It's Up to You: A Practice to Change Your Life by Changing Your Mind by Karen Casey | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
It's Up to You: A Practice to Change Your Life by Changing Your Mind

It's Up to You: A Practice to Change Your Life by Changing Your Mind

by Karen Casey

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Based upon the 12 principles outlined in Casey's "Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow," this book invites readers to do three simple things: meditate, pay attention, & make choices to change their lives forever. Spend a few minutes in the morning & in the evening on one principle a week for 12 weeks.


Based upon the 12 principles outlined in Casey's "Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow," this book invites readers to do three simple things: meditate, pay attention, & make choices to change their lives forever. Spend a few minutes in the morning & in the evening on one principle a week for 12 weeks.

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Red Wheel/Weiser
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5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.80(d)

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Its Up to You

A Practice to Change Your Life by Changing Your Mind

By Karen Casey

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2007 Karen Casey
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60925-124-6


Tend Your Own Garden

The first week of meditations, coupled with assignments, are written to help you keep your focus where it belongs: on yourself! We are not privy to anyone else's divine plan. We generally see our own only in hindsight. But we can cultivate the willingness to trust that we are in God's care and that our work is very specific. And so is everyone else's.

Day 1 Morning

Having anyone else as the focus of our attention will prevent us from doing the work that is ours to do.

It's so easy to sit in judgment of others, silently or sometimes even audibly criticizing them for their actions. Remembering that every person alive has a specific journey that includes a legion of activities has a way of eluding us. It's only our activities that deserve our attention.

We can learn from others, and that's why we share the path with so many. But we are not here to serve as judges; rather, we are here to be expressions of love.

I will literally count the number of times I reach out with love today and will write them down at the end of the day.

Day 1 Evening

Am I feeling good as I turn in for the night? Did I express my love for others by my actions? I will take a moment to remember the details of my day. Whom did I treat with kindness? Let me name them. Did they feel my expression of kindness. How could I tell?

Who didn't get my better self in our interactions? If I could redo these exchanges, what would I do differently? Do I owe any amends? If I do, I will make them tomorrow.

Day 2 Morning

Our attempts to control others are futile.

Wanting to control someone else usually grows out of our personal need to feel more secure. If "they," whoever they might be, would only fulfill our will, it means they love us or honor us or accept our "superiority," thus making us worthy. How absurd our attempt to control. How destructive this thinking is.

For today, let's remember that our security and worthiness come from our Higher Power, not someone else's behavior. Ever.

If someone does what I am hoping they will do today, it's because that person has chosen that action. Will I be able to see this idea revealed today? Taking time to write down an example will help me remember what to look for.

Day 2 Evening

As I reflect on the day, do I feel good about letting go of what others were doing? It's not easy. But it is possible. Every time I let a friend or stranger do something his way, I was relieved of a burden. His success or failure wasn't tied to me in any way.

How many burdens did I let go of today? Can I name them? Every time I let go, my life was made more peaceful.

As I turn in for the night, I will thank my Higher Power for helping me let others be themselves today.

Day 3 Morning

Everyone we meet is revealing something about ourselves.

Everyone on our path is divinely appointed. No one is present by accident. And how we choose to see each person is determined by the level of fear or love we are feeling, in the moment. Our perception reveals our strengths but also those traits that need correcting in ourselves.

Each person is a mirror of who I am. Making the decision to see as God would have me see is the assignment. Today will present many opportunities to see people as God would have me see them. I will savor and remember those times I fulfilled God's will by writing them down.

Day 3 Evening

What did I learn about myself today? How I saw the others on my path will supply the information I now seek. Am I pleased with who I was in most encounters? List some examples. Which areas of my behavior need addressing? Naming them will keep me honest. Did fear rule me in any situation today? I will re-"vision" that situation for a few moments before going to sleep tonight.

Having God as my companion in all situations means I always have a guide whose suggestions are impeccable. I have the capacity to follow God's lead. I know which voice is holy.

Day 4 Morning

Learning and then practicing new behaviors regarding our relationships with others can be exciting and very hopeful.

Any struggle we may be having at work or at home requires that we do something differently. We may not be totally at fault, of course, but we cannot change someone else's behavior or way of thinking. Fortunately, we can change our own.

That's the good news. It takes away a burden we don't need. Taking even a moment before responding to someone else's drama can change everything about the experience.

An idea as simple as gently smiling at everyone before even saying a word can make the day far more productive and peaceful, and far less dramatic. I will do this today and follow up by writing about the experiences I had.

Day 4 Evening

Did I do anything I felt proud of in my most significant relationship today? Name that. Was it difficult to "show up" differently? How did my behavior look in all other encounters? Writing an example will help me change it tomorrow. If I had the chance to repeat today, what's the first thing I could do that would make a difference?

