The Energy of Amazing

The energy of amazingby Andrea Chilcote

I was having lunch with a business colleague who I am just getting to know. She told a brief story of her teenage daughter’s performance in a competition. Watching intently, she had observed her daughter’s flaws along with her successes, and feared that the judges would count the flaws as faults in her score. Yet immediately afterwards, her daughter exclaimed, “I was amazing.” Mom took the cue and said, “Yes you were!”

It turns out the judges gave her the highest marks and seemed to miss the faults.

As my colleague, Caren, spoke, I observed her curiously. I had my own theory of what had happened here, and wondered what she thought. I offered the following, more as a question than a statement. “It was her energy,” I said, tentatively. “Yes!” Caren responded. “The energy of ‘amazing’.”

The judges took the teen’s cue as well. It’s hard to resist the resonance of amazing.

The conversation reminded me of a gem of wisdom I had read the day before, Election Day in fact. “Your feelings determine your reality.”

Oh how I needed a reminder that day. From that moment forward, any time my thoughts slipped into negativity about the future, I assumed a state of hope and peace.

If you follow my posts, you know I that I know our thoughts and feelings create our reality. So while my experience was nothing new, I continue to be fascinated with the mechanism. How was it that Caren’s daughter’s confidence influenced those judges? Her feeling of amazing trumped the fact that she left out parts of her presentation, errors that “should” have resulted in penalties.

Quantum mechanics tells us that all possibilities exist, and manifest as reality once ignited by a thought and a feeling. It’s what happens when we pray in a state of gratitude, as if we’re already experiencing that which we imagine. And our experience influences those around us. If this sounds like hocus pocus, check out the scientific experiments that demonstrate that we are all, quite literally, connected.

You too are amazing. Can you feel it? I can.

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. ― John Lennon

Today I Am Thankful – Thanksgiving 2012

Join Andrea as she reflects back on Thanksgiving 2012. What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Andrea Chilcoteby Andrea Chilcote

I will officially begin celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday on Saturday when five friends arrive from Atlanta. As I prepare to enjoy time with them, I have begun to consider all of the things I am thankful for. And of all the wonderful blessings I have in my life, today I am most thankful for this one simple fact: I control my destiny.

I have been working, of late, to maintain a positive and hopeful state of mind. When small but annoying setbacks happen in my life and work, I have sought to not sweat the small stuff, and when faced with negativity seemingly all around, I have practiced management of my own energy. I’ve even succeeded in maintaining a degree of perspective in the backdrop of natural disasters and political strife.

While controlling one’s attitude is the ultimate source of control, it certainly helps to live in the land of the free.

Parrot's PerchLast weekend I met Karen Keilt, author of The Parrot’s Perch. Her book is based on her own true story, and I was stunned by the account Karen gave of her experience as a young adult in Brazil. A privileged woman living a fairy tale life, she was falsely arrested, imprisoned, raped and tortured by extortionists. Most astonishing is that the laws in that country still protect those torturers from prosecution, and the egregious offenses are ongoing.

Today I am thankful that I am a citizen of a country where success results from a marriage of effort and creativity, and flagrant violations of reasonable laws are enforced. Most of us can rest at night with a general feeling of safety and wake up each morning with an opportunity to make this day better than the one before. This foundation of freedom is, well, quite literally … freeing, in my opinion.

I am not Pollyannaish and I vow to never lose compassion for those who struggle. I am committed to remaining responsible for my thoughts, feelings and actions regardless of what’s occurring around me.

Just for a moment, step outside your present circumstances, whatever they may be, and answer this question. What are you most thankful for? What conditions or situations afford you the opportunity to choose the life you wish to live? What present factors serve as the foundation for your courageous actions as well as attitudes? Remind yourself of these in this upcoming week of Thanksgiving.

This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. Enjoy it!

