While my last blog entry cautioned against becoming a “spiritual junkie” who expects a constant stream of visions, insights and revelations, I also believe in documenting what is coming to you. There are some seasons of our lives when we receive more inspiration than others.
Let me give you an example. As I was going through the divorce, I spent a lot of time praying, fasting, meditating and really seeking to know and do God’s will. It was a big decision … one that violated a lot of my core values. I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing in choosing it.
Along the way, I received some important messages about my future. I saw certain things that were coming. Some of them happened fairly quickly. Others were out in the future.
For example, about 2.5 years ago when my business took a major hit as I let my money-making Web site go, I was meditating. I had this visual come to me.
I leapt off a cliff and was in a free-fall for quite a while. I wondered if I would crash, but didn’t hit bottom. God’s hand caught me and delivered me to the top of another cliff. There was a man standing there… the man I knew God had in mind for me.
When the visual came, I assumed it was completely metaphorical. I certainly did go into a long free-fall and wondered if I might splat in more ways than one. Interestingly enough the visual was both symbolic and literal.
Remembering this made me go back and read my journal entries. There are some things in my journal that I realize now I misinterpreted. Some have happened. Others seem highly improbable.
While reading one entry from my journal a couple days ago, I thought, “That’s probably not going to happen. Maybe it was my imagination kicking in.” Then I remembered the Lover’s Leap moment and how I did not orchestrate that at all. It was never my job to orchestrate it.
What if none of the impressions I receive are mine to orchestrate or “make happen?”
Here’s what I’m coming to believe. Let’s say you catch the vision of something that feels incredibly inspired. You feel it in your bones, it’s meaningful and significant. Okay, great.
A vision or dream about the future (unless accompanied by a strong impression to do something specific) is not an assignment. It is not your job to force the vision to happen. Look at impressions about the future as someone sharing landmarks to look for on a road trip.
If I give someone directions to my house, I’ll say something like, “Look for the two green mail boxes and the gravel road.” Is it the traveler’s responsibility to create the two green mail boxes and the gravel road? Of course not! The traveler simply looks for them. The mailbox and gravel road are markers that let the person know they are on course. They signify a turning point.
I am a “get it done” visionary. I can leap to a lot of wrong conclusions and try to make things happen. It’s incredibly easy for me to try to force the vision. I often make it an assignment. But I’m beginning to believe these are not assignments. They are simply landmarks to look for on my journey. They may signify turning points. Or they may help me recognize that I’m on course. But it’s not my assignment to manufacture them any more than a visitor to my home needs to manufacture the two green mail boxes and the gravel road.
Can Forcing a Vision Mess Things Up?
One could say my drive to find the man at the top of the cliff actually got in my way. I went out in search of him, keeping myself involved with different men across the U.S.
All the while the man God had in mind for me was 5 minutes away at my son’s middle school. I passed him as he directed traffic every schoolday, never knowing he was asking about me, always being told by his mom “she’s dating someone.”
So, a case could be made that I delayed matters by turning the vision into an assignment.
Another case could be made for it all happening as it should have. There were experiences and lessons I needed along the way that enabled me to fully appreciate the man God had in mind.
Bottom line, God knew he was working with “get it done Marnie.” He knew how I would react, the people I’d meet and where I’d end up. He knew I’d get there eventually.
This experience has given me more hope that no matter how I wander around and feel lost, God’s got the vision. He’ll get me there.
In my last post I talked about how the need for acknowledgement can get us in trouble in relationships. Today, we’ll discuss how it can cause trouble for spiritual visionaries as well.
When you catch the vision of something past, present or future, and attribute it to being from God, you need to remember one important thing. Recognize that you also have an incredible imagination. It isn’t always easy to tell where God’s inspiration ends and your imagination begins.
Because of this, I recommend you avoid telling others “God told you” this or that; or that “God showed you” this or that. You got an idea. It felt inspired. It may be God talking to you, and it might be your incredible imagination at work. It could also be your brilliant mind forecasting a trajectory of potential outcomes. You could also be mixing in your own interpretations like I discussed in an earlier post.