Am I willing to begin tomorrow with this principle uppermost in my mind?

Day 5 Morning

Freedom from the obsession of trying to control others releases one's spirit.

Keeping our attention on others limits our own personal growth. We miss what we have been born to do when we fail to pay heed to our own journey. Whatever someone on our path is doing might well be edifying; it may absorb us, but their presence isn't meant to be the whole substance of our development. Someone else can't be the center of our life, or we are being held hostage.

Being attentive to fellow travelers is courteous and part of the work we are here to do, because their presence is intentional, after all. But being overly focused on them or, worse yet, trying to control them, isn't.

I will enjoy my own journey today, knowing it's the one my Higher Power and I picked. Keeping tabs on what I like about my behavior today will help me repeat it tomorrow.

Day 5 Evening

Was today a good day? Was my life consumed, at any time, by my obsession with what someone else was doing? If it was, how could I have behaved instead? I will take a moment to reflect on this. I will write a note reminding myself of what I could do the next time I am allowing myself to be held hostage by another's behavior.

Being obsessed with others will never bring me success in my own life.

I will pray to remember that every life is divinely unfolding and doesn't need my attempt to control it.

Day 6 Morning

It's an illusion to think we can control anyone else. Even our children have their own journeys.

It's easy to give up our attempt to control people on our path. The neighbor's children or a friend's spouse may drive us mad, but we can accept our limitations pretty easily. But the closer to home others are, the stronger is the desire to control them. Isn't their behavior a reflection on us, after all?

It's clear that I need to relinquish all control, even over my loved ones, today. I can make my wishes known. Period. Today I will note the times I walked away rather than trying to control someone.

Day 6 Evening

Sharing with God or a loved one or friend the anguish as well as the joys of giving up control today will free me from the need to think any more about this day that is passing. Each day is a new beginning, and tomorrow will give me practice sessions galore.

I can rest tonight knowing I did the best I could, and I may do even better tomorrow.

Day 7 Morning

We have so many more hours a day to appreciate the beauty all around us when we remember that we are not here to make hostages of others.

We will not walk this way again. That's a familiar phrase to all of us. But when we are trying to "tend another's garden instead of our own," we miss the beauty and the circumstances that have been prepared for us. While it's true that the people present have been gathered for a reason, they are not present to serve as our puppets, but rather as our teachers.

Each moment is unique, not to be repeated. I will glory in this thought as often as possible. What did I notice today?

Day 7 Evening

Did I make the right choices today when considering the actions of others? Remembering that my friends and colleagues, along with my family of origin, are present to complement my life, not be its focus, clarifies my role.

I will rest well tonight if I meditate on the times I let others make their own choices today. I can repeat my successes tomorrow by envisioning them over and over.


Seek Solutions

Week 2 will help you remember that obsessing about any problem exaggerates it. It doesn't resolve it. Resolution generally comes when we put our attention elsewhere, on helping others perhaps, and give our Higher Power time to nudge us in the direction we need to go.

Day 1 Morning

Others watch how we behave. Does our behavior match what we say? Or are we making problems bigger than they are?

Alcoholics Anonymous suggests that attraction to its program is more effective than promotion of it. The same holds true for behavior in relationships, doesn't it? Telling others what they should do in regard to a problem will never be as effective as saying what has worked for us, or showing by our actions what is working now.

To repeat what has been said before, we can't change others. We can't control opinions, behaviors, how others see their problems or their dreams. We can only live our lives honestly, lovingly, openly, and hope that stands for something.

I will allow the principles that guide my better self to reveal themselves today. And I will write out how the day went.

Day 1 Evening

Keeping our problems "right-sized" isn't always easy. How did I do today? Better yet, did I get a glimmer of understanding that there are really no problems in my life—only opportunities?

Did I demonstrate a healthy willingness to peacefully handle whatever came up today? Listing a few instances will help me remember it is possible, always, to make another choice.

Day 2 Morning

Freeing others to handle their own problems makes us grateful for the extended periods of peace. Being vigilant is the only requirement.

Hungering for peaceful lives comes with maturity, perhaps. But it remains elusive unless we make it our intention. There are myriad approaches to discovering peace. Meditation works for many. So does prayer, of course. The simple phrase, "I can see peace instead of this," can serve as a mantra too.

But one of the easiest ways to enjoy greater peace is by making the choice to let other people walk their own paths rather than engaging in their problems.

I have multiple choices I can make today, and many of them will nurture my peacefulness. It will be fruitful to keep track of the methods I use for being at peace today.

Day 2 Evening

Did I destroy my peace today by overreacting to a situation? Making a note of it will be a great reminder to avoid that behavior tomorrow.

