RECLAIMING MY “INNER STEW”, by Stew Bittman

(this is basically a transcript of my “Stew on This” podcast, episode 29)

I feel the need to check in with everybody to make sure that nobody is operating under the illusion that I have all this love stuff completely figured out. If you do my first thought is that you should talk to my wife, which reminds me of something Wayne Dyer wrote years ago, about his wife saying to him: “How come you show the whole world your holiness and you only show me your ass-holiness?”

I am always honored to be mentioned in the same sentence with words such as “loving”, especially as loving is my most important core value, but I just want to assure you that I can definitely forget. One of the blessings of teaching, speaking, writing and doing podcasts about love is that I get to hear a lot of reminders about how I want to show up.

So, I have to disclose that yesterday for the first time ever I deleted one of my own FB posts, a couple of hours after I posted it. It was about a gentleman who I saw driving and texting while wearing a mask. I found it ironic. It had been a frustrating morning with my mom and with the world (including a trip to the supermarket which has been a bit stressful these days). But I deleted the post after a bunch of comments came in, not because I condoned the behavior or I even understood it, not because I agree with the level of fear that has been propagated that may have led to the behavior, and not because I am afraid to discuss or share my opinion on masks, or on anything for that matter, with anyone who truly wants to hear it.

I deleted my post because it didn’t contribute to anything I believe about love. It was a vent. I need to vent like everyone else, but venting in a judgmental or mocking way really didn’t do anything to help me find the island of peace in my soul. In fact, it just left me with a bunch of increased righteous indignation and, unfortunately, it encouraged and gave permission for others to join in. Maybe that helped the people who commented in some way, but more likely I owe you an apology.

There was 1 comment to my post that did really help me. It was from someone who saw a similar ironic behavior and said they really had to work to find their “inner Stew” in order to deal with it. This person found their center before I did! Bless you, because you reminded me that my post was “not like me” and I was then able to find MY inner Stew. That’s when I deleted the post.

I completely honor and appreciate everyone’s need to express, to vent, and to share frustrations with people of like mind. I completely honor and appreciate the posting of information that mainstream media doesn’t seem to recognize, especially as most of it could actually help folks with their fear levels. I will undoubtedly continue to cheer those posts that I agree with.

And, I’ve discovered that, according to my values, I’m going to stick to only putting love and light out there and to keeping my heart open to everyone. I’m making this choice because, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., we may be navigating this pandemic on different ships, but afterwards we’ll all still be in the same boat.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to look at half the people on my boat as being wrong or stupid, even when I think they are. I don’t want to look at people, or have people look at me, as enemies or as competitors, or even worse, as vectors of disease.

I want to look at people on the boat as fellow travelers on the way of love.
If my choice is the way of love and to create the kind of world I want to live in, I’m going to have to get a lot better at disagreeing with people’s behavior with more compassion and respect. I’m choosing to practice that now more privately. I get plenty of practice with the people I love. I get plenty of practice with myself! I could get a lot better at disagreeing with myself with compassion and respect. I’m choosing to practice this now so when folks out there are a little less fearful and maybe are able to hear other points of view again, my voice can then inspire freedom, open hearts and minds, and be an effective vehicle for beautiful change.

Right now, I owe an apology to the guy that I wrote about. Sir, I will say to you right now that regardless of my opinion of your behavior, (by the way, I still think it’s ironic to do 1 thing in an effort to save lives, while doing another that threatens lives), I apologize because I still honor you as a human being who is undoubtedly doing the best you can, based on your experiences and values. I would love to talk to you sometime about why I find your behavior ironic and I promise you that I will do my best to be open to your opinion as well. In the meantime, you’ve reminded me that our choices affect everyone and everything. I appreciate your behavior because it’s had me look at my own choices and given me the opportunity to make sure they are congruent and loving; that they are “like me” and aligned with my inner Stew.

Bless you, and in the meantime, I’m sending you love, I’m sending everyone love and I’m sending myself love, too.

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Chiropractic From The Heart in CORK

Chiropractic From The Heart in CORK with Dr. Stew Bittman

Click Here for Flier and More Information

Saturday, October 20, 2018 10.00-13.00
Sunday, October 21, 2018 09.00-13.00

Suitable for DCs, CAs, significant others & patients.

This transformative experience is limited to 24 participants! You must pre-register & pay for your spot by 10 October.

Fee: £399 per attendee for 1st – timers / £249 for past attendees.

