (Honestly, delegating bookkeeping hasn’t worked too well for me, so if you’ve had a good experience, let me know.) And even if you can’t afford to pay someone, you might be able to trade with a friend. I was a horrible typist (and am still working on those keyboarding skills — many blessing to spell check programs), so in college, I used to hem a friend’s pants in exchange for her typing my papers.
  10. Remove the underlying resistance — There’s generally a deeper reason why you don’t want to do something, and if you remove that, the resistance goes away, and you just do it. If you’d like to do that, please call me, because shifting a deeper level issue is unique to the person and the issue, one size does not fit all.

And then, just do it!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

On (Not) Being a Fan

I really don’t get the whole idea of being a fan of someone. I don’t mean fan, as in I-really-enjoy-that-music, which I certainly do. I appreciate talent and skill, especially when they come together, in any field, from singing to dancing to figure skating to waiting tables or knitting, all of which can be an art form. I honor and respect anyone who really masters these or any other skills, which is what elevates them from craft to art.

No, I don’t get being a fan (short for ‘fanatic’), as in I-love-everything-she-does-have-to-have-the-CD-immediately-willing-to-camp-out-in-line-for-tickets-to-every-concert-buy-the-tee-shirt-follow-her-on-Twitter-and-cut-my-hair-like-hers. I don’t get it, and I never have. When I was 5 or 6, my Mom (bless her heart) took my toddler sister and me to see the movie, “A Hard Day’s Night”. I didn’t get why all those teenage girls were screaming their heads off. Yes, the Beatles were the hottest thing on Earth, but they weren’t even in the theater — it was a movie.

So when Michael Jackson died, I said as much to my sister, now a very wise woman, who replied, “People see God through these very talented people.” Okay, that I get. I do really get that Michael Jackson was channeling energy, at least some of the time, and that that experience can be called ‘seeing God’. In an interview on ABC news, Martin Bashir asked him what he thought when he danced, and he answered words to the effect of “I don’t think; you can’t think, because that ruins it; you just have to be the music”. Umm, doesn’t that sound like channeling music through the body? And wow, was he a superlative dancer.

I think this second type of fan creates a number of problems, both for the fan, and more obviously for the channel, aka celebrity. It seems to me that if you’re a fan, you’re probably not honoring your own ability to channel, or to touch God, or have God flow through you, or however you want to say it. What a waste, for the fan and for the world!

The problem for the celebrity/channel is that fans don’t discriminate between the person, who is just as human as anyone else (which is probably why one of People magazine’s most popular features is something like “Celebrities are Just Like You and Me”), and the channeled energy, which is special. So the channels get treated like deities, and can lose touch with reality, especially if their adulation began quite young, before they even knew who they were. Wouldn’t that at least partly explain the meltdowns of Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, and of course, Michael Jackson?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Flashbulbs!

How do you know one of your non-physical friends (aka guides or angels) is around? There are a lot of ways. Some people feel things, some people hear them, some see things and/or the spirits themselves. I’m not much of a feeler, but I hear my guides internally, and I see internally. Lately, I’m beginning to see things externally, too.

I was teaching my Intuition Development teleclass recently, and saw a ‘flashbulb’ go off in the (otherwise empty) room, just a few feet away from me. It was about the size and shape of a firefly, but turned on and off much faster, at the speed of a flashbulb, which is why I’m calling it that. It could not have been a firefly, as it was broad daylight in the room, much too bright to see a firefly’s light.

I have seen these before, and they are generally white or a deep, but bright, blue or purple. And I know they are caused by my guides’ presence. Here’s the thing — I saw them for many years, but dismissed them as a figment of my imagination, until someone else mentioned them to me — and showed them to me on video.

So if you have ever seen these ‘flashbulbs’, don’t dismiss them. They are not figments of your imagination; on the contrary, I believe they are evidence of a guide’s presence.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

SCORE!

Wow! Manifestation is easy! Let me say it again:

  • be clear what you want,
  • know it will come to you,
  • relax and let it go.
  • Follow your inner promptings.
  • Do your part.

And the universe provides. I had another example today.

In 1997, when I bought my house in Mill Valley, I bought my very first gas grill. It was $79, the smallest model. It came in a tiny box, and I put it together myself, from the directions. I used it every summer (some winters, too), but it didn’t come with a cover, and I didn’t understand the necessity of getting one. Over the last couple of years, we’ve lost the knob to one side of the grill, and so have to use pliers to use the entire grill surface. This annoys me enough that I rarely use the grill. In any case, the grill doesn’t owe me anything. But I don’t have anyone who can fix it for me — no way to buy a single knob these days, either.

I got very clear what I wanted: a gas barbecue with a side burner, small enough to fit the available space, and under $100. So last summer, I shoppped half-heartedly for a new one, idly looking at different models to see which were small enough to fit, and checking prices. When barbecues went on sale at the end of summer, the model I wanted came down to $99. Since there was only one left, the floor model, it was already assembled, which was the good news and the bad news. I didn’t have to put it together, but it wouldn’t fit it in my car, either. I put it on hold, and told them I’d be back the next day with a truck and someone to help move it. When we went back the next day, it had been sold!

A few weeks ago, I went back to Lowe’s, but they no longer carry the model I wanted, and all the new ones are too big for my space. I wasn’t desperate for a new barbecue — it’s not like I went to other stores to check their inventory. So I let it go.

———————————————————————————–

Normally, I use my morning exercise time to run errands. I walk, as quickly as I can, to the bank, the library, the drugstore, the gym, and a few different grocery stores, with different specialty items, so most mornings, I have a destination. This morning, I had none, for the first time in about 8 months.

I remembered the running workout I’d been given last fall by Mike Spino, running coach extraordinaire, and thought, well, today is the day to go up to the old high school and use its decrepit track to work out. [I was following my intuition.] I walked up to the track, and just as I arrived, I noticed that the last house before the high school had a ‘free’ sign taped to a barbecue — the exact model I’d wanted! But did it work? Who knew? There were also some used bricks, as well as some lumber scraps and used window blinds.

I’m a sucker for used bricks — there are a million uses for them. But it wasn’t clear if the bricks were free, so I knocked on the door. No answer. I decided I’d do the workout, walk home, get the car, and come back for the bricks, which were probably free. [I took action.] When I got back to pick up the bricks, the garage door opened, and the homeowner emerged! And sure enough, the bricks were free, and even better, the barbecue worked, just needed a tank of propane! I took the FREE sign off the barbecue, put it on the pile of lumber, and arranged with the homeowner to come back later for it, with my husband and his car, which is larger than mine.

Tonight, we went back for the barbecue. There was no way it would fit in the car. So I wheeled it home, 1/3 of a mile or so, downhill and uphill. My husband helped me get it through the house to the back deck. I attached the propane tank from the dying barbecue, and the new one really does work! The universe provides.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Amen Clinics Study on Meditation Using Brain SPECT Imaging

We just received some exciting news here at the Amen Clinics. A study we conducted on the effects of meditation on the brain will be appearing in an upcoming issue of the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications, one of the premiere journals in the field of nuclear medicine.

For years, I’ve been recommending meditation to my patients as a great way to relieve stress, increase focus, and improve relaxation. In our practice, we have seen patients with Alzheimer’s disease or who have had a stroke make great improvements thanks to meditation. With this study, we set out to examine what happens in the brain during meditation to bring about these positive benefits.

We performed the study in conjunction with Dharma Singh Kalsa at the Alzheimer’s Prevention Research Foundation in Arizona and Dr. Andrew Newberg at the University of Pennsylvania. Together, we examined changes in brain physiology during Kirtan Kriya meditation using SPECT imaging.

Here’s what we found. The left posterior parietal lobe, a region known to control spatial orientation, was deactivated during meditation. Consistent with this finding, the participants reported a sense of transcendence or detachment.

The subjects also reported an increased sense of focus and capacity for concentration, although we did not find increased activation in the attentional networks of the brain. This suggests that it is the willful act of focusing, not necessarily the mere act of meditating, that improves attention.

We also found heightened activity in the areas associated with working memory and language. Deactivation in a region called the subgenual cingulated gyrus might explain subjective reports of happiness and a sense of well-being while meditating.

Overall, the results offer evidence that this form of meditation changes brain function in a way that is consistent with the positive benefits we have observed in our patients.

Try meditation in your own life to enhance brain function and reduce stress. Just a few minutes a day may be all you need to see results.

[hat tip, Seth]

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Michael Beckwith, Live

A friend invited me to an event in Sf where Michael Beckwith, the minister of Agape Church, and one of the people featured in the DVD, “The Secret”, is speaking today. He is a truly inspiring speaker, who spouts great, memorable on-liners about every 30 seconds. He preaches spirituality, as opposed to religion, in the excitable, sliding cadences of the black church. He never mentions any religious dogma, and it takes a while before he even gets around to using the word, “God”. It makes me think of Jesus, who was also preaching spirituality, not dogma. And I guess the ‘good news’ that you are a part of God is inspiring all by itself.

He talks about reincarnation as if it is a fact (which it pretty well is, if you read the works of Ian Stevenson, M.D.). He does some of his preaching with his eyes closed, and I do wonder if he was channeling some of what he said.

I had planned to Twitter from the session, but since I couldn’t get onto the hotel’s network, here are a few gems from this morning (though my poor notes don’t really capture his talk very well):

  • “The facts of matter are not the truth of spirit” – What you see is the congelaing of ideas, some of which are lies.
  • A lie is law, until it is neutralized” – We are taught to believe in scarcity, lack, limitation, poverty, war, etc. as if they are a fact of human existence. They are NOT. It is up to us to change out paradigm. There is plenty, there is enough.
  • We are taught to worship fear” – on the nightly news, set to music.
  • God speaks through inspiration, revelation, insight.
  • God can only count to one.” [my personal favority]
  • Quantity is only in the mind of man, not of God.
  • There are no delays in the mind of God.” [ Well, of course, if time isn’t real, how can delays be? HP]
  • “God is seeking to become more itself through each individual.”
  • You WILL evolve; your only choice is to do it through pain or joy.” [Like the affirmation gave me years ago: learn through awareness and joy. HP]
  • Everything is speaking itself into expression through you — the Universe is saying, “Tag, you’re it!”
  • I went to bed and fell awake.” Followed by a great story of experiencing being God, as expressed through different individuals.

As a trainer, I got some great insights, too, about having people breathe together to increase their unity. He also has each half of the audience appreciate the other half with a standing ovation — a concretization of “God don’t make no trash”, as a friend once said to me, or “You have value just because you exist”, as my guides put it. Really wonderful! And that was just the morning!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Love and Unity

My friend, Kit, also a talented channel, called the other day to say she’d just had this amazing insight: beyond identity is where the ‘I am’ presence lives.

That makes sense to me. If you let go of your identity as, say, a woman, wife, mother, American, hypnotherapist, even of past life identities here and/or on other planets, what’s left? Pure existence.

Many years ago, my guides showed me a vision of the heart chakra as a sort of valve. If you turn a person inside out, kind of like you would a sock, at the heart chakra, you get the universe, or oneness, or God, or the ‘I am’ presence, or whatever you want to call it. And that’s how we’re all connected, how we’re all one — when you turn each of us inside out at the heart chakra, you end up in the same place!

I explained this to Kit, who then asked me, ‘Well, then, what is love? How is this different from love?’ And this was the answer from m guides:

Love is sort of the opposite of the experience of God. To experience oneness, you go out through you heart chakra to All That Is. To love, you bring the universe’s energy through your heart chakra into the physical world. Often, but not always, you direct love to someone or something, but that’s not actually necessary.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What’s the single best question to ask NOW for your self-development?

Q: What’s the single best question to ask yourself, anywhere, any time, for your self-development?
A: What does this have to teach me?

It’s long been popular in spiritual/self-development circles for people to ask, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” in the face or aftermath of a crisis. And that’s useful. But it’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about asking the question, “What does this have to teach me?” about things in your environment. Here are a few examples from the room I’m in while I write this:

  • Salt lamp – A salt lamp is a hunk of pink sea salt (i.e. salt precipitated from sea water back when the land where it is found was underwater), hollowed out and fitted with a low wattage light bulb, and set on a wooden disk for a base, with an electrical cord.What does the salt lamp have to teach me? It teaches that light comes through structure, and that both are necessary for manifestation in the physical world. Light without structure is formless, and so not obvious, not really seen; structure without light is literally in the dark and not seen. Also, it teaches that illumination comes from within, and from the connection to ‘all that is’ (in the lamp’s case, electricity).
  • Wooden Armoire – What does the armoire have to teach me? It teaches that something can have structure and solidity, but also be open to hold space for others. I choose what those things are. It also teaches that structure supports (I have baskets holding scarves, etc. on top of the armoire & necklaces hanging from the door knobs.)
  • Black UniBall pen – What doe sthe pen have to teac h me? It teaches that simply being a tool that energy can flow through to communicate with others is useful (when I write with it, I communicate, but I also am a tool of communication for higher energies). Darkness (black ink) can be useful, sometimes just because of contrast (with white paper). Even those things that communicate can also adhere (clip on side of pen).

If you do this for a while, you’ll notice that the world is almost literally screaming lessons at you, profound truths that you just have to pay attention to notice. I suspect, having just stumbled upon this today, that the lessons each person learns from the objects they choose to focus on will be the perfect lessons for that person at that moment. So you really can’t go wrong!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Trees!

Wow! I went out for my usual walk this morning, maintaining a new state, pulling Source energy down through my crown chakra. There is an area I walk through several times a week, the large central part of a condominium complex, that has many trees, as well as some lawn and a pool. When I came onto this central area from a side path, maintaining my new state, I could see the energy that makes a tree! It kind of spirals up from the ground, and I think maybe it spirals down from the sky, too. When I looked more closely at many of the trees, I could see how branches, or leaves, or bark, or the bend of the trunk all matched this spiraling energy. And I swear that at least one of the trees was hugely happy that I noticed, as if it were saying to me, “Wow! You really see me! Not just my form, but ME.” And isn’t that what we all want?

I mentioned seeing this energy to a friend, a fellow channel, who said that she got a big smile in her heart from it, which is one of the ways she recognizes truth, and heard a tree laughing, thrilled that I saw it. Then I mentioned it to a chirpopractor friend, who said that he had heard about the spiraling energy from friends who had spent weeks alone in the Sierras, when they came back. (I only mention this because it validates what I saw, and honestly, as out there as I am, I’m still a bit afraid you might think I’ve really lost it this time.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Who’s in charge here?

I’ve been privileged to be the listing agent on a home that is in short sale. It’s not something I went looking for, it fell in my lap because of the good reputation I had in the days when I was a real estate broker for a living. The lesson here is: It pays to maintain that license — you never know when it will come in handy.

The home is in good condition, well-maintained, but it was built in the 1930s, when building codes weren’t what they are today. That means that the foundation is considered inadequate, though it held up fine during the 1989 earthquake, the sewer lines are too small by today’s standards, etc.

We had an agreement for a purchase price that satisfied both the first and second lenders. The first lender was getting almost all their money back, and under CA law, can’t get a deficiency judgment on a purchase money first mortgage. They agreed to this amount because the offer was about the same as the value put on the house by the bank’s appraiser. The second lender was getting pennies on the dollar at close, because the first lender knows they won’t settle without some payment. Although the second mortgage holder can get a deficiency judgment against the (former) homeowner under CA law, apparently it’s common to settle these after the sale, for a few more pennies on the dollar. (I really have to wonder about the financial strength of the banks here, and the efficacy of the stress tests — I suspect that these junior liens are being carried on the books at a lot more than 10 cents on the dollar.)

It’s common for a buyer to try to renegotiate a bit after inspections, when the termite, contractor’s and other inspections put a price on the repairs to be done. And usually, you can finesse a few thousand dollars, by everyone kicking in some — seller, both agents, and the buyer compromising their request. But holy carp! The buyer is asking for a price reduction so big that it wipes out the pennies on the dollar for the second (which they would never agree to in any case), both agents and a huge chunk of the first mortgage. I really don’t know if this is posturing, or if the buyer doesn’t really want the house, but figures, hey, if I can get it for that much less than the appraised value, hell, then it’s worth it.

Here’s the weird part: the owner/seller of the house is not in a position to decide what happens, what counteroffer is made. The first lender is. So who really owns the house? Who’s in charge here? And in fact, since the seller realizes that the amount that the house sells for won’t change his situation one iota, he’s pretty neutral. The homeowner here has effectively become the agent of the bank. How weird is that? There used to be an old joke, something people would say when they bought a house with a mortgage, which was that the bank owned the house. In a short sale, it’s pretty much true. The seller owns the house in name only, and the banks make all the decisions.

That brings me to the bigger questions. What happens when someone has no equity? And what is equity, anyway? I think that here, equity doesn’t just mean housing equity, it means a stake in the economy, a stake in our society.

One can definitely have a stake in society without a financial stake — that’s called community, or emotional connection. But so much of what used to be supplied by community has been replaced by market forces (think restaurants instead of home-cooked food, cleaning services instead of the family cleaning the house, car detailing instead of Dad washing the car, child care centers instead of Mom or Grandma or a neighbor watching the kids), that non-financial equity has declined substantially, over at least the last 30 years, replaced by financial equity — money, in one form or other.

So as our financial equity declines, we have to/are substituting community again. That substitution, though, has consequences for the economy. As more people are out of work, they are substituting community for things they used to pay for. That puts more people out of work. So the monetary economy declines, while the non-monetary community grows stronger and larger.

But what happens to someone who has no financial equity, and no community ties? Do they become violent, because they’re angry, and don’t care what happens to them? Do they become depressed and suicidal? And as a society, what do we do about that?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Zen Boogie, Part 2

Yesterday, thanks to abnormally warm weather and the glories of the wetsuit, I was able to swim in the Pacific Ocean. There are days when the origin of the name, Pacific, becomes obvious, and this was one of them — the sea was like old glass, barely rippling, at Linda Mar beach. Body surfing was clearly out, so I decided to swim distance, parallel to the shore. And as always, the ocean had a lot to teach:

  • You can never sit still. The ocean is always moving, and because it is so much bigger than you, it will move you, often in unpredictable ways. You may be unaware of your shifting, but it’s happening nonetheless. Life is like that, too — you’re immersed in a sea of never-ending physical, cultural, emotional and psychological changes and cross-currents, so your relationship to everything changes, whether you want it to or not. In fact, it changes whether you are aware of it or not.
  • You are not in control. If you do nothing, you go where the ocean (the culture) wants you to go. If you swim, you can affect your own trajectory and position, but you are always dealing with the larger force of the ocean — and it is much more powerful than you are.
  • You have to be aware of the larger forces, to maneuver successfully within them. If you don’t notice the tide pulling you out to sea, you’ll never get back to shore. If you don’t notice that people are driving less and wanting more fuel efficient cars, first because of high gasoline prices and then because they realize they’ve been incredibly wasteful, you’ll keep making gas-guzzling cars.
  • To keep your bearings, you have to swim toward something. If you keep swimming toward a goal (a landmark on the shore, for example), you’ll at least know you’re going in the right direction, and you’ll be aware of where you are, even if you don’t get there. In fact, when you swim in nature, you almost never swim to the thing you are sighting on — by definition, it has to be big enough to see from water level quite far away, so it’s often something tall that you cannot literally swim to, like a lighthouse or mountain peak. You can only swim in its direction; you can never get there, because it isn’t at the water’s edge. This is why you have to have goals — you have to work toward something to keep your bearings, even if you never attain your goal.
  • Waves arise and break, even on the calmest days. You can enjoy them, or not. You can enjoy that unexpected rise and fall, or you can curse the fact that it put you off course slightly. Your choice, but it’s your only choice, because the waves will arise and break either way.
  • Perspective is a result of where you stand. 50 yards from shore, you can’t even see those rocks that were so difficult to navigate as you picked your way down to the water. Terns get very territorial when you’re in their patch of ocean. Try a different perspective — go somewhere unusual, or try standing on your head!
  • People come equipped with different perceptual abilities. The ocean is pretty murky at Linda Mar, even on a calm day, so you can’t see down through the water at all. With a mask and snorkel, though, you can easily see what’s under the surface. Yes, this particular improvement in perception is artifical, but it’s true for all sorts of abilities — some people hear better than others, some have a more acute sense of smell, some see clairvoyantly better than others, etc.

(Here’s the original Zen Boogie post.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Fundamental Dichotomy of Churches (and Ashrams, etc.)

Churches (here I include ashrams, temples, etc., but for convenience will use the word ‘church’ to denote all of these) actually have 2 purposes:

  • the development of the members’ spirituality
  • community

The announced purpose of a church is to develop its members’ spirituality, no matter what language you’d like to use to describe this: moral sense, closeness to God (Allah, J_w_, etc.), etc. Thus the prayers, meditations, sermons, etc.

The other purpose of the church is to foster community, so we have people with whom to learn, to celebrate, to mourn, to share daily joys and sorrows, to learn, to play, to share food, to raise children.

But for the person who is growing faster spiritually than the community is growing, these two begin to feel like they are antithetical to each other. That is, I want to be part of the community, because of the warm feeling and support I feel as part of it, but it limits my spiritual development, because to stay at one with the community, I have to develop more slowly than I’d really like to develop, or maybe not develop at all. What I choose depends on which is my higher priority — my development or my participation in the community. So if it’s more important to me to grow spiritually, then I’ll move on, perhaps to another community, or perhaps to none at all. If it’s more important to me to have community, I will either compromise my development, or hide my development.

This dichotomy plays out for the church as a whole, too. Each church member’s spiritual development happens at its own pace — some don’t develop at all, others bound ahead, still others grow at a moderate pace in their understanding. So at what rate does the community as a whole develop? Generally not with those who are changing the fastest. Perhaps it develops at the rate of the slowest, or perhaps at the rate of the bulk of the members. Whatever rate it changes at, will not suit everyone.

But community thrives on stability and with numbers — the more people who are in the community, the more there are for the support of all in good times and bad. The longer they are there, the more trust there is among them, and therefore the group is stronger, too. So it is natural for the community to want to keep people to keep them ‘in the fold’. That means keeping them growing (or even not growing) spiritually at the same rate, which will, by definition, be inappropriate for some members. The means people will keep coming and going as they match the spiritual intent/level of the church. But it’s bad for community to have constant change in its membership.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Not Enough Bandwidth

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I just don’t have enough bandwidth!

wordnet.princeton.edu defines “bandwidth” as

‘a data transmission rate; the maximum amount of information (bits/second) that can be transmitted along a channel’

What I mean is, there is too much information trying to come in and go out. I am

  • checking out a new market for my psychic/coaching services
  • learning several new types of software,necessary to my work
  • channeling every morning with a friend, and
  • representing the seller as a real estate broker on a short sale.

All of these take time, and all, except the channeling, require learning.

Perhaps you are in a similar predicament — you’re working, and trying to stay on top of things there, worried about your job or business, and so learning new skills or ways to market your services, not to mention taking care of a home and/or family. Do you feel overwhelmed? Or, like me, do you just have a problem setting priorities? Because priorities are necessary whenever you have limited resources, like bandwidth.

The first thing to remember is how much you are trying to do in how little time. So forgive yourself for not getting it all done right now. Take a deep breath.

Remember, there is a difference between urgency and importance. Urgent things have to be done now or calamity ensues (does it really?). Important things will make a huge difference in the quality of your life down the road. What is really important here? What will make the biggest difference in your life down the road?

When I think about setting my own priorities, they look like this:

  1. Things that will keep me healthy (e.g. sleep, exercise, good food, maintaining good relationships), because without good health, I can’t do anything else
  2. Things that will bring in money today, including keeping my on-going commitments (scheduled clients and classes)
  3. Things that are are most likely to most positively affect the bottom line in the future
  4. Everything else (like bookkeeping)

Within these broad categories, there is still a lot of room, for a couple of reasons. First, the answer to the same question can vary day to day. Is is more important to my health to sleep a bit more or to exercise today? Today, the exercise is more important. But last Saturday, after I’d been out ridiculously late on Friday night, the sleep was more important.

Second, in some cases, things are out of your control and you’re working with probabilities. The commission on the short sale is not insignificant — but it’s very iffy. The buyer and the seller have agreed on the price, and both of the shorted lenders have signed off. (This took a full 30 days.) But the buyer has to approve the inspections of the property, which are scheduled a mere 4 days before the lenders’ approvals expire, and close within those 4 days, 2 of which are Saturday and Sunday — or we begin all over again with the lenders, and this time, they could reject the agreement. So how much sense does it make to put a lot of time into this?

The standard business school way of evaluating an iffy proposition is to multiply the expected return from a positive outcome by the percentage chance that that outcome will happen, and use that to compare outcomes. What’s the percentage chance of success? This is where intuition comes in — you make an informed guess. (Or you can call me to ‘look’ at it with you.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Mind over matter — for pain, too!

Throw out those painkillers: the secret to solving physical aches may lie in using a pair of binoculars the wrong way round, claims research performed at Oxford University.

The study, published in Current Biology, reveals how powerfully pain and even swelling can be a product of our mental attitude.

Researchers asked ten people who suffered chronic pain in one arm to move the limb around while looking at it through a pair of binoculars that were either the right or wrong way round;

When they saw their arm magnified to double its size, the patients reported that their levels of pain increased, but when they exercised the arm while watching a minimised image of it through
inverted binoculars, their pain levels were cut significantly.

But it was not only their perceived pain levels that changed, says the lead researcher, G. Lorimer Moseley. Their levels of physical swelling in the affected areas were also reduced through using the backwards binocular trick.

Moseley says he is not sure how this phenomenon works in terms of specific neurons firing, but he believes that The brain changes its protective responses according to its perception of danger levels. if it looks bigger, it looks sorer, therefore the brain acts to protect it,” he explains.

In effect, the binocular trick offers a much simpler and cheaper version of a pain-lowering brain-scan.

Moseley hopes that the optical-trick discovery will lead to a practical method for lowering pain and trauma levels in hospitals.

[This was sent to me by a fellow hypnotherapist, hat tip, Seth-Deborah — but did not include a link. Sorry.]

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Real ‘Being Erica’

‘Being Erica’ is a Canadian soap opera which airs in the US on the cable TV channel, SoapNet. Erica describes herself as a cute 32 year old, with a good education, a dead-end job and no real love life to speak of. In the pilot, she wanders into a therapist’s office, and the therapist sends her back in time for a ‘do over’ of an incident that affected her ability to, say, stand up for herself, which set up her current situation.

It’s done really well, with great spinning special effects which move her from today to ‘then’, in the body she had at the time. That lets her take today’s wisdom back to that time, and do it over, in a way that will have a more positive outcome.

The thing is — you really can do that! Just without the special effects. I’ve been guiding clients through ‘do overs’ for over 15 years now, with some astounding results. Things seem to change effortlessly for my clients after that — all of a sudden, she is, say, standing up for herself, or choosing better guys to date, or he’s dealing with his father more effectively. And it usually takes under an hour.

So if you have a problem of long standing, something that you just can’t seem to shift, call me at 888-4-hollis (888-446-5547), and we’ll do a ‘do over’!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

A Simple Way to Cultivate Non-attachment

I hadn’t heard from Sally, a long-time friend, in quite a while, either by phone or email. I got a little worried, as this really isn’t like her. I called a few weeks ago, left messages on both her home and cell phones, and she didn’t return the call. So I called again yesterday, and she picked up the phone! Hooray!

Now, Sally is unbelievably capable. At one point, she was raising a son as a single mom, running an apartment complex — and finishing her undergraduate degree at Harvard. She has always managed to provide for herself and her (now grown) son — often quite well. But she bought too much investment real estate too late in the bubble, and is now underwater on all of it — not to mention its negative cash flow. Luckily she’s still employed, still likes her job. And she’s writing a book to help others cope with the chronic illness her son has.

She said she’s been hiding out. That she really doesn’t want to see me, or anyone for that matter. That sometimes, during the week, she’ll make plans with someone for Saturday or Sunday, and then not be up to following through when it gets around to the weekend. She said something that struck me, though — that she’s had to let go of her identity as a successful business woman.

I’m not sure I agree with her. She still had all the successes she had — she just made a bad judgment or three.

In any case, as people lose jobs, or homes, or investments, they are letting go of their identities as successful workers, or homeowners or prosperous investors. Perhaps letting go of the identity is more painful than the actual loss — after all, as Sally says, you wouldn’t know anything was different by how I live — nothing’s really changed.

I ruminated on her comments all day yesterday, and woke up in the middle of the night with this exercise:

1) Get a lined 8.5×11″ pad.
2) In a column down the left side, write a series of “I am” statements, filling the page. Here are a few examples:

  • I am a human being.
  • I am a woman.
  • I am a homeowner.
  • I am a teacher.
  • I am afraid.

3) Next to each one, write a ‘/’ an then the corresponding “I am not” statements, like this:

  • I am a human being./ I am not a human being
  • I am a woman./ I am not a woman.
  • I am a homeowner./ I am not a homeowner.
  • I am a teacher./ I am not a teacher./
  • I am afraid./ I am not afraid.

4) Ask yourself how both of those things can be true. So,

  • I am a human being — but I am a spirit in a human body.
  • I am a woman, but as a spirit, I may or may not be female.
  • I am a homeowner — but does my home more own me?
  • I am a teacher, but I do other things, as well.
  • I am afraid — some of the time, but much of the time I am not afraid.

The effect should be a real neutrality, or non-attachment.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Meaningful Work

In his book, “Outliers, The Story of Success”, Malcolm Gladwell defines meaningful work as work that has

  • complexity
  • autonomy
  • a connection between effort and reward

I agree, and I think I’d take it further. More than just complexity, it needs a degree of difficulty that is a ‘stretch’ for the worker (if I remember correctly, this comes from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s “Flow”). This ‘stretch’ will, of course, be constantly changing, because what begins as a ‘stretch’ eventually, through practice, becomes quite easy. When you rode a bicycle for the first time, it was really hard! And pretty soon, it became so second nature that you almost didn’t notice you were doing it. Of course, if the stretch is too great, you get frustrated, because there is no reward for all that effort.

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines ‘autonomy‘ as being self-governing or functioning independently of other parts. Obviously, the level of autonomy varies from the relatively low level of the assembly line worker to the relatively high ones of the solopreneur or research scientist. Those with the lowest level of autonomy, that is, the lowest amount of control over their work, tend to have adverse health outcomes because of it. I suspect that above some minimum level, however, different people prefer different levels of autonomy.

The connection between effort and reward is a bit murkier, however. What sorts of rewards? Monetary? Benefits? Appreciation? Status? And what happens when the relationship between effort and reward changes for the worse, i.e. more work, less reward? I know I’ve had several small business owners remark to me that “I’m working harder for less” in the last few months — and it’s true for me, as well.

So what do you do if that connection between effort and reward isn’t what it used to be? Here are a few ideas about where to look for that improved connection between work and reward (in no particular order):

  • Realize that things have shifted — permanently. You can call it the economy, but it’s really larger than that. The industrial model (more or bigger is always better, regimentation) has broken down. The earth can’t support it, for one thing. Factory farming (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) is poisoning the earth, from toxic fertilizers to seeds that are controlled by one company to poisonous vats of excrement. Fossil fuel, which is what allowed our industrial culture to flourish, is causing global warming — and is running out. (That may be a good thing, in the long run, but it’s destabilizing in the short run.) Treating people like numbers for health care doesn’t work, either. We are moving to appreciating each person’s unique make up.
  • Looking backwards isn’t likely to help. The earth supported many fewer people before the industrial revolution than it does now. The speed of the internet, and the connections it makes, are genuinely new, and not likely to go away.
  • The speed of processing has outstripped human rational thinking. We all need to process faster — and the fastest human processing is intuition. So begin working with yours so that you learn to trust it. (And call me if you’d like some help there — either in private sessions or in classes.)
  • People do still have needs — food, clothing, shelter, health, safety, connection/belonging, and self-actualization — but you may want to consider how your talents, skills and resources can be useful lower down on Maslow’s hierarchy. Anything that helps with health (human or the earth’s) or efficiency, i.e. doing more with less, is probably a good idea.
  • At some level, you agreed to be here, on Earth, at this interesting/critical time. So part of you knows that, and knows what you came here to do — and it may well not be what you think. Listen to your own heart — it knows.
  • Count your blessings regularly. That will both point you in the right direction and keep your spirits up.
  • Group effort and sharing are key to this. There’s an old problem, referred to as the commons problem. If a community has a finite amount of grazing area available to it, what’s best for an individual herd owner is to have as many cows as possible. But if everyone does this, there are too many cows, they’re all sickly, the land gets overgrazed and in the long run, won’t support very many cows at all. What’s best for the community is for them to agree on the number of cows that’s best for the community and how they’re going to apportion that number. (Apparently, they actually did this with the fish in the waters off Iceland — mentioned incidentally in Michael Lewis’ wonderful article about Iceland’s financial meltdown.)

It’s an incomplete list, and I’m working the murkiness like everyone else. Co-housing, anyone? Want to to add to the list?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Manifestation

A couple of nights ago, I was at a friend’s home, a loft in downtown SF, with a few others, chatting about our businesses. I forget how it came up, but I told my friends some of the amazing things that have happened as a result of the mantra I sing internally (for other examples, click here, here and here). So I volunteered to do it briefly for them.

So we sat in a circle and meditated, with me thinking the sounds of the mantra. After a while, I just felt like it was enough, so I stopped. We all opened our eyes, and the homeowner said, “Do you hear that?” Everyone else said yes immediately. It took me a moment to pay attention to the sounds around me, which I hadn’t been doing, because I’d been listening to the sounds in my mind. Wow! There were voices toning — it was beautiful, kind of like harmonious chanting. It lasted for 5 – 10 seconds and faded out. But then the toning started again a few minutes later. This went on, alternating toning and silence, for probably 45 minutes!

The homeowner said there was no way it could be her neighbors, that in 8 years of living there, she’d never heard a sound from any of them, so that wasn’t it. One woman went up and down the hallway, trying to find the source, but she couldn’t find anything, either.

So now I know that whatever I’m bringing through can not only heal people physically, but also manifest sound. I wonder what’s next?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Balance

Here in California, the vernal equinox happens tomorrow afternoon. At an equinox, the sun is directly over the equator, so its path bisects the earth, and day and night are balanced, that is, of equal length.

This got me to thinking about balance in general, and about ways to pay attention to balance, both in our bodies and in our lives. Here’s a great exercise — stand up and do it right now! It will only take a few seconds, does not involve heavy breathing, and no one will even notice you’re doing it.

Stand on both feet. Notice where your weight is —

  • Is it equally on both feet?
  • It is balanced front to back?
  • Shift until you are balanced and notice how that feels.
  • Focus very intensely on something in front of you, and notice if your balance shifts. If it does, notice how and shift back.
  • Think of something you’re doing later today, and notice if your balance shifts. If it does, notice how and shift back.
  • Think of something you did yesterday, and notice if your balance shifts. If it does, notice how and shift back.
  • Think of something that makes you happy, and notice if your balance shifts. If it does, notice how and shift back.
  • Think of something that makes you angry, and notice if your balance shifts. If it does, notice how and shift back.

This exercise of constantly shifting back to balance should eventually help you be more balanced in your body. It will also help you find balance in your life, because your body will show you when you’re out of balance, and you’ll become accustomed to noticing and shifting back to balance.