The Praise Junkie Achilles Heel
Be cautious of pride that creeps in when you feel the need to tell other people that God is speaking to you. If you are someone who craves acknowledgement or can be a “praise junkie” you have an Achilles heel. Sharing things that “God told you” combined with people giving you kudos or acting like you’re so wonderful and spiritual gives you a dopamine hit that feeds your need for acknowledgement.
Yes, spiritual acknowledgement can be every bit as seductive as crazy, stupid love!
Let’s face it, God isn’t constantly speaking to all of us in visions, dreams, voices or major inspiration. Most of the time we’re ordinary people living our lives in relative normalcy. Yes, the still small voice can guide you day-by-day. Notice “still” and “small.” It’s not an overwhelming voice from heaven or visions of glory!
If you’re constantly getting fan-fair-ish visions and insights, they could be your imagination. Or worse, your need for praise could be opening you up to receiving from other sources than God. There’s an immense amount of information broadcasting in the spiritual realm. Just because you’re picking things up in a way that feels “outside of you” doesn’t mean it’s from God.
If you have an unmet need for spiritual acknowledgement and people give you kudos, you are getting a hit of dopamine. It’s really not that different than dating a flattering man who feeds your need for acknowledgement as a woman!
The more you get hooked on the dopamine hits, the harder it is to tell the difference between something God is telling you and something from your own imagination or elsewhere. You’ve become a “spiritual junkie” who needs your next “hit.” You can only get those hits from an “aha moment” or the acknowledgement you get by sharing your spiritual “wow moments” with others.
What can you do to prevent this addiction? I had some great conversations with my friends Martina Muir, Amy Oliver, and Judy Hansen about this when I was in Utah. Lisa Rae Preston also provided some input upon my return home. Here are a few ideas we came up with.
- First, make sure you are living your life in alignment with God’s word. Check what you’re receiving against divine truths. The more you live in alignment with God’s teachings, the safer you will be.
- Second, keep your own spiritual confidences. Always journal them first. Ponder on them. Take a lesson from Mary, the mother of Jesus. When the angel appeared to her telling her she’d be the mother of the Son of God, Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
- Third, if you still feel the need to share, pick one person as a spiritual mentor who will be your sounding board, will be truthful with you, and who won’t feed your ego.
- Fourth, look to God for acknowledgement and let that be enough. Let go of what other people think of you. You and God are the only ones that matter.
- Fifth, beware of “spiritual sensationalism.” There is a whole subculture who feeds on a diet of constant, escalating spiritual hooplah.
- Sixth, remember that what is true for you may not be true for everyone. If you receive an impression to do something in preparation for a future event, for example, that’s instruction for you and your family. It isn’t necessarily instruction for everyone around you.
- Seventh, release unhealthy patterns and beliefs. Energy therapy is a great way to do this. It’s been a significant part of my journey.
I’ve known it for years. I’m a praise junkie. Twenty-five years ago when I started my business, I over-delivered to clients who praised me. In essence, I received part of my payment in praise. Then, I wised up (or thought I did). I raised my rates and began working on this tendency to take peanuts for work when someone praised me profusely.
The problem is, the need for acknowledgement never really went away. It’s been a driver throughout my life. If you think about it, more of us have an issue with the “need for acknowledgement” than we care to admit. Every time you make a Facebook post and wait around for someone to Like it, Share it, or Comment on it, you’re waiting for that little dopamine hit that comes from being acknowledged.
First let’s explain what dopamine is. According to Pscychology Today,
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.”
Dopamine isn’t a bad thing. We need it, but having an addiction to it can be dangerous.
What I learned from dating is that if you have a core unmet need for acknowledgement in some area of your life and someone feeds that need through flattery, praise, or making you feel you matter in that area, you can form an addiction to that person and to the chemical dopamine that is secreted in your brain by having them around or engaging in the rewarded behavior.
This addiction is what makes people do stupid things for love. In essence, if the other person has a mind to do so (and you allow it to happen), they can seduce you down a path you might never otherwise go.
