I so appreciate you finding your way here. May our association help both of us dive deeper into the healing currents of love's presence.

Let's begin with two songs of mine, Teach Me How To Love, and It Takes Courage. They will get you in the mood....

1. http://ia700404.us.archive.org/10/items/TeachMeHowToLove_725/01TeachMeHowToLove.mp3

2. http://ia700400.us.archive.org/4/items/ItTakesCourage/08ItTakesCourage.mp3

(sample more at www.scottsongs.com)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Handle Your Self With Care

Treating yourself like a precious object will make you strong.

-Julia Cameron

One of the first songs I ever wrote, Learning To Love Myself, (click on the song title to enjoy) was written while gazing at myself in the mirror. The words of the chorus were, “Every day, in every way, I’m learning to love and respect myself.” I sang it for hours, hoping that by affirming it over and over, somehow I would get it and magically start loving myself. Little did I know back then that to really love myself I had to get to know myself. I had to become conscious of the different parts of me swirling around in there, and establish good communication between them. And so I began the ongoing, ever-changing venture of developing a loving relationship with the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with: myself.

To describe the dynamics of this relationship, allow me to take you on a guided tour through my psyche. You will meet my critical parent, my loving parent, my little boy and my higher self. These are mythic characters that I will bring to life through a playful blend of fantasy and reality. I use them to depict a valid process that goes on inside me, one that at times I both struggle and triumph with.

The loudest aspect of my insides is the inner critic, or critic for short. The critic’s job is to constantly draw attention to what is wrong with other people, the world, and myself. (And what a good job he does!) Tracing back my critic’s family tree, I found out that the first seedling came to this country with the Pilgrims on the Mayflower. Historians noted that the critic was seen in the back of the ship, gazing in Europe’s direction, muttering things like, “This was a big mistake. We should have stayed home. We should have known better!” (The critic is quite fond of the word should.)

The main focus in those days was survival, and the critic’s whip did seem to motivate people to work hard and to will themselves to survive. The critic thrived back then, and was an integral part of building a life in the new world. From the farmers’ fields to the preachers’ pulpits, from schoolhouses to family homes, the culture was permeated by the straight and narrow thinking of the critic.

With each new generation, survival became less of an urgent focus and the pursuit of happiness became more of a priority. The critic began to feel out of control, perhaps even out of a job. It started to sense danger to its own existence. On therapists’ couches, at weekend workshops, and anywhere self-awareness was present, people began to question the rigid rules and bureaucratic overtones of a critical voice. These days the critic’s military tactics are quite outdated, and he is in training to operate a modern computer program that protects and serves without police brutality. The updated software incorporates gentleness, compassion, and humor, three qualities previously not found in the critic’s tool bag.

My inner critic is a bit like the Japanese soldier who was found roaming the jungles of an obscure South Pacific island, twenty years after World War II was over. He was convinced that the war was still a reality and his nervous system was geared to fight the enemies. Sony, Panasonic and Toyota all helped educate him about the current state of peace and prosperity. Eventually, he was honorably discharged from his military state of mind and learned to be at ease with himself and the world.

Used as survival strategy during a wartime economy (childhood), my critic is currently being eased out of the jungles of fear and is learning his place within a peacetime sense of self. The critic learned about life from watching too much tunnelvision, fixated on the channels of right or wrong, good or bad. Left to himself, he would continue to watch his black and white tunnelvision set all day long, to be in remote control of how we picture life. But lucky for us, we have Big Scott to guide the critic away from his old programs. Big Scott is a voice of love and support that we’ve been developing over the years. When the critic barks at us in his usual righteous tone, “You did that wrong again! You’ll never be good enough!”, Big Scott might switch off his TV and take him outside to gaze at nature. “Look, Mr. Critic.” (The critic listens best when called “Mr.”)  “Look at all these different bushes and flowers. None of them are exactly alike. Are any of them right? Are any wrong? Are there any mistakes or flaws in nature? And aren’t we a part of nature?”

Sometimes the critic mellows and takes a deep breath. Sometimes he puts up a fight. Imagine knocking on the door of the Pentagon in Washington and telling the staff that the country doesn’t need weapons anymore for its protection. Might there be some resistance? The same is true for our personal pentagon. When it comes to taming the critic, Big Scott has to be patient, persistent, and persevering.

Big Scott’s main job is to take good care of our inner child, Little Scott. Without firm and loving parental guidance, Little Scott tends to get himself in trouble. He might choose to eat things that taste great going down, but make us feel sluggish for hours later. He might run across the street without looking both ways for cars. He might even run and dive heart-first into a relationship, forgetting that he can’t swim in such deep waters without Big Scott pacing his strokes and keeping him afloat.

In Little Scott’s room there is a special intercom. This line is directly hooked up to the inner critic, and when the critic does a sermon, the child hears it on his speakerphone. This is very painful for him, and he usually hides under the covers, trembling in the dark until Big Scott comes to love him up. Like any parent, Big Scott is learning how to care for Little Scott through life’s most effective on the job training program, trial and error.

Big Scott has one more job, listening to and acting on the guidance of Swami Scott. Swami Scott is a wise and powerful being who lives on a high mountain peak in our inner Himalayas, somewhere between our eyebrows. Swami Scott has only one disciple, and he encourages complete inner-dependency. After taking many workshops and seminars, and studying with other swamis, personal contact with Swami Scott is one of my greatest joys. I sit at his feet in confidence, knowing I never need fear giving him my power. He is my power!

And now to formally introduce Little Scott. We used to think that being an adult meant not being childlike anymore. But look into any adult’s heart and you will find a child in there, no matter how grown up they appear to have packaged themselves. My inner child is a delicate, tender, brilliantly creative and exquisitely sensitive child of God. He feels life to the fullest. He can feel anger, hurt, sorrow, fear, regret, joy and ecstasy, sometimes all in the passing of one hour. But he can also hide really well from those feelings if he doesn’t feel safe.

For much of my life Little Scott did not feel safe to feel or express what he was feeling. Parents, teachers, other kids, and the inner critic all seemed to gang up on him and contribute to his not having a safe space to explore emotions. So the kid learned to cope by hiding, pretending, and isolating, which translated to many years of substance abuse. The disconnection from feelings went deep. I even found spiritual pursuits could be used to numb out. Feelings band-aids come in many forms and disguises. My first ten years of meditation, though helpful in many ways, were a form of medication, spiritual anesthesia for the layers of emotional pain my inner child carried.

What Little Scott needed was for Big Scott to learn to come into his room and listen to his feelings, with empathy and acceptance. The child needed a loving presence, a consistent inner friend who would be there for him without judgment or diagnosis. Little Scott tried to find that love through sexual relationships. Women would come and go, but the emptiness of not having his own inner connection would return. In that emptiness he cried out, asking for love and nurturing in the only ways he knew how. He cried through addiction. He cried by not letting Big Scott reach his goals. He cried until the criticism, the constant high-speed busyness, or other forms of self-abandonment would stop and Big Scott would come into his consciousness for a loving bedside chat.

Those chats have become the cornerstone of my recovery, my highest and holiest act of meditation. During those times Big Scott listens compassionately to the little guy, cradling him tenderly while he shares, making a safe space for tears, fears, anger and joy to be felt. Tissues are on hand, and the critic stays out of the room. This is where we are learning about the power of acceptance, simply hearing where we are at without trying to fix or change things.

As we cease pushing and shoving ourselves around, feelings come up to be felt and are released as part of a natural cleansing process. Little Scott becomes lighter and freer. He feels handled with care,  a sense of safety which allows his heart to open and express love. He gets a familiar twinkle back in his eyes, a light by which Big Scott, Swami Scott, and Little Scott work/play together to share joy and inspiration with others.

And so we see that love and service starts with being kind to yourself. It takes courage. In a culture that teaches us that strength is about grabbing a bull by its horns, it takes courage to gaze at yourself in the mirror and say, “I will not fight.” It takes courage to walk the path of least resistance, to be a peaceful warrior in a world that has not yet learned to value the power of gentleness.

This is my dream, and I invite you to join me: that more and more of us negotiate a cease fire with our inner critics, that we treat our inner children to a lasting, happy childhood, and that we handle ourselves, each other, and our world with the utmost care and respect. 

 Click on the song title to listen to the song...

Handle Yourself With Care

 By Scott Grace

Once I thought by now I’d be

Mr. Functionality

Perfect and complete in every way

But I still get lost and then get found

As I walk this sacred stumbling ground

I need to reassure me, I’m O.K.

