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The Mightiest Motivator

Defying the laws of gravity, they rise up to reach beyond everything they have ever known. Over and over they fall. They rise up again. Eventually they conquer a brave new world.

They set no goals. They require no discipline, adhere to no schedule. Fear of failure, regret, guilt for not practicing enough-these strategies play no part in their game plan or ultimate success.

They are babies. Using the strongest motivation known to human kind, they master the art of walking. How? Why? With what motivation? The answer to all 3 questions is the same. Desire-because they want to.

You want a master class in motivation? Watch babies. Every day they achieve something that was impossible the day before.

Yet all day every day intelligent, well educated people use everything but their natural desire to lead them to what they want. They use misery motivators instead. They withhold happiness from themselves, promising they will never feel good until they get that car or that job, or that first million dollars. They use guilt, regret, shame, anger, punishment, worry, fear and self-loathing to bash, beat and prod themselves and other people through life. Why? In order to achieve goals they hope will make them happy.

Misery motivators achieve miserable results. If that’s not self-defeating, please tell me what is?

Desire is an important element in my books “Emotional Options” and “Travelling Free: How to Recover From the Past by Changing Your Beliefs.” Desire is a strong focus of the “BREAKOUT!” workshop. I even taught a five day seminar, “Desire Marks the Path” in Holland and in Fairfield, IA. The results people get when they turn their attention away from what they are upset about toward what they would like to welcome into their lives thrill me-and them.

Add some might and joy to your motivation. Visit for courses, free belief quizzes and the free article “A Kinder from of Motivation” by Jeffrey Pease.

Here is an excerpt about motivation from “Emotional Options: A Handbook for Happiness.” Use it to motivate yourself like a big baby.

“We can divide the ways to motivate yourself and others into two basic categories:

Desire and Happiness Need and Un-happiness Motivation with desire and happiness moves things about so quickly that you may not notice it happening.

When we use desire for our motivation, the difference between wanting and attachment becomes clear. Wanting is moving toward and can include happiness. Attachment is often static and requires the feelings of need and sometimes fear, for our very survival. Attachment appears to connect us to the object of our need-as if our fear, our sorrow, our guilt, our experience of need, will bring it to us or keep it escaping. But this does not work very well.

To believe that you need something requires, by definition, that you also believe that you cannot be okay without that something. It may be an experience that you believe you need to have or a material object or goal to achieve.

In this need filled view of reality, if you do not get what you want or reach your goal, that very not getting threatens your well-being, your hopes for happiness, and your ability to be okay. When you use “Need and Un-happiness” in order to help yourself to get what you want, you live in that need and un-happiness. That experience is life extinguishing. The very thing you do to help yourself cripples you. It chokes your life force and creativity.

In contrast, the experience of “Happiness and Desire” is life enhancing. It allows happiness now. It fosters a sense of being okay and feeling good. It simply acknowledges that something more or something different would be welcome.

Years ago, I visited a garden with a statue of a particularly jolly Buddha. Inscribed beneath it were the words, “Misunderstood desire is the cause of all suffering.” Misunderstood desire. At last it made sense!

We have all heard the familiar quote, “Desire is the cause of all suffering.” I had often wondered how someone as wise as Buddha could have thought that. How could desire ever cause suffering? Attachment and “misunderstood desire” do that. Perhaps some Puritan ethics got mixed up with Buddha’s wisdom.

Wanting something, coupled with the belief that you cannot have it, or that you are foolish to want it, can cause some powerful suffering. But not desire alone. Desire, imagination, creation, anticipation-that stuff is all fun.

Desire functions as an inner sense of direction. It may be all we will ever need to know to guide us through life-to learn all that we need to know, to show up where we need to be. At least I cannot think of a more reliable guide. What else is there-someone else’s desire? Somebody else’s idea about what you should do? Your desire, your awareness of what you welcome offers the best compass for finding your way through the mystery of life that I have found so far. This system of navigation pretty much eliminates regret and guilt. It also banishes the temptation to try to make anyone else suffer.

When you follow your conscious desire as an inner sense of direction, correcting your course as you go, all you have to do when you want a change is ask yourself, “What do I welcome now? Where shall I go from here?”

You can skip that part about feeling bad, worrying that you will never change, blaming someone else for your predicament. You can bypass the frantic search for a new game plan before you even know what game you want to play.”

From “Emotional Options” by Mandy Evans

As my friend success coach, Michael Neill says in his happily helpful book, “You Can Have What You Want” **Happiness Leads to Success more often that success leads to happiness.**

Wishing you mighty motivation, love, happiness and many blessings.


Copyright Mandy Evans 2007
Permission granted to reprint with author credit and website link,
Speaker, Seminar Leader

A Personal Declaration of Independence

I’ve never been the same since that bonfire on the 4th of July. An angel gave me a precious gift — really. Then I learned such a good lesson that I sent an email about it to my friends. Like all good lessons, this one kept on teaching. It still is.

Several years ago I accepted an offer from a New England camp and conference center to co-direct their first Recovery Camp for adults. The center had offered a series of different one-week summer camp experiences for young people and adults for many years, always keeping abreast of the needs of the times. This week pledged to offer adults who were recovering from abuse, addiction, alcoholic parents and traumas of all kinds a chance to finally have a wonderful time at summer camp.

