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Issue 7,  June 1, 2009     —      Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Excuses Begone!

In this issue:   FEATURE: Wayne W. Dyer, Excuses Begone!   Guy Finley, Liberate Yourself   Jeanie Marshall, Asking Empowering Questions               Yasha, The Body-Mind Connection   Sharon Elaine, Affirmations: Hopes and Dreams  Jim Donovan, Don't Push Your Goals Away   Gabriella Kortsch, Tending Your Inner Garden   Song Chengxiang, One Fundamental Law of Success   Wider Screenings,  Star Trek, Star Wars...   Events   Reviews           Earlier issues   Submit Article
Excuses Begone! was created out of a belief that entrenched ways of thinking and acting can indeed be eradicated. Furthermore, the most effective means for eliminating habitual thoughts is to go to work on the very system that created, and continues to support, these thinking habits. This system is made up of a long list of explanations and defenses that can be summed up in one word: excuses. Hence, the title of this book is really a statement to yourself, as well as to that system of explanations you've created. It is my intention that all excuses be . . . gone!

Book extract part one (part two next week)

Seven Core Ideas for Eliminating Excuses

...I’d like to share with you a set of beliefs that I’ve adopted for myself. I encourage you to be receptive to these ideas, even if they initially seem  inapplicable to your life at this time, because I feel strongly that they’ll assist you in beginning the process of moving away from justification and defensiveness.

Here are the seven tips I’ve personally found to be very helpful in eradicating excuses from my life:

1. Remove Any and All Labels

Old habits of thinking stick around, often for an entire lifetime, largely because you create internal reasons to reinforce and maintain them. These reasons, which I’m calling “excuses,” can become permanently lodged in your subconscious—they’re labels you place on yourself that ultimately become your self-definition. In the words of Søren Kierkegaard, the famed Danish theologian: “Once you label me you negate me.” As you enter the Excuses Begone! paradigm, make a promise to yourself that you won’t be labeling or negating yourself anymore.

My daughter Serena grew up labeling herself as “not athletic” or even “frail,” a self-definition that morphed into a comfortable excuse whenever physical activity came up. My daughter’s labels negated the real Serena, who could become anything or anyone she chose. By consciously making a decision to remove those labels, and nothing more, Serena has gradually become a young woman who enjoys participating in athletic events and who loves the positive changes in her body as a result of daily exercise.

Rather than saddling yourself with self-limiting labels, affirm: I am capable of accomplishing anything I place my attention upon. Make it clear to yourself that you can never negate the real you; you’re an infinite being, and with God all things are possible. The corollary of this would be: with labels, most things are negated!

2. Converse with Your Subconscious Mind

I refuse to accept the idea that we have an unconscious mind that defies us by being completely inaccessible. To me, this is a prescription for believing that for the major portion of our lives, we’re controlled by unseen and unavailable forces residing within us. I recognize that we’re often totally unaware of why we’re behaving in certain ways, but this implies that we have no choice in the matter. Awareness is the simple key for alleviating this condition.

Have regular conversations with your subconscious—remind it that you don’t want to go through life on automatic pilot. Discuss your unwillingness to be a victim of the whims of that “ghost in the machine” of your body, whose orders originate in the mind viruses and thinking habits that were programmed into it by people who are either long dead or no longer play a role in your adult life.

I usually tell my own habitual mind things like this: “I know that I have some really silly leftover habits that were instilled in me a long time ago, and I want you to know that I’m no longer interested in having my actions dictated by you. I’m bringing all of those old habits of thought to the surface, and I’m going to make a conscious effort to be more aware of all aspects of my life.”

I had a conversation like this recently regarding my inclination to misplace my keys. I treated the ghost inside of me that always seemed to place my car keys in difficult-to-find locations as if it were a real person. While this may seem like an insignificant little habit, for me, changing it was huge. To this day I rarely misplace my keys.

Initiate a conversation with your subconscious mind in which you make it clear that you’re not going to let part of your life be run by an invisible stranger who acts and reacts on the basis of memetic or genetic programming. Instead, decide that you’re no longer going to allow (or excuse) behavior from an unconscious part of yourself.

3. Begin the Practice of Mindfulness

As you head into the seven chapters that identify a new paradigm for ridding yourself of excuses permanently, I encourage you to begin a practice of being more mindful. This is in fact what I did to end my lifetime habit of being forgetful, particularly when it came to where I placed my car keys.

At one time, I simply excused my can’t-find-my-keys behavior with this label: “I’m forgetful.” I can recall both my mother and my wife often exclaiming, “Oh, that’s Wayne, our absentminded professor!” Memes buried within my subconscious became useful excuses for explaining my habit of being forgetful . . . but then I discovered how to be mindful. I began to practice being conscious of what I used to do unconsciously, and it worked!

Each time I came into the house, I made a decision to be aware of my keys in my hand—to feel the texture and shape of each one of them, to hold them with awareness, to listen to the jingle-jangle sound—and then place them in a special spot reserved just for them. And lo and behold, an old unconscious habit had been brought to the surface and into my conscious mind, causing that old excuse of being forgetful to be eradicated. (On the rare day when I can’t find my keys now, it only serves to reinforce my commitment to stay mindful.)

By the same token, there was a time when my yoga practice could deteriorate into a boring routine and I’d become frustrated with myself; or while swimming in the ocean, running along the beach, or even sitting and writing, I could get lost in my old forgetfulness and lose sight of the glorious feeling that’s available in all human activity. I found that practicing mindfulness in many ways throughout my day helped immensely.

In his book The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh advises us on this practice:

The Sutra of Mindfulness says, “When walking, the practitioner must be conscious that he is walking. When sitting, the practitioner must be conscious that he is sitting. When lying down, the practitioner must be conscious that he is lying down. . . .” The mindfulness of the positions of one’s body is not enough, however. We must be conscious of each breath, each movement, every thought and feeling, everything which has any relation to ourselves.

    These days when I swim, I experience my arms moving, my legs kicking, my shoulders stretching, the feel and taste of the salt water, my fingers cupped and moving the water, my breathing, my heart rate . . . all of it. Practicing mindfulness has taught me how to be in the moment and find my self as well as my keys!
    That makes me think of a story Mobi Ho, a Vietnamese scholar who translated Hanh’s book, tells:

As I sat down to translate The Miracle of Mindfulness, I remembered the episodes during the past years that had nurtured my own practice of mindfulness. There was the time I was cooking furiously and could not find a spoon I’d set down amid a scattered pile of pans and ingredients. As I searched here and there, Thay [Hanh] entered the kitchen and smiled. He asked, “What is Mobi looking for?” Of course, I answered, “The spoon! I’m looking for a spoon!” Thay answered, again with a smile, “No, Mobi is looking for Mobi.”

Part two next week.
No Limits thanks Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Hay House for permission to include this extract from Excuses Begone!

Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He’s the author of 30 books, has created numerous audio programs and videos, and has appeared on thousands of television and radio shows. Wayne holds a doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor at St. John’s University in New York.

Hay House, Inc.

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Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Excuses Begone

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