You’re Getting Warmer


If I’d meant this title literally, I probably should have written it in spring or early summer, rather than waiting until the week before Labor Day. But I was thinking of it figuratively — as a personal-growth metaphor based on the common variation of hide-and-seek. Here’s what gave me this idea…

I recently listened to a recorded talk in which the speaker (Esther Hicks, presenting the Abraham teachings) described our Emotional Guidance System by using this example: You know the game where you’re looking for something, and as you get closer someone says, “You’re getting warmer” (or, “You’re getting colder,” if you get farther away)? Well, in a sense, this is the “game” that we’re ALL playing ALL the time!

As we move closer to (or further from) what we’re seeking (our best life and truest/highest self), we’re constantly getting feedback. No, we don’t generally have someone next to us saying, “You’re getting warmer; you’re getting colder,” but we do have that “voice” within us: in the form of emotions, intuition, or gut instincts.

Simply put, when you do or think something, and you feel better, that’s the voice saying, “You’re getting warmer!” And when a thought or action (or a thought about taking an action) makes you feel worse, the voice is saying, “Getting colder!”

And here’s the beautiful part: Both forms of feedback help you!

If you were searching for a hidden treasure, and someone (who knew where it was) told you, “You’re getting colder,” you wouldn’t get mad at them, would you? You’d probably be grateful for the useful information…and then (and here’s the important part) you’d move in a different direction!

Getting emotional feedback that we’re heading in the “wrong” direction (meaning one that feels bad to us) isn’t a problem. The only problem is when we ignore that feedback.

Or when we listen to it, take it to heart, and agree with it…but then keep going in the same direction anyway (and wonder why we feel “colder and colder”).

Or when we give higher priority to the outer voices telling us, “Warmer! Colder!” — and go against what we know feels better for us.

Following our Emotional Guidance System has a number of wonderful advantages:

  • ALL inner guidance is helpful. In addition to the reasons given above, “colder” feelings also make it easier to notice the contrast when you do get a “warmer” feeling — giving you even more confidence when you’re heading in a direction that feels good.
  • You don’t have to know the location of your ultimate goal (or “hidden treasure”). You don’t even need directions on how to get there. All you need to do is to take one step (or think one thought) and see if you feel “warmer” or “colder” — and then adjust accordingly.
  • You get to enjoy the game…every step of the way! When you play the actual “warmer/colder” game, finding the hidden object isn’t the sole point of the game. (If it were, then the person who knew its location would simply give it to you!) Half the point is to have fun — to enjoy the process, the search, the “climb” (to use the ongoing “Halfway up the Mountain” metaphor), and the rising excitement you experience from feeling “warmer”!

The warmer/colder process doesn’t mean that you’ll never work hard, make an effort, or exert yourself in any way. And this is fine; it’s often part of the treasure-seeking/finding process. And even if it didn’t lead to your ultimate goal, exertion can be very pleasurable in and of itself (especially when you’re able to find joy in your abilities and talents — your funktionslust).

It does mean, however, that you move away from struggle.

(This is the difference between, for example, the effort of hammering a nail as you create a beautiful piece of furniture, as opposed to hammering — or trying to hammer — a square peg into a round hole!)

You can think of this warmer/colder process as trusting your vibes, tapping into your intuition, listening to your emotions, or following your bliss. But, regardless of how you think of this process, it’s happening — all the time!

As you go about your day (and your life), you’re constantly receiving inner guidance. It happens automatically — requiring absolutely no effort (much less struggle) on your part. All you have to do is listen — and move away from “colder” feelings and toward the “warmer” ones!

Even though this process is perfectly natural, you can still become more conscious of it, nurture it, and have fun with it in lots of ways. For instance, you could interview (or “inner-view”) your Emotional Guidance System, simply by asking how a thought, action, or even a possibility makes you feel.

  • Does this make me feel better or worse?
  • Does this make me feel expanded or constricted?
  • Does this make me feel more or less energy, freedom, and joy?

Chances are, however, you won’t even have to ask — you’ll probably just know! (Or, more accurately, you’ll feel!)

When have you received clear (or subtle) “warmer” or “colder” guidance? Are you getting one of these messages right now about anything in your life? How would it feel if you moved even one little step in a direction that feels “warmer”?

photo by Oleg Mikhaylov

The Welcome Wagon

Moving to a new place (literally or figuratively) can be very exciting: you feel a sense of adventure, new possibilities, and a fresh start.

But once the initial excitement fades (or perhaps even sooner), you might begin to feel disconcerted or uncomfortable.