From My Heart

Act from the Heart, Anahata, From the HeartAre you considering your own words and actions through this most important filter, your heart center? Andrea asks you to act from the heart as she shares her reflections from November 2012.

by Andrea Chilcote

Last week I attended a screening of the film Sacred Journey of the Heart. Its premise is that in this very difficult time on our planet, “heart-based living” holds the key to navigating our way through the collapse of the structures that no longer serve us. It offers a seemingly new approach that is in fact based on ancient traditions, a return to the wisdom of our past.

The film relies on the scientific research of the Institute of HeartMath. In general terms, HeartMath suggests that the very powerful electromagnetic field generated by the heart organ (the strongest in the body) is responsible for the healing effect of energy exchange between two or more people.

I have few words this week, in the ongoing aftermath of the disastrous storm Sandy as well the ongoing and escalating stress of the Presidential election. I can only offer you the opportunity to reflect on the heart-based actions you have seen on news programs or have experienced in your lives.

Consider your own words and actions through this most important filter, your heart center. Act from the heart. I strive to do the same with every breath I take.

Deep Truth by Gregg Braden

We must think of ourselves and our relations to one
another differently than we have ever before
– Gregg Braden, author of Deep Truth


This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. Enjoy it!

We See What We Expect

by Andrea Chilcote

I’ve collected rocks all of my life. I’m as drawn to unique, rough stones on a hiking path as I am to beautiful crystal mineral specimens on display in specialty shops. And since moving to the desert 12 years ago, I have been picking up heart-shaped stones of varied size and composition from the many hiking trails I frequent. In recent years I’ve expanded my search to beaches where we vacation, and occasionally friends bring me specimens from their travels.

My home and property holds my rather large collection of “heart rocks,” as I call them. Recently I gathered them together to create a photograph for a special project. As I share that photo with friends, I’m often asked “How do you find these?” Where do you get them? One even asked “Are these natural or purchased in a store?” My response to them: “They are everywhere…just open your eyes.” These questions and my answer remind me of an age old principle: We see what we expect to see.

Friends who hike with me, neighbors as well as visitors from other states, understand this principle well. We need only to set an intention to look for and find heart rocks, and they show up, literally beneath our feet. They were always there of course, but until we believe they’re there and then look for them, they don’t “show up.”

Psychologists say we actively construct our perception of reality. By the time information reaches our brain, it’s combined with information from past experiences, skewing our perception. Maria Konnikova, who blogs about the psychology of decision making, says “It’s comforting to think our brains work like a camera,” though in fact that’s not the case. Inputs are subject to interpretation.

So what do heart-shaped stones and perception theories have to do with daily life? For me, this principle of seeing what we expect is the only plausible explanation for how supposed rational people can do irrational things, or how polarized our opinions can be on political or social issues while at the same time being aligned on key other perspectives. In short, it allows me to somehow understand that which is beyond my understanding, and that keeps me sane. It allows me to accept and seek to comprehend the different views of those around me. In short, it reduces judgment, the very thing that biased perception produces.

Some time ago, two friends visited us while in the early stages of a relationship. They were both surprised by and drawn to my heart rock collection. When a year later they announced wedding plans, they asked me if I would give them the gift of a heart stone I found in my desert. I had a grand time arranging a small assortment for them, and received a text thanking me while on their honeymoon. It contained a photo of two interlocking coral hearts they had found on the beach in the Turks. Their heart rock collecting had begun.

What do you wish to collect as you walk through life? Define it, and I bet you’ll see it show up on the path. I hope there’s a side benefit – a willingness to seek insight into the collections others gather along their paths.

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this. – Bertrand Russell

Just Chill

Cambriaby Andrea Chilcote

The following is a repeat of a post I made for The Spirited Woman Community in August, just before departing for vacation. While I am in Cave Creek this week, not Cambria, the spirit of “Just Chill” seems appropriate for the holiday weekend. Enjoy!

August 2012

As you read this post, I am officially on vacation. I am in Cambria, California an idyllic haven that offers my family and me a unique sort of respite, a place to “chill out” figuratively as well as literally, given that it’s also a cool escape from the blistering Arizona summer.

I strive for peace and quiet amidst the busyness of my life. Yet the world is not quiet. That is not a judgment, rather it is an observation. Whether one is a public servant, a public figure – or even a monk – this “disquiet” can seep into the psyche, creating discord that impacts the quality of our lives and those we care about and interact with daily.

In the past, I have written of the importance of rest and renewal. And, as is so often the case, I have observed a theme this past week: A dearth of rest. So many people are starved for a break, for peace and for release. The definition of rest is broad. It can mean temporary cessation from an activity as well as relief or freedom from disquiet or disturbance. Rest includes recreation, and it can literally re-create our outlook, equipping us with renewed drive and energy to use as we choose.

Some of us “rest” in motion…through vigorous physical activity, or an active break from routine. Others need stillness and contemplation. The idea of a nap or an afternoon under a beach umbrella may satisfy some and not others. For me, the simple absence of a schedule provides supreme rest.

We’ve been resting in Cambria each summer for the last six years. On the first day of our first trip there, Arthur and I were having lunch at a wonderful sidewalk table at a Cambria classic, the Indigo Moon. Our dogs Whisper and Amigo were with us. Just as our server approached, another vacationing dog passed by our table. Whisper, the Malamute, tends to challenge other dogs, and this was no exception.  The server looked her straight in the eye and cut her off mid-growl. “Chill doggie,” she said calmly. “This is Cambria.” Amazingly, both dogs “chilled.” From that day forward, time in Cambria came to represent a time to take a deep breath and relax.

Maybe you too can visit Cambria, in person or in your dreams. Until then, just chill.

It’s that frenetic energy that keeps us stuck in perpetual ‘fight or flight’ and that keeps us in an energetic fear loop that robs us of truly being present, enjoying life, and connecting deeply with our loved ones. – Resting expert Dan Howard

Imagine No Judgment

by Andrea Chilcote

Recently I had a fascinating discussion with a client. He and I have, it would appear on the surface, a very different worldview. He’s very clear and open about his perspectives, and quite committed to the principles they represent. Many of our spiritual, political and social beliefs differ widely, yet I have always felt comfortable as he discusses them. Today, I realized why. And, I learned that we share at least one common – and in my opinion important – viewpoint.

What I learned is that he possesses the ability to suspend judgment of others at the same time he takes a stand about his own life and what he believes will make for a better world. At the same time he firmly believes in his heart and mind that something is “right” or “wrong,” he appears to have no desire whatsoever to condemn or coerce. A rare quality in one so convinced.

As a leader, one of the things this client strives to build in others is authenticity. He believes that those on his team are at their best when they show up and reveal who they really are. It’s an admirable aspiration, and not always one people find easy to practice in the workplace today.

As tends to happen, the brief conversation led me to broader mental analysis. Clarity of our convictions and values, along with the congruence of “walking the talk,” is one of the things that makes us appear trustworthy in interpersonal relationships. Yet another component of trust is the ability to genuinely make others feel safe – safe to express themselves and their views, safe to contribute creatively without fear of ridicule or persecution. And that can’t happen when judgment is present.

There’s an obvious link between the suspension of judgment and the freedom of others to be who they are. If you believe, as I do, that most of us have positive intent and are fundamentally loving and compassionate creatures, being “who we are” is a supreme opportunity. In fact, in practice it might just change the world.

So back to the view my client and I share. We both strive to understand as well as allow the paths those around us choose. What he has more fully mastered (and I strive for daily) is the ability to love others even in light of what he might view as a flaw (or even a sin). If that sounds corny or trite, forgive me, as I do not have other words for it.

When I feel criticized, I am usually guilty of the same. Imagine what would happen if, when we feel judged or even persecuted for our views, we allow those around us to be as they are and we simply walk in our own integrity. Imagine that.