My co-leader had directed other summer camp weeks there. I knew going in that it was really his baby with me serving more as an assistant. It sounded good when I signed on. With his reputation as a dynamic, innovative leader I figured I’d learn a lot and not have to work as hard as I did when I was in charge. We did not get along. Even though we both meant well, we strongly disagreed on important issues. It got harder and harder to find a way through our conflicting thoughts and feelings as the week went along. When I spoke up, our conflict escalated. He was furious with me. When I kept quiet, I felt like a hypocrite and a coward. The daily schedule was demanding. The format was new. The material our campers had brought with them proved intense. What a bunch of challenges for us all.

I am not wild about admitting this. After over thirty years of working on my own emotional independence, I lost the vision. Though I wrote two books on the subject, “Emotional Options” and “Travelling Free: How to Recover From the Past by Changing Your Beliefs” and had taught countless seminars on inner freedom, I was melting down. My whole body hurt. I knew a little kid who used to say to his Daddy, “You hurt all my feelings!” I knew what he meant. Most of my feelings hurt. I felt like I had in grade school when kids teased me about being fat.

As I approached the morning staff meeting my most fervent desire was to make it though without crying. One of our last events was a big 4th of July bonfire and talent show. I suggested that a Personal Declaration of Independence would be apt for our 65 campers as they reclaimed their lives from all sorts of troubled pasts. To my surprise, the man agreed. We decided that each camper who wanted to would make a declaration and add a stick to the fire as a symbol of new freedom.

I’m not sure how I would have made it to the bonfire without my guardian angel — really. One of the many delightful features at the Recovery Camp was our guardian angels. At the beginning of the week, we each drew a name. We became that person’s secret guardian angel for the duration of camp. The craft room buzzed with folks making treasures for the person they “guarded”. My angel was truly heaven-sent. Each day she left special messages or flowers or some other imaginative surprise in my cubby.

On the morning of the bonfire a large bunch of tied-together sticks rested on the floor below my cubby. It was much too large to fit in the cubicle. Someone had attached a note to it. A chill passed though me. My first thoughts were of “sticks and stones” and “switches and ashes” my grandfather said his brother got one Christmas morning. Was the staff conflict even worse than I thought? Hoping it wasn’t for me, I bent down and picked it up. The note said “These sticks are so I can see your beautiful face glow even more brightly at the campfire tonight when you declare your independence.” Surely the best angel a mortal ever had watched over me that week.

Night falls. As we file along the dark woodsy path, the bonfire lights up the clearing ahead. A staff member hands each of us a small twig, about six inches long, to throw on the fire as we make our declarations. I, of course, have brought my own wood, thank you. Not one piece, but a bundle. Not small, but large no-fooling-around firewood.

The show proceeds with a rich assortment of sublime and absurd performances. As it comes to an end with roaring applause, two desires dwell in my heart; I want to be somewhere else and I want to fit in, just like a million shy campers before me. Neither choice seems available. My bundle rests beside me. My big bunch of big branches. One by one people stand up. They step forward. They make heart touching declarations of independence and add their small twigs to the fire. The moment is magical.

Across the campfire, the leader and the loyal staff beam at the campers. They really like this guy. I am not the favorite camp leader’s favorite anything. In staff meetings, he has by now, accused me of undermining him and of betraying him like no other person in all of his long life.  I feel icily alone. But I know that somewhere in the circle a guardian angel who gathered branches just for tonight waits. Person after person adds a twig to the blaze. The last call comes. One or two stragglers summon the courage to share their declarations and burn their twigs. A silent pause follows.

I stand up. My voice trembles, “I have something to say.” The co-director and several of the staff members roll their eyes and make big “Oh, damn, now what?” faces. The director frowns at me and moves his hand in quick circles with that speed-it-up gesture. Gathering courage from the campers who went before me, I say, “I have always dreaded standing out in an inappropriate way.” I hear a murmur of recognition, of ‘me too.’ “But I have the most wonderful guardian angel in the world who gave me this big bunch of sticks to burn at the fire tonight.” I raise my bundle high and say, with tears in my voice, but loudly, “So I’m declaring my independence from fear of your judgments and I’m burning my big bunch of sticks that aren’t like anybody else’s. Thank you Guardian Angel!”

Cheers rang out from my fellow campers.

It was a good lesson for me. And like all good lessons, it kept on teaching. I’ve thought of my angel and that day often. Last year I sent a short version of this story out with the following suggestion: “As we approach this Independence Day celebration I encourage you to throw a declaration on the barbie or write one down and burn it with a candle, or just take a moment to consider freedom and independence. What do you declare your independence from?”

A surprising number of people, almost everyone, responded. Some were touched, some inspired, but just as many people wrote to say they couldn’t do it. They told me about things they knew they wanted to be free from. Then they explained what prevented them from doing it.

Remembering that night and my own fear, I wondered what the big deal was. It was just a campfire gathering at a wonderful place in the Berkshires. But my own inner tyrant had tied me up in knots, inflicted my muscles with tension and pain, filled my heart with dread and pretty much paralyzed me. I looked at my own fear again. I asked myself the breakout questions.

