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"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Those Habits of Yours: Do They Lead to Great Places?


We all have habits. We tend to think of them as consisting of things like biting our nails or twisting a curl of our hair around a finger while we sit and think, or swinging a leg back and forth as we speak on the phone, perhaps repeating the word well numerous times in our sentences, and so on. Of course we also have other habits such as exercising an hour each day, or drinking eight glasses of water, or meditating every morning, or singing in the shower.

But there are many other habits, and as long as you remain blind to them, you have much less of a chance of doing something about them in order to improve your life.

Some of those habits that you may not think of as habits are (and there are many others):
  • filling in a silence with unnecessary words just to fill it in
  • telling yourself you don't have time to exercise because you have so much work to do
  • smoking when you don't really want the cigarette
  • drinking a bit too much on the weekends, because that is what you do
  • not being observant as you walk down the street, with the resultant unawareness of the beauty around you
  • complaining
  • judging
  • always wanting more rather than finding joy in what you have
  • telling yourself that the reason you fly off the handle is because "I'm like that and I can't change anything about that"
All of these (and many other examples I am certain you can come up with yourself) are habits, as well as erroneous belief systems, laziness, unawareness, etc., but because we can also classify them as habits, it may mean that it will be easier for you to conceptualize changing them.

What a difference to your life if you only change the one that makes you aware of the beauty around you on a daily basis ... beauty that you are determined to find, no matter where you are, no matter what the season and no matter what the weather ... this is another step towards freedom, and you can go there simply by choosing to do so and then begin by consciously choosing to take a small step in that direction every day.

Image: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How Do You Define Failure?


What do you consider failure to be? Is it what occurs when you don't succeed in whatever you just tried? Let me ask you: how often have you tried? And: how many different ways of trying did you employ? Did you then stop? Think of a toddler learning how to walk. How often does he not fall? How often, therefore - in your way of looking at failure - has he failed?  And therefore should he now stop - as you do, when something doesn't work in your world? Should the toddler give up and label himself a failure due to not having managed to walk after several failed attempts at doing so?

You, of course, know that he should not stop, and you know this because almost all children (yourself - unless you were physically handicapped - included) learn in that very same way: trying, falling, trying, falling yet again, trying, and falling, until finally they hardly ever fall, having then quite successfully mastered the skill. They reached their goal. To get there, they tried, and tried, and tried again. At the beginning it might have been by holding on to tables, or conveniently placed women's legs, skirts, or men's pants, or a chair. They used every opportunity to help them become successful. They never stopped.

No Negative Self-Dialogue: One of the major reasons they never stopped is because they did not yet have some self-dialogue running in their heads like you do saying things such as:
  • You'll never manage to get there.
  • You're no good at this.
  • You never succeed at anything.
  • Why should you succeed at this, if you've never succeeded at anything else?
No Well-Meaning but Negative Friends: Another reason they never stopped is because they haven't yet made friends with any of those well-meaning people that probably populate your world, and that say things like:
  • That's way too hard
  • Do you have any idea how long it will take you to do that? 
  • Oh, I know a bunch of people who tried that and they just couldn't make it work. 
  • Do you have any idea what people will think if you do that?
A Large Group of Well-Meaning Supporters: Finally, perhaps the most important reason the toddlers never stopped trying is because they had a large group of well-meaning supporters surrounding them: parents and family, who encouraged them and cheered them on at every step (and fall) of the way.

It was Einstein who said: You never fail until you stop trying.  You too can get that negative self-dialogue out of your head, can stop paying attention (or even giving time) to those well-meaning but negative friends, and find some encouraging supporters to cheer you on as you try to once again take your next step (possibly for the 24th time).