Note: new and fresh content added

Click Here to Register

Where? Nano Nagle Place, Douglas Street Cork City T12 X70A nanonagleplace.ie

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MINI “CHIROPRACTIC FROM THE HEART” IN MELBOURNE

SUNDAY AUGUST 5 (FOLLOWING IN8 SUMMIT) 3-7  PM

Cahill Chiropractic

157 Waverley Rd Malvern East 3145

$125 for DCs; $100 for students, CAs and significant others

This transformative experience is limited to 20 participants

YOUR PRE-REGISTRATION/PAYMENT HOLDS YOUR SPOT!

Click Here for Flier & More Information

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Chiropractic From The Heart in Hamburg – June 29 -30, 2018

Chiropractic From The Heart in Hamburg with Dr. Stew Bittman

Click Here for Flier

Friday, June 29, 2018 18.00-22.00
Saturday, June 30, 2018 10.00-1800

Suitable for DCs, heilpraktikers, CAs, significant others & patients.

This transformative experience is limited to 24 participants!
You must pre-register & pay for your spot by 18 June.

Visit the Workshops Page for more information or Click Here for Flier

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Chiropractic From The Heart in HAMBURG with Dr. Stew Bittman

Chiropractic From The Heart in HAMBURG with Dr. Stew Bittman

June 29-30, 2018 | Click for FLIER

Would you love to serve and practice according to your deepest values and intentions? Does your head get in the way of practicing and living in alignment with what you know to be true in your heart? Do you go to seminars and get “pumped up” and then “lose it” quickly thereafter?

Join us for a “booster shot” of chiropractic principle, a host of tools to continually grow in consciousness and improve your life and practice, a safe place to release everything that no longer serves you and, generally, a life-changing weekend to fall back in love with chiropractic and yourself!

Suitable for DCs, heilpraktikers, CAs, significant others & patients

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Forgetting How to Ride a Bicycle

I used to ride a bike a lot when I was a kid, but in the subsequent 45 or so years I’ve ridden one perhaps a dozen times. Some of the gaps in between have been a decade or more. Yet each time I’ve ended one of those bike-riding droughts, all I’ve had to do is hop on and off I went as if the last time had been yesterday. I was not only able to do it, but it was easy. Apparently riding a bicycle is just like riding a bicycle! I find that pretty amazing, especially considering the fact that each time I’ve resumed bike riding after a long hiatus there wasn’t a single atom in my body that was in there the last time I’d done it!

My brain became wired to ride a bicycle early in life and it (and therefore I) will never forget how. Or so I thought.

Have you seen the YouTube video about the backwards bicycle? An engineer was given a bike that turned left when you turned the handlebars to the right, and vice versa. To his surprise, being a coordinated and intelligent guy, he could not ride it, even a few feet. He is a public speaker and began taking the bike on the road with him. He offered anyone in the audience $200 if they could ride the bike 10 feet across the stage and no one could do it. He himself took it on as a personal challenge, and practiced 5 or so minutes a day. It took him 8 months to be able to ride it. And the moment he could do it, he said it was like something clicked in his brain. (By the way, it took his 6-year son 2 weeks to accomplish what it took him 8 months to do)

The most interesting thing about all this for him was that once he was able to ride the backwards bike, he no longer could ride a regular bike (it took him 20 minutes of trying before he could). He forgot how to ride a bicycle!

This is incredibly interesting and empowering to me. I know my brain is wired and biased toward other things besides how to ride a bike. Things like anger, separation, taking things personally, wanting (needing) to be right, judging, being more aware of lack and limitation than of love and abundance, etc., and undoubtedly a whole host of other things I’m not even aware of. I find these things very easy to do and very hard to forget how to do. In fact, I have often entertained the idea that I could never unlearn some of these tendencies. But if it’s possible to unlearn how to ride a bicycle, I know it’s possible to unlearn those things as well. All I have to do is practice a different way, and stick with it until something clicks in my brain. Then I won’t be able to “ride a regular bicycle” anymore!

I believe that at the center of my being is love, and that love is always tapping at the door of my consciousness, ready, willing, able and indeed anxious to pour into my awareness, into my life and into this world. I realize I have allowed my brain to be wired in such a way as to ignore the tapping. I have allowed it to put walls, chains, locks, moats and guard dogs around the door. But I also realize that the more I practice opening the door, moment to moment and day to day, the quicker my brain will re-wire to support that love. I’m more than OK with my brain being biased toward expressing, giving, receiving and experiencing love. How about you? I’ll see you on the backwards bicycle!