Here’s another great way to find balance. Spend some time thinking about how you’d like to spend your time. How many hours a day would you like to spend working (or in different work activities)? exercising? with family and/or friends? eating, sleeping, relaxing, practicing your hobby? Call this your ideal time balance. It is unique to you, and may not fit anyone else’s idea of balance.

Now get a tiny notebook, approximately 2.5″x4″, small enough that you can put it in your pocket or your purse (they’re in every drugstore and quite cheap). Every time you begin a new activity, write down the time and the activity. Do this every day for a week.

Now compare the two, how you’d like to spend your time, with how you are actually spending your time. Do they match? What can you change, either right away or over time, so that what you actually do matches more closely what you’d like to do?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Mind over matter — something YOU can do!

Psychokinesis (PK for short) is considered one of the more ‘woo-woo” psychic phenomena. But I don’t think it’s woo-woo at all; it’s just another one of those phenomena no one likest to talk about.

Engineers at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) lab did try to change that, doing experiments that proved, in the course of almost 30 years that PK, in the form of mind-machine interactions is, in fact, real. They had some really interesting apparatus, where the operator thought about something, like how high a column of water should be, or whether the balls in a sort of giant pachinko machine on a wall should distribute themselves to the left or right, rather than falling in the standard bell curve. Then they measured hundreds of thousands of trials to see what happened.

They found out some very interesting things in those years (and I’m doing this from memory, so I may be a bit off):

  • PK exists at the margins, that is, the mental influence will not change the direction of a space ship by 180 degrees, or even 90, or even 45 — but it can shift the direction by, say, 1 degree, which, over the long distances in space could result in missing a target by millions of miles
  • an individual can have either a positive or a negative signature (for example, an individual with a positive signature would desire the apparatus to move left, and it would move left while someone with a negative signature would have the exact opposite result)
  • although some individuals are more effective than others, on average, individual women are as effective as individual men
  • 2 women working together are about as effective as 1 woman; 2 men working together are about as effective as 1 man
  • a man and a woman working together are 4 times as effective as either a woman or a man alone
  • a man and a woman who are lovers are 7 times as effective as either a woman or a man alone

But that was at the PEAR lab. There wasn’t anything you could do at home to practice, or at least I didn’t know of anything — till now!

On Sunday, a new friend of my husband’s (I’ll call him Dennis) came over and showed us the ridiculously simple device he’s been practicing with, on and off, for the last 20 years. Here it is:


It’s just a straightened out safety pin poked through a piece of plastic (a blister pack is really good for this) with the tiniest Post-It note (minus the sticky part), folded at 90 degrees and balanced on top.

You can try affecting it in a bunch of different ways. Dennis holds his right forefinger against his right thumb and his left forefinger against his left thumb, and imagines lines from those to the ‘points’ at each end of the paper, and uses those to either hold the paper in place, or to move it. I do it with the palms of my hands, just sending energy to the ends of the paper. My husband just thinks about the thing moving, and sometimes it does (but he’s a natural at this). No, there was no wind, or other air movement. Besides, you can pretty quickly spot movement that comes from air movement, because it’s chaotic, as opposed to the smooth PK movement.

Try it — and let me know what happens!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

On Psychic Etiquette

The human senses register millions of pieces of information every second, so many that we can’t possibly process them all consciously — and many of then we can’t even process at an unconscious level. These bits of information, processed beneath the level of conscious awareness, constitute intuition or the psychic senses. (See Malcom Gladwell’s “Blink” for a great discussion of this.)

You can choose where to focus your attention, however. And as you begin to open up psychically, you have to have guidelines for the responsible use of your abilities. Here are my rules for what is fair game (you can choose your own):

  1. Things that concern me.
  2. Things that other people ask me to look at that concern them.

For me, all else is off limits — it is not clairvoyance, but clairvoyeurism, rather like being a psychic peeping Tom. If no one asks me to look, I don’t look.

I do know some people have a lot of natural psychic or intuitive ability, and don’t know how to manage it, and ‘see’ or feel stuff for other people all the time. These people (usually women) are so overwhelmed by the information that they get, that they either can’t function, or shut the abilities down entirely. And often, before they shut down the abilities, they have the experience of telling someone something they saw, and being made wrong for having seen it.

Shutting down seems a shame to me, because we are given these gifts as a natural part of our existence, and not using what you have is like tying your dominant arm behind your back. Then you don’t have your arm available for your own betterment or protection, and you don’t have it available to help others who want to be helped. (If you are one of these people, I can help. Call me at 888-4-hollis.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

More Lessons from Wife Swap (& its aftermath)

So I posted the item below on Saturday afternoon, and began to get hate mail. Most of it was gratuitously vile, while a few people struck a reasonable tone and made good points. To the reasonable among you, thank you. To those who just used the comments to vent their anger, has it occurred to you that perhaps praying for open hearts (Stephen’s, yours, mine, heck, the entire world’s) might be a more productive use of your time and energy?

Here’s what I’ve learned from this:

  • The power of prime time television – I wasn’t on the show; all I did was write a blog post about it. And yet my blog has gotten more hits in the last 2 days than in the last 6 months combined.
  • The power of controversy – A radio talent manager told me years ago that you get better ratings by stirring up controversy than by being nice. (He’s the person who convinced Dr. Laura to air her real comments rather than what he called, “happy talk” — and the rating soared.) Wow, was he right.
  • What you put out comes back to you, amplified – While I didn’t say anything mean, I am apparently guilty by association. Stephen said mean things on screen, and so that energy comes back at him, his family and me, just for writing about it.
  • People are willing to judge someone based on very little evidence – Obviously, they are willing to condemn a man’s entire life and being based on part of 42 minutes of (edited) television. And of course, they know him better than people who have met him. Does anyone remember “judge not, lest ye be judged”?
  • Once people have made up their minds, they don’t want to hear anything that contradicts their judgment – Heaven forbid you should bring up a different side of the issue.
  • A ‘public’ figure is not viewed as human – People apparently feel it is fine to say horrible things to people they have never met. They say things I’m sure they would never say to a friend or family member — or even a stranger — to his or her face. I’m an adult, and I can take it, but I’m beginning to feel sorry for the teenagers on American Idol, who must get all sorts of crap, at a time in their lives when they’re very vulnerable. Therefore…
  • If you are going to be ‘public’, you’d better have pretty thick skin. – The problem with this is that people who develop such thick skin then begin to ignore the negative comments and surround themselves with people they feel they can trust. If those people are sycophants, that ‘public’ figure begins to live in an isolated, unrealistic bubble.
  • Loyalty is not valued – To say something positive about someone who is out of favor is not viewed as loyalty, but as being vile, or stupid.
  • Listener, viewer, reader beware: freedom of speech does not mean you have to tell the truth, let alone be civil – I’ve read that it’s illegal to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater, unless there is, in fact, a fire. But is is fine to threaten publicly, and to lie about the facts on the air. Of course, I should have learned this from the media darlings who make their living by spreading lies that feed hatred, but I get it at a deeper level now.

(And as for those of you who said, ‘if you were psychic, you would have warned them’ — hey, no one asked me!)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

It really IS a new day!

I left yesterday morning’s schedule empty so I could watch the Inauguration — and like most people, stayed until I watched W’s helicopter disappear. I guess I wanted to be sure he was really gone…

Then I went for one of my usual walks, to the library, though much later than usual. What surprised me was how many strangers and bare acquaintances all said the same thing — “I’m proud to be an American again.” I don’t know that I’ve ever been actively proud of my country (I was a little kid during the Viet Nam conflict, another time where pride was dubious), but I sure have been ashamed for the last 8 years, and feel I can hold my head up again.

I did have clients scheduled in the afternoon. The first time I got into the appropriate state to do a reading, I had an amazing experience. Normally, when I ask my guides to be with me, to help me help my client, humanity and the earth, my palm chakras open up for 2 of the guides and I see beams of light in different places for the others.

Not yesterday. Yesterday, each of them showed up in a sort of light body, all standing in a ring with me. When I asked why, I ‘heard’ that Obama’s inauguration was a big step in humanity’s ascension, big shift in our collective consciousness.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What is the difference between a vow & an affirmation?

A friend of mine, who definitely enjoys her wine, was talking about a vow she’d made recently — “No more hangovers!” And a funny thing happened: she was at a business/social event, drinking moderately, when she felt nauseous. She left the party, went back to her hotel room, had a glass of water and fell asleep, only to dream that she was milking a rattlesnake, symbolically pulling the poison from her system. And she hasn’t had a hangover in the months since making the vow.

So obviously, vows can be powerful. They tend to be simple. declarative statements, structured in absolutes. Sometimes, they’re stated in the positive, though they’re usually stated in the negative, such as “No more…” They’re often stated in the future tense, such as “I’ll never… again.” They are often stated in the third person, such as “This ____ stops now!” And they’re generally made just once.

Affirmations, on the other hand, are positive, present tense, first person statements, which are repeated over and over till they become true. They’re powerful, too.

So how can these two opposite ways of expressing a clear intention both be so effective?

My guess — and it is just a guess — is that an affirmation comes from a superficial part of the self, which desires change, while a vow comes from a deeper part of the self, which recognizes an internal change has already happened, and just needs to manifest in the exterior world. An affirmation is a declaration of what you choose, as if it already exists. A vow is a statement of what already exists on the inner planes, declaring itself to the outside world.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Swimming to save the earth


Yesterday morning, despite being completely exhausted from lack of sleep, I had the sense that I just had to go swim in Lake Siskiyou.

I’ve done this lots of times before, and it is spectacular! I bring swim fins and a kickboard, and swim distance (literally a mile or more) in the lake. Because I can go so far from where cars come in, no one else can swim where I’m swimming. Because it’s after Labor Day, there aren’t even any kayaks or row boats with people fishing, so I am all alone in the quiet with the water, the birds, the trees, the sky, and the most amazing view of Mt. Shasta, which seems to rise from the lake, framed by evergreens. (Wish I could take a camera in the lake with me, but I just have to use the mind camera!)

So yesterday’s swim was a swimming meditation, because I was supposed to meditate for an hour. I began the mantra again. An enormous gold ring appeared around me, probably over a hundred yards radius. It had that counter-clockwise rotation. I was aware that the trees could feel it, too, and that they knew from this that at least one human cared about them and the earth. This was BIG for them!

And then I remembered my experience with the tree in Santa Cruz, which showed me a beam of light from its top, and explained to me that trees use these beams to communicate with each other.

So I asked the trees to tell their friends of this experience! and to hold on — to know that we support them, and to do their best to hang in there while humanity gets its act together.

Then I ‘heard’ the words ‘boreal forest’, and so I think that they can spread the word far and wide.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Yes, one person (you!) can save the earth

Every day, we are supposed to meditate in the morning for an hour. I’m not good at sitting still to do that, so a couple of days ago, I went for a walking meditation. In my mind, I sung a mantra pretty much the entire time, walking up a mountain road.

Now, this mantra is really powerful — it is the one that I use which brings star visitors to heal people’s physical ailments.

At one point, my guides directed me out onto some land (with a great view!), and showed me the effects of doing this meditation outside. A counter-clockwise vortex of golden light emanates from this meditation, and helps to heal the earth. So if I do the mantra as I walk, I am healing the earth. As I walked back down the hill, the soles of my feet seemed to have suction cups to the ground. This made it a bit harder to walk, but I could ‘see’ the trail of golden light behind me.

You can do this, too! Focus on a mantra as you hike.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Up in the sky, it’s…

a (star visitor’s) craft! No joke. HUGE.

We were sitting up on the mountain in our circle last night, when one woman pointed out 3 points of light, in an equilateral triangle, that were moving together!

I could actually see lines between the points and lines that went from the points to the center of the triangle. To me, they appeared only faintly, but others with night vision equipment said they could see them quite plainly. And the craft blocked out the stars behind it! (Actually, the folks with night vision goggles said that they bent the light, rather than blocking it entirely.)

Steve, who borrowed the night vision goggles, said that this was one side of a huge craft which housed representatives from over 1,000 different civilizations. (He talks about having viewed it remotely.) He also said, based upon calculations he’s done, that it is probably hundreds of miles across, and was outside our solar system.

The triangle proceeded slowly across the night sky from west to east, to the north of us, for 3 minutes! Think about that, that’s a long time. Then it grew fainter and fainter and literally disappeared.

Steve also said that the last time this had appeared, several years ago, it had been seen from Vancouver, BC to LA.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Up on Mt. Shasta again

The evening started out quite warm, and with incredible numbers of anomalous activities in the sky. Fastwalkers, lights in the trees that could not have been from electricity, because there is none, flashbulbs going off in the sky! There were even two lights moving quickly and simulataneously in the sky, parallel to each other.

After a while, we did a mediation in silence, where we were asked to invite the star visitors in our individual ways. So I did what I do. It was really bright inside, so I thought perhaps something was bright outside (a craft?), but when I opened my eyes, I was shocked by how dark it was outside! Anyway, I closed my eyes again, until something told me to open them and look up at about 45 degrees from the horizon.

OMG! There was this thing in the sky, like a hologram, that kept shifting and changing its shape. It was never the same twice, and either it was HUGE or it was pretty close. I saw this with my physical eyes, not my clairvoyance. The hologram was mostly green, although occasionally it turned orange. And it stayed there for minutes, until eventually it faded out.

During a group discussion, I had the impulse to put my hand out in front of me, palm up. When I did, I felt this odd electrical feeling, not like static electricity, but more like pinpricks of electricity happening randomly and quickly over my palm. I wondered if I were making it up, so I put out my left palm the same way, and nothing. So I asked whatever was doing that to please stop doing it to my right hand and do it to my left instead — and it did! And then I asked to shift it to my right again, and it did that! And then both, and it did that! And then I had to ask it to stop, because I was so tired… I almost fell asleep, which is not easy at 40 degrees.

Later on, the entire group saw this one light that moved quickly across the sky from East to West, blinking on and off as it went.

Then in our last meditation, we were holding hands in the circle. Something began to send jolts of energy into me, sometimes from my feet, but more often from seemingly random points in the lower half of my body. This was NOT kundalini, as it was not going up my spine. I’d just get this jolt and jump. It was so bad that felt I had to apologize to those on either side of me afterwards. Both noticed my repeated jumping. One guy across the circle said that he saw a red light going up through people’s feet. I don’t think that was what this was happening to me, but maybe.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Rose Quartz Sphere, Part 2

Yesterday afternoon, in the restaurant room where we were meeting, Steve passed the rose quartz sphere around the group again. When it got to me, it said immediately that it had a message for me, and then it showed my an array of crystals. But since there was a group discussion going on, I couldn’t get any more.

So at the break, I asked Steve if I could borrow the crystal and meditate with it. He agreed, and so I spend the second half of the afternoon session with the crystal instead of the group. First it showed me the crystal array that it wants me to build, though actually, it’s going to look like a necklace. I think it will be some sort of communication device, like the crystal sphere itself. Then i held it over different chakras for healing, including the back of my 3rd eye, and it did some work opening my 3rd eye, which I’ve wanted.

Then it wanted me to take it outside! So of course I did, partly because I couldn’t figure out how to walk back into this big circle of people an hour late, and not feel stupid (Steve tends to ridicule people who show up late, and I really wanted to avoid that. Plus there was no way to get in without walking through the middle of the circle.)

WOW! Grass glowed, trees glowed. Something said that there is no blade of grass that does not matter. And I got that this crystal sphere was associated with what Steve would call God-consciousness beings. Then wind began to play in a spruce tree, and the sphere said to me, “What you see as the wind in a tree, we see as the interaction of conscious beings”, and very briefly, I saw it that way. Then the crystal wanted me to hold it in my left hand and touch things with my right. So I began with a leaf, then a flower, then another leaf on another plant, then a rock, then a spruce branch, then a feather, and on and on and on. I could feel a different tone with each item I touched, a different vibration in a different part of my body. The crystal said “We are attuning to Earth.”

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

More from Mt. Shasta

Monday night, it was a few degrees warmer, and I had an extra pair of socks on. So mostly I was warm enough to concentrate.

Things blink on and off in the sky. They move and then change direction abruptly. Satellites can’t do that. And one of the volunteers has a satellite chart, so we know when one of the ‘fastwalkers’ in the sky is man-made.

Other lights seem to disappear into Mt. Shasta, the outline of which you can see, despite it being the dark of the moon. Or colored lights appear in the trees, and just stay, or blink on and off. Remember, we are up on a mountain, at the end of a dirt road in a national forest, miles from anywhere, so these are NOT house lights, or car lights. In the center of our circle, were wavy lines that kept changing, someone else said they looked like something was boiling, and that’s a good way to put it. Oh, did I mention how much fun it is to be with people, a few of whom ‘see’ more than I do?

The really amazing thing was a rose quartz crystal that Steve Greer passed around. When I held it in my hands, I could feel a vibration running up my left arm through my heart and down my right arm. The crystal was much warmer than it had any right to be at 40 degrees outside. Perhaps that was just he warmth from people’s hands? Other people said it was warm, or cold on one side and warm on the other. People’s reports of how heavy it was varied as well.

At the end of the evening, we walked up into a grove of trees, and did a standing meditation in a circle, holding hands. I don’t remember why, but Steve pulled the crystal from his pocket (it had been in a pocket over his heart), and looked at it. He sank to the ground and said ‘oh my god, it’s spinning off worlds and galaxies!” So we rushed around him. I was standing right behind him, and got a good look at it over his shoulder. With my eyes, no psychic anything involved, you could see points of colored light floating off the crystal sphere. Some were individual, some were in groups, one group seemed to rotate — it was like looking at the Milky Way, if it were rotating! Lots of us saw this, and one guy with night vision goggles saw it through those. NO making this up.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How to Lasso Lady Luck!

Did you know there is a structure to luck? Or that you do actually make you own luck, and it’s not by hard work?

There are several principles to lassoing luck, and one of them is to have a network, and cast your net wide.

Last week’s column (scroll down 5 entries) did that — without any intention on my part. Gina, a long-time acquaintance, answered my email with this:

“… I want to attend the Slow Food Nation conference at Fort Mason over Labor Day weekend. In my dreams, I want to stay in the Marina district in a small studio, ride my bike in to the event, hear some great music on the lawn at the concert, and fill myself with all kinds of ideas to bring people back to the conservation of green growing things for their soul.

“Booking that studio has been on my to do list. Booking that expensive hotel room….I just can’t click on $180 per night. I know I need to get on with it or I’ll miss the whole event. And then this idea came to me as I was reading your last newsletter about divinely inspired procrastination and was so amused.

“Would you happen to know anyone who would need house sitting/pet sitting in the San Fran area with safe parking? I’m the woman to do the job!”

Well, as it happens, I’m leaving this weekend for Mt. Shasta! So I got Gina as a house sitter (and although we had the cat feeding minimally covered, I had given up on someone watering the plants), and Gina got a free place to stay.

We both used our networks, and we both got lucky!

To learn how to be both luckier, happier and more successful, click here.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Comments on “Divinely Inspired Procrastination”

“I’ve put off many things, or begrudgingly gone thru with it, and discovered that:

1. The cost was less because I waited
2. A valuable person came along that was instrumental in the experience being wonderful
3. When I explored my dissatisfaction and went thru with it with resistance (but did it anyway from integrity), I realized
it wasn’t fulfulling and I had made up all kinds of stories about it. (is that dysfunctional expectation-ism?)”

– posted by Gina

“Great stories. I’ve found this to be the case almost any time I have that problem.

Divine Order rocks!”

– posted by Annie

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The News Diet

A couple of weeks ago, my guides insisted I go on a ‘news diet’. That is, I needed to avoid the news as much as possible, so that I could create what I choose in my life, and in my world, without allowing ‘what is’ to tyrannize my vision.

I’ve done that, with 2 results.

First, I’m much more peaceful. (You should try the news diet!)

Second, I’ve learned something:

When I ‘look’ at the future, I always ‘see’ that things will continue on, much as they’ve been going, with gradual shifts, rather than huge shocks (with the exception of weather-related ones). Now I understand why. It’s because most people don’t really follow the news in the (more or less obsessive) way I’ve been doing since the theft of the 2000 US Presidential election. That means they go along their usual way, assuming things will be the same, and so they continue to act the same, until something like the change in the price of gasoline intrudes. So things do stay more or less the same; change is generally gradual.

Belief creates reality — expectation is a form of belief, so expectation creates reality. (Oh, right, the Law of Attraction, in mass form.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What to do to create ease and flow in your life

When I was a kid, and I didn’t want to do something that really needed to be done, like homework, my Dad would say, “That’s why they call it work.” The implication, of course, was that if it was easy, and/or I wanted to do it, then it wasn’t work, and somehow, wasn’t worthwhile.

Think about that. The societal programming probably runs about as deep for you as it does for me. Do you really appreciate that which comes easily to you? The ease with which you read a map or cook a meal? Or do you value more the things (or skills) for which you have struggled? Do you ever say, “That was too easy!”, as if the ease with which something happened depreciates its value — down to practically nothing? (Instead, try saying, ‘that was just easy enough!’ Feels better, doesn’t it?)

On the other hand, perhaps you say that you choose to have ease and flow in your life. And you know about the Law of Attraction — focus on what you want, sensualize it really well (visualize, hear, feel, smell and taste it in your imagination), and it… will… just… come to you. So if, say, you sensualize your work going easily and just flowing, then it should begin to do just that. How often does that actually happen for you? if you’re like I used to be, not too often.

Do you get the contradiction here? On one hand, you value that which is difficult, and on the other, you say you prefer ease and flow. And of course, things move in fits and starts, flowing now, then stuck, then flowing, then stuck again.

I truly believe that ‘you create your reality according to your beliefs’, especially those beliefs of which you are unaware. So if you have a deeply held belief that ‘hard work is good’, the ease and flow… won’t flow easily.

Simply being aware of the deeply held belief does begin to loosen it. You might try a new affirmation, something like, ‘I prefer that my life flows easily’, or perhaps ‘my life flows easily’. Then be attentive to all the ‘stuff’ that comes up around it, and deal with it (and call me if I can help with this — helping people change their beliefs is among my favorite things, and can usually be done very quickly).

This is what I’ve done, and it’s making a huge difference in my life and work. I probably am doing about as much, but I’m not stressing about what isn’t getting done. I’m enjoying life much more, and business has actually improved.

Now just relax… breathe… and enjoy being in the flow…

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

One reader’s experience with Flickr divination


Originally, he wrote:

“I have been wanting to know what to do about my job and future employment so I put in Job and employment and got things like wow I got it and my job sucks and various things that indicated I shouldn’t be working and to the right an advertisement from the Greek National tourist organization advertising of all things Greece. [His ancestry is Greek – Ed.]

Ironically enough I would like my future to be financially secure to live life leisurely. Seems the above indicates that’s what I should be doing too.

I put in “when” and the first picture I was of a fortune from a fortune cookie that said “when you are doing the right thing”. I believe I am doing the right things so I did not ask further on that.

So then I put in where is the money coming from and it gave me a variety of things not all relevant to money but 2 indicated the name of one of my guardian angels who has sent me good things before. SOOOO cool.

Then, of course me be the patient person I am, (NOT), I typed in when is the money coming and one of the pictures has a note next to it that said day 214 Which is the julian date for August 1st and further down a picture of a graduation tassel highlighting the year 2008.”

I did wonder if ‘day 214’ was 214 days from when he did the divination…

Today I received the following email:

“Oh well. I am still here and not lying on the beautiful beaches of Greece. August 1st did not bring me a fortune. I may go back and ask what is the right thing now.”

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Reality Creation for the Not-So-Dumb

A couple of weeks ago, in a meditation, I actually ‘saw’ how physical reality is created!

Today, I’m going to describe what I saw, doing my best to explain it without the diagrams and scientific backup that it truly needs. I’m doing the ‘short version’ because this information really wants to be out there — I don’t seem to be able to write about anything else. I intend to do this in greater detail (and more accurately!) in the future, so if you have questions, please send them along, I’ll try to answer them, and use them to help guide version 2. Okay, here goes:

All of physical reality, at its heart, is electromagnetic, from the smallest sub-atomic particles, to atoms, molecules, cellular structures (like DNA and cell walls), cells, organs, bodies, etc. One part of the electromagnetic spectrum, physical light, has been shown to behave variously like waves and particles, depending on the situation. Apparently, by itself, electromagnetic radiation behaves as waves, but an observer can interact with them to create particles (the simplest versions of physical things), which is to say that the observer, the human consciousness is creating reality through just the interaction of observation. Let’s assume that other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum work the same way.

Do you remember the concept of a ‘standing wave’ from high school physics? A standing wave is created by the interaction of 2 or more waves (which have to move constantly, that’s what waves do), which combine in such a way as to make it look like there is wave that is standing still — the standing wave.

Quick seeming-change-of-subject: imagine that non-physical reality is the ocean. Imagine that anything above the surface of the ocean is physical reality.

Our consciousness interacts with electromagnetic, non-physical reality to make standing waves that get so big, in some sense, that they pierce the surface of the ocean, and create physical reality.

In order to create a standing wave, you have to focus on the same intentions, clearly, constantly and without any competing focuses. Think of it this way:

Waves are additive. If you have a standard sine wave (again, remember high school trigonometry? Even vaguely?), and a second one that is identical (e.g. two identical thoughts), then the resulting wave has the same length (and frequency), but twice the amplitude, that is, it’s twice as big. If you have ten waves that are identical (e.g. ten identical thoughts), the resulting wave is ten times as big. This is why affirmations work. It’s why getting others to pray for you works.

If you have a standard sine wave, and then you have another sine wave that is 180 degrees out of phase, but otherwise identical, that is, one goes up exactly opposite to the amount the other goes down, and in the same timing, they cancel each other out. Nothing happens at all.

But there can be any number of combinations of waves, and some of them make pretty funky combinations, with pieces chopped off the top, or every wave looking different. This what normally happens — how we normally create, which is why physical reality is kind of messy.

So if each thought is an electromagnetic wave, you have to be very careful not only of what your intentions are, but also of all your thoughts, even your wonderings, random musings and creeping doubts — because you want the pure standing wave of your clear intention to breach the surface of the ocean of non-physical reality, like an island rising up from the sea floor.

Emotions matter, too, because they send out waves. Emotions are created in response to beliefs, which are generally a type of thought that lies beneath the surface of our conscious awareness, which is part of the non-physical reality sea.

Maybe you remember harmonic resonance, too? You know, where a tuning fork that plays a particular note (i.e. vibrates at a specific frequency), and you put another tuning fork which is crafted for the same frequency right next to it, and it begins to vibrate, even though you never tap it on anything to make it vibrate. It just vibrates because its vibrations match that of the first fork. The Law of Attraction is just harmonic resonance!

Further, what really powers these standing waves, what increases their amplitude (how tall they are) is emotion. The folks from “The Secret” and lots of other people talk about how emotion powers intention, but I suspect it’s not any sort of emotion, but rather a very specific, non-attached heart coherence — more about that another time

Loss as a spiritual path

I’ve been speaking with a lot of people about loss lately —

loss of net worth (values of homes are down nearly everywhere, values of some portfolios are down)
loss of projected sales (retail sales volume is off 2% or so in the last few months, year over year, and if you factor in inflation (supposedly running at 4% or so, but if you take out the fake adjustments of the Clinton and Bush administrations, really running at about 7.5%), actual sales are way down, and they affect many businesses
loss of a business (a few people have already thrown in the towel)
loss of a job (all those real estate, construction and finance jobs that grew with the bubble are going away)
loss of a home (we’ve all read about the subprime crisis, and the Alt-A one (those exploding payment loans to people with good credit, whose reset peak is scheduled for 2009) is still building, and will probably be worse)
loss of the nest (last child leaving home)
loss of a family member, friend or colleague (who left his or her body permanently)

And I’ve lost a few things, too — a good tenant, a good repairman (now gone flaky after 3 years of good work), and probably some 60 year old trees (to the Americans with Disabilities Act!). And of course, as a homeowner, I’ve got that loss of net worth thing going on, as well. So I got to feeling a little overwhelmed.

As I thought about myself and others, I realized that generally, two things are going on:

Feelings of loss for what you had and/or expected, and/or
Fear about the future

I don’t really want to talk about the fear today; I’ll do that another time. But let’s talk about the loss, and let go of it, so that you have more energy to deal with the fear and the action steps you need to take to create a life/home/business/job you love. Not to mention that negativity, including sadness, tends to shut out the very things you choose to create, so letting go of sadness will in itself help create what you choose.

When there is a loss, some people experience a loss; others experience devastation. Why the difference? And what do you do about these losses?

The important thing to focus on after acknowledging a loss (and losing something you dreamed of or expected, but never had, can still be a huge loss emotionally), is to appreciate what you still have:

The value of your house went down? You most likely still have the house. And even if you lose the house, you are probably still going to live somewhere. So appreciate where you live for its non-financial qualities.
Sales went down? Appreciate the sales and the customers you have, learn to work with what is working, and grow that — perhaps in a new, more satisfying direction.
Business or job loss? You still have useful and marketable skills, probably among other resources.
You’re a brand new empty nester? You still have a family, just in different locations.
Someone you’re close to left their body permanently? You still have a relationship with that person, although you may have a harder time perceiving it (see “Death is Another Country” at http://10minutesaday.blogspot.com/2008/03/death-is-another-country.html).

But sometimes, that appreciation just doesn’t cut it. What’s going on?

What’s going on is that you’ve identified with whatever it is that you’ve lost. I think this is what the Buddhists refer to as attachment (I’m not Buddhist, so if I’m wrong, would one of you please correct me?) How do you get non-attached? How do you shift?

First, you have to figure out exactly with what you’ve identified. So if the value of your house has gone down, are you identified with the house? The number that is your financial net worth? The fact that perhaps you’re not as good an investor as you had thought? Try these on as statements, that is, “I am my house”, or “I am the value of my house”, or “I am my net worth”, or “I am a bad investor”. Perhaps one of these will feel true, or perhaps you need to keep trying. That alone may shift your energy. If it doesn’t there are many modalities that can help you let go of the belief. I have a few I like to use with myself and clients, including EFT (www.emofree.com), which you can learn on your own.

Next, figure out what you’d like to believe instead, for example, “I am who I am”, regardless of the external.

Third, install this belief, including working with it as an affirmation, and using EFT or other energy techniques.

And if you need help, call me! 🙂

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Interview with the Psychic, Part 1

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How to get out of your rut/race

Maybe you know the feeling: you’re really good at what you do, and successful, too, but it just feels… empty. You have this good job (or business) but you feel like the only reason you show up is to pay the bills. You used to love what you do, but now you have to keep reminding yourself why you’re doing it. You’re racing your motor (work to churn out, people to see, presentations to give — it’s endless), and that only makes the wheels spin faster (and yes, you do meet all the deadlines), which digs the rut deeper. You’re in a pretty good place, but you’re going nowhere — and going there fast, and maybe burning out the motor at the same time.

I have a few clients like that right now, men and women both. They’re all experts at different facets of marketing, mid-life, quite successful. Each is on his or her own personal growth path, though the paths are as varied as the people: Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, non-denominational spirituality, Masters Degrees in psychology or related fields, certificates in different types of healing.

My rule is that when something shows up 3 or more times in quick succession, it’s time to look at it. And since I’m quite clear that this lesson isn’t for me, it must be for you!

What you’re telling me is that success for its own sake just doesn’t satisfy any more. Because I’ve been working with marketers, success is, in an odd way, proof of their value — if you’re successful, that means you’re good at marketing, which makes a prima facie case that others should listen to you (and pay you) to tell them how to succeed. The money, the trappings, though they’re great, don’t mean all that much. Even helping other people succeed and get money and trappings, just seems pretty empty. So your success becomes a trap — success begets success begets success — hey, this wheel pretty much turns on its own momentum now! But your deepest need to do something else gnaws at you constantly.

Here’s something else I know from working with people for more than 15 years. If you don’t listen to that sense that it’s time to shift, the shift will come to you, often in a less than pleasant way. Perhaps you’ll get sick, so you’ll sit still and pay attention. Maybe you’ll lose your biggest client. Maybe you’ll lose your job. In fact, I met an abbot once, the ‘father’ of a religious order, who opened up to me, and told me he was really sick of his job, tired of running the monastery. I told him that if he didn’t instigate a change, the change would come to him. And he didn’t do anything, because he felt secure. The monks had taken vows of obedience, and he had no superior. The monks got together and rebelled and he was out on his ear!

So pay attention to that nagging sensation that something has to change. But what to do?

Here are a few ideas, presented in no particular order. Pick and choose the ones that work for you:

Ask yourself, what is frustrating me? Create a vision of your own future that eliminates, or at least works around, all your current frustrations, while incorporating all the things you love (and probably take for granted) now, and move toward that.
Create a vision for how you would like the world to be, and let that guide you in shifting your job or business, so that your larger vision for the world gives meaning to your daily activities. If you want a sustainable future for society, shift your job or business to support that, perhaps by actively seeking ‘green’ clients.
If you’re feeling stifled, limited, or undervalued, then shift your business focus to something related to what you’re already good at, but that uses other skills you’re not using now. If you have lots of people skills, use them in HR or recruiting for a marketing firm.
Start a side business doing something you love to do, that seems more important than what you’re doing now. If connecting people to each other seems more important than teaching them how to do search engine optimization, start a networking group. Play around with business models till you find one that will eventually support you so you can stop what you now think of as your main job or business.
Get help! There are coaches out there (including me) who have processes to help you clarify what you’re choosing to create.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Your body is trying to tell you something!

Have you ever had a sore throat that just wouldn’t go away? A tennis elbow? Or some other chronic physical concern? Maybe your body is trying to tell you something deeper about what is going on. After all, mindbody is one system, and so your body expresses what is going on at an emotional level, especially if you are not consciously aware of your feelings.

I used to have sore throats all the time; in fact, a sore throat was how I knew an episode of my CFDIS (chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome) was imminent. I eventually learned that a sore throat was caused, on a very real if non-physical level, by something I wasn’t saying. The words were literally sticking in my throat and making it sore. So I began to ask myself, “what am I not saying? And to whom?” When I figured out the answer to those two questions, and did something about it (either saying what I needed to say to the appropriate person, or at least imagining myself doing that), then the sore throat went away in a matter of minutes! In fact, I began to head off the worst episodes of CFIDS with this technique — I’d either stop them in their tracks or make them pretty mild and short-lived.

This is true for sudden, one off issues, too. If you’ve ever broken an ankle, for instance, you’ll probably realize that, at that time, you had an issue around moving forward and/or your direction in life. Think back to any serious medical issues you’ve ever had, or that anyone close to you has ever had, and you’ll see this sort of parallel.

So if something is not working right in your body, ask yourself what deeper issue it might represent. Think about ‘organ language’, which is the use of body parts or functions in everyday language, and see what turns up. So if you have, say, a cough, and the words, “cough it up” come to mind, ask yourself what you need to ‘cough up’ or let go of. Answer that question, and then let go — and see if the cough goes away on its own.