Dompane numbs your frontal lobe which controls logical thinking. You may easily be led like a child to the water’s edge by your Pied-Piper chemicals.
Yes, it’s scary to come out of a relationship, wake up, and realize you’ve been in the twilight zone and haven’t been yourself in months.
So what can you do about it?
You might have to experience this phenomenon and feel like you “messed up” to identify that you have an issue with a core unmet need. As Lisa Rae Preston says, “Until you had to nurse the blister from the burn” you may not really be able to look at your situation objectively.
Once burned, twice shy. Your awareness of the need and knowing what a dopamine addiction feels like strengthens your resolve. With a strengthened resolve, you have more objectivity to keep from making the same mistake again.
Energy therapy has been a big part of my journey. It’s a great way to let go of caring what other people think, release past trauma and break unhealthy patterns.
I told you in my last blog we were going to talk about how to distinguish inspiration from imagination. What does dopamine and crazy, stupid love have to do with discerning the source of inspiration for visionaries? A lot!
I work with a lot of visionaries, spiritually-adept teachers, consultants, speakers, coaches and other self-help professionals. I often say these folks are “hardwired for inspiration.” This is a great thing. They’re forward thinking, inspirational, innovative and positive for the most part. This makes my work fun.
Unfortunately, there are downsides to this spiritual, visionary intensity. Being a visionary myself, I’m learning a lot about the downsides to this spiritual strength. Over the next few blog entries, I’d like to share what I’m gleaning — mostly through experience as a single mom.
To say the world of online dating is a test of discernment would be an understatement! It’s been a great laboratory for learning to sift through inspiration, imagination, emotion, seeing patterns, and even chemicals in the brain.
Beware of Interpretations
Visionaries are hardwired for inspiration. Each of us have our own way of getting answers or receiving insight. Some of us have words or phrases come to us, others see things in our mind’s eye, others get a strong emotional sense about a situation, while others “just know.” Some people even receive inspiration through touching something, taste or smell. Experiencing a combination of these is common.
The interesting thing about visions, impressions or insights is that when we receive them, we have a tendency to interpret them through the lens of our current perceived reality. Most of the time events NEVER happen the way we see or imagine they will.
Today’s tip for visionaries is to avoid the tendency to interpret what an insight means. Just document it. Journal, Journal, Journal! Then, let it go.
For example, when I was dating a man right after the divorce, I prayed about him and got the answer, “He is a man among men. You can’t go wrong with him.” I interpreted this to mean he was the man I would marry.
The real interpretation was that this gentleman was “a man among men.” He was a very good man, a perfect gentleman. I could not have gone wrong with him morally. Also, going wrong with him would have been marrying him! He was the first to realize and admit that we were not a good match. He didn’t let us make a stupid mistake.
Since this experience, I’ve tried to be cautious about how I interpret an answer I perceive as coming from God. Even something that seems straight-forward doesn’t always mean what you think it does.
In my next posts, I talk about distinguishing inspiration from imagination. This post is part of a series. If you missed the others, you can start at the beginning here.
Can you imagine feeling energetic, fit and full of life? Able to pursue your interests and dreams with passion and vigor?
Perhaps you’d like to travel the world, visit children or grandchildren, climb mountains or run marathons. Can you imagine having the stamina, health and energy to fully embrace your life well into your later years?
Are you living your dream life or …
- Are you feeling lethargic, burnout or unenthusiastic about your life?
- Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished you could shed pounds that are slowing you down?
- Do you collapse into bed at night, exhausted by everything on your plate?
- Have you given up on your dreams because they seem impractical given your existing life circumstances?
- In a word do you feel TRAPPED?
This was me. I had completely lost hope. Then, I caught hold on one thing that revolutionized my life for the better. Grab this FREE audio where I share my story…
Isn’t it time that amazing thing you do got out in the world in a bigger way? Isn’t it time you started impacting lives with your message, unique gifts, and talents?