What about those judgments was scary? It wasn’t just any old judgments. The thought of impending ridicule and scorn sent those shivers down my spine.”What about ridicule and scorn involves fear?” I asked myself. The sound of my mother’s voice came to mind and a scathing kind of irritation she expressed when I “got in her way.” The way I seemed to be in the way that summer in the mountains. “What about that sound?” I asked. I followed that fear to see where it led. Then I knew; I dreaded total demoralization, succumbing to jeers and taunts and giving up. In order to avoid that final defeat, I had skirted many issues and pulled many a creative punch. I was afraid I would lose my will to live.

I had felt so unwanted as a child, so perpetually in the way that my desire for life was very weak for a long time. I dreaded a return to that feeling. I guarded against it in many, ways, most of them unconscious, all of them limiting.

If it were not for my guardian angel and that bonfire, indeed were it not for my co-director and every single person there that night would I have had the courage to declare my independence from that particular tyrant within, even for one moment? I don’t think so.

Our founding fathers did not know what it would take or how to gain independence from the British Empire. They eloquently and oh, so powerfully declared their independence from an oppressive tyrant and began. Then they fought for years to win their freedom and ours.

Imagine the courage! Today we celebrate the declaration, not the victory which came 7 long years later. We celebrate the vision and enjoy the freedom.

What is your Declaration of Independence today? Do you need to win your freedom from an oppressive employer, an addictive substance, an abusive relationship? Or is yours a tyrant within? Does a critical voice in your mind nag at you continually? Does explosive anger destroy important relationships?

As we celebrate our country’s Declaration of Independence please take some time to reflect on the state of your personal independence. Choose something to tackle and write it down. Toss a twig on the barbie with the burgers and send it into the cosmos. Or frame it to read every day. Keep it to yourself or share it with everyone you know.

I imagine a world filled with people independent and free from hate, violence, revenge and war. And I know I have more work to do on that scorn stuff because I just caught myself wondering if you’ll think this is too mushy.

To your happiness, and independence!

© Mandy Evans 2010. Permission to reprint granted with mention of author and link to this website,

Dare to Face the Empty Place

“It’s like you’re swinging through the jungle,” she said. “You swing along from vine to vine and then you can’t reach the next one.” You have to swing out farther than you ever have and let go or just hang on, swinging back and forth, back and forth until you’re exhausted.

One of the exquisite benefits of my work is sharing people’s beliefs, hopes, dreams, wisdom and insight in such profoundly intimate ways. The quote above came from someone in a private session.

When you let go of the vine, sometimes you cannot even see the next one. You face the empty place.

When a relationship ends, a loved one dies, a job is lost, a game plan heads south, a dream turn to dust — it’s easy to grab on to something, anything, to avoid facing the empty place.

If a fine new vine presents itself, hooray! Grab on and keep swinging through this beautiful jungle called life.

But what about when you can’t see a new opportunity yet? Or you reach for a new vine and miss? Like a student in a workshop who told us that she had expended vast amounts of energy and money in endeavors that were doomed to fail, over and over again.

She became aware that she had believed she could not endure living without a game plan. So she never assessed her chances for success. She never even thought about it. For her any game plan, even one that had no chance had seemed better than none at all. She had not know how to find or challenge that limiting belief.

Who, for example, has not watched with concern as a loved one clutches at the slimmest hope of a relationship to avoid being alone? Have you done that too? I sure have.

How many of us have faced the prospect of a job ending before another materializes with fear and dread?

All you see, all you feel is the empty place.

The sages, through the ages tell us to be still and wait.

Everything else (the media, our friends, the popular values in society) tells us that we are in big trouble!

You know that saying that nature abhors a vacuum? The last time I entered the empty space to see what nature had to offer, within a week I can felt a new sense of freedom, space and possibility — a sweet free-floating sensation. I began to feel a new sense of direction.  Then I began to create again.

If you are between vines, I’d love to hear from you. We can be still and wait together, though sometimes it only takes a few minutes!

As you wait, you can focus on what you know you welcome, what you would like to attract to you or move toward.

For me it is:

* Opportunities beyond my wildest imaginings to love, and be useful in ways that in utilize my skills, talents and insights well.

* I want to have a lot of fun and be very happy.

* I would like to connect with amazing people who also want to fill the world with love, joy, generosity of spirit and abundance for all.

Wishing you great happiness, success and wonderful new opportunities to fill your empty places.

A Kinder Approach to Motivation: Reprinted from Common Ground

An Interview with Jeffrey Pease by Scott Miners

Scott Miners: Jeffrey, you have used the Option Method in counseling and workshops for a number of years now; what would you most like to let others know about Option?

Jeffrey Pease: That you can feel better now. You don’t have to fix or change all the things you think are wrong with you first. Further, when you feel good, you are better able to change the things you want to, in yourself and in your surroundings. You can learn to move clearly toward what you want and feel good about yourself whether or not you get it.

SM: Would you explain the Method?