Here’s another resource: Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, has a terrific directory for this. The directory lists body parts, as well as dis-eases, along with potential meanings for them and possible affirmations to use to heal them. In my experience of using this directory with friends and clients over the years, the meanings are very good clues to what is going on at a deeper level, while the affirmations really need to be tailored to the individual.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Siddhis along the path

Siddhi (Sanskrit:सिद्धिः; siddhiḥ) is a Sanskrit word that literally means “accomplishment”, “attainment”, or “success”. It is also used as a term for spiritual power (or psychic ability). The term is used in that sense in Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism. These spiritual powers supposedly vary from relatively simple forms of clairvoyance to being able to levitate, to be present at various places at once, to become as small as an atom, to materialize objects, to have access to memories from past lives, and more.
– from Wikipedia

********

Last August, I went to the “Ambassador to the Universe” training held by Dr. Stephen Greer, up at Mt. Shasta. Dr. Greer, who opened TM centers for the Maharishi before he became an M.D., specializing in emergency medicine, is an amazing clairvoyant, channel, etc., as well as being very tough and focused on helping humanity change its future to one of sustainability. (You can check out his websites, www.disclosureproject.org and www.aero2012.org .)

Many amazing things happened at the workshop (which I wrote about at http://10minutesaday.blogspot.com/2007/09/multiplier-effect-part-ii.html ). But something else happened that I didn’t mention, because it didn’t seem that important at the time. Dr. Greer did a puja and gave each of us our personal mantra. Of course, it was the same mantra for each of us, one of the four standard TM ones, but with a difference. Dr. Greer had channeled that those mantras were originally sung, and that when the notes that went with the words were lost, much of the power of the mantras was lost, as well. And he had channeled the ‘tune’ for one of the mantras. This is the one he gave each of us, to be sung to ourselves.

After I got back from Mt. Shasta, someone in his office emailed me an .mp3 file of the mantra, sung over and over with a background of Tibetan bowls. I put this on my iPod, both on its own and as a background for my personal affirmations. I began to listen to one or the other every day while I walked. And after a while, I noticed that the mantra generated an energy that swirled around me, sort of like a controlled tornado, though with a difference — the energy seemed to swirl both in and out simultaneously, in the same direction.

********

In December, my husband and I hosted a friend, Mark Macy, for a couple of free lectures on his specialty, instrumental transcommunication, that is, using electronic instruments to communicate with the ‘dead’. He uses a tool called a Luminator to make this communication easier. Mark was kind enough to open up the Luminator for me, and it appears to generate an electromagnetic field at a particular frequency (though I couldn’t tell you which frequency). This field felt so strong to me that when he first turned on the machine, it felt like I had put my finger in a light socket! But he turned it down, and I got used to it. (For more info on those lectures, with photos, please go to http://10minutesaday.blogspot.com/2007/12/how-psychics-have-fun-part-3.html ).

As I got used to it, something amazing happened. I was ‘shown’ what happens when you ‘die’. I did not have the experience of the tunnel that most near-death experiencers describe (not that I was near death in any way), but doors opened from my heart and I came out on a beautiful landscape, which I was told was different for each person. After a few moments of enjoying that, I was showered with a beautiful green light that permeated me, and then a beautiful yellow or golden light that did the same. After a while, that faded away, and I was back in the beautiful landscape, but this time, there were thousands of ‘people’ there. (I think this is the welcoming party that everyone talks about.) I was at a distance, hovering in the sky, looking at the assembled group, but I noticed that if I asked for someone, they’d sort of come to the front of the group, or perhaps I zoomed in to them. I was given to understand that in a way, this ‘party’ is somewhat holographic, as if each soul sent a hologram of a part of itself that I would recognize, not necessarily that the whole soul was there.

Then it occurred to me that I could use the technique to ask my higher self to come to the front of the group. It worked! And I had a conversation with my higher self (not sure this makes sense, but oh, well). It’s apparently a great joke that my higher self, which is HUGE in some sense, has to fit into my 5’3” physical body (perhaps this explains why I’ve always wanted to be taller). So the next time I tried it, not only did I ask my higher self to come to the fore, but I also walked into my higher self, so that I’m inside it/me.

*****

I was at a business building workshop recently, and had a couple of amazing experiences. First, as I did a pair exercise with another woman, looking into her eyes, I watched as her 3rd eye popped open (briefly) and later, watched iridescent wings unfold from her back. She said she felt quite good, very peaceful, but wasn’t aware of these things. But I don’t think I’m making them up, because I was pretty surprised. The word, “Namaste” (roughly translated as “the god in me salutes the god in you”), has a much more literal meaning for me now!

But here’s the amazing thing. After the formal classes, we were offered an optional session of “being coaching”. Basically, this was role playing on stage, with the trainer periodically stopping the action to coach the participants. I was up on stage quite late on Saturday night (10:45 PM). Most of the group had gone home, so there were perhaps 25 people left. There was a really nice group field from the work we’d all done supporting each other that day and in the ‘being coaching’ session. Another woman and I were being coached, and the coach, along with the audience said to me, ‘there’s something wild about you and we want to see more of it.’ Well, there is absolutely nothing wild about me, which I said. To which the coach replied, there’s a hurricane around you.

I know what that energy is — it’s the energy from the sung mantra. So I said I knew what it was, that it was more of a tornado, that it wasn’t me, but if everyone wanted to see more of it, that’s what they’d get. So I stood at the front of the stage, invited my higher self to come to the fore, and sang the mantra silently to myself.

People started to cry. One woman, directly in front of me about 12 feet away, began to shake and cry. It felt quite normal and natural in my body, and I wasn’t in trance or anything, just being me, with the mantra going, could even talk a little. It’s easy. I’m very clear that the energy isn’t mine, although it does come through me. I was pretty wired for a few hours after that, though, even though my usual bedtime is 8:30PM lately.

The next morning, I asked the woman who’d been shaking what had happened to her, she said she’d been in a lot of physical pain, and felt a cool mist rain down on her, felt the pain leave her body, and that the tears were tears of relief, joy and gratitude. Three other people, all of whom said they don’t normally see auras told me they’d seen a color around me — for two of them it was golden light behind or around me, while another saw blue above my head. Another three people asked me to come speak at their groups. When I asked what about, one woman said she didn’t care, “just do what you do”. Yet another came up to me and said, “after last night, I’d follow you anywhere.”

I’m under no illusion that I am in any way unique — this energy is available to all — and wow, how cool is that?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How Psychics Have Fun (Part 3)


Last weekend, I had the privilege of hosting Mark Macy (www.spiritfaces.com) and his Luminator (more on that machine later), for a couple of parties, where he described his research into instrumental transcommunication (www.worlditc.org), i.e. using electronic equipment to talk with the ‘dead’. The reason I say ‘dead’ in quotations is that once you’ve seen his research, you can never again believe that the spirit that leaves a dead body actually dies. His evidence includes computer passages, typed from a computer which was turned on without anyone physically in the room, and which included information only known to the ‘dead’ woman and her still living husband, and a message left on Mark’s own telephone answering machine from a colleague who was ‘dead’.

While Mark’s presentation is clear and convincing, the best examples of transcommunication he shows are the ones provided by the audience itself. With the Luminator running, he takes Polaroid photos of audience volunteers, and many of the photos have faces completely different from the physical ones of the photo subjects. (I’ve included 3 of my photos — one of me (as me, not the best photo, oh, well), one of me that is clearly not me (as there maybe two faces, and at least the nose and mouth aren’t mine), and one of my paternal grandmother, who might be the face in the second photo (or maybe not). The only alteration to the polaroid camera is that black tape is place over the light sensor so that the flash doesn’t go off, because the spirit faces need a low light situation to be seen on film.

Even more fun for me was getting to hang out with the Luminator. This machine seems to change the electromagnetic field in an area at least a hundred or so feet in diameter. Another clairvoyant who was there described it as changing the energy of the space in my home to that of the borderline between the worlds (‘here’ and ‘hereafter’). At first, I was really taken aback by its power — it felt like my body was on some kind of speed, or having an adrenaline rush, though my mind was completely normal. As I got used to it, though, something amazing happened. I was ‘shown’ what happens when you ‘die’. I did not have the experience of the tunnel that most near-death experiencers describe (not that I was near death in any way), but doors opened from my heart and I came out on a beautiful landscape, which I was told was different for each person. After a few moments of enjoying that, I was showered with a beautiful green light that permeated me, and then a beautiful yellow or golden light that did the same. After a while, that faded away, and I was back in the beautiful landscape, but this time, there were thousands of ‘people’ there. (I think this is the welcoming party that everyone talks about.) I was at a distance, hovering in the sky, looking at the assembled group, but I noticed that if I asked for someone, they’d sort of come to the front of the group, or perhaps I zoomed in to them. I was given to understand that in a way, this ‘party’ is somewhat holographic, as if each soul sent a hologram of a part of itself that I would recognize, not necessarily that the whole soul was there.

A while later, a reproducible way to talk to ‘dead’ people occurred to me. All I need to do is go back into my heart, open the doors out onto the landscape, be cleansed by light, come out at the party — and then ask for a particular ‘person’. So I tried it with my husband’s father, who ‘died’ when he was 15. I learned some things about him that my husband could verify, which believe me, I didn’t know, and others that made sense to him, though he could not actually verify them.

The next day, I happened to be teaching my day-long ‘Psychic Skills Workshop’, and offered a guided meditation of the process to the participants as a bonus session after class. Everyone stayed, and everyone got to their landscape, and everyone found a person — not always the person they had thought to contact, but someone they knew! Because it was the first time I had ever done the meditation, I didn’t leave enough time for people to have satisfying conversations with those they contacted. Oh, well, that’s how you learn.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Ten Commandments need a rewrite!

It occurs to me that, although the title of teh last post is actually a play on the sitcom title, “8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter”, it sounds a little like the Ten Commandments. Now, I’m not knocking those, but NLP teaches that the unconscious mind doesn’t understand the word ‘not’ (try not to think of a purple elephant), so eight of those commandments, on the unconscious level, are really telling people to behave badly. That is, to the unconscious mind, they read like this:

  1. Thou shalt not Have other gods before me. (Materialism, anyone?)
  2. Thou shalt not Make graven images. (All those religious icons, perhaps?)
  3. Thou shalt not Take the name of the Lord in vain. (We sure all swear a lot.)
  4. Keep the Sabbath holy. (One of the two positive ones, though it isn’t honored much in our culture.)
  5. Honor thy father and mother. (Most of us do try.)
  6. Thou shalt not Kill. (Hmmm… War?)
  7. Thou shalt not Commit adultery. (Certainly lots of that going on.)
  8. Thou shalt not Steal (Yup, that, too.)
  9. Thou shalt not Lie. (And that.)
  10. Thou shalt not Be jealous. (And that, too, I suppose, though it’s less obvious.)

Maybe that’s why the world is such a mess!

How about a rewrite?

  1. God is more vast than can be comprehended by the human mind.
  2. So stop with the pictures, okay?
  3. Respect God.
  4. Keep the Sabbath holy.
  5. Honor thy father and mother.
  6. Respect life.
  7. Respect other people and their relationships.
  8. Respect other people’s property rights.
  9. Tell the truth.
  10. Be grateful for what you have.
Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

11 Simple Rules for a Happy Life

I am not foolish enough, nor do I have enough hubris, to think that what follows is a complete list, but it’s everything I can think of at the moment (and it is how I try to live, but like everyone else, I’m imperfect). I am certainly open to suggestions, so please send them along and I’ll post any updated versions here.

1) Act from love.

  • Be kind, accepting, tolerant, patient — and that includes acting that way toward yourself!
  • Be mindful of the divine flow.

2) Be careful what you do and what you think. You are responsible for your actions and therefore for your consequences.

  • Actions have consequences.
  • Thoughts are actions in energy form.
  • Appreciate what you have, because what you focus on, expands.

3) Live your truth/higher perception to the best of your ability.

  • Be who you are, not who you think you are supposed to be. The world doesn’t need another pale imitation of some commercial ideal; it needs real people, being who they are, and bringing their unique gifts and point of view to heal the problems we have.
  • Listen to your own higher wisdom. We all have access, even if we’ve been taught not to use it because it’s been too much of a threat to the power structure.
  • Tell the truth, whenever possible (you may not know it, or it may conflict with another of these rules, in which case, see #11). Remember, spoken and written words are actions.

4) Respect others.

  • Part I: The Platinum Rule: Treat people as they wish to be treated.
  • Part II: In the absence of the Platinum Rule (that is, when you don’t know how someone else would like to be treated), use the Golden Rule: treat others how you wish to be treated.

5) Respect nature.

  • This includes your own body (eat food, not chemicals).
  • Use as few resources as you need to to do the job properly and comfortably.
  • Turn down the thermostat (or turn it up in the summer — or better yet, open the windows and let nature in!).
  • Turn off the lights you don’t need.
  • Walk (you’ll get to know your neighbors and neighborhood) for your errands (it’s great exercise, too!).
  • Recycle.
  • Share: borrow and return in good condition (neighbors and friends are a great resource) and be willing to lend, too. This builds community.
  • Buy used or recycled, or better yet, ask if you really need something before you buy it.
  • Don’t print if you don’t have to, and if you have to print, use both sides of your paper.
  • Take your name off the mailing lists (so the paper isn’t wasted).
  • Don’t drive if you don’t have to (carpool! Or take public transit — you might meet someone interesting).
  • Grow what food you can — it’ll taste good, and feel good, too.
  • You get the idea.

6) Respect limits, including the ones you reasonably set, and expect others to as well.

  • It’s okay to know your limits and to be clear in stating them.
  • ‘No’ means ‘no’, whether someone else is saying it, or you are.
  • Get 7 hours of sleep a night (research shows it makes a big difference in your quality of life).
  • If someone isn’t respecting your limits, you have a right, or maybe even a responsibility, to teach them to respect your limits, or to ask them to leave, or to get away from them.

7) Honor your agreements. You can keep an agreement as is, or you can renegotiate it, but don’t change an agreement unilaterally (which includes not telling the other person for any reason, aka ‘flaking out’.)

8) If it feels good, and it doesn’t harm anyone or anything else, do more of it. This is the Universe (aka God) speaking to you through your desires.

9) Be clear about what you want — it’s probably the only way to get it. Remember, thoughts are actions in energy form.

10) You will never know everything (nor will anyone else), so stay humble.

11) When in doubt, see rule #1.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Funeral

Well, actually, a memorial service, as she was cremated. But it sucked anyway. I mean, most everyone was pretty positive – one speaker said, Charlotte didn’t need a eulogy, because everyone knew she was light on earth, grace and compassion personified, as well as a lot of fun. But many of us, including me, got tearful.

What was hard for me wasn’t that Charlotte ‘died’, because if I can’t see her or feel her, that’s a failure of my communication, not that she has gone out of existence. No, it’s seeing my friends suffer. And these are women (and one man, but I think for him it’s more about mortality) who know as much as I do that she still exists. One of them, who says, tearfully, that’s she not doing well, probably has talked with her, herself. So telling them that I know for a fact that Charlotte is fine doesn’t help at all. So there isn’t much I can do. I have offered to be there for my friends — we’ll all have to pull together. I feel pretty exhausted, pretty drained by it.

I understand that funerals are for the living, but I really get now, how selfish grief is. It’s not about the person who ‘died’, it’s about the person who still ‘lives’ and what they ‘lost’. And perhaps funerals help, so that people don’t feel alone in their grief, but maybe they make it worse, too, because all that sadness and loss is in one room together, reinforcing itself. And we all know that the ‘dead’ person wouldn’t want us to feel awful.

As Charlotte says, “There is nowhere that I am not.” Wow! So she really is right here. Was there in the room with us, too.

Though I must say, I kept expecting Charlotte, in her body, to walk around a corner into the hall.

Before the event, I ‘saw’ that I was supposed to stand in the back right corner of the room, and send healing energy into it. I spent the entire service standing in the back corner, gave my seat to a friend, in fact, so I could do it. I asked ‘the folks’ to send energy, and at points could ‘see’ a golden light in the room. And I tried, as much as I could, to attach the frayed ends of people’s cords to Charlotte to the light. I don’t know how well that worked, but I think I ‘heard’, as I fell asleep last night, that I had done a good thing.

Today, I’m going to help her (adult) daughter, an only child, deal with the financial picture, which I understand isn’t pretty, because of all the medical bills (don’t get me started on national health insurance, which we should have). Maureen shouldn’t lose the house she grew up in because her Mom had the temerity to get sick. At least I can try to help.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Boo Hoo

I felt awful because I’d missed Charlotte’s leaving of her body, as if, had I been there, I would have done enough for her, or been complete with her somehow. I desperately wanted to apologize.

I’m not a reliable medium under the best of circumstances — sometimes ‘dead’ folks come through very clearly, and sometimes not at all. And this was definitely not the best of circumstances. What to do on a Sunday night? I called my friend, Kat, with whom I trade readings and NLP work regularly, and asked, “How are you as a medium?”

“Pretty good right now,” she replied.

So we got into it. And actually, she had had one phone conversation with Charlotte, several months back, when Charlotte wanted a reference on a healer with whom Kat had trained. So perhaps that made it easier.

I knew she ‘had’ Charlotte, because when I asked Charlotte (through Kat) if she’d seen Boo (Charlotte’s cat, whom I loved, who’d crossed over about 6 months before Charlotte, eaten by a coyote — and that never happens in Mill Valley), she replied in a very flat tone, “Boohoo”. This was the title of an email Charlotte had sent me announcing Boo’s crossing, which I’d thought was wonderfully funny, even as I missed Boo. And it was something I’d remarked to Charlotte about more than once.

So I apologized to Charlotte for not being there when she left her body — and she told me she hadn’t wanted me to be there! At which point I realized a few things:

** Grief over someone’s death has a few separate components:

  1. Missing the person, which is partly your own habit body, and partly cords dissolving
    • Your habit body likes things to stay the same. Maybe this is your neurology, which can’t handle paying attention to too many things at the same time, or perhaps its the etheric body. It’s the part of you that likes to know if you call a certain phone number, you’ll hear a certain voice.
    • We all have energetic cords between our chakras, and the chakras of those we are close to. These cords dissolve when a relationship ends (e.g. a romantic relationship) or when someone dies. That’s not fun, because we still have the ends of the cords to deal with, like an umbilical cord which is cut but not tied or clamped off — the ends are just left raw and open.
  2. Feeling badly that you hadn’t done right by the person. But you really can’t judge what was “doing right by” someone else, at least not on this plane, because you can’t know what his or her soul actually wanted. All you can do is live the best you can up to your own standards, and give yourself the benefit of the doubt, when you do something uncharacteristically forgetful, or even nasty, to someone else — perhaps you were doing something his or her soul needed you to do.

Charlotte was apparently showing Kat some other plane of existence. Charlotte kept saying it was “so vast” and beautiful beyond description, and that it was cold, that she was cold. It was “not like there (on earth)” and Kat had the impression that Charlotte was fine, but a little lost. So I asked Charlotte, through Kat, what I could do to help, feeling sheepish at the offer, because I didn’t think there was anything I could do. But Charlotte said, “send angels — angels can help.”

“Let me see what I can do”, I answered, and then silently asked all the folks (some would call them archangels, but I’m not personally clear on their titles) who assist me in readings to help Charlotte. Almost instantly, Charlotte said, “I’m warm” and Kat said she could literally feel her own body get warmer. For me, this was verification that the folks do indeed hear me, and do respond. Way cool! (Or I suppose that Charlotte ‘heard’ my intention from whatever plane she was in.) But somehow, I did do something. That felt pretty amazing, and Charlotte told me that she wanted me to know how powerful I am, even on one of my worst days.

Thank you, Charlotte, for your kindness and our concern, even after you’ve left Earth. I’m glad you made a compassionate choice for yourself, and wish you well on your way. Come see me when I cross over (hopefully a long time from now.) And than you, Kat, for you assistance.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

So this angel walks into a bar…

Sometimes my life feels like a bad movie — so trite that you almost can’t script it.

Scene 1: Clearing the Clutter

Yesterday, I had a great day, working on cleaning out more clutter from the house and the garage, culminating in a trip with a very full car to Goodwill in mid afternoon. I was supposed to be working on my audio equipment, getting it to work reliably, but that seemed really hard, and I was having fun (!) moving things into the car, and reorganizing the garage, so I kept putting it off. Finally I had a carful, went to Goodwill and dropped it off.

Scene 2: Phone Call

On my return, guilt led me to my desk, where I happened to notice the message light blinking on my phone.

There was a message from a friend, several hours old, saying that a mutual good friend, whom I’ll call Charlotte, was in the hospital on her death bed.

Flashback:

Charlotte was the soul of compassion, and the essence of grace, a beautiful spirit in a beautiful body. Though she had not lived a particularly easy life, a single mother who worked really hard at a variety of businesses (from running an in-home day care so she could be there for her toddler, to a jewelry store, to a small therapy practice) and jobs (HR and office support) to support and raise her wonderful (now grown) daughter, she left everything she touched more beautiful and more peaceful. She always knew exactly what to say to ease suffering, always had a smile, a gentle laugh and a positive, philosophical attitude for the more difficult parts of life — the broken hearts, the illnesses, the financial hardships, including her own. At points when I was low, I always knew I could call her, and I’m sure her other friends knew that, too.

I knew Charlotte was sick, had, in fact, been increasingly sick over the last 10 years. But I’d seen her a few weeks ago, and she’d been in good spirits, saying she was getting better after a real scare.

Scene 2, continued

Though I returned the call immediately, it was too late. Charlotte had already left her body. Had I heard the phone ring, I would have barely had time enough to get to the hospital (an hour away) to say a brief goodbye.

Apparently she had left her body peacefully, attended by a Tibetan Buddhist lama and several good friends. And I know, given the state of her physical body, that it was a good choice to leave now, and gift of compassion to herself. Charlotte, who was always so giving to others, had finally given herself the gift of freedom.

I could only have a short conversation with Ann, the woman who’d called me, because she was too teary. Ann is a very strong woman, and I could hear her trying to stay strong and practical — but she couldn’t. The pain was too fresh. We settled on me calling the next day to get Charlotte’s daughter’s phone number to see how I can help.

Scene 3: Conversation in the kitchen

So I came upstairs into the kitchen, where my husband was seated at the kitchen table, reading email on his laptop. As I entered, he said cheerily, “Hey, I’ve got something to show you,” to which I replied, “Charlotte died.” I caught him up on the news, and then he said, “What I was just about to show you is kind of the opposite of that.” There were photos of his cousin’s brand new baby girl!

So that’s when it hit me… life on earth is kind of like this big saloon. You enter through the swinging doors (take a body), have a drink, some food, hook up, break up, maybe play a game of poker, or pour a beer for someone else, watch the dramas unfolding around you, and leave again through those same swinging doors. Life is not about the tables and the chairs in the bar (clearing the clutter), it’s about the angels who come and go.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How to Change Your Mood FAST

Have you ever been unfocused before an exam, when you really needed to concentrate instead?

Or have you ever been really nervous before giving a lecture, when instead you needed to be confident?

Or perhaps you’ve been down in the dumps when you needed to be ‘on’ and positive at a social event?

We’ve all had the experience of wanting or needing, for one reason or another, to be in a different mood that the one we were actually in. Most of us just give in, accept our moods, and do the best we can. But there is a quick, easy way to shift your mood when you must, or even just when you choose to. No drugs, no pills, no cost, no side effects!

It’s really simple. It’s easy, too. It’s called ‘anchoring’ a positive emotional state.

In his wonderful online Encyclopedia of NLP ( http://nlpuniversitypress.com/indexA.html)”, Robert Dilts says:

“…“anchoring” refers to the process of associating an internal response with some environmental or mental trigger, so that the response may be quickly, and sometimes covertly, reaccessed.”

If you’re American and have ever heard the first notes of The Star Spangled Banner, and noticed that your right hand flew to cover your heart, even before you were aware of what it was doing, you have experienced a powerful anchor. (If you’re not American, perhaps you’ve seen this and puzzled over it.) If you smell a particular cooking smell and are instantly back in, say, your grandmother’s kitchen, you’ve experienced an anchor. If your partner has ever said, “We need to talk” and you’ve felt icy fingers of fear crawl up your back, you’ve experienced an anchor.

In a famous experiment, Pavlov used this stimulus-response conditioning to get dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. He rang a bell and then gave them food so often that they associated the food with the sound of the bell, anticipating the food so well that they began to salivate just from the sound, even when no food was present.

All of these examples show that a trigger, a stimulus, can instantly and automatically result in a response. Most of these anchors, that is, trigger-response pairs, were set unconsciously (at least, unconsciously by us!). But what if you could set one intentionally?

You can! You can set an anchor to stimulate a positive emotion whenever you need it.
Now, with a little advance preparation, you can turn lack of focus into concentration, or a case of nerves into confidence, or feeling low into feeling good. It just takes a little advance preparation.

Before you need the anchor, in a quiet place at any convenient time, do the following:

1) Pick an anchor. I generally recommend hand positions that you don’t normally use (like touching the thumb and pinkie of your non-dominant hand), for a couple of reasons:
– you can do them anywhere, any time
– they’re unobtrusive
– they take a minimum of effort
– they’re uncontaminated by other feelings

2) Think of a specific time and place when you really felt the way you’re choosing to feel. Make it really real for yourself by graphically imagining the scene:

– seeing what you saw around you at the time, looking out through your own eyes at the time
– hearing what you heard, no matter how faint
smelling any smells that were associated with the time and place that you left how you choose to feel now
– touching something in the scene
– feeling all the feelings that go with the flood of emotion. Really notice where those feelings are in your body.

3) When you are completely associated into the positive state that you’re choosing, especially feeling the internal feelings strongly, then set your anchor (touch your thumb to your pinkie).

4) Relax for a minute or so, distracting yourself with something else.

5) Repeat steps 2 – 4 several times.

6) Test the anchor by using it (touching your thumb to your pinkie). The feelings that you intentionally associated with the anchor should flood your body. If not, repeat steps 2 – 4 again until the using the anchor creates your chosen feelings/emotional state.

Then you have “anchored the resource state” so it’s available to you whenever you need it, say before an exam, a lecture or a social event. Just touch your anchor and go!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How to Open Your Heart


“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In response to my article on “What stops you from claiming your intuition?” (below), a member of this blog wrote back, taking me to task for not mentioning the heart in intuition. While I still believe that higher perception, which is to say, the clairsenses (clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, clairolfaction and clairgustation, corresponding to sight, hearing, feeling, smell and taste, respectively), can operate without the heart, I agree that the heart also perceives truth and enhances the meaning of what is learned through the clairsenses. And it looks to me like the back of the heart chakra is one’s connection to the universe, the Divine, God (or pick our own word here).

In her book, Hands of Light, Barbara Brennan says that each chakra opens both to the front and the back, and that a healthy chakra opens out like a cone in each direction. (For more about the location and meanings of the chakras, see my website, http://www.888-4-hollis.com/services.htm.) The energy in each cone rotates according to the right hand rule, with the thumb pointed at the chakra, that is, point your thumb at your chakra, curve the fingers as if you were making a fist, and that is the direction in which an open chakra’s energy rotates. This means that the two cones of energy emanating (front and back) from one chakra rotate in opposite directions.

You can open a chakra, including your heart chakra simply by visualizing a circle of energy rotating in the appropriate direction, about 6 inches in diameter at about 1 inch away from your skin. I know it works, because I’ve watched pendulums move in accordance with this visualization, when done by me or by others.

In case you’d rather learn to open your heart with a short (about 4 minutes) guided meditation, I’ve included one here (or you may p need to cut and paste the url into your browser: http://player.goldmail.com/default.asp?gmid=dhti8y3tza2n) —

Update: Sorry, that mediation no longer exists! (as of 2/12/09)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Blackberry Wisdom

What do you see when you look at a blackberry bramble? A weed? A problem? Something that hurts you? Or like me, do you see something truly admirable?

I’ve been working in what I loosely call my garden this summer, attempting to rescue the yard from the overgrowth of a couple of years of neglect. In the hours I’ve spent there, mostly weeding and pruning (with scratches and bites to match), I’ve come to really admire the blackberries. They have a lot to teach us:

Have back-up systems
– Blackberries have a couple of ways of reproducing themselves. First, they reproduce in the usual way of plants, by seeds — lots of seeds! Every plant has many berries, and every berry has many seeds, so each plant has thousands if not millions of chances to reproduce that way alone. And those berries are delicious, so they get eaten by humans and other sweet-seeking creatures, who poop them out in other locations, where they can root and become new plants.

Blackberries also reproduce by rooting the plant’s canes. That is, each stem, called a cane, is only moderately self-supporting. It can rely on other structures, and act like a vine, but if there’s nothing to support it, it grows up and out for some length and then bends over. When it hits the ground, it roots itself, and more or less becomes its own new plant.

(Side note: if you’ve been reading these posts for a while, you may have noticed that I was mostly absent in August & September. It’s because my hard drive, which crashed, was not adequately backed up. Not having a good back up is very expensive both in time and money. It almost put me out of business. So please take my advice – back up, back up, back up!)

Be Flexible
– One of the tenets of NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) is “the most flexible system always wins”. It’s surely true of blackberries, which must be the cockroaches of the plant world. They grow in sunny locations, partly sunny locations and shady locations. They grow in rainy climates (we had them in our yard in NJ), they grow in dry climates (it never rains in the summer in northern CA). They grow where winter involves a hard freeze, and where it doesn’t. They grow on mountain sides, in forests, on lake shores and by the sides of roads. They grow like vines, supported by fences, trellises, trees, other bushes, you name it. They grow without supports, too, and can become very effective hedges.

Be Generous – Blackberries put out lots and lots of berries. In fact, early in summer, my husband looked out at the back yard and said, it’s a jungle out there. I replied that that jungle was going to feed us, so I refused to cut them down. And I totally underestimated the generosity of the plants! In addition to a daily serving of berries for about 2 months, I’ve made 2 cobblers, a blackberry chocolate cake, and blackberry coulis. Yum! So the weeds that my husband saw became a delicious addition to our diet. And if we weren’t westerners, with toilets, we’d have been planting berry seeds everywhere we went.

Be Persistent – Blackberries put out flowers, which become berries with seeds, continuously for over 2 months — that’s 1/6 of the year! If a freeze or a hail storm kills a bunch of flowers or berries before they’ve had a chance to mature — there’ll be more! And have you ever tried to eradicate a blackberry plant? You can’t, (or at least I can’t). Unless you get every part of a root, it will grow back. They are even growing from the spaces between our pavers! And that is part of their success.

Know that you are part of a community – Because those canes become new plants, still tied to the old plants, all the blackberry canes are simultaneously individual and part of the same plant. They are part of a community that has the same genetic heritage. We’re like that, too. As humans, we are part of many communities, both our genetic ones and ones of choice (where we live, where we work, where we recreate, etc.) and we would do well to remember that.

Protect yourself – Blackberries have thorns, lots of thorns — thorns on the canes, even thorns on the underside of the leaves. No animal is going to want to eat those canes, so they can grow undisturbed. And blackberries seem to have a fondness for poison oak. The two plants often grow together, which is further protection, at least from humans.

Point of view matters – If I look at the same plant from above, below, left and right, I’ll see different ripe berries which I can see only from that vantage point. We need to remember that, for other subjects. Other people will have other views. Your point of view is valid — and so is theirs, and if you take the best from all of your points of view, you‘ll have a much more complete picture of the situation than just seeing your own point of view.

It’s worth going over the same ground again and again – If you’ve done any internal work at all, on emotional issues, you have noticed that an issue you think is resolved will often pop up again, and it’s frustrating. But the blackberries have given me a different take on this issue. I picked berries from the same plot of ground, from the same canes for over 2 months. Emotional issues are similar — while you may have resolved one aspect of the issue, like picking one berry, there are lots more berries on the same cane, they’re just not ripe at the same time. Eventually, you run out of berries to pick, just as you eventually resolve all the aspects of your issue.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Info on thyroid/CFIDS

I was at a small seminar on brain chemistry and wellness by John Gray (yes, that Mars/Venus guy, and he is very cool, much cooler in person than in the books) last Sunday, and because it was at the hypnotherapy school where I teach, and because I know the woman who sponsored his talk, I got some time over lunch with him. He had mentioned that iodine is much more prevalent in the diets of Japanese women than American ones, which is why their children are so smart. Apparently, according to the WHO, lack of iodine in the diet of a pregnant woman is the cause of mental retardation in her children. He also talked a bit about how chlorine and bromine push iodine out of the body, and they are needed, particularly by the thyroid gland.

So when I asked him about CFIDS, he said that basically, your thyroid underperforms, and so your adrenals go into overdrive to compensate, until they, too, give out. And he said in talking with over a thousand people about this, every single one of them (yes, this is still anecdotal) had had significant chlorine exposure.

As if to underscore this, the woman sitting next to me in the seminar told me that she had a thyroid problem, and had been a figure skater (I do wonder about the chlorine in the Freon) and then on a swimming team for her childhood and teen years and continued to swim laps until the hypothyroidism happened, and her naturopath told her the lap swimming was over — without explaining why. When I got home, I called a friend, who I know had thyroid cancer in her 20’s, and asked her about chlorine exposure. She said immediately that she’d spent years playing in a garage where the chlorine for a neighbor’s pool was stored.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who spent a lot of time around chlorine who don’t have a thyroid problem — but apparently hypothyroidism is exploding in the population — and pools became greatly popular in the ‘50s, so baby boomers and later kids were the first to have a lot of chlorine exposure. Perhaps it takes 10 or 20 years to develop?

If you know an epidemiologist, you could bring this up and ask them if they might want to study it…

I am going to try large doses of iodine (called ioderal) and I’ll let you know what happens. And if you use kosher (non-iodized) salt, as I used to, you should switch to salt with iodine, preferably Himalayan or sea salt. At least that will increase the amount of iodine in your diet a bit. And obviously, stay out of swimming pools and hot tubs.

On another track, there is a school of thought that says that CFIDS is actually a neurological problem, more properly called RNA-ase enzyme deficiency disease (REDD) — you can Google that.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What to do to end a relationship successfully

Sometimes, things really do happen in threes. And my rule is that when something happens three times, I should have a serious look at whatever the issue is.

Yesterday, I had three people call me about their divorces. One is just beginning a divorce, another is in the middle, while the third is just finishing up. (And actually, a fourth person called because she’s starting a new relationship, which is bringing up unresolved issues from a very long term relationship that ended a couple of years ago.)

They all had a few issues in common — grief, trust, letting go of attachments, and renegotiation. Grief is basically an intense feeling of loss. When any relationship ends, it’s normal to feel loss (you did lose something), and if it’s a marriage or another primary, long term relationship, it’s normal to grieve.

Usually, though, we associate grief with death, especially of a loved one, which makes sense, because it’s a serious, permanent (at least in this lifetime) loss. But there is a big difference between grieving a death and grieving the end of a relationship. When a loved one dies, your family and friends surround you, and support you. Everyone understands death, right? That person who was just there, in a body, walking and talking and hugging you, isn’t any more. And part of the ritual of death is that of family and friends speaking well of the deceased, remembering all of his or her good qualities, helpful actions, achievements, etc.

It’s different with a divorce. First, there is an interpersonal reason for the divorce, as opposed to death, which is more of a personal issue to the deceased. You loved the person you married — you thought this was the best person for you in the world, or you wouldn’t have married him/her. So something changed. Perhaps it’s the other person. People do change, not always for the better (having affairs, or alcohol or other addictions, for example). Or perhaps it’s you — you may have changed. You may have grown and now be unwilling to put up with things you’d put up with in the past. Or perhaps the rose-colored glasses of love fell from your eyes, and you now see clearly something you successfully ignored or excused for a long time. Or both. (Perhaps you are the one with the addiction issue, but if so, you probably aren’t calling me, so I’ll leave that for others to discuss.)