Now’s the time. I’ve got it down to an exact science, complete with templates! Starting in October, I will be offering personalized hands-on training modules around creating, organizing, delivering and marketing your own products and programs using my step-by-step, templated system.
OCTOBER TRAINING SCHEDULE
Module 1: “How to Create a Program in a Week” Intensive
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Module 2: “How to Sell Your Products & Programs with Ease” Intensive
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Module 3: “How to Streamline Your Marketing & Fill Your Programs” Intensive
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Energy Therapy Series: “Breakthrough to Radiance”
October 27, 29 and 31st
For entrepreneurs with a heart to help but who feel stuck or blocked. This LIVE Group Series helps you systematically break through typical fears and blocks: fear of success, failure, loss, exposure, scarcity, and more!
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Here’s what one of my students in the pilot program had to say …
“Marnie was quick to provide solutions as they came up. The intensive was effective. It allowed focus, bonding with others, and developed support. The templates were excellent, thorough, practical and usable. The one-on-one group consulting was valuable. One of my favorite and beneficial pieces was the input from the group, developing their products and especially mine in the challenging category of self-help and spirituality.” – Judi G. Reid
I hope you’ll join me for one or more of my trainings this month. Let’s get your work out in the world, making an impact and influencing lives for good!
You may find my training schedule at any time by going to MarniePehrson.com
You have a message, method or system inside you that can literally transform lives. What you know can completely shift the way people think. When you put that message into a compelling, engaging book, your legacy lives on forever. Your impact ripples into infinity!
If writing a book is on your list for 2013, I want you to know something… not all books are created equal. Books that engage and compel people to share them take special crafting. And it’s not about being a wordsmith or having perfect grammar (just ask the editors of my 23 titles)! It’s something entirely different that even a child can learn.
Through the power of story and collaboration, you can create your own page-turner. And this summer, I will show you how with my exclusive, proprietary system for creating WOW books!
Here’s what Kathleen Gage (author of “Power Up for Profits”) has to say about my Create a WOW Book Mentoring & Accountability Program:
“Oh my goodness Marnie Pehrson. I can’t begin to thank you enough for the great course you created and taught that I participated in many months ago.
I had been thinking of writing a book about women and online marketing for quite some time. Years actually. But I continued to procrastinate. That is until I took your course.
This month my book will be available on Amazon and other online locations.
Something about the way you presented the material, encouraged your students (that would be me) and the guidance you gave is beyond compare.
I am incredibly confident my newest book will serve thousands upon thousands of women (and men) who know they need to incorporate online means to build their business while honoring who they are, trusting Spirit and living their truth. Oh yes, and making lots of money in the process.
Thank you my friend, colleague, mentor. The world is a better place because of your light.”
Please join me this summer! Go through the Create A WOW Book Mentoring and Accountability system at your own pace AND get 3 months of personal phone support with me. I’ll be available to keep you motivated, give writing and publishing advice and help you craft a compelling launch!
What are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present to start impacting the lives you’re on this planet to touch!
Just hop on over to http://www.CreateAWOW.com
As you may know, I blew up my 6 figure business in the fall of 2012 and started over. Yes, it was a leap of faith, but I knew I needed to more fully follow my passion to assist Light Bearers. What you may not know is I didn’t have a clear idea of what my new path would look like. I had an end goal, a picture in my mind of who I wanted to be, what I wanted to be doing, and the type of relationships that would be in my life as I did them. But HOW I was going to get there wasn’t clear.
With faith in my vision, I took the leap. Since that time I’ve taken a second bigger leap that only few know about. It’s a personal decision that has completely reset my life. So within a 9 month period, I’ve wiped the slate clean on my life and business.
Scary? Yes, at times, downright terrifying. As I’m emerging through the other side, it’s the most liberating thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s an exciting bold adventure. I’d like to share with you one of the many important lessons I’ve learned along the way. But first let me tell you a little story…In 1985 I took a tour of the most unusual house I’ve ever seen, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. Legend has it that a medium told Sarah Winchester to build a house, “If you continue building, you will live forever. But if you stop, then you will die.”
