Five A’s for Your A+ Life

+ A+ on chalkboard Aug 2010 22709556_sRecently, I noticed that five aspects of spiritual consciousness all begin with the letter “A.” In this “A” month of August, I offer you five “A’s” that can help us lead an A+ life!

The first “A,” Awareness, is central to most spiritual paths, as well as a crucial starting point in many self-improvement programs. In the Twelve-Step program, AA, (more “A’s”!), an alcoholic begins recovery when she realizes (code word for being aware) that she is an alcoholic. Awareness is the point of departure for moving from being enmeshed in problems and situations to seeing them more clearly. Enmeshment is tricky; it blurs our sense of what is what and who is who. When we become aware, our perspective changes from being the problem to seeing ourselves separately, neutrally. Only at this point, we can begin to make changes in our lives.

The second “A” is Alignment. Alignment is perhaps most easily described by thinking about its opposite feeling. Have you ever driven your car when the tires were out of alignment? There can be shakiness at faster speeds, the car can be a little hard to steer, and the gas mileage isn’t very efficient. Taken metaphorically, we feel out of alignment when we’re a little jangled, life doesn’t feel quite manageable, and we aren’t moving with efficiency or effortlessness.

In order to learn more about alignment, I’ve been experimenting with listening to myself when I feel aligned. I want to get a “felt sense” of what it’s like – in part, so that I can re-create it when I need to. When I experience alignment, I feel at ease with myself and my tasks. I feel quiet pleasure, satisfaction, peace. I am aware and present to myself and my surroundings. My sense is that being aligned, centered, balanced, and grounded helps me with everything in my life. It is also helpful with the next “A” for an A+ life, Asking.

An essay by Anne Lamott describes two categories of prayer; prayers of thanks and prayers for help. Asking is a request for help – help of all sorts: support, inspiration, patience, guidance – the list goes on and on. Who we ask – the Universe, Source Energy, God, your Highest Self, your most Conscious and Unlimited Self – doesn’t matter as much as simply allowing yourself to ask.

Years ago, I remember being unhappy in a situation for weeks on end. Suddenly, I thought, “I could pray about this…” When I did, both the situation and I began to improve! I was amazed to realize how long it had taken me to just think of asking for help (I had been enmeshed and unaware for quite a while!). Now, I’m more mindful of asking sooner. I ask for help for myself, my business, my relationships, my finances, my well-being. I pray for all of that for friends, family, and others as well. My requests for help run the gamut from healing for the planet to inspiration for what to cook for dinner that night. And help comes! Then, I go on to the fourth “A,” Allow.

Allowing yourself to respond to the help that comes can sometimes be more challenging than you might expect. A lot can get in the way of letting help in – being too shut down, not believing you’re deserving of being in a better place, not liking the help that shows up, and so on. Have you ever tried to be of help to someone, only to realize that they aren’t in a place to receive what you’re offering? Have you yourself experienced not being able to let in help? I’ve found myself asking for guidance, getting an idea or impression to try out, but then kind of arguing with it or disregarding what could have been a perfectly adequate solution or first step. Of course, it is important to use discernment with ideas and impressions that come into our thoughts; not all are of the highest order; but there is a lot of help that is dismissed that could have been useful, even life-saving. It’s a matter of allowing it in and going from there.

The last “A” is Action. Taking action is crucial to manifesting an A+ life. I’m aware that I enjoy doing envisioning, affirmation, and conceptual work in my spiritual life, but am sometimes a little less willing to actually ground and manifest those visions with focused action. For example, I’ve taken to asking myself questions like, “If I really mean that I want to write a book, what action could I take today to help bring my book into being?” Since I know I really do want to write a book, I need to be actually writing the book, not just envisioning it done and out there on the shelves at Borders!

Taking action gets me moving and implementing the suggestions I’ve allowed in when I ask for help. It helps me feel aligned because I’m in my Essence, doing my highest work. It holds me in awareness of who I am in my life and in my Being. It’s the beginning of an A+ life.

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