That means there are huge issues of forgiveness around a divorce (which there often aren’t around a death). First, for your own well-being, you eventually have to forgive your ex for whatever he or she did or didn’t do or say — often over a long period of time. I’m not saying it’s easy, but remembering that people are doing the best they can all the time helps. Now, it may not be a very good best, but it is the best they can do, given who they are at the time.

The more difficult task is to forgive yourself for whatever you did or didn’t do or say — and most especially for what you didn’t see. Forgiving yourself for ignoring what is now patently obvious to you may be the hardest job of all, harder than moving forward each day, constructing a new life for yourself, (and your kids, if you have them). What makes it so difficult to forgive yourself is that you question your own judgment. How did I not see this (irresponsibility, addictive tendency, cruel streak, whatever)? If I didn’t see this, then what else am I not seeing? How can I ever trust my judgment enough to get into a relationship again? Trusting yourself going forward is critically important. You were doing the best you could at the time, too, and you learned from the experience, so next time, you’ll see more, right?

Another task is to let go of emotional/energetic attachment to the other person. While most people think that this is some huge process that takes a lot of energy over a long period of time, much of it can actually be done in just a few minutes with a simple visualization or two. I did this with a client yesterday, and at the end, she said, “That’s it? That was so easy! And I feel so much better.” Stuff happens — suffering is optional. (It’s different for each person, or I’d describe how.)

Divorce differs from death in another way, too. Your friends and family may, or may not, surround you and support you. Perhaps some of them disappear, either because they don’t know what to do or say, or because they “side with” your ex, or because they believe divorce in wrong in principle. And those who do stick with you will often begin to express the reservations about your ex they had all along, but felt it was wrong to voice. Perhaps they only know you as part of a couple, so knowing you as a single person is a completely new relationship. In any case, the important thing here is to recognize that you are recreating, or renegotiating, all your relationships, not just the one with your ex. When you do this consciously, it goes more quickly and easily than if you’re not aware of what you’re doing.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

So in another universe, I never got CFIDS?

Parallel universes exist – study
Sep 23 11:33 PM US/Eastern

Parallel universes really do exist, according to a mathematical discovery by Oxford scientists described by one expert as “one of the most important developments in the history of science”.

The parallel universe theory, first proposed in 1950 by the US physicist Hugh Everett, helps explain mysteries of quantum mechanics that have baffled scientists for decades, it is claimed.

In Everett’s “many worlds” universe, every time a new physical possibility is explored, the universe splits. Given a number of possible alternative outcomes, each one is played out – in its own universe.

A motorist who has a near miss, for instance, might feel relieved at his lucky escape. But in a parallel universe, another version of the same driver will have been killed. Yet another universe will see the motorist recover after treatment in hospital. The number of alternative scenarios is endless.

It is a bizarre idea which has been dismissed as fanciful by many experts. But the new research from Oxford shows that it offers a mathematical answer to quantum conundrums that cannot be dismissed lightly – and suggests that Dr Everett, who was a Phd student at Princeton University when he came up with the theory, was on the right track.

Commenting in New Scientist magazine, Dr Andy Albrecht, a physicist at the University of California at Davis, said: “This work will go down as one of the most important developments in the history of science.”

According to quantum mechanics, nothing at the subatomic scale can really be said to exist until it is observed. Until then, particles occupy nebulous “superposition” states, in which they can have simultaneous “up” and “down” spins, or appear to be in different places at the same time.

Observation appears to “nail down” a particular state of reality, in the same way as a spinning coin can only be said to be in a “heads” or “tails” state once it is caught.

According to quantum mechanics, unobserved particles are described by “wave functions” representing a set of multiple “probable” states. When an observer makes a measurement, the particle then settles down into one of these multiple options.

The Oxford team, led by Dr David Deutsch, showed mathematically that the bush-like branching structure created by the universe splitting into parallel versions of itself can explain the probabilistic nature of quantum outcomes.

from Breitbart.com — http://www.intelways.com/

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Multiplier Effect (Part II)

After the orbs in the Bay Area (see “How Psychics Have Fun (Part II) below), and the enhanced photo, I was pretty excited to see what would happen at Mt. Shasta, which is renowned for its spiritual activity, with a bigger group, and a respected contactor of ETs.

Many anomalous things happened:

** Lights appeared in the sky, that could not possibly have been airplanes (wrong shape, no lights on wingtips, moving way too fast, etc.), and were not on the satellite charts. They blinked on and off, stood still and changed direction, which satellites can’t do. What looked to my naked eye like a craft sending out an energy streamer was apparently (to those with high power binoculars) was apparently one banking hard left into space, away from Earth.

** The temperature inside a circle of 60+ people (i.e. A BIG circle) sitting in a field was often warmer than the temperature outside the circle (and one circle of 60 people sitting father apart than shoulder to shoulder is much too big for this to be body heat). In fact, one night, sitting out on the mountain from 8:30PM to 1AM, someone used a thermometer to check the ‘inside’ temperature repeatedly. It went from 67F to 64F in about twenty minutes, then back to 67F in another 20 minutes, then to 65F, where it held for a long time before beginning to descend permanently. I could feel the temperature varying, as well. There was no wind, and the cloud cover never changed.

** Another night, we were meditating in a huge meadow, with a densely overcast sky. The air was completely calm — not a pine needle stirred. When we finished meditating, most people had felt raindrops (I didn’t feel them; I was either deep in meditation or asleep. However, rain will normally rouse me, and there were no wet spots on my clothes, so maybe it rained around me!) and the sky above us was completely clear in probably a quarter mile diameter circle! The surrounding sky, however, was still thickly overcast. Then, as we watched, the clouds formed an unmistakable heart shape in the center of the clearing directly above us, ringed by open space and then the original clouds. That was magical.

** One afternoon, we sat at the edge of a clearing in the woods, doing a long guided meditation. That is, everyone but me was doing it. There were hordes of yellowjackets in the area, and I’m very allergic to them. Sitting in the circle, I always seemed to have 4 to 6 of them around me, and was constantly swatting them away. I left the circle to stand away, where there seemed to be fewer yellowjackets and I could move quickly away from the occasional one that found me without disturbing everyone else. Of course, I had to stand, and stay alert, which meant I couldn’t get deeply into the meditation. However, I did what I do whenever I’m standing around doing nothing, which is to see what I can see clairvoyantly. What I saw with my external clairvoyance (my eyes, I guess) was that most everyone’s crown chakra was open, while they all followed the meditation, parts of which asked them to all think the same powerful mantra at the same time.

We had the multiplier effect again, that is, all those minds broadcasting a powerful mantra at the same time out into the universe attracted a lot of attention. After a while, probably after half an hour or so, I began to notice (with my internal clairvoyance) that the clearing was filling up with all sorts of beings, from nature spirits (or devas) to spirits who guarded the place (probably Native Americans who’d lived there) to ETs to angels. It was unbelievably beautiful! And as the meditation ended, they told me they’d be back that night. (And yes, they came back.)

I think the reason that we attracted so much attention was that our minds were sending out coherent thought. Not only was each mind coherent (which is probably pretty rare for a human being), but on top of that, 50+ minds were coherent with each other. This is similar to the multiplier effect I was talking about last week, though in that case, tens or hundreds of millions of minds had the same thought occasionally.

Imagine what we could do if a lot of us were coherent about something!

(Actually, I think this is what happened with the “Fire the Grid” meditation. ( In case you missed it, the email went around certain communities on the web like wildfire — and apparently 30 – 40 million people participated. We were asked to send love to planet Earth, in a meditative state, for one specific hour in August.) That hour happened to be from 3:11 AM to 4:11 AM Pacific time, which meant that I meditated, and fell asleep, and meditated and fell asleep, etc. When I got up around 6:30 AM, I checked in with Earth, and it felt different, more alive somehow!)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Multiplier Effect, Part I

I’m a roadie for 2 days a year (which is about all I can stand) as a volunteer for the Sausalito Arts Festival. I work the stage crew, which in general is hauling equipment, food and ice for the performers, and being additional security for the gates to the backstage areas. (BTW, the performers’ dressing room area is right next to the garbage — so much for glamour.) This year, though, my job was to sell merchandise, which is about as good a gig as you could want, because you sit at the right front corner of the stage, and can climb up backstage or walk in the protected area in front of the stage to take photos. Yeah, you do have to hear all the music and then people shove money in your face for CDs and t-shirts (btw, there’s a lot more money to be made in the shirts than the music, which really says something). Hard job, huh? Plus they fed us.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the “Summer of Love”, so that was the theme for the music this year, and Jefferson Starship was there, along with Quicksilver Messenger Service, It’s a Beautiful Day (now known as David LaFlamme and friends), the only living keyboardist from the Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage and Marshall Tucker Band. It was a lot of fun to hear the great music (the guitar work is wonderful) and see lots of 60-somethings shaking it (I had a front row seat to that, too).

Anyway, the merchandise job went like this. The band’s manager (or someone) would bring you whatever they were selling, and tell you how much it cost. You wrote down the prices, took inventory, taped the t-shirts up to a high fence so people could see them, sold the merchandise, took inventory again, and settled up the money, taking the festival’s cut. It’s amazing how disorganized most of these folks are: no price list, no count of the merchandise to begin, no information about the CDs, no bank (you do need change, unless everything you’re selling is priced at $20). Jefferson Starship didn’t even bring me all the inventory, and lost sales because I was out of sizes that they had but hadn’t bothered to bring me, or even mention they had.

When David LaFlamme (I don’t know if you remember his song, “White Bird”, but it’s one of my favorites) came out to settle up (and btw, he was the only organized one), he was singing ”Everybody’s Talkin’”, the theme from the movie, “Midnight Cowboy”:

“Everybody’s talkin’ at me
Can’t hear a word they’re sayin’
Only the echoes of my mind
People stoppin’, starin’
I can’t see their faces
Only the shadows of their eyes
Goin’ where the sun keeps shinin’
In the pouring rain
Goin’ where the weather suits my clothes
Banking off a northeast wind
Sailin’ on a summer’s breeze
Skipping over the ocean
Like a stone”

LaFlamme told me that when he was a young man, he wanted to be Fred Neil, the author of that song. He said, I didn’t want to be like him, I wanted to be him. Then he said that Neil was the guy Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs looked up to, as well. He told me that at some point, Neil bought a sailboat, and took off for parts unknown, never to be professionally heard from again.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I was always puzzled by what that song had to do with a male prostitute in New York City. Good song, good movie, but to me, they didn’t go together. Okay, the weather in NYC sucks a lot, and in the movie, the main characters are in a pretty desperate situation, alienated from much of society, so a little escapism could be expected — but that song is about sailing! And there is definitely no sailing in the movie.

And about a day later it hit me — Fred Neil was putting his dream out there, in a way that probably hundreds of millions of people heard hundreds or thousands of times (it was a top 40 hit). Perhaps that song made him the money that bought him the sailboat that made his dream come true. Maybe all those minds focused on his dream, even a little, made it come true.

Imagine all those minds focused, even a little, on your dream.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Are you having relationship issues now?

Are you having relationship Issues right now? Do they seem worse than usual?

Last week, in 2 days, I had FOUR separate people complain to me that they were having relationship problems so severe that three of them couldn’t get out of bed, and the fourth was doing so because she really had no other choice. Three of these people were having problems with life partners (fiancé, husband, and ex) and one with a child.

My rule is that if something happens once around me, it just happens, and I’m an observer. Twice, perhaps it’s a coincidence. But three times, there is definitely something to which I should pay attention, perhaps about me. And four? Wow. But I don’t seem to be having any relationship problems at the moment, at least nothing I’m aware of. So I called a friend, another psychic with whom I trade readings, and she said she couldn’t see anything personal to me in this.

My next thought was that perhaps there was something astrological going on. While I believe that people mostly create their own realities, I do see the validity of astrology in affecting people and situations. So I called my friend, Robin, an astrologer, and — bingo! Venus (the planet of love and relationships) is retrograde. This is asking you to go inward and examine relationships, or to get closure on unresolved issues. Venus goes direct again on Sept. 8.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Enhanced orb photo


One of the readers of this blog sent me an enhanced orb photo, with the following comments:

I hope the changes I made come over in the
email, but I used a free program called Picasa to add
some light to your photo. It doesn’t do anything to
alter it, it just makes things that are dark brighter.
There are tons of orbs all around you guys. I
couldn’t really see until I added the light. If it
was snowing, they would make sense. But from your
email it doesn’t sound like it was.

This is way cool!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How Psychics Have Fun (Part II)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
William Shakespeare

If you had told me 3 years ago that I’d be spending a summer Saturday night sitting out in a cold, empty field, in the dark, with a few people who were barely acquaintances (and my husband) with the intention of seeing some star visitors (aka ETs), I’d have told you you were crazy. (This from a woman who regularly talks to discarnate beings, and can communicate with animals and plants, at least sometimes!) But there I was nonetheless.

I mean, just because you can’t see it with your two eyes, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, right? Before microscopes, we couldn’t see cells. And before the Hubble telescope, there were lots of celestial bodies that we couldn’t see, even if we knew they were there. Which is where Mr. Shakespeare comes in… I mean, why wouldn’t there be beings who exist at frequencies outside our usual visual spectrum?

With that openness in mind, we gathered at a restaurant near the field we’d be sitting in later. Over dinner we chatted about other experiences with star visitors, or at least the others did. I was mostly just curious.

There are still places in the heavily urban Bay Area that are quite dark at night, and we went to one of them. Though I’m a newbie, some of these folks have apparently been going for years, so they led us down windy back roads right to the spot. I’m told it has a view, but it was so foggy, not to mention dark, that I really can’t say if it’s true.

There are two kinds of clairvoyance, internal (e.g. remote viewing) and external, which is seeing subtle energies, like the human energy field (aka aura) and chakras (energy centers which relate to different bodily organs and emotional/psychological issues). While my internal clairvoyance is decent, I’m still working on the external. The cool thing about the dark is that you can see subtle energies much more easily. I could very clearly see the aura and crown chakra of the woman across the circle from me! The layers of her aura looked kind of like the layers of an onion, but not as even. But I’ve seen that before, even seen colors occasionally, so no huge deal. The big surprise was seeing her crown chakra, which comes up from the crown of the head, kind of like a small fountain, but with a constantly changing cross between streaks and bubbles, all of which had very faint colors. I’ve seen line drawings of this before, but they really don’t do it justice, because drawings can’t capture the movement, change and color, in the same way that a black and white photograph can’t capture what a color video can.

Then there were the beings. What I saw with my eyes was sparkly things, little (or occasionally not so little) points of light, that came, sometimes moved, and went. What I saw internally were two odd-looking beings. The first was really tall, probably at least 8 feet, with a very long neck, kind of whitish. The second was a human-looking body, with the head of an eagle, and the feeling of guarding or protecting something, maybe us, maybe the land. It told me that similar beings had existed around western North America for millenia, and had appeared to the aboriginal peoples here, which is why some Native American tribes have thunderbird dances, and others have totems like that. Nobody else present saw these beings, though they did see the sparklies. They did tell me that a well-respected clairvoyant had told them of the bird people, who are apparently guardians of the earth.

I did feel what I often feel, which is a warm, loving presence. I have always assumed that these beings are guides or angels, which is to say, higher intelligence. But you know, maybe higher intelligence comes in a myriad of forms, and maybe, rather than being angelic, it’s intergalactic. Or maybe both. What do I know?

Here’s the cool thing — we have pictures! I’m excited by them because it’s the first time I’ve seen visual evidence of what I feel. I’m attaching one to this email (that’s me on the left, with the striped sweater and white scarf, the top clothing layers of about 15 total — did I say it was cold?). Now you could say that these lights are… out there in physical reality? Reflections off the fog? NO. There were no lights at all, not even any in the distance in any sight line. We were sitting in the dark — well, actually, we did seem to be illuminated by some sort of diffuse glow — but either that was our own auras, or something more supernatural. And I was standing diagonally from the line between the photographer and subject a couple of times, so I could see the reflection of the flash on the fog, and it was, tiny sparkles of light, much smaller than what is in the photos. No, there is no “normal” explanation of these orbs.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Re: 6 degrees of separation

This came from a friend, and I like it so much that i’ll post it here:

i think there is another answer. It lies in the resonant structures that form things out of empty energy in a closed system where waves rebound from the boundaries and create patterns. Since the ocean is swimable (that’s why we can get to the other shore) resonant structures attract each other.

Then again we could approach it from comparing the dream state in sleep to the dream state we call waking.

I think this happens a lot to people with a wide world. I once went to work as a headhunter. a few weeks later a new employee was placed at a desk opposite me. Turned out we had met in India in a few places 10 years before that. Went to a party at his home and his wife grew up a block from me and her sister was a classmate. He also met her in India. and i knew on other person there from Hawaii 12 years previous.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Six Degrees of Separation? Really?

We’ve all heard that saying, “Six Degrees of Separation”, meaning that everyone on earth is connected by a maximum of 6 person to person links. What most people don’t know, though, is where this notion came from, and that it’s not exactly true.

  • Item: My friend, Sasha, a musician in London, knows three (3!) people I know on a first name basis: an economist in Boulder, CO, a research engineer in Princeton, NJ, and a German psychologist (though she may actually live in London — but London and its environs have 12 – 14 million residents). To my knowledge, none of these people knows each other. What’s going on?

“Six degrees of separation” came from an experiment done by Stanley Milgram, the psychologist, in the 1930s. It is said that he gave 300 random Nebraskans an envelope and told them to send that to someone they knew on a first name basis, who they thought could get it to a particular stockbroker in Boston, with instructions for them to do the same, and that the envelopes got there in an average of 6 steps. That’s not entirely true. The average of all 300 envelopes was 6 mailing legs to get to the target — but Milgram gave 100 of those envelopes to people in Boston, 100 of them to blue chip investors, and only 100 to random Nebraskans. And of the 100 given to the random Nebraskans, only 18 got to the target! But Milgram was on to something.

  • Item: Last weekend, I went to a hypnotherapy class in Oakland, CA, which had 5 participants besides me. At lunch, I discovered that one of them, an attorney in Sydney, Australia, is a good friend of, and sometime attorney for, the my one friend in all of Australia. What’s going on?

Or perhaps you’ve heard of the game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, where players try to tie a given actor to Kevin Bacon in as few steps as possible, based on the movies they’ve acted in together. So if an actor has worked in a movie with Mr. Bacon, he has a Bacon number of 1, if an actor has worked with an actor who has worked with Mr. Bacon, she has a Bacon number of 2, and so on. As you can see in the table below, using data from the internet movie data base, www.imdb.com, which has over 500,000 actors, the vast majority of actors are within 3 degrees of separation from Bacon, and virtually all are within 4 degrees:

Cumulative
Bacon Percentage
Number of Actors

1 .3
2 24.1
3 84.9
4 98.8

The book, “Six Degrees”, by Duncan Watts, from which the above data is abstracted, is all about “small world” networks, looking at networks as different as movie actors and the power grid from a mulitdisciplinary approach. After considering several models and research from the 1930’s onward, he concludes that “As long as individuals are more likely to know other people like them, and — crucially — as long as they measure similarity along more than one social dimension, then not only will short paths exist between almost anyone almost anywhere, but also individuals… will be able to find them.” And other research suggests that the two most powerful dimensions to explore are geographical connections and professional ones.

  • Item: A few weeks ago, I went to an NLP training in Novato, CA. The trainer, from NJ, turned out to have grown up a few blocks from me, and to have been a patient of my (MD) father’s. What’s going on?

So it’s reasonable that you’ll be connected to anyone, anywhere in very few steps, and that you’re most likely to find them by asking where they’re from and/or what they do for a living. But I’m still not sure that explains what’s happening to me.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How to Really Connect on the Phone

Many years ago, I was the head of customer service (and a few other things, too!) for a small business that sold proprietary products to the fire service. One of my duties was to answer questions from any fire captain or chief who called in to ask about the products, or to get the information they needed to them. Another thing I did was to help staff our booth at 3 – 5 fire service trade shows each year, which meant that I eventually got to meet many of the people to whom I had spoken on the phone.

I began to notice that, when I met them, I already knew what these men (and they were almost exclusively men) looked like! Now, it wasn’t that they looked exactly as I had imagined them, had I even been aware that I was imagining them. Rather, if I described the impression I had, that description would have exactly matched the person. So while it wasn’t like seeing an exact photo of a particular chief, I would have described him, say, as being slightly overweight, with shaggy brown hair, smallish light eyes, a regular nose and a mustache — and that description would have fit!

And then I began to wonder how I did that.

What I realized was that as I heard a voice, I was unconsciously flipping through my internal data base of all the people I’d ever met and their voices, and making a picture of the person I was talking with based on that. I’m sure you do it, too. Think about it — you can usually tell a woman’s voice from a man’s, or hear someone’s approximate age (though I can’t say how), or native language, or which region of the US he or she is from, and sometimes their ethnicity. A more resonant voice is generally a larger person, though not always. How do I ‘see’ eye color, or hair color, or facial hair? Avoiding the obvious blond jokes here, I can’t put my finger on it — but again, flipping through that data base in my mind gives me clues.

Then there’s the emotional stuff. You can hear tension in someone’s voice — happiness, sadness and anger, too. You can hear uncertainty in “uptalk”, the way someone raises their pitch at the end of a sentence. Or certainty and confidence in the opposite — a lowered pitch at the end of a sentence. Yes, you can hear a smile — or else why would all those sales training folks tell you to smile when you call a prospect? Or maybe what happens is that the smile changes someone’s internal state, and you can hear that. If you pay close attention, you can even hear people’s emotions when they’re trying to hide them. Maybe it’s in the length of the vowels, or the breathing.

You can do this! Part one of connecting to people on the phone is to listen to how people talk, and not just what they say. Pay attention to how fast they’re speaking (can’t you just see certain people gesticulating wildly?), whether they speak with a more even pitch, or whether it has lots of peaks and valleys, how loud they are, which words they emphasize, where and when they hesitate. And notice what impressions come to you from this, however they come. You may not be “seeing” the person on the other end of the line, but you may learn a lot about him or her.

In fact, you are probably already doing this beneath the level of your conscious awareness — maybe you’ve already decided you don’t like someone you just “met” on the phone, for example. But making it conscious for a while will help you improve the skills you already have.

And when this noticing becomes automatic, phase two of “how to connect on the phone” is to begin to match the other person’s speech. Maybe you slow down a bit if you’re talking to someone in the South — or speed up a bit if you’re speaking to a New Yorker. Maybe you have more peaks and valleys than you normally have, or maybe your tone of voice is more level than usual. Or perhaps you just address the feelings implicit in someone’s tone of voice — if (s)he sounds hesitant, ask what that hesitation is. This may feel uncomfortable in the beginning, but keep at it, and eventually, you’ll connect with people just as well on the phone as in person.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Birthday Rats!

This is so cool, I just had to share!

One thing I did for my birthday was to go for a long walk on the beach. When I came home, I found a HUGE rat right in the middle of the “Welcome” on the door mat! My cat, Beast, who is a great hunter, but hadn’t brought me any ‘gifts’ for quite some time, brought me a birthday present!

My husband, whose birthday follows mine by 6 days, and I had a birthday party on the Saturday in between our two birthdays. Nothing fancy, just inviting lots of people for a pot luck, since no one seems to RSVP any more. The morning of the party, we were frantically cleaning, but had yet to put out any of the food or the utensils. We do clean occasionally, so this should not have set off alarm bells for Beast. Nevertheless, he showed up with yet another rat — his contribution to the pot luck!

After the party ended, Beast showed up with yet another rat, and headed for my husband’s favorite chair. Perhaps it was his gift to my husband?

Do you have a good animal story, a time when one of your pets “knew” something they couldn’t really have known?

In case you’re interested, there’s a great book, “Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals” by Rupert Sheldrake. I read it a long time ago, but if I remember correctly, he shows many instances of dogs (and birds?) who know psychically when their humans are returning.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Everything Happens for a Reason, Doesn’t It?

You hear it a lot, don’t you? “Everything happens for a reason” — but doesn’t it often seem like random things are happening to you? Here’s another way to think about that. It feels a little like a shaggy dog story, but there is a point, or even two.

My official business address is a post office box in a town I used to live in, about 45 minutes from where I live today. One afternoon a few months ago, when I checked it, I found several items for “Debbie Smith” (obviously not her real name, which is much more unusual). A couple of these looked like they might be checks and a couple more looked like W-2s. The address was P.O. Box 265, and then a street address, and then the town. I guess Debbie has my box number at a private mailbox place, but somehow these said P.O.B. instead of P.M.B. By law, the post office must deliver anything that says P.O.B. to a post office box, even if it has an address following that, so they ended up in my box.

As it happens, Debbie used to work for me, many years ago, when she was in high school; her mother, “Karen” is a good friend of mine. So I did what any friend would do, and called Karen, and left a message saying that these items were in my mail, and should I drop them at her house before I went home (as I don’t know where Debbie lives)? I did a few other errands, and since I hadn’t heard back, I gave the items back to the post office, explaining what had probably happened, and asking them to deliver them correctly. Shortly thereafter, I heard back from Karen, who said she’d call Debbie, who had recently moved back to town, to let her know about the mail. Then Karen said she’d be meeting a mutual friend of ours shortly for an early dinner, and did I want to come? Sure! I changed my plans and met Karen and my other friend for dinner at a Chinese restaurant a few doors from the post office.

While we were eating, Debbie walked into the restaurant and joined us, having just picked up her mail. Sure enough, there were 2 checks and 2 W-2s, and she was thrilled to have gotten them. Then she said, “You know, just today I was visualizing money coming in the mail to me. I was clear that I wanted it, and that I wanted it today!”

So here are the points of the story:

Everything happens for a reason, but it may not be your reason
. Everyone else out there has their own intentions. So enjoy being part of someone else’s synchronicity.

Be clear what you want — and others will be enlisted
, perhaps without your or their conscious awareness, to help you get it.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Context is everything!

Sometimes, context is everything. It’s how you understand the meaning of a given word, right? When I was a kid, we played a game where the words “coffee pot” were substituted for two versions of a homonym, and you had to guess what the words were. So my mom would say, “I coffee pot the ball” and “I drove coffee pot the tunnel” and I had to guess the words “threw” and through”.

And sometimes it’s how you recognize people. Bear with me, here.

My office is very private. It’s pretty separate from the house; it’s downstairs, behind the garage, with its own door to a private patio. The patio is accessible only by a gate to the front yard and stairs up to the main deck and yard, which I can see from both my desk and the sofa where I sit to “read”. No one ever comes in unless I invite them. Even my husband checks the phone line to see if I’m busy before he comes down, and he comes from the inside; there’s never anyone except the cable guy or the phone guy on the patio, and that’s because I’ve called them. When I work, the only other creature there, besides me, is my cat, Creature. That is, my office is very private, and very safe — which is important, because I need to be completely secure in the outer world so that I can focus on the inner world for/with my clients.

Last Wednesday morning, I was in my office, doing a reading/NLP session for a client. I had my eyes closed, paying close attention to the inner landscape, and was therefore not particularly aware of what was going on in my office. All was well. We had gotten to a place where my client was touching one of his big issues, which, frankly, he would rather have avoided. (This is how many issues get to be big issues — when they’re little issues, we avoid them because it’s easier or more comfortable to avoid them than to deal with them. That lets them grow unchecked, attracting other experiences like the one that caused the issue in the first place. But I digress.)

BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! Went the back of the patio door.

Oh, my God! I practically screamed into the telephone, and then apologized to my client for blistering his ear as I rushed to the back door. There was a man standing there! And all the possibilities of who this could be flashed through my mind (PG&E? PacBell? The cable company? But I haven’t called any of them. A new neighbor? But why would a new neighbor come to this obscure, protected door?)

“Who are you?”, I asked the stranger.

“Steve”, he answered, with a slightly shocked look, as if to say, “you idiot!” — and immediately his very ordinary features morphed into the unique ones of one of my best friends from decades ago, as if all my experience of him suddenly populated his face. (Actually, we’ve known each other since we were teenagers and have stayed in touch all these years. No, I haven’t seen him in 5 years, but he really doesn’t look different from how he looked then.) It’s just that I talked to him the evening before, on his home phone, in NC, to say “thank you” for the birthday present he sent, so I “knew” he was home in NC. Since I didn’t expect him, I didn’t “see” him. I explained that I was really “out there” from doing the reading, and he readily forgave me.

How do you prevent this from happening? How do you ensure you recognize someone? I’m not 100% sure you can, but I have a couple of ideas.

The first one comes from my late father, who was a doctor in a small town in NJ, with a huge practice which spanned the state. Almost everywhere we went, someone would say, “Hi, Doc!” and he’d look momentarily blank, and then greet whomever by their name, and ask them something relevant to their lives. Once I asked him about that blank look, and how he remembered everyone, and here’s what he said: “When someone says, “Hi, Doc!, I know it’s someone from my practice, so I “see” them in the office — and then I know just who they are, their name, what they do for a living, kids names, all that stuff.”

So the first trick is to widen the visual frame of your memory, to see someone in the context in which you met.

The second trick is from “memory experts” who tell us to envision someone’s name stamped across his or her forehead.

Put the two together, so you see the person’s name, stamped on his or her forehead, in the context in which you know each other, and you’ll be all set!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Mirror Neurons and Social Contagion

On Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of helping a group of aspiring hypnotherapists develop their (already pretty advanced) intuitions. Before we started, several members of the group told me they’d been looking forward to this session, and afterwards, I perhaps understood why: they were natural psychics, and needed a little help understanding, and, in at least one case, coping with, what they were already doing.

After my usual explanation of intuition, we began the practice exercises. One exercise is designed to increase the students’ awareness of others’ emotions at an energy/intuitive level. It requires that one member of a small group fully experience some emotion, by recalling an instance of it, as in method acting, so that the others can notice how that emotion manifests, and what it brings up for them. This is critical to healers, because sensing what is going on for your client and managing your own emotions around that is necessary to your client’s healing.

As I told the students that the next emotion they were to experience was anger, one woman standing quite close to me jumped the gun, and remembered her anger immediately. I caught a glint of it in her eye, and before I was aware of what had happened, part of me thought, “Oh, s**t, she’s mad at me!” And this happened even though I knew I had just asked the students to “run anger”.

At another point, I asked the group to run fear, which they gamely did. While I was not part of the exercise, just managing it, I found myself nauseated and desperate to leave the room, in the classic “freeze or flee” mechanism.

What was going on?

What was going on was that my neurology was working perfectly! Our brains apparently have certain neurons, called mirror neurons, which “reflect back an action we observe in someone else, making us have that emotion, or have the impulse to do so”, according to Daniel Goleman in his book, “Social Intelligence”. These mirror neurons are the mechanism of our understanding what someone else is experiencing. They create a sort of emotional contagion between people (and even among crowds), especially when they interact face to face, and particularly when they look each other in the eye. This happens completely outside our conscious awareness.

So when I caught the eye of the woman who was “angry”, I experienced her anger, and when several members of the group were “afraid”, I became afraid.

So if you are someone who “catches” others’ negative emotions quickly and easily, what do you do?

The first step to solving a problem is to recognize it. If you regularly have emotions that seem to come out of nowhere, for no reason, your mirror neurons are probably very sensitive (or you have more of them, or they’re working overtime, or something). So the first thing is to ask yourself, “is this my emotion?” If the answer is no, then find a neutral or positive thought which will bring you back to your own decoupled physiology. A few good neutral thoughts are:

I am balanced, centered and grounded. (And really feel your connection to the earth.)
I have a protective bubble around me (or my aura). (Again, take a moment to notice the protection.)
I’m me; you’re you; we’re different (or separate).

Not only will you feel better, but then, in a more resourceful state, you have the ability to shape the interaction, so that the other person “catches” your more positive state.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Does synchronicity have a structure?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Synchronicity as “Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, conceived in Jungian theory as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality.” Here’s an amazing example, that just happened to me:

A few weeks ago, I decided on the spur of the moment to launch a 5 week teleclass on the practice of happiness, based in current research into meditation, emotional intelligence, luck, and positive psychology (the psychology of happiness). I picked weekly Wednesday evening “meetings” from 6 – 7 PM California time for a few reasons. I chose the 6PM time because it would be accessible to anyone in the US. I chose Wednesday because mid-week sessions are likely to be better attended, I sometimes go to meditations on Tuesday nights, and people tend to go out on Thursdays. That left Wednesdays. I did it really quickly, without considering what else was going on in my life, and without looking at my calendar.

What was I thinking?

After I sent out the email, I noticed that my favorite yoga class runs from 7 – 8 PM on Wednesdays. Bummer! I was going to have to be late to class for 5 weeks. Oh, well.

And then I noticed that I had a dental hygiene appointment, about 45 minutes away from my office, from 4:30 – 5:30 PM on the day of the first class (yesterday), which meant that I couldn’t get home in time for the class. It is almost impossible to reschedule an appointment, as they are made 6 months in advance. And I had already tried to reschedule this appointment to accommodate the schedule of the hypnotherapy school where I teach, to no avail (had to change the teaching schedule instead — luckily another teacher was willing to trade). I was going to have to do the first class on my cell phone, with probably poor reception, from the discomfort of my car in a parking lot on a hot day. Major bummer!

And here’s what happened:

Last Wednesday night, the yoga teacher announced that for the next 6 weeks, Wednesday night class would be moved to Thursday night! And in fact, this exactly matches my need, because one of the Wednesdays is July 4th, and so my 5 classes are spread over 6 weeks.

Yesterday morning, the dentist’s office called, very apologetically, to say that the hygienist with whom I was scheduled couldn’t do my session! And that I would go to the top of the cancellation list for another appointment. In fact, they called me back the same day with a new date.

Here’s another thing: a couple of weeks after I announced the class, Neale Donald Walsch, author of the “Conversations with God” series, announced that he was holding a one hour teleclass on “Happiness with God” — from 6 – 7 PM PDT on the night of my first class. How weird is that?

I’d like to believe that it was my clear intention to do this class — for free, and the universe supporting that choice, that led to the synchronicities, but I truly don’t know. Or maybe all this other stuff was set up in advance, and I picked that time because I subconsciously knew about everyone else’s plans. And the question for me is, is there a structure to synchronicity, like there’s a structure to luck (See Richard Wiseman’s “The Luck Factor”)? Because if I understood that, life would be a LOT easier!

Where or when in your life do synchronicities happen? Have you noticed anything that seems to trigger them? Please let me know. If enough people write back, maybe we can figure out a pattern… I’ll share (anonymously) anything useful that I get (unless I’m asked not to).

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Can you go home again? Hope… and Acceptance

Last week was quite a whirlwind — NJ for a class, visiting family and friends, and a college reunion, back to SF, only to go to Sacramento on business. But I’m finally home, thank goodness! And because there was such a whirlwind, I have a few impressions I’d like to share with you:

Can you go home again?

It’s very odd to walk around a college campus where you spent almost all of 4 years (I worked as a research assistant in the summers, and stayed for a month or so after graduation, so it really was almost all of 4 years). There is this time travel experience — you know you are you, and it’s 2007, but then, you hit a part of campus that hasn’t changed since you lived there, and… you’ve traveled back in time. I walked by a dorm I lived in one summer, and the window of “my” room had a window fan in it, just like I had. It literally stopped me in my tracks. When am I? It’s as if the present is layered onto the past in the physical place. (Read “Time and Again” by Jack Finney for a terrific novel based on this premise — and no, the movie just isn’t as good).