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Compassion Includes Me

If you compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete”, The Buddha

Many years ago I heard a speaker in chiropractic say that the profession was unique in that whenever we’re under attack, our response has always been to circle the wagons and shoot…in (i.e. at one another, just in case you weren’t raised on John Wayne movies like I was). Alas, things don’t seem to have changed much since then. “Divide and conquer” might be an effective strategy if you’re planning an invasion or takeover, but it’s undoubtedly not a rational thing to do to ourselves. Especially over and over and over again.

That pattern continues to sadden me, and lots of judgments come up about it (because naturally I know who’s really right), but I’ve come to a point in my life where whenever I get triggered about something “out there”, I look within myself to see if the same pattern exists in me. It’s a bit nauseating how often I find it. And in this case, I can clearly see that I have often employed the same futile strategy in my own life.

How often have I been a house divided when “under attack”, conducting an argument between parts of myself, every one of them either convinced it was right or ashamed it was wrong? How often have I given myself flack when I needed some slack? How often have I beat myself up when I needed an ally? How often have I been my own adversary instead of my own advocate? Especially when I’ve needed an advocate the most?

Can I ever be compassionate with others until I’ve given myself some first? Can we as chiropractors ever develop the compassion to honor each other’s opinions and paths enough so that we might someday unite in any meaningful way? Can we as members of the human race do that? Can we ever do it until we’ve united all our pieces as individuals with compassion and love?

So I humbly offer the invitation to all of us to send some compassion to ourselves today. Tomorrow would be OK too. Not pity or sympathy, but unconditional love. Imagine how our Innate (Spirit) would talk to our Educated (ego), and let’s talk to ourselves that way. Let’s affirm that when all the pieces of you and I get together on the same team, we are both unstoppable. And when they stay together under any “attack”, they can work together to bring about the most loving outcome that serves everyone. Let’s circle the wagons and shoot love in so we can shoot compassion out to each other and to the world.

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Sigafoose the Great

For all who receive my blog, my apologies for falling off the blog planet for so long…I’m back! Thought I’d jump back in with this article I wrote a few days ago about my mentor and friend Jim Sigafoose who passed away recently. He was among the most influential chiropractors in our history and most assuredly among the most influential people in my life. The article was written for chiropractors but I think you’ll get the idea in case you don’t happen to match that description…

We just returned from Sig’s Celebration of Life. What a fabulous tribute! My blessings and thanks to Patsy and the whole Sigafoose clan for not only creating the event in the midst of their grief and this undoubtedly hectic period of their lives, but also for being such incredible models of strength and grace. It was wonderful to see so many old friends (even if many of you chose to comment on my gray-ness) and to reconnect with so many amazing warriors from the Gathering, Parker, DE and the mission trips with whom I’ve shared my heart and so many beautiful memories.

The Celebration brought up a whole spectrum of feelings and thoughts, many of which had already been scurrying through my heart and mind this whole past month. Most of them are deeply personal, but I did want to express some of them with y’all. Here goes…

Sig was my spiritual and chiropractic mentor, as he was for many of you. For about 12 years he was also my close friend, my traveling and drinking buddy (mostly coffee, but there were also some memorable tequila episodes…), and, I suppose one could say, my left-hand man (since I was his right-hand man at the Gathering and in the Systems). Because of that, I can confirm that his deepest and truest desire was for all of us to live and serve abundantly, to become maximum expressions of Innate, to become maximum expressions of Love.

This (finally) brings me to the point. Without question, Sig had amazing gifts. His capacity to love, his wisdom, his sense of humor, his dedication to the principle and to us, his non-attachment to things that don’t really make any difference, his tireless energy; I and many of you have worked to emulate some of these qualities. I just want to remind us that his message was pretty simple and pretty consistent over the many years that we heard it, and it’s time for us to embody it and to live it from the inside out, now that he’s no longer around to provide it for us from the outside in.

Our current situation reminds me of Jesus and the disciples. For 3 years Jesus modeled and taught a simple message, but the disciples never fully “got it” until after Jesus’ death, when the “holy Spirit” descended upon them and finished the job that Jesus started. That’s when they finally “shook the dust off their sandals” and reached their potential. Sig modeled and taught his simple message for 48 years. Can we now finally “get it?” Can we let Innate finish the job Sig started? Can we see Sig not so much as the exception but more as an example of what is possible for all of us? Can we find the things we loved and admired about him within ourselves? Can we bring those things out as boldly and beautifully as he did? It seems time we found out.