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five Tips to Conquer Fear


What are you afraid of?
  • A down-sizing in your firm that you keep hearing rumors about in the cafeteria?
  • That stage 3 health diagnosis you were just given by your oncologist?
  • Your marriage breaking up, bearing in mind that you and your spouse hardly seem to have anything to say to each other anymore?
  • Plunging results in your portfolio, that's already lost so much over the past few years?
  • Public speaking?
  • Aging?
  • Losing your sex appeal?
  • Losing your home to foreclosure?
  • Losing your daughter in the custody trial?
  • Losing your hair?
  • Never being able to lose those extra 15 pounds you put on in your 40's?
  • Never being forgiven by that person you hurt?
  • Realizing that you've lived quite a few decades already, and have still not reached any of the important goals you were striving for?
These and many other possible scenarios are those that drive our fears. They keep us up at night. They distract us from times that could and should be joyful. They cause upset stomachs, acid reflux and ulcers, headaches, backaches, and migraines. They raise our blood pressure and create anxiety. In a word, they can make life hell.

Your thoughts are your vicious circle. They keep going around and around. And in the process of going around and around, you generally feel even worse. Nothing gets resolved, but you notice that your emotional state has worsened at each step of the vicious circle's way.

Nevertheless, there is good news out there for you. These tips can bring you to a new understanding of your fears and change the way you think about them. That will help you deal with this vicious circle of thoughts and fears and the tips are quite easy to implement if you choose to follow them and continue following them, when the thoughts and the fears re-emerge. Nothing will change if you try it once and then decide that because the thoughts do pop up again, the process has not worked. Remember: when you learned how to ride a bike, you probably fell off a couple of times first. All it takes is some willingness to practice this as well:

Tip 1: Become aware of the fact that no matter what it is that you fear, by thinking differently about it, you change the way it makes you feel. Remember that wonderful quote by Viktor Frankl that I cite so frequently:  the last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. Said in other words, this means that when you are fearful about the cancer diagnosis, or the potential job loss, or losing your spouse, your thoughts are fearful thoughts. You could choose, however, to make those thoughts proactive  ones, where you attempt to find a solution to your dilemma. You could also choose to consider what you would do in the feared circumstances and begin to devise a plan for that contingency. Furthermore, you could decide that you have given the topic enough thought for today, and therefore you are going to concentrate on something else. See more below.

Tip 2: Recognize that what you think is, in fact, a choice. It is not something that falls down on you from heaven. Even though you may not know that you are making a choice with your thoughts, you are. This is so because once you choose to become aware of your thoughts you can 'pick' the ones you want, and eliminate those that you do not want. Prior to becoming aware of your thoughts, your choice is obviously a blind one, such as a choice you might make if you were blindfolded at a wine-tasting cocktail and blindly chose a particular wine. The choice is a blind one, and the moment your eyes are opened, you can make better and more informed and knowledgeable choices. It's like that with thoughts about fear as well. Once you are more aware and that means be aware that what you thing about can be a choice, then you can choose better thoughts.

Tip 3: Become aware of the fact that you are having ruminating, revolving thoughts about a fear that is making you feel incrementally worse. Without this awareness, you will not be able to 'grab hold' of your thoughts about this fear, so to speak, in order to do something about them. In order to be aware, you may need to put up reminders for a few days that jolt you into awareness: a few post-it's, perhaps, in prominent places of your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, office, each saying: what am I thinking? 