But then there is also this sense of the place growing and evolving as the community grows and evolves, as everything evolves. Some buildings are the same; others have only been changed on the inside. There are new buildings, housing new scholarly departments and new students. Some trees have gotten bigger, some have died and been replaced by smaller ones. The black squirrels seem to have been replaced by gray ones. The faces, of course, have changed, but the feel remains the same. Engineering students are still working their butts off — I commiserated with a current engineering student, and one who’d been out 5 years, about how hard we all worked as undergrads. And everyone still feels connected.

So if you can accept that everything changes, then you can go home again.

Hope

I had the good fortune to get a ride (thanks, Julie & Rich!) out to the Plasma Physics Lab, which is 4 miles from the main Princeton campus, for the first time ever, so I could take a tour of the facilities. The PPL is one of the few experimental locations in the world for the development of nuclear fusion energy. Currently used nuclear energy is produced by fission, splitting atoms, and it leaves nasty by-products. By contrast, fusing types of hydrogen atoms to make helium, which is an inert gas, also frees up vast amounts of energy, and leaves only the helium as a byproduct.

Here’s the good news: according to the tour director, who is a physicist (although the communications director of the lab and not an experimenter), commercially viable fusion energy is pretty much inevitable. Certainly many things remain to be worked out, but apparently the question is not if, but when. His view is definitely by 2050. The (slightly) bad news is that the PPL would like to be doing experiments 25 weeks a year on the test reactors they have, and are only funded by the Dept. of Energy for 12 weeks a year. How much sooner could this happen if the lab were fully funded? Can we afford to wait until 2050?

A further question is which nation will commercialize fusion energy, and thereby gain the business for putting these small reactors everywhere. Other research institutions are in Russia, China, the EU, and Japan. While the research is apparently a joint endeavor of these countries with India at this point, commercializing it may not be.

All in all, from the Earth’s point of view, this is the most hopeful thing I’ve heard in years.

Acceptance

10 years ago, when I told people at my reunion that I did clairvoyant readings and coaching (which wasn’t called that then), most people who didn’t know me well, and a few who did, looked at me like I was crazy. It wasn’t much better 5 years ago.

But this time, the reaction I got from most people was “Cool!” I had pretty deep conversations, where I was passing on psychic information, with a couple of people who I’m sure wouldn’t have given my information any credence back then. And this is a pretty mainstream group of professionals. Is it because the culture has changed? Or because we’re older? Or because I speak about it in a way that’s easier to relate to? I don’t know, but I sure hope it’s the first of these. Anyway, my sense is that it’s safe to come out of the closet with your abilities (for those of you who have been in one).

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Do you want to be happier? More successful?

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a very brief talk on the relationships of meditation, luck, emotional awareness and success, as part of a larger program given by others. There was a lot of material, actually too much for me to cover in the ten minutes I had, and that bugged me. Still, people were quite blown away at the picture I’d drawn for them of how all these things relate to and reinforce each other. So after I sat down to listen to the rest of the program, it hit me — this information needs to get out there! People need to know not only about this reinforcing relationship, but also about all the exercises that one can do to feed the virtuous cycle. So I had an idea… But first…

Quick — How happy are you, on a scale of 0 –10? (Where 10 is “it couldn’t possibly get better — life is a blast!” and 0 is “I’d be better off on the other side”.) Check inside quickly to answer that (whatever number comes up first is the right one). Then scroll down…






























If you answered less than 10, would like to improve that happiness level? (And if the answer is 0 – 1, please go get individualized professional help now.)

If you’re reasonably happy, or so-so, or even kinda bummed, and would like to be happier day to day, read on.

Did you know there are simple, scientifically proven strategies (no, no drugs!) to boost your happiness and sense of well-being, not to mention your success? Because there is now lots of research into the psychology of happiness, emotional awareness, the effects of meditation on the brain and body, and the structure of luck, which you can use to improve your life. But it’s fragmented into hundreds, maybe thousands, of different books and websites.

You could find all this information yourself, but why bother? Do you have that much time? I’ve gathered much of the best of the current research in one place. How much would you be willing to pay for all this information? $300? $500? $1000?

I’m offering it, along with some experiential tools not included in the literature, this one time only, for FREE (of course, there is a small catch, but it is for your own good)!

I’m offering a teleclass, based in solid scientific research into meditation, luck, happiness, and emotional awareness, which aims to boost that happiness level, along with your success, by giving you simple, easy tools and strategies. This is groundbreaking, as I haven’t seen anyone put all these things together in one place. There will be some lecture, especially in the first session, to explain the framework for the class, some guided meditations, some group discussion, homework (about 30 – 40 enjoyable minutes daily — and you may already be doing some or much of it), and questionnaires.

Here are the details:

When: 5 Wednesdays, 6/13, 6/20, 6/27, 7/11 and 7/18, 6PM PDT, which is 9PM EDT, for 45 – 60 minutes each

Where: Wherever you are, by long-distance telephone. However, you must not be driving a car, as it would be too dangerous to take part in the guided meditations.

Cost: Because this is a beta test, it is FREE, if you (a) attend all teleclasses and (b) fill out all questionnaires (don’t worry, they’re short). If you don’t do these things, the cost is $100, which is what it will be in the future. I do this because if you don’t attend all the classes, and don’t fill out all the questionnaires, I don’t know what is working, or how well.

Contact: Hollis Polk at hollis@888-4-hollis.com, 650-616-9377, or 888-4-hollis (888-446-5547) to sign up, get details and/or ask questions.

I’m looking forward to this — it will be fun! Please join me for what promises to be a life-changing journey!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How a thing begins is how it will continue

In the fall of my senior year in college, I went on my very first “real” job interview for a post college job, with a very prestigious consulting firm. I expected that at the end of the day, I would either be thrilled because I had a job offer, or seriously bummed because I didn’t. But it didn’t work out that way.

The company made me a job offer, and then pressured me strongly to accept it on the spot, which I didn’t feel I could do. After all, it was only October, it was my first interview, and I’d barely started to look. In the end, they gave me the weekend to think it over (the interview was on a Friday). I didn’t take the job then, but we agreed to talk again in the spring. I eventually accepted the job.

And spent the next 2 years feeling manipulated and used. You see, the way they made job offers was the way they treated their employees — badly, peremptorily. The way one does something, whether it is a person or an organization, is likely the way it does anything and everything.

And so it is with the Bush administration. They stole the 2000 and 2004 elections, and continued with their pattern of lawlessness, from lying about the reasons for going to war, to outing a CIA agent whose husband spoke out against those lies, to attempting to use the Justice Dept. to steal elections, to illegally spying on American citizens, and on and on. You know the litany.

Beware a bad beginining — people are always, always, always showing and telling you who they are.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Or
Be Careful What You Ask For

You remember that old Disney cartoon, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, don’t you? Maybe you remember it better than I do, because all I remember is that the apprentice used the sorcerer’s tools, while not really knowing how, and made a BIG mess. Well, I’m feeling a bit like that sorcerer’s apprentice at the moment.

I’ve been working with a new, powerful manifesting tool I’ve channeled recently, based in the “Heart of Relationship” (see http://10minutesaday.blogspot.com/2006/09/web-of-creation.html for details on the Heart of Relationship). And though I’ve advised people for many years that they need to be complete when they ask for something, carefully considering all aspects of what they choose to manifest, I find I’ve been falling short myself! Here’s an example:

I choose to easily manifest a car which runs on vegetable oil. As I’m not a mechanic, I need to either buy some kind of a diesel car and pay someone to convert it (and there is no consensus on what are the best cars to convert), or buy one that someone else has converted. This is looking like quite a project!

First, it probably requires that I have the money for the car (yes, there are other ways, but let’s not quibble). I figure I can find one that I actually want to drive (a relatively recent Jetta TDI) for $15,000 (you can find ancient Mercedes converted for less, but I don’t want an old clunker), which means finding $15,000 so that I can sell my old car after I have purchased the new car. (I generally don’t buy depreciating assets, like cars, with credit. And I hate spending my savings, so I want money to “show up”.) So I do my process, saying “I choose to have $15,000 show up.” That was the complete statement.

A couple of weeks later, while I was out of town, my husband called me to say that there was a FedEx envelope from my investment house for me, and did I want him to open it? Well, I had no idea what this could be, as I hadn’t talked to my financial advisor in months, so yes, I did want him to open it. There was a check for $15,000! Normally, if I want them to send me my own money, I have to fax a request, which I obviously hadn’t done in this case. When I called to find out why I’d been sent a check, the advisor’s assistant could give me no reason, was suitably embarrassed and apologetic, and, of course, resolved the issue as though it never happened.

But I do know, on a deeper level, why I got that check — I got exactly what I asked for — $15,000 showed up! Now I am being more specific — I choose that a NEW $15,000 show up to buy my veggie oil car!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Platinum Rule

Everyone knows the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Pretty simple, and pretty good.

And I’d like to humbly submit the upgrade, the Platinum Rule, “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”

What do I mean?

We all know that everyone’s different — one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, to quote another folk staple. So why do we assume that someone else would want to be treated the way we wish to be treated? Yes, everyone wants courtesy, respect, love, support and all those other wonderful, non-specific words (nominalizations, for you NLPers). But one person may equate support to being left alone in her grief, while another may equate it with constant companionship.

The Golden Rule can even create problems. Here’s one example: my first husband liked to get his information auditorily, because had a phenomenal auditory memory; he couldn’t see very well, though, and had a lousy visual memory. I, on the other hand, with a great visual memory and a terrible auditory one, wanted to see my information. But of course, we didn’t understand this, and assumed each other’s memory was just like the ours.

So, using the Golden Rule, if I needed to remind him of something, like what to get at the grocery store, I’d leave a note on the back of the front door, where he’d be sure to see it on the way out in the morning, and could take it with him to use at the store in the evening. Of course, half the time, he never saw the note! If he needed me to call someone to renew the auto insurance, he’d tell me before he left for work — and it would slip my mind.

And in the evening, he wouldn’t have gotten what we needed at the grocery, and I wouldn’t have called the insurance agent! Multiply this by a hundred times, and you get the picture. I felt ignored, and he felt like he wasn’t being heard. It was a constant source of friction in our marriage.

Then I learned about representational systems, which are all about how you take in and store information. Some people, like me, are very visual, others primarily auditory, and still others primarily kinesthetic, so they learn by doing. I explained this to my husband, and we began to live by the Platinum Rule — I’d tell him what I needed, and he’d leave me notes. Much better, even though it felt a little weird to both of us!

So, how do you put the Platinum Rule into action? Any time something isn’t gong well in a relationship, ask yourself, do I know what the other person wants, and how they want it? If the answer is ‘no’, or even ‘maybe’, ask the other person! You’ll be glad you did.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

A side benefit of running

As I mentioned in my last email, I’ve been running as well as walking for the last couple of weeks. I walk until I feel like running (my heart chakra sort of attaches to something in the distance and that pulls me), then run until I feel like walking (usually my throat gets sore).

You just never know what else any particular change will open up. Here’s what I mean:

This method of running requires me to stay present to my body and the surroundings, rather than do affirmations or work out things, like what I’m going to write. This makes me much more aware of my energy field. This in turn makes me much more aware of the energy fields of whatever I pass than I am normally. I think it’s because our energy fields are actually interpenetrating each other. Do you remember doing experiments with magnets and iron filings in junior high science class, so you could see the magnetic fields and their interactions? It’s like that, only I can feel it rather than see it, as if my aura is a giant sense organ. Or to use another metaphor, it’s as if a tree’s field is combing through mine, and vice versa.

Furthermore, I notice those other energy fields much more strongly when I run than when I walk. I suppose that’s because when I walk, I’m going too slowly to notice the subtle differences between different energy fields. For example, when I move quickly, it seems that the energy field of a gingko is much softer than the field of whatever conifer is next on my route.

Have you ever had a similar experience? Because if you have, I’d love to hear about it.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Reality Creation Begins at Home!

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, “you create your reality through your beliefs” (to quote Seth, a discarnate entity, in books channeled 30 or so years ago by Jane Roberts). Well, reality creation starts at home, with your identity. How many stories, good or bad, do we tell ourselves about who we are? And I’ve got those stories going on, too.

Now, I’m a also really big believer in playing to one’s strengths. I mean, no one really wants you around for what you’re bad at, right? So unless you’ve been in one of my classes, where I made a joke of it, you don’t know that I referred to myself “one of the slowest runners on earth”. And you don’t know that I can barely carry a tune. Well, actually, the tunes need their own dollies.

This “slow” part of my identity came about in 7th grade, when we first started to run track in gym class. I was small for my age, with short legs, and two years younger than all my classmates, which made me a head shorter than many of them. There were girls whose legs came up to my bottom rib! So naturally, I was embarrassingly slow in that group. I hated being 50 – 100 yards behind everyone else! And it hurt — mostly in my lungs, but also a bit in my legs. Oh, I forced myself, and I kept on forcing myself to run when I couldn’t swim or skate, because back then, it wasn’t known that walking was about as good for you as running. As I got to be an adult, I developed shin splints, and that’s when I completely gave up on running.

I still walk — a lot. 3 miles most days, sometimes more, occasionally less. And in my neighborhood, that means I do serious hills, with stretches that are 20% grade. I hike, too — which is pretty much just walking in nicer surroundings, as near as I can tell. But running… NOT!

The non-musical part of my identity started earlier, when I couldn’t carry a tune as a small child. My Dad kept saying,”Oh, she’ll get it when she gets older; I couldn’t carry a tune till I was about 12, and now I’m fine.” And he was. He could sing, as could my mother and sister.

Also in 7th grade, in a vain attempt to be normal at a school where I was anything but (not only by my age and size, but also by my ethnicity), I joined the Glee Club. The other short girl (a 6th grader) and I sat directly in front of Mrs. Miller at her piano. All year long, Mrs. Miller kept saying that one of us was flat, but she could never tell which one. Occasionally she’d silence everyone else to figure out who it was, with the idea that whoever it was would be, um, invited to leave. She never did, though whether that was figure it out or ask us to leave, I still don’t know. One year of optional humiliation was enough; I learned my lesson, and thereafter confined my singing to solo sing-alongs in the car and “Happy Birthday”, where I figured even if anyone noticed, they wouldn’t care.

Fast forward a few decades.

Last weekend, I joined my more-or-less monthly meditation/discussion group for our very first retreat. The group has built up an amazing energy over the several years we’ve been meditating together. It’s so strong that I feel it literally hold my torso up if I lean in to our circle. And each person I’ve gotten to know is really cool, too — intelligent, articulate, talented, good-hearted, really committed to his or her own spirituality and to community, many of them teachers in their own right. We were going to a beautiful spot in Sonoma, with comfy, though rustic, sleeping cabins, a huge room with a wooden floor and cathedral ceiling for meditation, all set in spectacular gardens — and scrumptious food, too. So it was going to be a great weekend!

And then the group leader, decided that we should run as well as meditate and discuss some texts. He wanted to import the running coach he described as a genius, who “gave him running”, a coach who is used to working with world champions. The group agreed. My reaction was that since I was so bad, any coaching could only help. And hey, someone who can coach champions can probably help anyone. So I was open. Not expecting much, but open.

We arrived at the ranch on Friday afternoon, got settled, and had meditation and discussion before and after dinner, as well as some exercises and meditation before breakfast on Saturday morning. After breakfast, the plan was for meditation to lead into running. Okay, I thought, this is a different approach, and it might actually work for me. No discussion of running form at all. We began with a quick lecture/demo/participation of different running speeds. Then we moved (literally) into a zen walk, where the point is to walk as slowly and mindfully as possible. That’s easy for me, as I grew up skating school figures, which basically require the same focus on the body moving through space. Then the coach, Mike Spino, just said, now you can walk at whatever speed you feel like as long as you maintain your focus. If you lose focus, stop, recollect yourself, and begin again. And if you feel like running, run.

After a little while, I actually wanted to run! This was new! Maybe it was the mindfulness of it, or maybe it was my connection to the group, which included some long-time runners. Then something in my body wouldn’t feel quite right, and I’d go back to walking. Then I’d want to run again. Periodically, Mike would gather us back to teach us something new, or to zen walk, or to do another exercise. In one exercise, we stood and silently shared energy with a partner (whoever was closest to us at the moment) by holding our palms facing our partner’s palms without touching. We were then instructed to have one partner “pack the energy” into the other partner and run together. My partner missed the running together part, so we somehow split off in different directions. Oh, well.

Later on, Mike gathered us in a group out on the driveway, had us focus on a tree 100 yards or so away, visualize throwing a lasso onto the tree, tying the other end around our waists (I connected it to my heart chakra instead) and letting the lasso pull us to the tree. I flew! Okay, it was slightly downhill, but I was passing people! Me, the (now former) slowest runner on earth! I had to change that part of my identity. I’m a runner now.

The next day we went out on a nearby track. We meditated, did the zen walk, walked and ran and walked and ran some more, in any direction (not just around the track). Sometimes we ran as a group, staying together intentionally. Mike taught us another visualization, one of a giant hand coming down from the sky to support us and push us forward. With that one, I felt like my feet barely touched the ground!

And we got another shot at the partner exercise. This time, my partner was a 6’1” ex-NFL linebacker. Oh, God, I thought, how am I ever going to keep up with him? But we shared energy through our facing palms. He wisely decided that he should give me the energy and fell in behind me when we were instructed to run. I could actually feel his hand behind my back, pushing me down the track! And we still weren’t touching.

On the drive back to Sacramento (yes, I’m still out of town, working on my cell phone), it occurred to me that what a great coach does has nothing to do with techniques or skills. A great coach gives you parts of yourself that you could not previously access. I know I do that for people all the time, but I never got what I did, until someone did it for me. Thank you, Mike! I’m truly grateful.

So here’s the really odd part. I indulged myself in an iPod sing-along on the way back to Sacramento, and I’m pretty sure I was on key a lot more often than before. And a few days later, when I called my Mom to sing her “Happy Birthday”, she commented, with no prompting, that I’d done a good job, sung all the right notes. She’s never done that before — she would never say something to make you feel better if it weren’t true — so I believe her. Maybe I can carry a tune? I know I can if I find the right coach to teach me. Maybe I can begin to think of myself as a singer, too.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

More psychic fun with slots!

I received the following response to last week’s email (see my blog here if you missed it: http://10minutesaday.blogspot.com):

25 years ago I spent 3 days in Vegas, during which I released all desire to return. Yet I was with a girl friend and we had fun. We made money on the slots by removing desire to win from our minds. Our method was to stand together and focus on loving each other as one of us operated the machine. We both refused to go into winning desire. We would select machines to move to by ascertaining which one looked friendly and wanted to be included in our loving. Using this method we consistently made small amounts of money on the slots, enough to pay for our lodging and meals while in Vegas.

The various casinos also gave out betting starter packs with 5 or 10 dollars in scrip for use at gaming tables. If we lost, we moved on to another casino. If we won, we bet our winnings. We made a much smaller amount by this method than on the slots where we invested only our own money. I believe this is because the tables involved other people and diminished our focusing ability, compared with when it was only me, her, and the machine at play.

So perhaps one-armed bandits are angels in disguise, teaching unattached love through psycho-feedback!

I think this approach to slot machines is a terrific idea, and am going to try it with my husband. I’m passing it along because it illustrates very clearly some research from Princeton’s psychic lab (the late, lamented PEAR).

The lab had lots of apparatus whose movement was controlled by a random event generator (aka random number generator), where if the last digit of the current number was higher than the last digit of the previous number, it would go one direction, and if the last digit was lower than the last digit of the previous number, it would go the other. So for example, a small fountain of water would be higher or lower, depending on the random number. The idea was to affect the random number, and therefore the apparatus, solely with your intention. Lots of people could do this effectively. (Why does this matter? Well, if you’re going to Jupiter, and your consciousness puts the automatic navigation system even a degree off, you’ll never get there.)

Here’s the interesting thing. It turned out that women and men were each equally effective individually. Two women together were no more effective than one individual. Two men together were no more effective than one individual. But a man and a woman together were 4 times as effective as one individual! And a man and a woman who were a couple were 7 times as effective as one individual!

So the idea of working with the slot machines as a couple is pretty intriguing to me. I’ll let you know what happens.

Hollis
—————————————————
Hollis Polk
888-4-hollis
(888-446-5547)
www.hollispolk.com
Www.888-4-hollis.com

Helping you create a life you love every single day!

Check out my blog at: http://10minutesaday.blogspot.com

Feel free to forward this message — just please forward it in its entirety. Thanks!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach, who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years. To do this, she blends neurolinguistic and hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance, and the common sense learned in over 20 years of business experience. Hollis is a Master Practitioner of neurolinguistics, a certified hypnotherapist, and has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Princeton and a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker and investor, and has owned and run several successful businesses.

If you want to know more about Hollis, see her website, http://www.hollispolk.com.

You got this email because of prior contact with me. If you’d like to be removed from this list, please send me an email with remove in the title, and YOUR NAME. (The name is important because it may be the only way I can find you in my database.)

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

No time to meditate?

Are you one of those people who says, “I used to meditate” or “I meditate sometimes” but “I can’t keep it up because I don’t have time”? Meditation comes in many forms — and it may be something you do without noticing.

Last week I had lunch with a friend, Tim, who, with only a little prompting, began to rhapsodize about fly fishing. You know, standing hip-deep in a stream, casting and waiting and reeling them in, only to let them go, because after all, this is about the experience, not about eating the fish. It had always seemed kind of silly to me, but not when Tim got done telling me about it. He told me about the wonders of being still, connected to all of nature, hearing the rush of water over rapids and the breeze ruffling the trees, feeling the sun on his face, seeing the glint of sunlight on tree leaves, the beauty of myriad colors in a freshly caught rainbow trout, the smell of the stream and the fish. He described the sensitivity he felt in his hands because of the lightweight equipment, and the connection to, no, the dance with the fish as he reeled it in. He’s been doing it for over 20 years, and it’s always a thrill.

That reminded me of figure skating in my childhood. It was different back then, because people actually skated figures — the famed figure eights, as well as three lobed figures, called serpentines, and circles within circles, in many variations — forwards, backwards, turning once or twice in the middle of each circle, and on and on. This required intense concentration on very slow, fluid movements, because if you lost your concentration, even for a moment, a part of your body would bobble; you could see the result of that on the ice as an imperfection from the ideal. (Today, the emphasis is on freeskating, the jumps and spins skated to music, because that is what sells on TV, and sadly, most of the “figure” skating is lost). You skated the same figures over and over and over again, for years sometimes, till you got them right in front of a mostly impartial audience.

And then, today, I found this article in the NY Times, “Your Brain on Baseball”, included below (emphasis mine). David Brooks talks about training the unconscious mind to do things well through repetition and about how some things are done better without thinking about them.

Does this all sound like meditation to you? It sure does to me. In all these cases, your focus solely on what you’re doing chases out random, or even pointed, conscious thoughts, and allows for a wider, occasionally mystical, experience. Maybe you can get that fly fishing, or doing baseball drills, or shooting basketball freethrows. or golfing, or cycling, or running. I do it when I walk, either focusing completely on my surroundings, or on an affirmation (a kind of mantra) as I walk. I have a friend who goes there just by vacuuming — she gets so absorbed in the motion and the look of the carpet!

So if you “don’t have time to meditate”, maybe you can meditate just by focusing on your senses and performance in sports or even mundane tasks. How can you incorporate meditation into every day life?

Your Brain on Baseball

By DAVID BROOKS
It’s spring training fielding practice, and Jeff Kent, the Dodgers second baseman, is covering first. A coach rolls the ball out toward the mound. The pitcher scrambles to pick up the ball. The catcher yells out which base he should throw to. Kent runs over and catches the ball at first.

Jeff Kent is 39 years old and has been playing professionally for 17 years. He’s probably been doing this same drill since he was 10 years old, because the practice drills the Little Leaguers do are basically the same drills the major leaguers do. Why is Jeff Kent, after all these years, still learning to cover first?

Because the institution of baseball understands how to make the most of the human brain.

One of the core messages of brain research is that most mental activity happens in the automatic or unconscious region of the brain. The unconscious mind is not a swamp of repressed memories and childhood traumas, the way Freud imagined. It’s a set of mental activities that the brain has relegated beyond awareness for efficiency’s sake, so the conscious mind can focus on other things. In his book, “Strangers to Ourselves,” Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia notes that the brain can absorb about 11 million pieces of information a second, of which it can process about 40 consciously. The unconscious brain handles the rest.

The automatic mind generally takes care of things like muscle control. But it also does more ethereal things. It recognizes patterns and construes situations, searching for danger, opportunities or the unexpected. It also shoves certain memories, thoughts, anxieties and emotions up into consciousness.

Baseball is one of those activities that are performed mostly by the automatic mind. Professional baseball players have phenomenal automatic brains.

As Jeff Hawkins points out in his book “On Intelligence,” it is nearly impossible to design a computer with a robotic arm that can catch a ball. The calculations the computer has to make are too complicated to accomplish in time. Baseball players not only can do that with ease, they can hit a split-finger fastball besides.

Over the decades, the institution of baseball has figured out how to instruct the unconscious mind, to make it better at what it does. As we know the automatic brain only by the behavior it produces, so we can instruct it only by forcing it to repeat certain actions. Jeff Kent is practicing covering first after all these years because the patterns of the automatic brain have to be constantly and repetitively reinforced.

But baseball has accomplished another, more important feat. It has developed a series of habits and standards of behavior to keep the conscious mind from interfering with the automatic mind.

Baseball is one of those activities in which the harder you try, the worse you do. The more a pitcher aims the ball, the wilder he becomes. The more a batter tenses, the slower and more tentative his muscles become.

Over the generations, baseball people have developed an infinity of tics and habits to distract and sedate the conscious mind. Managers encourage a preternaturally calm way of being — especially after failure. In the game I happened to see here on Tuesday, Detroit Tigers pitcher Nate Robertson threw poorly, but strutted off the mound as if he’d just slain Achilles. Second baseman Kevin Hooper waved pathetically at a third struck fastball, but walked back to the dugout wearing an expression of utter nonchalance.

This sort of body language helps players remain steady amid humiliation, so they’ll do better next time.

Believe me, the people involved in the sport have no theory of the human mind, but under the pressure of competition, they’ve come up with a set of practices that embody a few key truths.

First, habits and etiquette shape the brain. Or as Timothy Wilson puts it, “One of the most enduring lessons of social psychology is that behavior change often precedes changes in attitudes and feelings.”

And second, there is a certain kind of practical wisdom that is not taught but is imparted through experience. It consists of a sensitivity to the contours of how a situation may evolve, which cannot be put into words.

Baseball players are like storm-tossed sailors falling and rising with the slumps and hot streaks that emanate from inaccessible parts of themselves. The rest of us rationalists use statistics to try to understand the patterns of what they do.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Dirty Little Secret of “The Secret”

Are you practicing the Law of Attraction, and not having the best of results?

Are there barriers you just can’t seem to break through? Things you can’t get yourself to do, or things that just never seem to turn out right? Maybe you always attract the wrong guy – or the wrong woman. Or maybe your talents and hard work are never recognized, no matter where you work. Or you always get a horror of a boss. Or money regularly slips through your fingers. Or maybe you just can’t get yourself do what you need to do to succeed.

The reason the Law of Attraction seems not to work for you is that there’s a dirty little secret to The Secret.

Here’s what no one is telling you:

You create your reality through your beliefs. The problem with that is, most of our beliefs are unconscious! The Law of Attraction is working — you are attracting what you want at a very deep, that is, unconscious, level. And maybe you don’t like what you are attracting. How do you change something you’re not even aware of?

And no two people’s beliefs are alike, so no mass market product – tape, CD, DVD, mass training – will ever find YOUR beliefs!

But I can help you find and shift your unconscious beliefs! In 20 years of counseling people, using my clairvoyance as well as hypnotherapy and neurolinguistic techniques, I’ve come up with a unique process that not only identifies the unconscious beliefs blocking what you consciously want, it changes them — permanently – often in under an hour. Then you will automatically and easily take the right action — and attract what you want! Call me now at 888-4-hollis (888-446-5547) or check out my website, www.hollispolk.com to learn more.

Maybe you’re like Lacey — just about to succeed as an actor — making contacts in the industry, people who can get her seen by the right casting directors, and get her parts. (She’s been training for 10 years, and has rave reviews from the few jobs she’s had.) All she has to do is send out her resume to her new contacts – and she can’t get herself to do it! What’s going on? She makes up excuse after excuse – it’s too hard to get it off the old floppy disk (she could just type it again), she has to end some legal issues, she has to clean the kitchen. What’s really going on?

What’s really going on for Lacey, as I discovered in under 10 minutes, is that she equates success with being a horrible person – an alcoholic and an abuser of other people, because her successful father was not only a workaholic, but also an alcoholic who abused her and her mother. So unconsciously, success is a massive double bind. She can either struggle and be a good person, or succeed professionally and be a monster! Is she going to succeed? Not without changing her unconscious programming!

The good news is, she can change that programming. And so can you!

Over 20 years of working with clients, I have seen so many people facing obstacles that could be overcome easily with the right tools, that I incorporated additional skills into my original clairvoyant practice. I mastered these skills in my “rational” education (a Harvard MBA and an engineering Bachelor’s degree from Princeton, where I specialized in decision science), 20+ years of business experience, and specialized training, including hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistics. My practice now specializes in coaching based on psychic information.

It will work for you!

It’s convenient: We do sessions by phone, so you’re in the safety and comfort of your own home (or office, or even car!), without the hassle, time, or expense of driving somewhere.

It’s cost effective: I charge by the minute, so you only pay for the time you actually use.

Satisfaction is guaranteed: If you don’t feel like you got something useful out of the session, it’s free!

Call me now at 888-4-holllis (888-446-5547) or check out my website at www.hollispolk.com to learn more!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

And what did YOU do this week?

When I was a kid, every night at dinner, my Dad used to ask each of us, “What did you accomplish today?” I guess I had an answer. Must have, because the programming is so deep that I don’t even remember it. And no trauma there, either. My Mom tells me that one summer day, I answered my Dad, “I had FUN!” so defiantly that he stopped asking the question for a while.

The funny thing is, I can’t answer the question, “what did you accomplish?”, any more. Not for today, not for this week. And I don’t mean I sat on my butt and did nothing, either. I didn’t, though I was moving a bit slowly because I’m still recuperating from that nasty flu. I could write a list a mile long of stuff I did — but what does it really amount to? I mean, I did last week’s radio show, which I think made a difference for at least one person, and some client sessions that did, too. But that was what, a relatively few hours? In the course of a whole week? And all the other activity, the marketing, the sales calls, the emails, the cooking, the laundry, the paperwork, all that, what does it amount to? The truth is, most of it fades into one big blur. Does that happen to you, too? A few things stand out — a celebratory dinner with a friend, who just landed a terrific new job, an amazing client session or two, seeing my initial designs up on the web on CafePress for the first time (check them out at www.cafepress.com/flowersnquilts).

Here’s an even funnier thing — someone advised me to write down 5 things I’d accomplished each day, and said, if you can’t find five, you’re not looking low enough. Some days, I had to look pretty darn low, and that didn’t make me feel any better.

So part of me wants to be frustrated. Another week, and despite lots of effort, I seem no closer to my goals. It seems like nothing’s happening.

But another, wiser part of me knows that this is life on the plateau, one of those long stretches of life where you are just working steadily for what you want. Nothing big happens. Nothing bad happens. That part of me knows that life isn’t all highs, or lows (which I’m grateful for avoiding for another week). I do believe that what you put out comes back to you, so I have to believe all this effort will pay off somewhere, someday, somehow.

In Mastery, George Leonard says (and I’m paraphrasing here) you have to learn to love the plateau, because that’s what most of life is, and because those long stretches on the plateau are necessary preparation for the big breakthroughs.

Maybe this isn’t the most direct path to my goals, but maybe it’s the easiest. I did say I wanted ease and flow! And you have to be very careful what you ask for, because you will get it — the Law of Unintended Consequences is a corollary to the Law of Attraction. Maybe my path on the plateau is longer because of that.

I am learning, somewhat grudgingly, to love the plateau, and to love not only what I choose to create, but how I choose to create it.

I hope you are, too!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How do you know you’re doing the right thing?

If you’ve watched or read “The Secret”, you know that part of the secret to creating what you want is taking action. But how do you know if that action is taking you down the right road, or on a detour, or worse, down a dead end?

I’m really asking this seriously. I have a few ideas, which I’ll list below, but I really want to hear from you how you know you’re doing the right thing. Please post your ideas here on my blog.

Here are a few ways I know I’m on the right track (jn no particular order):

people’s eyes light up when they see me, or something I’ve done
someone says, “I never thought of it that way”
I feel a kind of glow around my heart
people laugh — or they cry — in recognition of truth
my guides tell me I did a good thing
someone says, “thank you”, in a tone that conveys a huge sense of relief

Please take a moment and post how you know you did the right thing as a comment to this blog.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The upside of flu

Okay, I pushed it too much, including not being able to protect myself adequately from the energy of 1500 people releasing negativity (long story), and ended up with the worst bug I’ve had since I came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in my twenties. I spent an entire week in bed, for most of it unable to do more than lie there. No reading, no computer graphics, which I can usually do even when I can’t read, no eating — I pretty much just lay there, in varying degrees of pain. I watched way too much TV, but then, it was the only thing I could do to distract myself from the body aches, which could be really uncomfortable. So I am grateful to the television, and all the people who put on all those shows.

After a day or two, it began to rain, so I opened the bedroom window wide to let in the sound of the rain, and maybe some healing negative ions which would come off the moving water. And I learned a few things:

1. Do less, be more – We live, I mean, I live, but I think I’m pretty normal in this way, a very, very frenetic lifestyle here in the US. Lying there for a week, I could see how much of what I do is really… superfluous. It’s probably more important for me to lie there a bit every day, enjoying the quiet and the trees outside my window than it is to read one more news item. And what did I miss in a week? Not all that much. I’m sure no one noticed that I never sent an email last Thursday. My husband fended for himself just fine in the kitchen. My body seemed to enjoy not having to digest food. The list of what I didn’t do is endless, and it really didn’t matter.

2. Appreciate the health you have – if it’s mostly good, we tend to ignore it. What you focus on, expands, so be grateful for it every day. I know I am, especially now.

3. Nature is healing – As I lay there in front of a large, open window (no, it wasn’t too cold, it’s always warmish when it rains), I had the sense that this enormous cedar behind the house was trying to heal me. I could almost feel it reaching in through the window, sweeping its branches across me energetically. Okay, maybe it was the delusion of a fever, but what if it wasn’t? What if there is more to our earth relationships than meets the everyday eye?

3. It’s blessed to receive – I know I’m a lot better at giving than receiving; maybe you are, too, since we’re all taught that “”it’s more blessed to give than to receive”. But really, if every gift needs a giver and a recipient, how can that be? A time of illness is a great time to practice receiving with grace. When we’re sick, we need help, whether it’s actual medical attention, energy healing, or something very prosaic, like someone to pick up the kids. Our only choice is whether or not to accept with grace. I choose grace.

