I’ve been thinking a lot about alignment lately.
Recently a spate of clients have been asking about the difference between alignment in general and an alignment practice. Questions have come up like, What if my alignment practice stops working? Do I have to have a so-called practice to get in alignment? Isn’t relying on coffee for alignment bound to create a problem if the coffee isn’t there?
These coaching conversations have me thinking about different facets of alignment.
So let’s start with why alignment is important.
“We want to point out the great value in your being happy. You are like magnets, and the way you feel is your point of attraction.” —Abraham
The way you feel is your point of attraction. The way you feel is what’s attracting circumstances and conditions, people and events, situations and things that match up because they are a similar frequency.
That’s why alignment is so important. Your alignment—or your misalignment—is attracting.
“And so, if you are feeling unhappy, if you are giving thought to that which you do not want (which is what would be bringing forth the feeling of unhappiness), then you are attracting more of what you do not want.” —Abraham
Obviously you want to be a magnet for what you do want rather than attract what you do not want.
Alignment is going to be the difference in which kind of magnet you are.
“There is great value in being happy, because only from the point of being happy can you attract that which you want….As you notice that you are, in this moment, happy, take the time to identify what things are present that may be affecting your happiness.” —Abraham
Abraham refers to these as touchstones.
For some, listening to music is a touchstone—again, that’s something that affects your happiness in a positive way. For others, it’s petting their cat or reading a book or going for a run. It could be experimenting with a new recipe, taking a walk, or writing in your journal. A touchstone could be calling a friend who is uplifting or scrapbooking or meditating.
Your touchstones are different than my touchstones. And your touchstones will vary over time.
“It is of value to find many touchstones to use to uplift yourself so that you may always use another approach to bring forth that feeling of happiness. Take notice of that which uplifts you and remember it, and then, when you specifically want to feel uplifted, use that as a touchstone to your happiness.” —Abraham
These touchstones are elements of an alignment practice.
My own alignment practice has all these options—these touchstones—available to me. All these activities and things that have been present and affected my happiness. All these activities and things that have uplifted me in the past.
And so I take notice of that which uplifts me and I remember it. For instance, here’s one I noticed the other day.
I’ve become an avid knitter over the past year, and I discovered that Icelandic wool makes me ridiculously happy. I don’t really know why. And it doesn’t really matter.
I just know if you handed me a skein of Icelandic wool right now I would be positively giddy. I would so enjoy the experience of looking at that wool, touching it, and working with it.
Icelandic wool is a touchstone. Icelandic wool is something that gets me in alignment.
Now, here’s the thing: Tomorrow, maybe Icelandic wool doesn’t get me in alignment. Or perhaps I’ll never encounter Icelandic wool again. No matter.
Because there are plenty of other touchstones available to me. There are oodles of other things that can be part of my alignment practice.
Taking photos of the sunrise is a touchstone, as is the cat-cow pose on my yoga mat. I’ve discovered organizing a closet or drawer is a touchstone as well as mincing pickled ginger. Who knew!
My point is: I don’t have to be overly tied to any one touchstone.
I’m not beholden for my alignment to any one thing. That’s the beauty. These touchstones can be very fluid and flexible.
Which is why it’s nice to have many touchstones you’ve noticed and identified. That way you have a plentiful treasure chest of alignment practices, of these little boosts to your happiness. Of touchstones to your happiness.
There is a lightness to this approach that some miss out on when they come up with an alignment routine that consists of X, Y, and Z. Especially when that routine is rigid—as is often the case with a routine.
As in: My alignment routine is X, Y, and Z every day. It’s always X, Y, or Z. These things got me in alignment once, so I must always do them and they must continue to always get me in alignment. I will stick to the routine no matter what.
Yikes! Can you say misalignment? Because what I’m describing is inviting friction—as routines often do.
With a rigid routine, there’s no trust in yourself to follow the alignment. To notice what is in alignment today and go there. To trust you have many touchstones available to you, and can choose the one or ones that are an uplift today—in this present moment.
I don’t know what will get me in alignment tomorrow, and I don’t have to.
I know I have many touchstones in my treasure chest of alignment practices. I also know I’m open to discovering new touchstones.
I trust myself in the moment to intuitively pick and follow what feels good. What feels good is the ultimate touchstone.
Moving on, I want to answer the four questions I mentioned at the beginning of this post—in case you have one of these questions on your mind, too. You’ll remember, these four questions about alignment frequently come up in coaching sessions.
Is there a difference between alignment and an alignment practice?
Yes and no. Alignment is feeling good. An alignment practice is a shortcut, if you will, to get there, to get to that feeling-good place.
You might feel good because you are really happy to be having lunch and laughing with a much adored friend. That is alignment. You could also be in alignment because you are choosing to think thoughts that feel good about an upcoming visit to the dentist or doing your taxes or cleaning out the basement.
Bottom line: Alignment is feeling good and an alignment practice uses touchstones to uplift, to feel good, to bring forth that feeling of happiness.
What if your alignment practice stops working?
When you pay attention to what feels good, what uplifts you, what sparks happiness, you can start to build up your treasure chest of these touchstones. It’s not a limited supply. You can always be adding more.
So an alignment practice really never stops working. Yes, a certain specific thing may not bring you joy, but that doesn’t mean the practice of following what feels good stops working.
Alignment routines, on the other, often do stop working. By that I mean if you decide I’m going to do these three things each and every day to get in alignment, don’t be too surprised if one day you find you are feeling friction instead of feeling good.
I always say be disciplined about getting in alignment, but not disciplined about a specific alignment routine. Be light about your touchstones, knowing they may change over time, trusting uplift is always available if you’re open and curious.
Do you have to have a “practice” to get in alignment?
It certainly doesn’t matter if you call what you are doing a practice or not.
The point is you want to be a magnet for what you want. You want your point of attraction to attract what you are wanting.
Feeling good is the way you do that. Alignment is the way you do that.
I would make alignment your priority. In other words, make feeling good your #1 priority—that is the practice you are looking for. That is the practice that matters when it comes to your point of attraction.
Isn’t relying on coffee for alignment bound to create a problem if the coffee isn’t there?
Yes, this is actually a question that comes up with clients. I imagine it’s because I’ve so often mentioned my morning cup of coffee with heavy cream as part of my daily alignment practice.
Clients have asked, But aren’t you relying on that circumstance to feel good. I thought circumstances were neutral. Aren’t you using the circumstance of the cup of coffee as a reason to feel good?
Here’s the nuance, the distinction I want to make. I’m not relying on that circumstance of the cup of coffee to feel good. I’m not depending on it to feel good. Another way to say that: My feeling good is not conditional on that cup of coffee.
Yes, that amazing and delightful cup of coffee each morning is one of my touchstones, for sure. It uplifts me. It is a touchstone to my happiness.
But it’s one of many. And so if the coffee isn’t available tomorrow—or even ever again—I’m not going to make that mean I can’t be happy. My happiness is not conditional on that coffee, on that circumstance.
If the coffee is unable available, I’m simply going to turn to other touchstones. I’m going to find my alignment elsewhere.
Yes, I love the coffee. Yes, I want the coffee. And…yes, I can be just as happy and just as in alignment tomorrow morning if there is none. That’s the key. To know what boosts your happiness without being dependent on those things.
That might seem like a very fine line, but there is, indeed a difference. Letting things enhance you versus needing the thing to be OK. Enjoying something versus having to have it to be happy.
Now, you could be thinking what’s the big deal? It’s just a cup of coffee.
As with almost any example I share on the show, I encourage you to not get bogged down in the specifics.
In fact, you could replace my coffee example with one of your touchstones, noticing and embracing that your happiness isn’t conditional on that touchstone—rather, whatever your touchstone is simply enhances you and boosts your happiness.
As I said at the outset, I’ve been thinking a lot about alignment. I would love for you to think about alignment too.
As in, what are your touchstones when it comes to alignment? What’s in your alignment treasure chest? What collection of activities and things boost your happiness?
If you don’t know or can only think of one or two, then start noticing. Start collecting, so to speak, your touchstones.
As Abraham says, “take the time to identify what things are present that may be affecting your happiness.” Start noticing so you can create your own treasure trove of touchstones.
And then, of course, make use of them. Uplift yourself with your touchstones. Use your touchstones to get in alignment. Use your touchstones as a boost to your happiness.