The house is bizarre. There are twists, turns, dead ends, and stairwells going nowhere. Without rhyme or reason, Sarah kept building.
I hadn’t thought about the house in years, but in the last week, it keeps coming to mind. I’ve realized that I’ve built my life and business a lot like Sarah Winchester built her house – ever creating as if my life depended on it, but without any real plan, purpose or clear objective. Just creating, creating, creating and seeking as much inspiration as I could along the way. Through the grace of God, what I built was prosperous and offered a good service to others. Still, there were blind alleys, stairwells that went nowhere, rooms that served no purpose and weren’t part of any cohesive blueprint.
As I’ve “blown up” my life and business, it’s created some chaos. Yet, as the dust has settled, I see an empty lot on which to build my new life. I’m able to decide with intention what I CHOOSE to put into it. I’m realizing the importance of having a clear plan and blueprint and then crafting daily activities that support that blueprint.
It’s also important to omit things that do not support the plan. This requires some tough love, setting boundaries, and a vision of the end ever in mind. In fact, I’m going to be participating in Laura West’s next 30-Day Passion Project to create a visual blueprint of the life and business I’ll be creating from this point forward. I’m super excited about this Joyful Life BluePrint Project! Maybe you’d care to join me? For details, go here.
Lesson learned: Chaos is part of the natural cycle of things. Nothing in this world stays orderly. You have to create some chaos to increase order. Think of the mess when you set out to organize a closet. It’s why forest fires happen, so all the chaos can be cleared away and a fresh forest can emerge. Embrace the chaos in your life and thank the heavens for the “reset points” that let you start fresh with clearer intentions for conscious creation of your own joyful life.
Remember, the Phoenix always rises from the ashes! Freedom has a price and that price usually requires facing your deepest fears. Embrace the fear, feel the fire and soar!
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” – 1 Corinthians 15:22
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Have you stepped into the arena? Do you want to? If you have a Big Vision that you’re ready to start making a reality, I’m looking for 10 people who are tired of making excuses and ready to run!
Will you be one of them? It all starts July 1st: Find out more here…
Question from Client: You are a Potential Empathy, so what makes it possible for you to get so much done…or should I say stay focused? Is it because you are in familiar territory?
Short answer: I decide and decide quickly! People flounder when they’ve made anything other than a 100% decision. I decide 100% and start moving forward. As Kristin Sweeting Morelli says,
The antidote to overwhelm and confusion is to pick a horse and ride it. You’re never going to pick a perfect horse, but just pick one and ride it. – Kristin Sweeting Morelli
Longer answer: I seek inspiration by praying specifically for answers. I expect an answer and wait for what feels like a “download” to my mind about what action to take. Then I IMMEDIATELY set to work on it. Over time, the practice of asking, receiving and acting immediately develops some kind of connection where line upon line I get the actions I need to take. Many times I don’t even have a big vision or a focus. Or perhaps I have one, but don’t remember it!
For example, I started IdeaMarketers in 1998 as a place to promote people I believed in. It didn’t have enough traffic. It was missing something. The idea came for an article directory. I shifted my direction and built it. Over time, I modified and tweaked until by 2007 the site was big enough that it became a publicity engine for experts. Originally, article marketing felt like a change of direction or a detour, but it still took me where I wanted to go.
In 2007, I remember thinking, “Oh, I see now Lord! This is where we were going all along!” I didn’t honestly piece together or remember that it was my original intention to promote people, because I only tried that for a couple months and gave up. It took me a few years after starting our expert program to have that aha moment of, “Hey, I’m doing what I originally set out to do!”
So bottom line — I might consciously lose my big vision, but my heart knows it, and God knows it. If I seek His help every step of the way, He takes me on a journey to make it happen.
Interestingly enough, not until I just wrote this did I realize that now more than ever I’m doing what I originally set out to do … promote people I believe in on IgnitePoint. I’m not interested in promotiong “just anybody.” They have to be folks I believe in, and that’s what this site is about. Yeah, fun!