JP: It’s a way of looking at yourself – of discovering your own truth, not mine or someone else’s. Discovery here does not mean someone finding you a book or whatever and saying, “this is what your self is – now go discover it.” Option can be useful regardless of your model of the psyche or spirit because it is not a map of your insides so much as a microscope to let you look or listen or feel for yourself.

SM: How then does the Method become a microscope, or tool of self-discovery?

JP: The first and most important aspect of Option is an attitude of unconditional acceptance. People can tell if you accept and respect them; they know also if you have an attitude of fixing them or are uncomfortable with them. So, a major way Option is therapeutic is through the practitioner’s ability to be a person for whom the client does not have to “fix” him or herself. We do dialogues within this atmosphere of acceptance. The practitioner only asks questions; advice and helpful hints are generally not a part of the Option Method. The dialogue explores belief systems, and especially those that result in unhappiness, or anger, anxiety, frustration, guilt or fear. We often use these feelings to motivate ourselves and others. This abuse of ourselves doesn’t work very well and it takes a lot out of our well-being, but most of us do it a lot. The dialogue process helps people discover if they could be kinder to themselves and still move toward what they want.

SM: You mentioned in your workshop that Dr. Bruce Di Marsico created the Option Method. Can you say more about that?

JP: Dr. DiMarsico created the Option Method about fifteen years ago. He taught it first at GROW in New York City, and later he taught it privately to a small group. He developed Option after discovering how he used anger, fear and guilt to motivate himself. This “aha” experience occurred at a party, where he discovered, to his own surprise, that he was angry with himself for not being outgoing and friendly as he wanted himself to be. He found he was feeling angry in order to get himself to be more outgoing and enjoy himself. In other words he was feeling bad in order to feel good, and it was not working very well. He found that he did this a lot in other aspects of his life, and he wondered if his patients and students did so as well. He began asking questions of his patients and friends – questions designed to discover not only what they were unhappy about, but also how and why they came to be unhappy about it. Those questions, and the nonjudgemental way in which he asked them, became the Option dialogue. My teacher, Mandy Evans, an Option counselor, was then in New York and a member of Bruce DiMarsico’s original Option group. Later, Barry Neil Kaufman, whose books such as Son-Rise and To Love is to be Happy With have helped many learn of the existence of Option, joined this same group. Mandy said she taught this skill, and I was about first in line when her next class started. I continue using Option along with the other body/mind therapies, because Option demands nothing of me in the way of belief or allegiance and keeps gently giving healing results to me and my students and clients.

SM: What specifically about Option keeps you so enthused?

JP: Watching people “lighten up” or see clearly through self-imposed limitation and suffering is the most fun I can imagine having, and this happens regularly . Part of the delight of this work in which people are clearly in control of their own process is the element of surprise. I can give them a helpful way to reach into the magic hat, and just like in the old Bulwinkle cartoons, I never quite know what they’re going to come up with. I do know that someone using Option is likely to find his or her own ability to be more self-compassionate and better able to take care of him or her self. I think that happy people (I said happy, not spacey), tend to act sensibly and are good for the world. So, for me, it’s also a way of giving to the world that I really like.

SM: Would you give an example of how the questioning process in Option can work?

JP: There are really only three basic questions. Although they may be asked in many different forms, the questions are “What are you unhappy (angry, upset, frustrated, anxious, worried) about? Why does that make you unhappy?”and “Do you Believe that?” or “Why do you believe that?” I regard “happy” as any feeling we’ve freely chosen and “unhappy” as any feeling that, given free choice, we would like not to have. Option, of course, respects a person’s right to feel bad, while it helps to discover a choice if there is one. Another choice never hurts.

SM: How are the questions used in a dialogue?

JP: The opening question, “What are you unhappy about?” (and this can be asked in many different ways, such as “What is going on for you-what would you like to talk about, etc.”), is quite ordinary. It is often repeated as “and what about that makes you unhappy?” in order to narrow down to what specifically is upsetting in the situation. That will be different for each person, even if their predicament is one that lots of people would be upset about.

SM: You mentioned in your workshop that often times the question “Why does that make you unhappy?” is appropriate. Will you talk about that?

JP: Yes. First let me be clear that the question is not a judgement on how the person feels. It’s not “why the hell does that make you unhappy?”

SM: That is a very important point. Your attitude is nonjudgemental, accepting, explorative.

JP: Yes. The question is designed to find out why, given a set of circumstances, unhappy (fearful, angry, guilty) seems to be the way to feel. This often brings a discovery that the feeling, though not necessarily the circumstances, is a product of choice.

SM: In other words, the answer to the question oftentimes is my own realization that I have chosen to feel the way I do?

JP: If the feeling is not produced by a choice then there is nothing we can do. I’ve not seen that happen – although the choice may have been out of awareness for years.

If unhappiness has been chosen, however unconsciously, it probably has a function for that person. That can be surprisingly reassuring, because if I am feeling guilty or angry or afraid in order to help myself, then I am not bad or wrong for feeling that way. Feeling bad does not have to mean I’m self-destructive or out to do myself ill. Most heartening of all, if I feel bad for a purpose there may be far more pleasant and equally effective ways of moving toward that purpose. That is what the next question is designed to find out.

SM: You mean “do you believe that?” or “do you believe that you have to feel guilty in order to….?”