I’m all grown-up the world can see

But that is just one side of me

I’m also a tender child finding my way

I sometimes fumble in the dirt

I have a heart that can be hurt

And so I hear a voice within me say

Handle yourself with care

There’s a precious child of God in there

There’s a judge inside that’s sometimes strong

Convinced I’m doing my whole life wrong

So quick to rise up to my prosecution

But as I grow it’s getting clear

The judge is just a voice of fear

And gentleness my only real solution

For how can the child in me feel safe

If I’m trying to whip myself in shape?

There must be another way to grow

The petals of my heart open in a loving self-environment

A flower grows and blooms

When it’s given the room

So handle yourself with care

There’s a precious child of God in there

And so I live life day to day

Some obstacles get in my way

And though I groan I see the strength that’s birthed

I still get lost and then get found

As I walk this sacred stumbling ground

But life is getting sweeter on this earth

Reaching out to make heart connections

Making my peace with imperfection

Finding out the world needs what I have to give

For as I love the child in me

 My heart extends so naturally

I can lend the world my shoulder

When my cup is running over

So handle yourself with care

There’s a precious child of God in there

1995@Copyright ScottSongs

Monday, January 18, 2016

The World's First Inner Critic Cleanse

For five days, starting whenever you decide to take the plunge, you are invited to hit the mental RENEW button and heal some of the sludge accumulated over a lifetime of being exposed to toxic levels of self criticism. Yes, we are going to cleanse…. the inner critic. 

 If you can relate to being your own worst enemy and want to instead become your own best friend, if you have no trouble feeling compassion for others, but are much harder on yourself, if you know you should' stop shoulding on yourself but just don’t know how, maybe it’s time for a cleanse.

That’s right, announcing what may be the world’s first Inner Critic Cleanse. Of course, I am being playful here. I am not implying or promising that in a week’s time you can purge all self-criticism from your experience. Old habits die off gradually, slowly. As you build new habits and practice new tools, the old ones fades away. Not in five days. But in those five days I will give you all the tools that have worked for me. You’ll have videos and processes you can come back to again and again over the years. You will have some powerful mojo in your hands, tangible things you can do to feel better when you find yourself in critical condition.

Let me tell you how The Inner Critic Cleanse works.

I will send you an inspiring piece of writing with a tool each day to implement and put into practice.  You will also get a daily video with an EFT tapping round to help re-direct, re-program, soften, heal, tame, and tickle the inner critic. This will help you go beyond the intellectual understanding to a heartfelt experience of being gentle with yourself.

In going on thirty five years of consciously working on myself, I have practiced so many different tools for healing the inner critic. (My critic right now is saying, “You should have fixed me by now!”) So many approaches work, but I have discovered that for different moments and situations I am better off with either a Yin or a Yang approach. Approaching the Critic with Yin medicine means putting into practice the truth that only love heals, and that even the Critic needs love and empathy to soften and ease. It is just trying to protect you, and has good intentions. A Yin approach soothes the critic with compassion, non-resistance. It’s Ghandi, instead of Rocky. It’s unconditionally loving all parts of you, Yin medicine.

But sometimes a fiery Yang approach kicks but and gets the job done. These methods are quicker. Sort of a “Shut Up, Critic, Go To Your Room and Give Me Some Peace!” This approach involves matching its energy, meeting the critical voice with the aggression that might be needed to stop a bully. And that’s what the critic can feel like sometimes, like a big bully that is using shame and blame to shut you down and make you feel bad about yourself.

The critic ain’t a big fan of your creativity. Because he or she is a perfectionist, and creativity is sloppy, messy, and far from perfect, from beginning to end. If your creativity is in the closet, guess who is keeping watch by the closet door, and guess what happens when you start to work with the critic...more permission to be creative!

I have allowed myself the creation of a lifelong dream, to publish a book, as well as many other dreams. I have recorded nine professional music CD’s, and have created hundreds of songs, poems and YouTubes for one reason: Because I’ve learned to silence, or at least lower the volume, of my fearful critical voice. The critic is not fond of you creating anything, going for your dreams or taking risks. It exists and functions to keep you small, safe, and protected. Anything new is dangerous, a threat. And it will do anything and everything in its power to make sure you stay in your comfort zone.

The critical voice has no power but the power you have been giving it. And you can cut off it's power source.

I invite you to take one week out of your life where your intention, your inner commitment, is on taking back your power, healing and not feeding the critical voice in your head. I will be your guide. I will hold your hand as you stand up to the bully.