They say that every cloud has a silver lining. For me, being reminded of these things, was that silver lining, the upside of flu.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Joys of Age

As I was thinking back over the last year, what was positive or fun, what I learned from, what succeeded, what failed, what the jury is still out on, what seems to want to expand in the coming year, who I enjoyed being with and feel honored to have in my life, I realized that there is a true joy in coming of age.

You can come of age at any age, though it’s often in response to some life changing event: having a baby, running your own business, death of someone you love, the serious dis-ease of you or someone you love, the end of an important relationship, financial hardship.

It’s a never ending process, and we can choose to grow and learn through awareness and joy rather than pain.

That said, here are a few joys of age:

You know who you are.
– You know what your strengths are (speaking, I hope, writing).
– You know what you’re bad at (proofreading, typing) — and have other people or systems to do that for you. –
– You know what you love to do (readings), what you hate to do (clean bathrooms), and what you will no longer tolerate (washing dishes).
– You don’t define yourself by that great shirt, or the cool watch or cool car or even right neighborhood. You define yourself by the content of your character, the size of your heart, you compassion.

You are good at things you enjoy.
– If you like to eat, maybe by now you’re a good cook. And if, because you like to eat, you discovered you like to cook, you’re definitely a good cook.
– If you like to run, you’ve learned where the edge is, between not pushing hard enough, so it’s not really a workout, and pushing too hard so you hurt yourself. You know the edge is a little different every day. And you stay on that edge.

You know who other people are.
– You know who you can count on, and who you can’t.
– You know that when someone is always late, they’re always late, no matter how much they say they’re going to be on time next time, and that it’s about her/him, not you.
– You know that Mom gets anxious when anyone else drives — it’s her control issue, not your driving.
– You know that Jane runs off at the mouth — she needs to be heard really badly, and you can either be around her or not, but you can’t shut her up.
– You know that when two people get on each other’s nerves — it’s them, not you, and you don’t have to be in the middle of it.

You know who your friends are — and you know you have them around you.
– You know who shows up to help you move and who is conveniently busy.
– You know who to call when you are heart-broken at 2AM.
– You know who will bring you groceries when you’re sick, and who just can’t be around sick people.
– You know that these are 3 separate people, and you don’t expect the one who helps you move to be the one you can call at 2AM.

You can see patterns.
– You know that when Joe calls his Dad, Joe’s going to be in a bad mood for a few hours.
– Or you’ve learned that your husband is most cooperative when he needs sex, so that’s when you ask for something big (this is truly what a very smart woman I met told me about how her marriage worked).
– You know that when George Bush says he’s not doing something, like planning to attack Iraq, or Iran, or spying on the American people, he really means the opposite.
– You know that anything the government is hiding, it isn’t hiding for your good.

You are doing something about the things you can change.
– If you don’t like where you’re living, you figure out how to make it a place you like — or how to move.
– If you don’t like your financial situation, you figure out what field you might like that could make you more money. Or how to save, or how to invest.
– If you don’t like how your body looks, you join a gym and go. And you eat less and stick to it. And if that doesn’t work, you eventually figure out what in your body isn’t working right, and do something to get it to work right.

You are gracious in accepting what you can’t change.
– You can’t change the weather, you just deal with it the best you can.
– You can’t change other people, you either deal with them the best you can, or you don’t deal with them.
– You can’t change the past, but you can change your memories of it, and how you deal with it — that’s the grace part.

You are smart enough to tell which is which.
– A friend of mine, a single woman, adopted a 3 year old Russian orphan a few years back. When the girl got to be school age, she began to have projects about her family, like drawing a family tree. Since she was able to remember the orphanage, it was clear she had no idea about her family tree. Of course, they used my friend’s family, but it never felt right. When it came to stuff about the family pet, though, they went and got a cat. As my friend said at the time, “this one I can do something about”.
– And if this is beginning to sound like the Serenity Prayer, perhaps this is why those of us who are “awake” grow more peaceful with age.

You have let go of a lot of the baggage that led to stupid choices.
– You’ve learned that some of what you learned at your parents’ possibly dysfunctional knees may or may not have worked for them, but it definitely doesn’t work for you, and you’ve learned to act or be different.
– You’ve learned that you don’t need your peers’ approval, or your parents’ approval, for your life to work.
– You’ve learned that your need for security is often a trap, and that giving up what seems like security, in service of something you truly want is actually the smartest, safest choice in the long run.

You have learned from all the bad choices.
– Choices always have consequences, and you have learned from the consequences of your actions. So you’re making different choices now.

You have your own spirituality.
– You’ve read enough, and talked enough, and prayed or meditated enough to know what you believe, and what rings true for you in other people’s writings or speaking.
– You’ve developed your own relationship with (pick your word here) God, a higher power, Goddess, All that Is, the Universe, your guides or angels, your higher wisdom. And you rely on that relationship to get you through hard times. And if you’re really together, you remember to say “thank you” in good times.

Please write me with any ideas you have for additions to this list — I’d love to hear them!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Affirmations 101

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how daydreaming was good for you. If you did some daydreaming, you now are very aware of what it is you wish to create. Here is one of my favorite tools to use that awareness to actually make it happen!

The tool is an affirmation. An affirmation is basically a self-hypnotic suggestion, which is a suggestion to your unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is very literal. To see what I mean by that, right now, don’t think of a purple elephant.

What happened? If you are like most people, you immediately thought of a purple elephant. The unconscious mind doesn’t hear the word “not”, and so it immediately makes a picture of a purple elephant. That means a few things about how to structure an affirmation:

State it in the positive — Again, the unconscious mind does not hear “not”. And more subtly, it focuses where you focus it. So if you focus on getting away from a bad situation, you will perpetuate the bad situation, because you are reminding yourself of the bad situation. It’s important to focus on what you wish to create instead.
State it in the present tense — If you tell yourself something will happen, it will forever remain in the future. If you tell yourself it is becoming true, it is.
State it in a way that is believable to you — First, you must believe the desired state is possible, and that it is possible for you. Then, it must be believable to you as a statement. If you tell yourself that you are thin when you are 100 pounds overweight, your unconscious mind won’t believe you and will dismiss the suggestion. However, if you tell yourself that you are daily approaching your natural, slim weight, your unconscious mind can’t automatically reject that, so it may believe that and will be attracted to doing whatever is needed for it to happen.
State it in a way that is qualitative, not quantitative — the unconscious mind doesn’t understand numbers over two, or possibly three. Quick — think of a stick. Now think of two sticks. Now think of three sticks. Now think of four sticks. Getting a little fuzzy? Now think of 100,000 sticks. You can use numbers in goals, but not in affirmations.
The affirmation must be controlled by you. You have no more control over another person, and how they treat you, than you do over the weather. You do, however, have control over how you react, and over how proactive you are in any situation.

Affirmations are best used at times when you are naturally going into a light hypnotic trance. Contrary to popular belief, all people go in and out of these light trances all the time. If you’ve ever driven for a while and realized you don’t remember the last few miles or few minutes (or more!), you were in a trance state. When you do things like washing dishes or brushing your teeth or running a few miles on “automatic pilot”, you are in a trance state. You can use these states to your advantage by doing affirmations when you’re in them. Plan to do this in advance of the state and see how easily the affirmations manifest.

As you are doing your affirmations, all your internal objections to them will pop up to be dealt with. Those objections must be handled in ways that are satisfying to your unconscious mind. There are many, many ways to handle them, and I may suggest some in future articles.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Daydreaming is good for you!

As the year begins, this week is a really good time to think about what you want for the coming year. And the place to start that is with daydreaming — you only daydream about what you want, right? And knowing what you want is the first step in getting it.

Know that this daydreaming is possibly the best use of your time this week. Even if you’re hanging out with your family and friends, save a little time for you.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

What do I want for my work?
relationships?
home/surroundings (I include workplace and cars here)?
health/personal growth/spirituality?
finances?
fun/rest/re-creation?

If I could create anything (and you can!), what would that be? This is not a time for practicality or “being realistic” or limits. Go wild!

In the best of all possible worlds, how might it happen? You are not envisioning this to limit the universe but to see how easily it might come about.

Make each of these things as real as possible for yourself — see it, hear it, touch it, smell it and/or taste it, either in your mind or in reality.

So if you want a new car, and you know what you want, go see one! Touch it, get inside it if possible, and enjoy the feeling of that — breathe deeply and notice the scent. If you don’t have time for that, then do this in your mind. If you don’t know what you want, maybe go look at cars. If you don’t yet have time for that, at least get the feeling you’ll have inside the car, see as much as you can in your mind, maybe write down criteria for that ideal car.

Have fun with this — your enjoyment of the creation process actually helps you create!

If you have a chance, it’s good to write down as much as you can of what you daydream. Treasure maps (collages of pictures of what you want) are fun, and work well for lots of people.

And rather than do the usual New Year’s resolutions, which don’t work anyway, next week, I suggest you write affirmations — I’ll send out some info on that then.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men — Do you see “shopping” in there anywhere?

Christmas is theoretically a time of peace, generosity and goodwill to our fellow humans. The American way of Christmas, however, paradoxically creates Scrooges. We are programmed by retailers and the media to shop at the sound of the bell which signals the end of Thanksgiving dinner, and to continue doing so for about a month. (In fact, retailers know that after the weekend after Thanksgiving, not much holiday shopping happens till around Dec. 15.) But shopping and spending may actually create stress, stinginess, reduced cooperation and distance instead of peace on earth and goodwill to our fellow humans. Consider the following:

Money issues cause the most stress during the holiday season, according to a recent poll by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The survey of over 1000 people found that 61% of Americans listed lack of money as the top cause of holiday stress followed by the pressures of gift giving, lack of time, and credit card debt. Survey results also show that younger Americans are more worried about lack of money and gift giving compared to people over the age of 35.

One in five Americans are worried that holiday stress could affect their physical health and 36% say they either eat or drink alcohol to cope with holiday stress.

So holiday gift-giving creates holiday stress, especially through lack of money. Then there is this research:

Psychologists from several universities found that subconscious reminders of money prompted people to become more independent in their work, less likely to seek help from others, taking 70% longer to do so. They became reluctant to volunteer their time, twice as slow to offer help, and twice as cheap when asked to donate to a worthy cause.

Having money on the mind even caused the students who were their subjects to put more distance — literally — between themselves and others. Instructed to place two chairs together to meet another student, they put the chairs about 47 inches apart, compared with 31 inches for the students who had not been prompted subconsciously to think about money.

(For the whole story, see http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/21/health/psychology/21doug.html?ex=1164949200&en=15eaddded84ffaed&ei=5070)

So shopping makes us think of money, which makes us stingier, less likely to help others, more likely to put distance between ourselves and others. Doesn’t sound to me like it’s creating peace, generosity, harmony or goodwill. This year, consider nixing the shopping, and giving of yourself and your time instead. If it doesn’t give you joy to do it or give it, don’t!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Follow your heart?

Just a few nights ago, I listened to a friend bare her soul about how hard it is for her to follow her heart professionally. She knows, on a very deep level, that she has a major contribution to make to society, by reshaping how people think about spirituality. (This is not grandiosity on her part, because she’s done it before.) The problem is that in following her deepest truth about the world and herself, she would be stepping away from the majority of others, and offending many of her closest friends, who believe passionately what she used to believe. This causes her great pain, partly because she really does feel for them empathically, and partly because she’s afraid of being outcast, of losing her friends.

I’ve heard this story, this song, before, many times before. Perhaps it’s a woman who is afraid of what opening up psychically is going to do to her relationship. Or a man who worries how his personal changes will affect his job. The details change, the words change, but the song remains the same. In every case, the singer needs to remember a few things:

– If your “friends” cast you out because you have changed your beliefs, ignoring all that they supposedly love about you, and all the history you have, then they aren’t truly your friends, and they never were. That may be a hard thing to find out, but wouldn’t you rather find it out now than later? True friends stand by you while you change; they love you even if you’re making a mistake, and they love you if you teach then a better way, rather than being in their egos, offended by your change.

– If they cast you out because you have changed your beliefs, it is generally more about them than about you. Maybe they are heavily invested, at a personality level, in being right, or in being seen to be right. Do you really want to spend more time with someone who is more interested in being right, or being respected, than in learning the truth?

– There are other people out there who will accept the “new” you. That’s the point of change — you are changing others by changing yourself. This is authentic leadership, from the inside out.

– How will you feel if you sacrifice your highest knowing, your true path, your calling in life, for the feelings of other people? It may feel safe and comfortable now, but in the long run, you will know that you cheated yourself and the world. Letting go of your own truth to satisfy others never serves you, and because we are all one, it never serves anyone else, either.

So for my friend, as well as everyone else, the question remains — what’s more important, your truth or your short term comfort?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Vote for change… your own

Have you voted yet (if you live in a state that allows that)? Are you planning on it? If so, have you kept up with the races, and read any propositions on the ballot? Have you made your choices yet (if you haven’t already voted)? Do you know how you’re getting to the polls? What will you do if you have to wait in a long line to vote? What will you do if your vote gets recorded wrong? Are you bringing a camera?

(Quick aside for non-Californians: We in CA are blessed by a statewide proposition system that puts many items directly to the voters, and a state government which prints and mails to every registered voter a hefty pamphlet with each candidate’s statement, and a very complete and balanced discussion of each proposition, including their text. Even better than that, in my county we are allowed to be “permanent absentee voters” (and over 30% of us are), so that we can vote in the comfort of our own homes, surrounded by all the information we could possibly want, for several weeks before election day, and then mail in the ballot, or deliver it to a polling place.)

I suspect that your attitude toward voting is related to how you make choices in other areas of your life. If you are someone who thinks carefully about each option, and then picks one, I’ll bet you’ve followed all the races, maybe even voted already. If you normally just “go with your gut”, you’ve probably paid some attention to the upcoming elections, but haven’t really planned how to vote, either electorally or logistically. If you tend to say, “If it’s mean to be, it’s meant to be…”, then you’re probably registered, but haven’t given the election a lot of thought. If you typically put off making a decision, and put it off and keep putting it off, until there’s no more decision to make, you probably aren’t even registered yet, and if you are, you probably don’t vote regularly.

You can change yourself from the inside out (using NLP, hypnotherapy and countless other techniques) or from the outside in (behavior modification, etc.). Change from the inside out works by changing you at a very deep level, usually beliefs or identity, after which you automatically begin to act differently. Change from the outside in works by changing your actions first, so that you have some new neural paths, and so you see yourself differently, and then change your beliefs and/or identity.

Here’s a thought. Use the election to change the way you make decisions, from the outside in. If you typically don’t vote, or don’t think much about it, pay attention to this election, and GO VOTE! You’ll thank yourself later, on a lot of levels. And remember, if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain for the next two years.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What’s YOUR story?

We all tell ourselves stories of our lives, all the time, and we live out those stories. When I think back over all the people I’ve talked to over the years, each one of them has a story. One woman had an abusive mom, and struggles daily to avoid becoming an abuser. Another woman was molested as a child, and has never had a truly satisfying relationship with a man. The story generally comes down to this:

* Somebody done me wrong
* I’m bad/defective/incapable/hopeless
* I feel afraid/angry/sad (and it’s stopping me?)
* I want to feel better
* I don’t know what to do

The characters in the story generally are:

* Victim
* Victimizer/villain
* Rescuer/hero

And often the speaker sees him- or herself as the victim, that is, (s)he is telling the story from the victim’s point of view.

Are you telling your story from the victim’s point of view? What if you rewrote your story? What if you were the hero instead of the victim? (Because no one wants to see him or herself as the villain in his or her own story.)

A hero isn’t someone whose life is perfect. Think of Raiders of the Lost Ark… Indiana Jones just got out ALIVE after he stole the bag of jewels from its cave hiding place, with that enormous boulder crashing towards him. It wasn’t easy; it wasn’t fun (for him). And there wasn’t any glory, at least not at that point. The hero is someone who, like Indy, gets through the tough stuff — that’s all — gets through it, gets out alive. What if all those “someone done me wrong” items weren’t the actions of villains, but obstacles on your hero’s journey?

So instead your story would be

* I faced an obstacle — because my soul set up a challenge/learning situation
* I am capable/whole/learning
* I feel how I feel — and am carrying on despite that
* I choose to feel better, and am learning the tools for that
* Somewhere inside me, I do/did know what to do — because I’m still here

Now the former abused child lets go of her identity as a victim, and instead sees that perhaps she came into this incarnation wanting to learn compassion. She see that she is learning this, however slowly, that she often feels angry and hurt, but that she is working every day to treat people kindly. She is learning to meditate and let go of her justified anger at what happened in her childhood. And that the simple fact that she continues to do this every day is her hero’s journey, that she does know what to do, maybe not in every instance, but in more and more situations every day. And as she lives out that more empowering story, every day she has more choices.

What happens when you rewrite your story?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Not so foggy…

I’m honestly not feeling very profound this week, so I thought I’d just share an insight, or perhaps it’s more of a reminder of something we all know, from an experience I had this weekend.

First, a little background: I live in the Bay Area, which is famous for its microclimates. That is, the weather can be very different just a few miles away than it is where you are. Thus the concept of the “sunny neighborhood”, as opposed to a cloudy or foggy or windy one, which completely blew my mind when I first moved here. The fog, when it’s in, tends to leave by noon and come in again in the late afternoon. But this is early October, when fog is rare, and the weather tends to be more alike around the Bay Area than not, except for the temperature which can vary depending on how close you are to water.

Sunday was a magnificent day in our neighborhood — cloudless blue sky, 70ish weather, no wind (and wind is generally a precursor of fog/cold weather, as well as an indicator that it’s foggy to the north and/or west). It was much too nice to stay inside, so I worked for a while in the yard, and then by mid afternoon just wanted to be out in nature. One of the closest big swaths of nature, perhaps 5 miles north, on the other side of a north-south ridge between my home and the beach, is San Francisco’s 7 mile long Ocean Beach, which makes for great hiking. I chose to go there. As I headed north along the ridge, it got gloomier and gloomier, and windier and windier, as the fog moved in for the evening. It was not looking like a lot of fun. So I turned around.

Not one to give up easily, I thought that perhaps the beach in Pacifica, due west from my home, would be better. As I headed back south along the ridge, I could see that the marine fog layer seemed to extend to the beach, but it was a little hard to tell because the view was obstructed by natural and man-made structures. So I thought I’d go down the winding road from the ridge to the beach, just to see better. As I got lower and lower, it became more apparent that the fog did indeed extend to the beach, but by now I was so far down the winding road that I’d have to go to the end to turn around. And oddly, there was no wind. By now I’d been in the car so long that I needed to stretch my legs, and it didn’t seem too cold, so I got out and walked along the mile long curve of Linda Mar beach. As I reached the cliffs at the far end from where I’d parked, I realized that the fog had lifted and it was a beautiful, warm, sunny day! (And remember, fog normally comes IN in the afternoon!)

The lesson is this: be clear about what you want ( a pleasant hike), not attached to how it shows up (Ocean Beach vs. Linda Mar beach), keep plugging away toward it, and be willing to change course if it looks like what you want isn’t exactly in the direction you expected. The universe may just line up to give you what you want.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Waaay cool thing happened…

Last night, well, really early this morning, probably around 4AM, i had to get up to let the cat out. (I’ve learned the smelly and expensive way that i must heed this particular yowl/scratching.) The way i fall back asleep in the middle of the night is to do my standard trance/meditation induction, but in a sleeping position. This includes asking my guides to be here with me. Immediately after i did this, it occurred to me that they might want to hear the rain, which i find a lovely sound when it is steady and not wind-driven.

Flashback #1: About 10 years ago, I was at a wedding reception in a restaurant on top of a high-rise in SF. Hardly knew anyone, and I’m actually kind of shy, so i went to the windows looking west to watch the panoramic sunset. i asked my guides what they thought, and they said thank you to me, because they don’t have physical eyes, and can only see the earth’s beauty through ours. So now, when i see something beautiful, i invite them to have a look.

Flashback #2: A few weeks ago, when my husband was up in Mt. Shasta with a group calling ETs, i seem to have gotten some new guides, who prefer to be called “high beings” rather than ETs. My husband and some others, who were out in an unlit field, miles from anything, at night, took flashlit digital photos of each other. There are 2 of him. in the first, he’s just standing there. then he asked the photographer to wait a moment while he called the ETs. He sent them love and asked them to show up. the next photo is of him surrounded by translucent white/gold globes, so many that it is as if you are looking through a bubble bath at him.

Back to this morning: When i invited my “friends” in, i could psychically see myself surrounded by bubbles, and there was a marvelous peaceful, loving feeling around me. Ahhhh…

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How YOU can help end the “War on Terror”

It isn’t what you think.

First, we have to look at the meaning of the phrase “war on terror”. This has been widely derided as absurd, because “you can’t make war on a tactic”. This is true, but misses the mark. The tactic is terrorism, and so if one were making war on a tactic, this would be the “War on Terrorism”, but it wasn’t named that. Let’s go deeper.

“Terror” is, of course, an emotion, an exaggerated fear. So the “War on Terror” is actually a war on an emotion. Absurd, right? Well, perhaps not absurd, but fiendishly clever.

War is the man-made mass event that is most feared in the world. And so war creates fear — war creates terror. Aha! This is self-reinforcing. The war creates the very thing it is supposedly made to stop. So the “War on Terror” is designed to be never-ending. You might think of it, instead, as the “Love of Terror”.

Then you have to ask the age old question, “Who benefits?” I’ll leave the answer to that one up to your imagination and investigation, because this isn’t meant to be a political article.

So how do you help end the “War on Terror”? It’s simple.

Refuse to be afraid. If you’re not afraid, those who would manipulate you, can’t. This is true at every level from the boyfriend or girlfriend who threatens to leave you if you don’t do a certain thing, or act a certain way, all the way up to a group or a nation threatening another group or nation with bombs if they don’t behave in the way the first group wants.

But, you say, fear is natural. Yes, that’s true. Fear is an evolutionary mechanism related to “fight or flight”. Humans evolved so that when confronted by a large, hungry animal, their instincts helped protect them so they’d live and procreate another day. But much of what we fear today is artificial — we fear ridicule, or we fear losing a loved one, or we fear losing a job. In fact, none of those things is in your face, life or death, and so none of them requires “fight or flight”.

In over 20 years of counseling people, I’ve learned that almost all fears, when you push them, are masks for the fear of death. Think about that. When you’re afraid of losing a job, the subconscious train of thought goes like this: if I lose my job, I’ll never find another one, and then I’ll lose my home and my family and won’t be able to feed myself and I’ll die. If you’re able to read this message, then that’s probably pretty unlikely, because you live in a society where there are resources. Yes, life might get harder, maybe a lot harder, but it might get better too (by, say, finding work you like more), and the chances of you dying because of a job loss are pretty small.

So how do you stop being afraid? Learn about “death”! There’s nothing to fear. At this point, massive evidence exists that one lives on afterwards. Check out

1) World ITC – The new technology of spiritual contact: http://www.worlditc.org,
2) the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson’s group at the University of VA: http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/personalitystudies/, and
3) Near Death Experience and the Afterlife: http://www.near-death.com/.

If you know you are going to live on after “death”, and so are not afraid of it, then what in the world is there to be afraid of?

In addition, here are two other things you can do:

1) Forward this widely (with attribution), so that others will refuse to be afraid.
2) If you are so moved (and because today is the International Day of Peace), you may choose to actively work for peace. One way to do that is to support the Peace Alliance in its efforts to create a Dept. of Peace — check out http://www.thepeacealliance.org/.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The web of creation, part 2

I have recently had a vision of the physical world as a (probably) 5 dimensional matrix, populated by intention. Here’s what I mean:

Imagine that you are looking through a window screen at a tree. At first, you notice the screen, because it is right in front of you, and then, as you pay attention to the tree, its leaves, bark, the way its branches sway in the breeze, you stop noticing the screen.

Now imagine that the screen is three dimensional, or rather four dimensional, because it exists through time. Now imagine that there’s at least another dimension to this. This is the matrix that turns the non-physical into the physical, the basic stuff of the physical universe. Now imagine that the tree exists inside this matrix (because it does). The tree is actually created by intention, from the pure potential held in the spaces between the matrix.

The matrix can be likened to female energy, the intention to male energy. Together, they make the world. Neither alone is enough to create physical reality. You need the female to hold and give form to the male intention.

Now imagine that each thing in the physical world, from the tree to the window screen, to you, all exist as intentions outside of the physical world. These intentions are vibrational fields, auras, which interpenetrate each other. When you can feel yourself as a field of intention, and everything around you as fields of intention, then they all interpenetrate each other.

This interpenetration is the visual or felt equivalent of a band playing music. You can concentrate on just one instrument, and hear that. Or you can hear the whole piece. Or maybe you can hear the interplay of two or three instruments.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The web of creation

Last Friday I was privileged to be a participant in the first beta test of a new workshop, designed around the Clarity Process, offered by Lee Glickstein of Speaking Circles. The process itself consists of dyads, one person sitting in an open-eyed meditative state, that is, listening with an open heart, not judging, not commenting, for 5 minutes while the other talks about his/her experience in that moment, or perhaps explores a personal issue.

I had an amazing experience! It occurred to me that I am generally doing one of two things. I may be having my own experience, that is, focusing my attention inside myself, on what I am feeling or thinking. Or I may be focusing my attention completely on the other person to whom I am relating, trying to understand what is going on for my partner, to support him or her, to “read” or help or offer my skills in service.

All of a sudden, I realized that our relationship is an entity in and of itself, and thus has its own heart center. In some sense, that heart is something about which we both revolve, like binary stars revolving around their mutual center of gravity. I can both see and feel this “heart of our relationship” psychically. It looks like a little thickening of the energy field, like the heat waves rising off a candle, but spherical because there is no candle. It feels a bit thick too, like static electricity or like the edge of an aura, when felt from outside.

If I connected my heart to the heart of our relationship, magic happened! Both of our auras got bigger and brighter, and something opened up from that place, a connection to the universe itself. I realized that that place is the place where creation, manifestation happens.

At the end of the day, I committed to exploring this phenomenon further in the next few days, which I am doing. I have learned that

– Attending to the heart of my relationship with anything brings on a nearly ecstatic state, which I can experience in the world, and still be walking around. I can access this state on demand, simply by asking, “where is the heart of my relationship with this [fill in the blank]?“, noticing where it is and connecting to it. The state is instantaneous and lasts as long as I am attentive to the heart connection.

– The center of my relationship to anything may or may not be half way in between us. Trees seem to rush out to meet me. One book, “Limitless Mind” by Russell Targ, did the same thing when I opened it, noticing where the heart of our relationship was. So far, no magazines have done this.

– I have a relationship with every thing, every animal, every plant, every person on earth, whether I know it or not, whether I like it or not, whether I come in contact with the physical thing/plant/animal/person or not. If I average where the centers of all these relationships are, it is in my heart. This is why the heart is our connection to the center of the universe, to God (if you like that word). This is why the heart is the center of creation.

– All of us have these connections going on all the time, whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, whether we come in physical contact with our partners (things/plants/animals/people) or not. This is the web of life, of all of creation.

If you want to try this for yourself, there are 3 steps in awareness:

1) Feel your heart center and place your attention there. (This may take some practice.)

2) Ask the question, “Where is the heart of my connection to [fill in the blank]?” Again, practice with things, plants, animals and people you see. Practice with big things, little things, natural things, hand made things, machine made things, simple things, complex things, small plants, huge trees, fruit, cut flowers, small animals, big animals, pets, insects, people you’re emotionally connected to, acquaintances, complete strangers. Practice, practice, practice.

3) Connect from your heart to the heart of this relationship. Notice what you feel, what you see or hear psychically, what you seem to know about your partner in the relationship, or about the relationship itself.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What to do on Labor Day

Have you ever thought about Labor Day? Do you think about it as anything more than just another 3 day weekend? Or perhaps the end of summer? Please consider:

Where else but in America would there be a Labor Day? Not a holiday celebrating the life of a powerful or influential dead person, or commemorating a major struggle or battle (lots of dead people!), but a holiday celebrating the contributions of millions of everyday heroes, including you and me.

If you swing a hammer, Labor Day honors you. If you flip burgers, Labor day honors you. If you analyze a company’s books for a potential lender, Labor Day honors you. If you write software, Labor Day honors you. If you raise kids, Labor Day honors you. If you raise corn or cattle, Labor Day honors you. It honors the contributions you make to the strength, well-being and prosperity of our country.

So take some time on Labor Day to appreciate yourself, the contributions you make, paid or not, to your family and your community and your country. Then appreciate the contributions of those around you — the mail carrier, the checker at the grocery store, the people who built your home and grew your food. We are all in this together. It is our collective vision, our collective voice and our collective service that makes this country what it is, and what it can be.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Are you a victim of pluralistic ignorance?

The latest polls show that 60% of Americans disapprove of the war in Iraq and want us out. And yet the Republican talking points, as mouthed by Cokie Roberts last Sunday, include “anyone who doesn’t support this war is part of the ’radical left fringe’”.

How can 60% of the population be the fringe of anything? Last time I checked, 60% was a majority, which is to say, the CENTER of public opinion.

How do they get away with this? It’s called pluralistic ignorance. This is the tendency to believe that one’s attitudes are out of step with those of one’s peers, even when everyone’s behavior is the same. And according to Princeton researchers, “those who feel deviant from a perceived norm are reluctant to challenge it.” That is, if you believe everyone else supports a war, but you don’t, you’ll be less likely to speak up. Which means, that all those others who agree with you, but don’t hear you challenging conventional opinion are likely to believe that they’re out of step. Which means that they don’t speak up. And on and on, in a vicious cycle.

In the same way, over half those whose spouse has died report being visited by that spouse after death — and yet contact with those who have dropped their bodies is considered unique, odd or perhaps unbelievable! Again, if you believe you are the only person who is having this contact, then you will be less likely to tell people about it, for fear of being thought odd or wrong. And so a common belief goes unchallenged long beyond the time when most no longer believe it.

How do we combat pluralistic ignorance? See what you see. Hear what you hear. Know what you know. And speak up! Tell other people about what you now believe, whether that’s about an anomalous experience or a political belief. You might be surprised to learn that you’re not odd or out of step at all.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What are you afraid of, anyway?

Terror (n.) – 1. Intense fear

Fear (n.) – 1. A feeling of anxiety or agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil, pain, etc.; timidity; dread; terror; fright; apprehension

Terror, and terrorists, and fear, including the political uses and abuses of it, are on everyone’s minds and lips these days, so I thought we should look at and talk about fear.

I know no one wants to talk about it. No one wants to experience fear. I used to teach an exercise in emotion recognition, in which students worked in pairs. One student was to experience an emotion by recalling an intense experience of it and really stepping into that experience, recreating it for him/herself. The other student was to notice what they could psychically of his/her partner’s emotional state. Of course, people were thrilled to recall joy or love. Impatience wasn’t too bad, nor was anger. But people REALLY resisted feeling fear, even when I promised to replace it afterwards with a wonderful feeling.

Admit it — you’re all afraid of things all the time. Maybe you’re afraid your teen won’t come home tonight, or you’ll lose your job, or you won’t have enough food for your party, or a dog will bite you, or… (fill in the blank).

The fears that we run from, run our lives. A good friend of mine was bitten by a dog as a child, and is still somewhat afraid of dogs, so she avoids them. I mean, crosses-the-street-so-as-not-to-be-near-one avoids them. Now, most dogs are friendly, and if she watched dogs at all, she’d figure out their body language pretty easily — the ones that look up at you and wag their tails are friendly and just want love and petting, the ones who snarl at you are, in fact, best avoided, and most of the others aren’t particularly interested in you, so they’re safe as long as you don’t go out of your way to bother them. If she paid attention, she would learn to look at a dog, judge its friendliness and act accordingly. The fear would dissipate, replaced by intelligent judgment. Direct your attention to that which you fear, really examine it, and the fear will dissipate.

What is she afraid of, really? She’s afraid of being bitten again, which is to say, she’s afraid of physical pain, as well as the emotional pain (in this case, confusion and abandonment) she experienced when being bitten as a child.

In my experience, and I’ve dealt with lots of my own fears, as well as those of many friends and clients, is that most fears really are an unconscious fear of death. How do I know? When I ask people what they’re afraid of, they answer, and then I ask, “if that happens, what then?” And they keep answering, and I keep asking, until there’s nothing else. And generally the answer is death. If you believe that your soul exists after you let go of your physical body, how bad is that anyway?

Another big fear is emotional or physical pain, so bad that death would be preferable. First, most emotional pain, if you keep asking, “what then?”, becomes the fear of death, either for oneself or a loved one, which often becomes fear of abandonment, which becomes fear of your own death. Again, if the soul exists without a body, and you “die”, how bad is that? Or if the other person “dies”, then they aren’t really gone — we just need to practice communicating with the discarnate. As for physical pain, it is mostly temporary. I must admit, though, I haven’t got an answer yet for long term physical pain. (If you have trouble with really seeing your own fear, get someone else to help you. Fear is in the eye of the beholder, and it’s hard to see the mote in your own eye.)

The next question is, how likely is this to happen? And the answer is generally, not very likely. And if it is likely, aren’t you better off looking at it, so you can figure out what to do to avoid it, mitigate it or deal with it when it happens?

Now we’re supposed to be afraid of “terrorists”. Hmmm… What does that mean exactly? I think it means we should be afraid of being randomly murdered, i.e. be afraid of dying, or at the very least wounded, or afraid that someone we know will be randomly murdered or wounded. Again, how bad is death? And how likely is this, anyway? About 3,000 US residents, of a population of around 300 million, were killed in terror attacks in the last 10 years. That is, the chance of this happening to you this year is literally 1 in 1,000,000.

So when you’re afraid, ask yourself three questions:

What am I afraid of?
If that happens, what then? (and keep on asking this one)
How likely is this, anyway?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How to end war (modest, aren’t I?)

The source of all conflict is one of 2 things:

a belief in, and fear of, scarcity, or
fear of being wrong,

both of which result in feeling unsafe.

How do these create conflict?

A belief in, and fear of, scarcity causes people to attack to get what they believe there is not enough of. That might be a child who lies about the bad things her sister did because she believes there is not enough parental love to go around. It might be a farmer who steals a sheep because he believes it is the only way to feed his family. It might be a country who attacks another because of supposedly scarce resources of oil.

We know these are false — there is always enough love in the universe for everyone, because the universe is made of love, there is generally more than one way to feed a family, and there is more then one source of energy to power the world (the inexhaustible sun and wind come to mind, but there are other possible, less pleasant sources as well.) And that belief in scarcity causes those who are attacked to defend themselves, their families, their possessions and their land. I might add that the belief in the scarcity of life (i.e. that you only have one) and the scarcity of love (you can only love a finite number of people, who are related to you by birth) compound these defenses.

Fear of being wrong is the same as the need to be right. Who hasn’t needed to be right, whether it’s about the toilet seat being left up or put down, or the best career path for my child to take, or which direction the country should go? Being right makes you safe, doesn’t it? If I’m right, if I know, then all will be right in my world. Thus religious certainty becomes important. So if “God told me to” do whatever, then I’m right, which makes me safe. And if I’m wrong about “God’s message”, then what else am I wrong about? What can I be certain of? How can I possibly be safe? My world falls apart. (For a good discussion related to this, read John Dean’s “Conservatives without Conscience”, Chapter 2.)

