Archive for January 2017

Choice and Commitment || Jenny St. Claire

Choice and Commitment by Jenny St. Claire

It’s that time of year.  When January 1st rolled in, you were feeling confident and hopeful about your New Year’s Resolution.  Now that you’re three weeks in, how is your resolution going?  Still strong or fading?  If you don’t do resolutions, how are your intentions or goals coming along?  If you find yourself faltering, here’s your opportunity to get some insight on what could be causing you difficulty.

What you think you’re committed to doing differently could be vastly different than what you’re really committed to.  What?!?!  Say you are committed to getting more sleep, but when your new bedtime rolls around you find a reason to stay up.  It could be a great reason such as, my kids won’t go to sleep, you need to finish the dishes, or you’re really into the show you’re currently binge watching and you’ve just got to see what’s going to happen.  If you stay up rather than going to bed, then you’re not very committed to getting more sleep.

So, then, what are you committed to?  There are several possibilities.  It could be that you are committed to catering to other’s needs.  Perhaps you are committed to being busy and perpetually “doing.”  Maybe you are committed to doing what you want when you want to do it.  Or, you could be committed to feeling unwell.  You may feel entirely justified in the excuses you find to not get more sleep.  However, in this instance, you are more committed to your excuses than your resolution, goal or intention.

According to Debbie Ford, author of The Right Questions (2004), this is called an underlying commitment.  This type of commitment lives in the unconscious part of us.  It is primary and will always prevail over the other commitments you make on a conscious level.  Underlying commitments are the root cause for the inconsistency between what we say we want vs. what we actually experience.

If you take a good look at your life, you will begin to see what you are truly committed to.  Here are some common examples of underlying commitments:

-Stay safe – never take risks

-Can’t trust others – you will always be alone

-Freedom – instead of structure, life is chaos

-Comfort – you’ll drink, eat or entertain anyone that will give it to you

-Weakness – I can’t do it on my own

-Not good enough – I will sabotage myself so I can feel bad about myself

-Never letting anyone tell me what to do – even if it’s myself

-Having what you want when you want it

-Having someone else take care of you

We begin to see that the choices we make are in perfect alignment with our first commitment.  We experience an internal battle between our underlying commitments and what our heart and soul desires.  If we do not examine our primary commitments, they will always win and keep us from moving into a place of empowerment.  They keep us from the future we desire.

How do you recognize your underlying commitments?  Debbie Ford offered a practice on page 57 of her book, The Right Questions.

1.) Write down a goal or desire you have not been able to achieve.

2.) Make a list of all of the actions you have taken that are in direct opposition to this goal.

3.) Ask yourself what commitment those choices are in direct alignment with.

Often, our underlying commitments are not flattering.  Be kind to yourself!  When you originally made that commitment, it was at a time when you didn’t have the freedom of choice.  They are largely made when you were a kid, and the commitment served you for a while.  However, they begin to unravel over time.

Now you’ve outgrown that first commitment.  Recognizing it gives you the freedom to make different choices and different commitments.  You now have the ability to create a new future that is in alignment with your present time truth.

In the moments when you feel like you’re being tugged in two different directions by an underlying commitment and your soul’s desire, allow yourself to pause and ask yourself a few questions.  Following are a selection of Debbie Ford’s “The Right Questions.”

-Will this choice move me toward an inspiring future or keep me stuck in the past?

-Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment or short term-gratification?

-Will this choice add to my life force or rob me of my energy?

-Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow or use it to beat myself up?

-Does this choice empower me or disempower me?

-Is this an act of self-love or self-sabotage?

I invite you to be compassionate and courageous as you uncover your underlying commitments and move toward the YOU and LIFE you wish to have.

About the Author: Jenny is one of the many phenomenal interns working in the People House Affordable Counseling Program. With over 15 years of experience as a Spiritual Counselor, 4 years as a teacher of meditation and energy work and 2 years as a Wellness Coordinator, Jenny is a wonderful addition to the People House community. Jenny is a gentle and reflective soul who is committed to inspiring her clients to reconnect with themselves, find meaning and create positive changes. For more information or to contact Jenny, please see her therapist bio.

Predestination, Fate and God’s Will vs. Free-Will || Lora Cheadle

Predestination, Fate and God’s Will vs. Free-Will 

By Lora Cheadle

      One of the questions asked by humans throughout time is whether we have free-will and are in control of our own destiny, or if our lives are predestined by some higher authority and we have no choice except to live out what’s been planned for us. Whether we call it fate, God’s will or destiny, the question remains; are we in charge of our own lives?

Regardless of what we believe, when we are faced with challenging situations, or when we have big decisions to make in our lives, we want to feel like we are making the right decision. But maybe our decisions don’t matter all that much? Or maybe they do.