What I ask from you is a willingness to read and really ponder the words I send, tap along and breathe deeply to my videos, and in general be willing to do the homework, which include some writing exercises (journaling), visualizations, and some mirror work. In general, if you are open and curious and willing to try new things, you will do great. Be a good beginner, bring a Zen mind, and you will have a shift. 

I will be showering your inbox with tools and tappings, songs and ideas. If even one or two of the tools you take to heart and practice, this course, this cleanse, will improve the quality of your life for the rest of your life. It will work if you work it. Your willingness is the deciding factor.

Please take a moment now and imaging your life with a significant reduction of static from the inner critic. Life with an inner critic who has far less power to guilt trip or fear trip you into staying in your comfort zone, or to talk you out of feeling good about yourself. Life with a strong positive inner voice in your head that is on your side, lifting you up and helping you keep the faith.

What will the cleanse cost?  I’d like $100 for my time and talents. There is a referral reward of $20 off for each person who comes to the cleanse because of your efforts, so get five friends and you could do it for free. How many people do you know in your life are in critical condition because of their inner critic? We all could use some help on this issue.

I would also recommend a coaching session with me so you can have some personal support, helping you clarify your goals and kick some critic butt. And, if you are wanting to seize this opportunity for all its worth, a follow up coaching session after it is over would be my suggestion. The inner critic thrives and grows, like anaerobic bacteria, in the dark. When you shine a light on it, it shrinks. Allow me to hold the light for you and with you on this issue.

Nothing says commitment more in this culture then money. When you invest money in your personal growth, you are putting your money where your mouth is, putting your psyche on alert, and letting the universe know you mean business. You are committing to loving yourself more fully, and developing  a positive, encouraging, nurturing and unconditionally loving inner voice.

Warning: The inner critic will not like you doing this cleanse. It will tell you it is too expensive (HA!), and that you are being swindled out of your money by a charlatan who knows you are vulnerable on this issue and is preying upon you. It will tell you you don’t have enough time. It will preach the gospel of,  “You will probably be the one person who doesn’t get value from it. You will fail this cleanse!” Do you see that the inner critic is just fear disguised as doubt, distrust, and aggression, aggression  turned towards you? You are bullying yourself! Stand up to the bully!

And you don’t have to do it alone. We will do this together. It’s less scary, and more fun that way.

The moment you say you are in and send me the money…. you re in!  I would also suggest writing a paragraph or two about what you most want to get out of the course, how the inner critic has held you back in your life, your particular relationship with inner criticism. And also, ponder and write a bit about your critics biggest complaint about you. (My critic might say “Scott is a lazy bum who sits on his assets and only shares a fraction of what he is capable of giving to the world!)

Tired of the critic talking trash about you? Let me know you are in by emailing me at scott@scottsongs.com

You can join the program for $100 and get all the videos, EFT tapping and songs and essays. I will pour my heart out to you for the week. You can email me with particular questions and concerns. I will answer.

For an extra $80 ($40 less than a usual regular private session)  you will also receive an hour long  personal coaching session with me over the phone, FaceTime or Skype, complete with EFT tapping and a custom made song channeled just for you. Both the tapping and the song will be recorded by me and emailed to you promptly after the session. I would suggest that the healing session be early in the week, or even this week, so I can help you clarify how you can get the most out of the Critic Cleanse Week.

If you want even more support, if you are super intent on using this cleanse as an opportunity for a major turnaround and course correction, a session with me before and after the cleanse is suggested. For $260 (an $80 discount from my usual coaching fees), you would get the program, plus those two sessions. And I would encourage that second coaching session be scheduled for the week after, for maximum affect.

Can you feel the potential of you devoting some time to this topic? I can. My inner critic is trembling, letting me know I have no right to offer this. And if my critic is this scared, protesting this loudly, I know something wonderful is about to happen. Join me.

In Joy,
Scott Grace

PS. You can sign up for the Critic Cleanse  at whatever level you desire by sending $100, $180, $260 to my Pay Pal account at paypal.me/scottgrace. Please send via Friends and Family.

You can also pay by sending  a check via snail mail to Scott Grace, 162 Forrest Avenue, Fairfax, CA, 94930. Let me know when the check is in the mail.

Or you can use plastic. To pay with a card email me at scott@scottsongs.com and I’ll let you know how to do that.