In almost every conceivable way, Sig was no different from you and me. He was human and he had his issues. There were a few occasions when Hillary and I threatened to lock him in a closet and force him to listen to his own tapes! But perhaps the greatest difference between him and us is that he didn’t let those issues get in the way. From the time many years ago when a guy came into his office trying to sell him an ultrasound machine and Sig, just to get rid of the guy, said, “I don’t have time for that, I’m seeing 80 people a day”, he held a crystal clear vision and spent the majority of his time focused on it. He put his attention more on what he wanted than on what he didn’t want. He put his energy into unfolding his vision and expressing his gifts rather than into all the reasons why he couldn’t or didn’t deserve to. He spent the majority of his moments on the Red Road of life, not wondering how he was going to get there.

Speaking of the Red Road, at the Celebration this past weekend, we were all given a small poster of his picture with the words, “I’ll see you on the Red Road of life”, which was essentially how he ended many of his talks. I think it’s important to mention that he usually didn’t say that precisely; he more often said, “If we are to meet again, it will be on the red road of life, because that’s where I’ll be.” For Native Americans, the Red Road (the loving, abundant, peaceful, spiritual road, as opposed to the Black Road of lack, limitation, greed and ego) wasn’t someplace they walked after they died, it was a place in their consciousness that they could access in each moment. Walking the Red Road was a conscious intention to live according to the ways of the Creator. Sig was reminding us that in each moment, we walked on either the Red Road or the Black through our thoughts, our attention, and our choices.

Every time I choose to get quiet, go within and focus on what is eternal and true, I walk the Red Road. Every time I choose love over fear, faith over appearances, or abundance over lack; every time I choose Spirit over ego, I walk the Red Road. And every time I do, I see Sig. I hear him. I feel him. I am with him on the Red Road, and I experience him just as powerfully as I did when I was in his bodily presence.

It is extremely difficult to envision my life, chiropractic and the world without Sigafoose in them. And, while we’re grieving over this great loss, let’s take what we’ve gained through his immense impact and walk the Red Road in more and more of our moments. I’ll see you there! I love you all.

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Don’t Should on Me

Years ago I heard a speaker say, “Never ever ‘should’ on yourself or others.” Hillary and I have both used that expression a lot ever since, but recently I have noticed that the word still shows up quite often in my vocabulary. Indeed, last week Hillary mentioned something she should do, and I very wisely (and nauseatingly) observed, “There are no shoulds; only choices and consequences.” Hillary re-phrased her statement in a more empowering way and I emphatically responded, “Well, that’s how you should say it!” We looked at each other for a split second and then simultaneously burst out laughing. It is a challenge to speak English and not use that word!

Since then I’ve had my ears tuned (they sound much better now) for the word and it’s amazing not only how often it comes up but also in how many ways. It’s also amazing how judgmental and disempowering the word often is, and how when we use it, we almost always really mean something else. In paying attention to the word, I’ve noticed that as soon as it’s used, it’s as if all the air gets immediately sucked out of the room, assuming it’s said in a room.

Shoulds are so ubiquitous and so deleterious to our spiritual unfolding that I plan to write my next book about them. I’ll lay out a general overview in this post and get more specific about some of the examples below in the next few posts.

Sometimes it’s pretty innocuous, such as in, “I should be home by 11” or “This should do the trick.” In those cases, we’re making a statement about what we expect, and it’s no big deal. Unfortunately, that’s not all we use it for.

We should on ourselves when we believe we’re not measuring up in some way, as in “I should be richer (happier, thinner, smarter, more enlightened).” My gosh, it’s one thing to acknowledge areas in which we might choose to grow or improve and another to judge ourselves for these “imperfections!” I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a single time I even thought about self-growth or self-improvement while I was in a place of shame or blame or guilt or negative self-judgment. This is perhaps the shoulding that is most detrimental to our self-worth.

We also should on ourselves in regards to our choices; both those we’ve already made and those we’ve yet to make. The former goes something like this: “I shouldn’t have done this; I should have done that instead.” Yikes. Not only is this type of shoulding judgmental and disempowering, it has us living in the past. And, while we’re busy complaining or being resentful about the choice we’ve made, it stops us from doing what we can to make that choice work.

When we’re faced with a choice, “I should do ___” is just plain not helpful. What are we basing that should on? Usually, it’s based on what society might dictate, or what our mother might say, or what others might expect of us. Even if it’s the choice we’d prefer to make based on our core values and intentions, why say “should?” My ego, the spoiled teenager that it is, hears that I should do something and tends to want to do exactly the opposite!

