Jill Kramer is the former editorial director at Hay House, Inc., where she worked on thousands of self-help/mind-body-spirit titles with some of the world’s most prominent authors and spiritual teachers for almost 18 years. Her friends have joked that she should be given an honorary Ph.D. in spiritual/counseling psychology because after editing all those books, she can pretty much “fix anyone.” Well, within this column, she’s certainly going to try!
Submit your questions on virtually any subject: relationships, spirituality/New Thought topics, careers, ethics, family matters, health, sexuality, business, finances—virtually anything—to Jill . . . and she will do her best to give you advice that is positive, constructive, and transformational.
(Questions will be edited for space and clarity.)
I’m a 45-year-old woman who has been feeling rather lost recently, and I think it might be because I don’t practice any religion, don’t meditate, and basically, and am not on any type of spiritual path at all. I don’t know if I’m too old to embark on such a path, but even if age wasn’t the issue, I would have no idea where to go or how to start.
Where does one begin?
— Feeling Lost in North Carolina
Believe it or not, you already are on a spiritual path. Simply by virtue of waking up in the morning, going about your affairs, interacting with others, and trying to be the best person you can be (assuming that’s what you’re doing), you’re living your life with purpose.
It’s not necessary to “adopt” a religion or some other type of label, travel to the Himalayas to meditate (although that does sound like a nice vacation!), or seek out a guru. The first and most important step to being “spiritual” is to eliminate negativity from your life and to stop projecting it onto others. Clear the toxic thoughts out of your mind and replace them with positive ones. Think the best of others. And, although it might sound like a cliché: Do unto others . . . !
I’m sure that there are people in your life who are not religious or spiritual whom you admire . . . so why not model yourself after them. You’ll probably find that they do the very things I mentioned above. Of course, if you want to read a book that will set you on the right path very quickly, I must recommend Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, which is an all-inclusive primer for setting you straight.
So, affirm the positive, meditate if you need to, but most important . . . relax, and know that your life is progressing as it should.
I recently lost my job after many, many years. In this economy I realize I am not alone, but I am quite concerned. I worry about the future and paying bills, mostly for necessities; as well as having medical benefits. I want to be positive, but sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and feel kind of sick. Any advice?
— Worried about Money in Florida
I can definitely understand that you feel frightened and concerned. That’s perfectly natural. But the first thing you have to do is stop worrying, because although that’s a normal human emotion, it doesn’t really accomplish anything. That type of limiting energy will just attract more of the same. Instead of seeing this situation as a tragedy, think of it as an opportunity to explore new avenues—that is, consider it a life adventure that will open you up to things you might not have even dreamed of.
This doesn’t mean that you should sit in your pajamas on the sofa watching TV, hoping that the Universe brings you a job. It means you should do everything you can to stir up the positive energy that will bring you what you want: post your resume on multiple websites, announce your availability on Facebook and Twitter, and tell everyone you know that you’re seeking a new position. Another thing you can do is register with temp agencies. So often, when you’re employed as a temp, the firm you’re working for will be impressed by your skills and end up hiring you.
Be proactive, and don’t let a day go by without doing something productive. Your hard work will pay off!
I want to wake up gleeful, feeling inspired by each new day that I have been given to live in The Divine’s beautiful creation. But instead . . . in that very moment of awakening from subconscious to conscious, there’s a feeling of angst that I have to talk myself out of and force myself to overcome almost every morning.
I say positive affirmations and give many thanks for all the love and blessings in my life at night before I fall asleep. And then I have to do the same thing in the morning to talk myself out the uncertainty that I wake up with as I wonder what lies before me during that day.
I have a wonderful life, with so many blessings related to family and career, but I want to feel that way naturally, rather than having to talk myself into it each morning. What do you think the problem is?
— Angst-ridden in California
Without knowing more specific details, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of your angst, but I will try my best to answer your question in the simplest and most effective way possible, for I think you may be overcomplicating the issue. First, I would like you to tune in to the feeling that you immediately associate with your early-morning angst. Do you initially think about your mate, kids, job, health, friends? Something else? What’s your first disconcerting gut feeling? If you can pinpoint it, you can narrow down the problem and then address it directly.
However, if your response is that you experience a general feeling of angst not associated with a specific issue, then my first thought is that you feel unworthy or undeserving of all the good in your life. Are you the type of person who can’t be happy when you know that others in the world are suffering? Do you feel guilty for having a happy family, a successful career, or a healthy bank account? If so, I suggest the following: rather than feeling angst about all this . . . instead, thank the Universe for all its bounty. If you’re living an abundant and joyful life, appreciate it so that you will attract even more of the same, as like attracts like. You can certainly help others who appear on your path, but feeling guilty because you “have” while others may “have not,” doesn’t help anyone. All individuals have their own paths to travel on this life journey, their own karma, and you can only be responsible for yourself and for being a force of good in the world.
So, tomorrow morning when you wake up and start feeling that uneasy sensation in your midsection and in your mind, breathe through it, release it, and say with conviction: “I am a harmonious being in tune with Life, and I accept all the good the Universe has to offer.”
If you do this each day, throughout the day, I have faith that your mind and heart will transition in a very positive way.
I am an attractive 35-year-old woman with a good career and nice friends. The only thing missing in my life is a romantic relationship. It’s been about five years since I’ve had a boyfriend, and it’s really starting to get me down.
I feel like I do everything right: I think positively, I do affirmations, I smile at men I’m attracted to . . . but I never meet anyone I want to go out with more than once. Do you think there’s something I’m doing wrong?
— Romantically Challenged
Oh, how I wish I could wave a magic wand and manifest a partner for every person who wanted one! This is a dilemma that so many men and women face.
First, you are definitely on the right track by being positive, saying affirmations, and smiling at men. But that’s not enough. You have to put yourself in situations where you will meet men who are in alignment with you. It might sound clichéd to say this, but you need to join groups, clubs, or other organizations that interest you so you can meet new people. You need to let every friend and acquaintance know that you are open to meeting someone. And, most important, you need to feel strong and whole in your own self before you can attract a person with similar energy.
Also, you mentioned that you never meet anyone you wish to see more than once. Is it possible that your expectations are unreasonable? That you expect perfection in a partner? That you have some blockage within you that is preventing you from allowing someone to come into your life?
Really meditate on what you want, and then be proactive in getting it. It’s wonderful to pray to saints, angels, the Universe, and your guru to bring you a man . . . but you still need to get out there and do the work!
I work in an office with a woman who seems to be attempting to sabotage everyone around her. She makes up nasty lies about co-workers, but then acts as sweet as pie to their faces. She is constantly talking trash about the boss, and gets upset if you don’t engage with her on this. Trying to work with her around is very difficult, and she is bringing major negative energy into the office.
A few of us have tried to talk to the boss about this issue, but it fell on deaf ears. I don’t know how to deal with her lies and manipulation anymore! Help!
— Surrounded by Negativity
It is very troubling to be surrounded by negative energy each day in the workplace, but I think that you are giving this person too much power by focusing so much attention on what she is doing.
First, engage with her on a professional basis only, and stop socializing with her at lunch or on breaks, or whatever the case is; and do not get into a war of words at any time or in any way.
Also, instead of sending her hateful energy, try affirming the positive about this situation. For example: “All of my fellow employees work harmoniously together,” “I am honest and ethical in all my interactions, and so are my co-workers.”
The next time this woman tries to lure you into a conversation that denounces your boss or one of your peers, simply say, “If you have a problem with _______, you need to address that with [him/her], and then simply walk away.