Can I forgive myself for my behavior and envision a better choice should the same thing come up tomorrow?

I can take a few moments now to visualize who I can be even in those circumstances that trigger my need to control. How does this feel?

Day 3 Morning

"Dancing" around the lives of others means missing our own. Is this our pattern? We can change it immediately if it is.

Making the decision to let others dance their own dance, experience their own problems, seek their own solutions, not trying to lead them or even follow them, is a thrilling and empowering experience of letting go that we all deserve. In fact, we will see quickly that we were not living life at all whenever someone else was in the center of our minds, particularly when that someone else triggered us to react rather than peacefully act.

I will keep my mind on my life today, and my journey will become clear. I will note the many times this is paying dividends as the day unfolds.

Day 3 Evening

Being the center of my own life isn't the same as being self-absorbed. It simply means I have my attention where it belongs, on my goals and not on the goals or the problems of others.

Is there evidence that I lived this principle today? Were there times I passed up the opportunity to live it? How might I plan better for tomorrow?

What is the first thing I can do if I see myself getting off track and into someone else's business?

Day 4 Morning

Letting go of others, loved ones or strangers, doesn't mean not caring.

On the contrary, letting go means we care a great deal. We want them to fully enjoy their successes and learn the lessons that wear their name. If we are overly involved in other people's lives, they'll not be able to discern exactly what they accomplished themselves.

Relinquishing others to their own lives, making the choice to do nothing, even if challenged, isn't easy. But it is necessary, and it will let us be who we are meant to be, too.

I will keep tabs on all the times I back away from taking charge or even reacting when my input is not needed today.

Day 4 Evening

I need constant reminders to let go. No one is in my life by chance; however, no one is in my life to be controlled either. Their behavior need not challenge me. It's my decision to back away and be peaceful. It's also my decision to be a good student as well as teacher.

What kind of marks can I give myself today on my behavior? Can I feel proud? Of what in particular?

Day 5 Morning

Trying to be the center of someone else's life will kill one's spirit.

Being in a relationship with others is good. Healing the human spirit depends on it. But choosing to be held hostage in any relationship means we have given up our identity and our connection to God, making the relationship partner, be it a spouse, a friend, or a boss, our Higher Power, thus the one who defines us. When that happens, and it does all too often, inner chaos reigns, and neither party in the relationship can grow.

Am I aware of my independence today? I need to keep track of all my actions that reflect this.

Day 5 Evening

Was I able to be both independent and interdependent today? Since the two perspectives complement each other, it's helpful to note when my behavior is illustrating one or the other. And as long as it's in line with one or the other, I am not being "dependent," which will hinder my personal growth and the growth of my companion too.

Dependence will not allow for healing to occur. How do I assess my actions today?

Day 6 Morning

Interdependence is the hallmark of a healthy relationship.

Getting enmeshed in someone else's life generally happens when we are feeling insecure. We cling and then mistakenly think that if we are constantly "in sync," we are meant for each other. The converse is the truth, of course. Dependence is never love, and it is never a sign of a healthy alliance. In fact, it screams unholy attachment to all onlookers.

Wanting healthy relationships takes a commitment to self-exploration and respect for our partner too. Knowing who we are and what we really want for ourselves is mandatory. Only then can we be a good partner and stay whole.

Am I denying my own needs and giving in to my partner too often? I will jot down all the things I did today that made me feel good about myself.

Day 6 Evening

Taking care of myself never means discounting the desires of my partner. However, how I express my needs is important to the healthy, peaceful flow of any relationship.

Was I loving and kind today in all encounters? Do I need to make any adjustments in my behavior tomorrow? If I do, perhaps I can get some guidance from God as I prepare myself for sleep.

Day 7 Morning

Our own well-being is always the result of healthy decisions for ourselves coupled with disengagement from the choices of others.

Every one of us is responsible for our individual choices. Relying on God as the source for personal guidance has to be done by each of us too. For many, it's a major shift in perspective to claim responsibility for our choices, but it's empowering. Our lives will never be the same when we truly appreciate the depth of this responsibility and the freedom from chaos it offers.

My life is all I am in charge of, ever. How well will I do today?

Day 7 Evening

Did I contribute to chaos today? Inner chaos can be just as immobilizing as stirring it up among my acquaintances. The voice I chose to hear today was reflected in the experiences I had. Those that were peaceful were under the guidance of God. Those that were chaotic had the ego as the architect.

Making a list of what experiences fall into each group will help me see what I want more of.

I can have a more peaceful life. It is up to me.

Excerpted from Its Up to You by Karen Casey. Copyright © 2007 Karen Casey. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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