Tip 4: Now that you have your thoughts at the front of your head, so to speak, because you have remembered to be aware of them, ask yourself if you wish to continue ruminating. Let's imagine it's a health problem. Or work-related. Or financial. Or your relationship is rocky. All are major issues that many of us go through, but no matter how important they are, if you allow them to dictate your thoughts into toxicity, you will only make matters worse. So recognize that one thing is to give some predetermined 'proactive time' to your thoughts in order to see whether the problem can be solved, perhaps by brain-storming, researching, consulting with someone, but then, once that proactive time is over (and you will need to tell yourself each day how long you allow yourself to PROACTIVELY (not in a toxic way) think about this issue), then you need to agree with yourself that ruminating, worry-filled, fearful and stressful thoughts about that particular subject are no longer allowed today. So in this tip what needs to be done, each and every time the thoughts rise up in you (and they will), is some method of changing that well-worn rut in your brain - that habit - that neural pathway, to a new one. A very simple way to do this is to focus on beauty, for example, notice a beautiful plant, or tree, or the sky, or clouds, or an animal in your surroundings. Then allow yourself to be grateful for that beauty in your life right now, as you focus on it, and really see its beauty, and then notice a mild sensation of peace in your solar plexus. This occurs because just for a moment you have moved yourself from past or future time to now time, and while you are present in now time, you can't focus on past or future fears, pains, and worries.
Tip 5: At this point, after tip #4, you may feel marginally better, but since you probably have little practice at doing this, you will need something else, to keep your mind in a better place than in that vicious circle of thoughts. On this blog (Rewiring the Soul ) you will find a list of links on the left sidebar if you scroll down far enough. In there, you will find many suggestions of sites that offer motivating or inspiring talks, articles, videos, etc. Even if you choose something that is an hour or longer, just sit and listen or watch or read for 10 or 15 minutes. This will help you not only keep the thoughts at bay, but begin to create new neural pathways that will help you do this more easily each time you try. Download some of these talks and listen to them in your car. Use them as if they were vitamins for your mind and soul, and do it on a daily basis.

Finally, when the thoughts and fears come again, as they will (at least for a time), repeat the above process. If you can't afford to do the fifth step each time due to the activity you are engaged in (work, home, family, etc.), at least do the other steps, and then, as you engage in the activity you have at hand, try to be as mindful and present while you do so, as possible. This too will begin to change your brain and will help you feel better than if you engage in the activity plus ruminate. There is a great deal of material about this in both my blogs (Rewiring the Soul & The Tao of Spiritual Partnership), on my website in the newsletter articles, as well in all my books. I encourage you to give it a try. Learning to do this is not hard, and it can literally change your life.

Some last thoughts about thoughts:
  • understand that whatever your thoughts are about, by changing them consciously, you are not repressing them, nor are you pretending you have solved whatever it is that is bothering you (hence the thoughts), but that you are choosing to focus your attention elsewhere
  • understand that when you focus your attention elsewhere, whether it is on affirmations, or on reading an inspirational passage or book, or viewing a motivational video, it will serve your purpose only if you also manage to shift your energetic state from where you are with the thoughts that are bothering you to another, better (even if only slightly) state
  •  understand that only when your energy has shifted to a better place, will you truly be able to give focus and strength to better thoughts
  •  understand that in order to shift to a better energetic place, you will need to turn off, so to say, the earlier, more negative thoughts, even if only for a moment
  • understand that one of the simplest methods for quieting the mind is by practicing a mindful focus on beauty, then focusing on gratitude for said beauty in your life and then mindfully noting the shift (even if only slight) that has taken place in your energetic state
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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Losing Sight of the Truth


How serene are you when you argue? How much are you able to keep yourself focused on what is true when you argue? You probably think those are stupid questions, because when people argue, they tend to be angry, or annoyed, or upset, and due to this altered state, they may often lose sight of the truth. In other words, their emotional state has been affected by the nature of the argument.

In Spanish the word 'discusion' does not mean 'discussion', as you might assume, but argument. The first time - when I was learning the language, that I realized that, I had a small epiphany. What in one language was a friendly verbal interaction, in the other language was an argument, which, as we've already seen, is most frequently not so friendly.

Yet can we not learn from that transposition, if you like, of the meaning of one word in two languages? Can we not, in other words, make of our 'arguments' a 'discussion'? In such a state, is it not much easier to keep our eyes on truth?

That implies that we have to hold on to our serenity. We must remain conscious. We must recognize that we have choices in the matter, and we must have sufficient freely-accepted self-responsibility to actually choose to do this. The whole matter is also impacted on by our degree of self-caring and self-love, because as you very well know, arguments can lead to feeling very bad about yourself, others, or the world in general. Yet choosing that other path means that the self-caring part of you is truly interested in your inner well-being.

As you can see, this is a rather important matter. And as so much else, it depends on you to choose well. it was Publilius Syrus who said: In a heated argument we are apt to lose sight of the truth.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ego-Based Behavior vs Heart-Based Behavior


This is such a big one. We see it so frequently (and recognize it easily as such) when a couple splits up and instead of making their children's well-being a priority (which would be heart-based behavior), they can only see that which allows them to feel that they are getting even with the ex-partner (which would be ego-based behavior). This might include such niceties as not showing up when they have visitation, or not paying child-support until forced to by law, or refusing to have anything to do with the children while they're with the partner and only interacting with them when they are actually with you, to continually badmouthing the other parent, or deliberately withholding the children in some fashion from the other parent. There are as many modalities of this kind of behavior as there are imaginative minds. The bottom line however is: the kids never win. Even the ego-based behavior person doesn't win, because in some fashion, at some time they will pay a price.

But we are perhaps a bit more blind in recognizing ego-based behavior when it has to do with concepts such as pride and honor, and even more nebulous concepts such as you are wrong and I am right. You have insulted me, and perhaps the other has been lacking in respect, and now both get up on their high horse regarding the matter, and completely lose sight of the fact that they love each other. This often happens in families. I've had clients come to see me that may have been estranged from their parent/s or children for years, even decades. And when you unravel it, and come right down to what happened - it is very often a case of the individual ego being stronger than the love. Even if one of the two parties is operating from the heart, if the other continues in his/her ego, the heart-based person may not be able to crack the shell.

How this comes about is actually relatively easy to understand: we lose sight of what is important and remain in a place where higher importance - more value - is given to something that has to do with pride and honor, or being right, as opposed to love. The former is ego-based; the latter is heart-based.

In smaller ways it often happens with parents and adolescents as well, especially when the teens are in that time of their lives that psychoanalysts used to call Sturm und Drang, which I actually prefer to call: 'that time when they become aliens from outer space'. So of course, when parents come to see me at that time of a teen's life and request that I 'fix' their teen, I tend to urge better - and heart-based - communication. And I encourage the parents to exercise their role as parents (which is, in fact, a valid concept even when the parents are in middle or old age and the teens are no longer teens but well into their 30's and 40's), and encourage them to speak to their offspring in order to remind them (or perhaps clearly point out for the first time) that what they (the parents) really care about is the love that exists between them and the teen, as opposed to the issue - whatever the issue might be. And that by all keeping their eye on the love, the issue can more readily be resolved. That is heart-based behavior.

In order to allow heart-based behavior to be prevalent in your life, being aware and conscious of yourself is paramount. And once that is in place, you will catch yourself quickly when you revert back to ego-based behavior, and you will then just as quickly move forward again to heart-based behavior. How can we ever expect there to be peace anywhere at all in the world, if we cannot even do this in the relationships we have with those who are closest and nearest to us: with those we love?

One final point: not forgiving is ego-based. Forgiving is heart-based.


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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Is Growing Old a Bad Habit?


When I was a little girl, being 35 was considered pretty old. When I was in my late teens, Jane Fonda yelled out on her fitness videos (to my great delight, but also consternation, due to the paradigms it shifted in my mind): 40 is beautiful! When I was in my early 20's I couldn't imagine having long hair after I turned 30 because dignified women of a certain age didn't do that. When I was in my 30's reaching the age of 50 seemed very old indeed. And yet now all of that has changed.

It hasn't changed just because I have changed in my process (and passage beyond) all of the above-mentioned ages, but because much of the world has changed as well, as we have come to realize that being chronologically old does not necessarily mean you are old, nor does it mean that you can no longer be physically and mentally fit.

I imagine you also know some octogenarians and even nonagenarians who are still fully in their lives in those very late decades of life that used to be considered very, very old. If you don't know any personally, perhaps you know some through the press or celebrities, What do they all appear to share? They are interested in life, they remain curious, they remain open to learning, and they love people. If they don't travel, they may simply move around in their respective communities, or have people come to them. They are the very embodiment of the saying that goes something like: and they remained alive all the days of their lives. As opposed to those who start dying even while they are in their 40's, 50', or 60's. They just stop living. Growing old became a bad habit.

But perhaps more important than everything else, is the realization that most of it has to do with an inner attitude - and that of course includes being very conscious, assuming responsibility for your own happiness and having some sense of purpose and meaning in your life. As long as that attitude - towards aging, towards always continuing to learn (and the endless neuroplasticity of the brain), even if you're 99, and towards life in general - remains young, there is no reason to be old. André Maurois wrote: Growing old is a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Possible Self of Another


Ask an at-risk teen from an inner city who is already involved with undesirable gangs how he imagines his future - how he imagines his possible self - and he might answer that he sees himself as a drug dealer. If you then ask why he visualizes himself in that capacity, he may answer that he wants a lot of money. Work with that teen, show him something about the possibilities of life, and what he is capable of, do some healthy and conscious intervention work with him, and you may find that if nine months later you ask him the same question about how he sees his future possible self, he just might answer that he wishes to be a doctor. When you then ask why, he may still answer that he wants to make a lot of money.

So a portion of what goes on his head has changed thanks to how you see his possibilities, as opposed to how he sees them, although you are not necessarily seeing him as a doctor, but simply as a professional and law-abiding citizen with much to give. Nevertheless, at this point, while he has moved to a legitimate profession, he is still fueled by the craving for the material: he wants to make a lot of money and being a physician seems to be a good way to get there.

Do some more work with that same teen, engage with him, continue the intervention work, and if you then ask the same question once again, perhaps another nine months later, you may find that he once again answers that he wishes to be a doctor, but when you ask him why, he says that he wants to help people.

You do recognize the enormous shift that has taken place, right? From illegal drug sales to law-abiding professional and from a material urge to one that is diametrically opposed, because it is altruistic - he wants to help others. And all this is based partially on the fact that your vision of the teen was different than his own. He was able to grow into what you could see as being possible. You saw the potential. Goethe put it beautifully when he wrote: Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.

And lest you think that I am mired in Pollyana-land with my example of the teen and the monumental changes he underwent, I'd like to assure you that I was, in fact, the witness to precisely what I explained above, in a series of intervention programs that took place some years ago in Miami with at-risk youth under the auspices of Dr. William Kurtines and his on-going adolescent research work at FIU. Clearly, the example was one of the most auspicious, and clearly, not everyone reacted in quite that way. But it demonstrates what is possible. And what is possible, is not only what we see on the outside (damaged, at-risk teen with poor perspectives), but what we are capable of seeing on the inside for a future possible moment in that person's life.

Image: Antsirabe, Madagascar

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Monday, September 29, 2014

Who & What Decide How You Feel?


The extent to which your feelings are influenced by sources external to yourself is generally not appreciated until you make a decision to become aware of it. Undoubtedly you know that if you watch a horror film, you might feel frightened, causing your adrenalin levels to rise, just as though whatever is happening in the film were happening to you in real life, but when it happens in other, less obvious situations such as those that follow illustrate, you may not think of their influence on you as easily as you perceive the horror film's influence:
  • when you receive an email from a friend filled with beautiful images of the earth accompanied  by words that make you appreciate the glory of our world, and then the images catapult into others of garbage-strewn shanty towns and slums, or plastic-filled oceans, with the message indicating what we, as the population that fills the earth have done to occasion this, you will feel sad or guilty or ashamed.
  • when you hear about children dying of malnutrition or disease in sub-Saharan Africa, similar feelings may flood you
  • when you watch a sad love story depicted in a movie, such as the famous Love Story, or Bridges of Madison County, you feel sad. In fact, you may even cry.
  • when you see a film such as Temple Grandin (about the life of a woman who overcomes autism - not in the sense that she is no longer autistic, but in the sense that she creates a wonderful life for herself despite being autistic), or a similar film The Horse Boy about a young autistic boy who is taken to Mongolia by his parents to see if shamans there can cure him - you may feel elated at the end of the film
  • when you hear the news anchor recounting yet another massacre in yet another country, or another suicide bomber who has ended the lives of dozens, you probably feel awful, stunned or outraged
  • when you hear that your best friend has been diagnosed with malignant stomach cancer, you feel sad, perhaps angry, fearful and a host of other emotions
If, however, you are truly awake, conscious and aware, you will notice these emotions, and then you will literally choose what you do about them. And before you call me a loveless cretin, who needs to learn something about compassion, bear with me.

Let's examine the one about your friend who has been diagnosed with malignant stomach cancer. That is, perhaps, one of the biggest on my sample list above of outside sources influencing your emotions because it's closest to you. Of course you will feel one or more of the indicated emotions at first glance. But then you get to choose, if you are aware. And the better you choose, the more you will help your friend. The more you allow emotions to rule your initially negative reactions to the news of the cancer diagnosis, the less you will be able to help your friend. However, should you decide to react with strength and love for your friend, deciding to treat your friend as though he/she continues to be the same as before the diagnosis, in the sense that the diagnosis is not what now labels their existence, but simply one aspect of their existence, that admittedly, needs to be dealt with, but should not define who they are, then your presence in this person's life will be of much greater value, than if you sat at their bedside with a serious demeanor, and held their hand (lovingly).

Feeling elated at the end of the two movies about autism is obviously a much more positive emotion, and yet, if you think about it, as you palpate it within yourself, under ideal circumstances, you should be able to create such good feelings by yourself. I'm not suggesting you don't watch movies or read things that make you feel good - quite the contrary, I'm a great proponent of doing precisely that (see Keeping Your Energy High and Keeping Your Energy High 2) - but that you begin to train yourself to keep yourself in that good place without necessarily needing other sources (than yourself) or depending on other sources.

Said in a nutshell: neither should external sources cause your emotions to go into a sharp decline, nor should you need to depend on them in order to maintain them in a state of equanimity. This, of course, brings us full circle to what I wrote about in Happiness is Bad?. I quoted:
  • Happiness: not minding what happens (Krishnamurti)
  • Happiness: accepting what is (Tolle)
  • Enlightenment: the quiet acceptance of what is (Dyer)
If you don't mind what is; if you accept what is, then neither negative nor positive emotions will hold sway over you. This is not about giving up, nor is it about apathy. It's about equanimity, and equanimity equals inner harmony, inner balance, and inner well-being.

Image: National Geographic - Giraffes walking among gazelles in Africa


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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Butterfly You Carry Within


Speaking to a teenager yesterday, who is beginning his first year of college, I reminded him of the age-old symbol of the butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, and how he - the teen - would be going through that process as well at each stage of his life. And right now, it meant leaving the safety and security of his family and venturing out to live in another country and to begin studies that were very different, and almost certainly, very challenging compared to what he had been doing up to this point. 

This symbolizes the emergence of the butterfly in him - at this stage of his life - that has been preparing over all these past years to be able to come out of the chrysalis (of his own making) in order to continue his trajectory as a butterfly.

I find this symbolism so very helpful, especially when you are stuck in a place where it feels you are confined, not moving forward, and yet, just beyond the horizon, you are able to discern the possibility of something that is just barely beginning to emerge.

In our lives this may happen over and over again, each time we come to a new stage that we have been preparing for, and find, that as we struggle to reach the place we want to arrive at, that we can't yet see the butterfly. It is there - just as in nature - the butterfly is there in the 'imaginal' cells within the chrysalis long before the 'real' butterfly actually emerges and can be seen in all its splendor. The magnificent Jean Houston once said: We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released.

Are you preparing to release your butterfly?

Image: Monarch butterfly emerging from the chrysalis

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Don't Lose Sight of Your Choices


Each choice you make takes you down a specific road. As you observe where you are in life, you can look back at the choices you've already made and realize how you got to where you are now. However, many people who are not present in their lives - who are not paying attention - are not aware of which choices took them to which place, if you ask them some years later. Being fully aware of yourself and your life is not a laughing matter.

Nevertheless, should you not be where you want to be, please be aware that what this post is about is not blame. Likewise, if you have no idea how you got to where you are, this is not about blaming you. I'm simply hoping to jolt you into awareness about yourself and your life.

Therefore, if you are not where you want to be, consider the choices you have made. For instance, how often have you chosen to regard your lack of good fortune or ease in gathering speed along your chosen road of life, as bad luck?