So when you are angry, or hostile, or feeling anger or hostility from another, ask these questions:

1. What specifically am I afraid of?
2. What is there not enough of?
3. What do I “have to” be right about?
4. What do I need to feel safe?
5. How else could I get what I need?
6. What might my opponent, also known as my partner in this, be afraid of?
7. What does my partner think that there isn’t enough of?
8. What does my partner “have to” be right about?
9. What does my partner need to feel safe?
10. How can I help my partner get what he/she/they need?
11. How are we aligned?

You may find that anger or hostility are completely unnecessary.

Believe that there is enough, in one way or another, and you will find it. Accept that you don’t know, and you’ll find peace.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Our connection

Last week, my radio show only had two calls, when what I really want is 8 – 10! The last time that happened, which was several months ago, I was totally bummed out, thinking, “What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my show? Is anyone even listening?” This time, it was very different. I enjoyed doing the show anyway, and I left feeling totally energized, absolutely knowing I had done the right thing. What changed between the 2 shows?

On an external level, a couple of things changed. First, I had an interview scheduled for half an hour, so I got to talk to someone I find interesting. And I figure if it’s interesting to me, it’s probably interesting to those listening. So that was fun. Second, in between those two shows, I’ve had a few people call and email to tell me how much they enjoy the show, and that it’s helpful to them. It helps to remember that on a slow day.

But more importantly, I could actually feel positive energy coming back to me from people I can’t see, haven’t me, haven’t even talked with. It’s like a wave arising in me, buoying me up from the inside, with the certain knowledge that I did something right. This is new for me.

Yes, I know I’m part of all that is, and connected to each person on the planet. I know that I’m often connected to someone that I’m not in front of, next to, or talking to at any given moment, so that I’ll think something, and then the other person will do or say what I’m thinking, without me communicating it to him or her. For example, a couple of weeks ago, someone on this list, whom I’ve never met or even had a phone conversation with, asked if she could include my piece on manifestation in her monthly on-line magazine. Of course, I said yes. When I sent out last week’s “Zen Boogie”, I thought she would like it even better, because she lives on a beach in Belize. Then I thought, too bad she’s running the chair piece, since I know she’ll like this one better. And I just let it go. And then, there was “Zen Boogie” in the magazine! (I really love this magazine — all the articles in it are wonderful, and even the art is lovely. You can check it out at http://www.animamedia.org/envision/envisionAugust.pdf.)

But this “radio effect” is different. It’s being connected to lots of people I can’t even identify. That is, I don’t know them in any conscious way — don’t know their names, or their faces, or their voices. Nothing. No conscious connection at all. Yet somehow, when I reach them, their energy reaches me. Wow! Yes, it could be my guides “telling” me that I did a good thing, but they’ve done that other times, and it feels nothing like this rush. I’ve heard that performers get this from a live audience — now I know why they perform. And I wonder, do they get this if they, say, record a television program and it gets aired later? Do they feel an energy rush when it’s on the air? Do they get it when it’s rerun?

That energy hit is part of what keeps me going back for more. And I’m sending it right backatcha.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Why willpower won’t work… and what will

Have you ever started a diet, or an exercise program, or a substance elimination program (like cigarettes, alcohol, coffee), and quit after a while? And then blamed yourself, saying, “if only I had more will power”?

Well, maybe it isn’t that you don’t have enough will power, it’s that will power simply isn’t the answer. Webster’s defines “will power” as “strength of will, mind or determination; self-control”. That last bit, “self-control” gives a clue as to the problem. If you have to control yourself, then it implies that one part of you has to control another, that 2 parts of you want different things, that 2 parts of you are fighting. Did war ever create anything good? Did war ever create anything besides destruction? So why are you having two parts of yourself at war?

Another issue is that the part of you which decided to start the diet (or whatever) is your conscious mind — which is maybe 10% of your entire mind-body system. So what does the other 90% want? It wants what it has now, or it wouldn’t have created it.

The answer is in alignment. All of your body-mind has to be aligned, has to want the same thing, and then change is easy. How do you get there? There are many paths, including hypnotherapy, neurolinguistics, energy healing, emotional freedom technique.

So first, thank the part (or parts) of you that created unconsciously what you have now. They’re awesome! Could you really have created what is consciously? Could you even go a minute creating your body consciously? Think of it — breathing, moving the blood around, creating new cells, having all those cells function properly, digestion. It’s awesome!

Now ask those parts of you what they wanted for you that was good, which created the way things are now. Then work with those parts of you, peacefully, to agree on what you want instead, and to begin to create that gently, in appreciation for all they do. You may be amazed at how easily you change!

If you’d like some free help with this, call me now, on-air at 831-427-3772.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What I learned from spring fever

I don’t know about you, but there is always a week in spring where I just don’t want to do anything, except sit around and enjoy the weather. I want to be out in it to enjoy it, and the rest of the time, I mostly want to sleep. Perhaps read a bit, but mostly just drift in and out of waking consciousness… into meditation… into sleep… back to meditation…. You get the picture.

This is that week. It’s amazing I’m even managing to write this email.

Anyway, today I was lying about in the middle of the afternoon, feeling guilty. Why was I feeling guilty? I mean, there wasn’t anything I had to do that wasn’t getting done. Yes, of course, there’s always more I could do when I’m not with clients, between promotion and bookkeeping, but no one was going to be hurt if I didn’t do it then. So what was that guilt?

I think guilt happens when a part of you accepts someone else’s rules as your own. You know, all those “shoulds”, “oughts” and “musts”. As in, “you should be working”, which is definitely family programming for me. Obviously if all of you bought into the rule, you’d be working, instead of feeling guilty! So part of you is buying in and part of you isn’t. The part of you that isn’t buying in is obviously stronger at that point. And the positive intention of the guilt is to remind you of the rule, or maybe to tie you to the person who gave you the rule. Although in general I agree with the “you should be working” rule, I don’t agree that it has to be in force 24/7, and especially not on a perfect afternoon in May, not when I work for myself. And though the rule is my Dad’s and I do like that it connects me to him, hey, not today!

So the next time you feel guilty, ask yourself these questions:

– What am I feeling guilty about? What am I doing or not doing that is triggering the guilt?
– What’s the rule I’m violating? Try to formulate it with a “should”, “must” or “ought”.
– Whose rule is that, anyway?
– Do I agree with the rule, or am I just using it to stay connected in some way to that person?
– Even if I agree with the rule, does the rule apply now?

If the answer to either of the last 2 questions is no, then let go of the guilt and enjoy what you’re choosing instead!

Hollis

PS – I went back to sleep for another hour, guilt-free! 🙂

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

If you’re lonely, or know someone who is…

You are not alone — in more ways than one. First, according to the NY Times:

A recent study by sociologists at Duke and the University of Arizona found that, on average, most adults only have two people they can talk to about the most important subjects in their lives — serious health problems, for example, or issues like who will care for their children should they die. And about one-quarter have no close confidants at all. [emphasis mine]

So there are lots of lonely people out there.

Second, each of us is surrounded by a number of discarnate beings, most of whom (I believe) are there to help us, whether we call them guides or angels, and who may include friends and family who have left their bodies while we are still in ours. Our job is to understand our connection to them, to “hear” what they are “saying”, and to feel their presence in our lives. You are never really alone, even if it feels that way at times.

What to do to have good friends here in the physical plane?

First off, you don’t make new old friends — so connect with the old ones!

Second, make new friends — meet new people in ways that you enjoy. If that isn’t possible through your work, maybe it is possible through volunteer work, or a church or community group, or groups of people who are interested in things you like to do. If you like to hike, try the Sierra Club. If you like to play bridge, find people who do that. But here is my favorite way to make new friends:

Learn skills to help your self-development, in particular, learn to become a practitioner of whatever method appeals to you. Why? First, these classes foster openness, and draw to them the type of people who are also willing to be open. These are the people you are most likely to be able to confide in. After all, after Chris has helped you conquer your dread of long car trips, without laughter or ridicule, and you’ve helped Chris eliminate a cat allergy, you can probably trust each other with an awful lot. And both you and Chris will have some skills to help each other with whatever comes up. Second, these classes are not one shot — you usually show up for several weekends, over several months, so there are lots of opportunities to interact, both in these deeper exercises and in informal ways, like having lunch. Yes, it’s a commitment, but that’s what learning, and self-development, and true friendship all take.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Manifestation is easy!

I manage some rental apartments, which are a good distance from my home, so when I have a vacancy, I go there and “camp” in the vacant apartment until it is cleaned up and rented. So I have a “kit” composed of everything I need to live indefinitely (except groceries), which fits in my trunk and part of the back seat.

Part of this kit is 2 folding beach chairs. The one I prefer has a higher back and is blue, but the fabric is starting to rip in a way that is not reparable. Bummer! I want a replacement. Anyway, it’s not desperate, but I hate to buy a new one – I hate to waste the planet’s resources on something as silly as this, and I’d rather spend my money on something else. You have to buy beach chairs in the summer, because they aren’t available in the winter. Will my chair last another year? I have gone so far as to try out chairs in the drug store, but nothing is so perfect that I can’t pass (they’re too high, or an ugly pattern or color). And really, I’d prefer a slightly used one. I could get on freecycle.org, but it’s not important enough to me to keep looking.

The house 3 doors down is being sold, and they’ve started to put stuff out in the driveway that they are just getting rid of. Free! but no sign, or anything, I think they are eventually going to call the scavengers to pick it up. And wouldn’t you know that the PERFECT beach chair, high back and blue, great condition, even wooden arms, is there in the pile! So I took it — saves it going into the dump and me about $20. And more resources didn’t have to go into making a new one.

So: manifestation can be easy – be clear about what you want, put it out in the universe, and then wait for it to show up!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Stay positive — stay focused

It seems I’ve been having, or hearing, the same discussion over and over in the last week, whether with friends, or clients, or on a worldpuja.org webcast about peace, or by Michael Murphy, talking about what happens after your physical body dies. So I figure this must be up for a lot of us.

Yes, there’s a lot of awful stuff going on in the world right now, whether it’s war, or climate change (do go see “An Inconvenient Truth” about global warming), or losing our civil rights, or the theft of elections. But we can NOT give in to the thought of how awful this is. We must keep our hearts and minds on what we intend to create. How do we do this?

First, we take vows. There are lifetime vows, perhaps to do with life purpose, or spiritual purpose. There are periodic vows, perhaps about attaining a goal, or living in a different way. Then there are daily vows, sometimes called affirmations, which may include either of the above.

Second, and much less obviously, we have to avoid, or push away from us, disempowering thoughts. This is much trickier, because these thoughts show up in a myriad of ways, have come from many sources, and sneak in when we’re not paying attention. Any time you doubt your abilities, any time you think a task is too big, any time something inside says, “Who do you think you are to do this? So you think you’re all that… You aren’t. You’ll never make it,” you have to say, “thanks for sharing, but I CAN DO this, and I AM all that, and I WILL make it.”

Let me give you an example. My friend, Kit, is an awesome healer, a massage therapist who is a talented channel as well. Lately, she has been prompted by her guides to do some writing about how she heals, which is apparently something new. Every time she sits down to write, very energized by the prospect of the work, she hears an internal voice, which says, “You’ll never make it — you think you’re so great — you’ll never be able to take care of yourself”. This, quite understandably, takes the wind out of her sails, she gets bummed out and doesn’t do the writing.

As she talked about it with me, she realized it was the voice of her father, when she was about 16. He wanted her to need him as she had when she was younger, to depend on him for money, and thereby to control her, so he was actively scaring her about her job prospects. He was also genuinely concerned for her well-being, since he thought of the world as a dangerous and deceitful place. For her to succeed would have meant that he was wrong about the world, and could not control her. It was not particularly helpful to her then, and as an adult, it’s unbelievably disempowering. She must remember that she can succeed on her own terms, and still be connected to him. Yes, it would mean that he was wrong about her and about the world, but that’s his problem, not hers. And she doesn’t have to bring it up with him, ever.

So when those thoughts pop up, spend a little time to discover from where they arise, and then let them go — or give them the boot! Those negative thoughts don’t serve you — and they don’t serve the world. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, so turn off the negative thoughts, and follow the positive ones.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Denial ain’t just a river…

What do you do when there’s a big test coming up tomorrow and you’re not prepared? Do you study really hard with every spare minute, or do you just give up and go party? Or maybe you get depressed and hide in bed? Or maybe you just “get the flu”, you somaticize it, store it, or process it in your body, which buys you time without you ever having to be conscious of it.

What do you do when you hear that someone you’re close to was killed in a car accident? Do you slow down, feel the grief and anger, express your sorrow, be with others who are feeling the same? Or do you pretend it didn’t happen? Or do you pretend it’s okay, it doesn’t matter? Do you drink, or take a drug, to take the edge off? Do you stay really busy so you don’t have to think about it? Do you exercise even more than usual? Do you binge on chocolate?

What about when someone treats you badly — maybe they never listen to you. Do you avoid the situation? What if you can’t avoid the person? Do you make excuses for him or her?

Most of these things are ways of denying what’s going on around us. Life isn’t all pretty. In fact, a lot of things suck. Notice how you cope. Notice the patterns in your personal life. Because you are using these same patterns in response to things in the wider world.

When you find yourself in bed, bummed out for no reason, or staying ridiculously busy, or drinking, or taking drugs, or overexercising, or overeating, or avoiding the news — ask yourself: What am I denying? What am I ignoring? Is it in my personal life, or in the wider world? What don’t I want to see? Or know? Maybe I don’t want to see how the country was lied into a war, in which people are dying every day… Maybe I don’t want to see the deaths. Or maybe I don’t want to see that the earth is changing, and the way I live is making it worse… Or maybe I don’t want to see how our civil liberties are being eroded.

And when you’re clear about what you’re denying, and you admit it, then you can begin to deal with it in a healthy way. Then you can take action!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Feeling bored?

According to researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada, time really does pass more slowly for people who are prone to boredom. They are less accurate at estimating the duration of short intervals of time (2 seconds to 1 minute) than are those not prone to boredom. (For more info, please see http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2005/12/people-prone-to-boredom-less-able-to.html.)

But unless you’re in solitary confinement, I think boredom is a result of being disconnected from the world and/or yourself. It is a result of believing that there is nothing new or interesting in or around you. The world is so vast and complex that that is not possible!

The antidote is curiosity. I know, because I was one of the most easily bored children you can imagine. Here are some questions I ask myself when there’s “nothing to do”, like standing in line at the post office:

What is that person thinking? Can I see his/her aura?
How is that thing made?
How does that plant grow?
What would it be like to be that tree? Animal?
What the birds are saying to each other?
What is the emotional feeling tone of this place? Why?
How does the light affect the appearance of what I’m seeing?

Any one of these can lead off into many directions. And that’s without even asking myself questions about what’s going on inside me!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Patience, impatience, dread and time travel

Lately my guides have been giving my information about the structure and/or meaning of various emotions.

For example, impatience is really about projecting yourself into the future, when you expect something good to happen. People often say to themselves, “I’m being patient, I’m being patient” while practically vibrating with it, meaning that they are still focusing on the future, just accepting that it’s not here yet. And for those of us who are psychic/highly intuitive, it is practically an occupational hazard.

Dread is really the same thing as impatience, except that you are expecting something bad.

True patience is really being in the present.

So here’s what i haven’t figured out yet:

If I see something bad coming, I know that I can prepare for it. And I can certainly change myself in the present, which will often change that future. But can I project part of myself into the future to change it? (Kind of like Marty in “Back to the Future”?) And if so, how? I mean, if reality is really an infinite present, an infinite now, shouldn’t that be possible?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The ‘P’ Words

A few days ago, a client, Beth, called about issues in her business, mostly wanting it to grow faster. (I can relate, can’t you?) Beth is a music teacher in a private school by day, teaches private clients in voice and piano, and is also starting a life coaching practice. Like many of us, she is highly intuitive, and so she literally “sees” what her business is going to look like. Like all intuitives, she “sees” in the present, and couldn’t quite understand why what she sees clairvoyantly isn’t happening in the physical world right now.

Here is what my guides told me to tell her:

Peace (be centered, balanced, grounded, letting go of attachment to outcomes)
+ Patience (be focused in the present, because that is where all power is)
+ Positive attitude (know that what you want is possible, and is coming)
+ Persistence (keep taking action, keep holding the vision)

= Power to draw things to you Magnetize what you want!

I thought this was so good that I had to pass it on!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Can money make you happy?

We all want to be happy. Happiness feels good and it improves your health – lowers your blood pressure, lowers your heart rate, and strengthens your immune system, so you’re sick less. And not only do you enjoy your life more, you actually live longer!

And most of us want to be wealthier. But here’s the question: Can money make you happy?

Well, yes and no.

It’s true that richer people are, on average, happier than poorer people. 45% of richest quarter of Americans are happy, compared with 33% of the poorest quarter.

But one extra dollar of income will make you happier if you are poorer than if you are wealthier – the poorer you are, the more that extra dollar of income increases your happiness. That makes sense, because if you’re hungry, a dollar buys food, where if you’re already fed and clothed and housed, you might not even notice that dollar.

In countries with per capita incomes of less than $20k/year, there is a strong association between income and happiness. e.g. people in Moldova (average income under $2k/yr) are significantly less happy than those in Hungary with average income around $10,000/year. But in countries with per capita incomes over $20k/yr (Italy, Japan, Norway, Netherlands, US, the average percentage of people who report themselves as “happy” or “satisfied” clusters between 80% and 95%. People in the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, and Canada all report being happier than those in the US, despite slightly lower per capita incomes. Also, happiness in the US and Britain haven’t increased since 1950, despite very real increases in real income per person.

Why?

Well, it depends on whom you compare yourself to:

Yes, money makes you happy if you are richer than those to whom you are comparing yourself.
No, money doesn’t make you happy, if you are poorer than those to whom you are comparing yourself.

The rich compare themselves to a group which generally includes people less well-off than they are, because most people are less well-off. while the poor will generally compare themselves to a group which includes people better off, because there are so many better off.

A study done at Harvard asked people, would you prefer to live in Word 1 or World 2, where in

World 1: you get 50k/yr, others get $25k
World 2: you get 100k/yr, others get $200k

A majority preferred World 1.

According to Richard Layard, in his book, Happiness, “People care greatly about their relative income, and they would be willing to accept a significant fall in living standards if they could move up compared with other people… A rise in other people’s income, relative to yours, hurts your happiness. One study suggests that if everyone else earns another 1%, your happiness falls by one-third as much as it would rise if you yourself earned an extra 1%. So if everybody’s income rose in step, your happiness would rise, but only 2/3 as much as it would if only your income was rising… Income is much more than a means to buy things. We also use our income, compared to others, as a measure of how we are valued by society and (if we’re not careful) a measure of how we value ourselves.”

So if you want to be happy, compare yourself to those who are doing worse than you. Your mother was right – think of the starving children in Africa.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Shift your emotional state — fast!

Did you ever feel crummy, and you didn’t quite know why, much less what to do about it?

Well, here’s what to do, in a few quick steps:

Be aware of your body. Notice your breathing – is it shallow or deep, high or in your belly? Is your heart pounding? Is there pain or tension anywhere? If so, where exactly is that?

2. What would you describe as the emotion related to the feelings in your body?

3. What caused that? Whatever pops into your head is the answer, no matter how little sense it makes. Is
this a present time issue, or one concerning the future or the past?

— If it’s a present time issue, then you can do something about it now.
— if it’s something about the future, you can affect it now.
— If it’s something about the past, there are things you can do, but they’re a subject for a future email!

4. Ask yourself, “What can I do about that?”

— If it’s a present time issue, then you can do something about it now. Either do it immediately, or write it
down so you remember it for a time when you can do it!
— if it’s something about the future, you can affect it now.
— If it’s something about the past, let it go.

5. Get to neutral immediately. Here are some good, quick techniques for that:

— Take 5 long, slow, deep breaths, feeling your body relax with each exhalation.
— Imagine a “grounding cord”, a cord growing down from the base of your spine into the very center of the
earth. “Watch” it in your mind as it wends its way down through the earth. Feel your feet rooting into
the earth.
— Spend 5 minutes in a comfortable position, focusing on your heart, imagining some positive image
there, perhaps white light.

All of this can be done in just a few minutes. And each step gets faster the more you do it.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Be careful what you think!

I know for myself the power of thought. At the age of 35, I grew an inch, largely through the power of visualization and affirmation. Yes, I did exercises, but I’d been doing them for 2 years before I started the affirmations, and didn’t grow one millimeter. And my posture was quite good to begin with, as I’d been a figure skater and dancer as a child and teen. At the same time, a friend completely eliminated her cataracts. Another friend accidentally cut herself very badly with a knife while chopping vegetables — so badly that she could see the bone. She decided that if she truly believed in the power of thought, she would meditate and visualize before she went to the hospital. And in 45 minutes of concentrated intention, the cut was completely healed, with only a tiny line to indicate there had ever been an accident. And yes, we all have witnesses. I could go on and on.

Affirmations can change your emotional state, as well. I was a very unhappy child, and have gradually gotten happier over my lifetime. But what changed it the most was an affirmation: My entire being is balanced, vital, healthy, loving and happy. I did the first part (My entire being is balance, vital and healthy) for 3 years, with no real change in my level of happiness. Then when I added the last part, I gradually became happy. Now I will often just kind of notice, that for absolutely no reason, I’m happy.

I bring all this up because I got a great email from another radio person, Wayne Kelly, AM deejay at KBS in Trail, BC. It’s so terrific that I include it in its entirety:

“I wouldn’t have believed if it didn’t happen to me!

“Last January I was working out with the Chicken Soup Guru, Mark Victor Hansen at the hotel gym we both stayed at. As we were working out, a new speaker (who is already super successful) came in to talk to Mark.

“She talked about many things including her new home in Banff, Alberta.

“She mentioned the architecture was so incredible, “you could just die.”
To which Mark quickly replied “live”.

“Then she was talking about her fence which was just featured in an outdoor magazine and again she mentioned that it’s so incredible you would die to see it.
Again Mark quickly shot back “Live”

“She said, “I know Live, but die is just an expression I use and I don’t mean anything by it.” Mark said that your subconscious doesn’t know the difference so you should always speak in positive statements.

“Why am I telling you this story?

“Well, I am a new kid when it comes to this new kind of positive programming, so I haven’t really bought into the ‘believe it and it will happen’ concept, until last Friday, when a HUGE light bulb exploded in my head.

“You see, I am proud to say I have perfect teeth. Not one cavity. I have always been very lucky. But about 18 months ago one of my teeth started causing me pain when I bit on it. They did X-Rays and found nothing so I lived with it. A couple of months ago I had another x-ray and they found a very tiny spot beneath the tooth and said looks like I will need a root canal. But the dentist didn’t understand why, as my teeth are perfect. Still he said we should get drilling, digging, and repairing soon.

“I waited and was baffled. I have talked with a few health professionals who were also confused as to why I’d need a root canal.

“Then came the choir and the lights from heaven!

“I was writing a friend an email and I wrote down a phrase I have used a thousand times. The phrase is, “I’d rather have a root canal than go watch the kick boxing tournament.

“Holy Cow!

“It struck me like lightening! I think I created the root canal problem because
of that phrase!

“Is it crazy or what?

“I am not 100%, but it is the only explanation I can come up with. Now the best
part is, since my discovery, I’ve been speaking out loud about my healthy teeth
and the pain seems to have gone away. (But I haven’t tried popcorn yet)

“I have since changed the phrase to, “I’d rather be a multi millionaire.”

Great thinking, Wayne!
Hollis

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Lies, LIes, Damned Lies

I typically avoid the political, but sometimes, public life offers lessons for each of us in private life. So this is NOT meant as a political commentary.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really tired of all the whoppers out there.

I’m outraged. And, unlike our President, I’m willing to take responsibility for the lying. The buck stops with me. Always.

If you believe we’re all one, then you have to say, how did I do this? Or at least, how did I let this happen?

We live in a culture where lies and lying are the norm, have become the norm. Where it’s okay to lie to people to save your own face, to “not hurt people’s feelings”. And then we say we’re telling the truth and become hypocrites on top of the lies.

My favorite lies lately have been the lies of George W. Bush:

“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.”
“Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.”
“Iraq . . . continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”

There is a theory that leaders of an organization embody the culture of the people they lead. So when we see these outrages, we need to look at ourselves.

Where do we lie?
Where do we accept lies from others?
Where do we lie to ourselves?
What do we teach our children?

Ask yourself,

Where do I lie?
Where do I accept lies from others?
When do I accept lies from others? About certain subjects? At certain times? From certain people?
Do I speak up when I know someone is lying? Why not?
How am I lying to myself? When do I lie to myself? Why do I lie to myself?
When do I lie to others?
Why do I lie to others?
Under what circumstances do I lie to others?

When we let all these lies pass, we stop being able to tell the difference between lies and truth, and we begin to live in a fairy tale. Remember little red riding hood? Remember the wolf said he was grandma and almost ate little red riding hood? Well, our government has said there were WMDs, and it has eaten almost 2300 of our troops, not to mention over 200 others of the so-called coalition of the willing, and the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

Because how hypocritical is it to hold the government accountable for something you won’t hold yourself accountable for? Or something you won’t hold your friends, your coworkers, your family, accountable for?

We have to change the culture, and the culture is US. It means starting with ourselves. So pay attention to when you lie, ask yourself, why did I lie? Or better yet, why do I want to lie? Is it because you’re afraid of the consequences? Usually it is. So when you notice you are lying, ask yourself, ‘what am I afraid of?” then face that, and tell the truth. You’ll feel better, even if you have to accept the consequences, because you’ll know you did the right thing. And often, if you look at the consequences, they’re not all that bad. Or you can manage them, or you can tell the truth in a way that will minimize them, by emphasizing that you did the right thing by telling the truth.

Ghandi said, ‘be the change you wish to see in the world”. So if you want your government to stop lying to you, you HAVE to stop lying. You HAVE to stop accepting lies. That means personally, professionally and as a citizen. If you know your government is lying to you, complain. Be aware. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Call your Congressional representative. Call your Senator. Call the White House.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Are you feeling lucky?

Did you know there’s a structure to luck? There is! According to Prof. Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, who has studied it for 10 years, luck consists of:

– creating and noticing chance opportunities (being relaxed enough to notice them)
– listening to your intuition to make good choices
– create self-fulfilling prophecies by having positive expectations
– adopting a resilient attitude that turns bad luck into good

So what can you do to improve your luck?

1) be open to new experiences; change your routine
2) listen to your intuition/gut instincts/the still small voice within or pay attention to those images that flash by
3) visualize positive outcomes before you do something. e.g. see yourself making that shot, or having the negotiation go well
4) grattitude journal — at the end of each day, write down at least 2 good things that happened

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How to have a great Valentine’s Day – Next Year

First, you can have a great Valentine’s Day this year by just expressing your love for your friends and family. Make cards, make phone calls, give cookies that say “I love you”. There are a thousand ways to say, “I love you” and one of them, or maybe several of them, will be right for you.

But I’m assuming that for you, having a great Valentine’s day can means having a Valentine, having a great relationship with a great partner. So how do you create that in your life? You do it in 3 simple steps:

1. Know what you want in a mate and in a relationship:

– What have you liked in former mates/partners?
– What do you like about your friends?
– What have you like about your relationships?
– What do you like about your friends’ partners?

Take your time! Keep adding to the list ove the course of a week or so. External characteristics, like age, height, weight, or parental status, often come up first, but keep thinking. What qualities do you want? Kindness? Centeredness? Honesty? And how will you know that your potential partner has these qualities? And list the qualities even if they’re not PC. The qualities are what YOU want, not what it’s cool to want. If race or religion matters to you, then specify it.

Think of EVERYTHING you want. if you want someone who plays pool, or eats meat, or plays racquetball, add it to the list! Because the one thing you forget is the one thing that will be missing. If you want him or her to bring you coffee in bed in the morning, add it to the list.

2. What do I do about what I don’t want?

Turn it into a positive – “no drugs/ alcohol” becomes “clean and sober”. Sometimes this takes a bit of thinking. When you say “non-smoker”, do you mean someone who has never smoked, or an ex-smoker? Or do you say, someone who has always respected his/her body.

3. Boy, I sure want a lot – do I narrow it down?

Yes and no. Organize the list into 3 groups:

– Have to have, i.e. deal breaker
– Important, but if a couple are missing, I’ll deal with it
– Nice to have, but if most are missing, it’s okay

4. What do I do once I know what I want?

Turn the must have list into an affirmation, a positive, present tense statement of what you want, as if it already existed. It should include not only the description of your partner, but also a description of your relationship. Again, take your time with this, and know that the affirmation may shift over time. That’s okay.

Do the affirmation every day.

Use the list, including the rest of the list, as a kind of screen – you’ll know if you want someone who is kind, and he snarls at dogs, or puts down your best friend, it’s probably a good one to pass on.

5. Ask yourself, “Who do I have to be to attract this person and relationship?” and then be that person.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Do you know where you’re going to?

There are basically two kinds of motivation. The first is “away from”, as in “get me out of here!” The second is “towards”, as in “I want that!”

Each has its place, that is, each is useful in certain circumstances. “Towards” is what you use when you decide you want a degree in some subject, or you want a date with that hottie. “Away from” is terrific in emergencies. It’s how you automatically get your hand out of the fire, or get away from the menacing guy with the knife. But even there, what do you do immediately after? You probably call 911 to get help. And that is a “towards” — toward help, toward healing.

The problem comes when you only have one sort of motivation, especially when you only have “away from“. Don’t’ we all know a complainer who says (s)he’s going to leave that awful job, but then doesn’t because (s)he can’t figure out what to do instead?

Here’s why. When you only know you want to get away from something, you don’t know where you want to go. Think of your conscious mind as the driver of a car, with the unconscious as the car itself. The car has energy, and machinery and will take you where you want to go — but the driver has to decide where to go and how fast. The car doesn’t go anywhere on its own. If you hit the gas pedal and just tell it to get away from here — it can drive you into a ditch, or a wall. But if you steer it to the nearest McDonald’s, it will take you there. If you steer it to the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey, it will take you there, too, even if you’re in San Francisco. So your conscious mind must have a “towards” mindset to get where you want to go.

Now, the unconscious has a motor, but it also has a fuel line that will block up of its own accord and starve the motor for fuel. The block here is usually fear, often fear of the unknown. This fear really is fear of losing safety or security. Why should the car use all that energy just to leave the nice, warm, dry garage? What’s in it for the car? (This is what people generally call “self-sabotage”. It isn’t self-sabotage at all, it’s that part of you wants to stay safe, which means sticking with the known.)

The key to getting the car to go it is to short circuit the fear (pardon the mixed metaphor — add a second fuel line?). Here are a few ways to do it:

1) Check – is fear reasonable? Sometimes that’s enough to work around it
2) Find ways to help the unconscious feel safe
a) get all the information you can by reading or asking others
b) visualize yourself doing it
c) try it out (why do you think so many infomercials offer “risk free” trials?)
d) make the positives/”towards” so great that the fear/”away from” doesn’t matter. If someone told you that you’d get
paid a million dollars to bungee jump one time – would you do it?
e) Ask yourself if the fear is really about what’s going on now. Many times it isn’t, but is instead about something
that happened in the past. If this is the case, sometimes just knowing that is enough to shift it, but sometimes you
need hypnotic help to do that. After all, you can’t fix the past by dealing with what’s going on today.

Be clear where you want to go and you can almost always get there!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

New Year’s Resolutions are Stupid!

New Year’s resolutions are stupid for 2 reasons:

First, they only work with the will, the conscious mind, which is maybe 10% of you.

Second, they are normally said, “This year, I’m going to…” Saying “I’m going to” puts whatever follows into the future, giving you the subliminal message not to do that now, but sometime in the future. The only time we can do anything is in the present, so telling yourself to do something in the future is a way of telling yourself not to do it.

What you should do instead is affirmation. An affirmation is a positive, present tense statement of what you want as if it already existed. It must be something you can control — affirming that someone else will do something is useless. A simple delcarative statement works best. Affirmations are generally best when they are 7 – 11 words, according research cited by Paul Pearsall in his book, “Wishing Well”.

So instead of saying, “This year, I’m going to get in shape”, say, “I now enjoy exercising daily”, which will have the effect of getting you in shape. The more specific you can be, the better, so “I now enjoy walking 3 miles a day and lifting weights 3 times a week” would be even better.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Connectedness, priorities, synchronicity and Katrina

On August 29, as Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast, I sent an email to a client of mine who lives in Biloxi, inquiring as to his well-being, and saying I’d send up a little prayer for his safety and that of his family, which includes a wife and 2 kids.

Yesterday morning, I was going to do a monologue for my radio show about setting priorities in our busy lives. It was probably useful for people to hear, and I will most likely use it next week, but I have to say, it isn’t anything terribly special. So right before the 5 AM show, I went down into my office to get my email, and found the following (name changed to protect privacy):

“What ever you did in that little prayer it worked. Just a mile south there
is total decimation. Sad stories of families who perished. One was a Air
Force Sergeant and his wife was found dead in the debris. When they looked
for their children they could not find them, a few days later they found
them dead in the trees near their house. My father had to go into his attic
to escape the rising water. I am very lucky considering all the people I
know who don’t even have a house to go back too. My cousins live in north
Biloxi about a quarter mile from back bay, they all lived as a family
community and all their houses took up a city block. I went there and all
you see is the great oak trees, green grass, many clothes in the trees and
cleared city block, you see slabs and concrete pillars where houses once
stood. Way back north of their block you see the debris which was once
their house. It is really awful, it’s like we live in a third world country,
having to forage for food, water and ice. I just got electricity back at my
house. I had some wind damage to my roof, down trees and fence. The water
came within a foot of my house. My sister had roof damage with water in her
house. My brother had roof damage because 5 trees hit his house causing
roof damage. The pictures and film on TV don’t do it justice, seeing it up
close you see just pure decimation. One street I went down to get to my
cousins community there was debris stacked 15 feet high on both sides of the
street. Many of these homes in this neighborhood over a hundred years old
were destroyed. My great Grandfather built 8 of these houses in the early
19 hundred’s and now they are gone. They stood after hurricane Camille (Also
a category 5 hurricane), but now there is no recognition of them. I am
housing some of my family, I am also trying to help my 77 year father
rebuild his life back. When you look you just don’t know where to start.
His house still has mud and gunk in it. We salvaged a few things but left
the rest. He also lost both of his cars. He has a limited income, he did
have flood insurance but not enough to rebuild his house. We need to clean
everything out but the odor is so bad. I know I am rambling, sorry, it’s a
lot to take in. I sometimes have survivors guilt. I’ll make it and our
family will rebuild, we have our chin up and we’re not going to let this
storm take our spirit, we will build stronger and better than ever before.
“Smith’s never Quit”. If you are interested I will send you pictures.”

What a lesson in priorities! Family, home, community. Much better than what I wrote.

And it just goes to show how closely connected we all are. Although at an energy level, we’re all one, it’s hard to remember that sometimes. But I am ONE person away from this disaster, and if you don’t personally know anyone there, you are now TWO people away from it. It’s no longer 6 degrees of separation — it’s 2, or maybe 3. So we need to support our extended family.

