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


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

If you have an idea
OPEN it.

If there is longing

If there is mission

If there is daring
DO it.

If there is love

If there is resource
USE it.

If there is abundance

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.


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.

February 4, 2011

Personal Power

Lao Tzu, famous Chinese philosopher living over 2500 years ago, stated that the biggest problem in the world is that individuals experience themselves as powerless. Powerless individuals feel helpless, negative, lethargic, frustrated, resentful, and often live in fear, enslaved by circumstances they perceive as beyond their control.

The opposite of powerless is an inner awareness, an internal state of being , referred to as "personal power" in the emotional intelligence field.

People with a highly developed sense of personal power have a quiet self-confidence that they can set the direction of their lives, and they do. They are able to distinguish among circumstances over which they have some control and those they do not. They define themselves from the inside out (for example, their internal self-talk includes messages like "I am a capable person, I can manage this setback, I'm good at managing conflict, I'm creative")

The biggest barrier to success in almost any endeavor is powerlessness, negativity, helplessness and inertia. Mahatma Gandhi had no army, never held or accepted political office, never used violence. He was a small, frail man, yet he defeated the armed might of the British Empire, driving the British out of India without firing a single shot! ** Laura Besten**

It's possible to gain personal power through doing a lot of reading and applying (practice, practice, practice!) learned principles to daily life. Most of us, however, benefit greatly from working with a coach....better, yet, a series of coaches throughout one's life. This person might be a coaching professional or it could be simply a person who inspires you and is willing to share his/her knowledge with you.

February 3, 2011

How Do You Want To Feel?

How do you want to feel today? You can create whatever feeling you choose, with your actions.

Your feelings are not imposed on you from the outside. They occur because you exercise strategies to make them occur. Yes, some of those strategies may include the way you choose to respond to events beyond your control. Yet it is the response, the chosen response within you, that creates the feeling, not the outside situation.

So how exactly do you wish to feel today? Then act like it. The actions you take will create the feelings you seek. If you want to feel happy, and empowered, and fulfilled, then go through the physical motions of being happy, empowered and fulfilled. It really is as simple as that. When you act like it, you are. (Ralph Marston) -