The Free-Will to Make Decisions

When challenges happen, people seek out the guidance of friends, counselors, religious leaders or even psychics or other types of intuitive readers. When we seek the advice of others, we are attempting to gain clarity on the future, learn from the experience of others, figure out what action we should take in the present and reassure ourselves that what we are about to do makes sense to someone besides our self.

As someone who does both Angel Readings as well as more traditional therapy, I have a unique perspective because I get to see the interplay between free-will and predestination. The way I see it, life is a beautiful combination of both free-will and destiny, with some decisions being impactful, some decisions having no bearing on the outcome of a life and some decisions veering us to an alternative, but equally correct, path.


Think of predestination like this. Pick a generic story that everyone knows, maybe a fairy tale like The Three Bears. When everyone roughly knows the story line, it is possible for a group of actors to stand up and successfully act out the play. Sure, some things are going to get messed up, the story may go off track for a while, but since everyone knows the story, everyone will work to get it back on track whenever things fall apart.

At the end of the day it won’t matter if Goldilocks sat in the chair first, ate the porridge first or slept in the wrong bed. The story still gets told and everything that was crucial to the story line took place.

If we believe in destiny, or fate, then this is a good way to view our lives. We can think of our life as having a general structure, and we can see how there are a large number of small decisions that that really don’t impact the overall trajectory of our lives. Just like the actors above, We will be nudged back on track whenever we go too far off script.


Think of free-will like this. If you put a group of actors on a stage without a script or a story line, and ask them to act out a story, It will take everyone a while to figure out what is happening. Everyone has to work together until a common theme is established and agreed upon. If one person fails to get on board with the others, his actions alone cause random, unanticipated upheavals leading the story awry and forcing everyone else to adapt.

Whether these adaptations serve to bring the rogue actor back in line in or force the others to create an entirely new story line, at the end of the day, a story is still successfully told. And most importantly, sometimes the most brilliant and beautiful stories are the unanticipated ones, that are created out of something wholly unanticipated and unexpected.

If we believe in free-will, we may have more control over our life in some sense, but we are still subjected to the outside forces of others, and we still made to deal with many unanticipated situations, causing us to sometimes follow paths that are not of our choosing.

The Interplay between Free-Will and Destiny

No matter what we believe, it’s the combination of following the predestined story line and exercising our own free-will that makes life juicy, interesting and fun! Without both free-will and destiny, life is either be too try or too wild. Life is meant to be lived, and it’s the combination of conscious choices and happenstance that makes it worth living!

If we take “Job A” when “Job B” was the predestined better choice, all is not lost, we adapt! We work with each other to get back on track or we create a new and different track that is satisfying to everyone involved, and our story still gets told.

Making wrong decisions happens to everyone, and surprisingly, is not that big of a deal. As long as we stay present and involved, listening to our intuition and staying conscious, we cannot make a mistakes. Sure, our final story may be different than our original story, but whose to say this new conclusion wasn’t the predestined better choice to begin with?

Let Your Intuition be Your Guide

One of the keys to staying conscious is listening to our intuition. Our intuition is like an ever-present narrator, narrating our story, helping us stay on track and nudging us back in the right direction when things get too far off track. Sure, discussing our problems with friends or going to a counselor or intuitive is helpful, but we are all equipped with our own sense of intuition.

Intuitive Readings focus on the energy of a particular person or situation as it stands in the present moment. People incorrectly assume psychic readers are able to “see into the future” or “know” what is going to happen, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! All intuitive readers do is use their intuition to tune into your intuition and to tell you what you are feeling!

Truthfully, I feel like my job as an intuitive as well as a more traditional therapist is ask the right questions and to reflect back to my clients confirm what they already know.

As complicated as it may sound, understanding the interplay of free-will and destiny is pretty simple. Let your internal narrator guide you along, try, listen, feel, remain conscious and reach out for help whenever you need it. But ultimately, trust your own heart and remember that no matter what happens, the story of your life will still reach a successful conclusion, and it doesn’t matter if that conclusion was predetermined or self created.

All you have to do is do what Goldilocks did keep on trying things until you find thing that fit “Just right!”


To read more of Lora’s writing, visit her website.

About the Author: Not sure what lights your fire, or do you know exactly what lights your fire, but you keep spinning your wheels? Either way, Lora’s got you covered! Whether it’s through an Angel Reading or through hypnotherapy, where the subconscious mind is brought on board with the conscious mind, working with Lora reveals your divine path and gets you chugging down the road in no time. As a former lawyer, (She knows firsthand the courage it takes to following a new path!) Lora is very straight forward and process- oriented, using modalities that that yield results. No crystal balls or goddess robes here!

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth