September 13, 2011

Question 5: Can I be alone?

All of our great traditions, religious, contemplative and artistic, say that you must a learn how to be alone—and have a relationship with silence. It is difficult, but it can start with just the tiniest quiet moment.

Being quiet in the midst of a frenetic life is like picking up a new instrument. If you've never played the violin and you try to play it for the first time, every muscle in your body hurts. Your neck hurts, you don't know how to hold that awkward wavy thing called a bow, you can't get your knuckles round to touch the strings, you can't even find where the notes are, you are just trying to get your stance right. Then you come back to it again, and again, and suddenly you can make a single buzzy note. The time after that, you can make a clearer note. No one, not even you, wants to listen to you at first. But one day, there is a beautiful succession of notes and, yes, you have played a brief, gifted, much appreciated passage of music.

This is also true for the silence inside you; you may not want to confront it at first. But a long way down the road, when you inhabit a space fully, you no longer feel awkward and lonely. Silence turns, in effect, into its opposite, so it becomes not only a place to be alone but also a place that's an invitation to others to join you, to want to know who's there, in the quiet.

Question 4, The Temple of Aloness

That temple was the house I moved into after the end of a chapter in my life. There I would live alone, but also with my son a good deal of the time. It was a new start. There was a great deal of grief in letting go of the old, but I was so very excited about my new home. I felt that even though it was such a small house and an old house, it had endless new horizons for me, as if the rest of my life was just beginning from that place. It is important to have the equivalent of this house at every crucial stage in our lives. Where do you have that feeling of home? Do you have it in your apartment? Do you have it when you walk along the lakeshore or the seashore? Where do you have that sense of spaciousness with the horizon and with your future?

Gaston Bachelard, a French philosopher, said that one of the beautiful things about a home is that it is a place where you can dream about your future, and that a good home protects your dreams; it is a place where you feel sheltered enough to risk yourself in the world.

September 9, 2011

Question 3

3) Am I harvesting from this year's season of life? "Youth is wasted on the young" is the old saying. But it might also be said that midlife is wasted on those in their 50s and eldership is very often wasted on the old.

Most people, I believe, are living four or five years behind the curve of their own transformation. I see it all the time, in my own life and others. The temptation is to stay in a place where we were previously comfortable, making it difficult to move to the frontier that we're actually on now.


People usually only come to this frontier when they have had a terrible loss in their life or they've been fired or some other trauma breaks open their story. Then they can't tell that story any more. But having spent so much time away from what is real, they hit present reality with such impact that they break apart on contact with the true circumstance. So the trick is to catch up with the conversation and stay with it —where am I now?—and not let ourselves become abstracted from what is actually occurring around us.

If you were a farmer, and you tried to harvest what belonged to the previous season, you'd exhaust yourself trying to bring it in when it's no longer there. Or attempting to gather fruit too early, too hard or too late and too ripe. A person must understand the conversation happening around them as early in the process as possible and then stay with it until it bears fruit.



August 29, 2011

Important Questions, (2)

2) What can I be wholehearted about?

So many of us aren't sure what we're meant to do. We wonder if we're simply doing what others are doing because we feel we don't have enough ideas or even enough strength of our own.

There was a time, many years ago, working at a nonprofit organization, trying to fix the world and finding the world didn't want to be fixed as quickly as I'd like, that I found myself exhausted, stressed and finally, after one particularly hard day, at the end of my tether, I went home and saw a bottle of fine red wine I had left out on the table that morning before I left. No, I did not drink it immediately, though I was tempted, but it reminded me that I was to have a very special guest that evening.

That guest was an Austrian friend, a Benedictine monk, Brother David Steindl-Rast, the nearest thing I had to a really wise person in my life at that time or at any time since. We would read German poetry together—he would translate the original text, I read the translations, all the while drinking the red wine. But I had my day on my mind, and the mind-numbing tiredness I was experiencing at work. I said suddenly, out of nowhere, almost beseechingly, "Brother David, speak to me of exhaustion. Tell me about exhaustion."

And then he said a life-changing thing. "You know," he said, "the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest."

"What is it then?"

"The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness. You're so exhausted because you can't be wholehearted at what you're doing...because your real conversation with life is through poetry."

It was just the beginning of a long road that was to take my real work out into the world, but it was a beginning.

What do I care most about—in my vocation, in my family life, in my heart and mind?


August 23, 2011

Important Questions

1) Do I know how to have real conversation?

A real conversation always contains an invitation. You are inviting another person to reveal herself or himself to you, to tell you who they are or what they want. To do this requires vulnerability. Now we tend to think that vulnerability is associated with weakness, but there's a kind of robust vulnerability that can create a certain form of strength and presence too.

There are many tough conversations, but one of the most difficult is between a parent and an adolescent daughter, partly because as a parent we are almost always attempting to relate to someone who is no longer there. The parent therefore usually tries to start the conversation by offering a perspective that the daughter finds not only out of date but also unhelpful; the daughter then replies by way of defense with something just a shade more unhelpful, and so the process continues. A year or so ago, I found myself in exactly this dynamic, my daughter's bedroom door slamming shut just as I was just about to say that last, deeply satisfying unhelpful thing.

But I caught myself and said, "David, this isn't a real conversation. How do you make this a real conversation?" I gave it the old 10-minute cooldown time, walked into the kitchen, made tea and put out a tray, and on the tray: a plate of cookies, a milk pitcher, a cup and a saucer. Then I knocked on her door and said in a very different, more invitational voice, "Come on, Charlotte, I've made tea. Let's go and have a talk."

As soon as I put the tray down and we had sat next to each other, almost by accident I happened to say exactly the right thing—I said, "Charlotte, tell me one thing you'd like me to stop doing as a father. And tell me one thing you'd like me to do more of." She suddenly gazed up at me with a lovely look in her eyes, one I knew from her very early infancy. She was engaged again because at last I was really inviting her to tell me was who she had become—not who she had been or who I wanted her to be—but who she was now. (David Whyte)

August 6, 2011

What's It All About?

What is it all about? To get things done? No! Because you do them, and you undo them, and you do them, and you undo them, and you do them, and you undo them... What is the point in all of it?

It is the thrill of the process along the way. Physical human minds keeps thinking, "We have to be going towards some end." And you kill each other by the millions trying to decide what is the appropriate end that you are all going toward. And we say: well, there's your flawed premise. Because there is no end that you're going toward. We are all on a perpetual cycle of joyous becoming. We will never get it done, ever, ever, ever, ever.

--- Abraham

August 2, 2011

Be Gentle....



Compacted, frozen pain energy is like a baby. As a mother does not address her fussing baby with nondual language, neither do we in the meeting with ourselves. You may know and understand a lot and be conscious, but these energies are not conscious.

You come into direct relationship with them. Direct but gentle, not piercing, not intrusive, not will-powering anything. Asking contracted energy what it needs is a lovely way of acknowledging its presence and becoming intimate with it. Everything that is not at rest wants to be acknowledged, to be received and bathed in gentleness and benevolence.

It calls for a major slowing down, to receive the old, repressed cries of pain that show up now as contractions, as bodily sensations.

The mind is conditioned to want results - the result in this case being the disappearance of the disturbance. It is very, very sweet to bypass this, allowing the body to have what it has for as long as it does. You may walk around for hours with disturbance but you can be nurturing and aware of your precious cargo. Mercy and opening.

As you become more relaxed with meeting energy in yourself, you find a natural extension of this happening with others. Pain energy in another is no different in any way from energy in your own system. It is all the same separated, totally impersonal energy seeking resolution, looking for Home. So you find yourself, if the situation is fitting, in direct, welcoming relationship with these balls of energy in another, bypassing the personality and issue and mechanisms of mind. A catalyst for the dissolution of pain in others, a totally organic movement of Love. *Mags Deane

July 10, 2011

Facing Issues




Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, and manifestations until we learn whatever it was to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves

July 5, 2011

Steps to Wholeness

by Deepak Chopra

1. Nourish your "light body." If you feed it with fresh energy every day, it will provide you with inspiration and guidance.

2. Turn entropy into evolution. With constant input from your soul, your mind can generate never ending creativity.

3. Commit yourself to deeper awareness. Ask for new vision, new beliefs, and a new sense of self every day.

4. Be generous of spirit. Generosity begins at the level of the soul, which never runs out of the two things totally necessary to life: energy and awareness.

5. Focus on relationships instead of consumption. Wholeness depends on relationships that are whole. You cannot be whole in isolation. As your soul sees you, you are connected to everything. To be connected means to be in relationship.

6. Relate to your body consciously. Every day, your body consciously tends to you, never losing focus. You can acknowledge this faithful service by consciously relating to your body in turn with trust, consideration, honesty, mutual cooperation and loving appreciation.

7. Embrace every day as a new world. There seems to be a gap between mind and body. Since the mind sets the body's agenda, if you win the tiny battles against routine, inertia, and boredom, this gap will close and every day will seem like a renewal.

8. Let the timeless be in charge of time. Your soul's frame of reference is timeless. Live from that timeless place. At your source all events are laid out with perfect timing. Time submits to your desire, not the other way around.

9. Feel the world instead of trying to understand it. The flow of life refuses to be analyzed. Yet you were designed with sensitive awareness that goes far beyond thinking. Instead of trying to understand the endlessly changing world, you can feel your way and trust those feelings. Only then will you know what is unfolding around you.

10. Seek after your own mystery. You must want wholeness as fervently as you want a job, house, car, and family. You must be willing to walk the path alone. The answer lies in seeking your own mystery, not a mystery handed to you by anyone else.

July 4, 2011

Friendship


Friendship is about reciprocal cherishing. It may come as a surprise that to be a good friend you might need to be able to receive loving care as well as give it. But this is the essence of friendship. If you look at what you and your good friends actually do for each other from this perspective, you can see how when you are able to indulge each other you open emotional doors. The knots of hurt, the grudges, dissolve.

You are receptive, responsive. So you have the feeling when you're with your friend that you are suddenly more able to express yourself, to relax, to breathe. It's like coming home to wishes that you were not able to feel, much less express. As one student wrote: "Talking with Isabelle after a painful evening, I felt free, content, lightweight."

You tell your friend, "You won't believe what happened today..." and this means, "You, as my friend, will help me figure out what happened today." This "you won't believe..." conversation is a crucial part of friendship; because it is the channel for relieving a diffuse "down" feeling we all have under our surfaces at times. Everyone has experienced some degree of depression, and at the bottom of that depression is our shock that our inborn expectation of cherishment has not been fulfilled. We are incredulous to find that our expectation could have been disappointed, whether it happened today or in the long ago past. "I do not believe that they treated me like that!" we say. Or "Oh my God, they were not there for me!" "My parents expected me to parent them!" "Why was I surprised...?"


Your friend is the one who can hear this cry of incredulity and comfort you. How? By being there, by letting you be a child asking for help. With your friend, you can revisit and work through your disappointments, get back in balance, restore your trust in people's goodness.

~Elizabeth Young-Bruehl~

June 29, 2011

Reflections



People you feel drawn to reflect your inner self back at you, and you act as a mirror for them as well.


When we look at other people, we see many of their qualities in innumerable and seemingly random combinations. However, the qualities that we see in the people around us are directly related to the traits that exist in us. “Like attracts like” is one of the spiritual laws of the universe. We attract individuals into our lives that mirror who we are. Those you feel drawn to reflect your inner self back at you, and you act as a mirror for them. Simply put, when you look at others, you will likely see what exists in you. When you see beauty, divinity, sweetness, or light in the soul of another, you are seeing the goodness that resides in your soul. When you see traits in others that evoke feelings of anger, annoyance, or hatred, you may be seeing reflected back at you those parts of yourself that you have disowned or do not like.

Because we are all mirrors for each other, looking at the people in your life can tell you a lot about yourself. Who you are can be laid bare to you through what you see in others. It is easy to see the traits you do not like in others. It is much more difficult to realize that you possess those same traits. Often, the habits, attitudes, and behaviors of others are closely linked to our unconscious and unresolved issues.

When you come into contact with someone you admire, search your soul for similarly admirable traits. Likewise, when you meet someone exhibiting traits that you dislike, accept that you are looking at your reflection. Looking at yourself through your perception of others can be a humbling and eye-opening experience. You can also cultivate in you the traits and behaviors that you do like. Be loving and respectful to all people, and you will attract individuals that will love and respect you back. Nurture compassion and empathy and let the goodness you see in others be your mirror. *Daily OM*

June 28, 2011

Life Is About Fun!


All is well, and you will never get it done.

Life is supposed to be fun.

No one is taking score of any kind, and if you will stop taking score so much, you will feel a whole lot better — and as you feel a whole lot better, more of the things that you want right now will flow to you. You will never be in a place where all of the things that you are wanting will be satisfied right now, or then you could be complete — and you never can be. This incomplete place that you stand is the best place that you could be.

You are right on track, right on schedule. Everything is unfolding perfectly. All is really well. Have fun. Have fun. Have fun!

--- Abraham

June 23, 2011

Enjoying the Ride




The flow of the universe moves through everything. It’s in the rocks that form, get pounded into dust, and are blown away, the sprouting of a summer flower born from a seed planted in the spring, the growth cycle that every human being goes through, and the current that takes us down our life’s paths. When we move with the flow, rather than resisting it, we are riding on the universal current that allows us to flow with life.

Many people live their lives struggling against this current. They try to use force or resistance to will their lives into happening the way they think it should. Others move with this flow like a sailor using the wind, trusting that the universe is taking them exactly where they need to be at all times. This flow is accessible to everyone because it moves through and around us.

We are always riding this flow. It’s just a matter of whether we are willing to go with it or resist it. Tapping into the flow is often a matter of letting go of the notion that we need to be in control at all times. The flow is always taking you where you need to go. It’s just a matter of deciding whether you plan on taking the ride or dragging your feet.

Learning to step into the flow can help you feel a connection to a force that is greater than you and is always there to support you. The decision to go with the flow can take courage because you are surrendering the notion that you need to do everything by yourself. Riding the flow of the universe can be effortless, exhilarating, and not like anything that you ever expected. When you are open to being in this flow, you open yourself to possibilities that exist beyond the grasp of your control.
(Daily OM)



June 8, 2011

Stop Self-Defeating Behaviors


Complaining about anything holds you in the place of refusing to receive the things you've been asking for.

Justifying about anything holds you in the place of refusing to let in the very things that you've been asking for.

Blaming someone holds you in the place of refusing to let in the things that you've been asking for.

Feeling guilty, feeling angry, it doesn't matter what you call it; it is a refusal, not a conscious one.

You're asking; you can't help but ask. The Universe is yielding; it must yield. ALLOW what you are asking for. ALLOW. *Abraham-Hicks*

June 4, 2011

Give Up Excuses!


People who have a built-in all-purpose excuse (middle child syndrome, wrong astrology sign, some slight at the hands of the system long ago) often end up failing--they have an excuse ready to go, so it's easier to back off when the going is rough.

Here's an alternative to the excuse-driven life: What happens if you relentlessly avoid looking for excuses at all?

Instead of seeking excuses, the successful project is filled with people who are obsessed with avoiding excuses. If you relentlessly work to avoid opportunities to use your ability to blame, you may never actually need to blame anyone. Seth Godin


Blaming is a waste of time. No one buys into it but you! And, while you are blaming circumstances or others, absolving yourself of responsibility, you are also giving away your power! You are throwing away your opportunity to learn from what went wrong and to do it differently the next time. You have no power...nor will you ever have....over others. Excuses only hold you back.

May 30, 2011

Really Busy?


Most of us judge how busy we are by how much we have to do. When there are too many things to do, we think we're busy, and when there isn't much to do, it feels like we're not busy at all. But in fact, we can feel busy when there isn't that much to do, and we can feel relaxed even when there's a lot going on.

The states of "busy" and "not busy" aren't defined by how many things there are to do. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as multitasking; the brain can tend to only one thing at a time.

Being too busy or not being busy is an interpretation of our activity. Busy-ness is a state of mind, not a fact. No matter how much or how little we're doing, we're always just doing what we're doing, simply living this one moment of our lives. –
Norman Fischer

May 28, 2011

How To Be With Others

The 25 traits below represent the ideal way to be with others. Consciously working on these for yourself is the spiritual practice doing onto others as you would have them do onto you. Those who possess these traits are liked by many simply because being this way gives energy to others. It is the practice of being loving, caring, giving and sharing which is all about the flow of energy.

It's quite a list. I suggest you take just one or two new traits to which to pay attention and practice every day. When these have become habit, then go on to another.


  1. Allow others to be just as they are.
  2. Give others the space to be and express themselves.
  3. Show them your gratitude.
  4. Be genuine, honest, open and loving.
  5. Show a genuine interest in them.
  6. Show them how unique they are.
  7. Speak your truth without the need to justify it.
  8. Allow others to speak their truth without judging them.
  9. Listen. You’re alone when you do all the talking.
  10. Don’t gossip about others. Talking highly of others is great but gossip is an energy drainer.
  11. Give others the benefit of doubt – Everyone is human. Things are not always what they seem.
  12. Give others space when they need it. Everyone needs their own space at times to refocus.
  13. Consider their feelings.
  14. Allow others to make their own decisions.
  15. Allow your encounter to be just as it is without needing it to be different.
  16. Be the same person with everyone.
  17. Give them energy by sharing your excitement and passion for life.
  18. Let them know how they bring something special to your life.
  19. Be yourself.
  20. Ask others for their honest opinion.
  21. Resolve problems together.
  22. Spend quality time with them. When you are there, be fully present.
  23. Share an experience. Do something that you both have never done before.
  24. Be playful, laugh and have fun. Stop being so serious. Being too serious is an energy drainer.
  25. And most importantly, Know when to walk away from someone who is draining your energy on purpose. Its one thing to help someone in need and another to be abused by energy suckers. I’m sure you have already met someone who continuously drains you

May 24, 2011

Easy Does It


Be easy about this. Be playful about it. Don't work so hard at it. Let your dominant intent to be to feel good, and if you don't feel good, then let your dominant intent be to feel relief.

Feel your way through it. If you think your way through it, you can get off on all kinds of tangents. If you feel your way through it, you can come quickly to your Core Energy, and when you do that only good can then flow to you.

*Abraham-Hicks*

May 18, 2011

Stillness



If a response is required in a situation, focus within and feel the inner body. You will immediately become still and present as you withdraw consciousness from your mind, and the answer or action will come up from this deeper level.

Stillness is your essential nature. When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.
*Eckhart Tolle*


Sitting for a few minutes in a Whole Brain Posture, hands crossed at the wrists, feet flat on the floor and crossed at the ankles, is a very easy and efficient way to achieve this "stillness".

May 16, 2011

Prevent Erosion of the Body




We all have seen people whose outlook and body defied their chronological age. Like most of us, you have probably assumed that they had just been lucky in the genes they inherited. But, there's more to this.

Deepak Chopra offers some excellent advice on aging, and especially on preventing what he sees as optional erosion of the body.

Invisible factors of erosion and aging

1. Unpredictability -- Random events disrupt your body's rhythms.

2. Disorder, confusion -- A breakdown of external order leads to inner disorder.

3. Accidents -- Mistakes in your life lead to mistake in your body.

4. Trauma, sickness -- When wounded, your body loses track of time.

5. Violence -- When attacked, your body's timing is shattered.

6. Chaos -- When all sense of order is destroyed, your body cannot manage time at all.


Making Time Your Ally

1. Keep regular hours, eat and sleep on a regular schedule.

2. Avoid drastic changes in diet and activity.

3. Set up an orderly work environment. Reduce distractions.

4. Rest quietly once to twice during the day to let our body retune itself.

5. Take yourself out of stressful situations sooner rather than later.

6. Take your time; don't rush.

7. Make decisions when they arise. Don't procrastinate or get distracted.

8. Protect yourself , avoid the temptation to plunge into high-risk situations.

9. Put your house and finances in order.

10. Address underlying anxiety and underlying anger. Learn to do this without losing control or hurting others.

11. Become more resilient emotionally.

12. Live as if you have all the time in the world.

May 13, 2011

Dealing With Irritation




There will always be factors and people that we cannot control; how we respond can determine the quality of our lives.

From a spiritual perspective, irritation can be an important teacher and indicator that we are making progress on our path.

I see feeling irritated as a sign of faulty thinking. We believe the irritating person "knows better" and is purposely annoying us. But, who are we to determine how another should behave? How is it that we think they should please us? It could be that WE are in error. Wouldn't it be better to be more accepting, and know that the behavior of others has nothing to do with US? Their behavior is their business, not ours to judge.

This goes against everything we have been taught, doesn't it? We are taught to please others, and so we believe others should please us...all the time. Wouldn't it be more workable to teach love?


May 8, 2011

Regarding Constant Improving















No one imagines that symphony is supposed to improve as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.

May 3, 2011

Looking for Answers



When you realize that you always have the answers within yourself, you can stop searching outside of yourself.


When we get quiet enough to tune into our hearts, we always know what we want and what action to take. We just have to tune out all those voices of the past which may have led us to doubt ourselves.

April 28, 2011

On Being Good Enough






Recently I read an article by Pema Chodron in which she says that our behavior is due to fear...the nameless fear we cannot name and scurry to cover up with overeating, overshopping, overtalking, overworking, and drinking/drugging. She says, and it rings true for me, "The basis of fear is not trusting yourself, not loving yourself. In a nutshell, you feel bad about who you are."

Our conscious mind does well with a constant positive "feed". With this in mind, I share my favorite quotes about the goodness of being you.

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Dr. Seuss

Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else's life.
Kobi Yamada

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
e.e. cummings

Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.
Shakti Gawain

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.
Fran├žois Duc de La Rochefoucauld

You were born an original. Don't die a copy.
John Mason

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
Oscar Wilde

Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live our life trying to satisfy other people's demands. We have learned to live by other people's points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else.
Don Miguel Ruiz

April 24, 2011

Resistance


Resistance is something which never ceases to amaze me. Work with clients becomes difficult until the resistance to change is worked through...and sometimes, the client bolts before that is accomplished.

I find it no less amazing in myself! I have given up understanding it, and am not practicing acceptance of it, which, I think, is a necessary step in the process of working through it.

If you've experienced breakthrough from resistance (to a situation, to change, to a task etc.) full acceptance, you know what incredible relief that brings. It's as if the sky has cleared after a many dark and gloomy days.

The only thing that ever makes you tired or bogs you down is RESISTANCE.

**Abraham-Hicks**

April 19, 2011

The Art of Apology

No one likes apologizing. And, yet, we feel good once we've done it!

How to Apologize
Apologizing is rarely comfortable or easy, so if you're going to do it at all, make it count. Aaron Lazare, MD, a psychiatrist and dean of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has spent years studying acts of contrition in every context, from interpersonal to international. He has found that, to be effective, most apologies need to contain the following elements:

1. Full acknowledgment of the offense. Start by describing exactly what you did wrong, without avoiding the worst truths. Once the facts are out, acknowledge that your behavior violated a moral code. It doesn't matter whether you and the person you've hurt shares the same ethics: If you've broken your own rules, you're in the wrong. Accept responsibility.

2. An explanation. A truthful explanation is your best shot at rebuilding a strong, peaceful relationship. The core-deep explanation for your behavior is your key to changing for the better. Explanations help you and your victim understand why you misbehaved and assure both of you that the offense won't recur. Excuses merely deflect responsibility. Leave them out of your apology.

3. Genuine expression of remorse. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of the comment "I'm sorry you feel that way" knows the difference between sincere regret and an attempt to avoid responsibility for bad behavior. Few things are less likely to evoke forgiveness than apology without remorse.

4. Reparations for damage. An apology includes real repair work: not just saying "I'm sorry." Often there will be nothing tangible to repair; hearts and relationships are broken more often than physical objects. In such cases, your efforts should focus on restoring the other person's dignity. The question "What else do you want me to do?" can start this process. If you ask it sincerely, really listen to the answer and act on the other party's suggestions, you'll be honoring their feelings, perspective and experience. The knowledge that one is heard and valued has incredible healing power; it can mend even seemingly irreparable wounds.

April 13, 2011

Accepting What Is





None of us can make giant leaps from where we are. It takes time to learn to think new thoughts, and yet more time to integrate them. When I heard Byron Katie speaking about "loving what is" I understood the concept....for about a minute, and then that brief flash of light was gone. I've tried to find that comprehension again, and...so far....have been unable to achieve it.

Today, I was shown the way when I ran across the following quote which, for me, is a stepping stone in comprehending how to be at peace. Learning and growing is about small steps, not giant leaps.


"Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind
.... To be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all." — Buddha

Now, THIS I understand!:-)

April 11, 2011

Boosting Optimism




This is a classic optimism boosting exercise from Martin Seligman, PhD, the father of positive psychology. The goal, Seligman says, is to get you to stop thinking pessimistically, rather than teach you to start thinking optimistically (which rarely works). "This fix isn't instantaneous," he says. "But we've done studies on it involving thousands of subjects, and we know it's effective."

A. Name the adversity, or problem.
(For example: "I didn't get a call back after my job interview.")

B. List your beliefs.
These are your initial reactions to the problem. ("The interviewer saw right through me. I don't deserve that position. And he could probably tell I don't believe in myself. I'm sure the other applicants are smarter, younger, and more qualified than I am.")

C. Identify the consequences of your beliefs.
("I'm going to quit my job search so I don't have to suffer through this feeling of failure again.")

D. Formulate a disputation of your beliefs.
Pessimistic reactions are often overreactions, so start by correcting distorted thoughts. ("I probably didn't feel confident because that position wasn't the best fit. It's only a matter of time before I find an opportunity that's right for me. And now that I've had practice, I will be better prepared to present my best self.")

E. Describe how energized and empowered you feel now.
("I'm more motivated to keep looking for a job that makes me happy. I won't let fear stand in my way.")

Practice this exercise as often as possible, and when you can, take time to write out the ABCDEs. Eventually, the sequence will become a habitual thought process. Seligman found that his subjects were still using the technique four years after he taught it to them.

April 9, 2011

Turning Things Around



We are all Vibrational Beings. You're like a receiving mechanism that when you set your tuner to the station, you're going to hear what's playing. Whatever you are focused upon is the way you set your tuner, and when you focus there for as little as 17 seconds, you activate that vibration within you. Once you activate a vibration within you, Law of Attraction begins responding to that vibration, and you're off and running -- whether it's something wanted or unwanted. (Abraham-Hicks)

And, this is why when things are going awry, the quickest way to change them is to put our focus on that which makes us happy. It may not always be an easy thing to do, but it's well worth the effort. All that's necessary is to point ourselves in the right direction, even if it's only slightly better than where we are. Small steps. We just need to keep taking them.


April 6, 2011



Our lives are made of stepping stones, one experience after another in perfect and divine order.

The way we show up for our lives today and tomorrow has an enormous effect on who we will be and what we will be experiencing years from now. If we can remain fully engaged in the day at hand, enjoying all it has to offer and putting our energy into making the most of it, we will find that we are perfectly ready and capable to handle any future when it arrives. (based on the Daily OM)

Years ago, when working in a job not particularly suited to my skill-set, my mantra was "Suit up and show up!" It means being fully present and willing to do what the day brings up. The result is a relaxing of will while doing one's best. Today....what feels like centuries later....this concept is even more meaningful to me. I LIKE how my life works when I show up, ready to listen to and follow a higher guidance system.



April 3, 2011

Taking the High Road


When someone we trust treats us treats us shabbily, how we react is our choice. If our assessment of the situation tells us that peaceful discussion is not possible, we can either express our disappointment and anger, or take the high road by treated them the way we wish to have been treated.

We want to set good boundaries, and not be someone to walk over, but there are some people so addicted to drama and conflicts that it's impossible to reach an understanding with them. If it is not possible to reach an understanding in a kind sort of way, we need to respect ourselves enough to reevaluate whether the relationship is one we really want for ourselves. We are not ever going to change the other person!

Not feeling anger and hurt in such a situation requires having reached a rather high level of spiritual development, I think. If we are acting "as if" by taking the high road, we may have to suppress a lot of emotion in order to make that choice. If this emotion is not given a healthy outlet, it will "out" itself in other ways. Depression and physical illness are only some of these. I think taking the high road is a two step process. Taking care of ourselves means allowing ourselves to feel the emotions we chose to not express and finding a healthy outlet for them. Physical activity, finding a private space where one can scream, massage, or writing letters which we never mail....are examples of some healthy outlets. Find what works for you.

March 31, 2011

Do or Don't: Equally Important





Every action taken affects the whole as greatly as every action NOT taken.


Life is sculpted on a moment-to-moment basis. Every one of the thoughts we think, the words we speak, and the actions we take contributes to the complex quality and character of the universe’s unfolding. It simply is not possible to be alive without making an impact on the world that surrounds us.

When we neglect to recycle, speak up, vote, or help somebody in immediate need, we are denying ourselves the opportunity to be an agent for positive change. Instead, we are enabling a particular course to continue unchallenged, picking up speed even as it goes along.

By holding the belief that our actions don’t make much of a difference, we may find that we often tend to forego opportunities for involvement. Alternatively, if we see ourselves as important participants in an ever-evolving world, we may feel more inspired to contribute our unique perspective and gifts to a situation.

We affect the whole! What may seem to us as insignificant, our actions count. Whether it is remaining peaceful, offering a kind word to a friend, giving resources to people in need, or just taking responsibility for our own behavior....it all affects not only us but the greater whole. By doing what we can, when we can, we add positive energy to our world. And sometimes, it may be our one contribution that makes all the difference. (Based on The Daily OM)

March 28, 2011

Choosing Happiness





Some people seem to be born with sunny dispositions, and no matter what happens to them their glass always remains half full. Those of us who were not blessed with this perennial cheerful outlook can choose happiness.

I'm not referring to the type of fleeting happiness a financial windfall, an achievement, or a new coveted possession might bring. There is a deeper and sustaining happiness which depends completely on you. Simply put, don't do what makes you unhappy. Do what makes you happy. (If you find yourself arguing with what you have just read, ask if arguing makes you happy.:-)
Become aware of and take control of what you do.

Choices and Values Lead to Real Happiness (Deepak Chopra)
  • Meditation, which opens up deeper levels of the mind.
  • Actions that benefit others.
  • Social relationships that support intimacy and bonding.
  • Inspiration through reading the world's scriptures and poetry.
  • Taking enjoyment in natural beauty.
  • Having a vision of personal fulfillment that you follow every day.
  • Aiming for inner fulfillment rather than external fulfillment.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Taking time for peaceful reflection.
  • Learning to love your own company, cultivating the self as a state of being.
  • Eschewing violence and anger in all its forms, gross and subtle.
  • Resolving conflicts, both inner and outer, rather than letting them build up.
  • Paying one's debt to the past, which means healing old hurts and grievances.
  • Stepping away from group think and second-hand opinions.
  • Giving up a belief in enemies and us-versus-them thinking.
  • Cultivating kindness and compassion.
  • Being generous of spirit, learning to give.
  • Seeing yourself as part of a larger humanity, and humanity itself as an expression of the divine, despite our flaws.

March 27, 2011

The Know-It-All

Getting derailed is a normal part of life, especially so when tired or out of one's comfort zone. Knowing this enabled me to enjoy the incredible blessings of a Safari in spite of feeling off-center and hurt by some personal interactions.

Living happily requires tools and the skill to use them. I think most of us avoid that which we can, until we absolutely cannot any longer. I think that's a lot like not learning to drive a car and then when forced to drive in an emergency, winding up in a ditch. And, oh, how I wish I had known this years ago! :-)

But, it's never too late to learn skills. Specific relationships may end, but new ones follow and repeated behavior is never any less painful.

Overly simplified, but still excellent, is this from the Daily OM. If you have a Know-It-All in your life, the beginning is understanding:

A person that is a know-it-all is usually afraid of listening because it has become completely unfamiliar to listen.


Most of us have encountered a person in our lives who can accurately be referred to as a know-it-all. This person seems to know everything about anything that gets brought up and tends to dominate the conversation. They don’t take well to being questioned, and they have a hard time ever admitting that they were wrong.

Being around a know-it-all is inevitably tiring because there is no shared energy between the two of you. Rather, you become an audience member to this person’s need to be the center of attention. Attention and respect are probably the two things this person most longs for, and at some point in their lives, they learned that knowing it all was the way to get those needs met. Over time, they have become stuck in this pattern, regardless of the fact that it is no longer working. They may feel afraid of the experience of listening, being receptive, or learning something new, because it’s so unfamiliar.

On the one hand, when we see the childlike need underneath the know-it-all’s mask of confidence, we feel compassion for the person, and we may tolerate their one-sided approach to conversation out of a desire not to hurt their feelings. On the other hand, we may be feeling drained and tempted to avoid this person altogether.

In the middle of these two possible ways of feeling, we may actually like this person and wish for a closer relationship. If we come from a place of kindness, we might attempt to bridge the gap that this person’s habitual way of relating creates. Simply expressing a desire to be closer may open their heart, and give you a chance to ask for what you need in the relationship—a chance to contribute.

March 9, 2011

Oil For Your Lamp



Though we know that that it's important to take care of our families, our pets, homes, and possessions, many of us have forgotten that we require the same level of loving attention. The more our focus is on others, the more we are likely to have overlooked ourselves.

But, where are we to find the time? This is like asking how we will ever find the time to put gas in our cars!:-)

http://www.oilyourlamp.com/miami



(This blog will be on vacation until the beginning of April.)





March 8, 2011

Our Story


Your life begins the moment that you realize that you are not a product of what happens to you... that "what happens to you" is actually a product of what you personally create or accept from others as your own reality. Ingrid Vargas
Our story is what we tell ourselves and others, based on our own interpretation...the way we see things. If, for example, someone abused us verbally in the past, we can say that 1. We irritated people with our behavior, 2. There was much stress in our life, 3. We lived with a really bad person, 4. The person needed anger management....etc. etc. etc.....It's possible to have as many versions of the same happening as there are people. We choose our story.

Our happiness depends on how we choose to interpret what happens around us. Do your friends not enjoy talking with you or are they too busy to call you? In every case, you have a choice in the story you tell. Strive to tell a better one! :-)

David Krueger, MD has some good suggestions


Repeat: Are you repeating an old story hoping for a better outcome?

The software developed for past experiences shape current perception and processing. The brain perceives things in ways it has been trained to do. The challenge is twofold: we need regular software updates, much like our computer; we can only imagine within our current system.

Rationalize: Do you dismiss or compromise any aspect of your life story?

Warning signs include personal compromise, conflict with other people, limited success, unhappiness, or not being able to convert your talent into corresponding income.

Recognize: Are your needs, ideals, passion, and talents all going in the same direction?

If your life or business story is not satisfying, or if you haven't attained your objectives, look more closely: You are always reaching your goals, whether they are conscious or unconscious. It is helpful to know consciously and specifically what those goals are.

Reorganize: Do all the storylines fit and advance the plot of your life story?

Once becoming aware of active choice, you can decide what's in your best interest, what furthers your story. And what doesn't. Neuroscientist Gregory Berns examines the science of thinking differently—iconoclasts in particular—to emphasize how we need to put ourselves in new situations to see things differently and boost creativity.


SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR CREATIVE STIMULATION:
  • Be aware of the categories that you use for a person or idea - in order to go beyond or outside them.
  • Seek out environments in which you have no experience.
  • Bring together ideas from different disciplines.
  • Engage a Mentor or Coach to challenge new ways of looking at things.
  • PSYCH-K is an excellent technique with which to address unconscious beliefs.
  • Follow intuition and gut feelings: write them down.
  • Schedule an appointment with yourself to brainstorm: a stream of consciousness not bound by usual categories.

March 3, 2011

Crying, continued


People with a history of trauma have been found to cry more. It's not known whether this is because the individual revisits their trauma or whether the trauma affected the nervous system or emotional make-up...something akin to post traumatic stress disorder.

People often refer to a cry as a good cry and say they feel better afterward. In a study of Dutch women, it was found that women scored high on depression or anxiety measures, they were likely to feel worse after crying.

If you aren't a crier yourself, you might feel awkward, useless, or uncomfortable around those who cry. That's because when someone cries, it shows their vulnerability. Not everyone is comfortable with such intimacy.

So, how can you -- and how should you -- respond to a crier? Here are four tips:
  • Be aware that if you do nothing, you can make the crier feel worse.
  • Try to do something supportive. What that is depends on the situation and how well you know the person.
  • Don't assume you know how to comfort them. The less intimate the relationship, the more it is appropriate to begin by asking how you can help and be supportive.
Too many tears can make observers uncomfortable, but never crying may not be mentally healthy. British psychiatrist Henry Maudsley, says, "The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep."

February 27, 2011

Understanding Crying



The most common interpretations of crying are 'sadness' or 'manipulation'. But if that were true why are we so intensely uncomfortable with it?

Crying in public brings with it feelings of shame, and if we are the onlooker we are almost overwhelmed with confusion. Should we give comfort, be mad about the "inappropriateness", pretend we don't notice, or worry that the person is depressed? And, of course, as the onlooker, what we hate the most are our feelings of helplessness.

Crying does serve an emotional purpose, says Sideroff, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. "It's a release. There is a buildup of energy with feelings."

It can also be a survival mechanism, notes Jodi DeLuca, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Tampa General Hospital in Florida. ''When you cry," she says, "it's a signal you need to address something." Among other things, it may mean you are frustrated, overwhelmed or even just trying to get someone's attention.

Crying may also have a biochemical purpose, releasing stress hormones or toxins from the body. And, yes....crying may be manipulative, a way of getting what you want.

People also cry in response to something of beauty. The word "melting" is a good description. They are letting go of their guard, their defenses....tapping into a place deep within themselves.

(To be continued)






February 24, 2011

Lessons




Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. The purpose of denial is to protect us until we are strong enough to accept the lesson, but that is merely postponement.

It just keeps returning with new names, forms, and manifestations until we learn whatever it was to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.

February 19, 2011

Honesty--Always the Best Policy

Excuses may seem like rational reasons for us not to do something, but if we’re not careful we can allow them to keep us from reaching our goals. Too often we accept our excuses as reasons why we cannot accomplish what we set out to do, and instead of finding alternatives we give up.

Being honest with ourselves and taking responsibility for our choices helps us stay focused on our priorities and goals.

We may think it is kind to tell someone we are willing to do something with them, but then keep putting them off. This diverts our energy into keeping the truth at a distance while continuing a falsehood. But when we can take responsibility for our feelings and express them honestly, but gently, the other person is free to find someone who is better suited to accompany them while we are free to pursue the things we like. When we do this, our energy can be invested in building better lives and relationships.

There’s another way in which excuses rob us of energy—and that is in the power of our thoughts and words. If we find ourselves in a situation, for example, where we are being asked for a financial contribution but we use the excuse that we can’t afford it, we create and attract lack and limitation into our lives.

The same goes for seemingly simple things like pretending to not feel well. We may think that excuses make things easier, but they complicate matters with smokescreens. When we can commit to our priorities, take responsibility for our choices, and communicate them honestly to others, there will be no need to make excuses, and we will have much more energy to dedicate to all the things we love.

(Based on the Daily OM)

February 16, 2011

Life Begins When You Do


Life Begins When You Do
by Mary Anne Radmacher

Nearly everyone postpones one grand thing or a collection of mighty hopes and dreams.

Between the quote marks of our lives are phrases like these: "When things slow down...when I finish my degree...when I get certified...as I acquire a deeper knowledge base...when I have kids...when the kids are grown...when I get well...when I marry...when I divorce...when I retire...when I get that promotion, that raise, that job, that house, that whatever the fill-in-the blank is for your specific postponing of life..."

Your Life Begins When You Do.

You may think you are postponing the longing of your soul until life aligns itself with your vision, until elements conspire to be more favorable...but as it happens, life just lolls along at the same remarkable consistent and disinterested cadence. Life is impartial. YOUR personal, subjective life (dreams, satisfactions, contentment, achievements, vision, fullness, passion, aspirations) begins when you begin.

From my teens into adulthood, I said, "I want to be an artist." One day I changed the sentence to, "I am an artist." My view changed. Life began. I looked behind me and saw that I had been accidentally living as an artist. I had been laying down a path that was only now visible to eyes that had begun to see. Beginning my life as an artist made my heart's longing and the small, tentative labors of my hands - visible and tangible. I began by opening the door and simply believing that I could live my dream. I began living that dream by seeing that I could.

Your purpose, that thing that among the many to-dos of your days, is what you must do. Embrace the truth of your purpose each minute of your precious life...for how very true it is that life begins when you do.

If you would dream it
BEGIN it.

If you have an idea
OPEN it.

If there is longing
ACKNOWLEDGE it.

If there is mission
COMMIT it.

If there is daring
DO it.

If there is love
SPEAK it.

If there is resource
USE it.

If there is abundance
SHARE it.

February 13, 2011

What's Important?




This is one of the best videos I've seen. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

http://www.facebook.com/chaska.peacock#!/video/video.php?v=10150097776725097&comments

February 7, 2011

Appreciating Impermanence


I saw a cartoon in a recent New Yorker magazine in which two people were finishing their dinners at a Chinese restaurant and had just opened their fortune cookies. One fortune read, “You are going to die.”

If you let this fact sink in — that life is short, and we all die — it can actually act as a powerful motivating force to help maintain focus and priorities. Everything changes and is impermanent, so are we fully present and making the most of this fleeting moment? Are we fully aware of what we are doing? Appreciating impermanence clarifies priorities, and it helps us identify any frenetic, shallow and ineffective activities we’re being distracted by. We see clearly the things that exhaust us and distract us from experiencing the blessing and opportunity of each particular day.

In Zen practice it is often said that the span of our lives is like a dew drop on a leaf — beautiful, precious, and extremely short-lived. Life is remarkably unpredictable. Whatever you want to accomplish, whatever is important to you, do it, and do it now — with as much grace, intensity, and sense of ease as you can muster.

None of us knows what life will bring. In any moment everything we take for granted can change. We must be careful not to dwell on impermanence constantly, to the point that we become paralyzed with fear of loss, but we can use an awareness of change on a deep and wise level to focus our priorities and increase our appreciation of the sheer beauty of existence.


As life seems to be moving at an ever increasing pace, I believe it's important to schedule think/reflection time at the beginning or end of each day. This could be no more than silent, focused thoughtfulness over a cup of coffee, during a walk, or even while lying in bed.

In any case, commit to giving yourself this daily gift of a few moments to sit quietly and gather your thoughts. These can be some of the most pleasurable, precious, and practical moments of the day. They can help to reframe your focus and energy in unexpected ways.