I’ve written back to Mr. Smith, asking for photos, and asking if there’s anything we can do from a distance that is not already being done. I’ll let you know what I hear. And if you haven’t made a donation to the charitable organizations that are working in the Gulf Coast, please do give what you can. I did.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

How to deal with loss in 5 simple questions

I heard Peter Jennings died yesterday. Wow! That hit me somehow, and I didn’t know why. Now, I’d been watching him ever since I had my own TV, probably in the mid 80s, first for a quick update on the day’s news, and then just to see what version of the news America was getting. But I didn’t know him personally, so why was that a shock?

That got me thinking about loss.

Loss is a normal part of life. There are everyday losses, like when you throw away the garbage, or give away old clothes, and once in a lifetime losses, like when a parent dies, and everything in between, but they all have the same structure.

You have to lose something to make room for something new. This is obvious if you buy a new book and try to fit it into your overstuffed bookshelves.

It’s less obvious with relationships, and still true – there’s just not enough time for too many good friends. So you lose touch with some. Often it’s due to decreased proximity. One of you changes jobs or schools, or moves, and it isn’t as convenient, and you lose touch.

It’s also less obvious, but gaining something can mean losing something else. When your teenager gets his or her driver’s license, it’s a good thing in many ways – the teen gets mobility, some freedom, and you get a helper, since he or she can run errands for you, pick up a little sister, or go shopping alone. But you also can have a loss. You can lose closeness, because those moments in the car can be really great times to connect.

How do you cope with loss? As I see it, there are 5 questions to ask yourself:

1) What did you lose?
Identify it completely.
2) What was its value to you?
There are all kinds of values: monetary, emotional, practical, etc.
3) When did it go missing?
Be honest. You can lose something long before you note its passing.
4) What will you replace it with?
Sometimes you can replace it completely, sometimes not. Sometimes you can replace some of its valuable qualities, or some of its aspects, but not all.
5) How are still connected to it? How do you still have it?
We always have memories, and sometimes non-physical connections.

I’ll go through this with three examples, one each of a thing (the easiest), a person (the most complicated), and a symbol (the most universal).

Thing

Several years ago, I lost a watch. Now, this was not just any watch. It was a watch my great uncle gave my father when he went into the army at age 17 for WWII, which Dad gave me for my high school graduation. And it was on a lovely gold band, which was my college graduation present. Its value to me was practical, as it told time, monetary, as it was an antique on a heavy gold band, and sentimental, because of how it had come to me. It was a link to my past and to my family’s past.

It went missing a few days before I admitted it to myself. I was in a hurry, and just took out an old Timex I’d had since high school, and used that till I scoured the house and really couldn’t find it. So I had already found a substitute. And to be completely honest, I’d already learned of the Teslar watch, which strengthens one’s energy field, and wanted one, and felt guilty about buying a watch I didn’t need, as I already had this lovely one. (Be careful what you wish for!) So I replaced my Dad’s watch with a Teslar one.

I still am connected to it, because I can still “see” it on my wrist, if I take a second, since it was there almost 24 hours a day for over 30 years.

And really, it’s only a thing.

Person

My Dad, to whom I was quite close, died about a year and a half ago. What did I lose? I lost his hugs, access to his love, his advice and teaching, and the ability to experience things with him in the physical, and I lost some almost physical resonance with his body. For about the first 24 hours after he died, I felt really physically shaky, as if my body was looking for a genetic resonance it could no longer find.

When did I lose these things? Well, since we’d lived mostly apart since I was 13, I lost most of those hugs at that age. And obviously, since we weren’t together all that often, we couldn’t experience things together very often. His advice and teaching of me dwindled over the years, as I learned more, and as he respected me more, and knew I needed it less. And he’d been unable to give me any advice at all for the few months before he died. The resonance was lost, I guess, at the moment of his death.

While I can’t replace my father, because nothing can erase his imprint on me, and wouldn’t want to replace him, I do get great hugs and love from my husband, my family and many terrific friends. I get advice and teaching from a variety of people whom I respect in different fields. While the genetic resonance went away and hasn’t, and perhaps can’t be, replaced, I am still connected to Dad energetically or psychically. I hear him occasionally, at the oddest times, saying things only he would have said. So I know he’s there. If I can’t hear him more, it’s my lack of communication skills, not that he’s really gone. And if I concentrate, I can visualize him and feel his love, so we’re connected that way as well.

If you believe the soul is eternal, and I do, then the fact that I can’t communicate with him better is due only to my lack of communication skills. That’s something I can work on! And when I die, or change state to one more like his, then I expect the communication will get easier again. And when I miss him, I try my best to ask him to be with me so he can share my experience.

Symbol

So – back to Peter Jennings. When he died, what did I really lose? I lost the image of a person who showed up in my home with great regularity, that I trusted to sift through the vastness of world events and competently tell me what was important in a fair, reasonably impartial way. (Okay, I’m older now, more savvy, and less trusting, but this was still true, if a lot less true than 20 years ago.)

When did I lose it? He went off the air 4 months ago, in April. It was a little sad then, but I took no real notice.

With what did I replace it? A varied menu of reading on the internet, accompanied by the occasional watching of some network’s nightly news, to see what America is being told about the world today.

How am I still connected to it? In memories – images of Jennigs on that 25 hour around the world welcome to the millennium, for one.

And I think his death hit me because it’s a reminder of time passing, that the only constant is change.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Watching New Love as It Sears the Brain – New York Times

If you’ve ever fallen in love, you know it makes you crazy. You know that for a time, it is the most important thing in the world, more important than sleeping or eating. Have people told you it was “all in your head”? Well, maybe it was all in your head, but not in the way you think.

This article from the NY Times describes cutting edge brain research, which shows that romantic love is separate and disctinct from sexual arousal, and much more like “food, warmth, craving for drugs”.

Watching New Love as It Sears the Brain
By BENEDICT CAREY
Published: May 31, 2005

New love can look for all the world like mental illness, a blend of mania, dementia and obsession that cuts people off from friends and family and prompts out-of-character behavior – compulsive phone calling, serenades, yelling from rooftops – that could almost be mistaken for psychosis.

A new study suggests that an area of the brain known as the caudate is associated with passion.
Now for the first time, neuroscientists have produced brain scan images of this fevered activity, before it settles into the wine and roses phase of romance or the joint holiday card routines of long-term commitment.

In an analysis of the images appearing today in The Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers in New York and New Jersey argue that romantic love is a biological urge distinct from sexual arousal.

It is closer in its neural profile to drives like hunger, thirst or drug craving, the researchers assert, than to emotional states like excitement or affection. As a relationship deepens, the brain scans suggest, the neural activity associated with romantic love alters slightly, and in some cases primes areas deep in the primitive brain that are involved in long-term attachment.

The research helps explain why love produces such disparate emotions, from euphoria to anger to anxiety, and why it seems to become even more intense when it is withdrawn. In a separate, continuing experiment, the researchers are analyzing brain images from people who have been rejected by their lovers.

“When you’re in the throes of this romantic love it’s overwhelming, you’re out of control, you’re irrational, you’re going to the gym at 6 a.m. every day – why? Because she’s there,” said Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and the co-author of the analysis. “And when rejected, some people contemplate stalking, homicide, suicide. This drive for romantic love can be stronger than the will to live.”

Brain imaging technology cannot read people’s minds, experts caution, and a phenomenon as many sided and socially influenced as love transcends simple computer graphics, like those produced by the technique used in the study, called functional M.R.I.

Still, said Dr. Hans Breiter, director of the Motivation and Emotion Neuroscience Collaboration at Massachusetts General Hospital, “I distrust about 95 percent of the M.R.I. literature and I would give this study an ‘A’; it really moves the ball in terms of understanding infatuation love.”

He added: “The findings fit nicely with a large, growing body of literature describing a generalized reward and aversion system in the brain, and put this intellectual construct of love directly onto the same axis as homeostatic rewards such as food, warmth, craving for drugs.”

In the study, Dr. Fisher, Dr. Lucy Brown of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx and Dr. Arthur Aron, a psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, led a team that analyzed about 2,500 brain images from 17 college students who were in the first weeks or months of new love. The students looked at a picture of their beloved while an M.R.I. machine scanned their brains. The researchers then compared the images with others taken while the students looked at picture of an acquaintance.

Functional M.R.I. technology detects increases or decreases of blood flow in the brain, which reflect changes in neural activity.

In the study, a computer-generated map of particularly active areas showed hot spots deep in the brain, below conscious awareness, in areas called the caudate nucleus and the ventral tegmental area, which communicate with each other as part of a circuit.

These areas are dense with cells that produce or receive a brain chemical called dopamine, which circulates actively when people desire or anticipate a reward. In studies of gamblers, cocaine users and even people playing computer games for small amounts of money, these dopamine sites become extremely active as people score or win, neuroscientists say.

Yet falling in love is among the most irrational of human behaviors, not merely a matter of satisfying a simple pleasure, or winning a reward. And the researchers found that one particular spot in the M.R.I. images, in the caudate nucleus, was especially active in people who scored highly on a questionnaire measuring passionate love.

This passion-related region was on the opposite side of the brain from another area that registers physical attractiveness, the researchers found, and appeared to be involved in longing, desire and the unexplainable tug that people feel toward one person, among many attractive alternative partners.

This distinction, between finding someone attractive and desiring him or her, between liking and wanting, “is all happening in an area of the mammalian brain that takes care of most basic functions, like eating, drinking, eye movements, all at an unconscious level, and I don’t think anyone expected this part of the brain to be so specialized,” Dr. Brown said.

The intoxication of new love mellows with time, of course, and the brain scan findings reflect some evidence of this change, Dr. Fisher said.

In an earlier functional M.R.I. study of romance, published in 2000, researchers at University College London monitored brain activity in young men and women who had been in relationships for about two years. The brain images, also taken while participants looked at photos of their beloved, showed activation in many of the same areas found in the new study – but significantly less so, in the region correlated with passionate love, she said.

In the new study, the researchers also saw individual differences in their group of smitten lovers, based on how long the participants had been in the relationships. Compared with the students who were in the first weeks of a new love, those who had been paired off for a year or more showed significantly more activity in an area of the brain linked to long-term commitment.

Last summer, scientists at Emory University in Atlanta reported that injecting a ratlike animal called a vole with a single gene turned promiscuous males into stay-at-home dads – by activating precisely the same area of the brain where researchers in the new study found increased activity over time.

“This is very suggestive of attachment processes taking place,” Dr. Brown said. “You can almost imagine a time where instead of going to Match.com you could have a test to find out whether you’re an attachment type or not.”

One reason new love is so heart-stopping is the possibility, the ever-present fear, that the feeling may not be entirely requited, that the dream could suddenly end.

In a follow-up experiment, Dr. Fisher, Dr. Aron and Dr. Brown have carried out brain scans on 17 other young men and women who recently were dumped by their lovers. As in the new love study, the researchers compared two sets of images, one taken when the participants were looking at a photo of a friend, the other when looking at a picture of their ex.

Although they are still sorting through the images, the investigators have noticed one preliminary finding: increased activation in an area of the brain related to the region associated with passionate love. “It seems to suggest what the psychological literature, poetry and people have long noticed: that being dumped actually does heighten romantic love, a phenomenon I call frustration-attraction,” Dr. Fisher said in an e-mail message.

One volunteer in the study was Suzanna Katz, 22, of New York, who suffered through a breakup with her boyfriend three years ago. Ms. Katz said she became hyperactive to distract herself after the split, but said she also had moments of almost physical withdrawal, as if weaning herself from a drug.

“It had little to do with him, but more with the fact that there was something there, inside myself, a hope, a knowledge that there’s someone out there for you, and that you’re capable of feeling this way, and suddenly I felt like that was being lost,” she said in an interview.

And no wonder. In a series of studies, researchers have found that, among other processes, new love involves psychologically internalizing a lover, absorbing elements of the other person’s opinions, hobbies, expressions, character, as well as sharing one’s own. “The expansion of the self happens very rapidly, it’s one of the most exhilarating experiences there is, and short of threatening our survival it is one thing that most motivates us,” said Dr. Aron, of SUNY, a co-author of the study.

To lose all that, all at once, while still in love, plays havoc with the emotional, cognitive and deeper reward-driven areas of the brain. But the heightened activity in these areas inevitably settles down. And the circuits in the brain related to passion remain intact, the researchers say – intact and capable in time of flaring to life with someone new.

Watching New Love as It Sears the Brain – New York Times

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Scientists Say Everyone Can Read Minds

I have said for many years that the clairsenses (clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, clairolfaction, clairgustation, and telepathy) are natural and normal human abilities. Now scientists are proving it!

Hollis

Special to LiveScience
LiveScience.com Wed Apr 27,10:24 AM ET

Empathy allows us to feel the emotions of others, to identify and understand their feelings and motives and see things from their perspective. How we generate empathy remains a subject of intense debate in cognitive science.

Some scientists now believe they may have finally discovered its root. We’re all essentially mind readers, they say.

The idea has been slow to gain acceptance, but evidence is mounting.

Mirror neurons

In 1996, three neuroscientists were probing the brain of a macaque monkey when they stumbled across a curious cluster of cells in the premotor cortex, an area of the brain responsible for planning movements. The cluster of cells fired not only when the monkey performed an action, but likewise when the monkey saw the same action performed by someone else. The cells responded the same way whether the monkey reached out to grasp a peanut, or merely watched in envy as another monkey or a human did.

Because the cells reflected the actions that the monkey observed in others, the neuroscientists named them “mirror neurons.”

Later experiments confirmed the existence of mirror neurons in humans and revealed another surprise. In addition to mirroring actions, the cells reflected sensations and emotions.

“Mirror neurons suggest that we pretend to be in another person’s mental shoes,” says Marco Iacoboni, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. “In fact, with mirror neurons we do not have to pretend, we practically are in another person’s mind.”

Since their discovery, mirror neurons have been implicated in a broad range of phenomena, including certain mental disorders. Mirror neurons may help cognitive scientists explain how children develop a theory of mind (ToM), which is a child’s understanding that others have minds similar to their own. Doing so may help shed light on autism, in which this type of understanding is often missing.

Theory theory

Over the years, cognitive scientists have come up with a number of theories to explain how ToM develops. The “theory theory” and “simulation theory” are currently two of the most popular.

Theory theory describes children as budding social scientists. The idea is that children collect evidence — in the form of gestures and expressions — and use their everyday understanding of people to develop theories that explain and predict the mental state of people they come in contact with.

Vittorio Gallese, a neuroscientist at the University of Parma in Italy and one of original discovers of mirror neurons, has another name for this theory: he calls it the “Vulcan Approach,” in honor of the Star Trek protagonist Spock, who belonged to an alien race called the Vulcans who suppressed their emotions in favor of logic. Spock was often unable to understand the emotions that underlie human behavior.

Gallese himself prefers simulation theory over this Vulcan approach.

Natural mind readers

Simulation theory states that we are natural mind readers. We place ourselves in another person’s “mental shoes,” and use our own mind as a model for theirs.

Gallese contends that when we interact with someone, we do more than just observe the other person’s behavior. He believes we create internal representations of their actions, sensations and emotions within ourselves, as if we are the ones that are moving, sensing and feeling.

Many scientists believe that mirror neurons embody the predictions of simulation theory. “We share with others not only the way they normally act or subjectively experience emotions and sensations, but also the neural circuits enabling those same actions, emotions and sensations: the mirror neuron systems,” Gallese told LiveScience.

Gallese points out, however, that the two theories are not mutually exclusive. If the mirror neuron system is defective or damaged, and our ability to empathize is lost, the observe-and-guess method of theory theory may be the only option left. Some scientists suspect this is what happens in autistic people, whose mental disorder prevents them from understanding the intentions and motives of others.

Tests underway

The idea is that the mirror neuron systems of autistic individuals are somehow impaired or deficient, and that the resulting “mind-blindness” prevents them from simulating the experiences of others. For autistic individuals, experience is more observed than lived, and the emotional undercurrents that govern so much of our human behavior are inaccessible. They guess the mental states of others through explicit theorizing, but the end result is a list — mechanical and impersonal — of actions, gestures and expressions void of motive, intent, or emotion.

Several labs are now testing the hypothesis that autistic individuals have a mirror neuron deficit and cannot simulate the mental states of others.

One recent experiment by Hugo Theoret and colleagues at the University of Montreal showed that mirror neurons normally active during the observation of hand movements in non-autistic individuals are silent in those who have autism.

“You either simulate with mirror neurons, or the mental states of others are completely precluded to you,” said Iacoboni.

For this full story, and links to other interesing information, please go to:

Scientists Say Everyone Can Read Minds – Yahoo! News

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

My gift to you

If there were one gift I could give everyone, it would be the ability not to take things personally, to stay neutral under what seem like personal attacks. It would eliminate so much unnecessary suffering.

I bring this up because I had a perfect example the other day. A client called me after a fight with her boyfriend, wondering if their relationship was over. When I looked at him psychically, what I saw was that he was having a career identity crisis. He was unbelievably frustrated at his perceived failure at a job he didn’t really want anyway, while working successfully but slowly on the side to create his ideal work. And in his frustration, he just lost it at her over a minor disagreement. Because he called her some names, she took it personally. That’s natural in the circumstance, and of course the best thing would be for him to learn to separate his frustration at his work from his disagreement with her.

But she, not he, was my client. And all she can change is herself. So what she can learn to do is to ground, take a deep breath, relax a bit, ask the question, ‘What is going on for him?’ and wait for the answer to come. It will always come, because at some level, we really do know what’s going on with others. It may take a while, and the more you ask the question, the faster the answers will come.

Then she can act on that answer, for example, mirroring back his frustration to him, rather than holding on to her position. This gives him the space to acknowledge his feelings, and possibly go deeper into them, rather than making her wrong. That makes the relationship stronger and safer.

Think about all the circumstances where this technique might be appropriate. A good clue is that the attack on you is completely out of proportion to what was happening immediately before the attack. I’m sure you’ll think of a few. Remember to

– ground,
– take a deep breath
– relax your body consciously and
– ask, ‘What is going on for him/her? What is this outburst doing for him/her?’
– wait for the answer

Sometimes, though, the argument is really about you, or about the relationship. How do you tell? I’ll tackle that in my next blog.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Instant Practice

It’s an oxymoron, right? No, actually, it’s a really cool practice that takes intention, but no time out of your day. And it’s more difficult (at least for me) and more interesting than you might imagine.

So, what’s the practice?

Simply this – be present as you walk into or out of your front door.

I’ve been practicing for about 10 days now, and still only succeed in remembering to do it about half the time. Others have posted notes on their doors as reminders, but that seemed like cheating to me. If the point is to be present, then the point is for it to come from inside me. It’s funny, I find that I can be thinking about being present just a few seconds before I open the door, and still forget! Now, I find that the key to the door is becoming an anchor to help me remember. I’m also making myself go through the door again when I forget.

When I do remember, it’s miraculous! My state changes – I become centered and grounded, and much more aware of the energy inside versus outside. Going inside feels like my energy welcoming me. Going outside feels like freedom and opening.

There’s an old Jewish custom of placing a mezuzah, which is basically a small cylinder, containing a prayer, on the door frame of your front door. You’re supposed to kiss it (or at least kiss your fingers and then touch your fingers to it) every time you enter or leave your house. I don’t know much about the official meaning of the mezuzah, but I’ll bet that at some level, its purpose is to bring you present each time you cross the threshold.

Are you willing to try the practice? If you do, let me know, maybe by posting here, what happens for you. Have fun!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Happiness as a practice

Now that you know the specific feelings that you call happiness, you can create them at any time. (Although some times are harder than others!) How do you do that?

It’s simple. Just shift the feelings in your body to match the ones that you call “happy”. There are 2 ways to do this.

The first is to notice how you feel, and think, “What do I need to shift to be happy?” And do that. I’ll use myself as an example. For me, happiness is a combination of being reasonably warm, having my upper body at least moderately relaxed, and a warm, open, almost glowing feeling in my upper chest, above my heart and below the base of my throat. (I”ve heard this area called the peace chakra, but don’t really know if that’s true.) I maintain the first two pretty easily with clothing and posture, which means I just have to intentionally create the third. I can do that by thinking a positive thought, like, “What a beautiful day” or by intentionally opening the “peace chakra” area.

The second way to shift feelings in your body is what NLPers would call “anchoring the state”. Basically, this is getting into the state fully, and linking it to a body position that you only use for this particular state. You do this repeatedly, and then later, when you want to get into the state, you just go into the anchoring body position, and your emotional state will automatically shift to the one you want. (If you want more specific directions on anchoring, send me an email by leaving a comment. If there are a lot of requests, I’ll put it on the blog, otherwise I’ll just send a private email.)

This, by the way, is a more complete version of the old saw of “just put on a happy face”. When you’re happy, you smile spontaneously. This associates smiling with happiness, so even when you don’t feel happy, if you put on a genuine smile (not that tight little polite one), you will begin to feel happy.

In this way, happiness can become something you cultivate as a practice.

It just occurred to me to try specific times to be happy, like each time I hang up the phone. Eventually, that will just become my way of being.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

What to do with your “What I need to be happy” list

Throw it out! (Well, okay, you can keep it for reference, but put it in a drawer somewhere where you won’t look at it.)

Now, here’s what to do to start being happy:

THINK OF A TIME WHEN YOU WERE REALLY, REALLY HAPPY. Where were you? What was going on? What were you doing? Who was with you, if anyone?

Now, STEP INTO THE SITUATION. Put your body in the position it was in. In your mind’s eye, look around the place and see it in great detail. Look down and notice what you were wearing. what do you hear? smell?

NOTICE WHAT YOU FEEL IN YOUR BODY.

Let me repeat that:

NOTICE WHAT YOU FEEL IN YOUR BODY. You are looking only for words that describe bodily feelings, like hot, cold, tense, relaxed, tingly, smooth, rough. Be very specific, not only about the feelings, but also about where you feel them. You may feel warmth in your hands, say, and relaxed in your chest. Or unsettled (butterflies) in your stomach and/or like your head has grown larger. Or whatever. Words like “excited” or “loving” don’t count, as they are not body words.

Whatever you feel is what you feel. It’s okay, don’t judge it. Your happiness will be unique to you.

Again, this should take less than 10 minutes.

Now your homework is to CATCH YOURSELF BEING HAPPY. Just notice when you feel those bodily sensations that you have identified as “happy”. That’s it!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

A President’s Day Thought

Presidents’ Day reminds me of Washington’s Birthday, which reminds me of the Declaration of Independence. This august document reads, in part:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the pursuit of happiness. I just want to be happy! And if you think about it, just the phrase “pursuit of happiness” implies that you are NOT happy.

Happiness is a choice. It’s a choice each of us makes — or not — every moment of every day.

So for the next blog or two, I’m ging to concentrate on happiness: how to have it, and more importantly, how to be it.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD TAKE FOR YOU TO BE HAPPY? A great relationship? A new car? A lovely home? A job you love? Living your purpose?

Make a complete list — this should take less than 10 minutes — and in my next blog, I’ll talk about what to do with the list.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

I love. Do you?

Many years ago, too many to think about really, I was in love with a guy who wasn’t there. Literally. He lived 2,000 miles away, more or less. Now this was in the days before email and ubiquitous cell phones, so we had to content ourselves with letters (remember them?) and the occasional expensive phone call. I was so in love that I would often find myself feeling something warm in my heart, and saying to myself, “I love him.”

Then one day, it dawned on me that he wasn’t actually present. Whom, exactly, was I in love with? And yet, there I was feeling those feelings. So it wasn’t him, or anything he said, or anything he did, that was generating the feelings, but me. It was a thought I had that triggered those delicious feelings. So what I was enjoying was the feeling of loving, which didn’t actually require him, or anyone, to be there. And it occurred to me that

“I love” is a complete statement. “I love”, period. I love.

No object is necessary. I walked around for a couple of years doing “I love” as a sort of affirmation, though I’m not sure I’d even heard the term at the time. Just saying “I love” to myself, over and over at all times of the day in all circumstances — walking, showering, standing in the line at the bank.

I began to notice that, at least for me, there is a feeling of being loved, completely separate from the feeling of loving. For me, loving feels like warmth, radiating strongly from my heart, while being loved feels like a (generally weak) warmth in my aura. You’d be surprised where you can feel love returned from when you’re putting it out all the time! Animals, plants, rocks, the earth itself, discarnate beings, and oh, yeah, people, too.

Let Valentine’s Day be a reminder to you to just love. Loving is truly its own reward.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

Tell Your Truth

According to the New York Times:

“Christian conservatives, for more than two decades a pivotal force in American politics, are grappling with Election Day results that repudiated their influence and suggested that the cultural tide — especially on gay issues — has shifted against them.

“They are reeling not only from the loss of the presidency, but from what many of them see as a rejection of their agenda. They lost fights against same-sex marriage in all four states where it was on the ballot…”

Why do you suppose that is? I think it’s because by now, almost everyone in the US knows someone who is openly gay, and knows that this person is a ‘normal’ person in all respects, whose only difference is that he or she is attracted to members of the same sex, instead of the other sex.

Why do you suppose everyone now knows someone who is gay?

It’s because a generation ago, gay men began to organize because of AIDS, began to speak out, began a ‘gay pride’ movement. When all those gay men, and eventually lesbians, began to come out of the closet, eventually, almost everyone realized they knew someone who was homosexual. And each person realized that his friend, cousin, colleague, brother, sister, son, daughter, niece, nephew, uncle or aunt who came out of the closet was still the person he or she had always been. That made homosexuality, well, normal.

Why would you want your friends and relatives to have fewer rights than you do? You wouldn’t.

This is the power of telling your truth. When you stand up and tell your truth, it empowers someone else to do the same. Eventually, like tiny streams come together to make a river that changes a landscape, all of you come together to change the consciousness of a country (and eventually the world). 

It’s not just true for homosexuality, either. It’s true for those who are fighting to legalize marijuana (and by the way, 24 years ago, an FBI agent told me that “if we had to exclude anyone who’d ever smoked marijuana from government, we wouldn’t have a government”). It’s true for people like me who openly talked about psychic abilities before it was popular. It’s true today for people who are talking about having positive contact with extra-terrestrial beings. It’s true for the insiders who are leaking political, financial, military and scientific truths, which the ‘powers that were’ are trying to hide from We the People.

So whatever your truth is, say it loudly – and proudly (as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else — I am not standing up for child molesters, etc. here).

The Heart Grows Smarter – NYTimes.com

The strong effect of relationships on longevity:

The Heart Grows Smarter – NYTimes.com

A sense of place

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, I was horrified that an American city had been allowed to drown, disgusted that our government didn’t give a damn about the hundreds of thousands in the city itself, and the millions in the area. When the tsunami hit Indonesia, I was horrified by the loss of life. When the earthquake hit Haiti, I was saddened for what happened to all the people there. When the tsunami hit Fukushima, I was worried for my friends there (who got out okay), horrified by what I saw, scared about how it would affect the entire world (still am, actually).

But when Sandy hit the Jersey Shore, it was a completely different experience.

Before I get to that, though, let me say that everyone I know — and that’s a lot of people, because I grew up there, because I went to college in NJ, because I lived in Manhattan for a couple of years — is okay.  (I know this thanks to the magic of Facebook.) Many are inconvenienced by lack of electricity and in some cases, gas, but they’re coping. Two friends, a couple who live in Highlands by the ferry terminal, had to evacuate. Their house is still standing, but it’s gutted. Other than that, it’s a tree down here and there. Yes, it’s sad; yes, it’s difficult in the short run, but for everyone I know, except my Highlands friends, there’s no real life-changing damage.

The thing is — Sandy hit me in the gut. And it’s kind of in my consciousness all the time.

I grew up at the Jersey Shore, 5 miles from the beach. I was at the beach every day of every summer, often all day, every day, all summer. I learned to swim there, learned to ride waves there, felt one with the entire universe in the ocean there for the very first time. I learned to go to the beach to clear my head, even in winter.

I learned gymnastics from friends on the hard-packed sand at low tide. I learned life-saving there, and worked briefly as a life guard (the pool, not the ocean, but still).

I went to beach dances there. I heard Springsteen before he got famous, when his band, the ‘hot’ band, was the Steel Mill.  The Asbury Park boardwalk was my idea of fun — roller coasters, the Tilt-a-Whirl, and the Fun House, not to mention cotton candy and candy apples.

Mostly I hung out in Sea Bright and West Long Branch, but every summer, one of my grandmothers would rent a studio in Asbury Park or Bradley Beach or Belmar or Deal. I’d go stay with her for a week, then I’d go home and my sister would stay with her for a week.  It was always so much fun. It meant I got to know more beaches in more towns.

I remember when the Long Branch pier burned down. I had one very memorable date at Seaside, where we walked the beach after the boardwalk closed, talking till 2AM. (Yeah, Dad was angry, even though I had no curfew.) When I was in college, a friend and I rented a house on Long Beach Island for a week off-season, when we could afford it. And I remember meeting a Long Branch firefighter in Wildwood, who told me they’d been instructed not to put out the Long Branch pier fire.

Reading that the many of the train bridges are out upsets me terribly (one of them goes through the Raritan Bay marsh, and it’s amazing). Seeing photos of the destroyed Seaside rollercoaster saddens me. Seeing photos of Asbury Park, and Sea Bright and Highlands under layers of sand, the water having retreated, churns my gut. The photo of the missing wall of the Asbury Park Convention Center horrifies me.

None of my close friends in northern California is having the gut wrenching experience I am. But then, none of them grew up there, either.

Here’s what I’ve learned: places really do become part of you. I don’t know if it’s just the memories, or something deeper. We exchange molecules with the air around us with every breath, and we use what we take in to build our bones and muscles and organs and skin. But every single atom in us supposedly changes every 7 years. So how is it that these places are so much a part of me?

I know now that what they say is true — you can take the girl out of New Jersey, but you can’t take New Jersey out of the girl.

Does this really need to be said?

This is going to sound like a shaggy dog story, but bear with me – there is a point.

A friend of mine, Heather,  told me the following story:

“I’m a small time landlord, and recently rented one of my apartments to a single mom, a nice lady with two young girls. The woman was getting out of what sounded like an abusive marriage, and in a real hurry to sign a lease before she left the country briefly to care for her ailing grandmother. She was REALLY not looking forward to this — she grew up here, didn’t know her grandmother all that well, and hates being in Fiji, her grandmother’s country.  She was the best family member to go, though, because she makes her living caring for the elderly.

“She signed a 1 year lease, gave me a deposit, and we made plans for her to move in just after the first of the month. This would give me a couple of days to clean up the place in case the last tenant didn’t do a great job.

“Four days before she was supposed to move in, she called from Fiji, and reached me on my cell phone. The number was blocked. I was in the car on the way to a MeetUp, but my friend, Jack, was driving, so I took the call. My tenant said, “My grandmother died, and I’m stuck here healing with cultural issues.” Wow! I was shocked, and said I was sorry. Then she said, “I don’t know if I’ll be back in 2 weeks or 2 months. Can I get out of the lease? What do I do?”

“I told her calmly, but firmly, that she had signed a lease, and I was not about to let her out of it. That she was responsible for the $10,000 amount of the lease. That the law is that I’m required to make reasonable efforts to find another tenant, but that she is responsible for any deficiency. That is, if it’s vacant for a month, she owes me a month’s rent. And that I’ll take her to small claims court to collect whatever she owes me, as soon as I know the amount of my damages.”

“She said she understood, and would call me back in a few days to let me know if she could borrow enough money from a family member to keep the lease. I said I understood, and would look forward to her next call. Of course, she never called back.

“That was bad enough. Then I heard through a mutual friend that Jack was telling people that I dealt with this all wrong. That I should have just expressed my condolences and put off a serious discussion for another time. Never mind that he didn’t know the situation, that he didn’t hear her side of the conversation, that he didn’t know the phone number was blocked, so I had no way to reach her, that he’s never been a landlord, that he didn’t know the law, and that I really need the money.

“So now, I’m not only out a tenant, but my reputation is being ruined by an ignorant jerk, who apparently knows better than I do what to do in my situation — and is happy to tell anyone who will listen. And who is so cowardly as to not tell me this to my face. By the way, I tried to approach him to talk about it, but he has excuse after excuse as to why he ‘can’t’ get together. What can I do?”

If he won’t meet with you, there’s not a lot you can do, except to realize that there are ignorant, cowardly jerks everywhere, and to let it roll off your back. You did the best you could. As my grandmother would have said, “Don’t dignify that with an answer.” Focus your attention on more positive things — and let this go.

I think the lesson here is more about not being in Jack’s position. How do you avoid that? In the words of Craig Ferguson (yes, the guy from the Late Late Show — he’s a very perceptive guy, not just a funny one), ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Does this need to be said?
  2. Does this need to be said by me?
  3. Does this need to be said by me now?

And if the answer to any of those questions is “no”,  keep your mouth shut.

How to keep showing up!

In the fall of my second year in business school, my friend, Candy, who’d just completed a summer job and been offered a full time post by that company for after graduation, had to go to a company recruiting cocktail party on top of studying for mid-term exams. Trying to put myself in her shoes, I sympathized with her time crunch, as well as the stress I thought this would bring (or it would have brought for me).

Candy looked at me with a wry smile, and laughed softly, “Oh, no, this isn’t stressful! All I have to do is show up. I’m good at showing up!” She continued, “I’ll get brownie points for showing up. That’s  really all I have to do —  show up and say ‘hi’ to a few people I know, so that they know I’m there, as part of the team. I don’t have to impress anyone — they’ve already offered me the job. I don’t even have to talk to the recruiters much; they’re more interested in prospects they don’t know.”

This idea that sometimes, all you have to do is show up, stuck with me. Or as Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

I’m reminded to mention this now, because I personally have a lot to show up for at the moment. In fact, it seems never ending — the weekly radio show, the clients, my other businesses which seem to constantly need something, let alone friends and family. (Did I mention taking the barest of acquaintances in for surgery last week because he had no one else?)

I’m actually really good at showing up. I know not everyone is, though, and I think that’s mostly caused by lack of motivation. So how do you maintain your motivation?

  • Keep reminding yourself of the big picture — when you see how a tiny action can really help with the big goals of your life, you’ll keep on showing up for the little stuff.
  • Remember that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step“, as Lao-Tzu said. Yes, you have to take a lot of those single steps, but only one is the first one, and the ‘showing up’ ones are pretty easy.
  • Ask yourself, “How much effort is this really? How can I systematize this so that I can do it with almost no effort?” For example, if you’re a coffee drinker, you have surely devised a system to make coffee so efficiently that you barely notice making it any more. You can do that with many things in life.
  • Try to find the fun — or something positive — in showing up.

Last week, I had a computer nightmare (believe me, you don’t want to know the details!). Showing up to deal with it sucked. But the big picture is that I need that computer to run my businesses, and to do the radio show. The first step was to try to do the updates I needed by myself, using all the online help available in forums. When that wasn’t enough, I called Apple for help. When that wasn’t enough, the online help desk made me an appointment at the local Apple Store for help. When they couldn’t solve my problem, they sent me to an outside company who is one of Apple’s premium service sites.

There, I met the owner, who is not only the most competent Mac person I’ve ever met (he almost solved my problem completely, and told me how to do the rest myself), but also turned out to be interested in a lot of things I’m interested in that have nothing to do with computers — star visitors, the unfairness of our current economic system, angels, the effects of vibrations, etc. We had a fascinating conversation that went on long past the completion of my computer issues. Meeting this man turned out to be the ‘something positive‘ in showing up.