The root of the word should means “to be under an obligation.” Do I have a greater obligation than to be true to myself? Is there a better criteria for my choices than my own core values, which tend to create win-win situations for all involved? When I say I should do something, it tends to rule out all other possibilities, as if I don’t have a choice. So in all the above cases of shoulding on myself, I’m working on replacing “I should” with “I choose.”

Finally, I do a great deal of shoulding on others as well. “He/She/They/The world should____ (be more grateful or more considerate or more like me, know better, give him or medal, string him up, not be so _____, etc.). Talk about judgmental! Once I have shoulded on you, it’s an inevitable and easy step to go ahead and judge you, blame you, impose my reality upon you and attempt to fix you. As with all cases of should-itis, these shoulds keep me in my head, they solidify the veil of separation between us and they effectively prevent me from loving you.

When I should on myself or on you, it’s a quick ticket out of my heart. Perhaps there really are no shoulds; only choices and consequences. So it behooves me to pay attention to when it comes out of my mouth (or better yet, to when it’s about to come out of my mouth) and change it to “I choose.” That’s what I’m focusing on lately, and I invite you to join me. I’m also focusing on lovingly reminding people when I hear them use the word that perhaps they’d choose to rephrase their statement. And, most of the time, I’ve remembered to not say, “You shouldn’t say should!”

And if that’s all we remember, that’s more than enough for now.

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The Angel in the Marble

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Rome was seeing some of Michelangelo’s sculptures (gawking at his frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel wasn’t too shabby either, though definitely tough on the neck…they ought to have chaise lounges in there). I had seen his Pieta once before when I was 8 years old at the World’s Fair in New York City, albeit briefly, as the throngs of people passed by it on a moving platform. I recall vividly being moved to tears in those short moments by the energy, the emotion and the real-ness of it; I remember being convinced that Jesus was going to slide right out of Mary’s lap in any moment. It was no less amazing and moving this time around, almost 40 years later.

I love what Michelangelo said about one of his sculptures: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” For me, this is a beautiful metaphor for our individual spiritual unfolding. We recognize that our original goodness, our true essence, is still present and active in the core of our being, and our work is to carve and chisel away at everything we’ve layered on top of it. This is the purpose of our spiritual practices. So we learn to forgive, to let go of patterns of thinking that limit us and lead to suffering, to release guilt and worry and judgment and the need to be right and the tendencies to take things personally and to sweat the small stuff. Essentially, we learn to stop thinking, speaking and acting as if our deepest beliefs weren’t true; we learn to stop being who we are not.

Michelangelo took up to 4 years to complete a sculpture; for you and I, uncovering “the angel” seems to take considerably longer. One of the reasons for this, I believe, is that you and I tend to get attached to some of our stuff. We carve off pieces of marble and then pick them up off the floor and stick them right back on. Michelangelo never had to deal with that!

I’ve done a lot of release work in my life and I’ve often noticed that some of the things I’ve released keep showing up like unwanted relatives or recurring bad dreams. This noticing used to lead to a lot of angst and self-abuse. I see now that part of the reason they kept returning and blocking the emergence of the angel that I am was all the mental gymnastics I engaged in when they did reappear. “I should know better.” “Why is this happening?” “Who’s to blame?” “I’ve been working on this issue for 25 years…what’s wrong with me?” When I do this (and I still do sometimes) I just get more attached, I just give the issues more power. I just make them more a part of my very identity. No wonder they love to hang around and jump back on!

Now, whenever I notice something show up that I’d previously released, I just release it again. I am learning to do this with less and less self-judgment, self-pity and resistance. I just acknowledge the familiar scrap of marble, and let it fall back down to the floor. Sometimes, I gently flick it off my arm as I might do with a tiny bug. This always leaves me feeling very empowered because I’m establishing where the power truly is—within me.

I’ve become convinced that release is not something we do once. It’s a moment-to-moment, ongoing process. Indeed, all of life is a process of releasing who we are not. It’s a moment-to-moment, ongoing process to remember who we are. I intend to keep that in mind and to keep on flicking. As I’ve done this, I’ve noticed that I may still have some of the same issues I had 25 years ago, but I have released a lot of my seriousness about them, my hatred of them, my self-criticism over them, my shoulds and yeah buts around them, and my identification with them. I have indeed left more marble on the floor than I used to think, and I know that my angel is emerging more and more and more.

So happy flicking!

And if that’s all we remember, that’s more than enough for now…

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