JP: Right. One of my clients said “I feel guilty and angry about my overweight because it’s the only way I’ll change it.” “Do you believe that?” was an appropriate question. A quick review of what feelings drove her to eat made it suddenly obvious to her that the feelings she used to get thin actually kept her fat.

SM: “Wanting” is a term I’ve heard you use a lot. Would you make a distinction between want and need, or attachment?

JP: That difference becomes very clear in doing dialogues. Wanting can be regarded as our inner compass. Our sense of direction. Wanting is how we know that we prefer eating to starving. When people say they want to free themselves from desire they probably don’t mean to eliminate their ability to prefer eating to starving. What they want to be free of is need or attachment which, for me, is the belief that I cannot survive or cannot feel happy without that which I want. I’ve found Option very helpful in starting to question and often discard that belief in various aspects of my life.

SM: I’ve heard Option criticized as an “intellectual technique,” though my experience of it has helped me to be aware of my feelings very much.

JP: Option, or at least the dialogue part of Option, is a logical process, and it usually leads to moments of knowing that seem to originate much deeper than what we think of as mind.

SM: This is a sort of inner knowing, a feeling that the locus of control is within oneself rather than from external authority?

JP: Even if I told you how I thought you should “rationally” feel, which I think would be the worst kind of invasion, you’d still be the one to decide if I was to be believed or not. Option does help the individual’s power, in the session, become more apparent. Freed from analysis, recrimination or advice about what would be best, it is obvious to the client that the choices belong to her or him.

SM: Option has frequently been associated with deep changes in people’s lives, as in the Kaufman’s book about their once autistic son. How do you view this?

JP: As a wonderful product of people’s happiness and unconstricted wanting. There is no limit to the creativity and persistence a sense of well-being can generate. At the same time we change and create, though I think it is desirable to feel as good as we can while we try to get what we want. Even if we don’t get those results, we still may as well feel as happy as we can. We probably want that result in the first place because we think we’ll be happier if we get it-so why withhold happiness from ourselves now. Dr. DiMarsico told me a story in a class about a woman who left her session free from her upset about some ways her husband behaved, yet she still wanted to change some of his behavior. She came back two weeks later and said “It doesn’t work.” Bruce asked “What doesn’t work?” and she said, “My being happy doesn’t work. I’ve been happy for two weeks and he’s still the same!” Of course in that sense, being happy doesn’t always “work” Nothing always works to change people or things to our liking. (Guilt and anger don’t always “work” either. In fact they hardly work at all, and they feel a lot worse than just wanting and trying.) Option is not a positive thinking method of getting what you want so that you can be happy. Option seeks to help you have that sense of well-being now, and then follow your wanting for enlightenment or a decent car as best you know how. Some situations of course are not changeable and leave us with the choice of feeling as good as we can or not. I love hearing about people making deep changes in their lives. I also think that the ability to feel okay now, with who you are and what you’ve got to deal with is the real miracle of Option.

SM: How is Option different from other therapies?

JP: Mandy Evans accurately calls it more of a life-skill or tool than a therapy. Anyone can use it. The usual therapeutic approach is to find out what is “wrong” and fix it. Option is the only approach I know of that has becoming happier as its goal. Usually feeling better is either considered a by-product of discipline, getting your act together, being sane, being enlightened, or it’s just not considered at all. Yet, when we check out why we want what we want it’s usually the hope that we’ll feel happier if we get it. Also, no authority is assumed by the Option practitioner. An early definition of a therapist was: a comrade in a common struggle. An Option counselor is that kind of comrade. The counselor teaches Option as a way to look at oneself, a tool for becoming happier and discovering the truth. The predicaments addressed may involve body, mind or spirit. However, although many mental health professionals train to use Option in their work, Option itself doesn’t diagnose, use a medical or psychological model, or presume any expertise on the part of the counselor about what is best of the student or client. Each of us serves as the expert on our own lives. Option simply becomes a key to unlock our inner knowing.

SM: You mentioned that therapists are using Option. Where else is it being used professionally?

JP: People in counseling, education, special education and disability therapies, such as autism, medicine, healing in general and the hospice environment. I’m excited to be a contributor to the possibilities still to come.

SM: You stated that Option is also about self-authorization. How does that work?

JP: I think that self-authorization is trusting yourself, even as you try to improve yourself or expand what you know. It’s the willingness to go on what seems true for you. Even after you’ve swallowed all the information, advice, spiritual guidance and whatever, that you can stand; you still are the one who has to choose who to believe-what seems true for you. I think that is inescapable. People who believe that they are bad and undeserving because their parents told them so when they were young were probably also told not to cross the street alone. Somehow they were able to elect to keep one belief into adult life and not the other. Since Option helps you to discover what is true for you-which may be quite different for you now than it was in infancy or even last week-Option nurtures the ongoing process of self-authorization by enabling you to discard beliefs that once seemed valid but don’t anymore. This is done by acceptance and questioning. My own theories on what you should believe are irrelevant. I think that is very important. It’s a lot easier to be happy if you don’t need an outside authority even a friendly one, to tell you it’s okay to be the way that you turned out. Deciding for yourself to be happy or not is the core of self authorization – at least that is what is true for me.

The Freedom Within: Creative Thought Magazine

Ernest Holmes said it. So did Christ. Word now travels through the American Medical Association via such messengers as doctors Bernie Seigel in “Love, Medicine, and Miracles” and Deepak Chopra in his exciting book, “Quantum Healing.” The message remains simple: consciousness precedes form; what you think and how you feel influence what happens to you.

Yet, the frantic struggle to maneuver circumstances into position so that we can, at last, enjoy our lives, persists. It gains momentum. As the “spiritual materialism” of the 1980’s yields to the “techniques for consciousness” of today, we remain reluctant to look within, beyond our limiting beliefs, for freedom, truth and happiness. We choose what Krishnamurti called “a revolution within the prison” instead. Why is inner freedom so often the last freedom we seek when it is the only freedom we really control? We defend our rights to be miserable and to blame our spouses, employers, politicians for our anger, frustration, guilt and sorrow… not to mention parents, fellow drivers and the I.R.S. The right to unhappiness is definitely inalienable.

We struggle to get the right job, the right car, the perfect image – or, on other levels, the right teacher or belief-system – even the right consciousness in order to deserve happiness. Then we refuse to be happy, as if misery were free, but happiness came with a price tag. We scoff at the notion of premature joy. Be happy before I lose weight? Who wants to get caught fat and happy? Feel good before I get a raise? Why would I want to be content, underpaid and taken advantage of like this? Lighten up before I find Mr./Ms. Right? Are you crazy? I’m single!

We act as if feeling good now would stand in the way of getting what we want, dooming us to lives of mediocrity. And yet, emotion plays a vital role in manifestation. If you examine your own life, you may find that you achieved your best results when you felt great, not when you were disgruntled.

For example, a young opera singer I know became so angry and resentful about waiting on tables to support her studies that she not only ruined her tips, she nearly crushed the life out of her dream. Her faith in anger dissolved when she realized that exuberance at work could not harm her; it would nourish, not diminish her desire to perform. She invested the extra money from better tips in more voice coaching and a better accompanist. Within the year, she debuted with the New York City Opera in Lincoln Center.

The miracle accessible to us all is that we can be happier now, even before we fix all of the things we believe are wrong with us and our world. The suggestion is not that we suppress our feelings or that there is one best way to feel, but that, no matter what challenges we face, we always have the right to choose our feelings and our own unique experience of life.

© Mandy Evans. Permission to reprint granted with author credit and link to this website.

50 Beliefs About Money Quiz

How Many Hold You Back?

What you believe about money plays a leading role in your level of prosperity and happiness. But the vast majority of us never think about our beliefs at all. We just act on them, live by them and are often bewildered and upset with the results.

These are actual beliefs about money from real people, in my workshops and classes. Some of them are familiar and some so unique that they seem strange. They can cut off the flow of money or slow it to a trickle. The very same belief that helps one person to thrive may hold someone else in poverty or despair.

Which ones hold you back?

1. Money is the root of all evil. (The actual quote is “The love of money is the root of all evil.”)

2. I don’t deserve to have a lot of money.

3. He (she) doesn’t deserve to have a lot of money.

4. There is not enough money to go around.

5. If I have a little more than I need to get by, someone else has to go without.

6. If I am successful, people will hate me.

7. It is better to take less than to be responsible for someone else’s hardship.

8. Democrats punish the rich.

9. Republicans punish the poor.

10. If I make a lot of money, I will be betraying my father who never made much money.

11. The rich get richer.

12. The poor get poorer.

13. I am smart and talented; I should get more!

14. You should always use money well.

15. Money is hard to deal with.

16. Money is hard to get.

17. You have to work hard to get it

18. To save money you have to do without things.

19. Time is money.

20. I can’t have money and free time.

21. Money is not spiritual.

22. You have to do lots of things you don’t like in order to have money.

23. I do not have enough to share or give away.

24. Accepting money obligates me.

25. It is better to take less than my due and be free from sticky situations.

26. To be a valuable person, I have to work more for less money than other people do.

27. Having money stops you from being happy.

28. Money spoils you.

29. I will never have enough.

30. If I don’t feel bad about past mistakes and afraid about the future I will make the same mistakes again. (From an investment broker)

31. It’s best if I just want enough to get by.

32. You get what you deserve.

33. Being super conscious about every single penny is the good, the right thing to do.

34. Never buy anything that you don’t need.

35. If you were a smart woman you would be supporting yourself easily by now.

36. If you were a smart and cute woman you would have married someone with money by now.

37. I always rent; owning a house would be too scary.

38. I would never feel secure if I had to be responsible for much more than a hammock.

39. I have to own my own home to feel secure – unless I had at least maybe a yacht.

40. Worrying about money is tacky.

41. If I make a million dollars, I might lose it and then I would feel stupid and hate myself forever.

42. I want to have a lot of money when I get old, then people will be nice to me.

43. I never want people to know I have so much money because people are really mean to rich people.

44. If I get paid a lot people will find out that I am a fraud.

45. Daddy will like me better if I don’t spend much.

46. Everybody wants more; when it comes to money, more less is better. In other words, it’s best to the most poor of all.

47. There’s somebody else inside me that spends all of my money.

48.  I spend money on something that breaks I’m stupid.

49. f I had lots of money, I could buy a beautiful, hot sports car. Then I could get a beautiful, hot woman – then I could finally relax and forget about the whole thing, you know. I could just be happy.

50. It’s not fair that those people have so much more money that I do.

Different beliefs limit different people.If you checked any of these beliefs, go though them one by one to see if they block prosperity, happiness or success in your life. Answer these three questions about each limiting belief, especially #3.

1.) Why do I believe that?

2.) Is it true?

3.) What might I be concerned would happen if I did not believe that?

When you find out a limiting belief you hold is simply not true, celebrate your breakout! I would love to hear what you find. Send me an email at

Top 20 Limiting Beliefs that Block Happiness and Success

Check the limiting beliefs that are holding you back:

1. I should be able to make lots of money, but I can’t.

2. I do not deserve success and happiness.

3. I need to think positive every day to change my limiting beliefs.

4. If someone cheats me or betrays me I have to get even or live with resentment.

5. If I were happy, I wouldn’t do anything.

6. Feeling bad motivates me to change things.

7. If I do not give people what they want, I will end up all alone.

8. I should have worked this out by now.

9. I cannot earn a living doing something I like.

10. Better stop wanting; if you get your hopes up, you’ll just get hurt.

11. If I fail, I should feel bad for a very long time and then be really scared to try again.

12. If there’s something you don’t like about yourself, (it’s best to) hide it and hate it.

13. I’m not good enough for a relationship with someone good enough for me.

14. I can’t trust myself.

15. I don’t know what I want.

16. No matter what I do, I should be doing something else.

17. If I’m successful, people will not like me.

18. If it hasn’t happened yet, it never will.

19. If I make a mistake, I will have to live with it.

20. I want bad things for myself.


For each belief you checked, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Why do I believe that?

2. What might happen if I didn’t believe that?

3. Is that true?

If you checked more than three beliefs, you owe it to yourself to break out! To learn how, read Emotional Options and Travelling Free available from:


Belief list Copyright  2021 Mandy Evans

Are You Sabotaging Cupid?

Hidden Beliefs About Love May Ruin A Relationship! Around Valentine’s Day the focus for many of us zooms in on love. But before you sign up for a dating service or cast carbs aside forever, give Cupid a nudge in your direction in a new way. Check out your love beliefs.

These are the beliefs we all adopt as we go through life. They represent an assortment of conclusions we come to, things we have been told and have had no reason to doubt, assessments and judgments we make along the way.

What you believe about love may determine what happens to you far more than who you meet or how much you weigh, your net worth or any of the factors we so often struggle with in the search for a loving relationship. It is the limiting, hidden beliefs, the ones you don’t even know you have that usually cause the most trouble. But once you know what they are, you can begin to change them.

Here are some commonly held beliefs about love that can ruin a relationship and block the happiness that comes with sharing love with an open heart:

“I’m not good enough to be loved.” Very few people go around saying “I am not good enough to be loved,” but this belief shows up in a variety of ways. People who harbor this belief astound their friends and family by how little they will settle for in a mate and how much abuse they will take. Another clue that this belief is in effect is the inability to accept love when it is freely offered.

“Letting go is hard to do.” Anyone with this belief suffers long and hard at the breakup of a relationship. Changing your focus from loss and pain to what you want to experience instead will help you to create that experience. The best way to let go is to reach for something new you want to bring into your life.

“Until I have the romantic love-of-my life I am not a success.” Those for whom this seems true fail to enjoy the other wonders in life, friendships, family, and the glory of nature. The pride and pleasure of mastering new challenges mean little or nothing as long as this believer is not romantically involved.

“Love is scarce.” This myth causes people to latch on and hold tight at the first hint of a budding relationship. They do not have relationships; they take hostages. When their “prisoners of love” struggle and sooner or later break free, it reinforces the belief that the potential for a loving relationship is slim.

“Rejection has to be painful and is to be avoided at all cost.” This belief limits the ability to risk finding out what a relationship can withstand. Avoiding rejection at all cost actually keeps relationships from growing in intimacy and strength.

“I wasted my love on him/her.” As if there were some huge rotting garbage heap of wasted love somewhere! The bitterness that accompanies this belief robs the believer of most of the sweetness of life. Although you may not like the results of choices you made,that does not mean that the experience of loving was a waste.

“Love is something you acquire and trade like a commodity.” Because it results in constant calculation and evaluation, this belief ends in shallow exchanges and loneliness. For the man or woman who operates from this belief, it also seems real that others view them the same calculating way.

“If you loved me, you would _____ (fill in the blank).” Those who suffer (and suffer they do!) from this conclusion measure how loved they are by how much their lovers give in to their demands. Because they can never find proof of love in this false measure, their demands escalate until they drive loved ones away or create a living nightmare instead of a loving partnership.

“Love takes away unhappiness.” When someone looks at love through this lens any upset signifies a failure of love. Ironically, when you actively love yourself or someone else, you usually will feel happier. It just does not work when you try to put someone else in charge of your feelings and expect them to make you happy.