After all, this new territory is totally unfamiliar. You don’t know your way around. You get lost just trying to find the grocery store. You don’t know where the nearest gas station is. You don’t even have a library card.

The people here have strange customs and strong accents — and they use unfamiliar jargon, regional slang, or even a different language altogether. [...] Continue Reading…

How much would you pay for something you don’t want?

Some people say: “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.”

To put it in more earthly terms, we could say, “Worrying is like PAYING for what you don’t want.”

Think of it like this: Imagine that every word you say, write, or even think is worth $100. And every time you say, write, or think a word, you’re spending that $100.

So, how do you want to spend your “word-money”?

Would you buy what you don’t want — spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on junk that will clutter your life with worry, stress, or unhappiness?

You’d probably say, “Of course not! [...] Continue Reading…

Balance vs. Immersion

When I was a senior in high school, I spent a month in Spain as part of an exchange program. Aside from having fun, making new friends, and being exposed to an amazing culture, I can honestly say that my Spanish improved more during those 4 weeks than it had during the previous 4 years of taking classes.

I went from barely being able to squeak through a basic vocab quiz to the point where I could carry on a decent conversation in Spanish. Within a few weeks in the country I even began to dream primarily in Spanish!

What was [...] Continue Reading…

Are You Expressing It…or Feeding It?

Feeding Joy (Revisited)

In my previous post (“Feeding Joy”), I wrote about the importance of “feeding” the parts of our lives and ourselves that we want to flourish — presumably, the parts that bring us joy, gratitude, and happiness.

But I also said that it’s natural (and probably even healthy) to express yourself, even when your thoughts and emotions aren’t joyful — rather than repressing, denying, or letting negativity fester within you.

So, is this a contradiction? By expressing negativity and giving it “air-time,” aren’t we just “feeding” it? How can we tell if we’re fanning the flames of negativity or releasing [...] Continue Reading…

Feeding Joy + Sanctuary Registration is Open (at 40% Off)!

I’m thrilled to share that my wife, Jodi, and I have just realized a long-term dream: opening registration for the Soulful Life Sanctuary!

The sanctuary is a beautiful online community that helps you reconnect with your soul while connecting with like-minded friends. It’s also an all-encompassing collection of tools and resources to help you live your most soulful life — including ecourses, live and archived classes, plus Sacred Spaces and Soul Guides in more than a dozen areas, such as Wellness, Creativity, Soulful Parenting, Self-Care, and Spirituality.

I’m excited to share more about the sanctuary (as well as how you can [...] Continue Reading…


Last week a friend of mine finally put her foot down.

After years of being mistreated and taken advantage of, she finally said one of the most empowering and important words in the English language:


After we exchanged several congratulatory emails and virtual high-fives, I had some time to reflect on her situation, and I was reminded of other times when I or other people I know finally said, “Enough!” — whether it was by leaving an abusive relationship, quitting a soul-crushing job, or setting healthy boundaries in any other way.

I was also reminded of Nietzsche’s parable of the three metamorphoses, [...] Continue Reading…

Be the Tree

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
~ Martin Luther
Maybe it’s because spring is finally hitting its stride here in southern Oregon, or maybe it’s because I was just talking with a gardener, but recently I’ve been thinking in terms of gardening metaphors: seeds, plants, and trees, which offer so many great lessons.

For instance, consider some of the qualities of an apple tree that can also apply to our lives:

It starts as a tiny seed…just like each one of us! And it’s not just our body that starts [...] Continue Reading…

Don’t Wait for a Tragedy

How many times have you heard this story?

Someone is living a more-or-less “normal” life…

Maybe things are going fairly well, or maybe they’re not going so great. But basically, they’re just going. Things are just kind of chugging along. Time is passing. And while their life isn’t necessarily terrible (although it might be), they’re certainly not living up to their potential. They’re not fulfilling their life purpose. They’re not living each moment with passion, joie de vivre, and personal/spiritual fulfillment.

But then…

The “unthinkable” happens. Everything changes in a heartbeat. Tragedy strikes.

It could take many different forms:

They get into a car accident.
They’re [...] Continue Reading…

What Will You Water?

Imagine that you’re walking through an enormous garden. It overflows with roses, tulips, lilies, and dozens of other flowers. There’s also a huge section dedicated to vegetables: lettuce, tomatoes, squash, and almost every other veggie you can imagine — an entire salad bar in the making!

And you stroll through this amazing, abundant, richly varied garden, holding a watering can, trying to decide which of these plants you’d like to water.

Unfortunately, you can’t water them all. After all, you’ve only got a limited amount of water in your can, so you’d like to choose something you really want to nurture. [...] Continue Reading…