Or how often have you chosen to react with anger, with depression, with a low-energy mood to one situation or another in your life?

These are also choices you have made.

How often have you chosen to spend an extra 20 minutes in bed instead of working out or meditating or learning that new language or becoming skillful at the use of some software that might give you an advantage in your quest in life?

How often have you chosen to say to yourself this is how I am and I can't change it?

How often have you chose to begrudge another his/her good fortune, rather than rejoicing - truly rejoicing - on their behalf?

Every choice we make brings a specific energy into our lives. That energy in itself leads us to more choices that could increase that same energy. If it was not the best to begin with, it is therefore increased negatively. But at any part of the road we can choose to make other  - better - choices.

If you begin to keep your eye on your choices, to observe them, to be truly aware of them, and the intention that has brought them to life, you will be in a position to see clearly where your life would go into new directions if you changed those choices.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Steering Clear of the Naysayers


You had a really great idea. You told someone about it. They found a really good reason why it would never work. You killed your idea.

But a short while later someone else made your idea work.

You tell a friend about how much you are looking forward to your vacation. He smiles and tells you that you will need to be careful because when he went to the place you are going to, he got mugged, and the hotel overcharged him. Also the mosquitoes ravaged him. Your pleasure has been smudged. You worriedly wonder if you made a bad choice. You are no longer looking forward to your vacation without thinking negative thoughts.

The naysayers, the negative thinkers, who often call themselves realists, nevertheless tend to emanate a negative energy over whatever it is that you are planning, if you listen to them. Understand that your own energy and emotions are affected by the people you associate with, and unless you are very strong within yourself, their negative effect on you may cause you to back out of something you had been very positive about, and that may very well have come to a good conclusion.

Naysayers tend to get their strength by deflating or taking away the strength of others. Not because they are terrible people, but because their modus vivendi feeds on looking at the glass as being half full. It's their habit, their ingrained way of thinking. They could change it if they became aware of what causes it and made the conscious choice to change. Don't let them push you into becoming one of them.

And don't let them cause you to abandon your dream.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Three Keys for Creating a Lifelong Friend


A friend is so much more than just another person. A friend can be counted on through thick and thin. A friend doesn't care that you sometimes tell the same joke over and over, nor does a friend mind when you don't call for a while. Neither does a friend care if you've aged, or gained weight, or want to go - yet again - to that one restaurant where the beef carpaccio is so good,  E. Hubbard said a friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.

These friends you may be lucky enough to have, however, are out there, in the external world. Today I want to talk about the friendship with yourself, because you are possibly - and probably - the only one who will be with you from the moment you were born until the very second you cease to exist.

But chances are that you have never developed that friendship with yourself. After all, who ever told you about this, and that it might be one of the most important things you could do for lasting well-being. Probably your parents did not say that, definitely your schools did not teach that, more than likely your church did not suggest you do this either. And while mass media encouraged you to do and buy many things to adorn yourself and make yourself more important externally, I very much doubt they ever gave you any messages about creating a friendship with yourself.

So here are three keys you can implement in order to begin right now:
  1. Just as you love your friends out there in the external world, you need to create a loving relationship with yourself. This means caring for yourself, being kind and compassionate to yourself, and loving yourself. Also see Loving Yourself: A Roadmap 
  2. Be willing to 'be there'. Just as you are willing spend time with your friends, and be there with them, you also need to create time for yourself. This implies self-reflection, awareness, and mindfulness. Also see Consciousness is a Full-time Job .
  3. Be willing to 'get to know yourself'. Just as you gradually get to know a friend over time, not only because you spend time together, but also because you are interested in getting to know them. You want to know how they think, and what makes them tick. This implies developing interest in yourself, and observing all that makes you tick. More self-reflection. Have a look at Are You Doing it for Them or for You? 
Creating and developing this friendship with yourself is as important - if not much more - as doing so with people in the outside world. They may leave, change, move away, die, but you will always be there with you. The relationship you have with yourself makes all the difference in a life worth living.


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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.