Once you identify a self-defeating belief, you can question it to see if it is true for you. Here are some questions you can use to break out from beliefs that block love.

1. First, write the belief down so you can focus on it. Ask yourself, “Is that true?” Write your answer down. Don’t worry if your answer surprises you. For now, the goal is simply to determine if you really think that particular belief is true.

If you see for yourself that something you have believed, maybe for years, is simply not true, you can begin to change the seeming reality that goes with living by that belief.

2. Why do I believe that? What seems true about this belief?

3. What might happen if I did not believe that? Let your thoughts and imagination go with this one. Write freely. A masterpiece can come later. Right now give voice to the response that comes when you ask the question.

4. If that belief disappeared, would that be ok? The answer to this might surprise you. It often leads to the discovery of some fear you may need to work through.

If you uncover even more beliefs, you can question them as well.

When you change a belief you have held, the private version of reality you live by changes too. You will seek different experiences and be attracted to different people. In a world filled with people wanting to love and be loved some wonderful potential relationships await on the other side of limiting or self-defeating beliefs.

Question your love beliefs and give Cupid a chance!

Additional Resource:
“Beliefs About Love” audio

© 2012 Mandy Evans. Permission to reprint granted with author credit and link to this website.

Healing the Disaster Within

They come with great public awareness from airplanes hurtling into the towers of the World Trade Center, or the winds and floods of Katrina or Sandy. Or they may be private, like the death of a loved one or a betrayal of trust. Events far from our control come unbidden into all of our lives with consequences we never intended and do not know how to deal with.

What the events from the outside mean to us on the inside will play an important role in how we deal with them. The disasters within are as unique as each and everyone of us are. Some of us recover sooner and stronger while others of us become demoralized and never again feel the sheer joy of being alive. What makes the difference? One overlooked key to recovery from truly hard times is the beliefs we live by. These beliefs change every day as we experience new events, consider new ideas, come to new conclusions. They form the belief systems we live by. Whether we are aware of it or not, these beliefs tell us what to choose, what to fear, what to get angry about, even what dreams we dare to have.

Some of the beliefs we form when life is at its most challenging, and then continue to live by, can limit us in so many ways. These, usually hidden beliefs, limit our creativity, and our ability to receive help and experience love.

Years ago, when I first moved to California, I began to confront some of my own disasters within with the help of Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings. I heard people talk about what it was like to grow up with that wild card of alcohol or drugs always ready to play itself in their family life. Memories of the violent alcoholic father I hardly knew came back vividly and painfully. But with them gradually came new insight and strength too.

I had already been working with belief systems for a long time, but only then did I begin to find and change the beliefs I had formed as a child that I still lived by. Beliefs that had made it almost impossible to ask anyone for anything. Beliefs that caused me to isolate myself just when I most needed love and support. Beliefs that caused me to try to please people I should have steered clear of.

I was so excited about these ideas and experiences, I put together a workshop called “Beyond the Past.” The insights people shared, the stories they told and the power of the exercises we did formed the basis of “Travelling Free: How to Recover from the Past by Changing Your Beliefs,”  I get moving letters from people whom it has helped to recover from painful events and move toward what they really want in life.

I wish everyone who would find it helpful could read it and do the exercises, especially these two exerpts, “Exploring the Hard Part” and “The Pain Is In the Meaning”.  They may be useful to you or to someone you know.

Exploring the Hard Part

Choose one thing that has been hard for you in your life and write it down.

Make sure it could end in “________ was hard for me” Writing your responses in that way will help you to work with them. Sometimes you’ll get a phrase, sometimes a paragraph. Keep it simple.

Here are some examples people have used in workshops: “Being overweight was hard for me.” “When I was a kid, I’d try to help my father when he worked on stuff. And you know, you loved him so much. Sometimes he’d haul off and hit me so hard I’d pee in my pants. That was hard for me.” “When my father left for war and never came back was hard for me.” “My daughter was raped and there was nothing I could do to change it or help her. That was hard for me.” “Always trying to be safe was hard for me.”

Ask: “What was hard for you about that?” Dare to question the obvious. The answers may not be so obvious. People sometimes look at me, aghast when I ask, “What was hard for you about that?” referring to the suicide of a mother or the loss of a job. On occasion an agitated person blurts out, “How can you ask such a stupid question?!” I Ask because even though such an event might be difficult for anyone, it means something different to each one of us. The question is not intended to challenge you or your beliefs. It is meant to shed light in the corners where you never look.

Do at least 5 examples in order to see the relationship between what happened and what was hard for you about it more clearly.

The Pain Is In The Meaning

Take an example from your life that you’ve been exploring.

Use your sentence from the last exercise. It began: “_______ was hard for me.” Or “_______, that was hard for me.”

Ask: What did it mean to you then?

Ask What does it mean to you now?

Again take as much time as you like to be with this question. Let the question roam around in your consciousness, your memories, your body. Notice what you find. Write down the parts that will fit into words so that you can see them.

As we heal from the disaters within we free ourselves to create new realities.

To read the full text of “Travelling Free: How to Recover from the Past by Changing Your Beliefs” order here:

Happy Journey!

© 2012 Mandy Evans. Permission to reprint granted with author credit and link to this website.