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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, January 31, 2008

Looking In All the Right Places

  • Where do you look when something goes wrong?

  • What do you focus on when you can't seem to get ahead?

  • Which thoughts run through your head when you've just bungled something?

  • Which feelings course through you when your world turns upside-down?

The answers to all of those questions tell you a great deal about the current quality (or lack of quality) of your life.

Looking in all the right places literally means always looking for something to appreciate, love, or enjoy, something to be grateful for, looking for something that can help you grow more, looking for something that can teach you to progress more productively, to be more you, and to consistently feel better about yourself - no matter where you are currently at.

That means that when the fan is full with what hit it, you are focusing on something to appreciate in this situation, something that will create learning in you, in other words, you are looking to find something in any and all situations life brings you to that makes you capable of some manner of appreciation.

Imagine just for a moment that you get to choose the things that happen to you. Obviously you would only choose good stuff. But let's imagine for a moment that you have a child in first grade. The good stuff would be recess time, and play time. The not so good stuff might be learning how to read and write. Or math. You get the picture. For the child to progress - although the child might not willingly choose it - he needs to go through some stages of progressive learning in order to become the competent, effective, and proactive adult that you are hoping he will indeed become.

Back to you. If you got to choose everything that happens to you, you might only choose the good stuff. But let's say there's a part of you that is wiser (as you are the - I hope - wiser adult parent to your hypothetical child in first grade). This part of you that is wiser knows that in order for you to grow on levels that have nothing to do with reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, you will need to choose a number of situations in your life that will cause you to progress in those directions.

So if you got to choose, that wiser and older part of you would be choosing experiences that might not - at first glance - look like a lot of fun and games. Maybe you have to live in an orphanage as a young child (like Wayne Dyer), maybe you get sexually abused (like Louise Hay), maybe you are diagnosed with cancer (like Kylie Minogue), maybe you become a cuadriplegic after falling off your horse (like Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman), maybe you are repudiated by the husband you love because you are unable to bear a male child (like Soraya of Iran, first wife of the late Shah), maybe you develop Lou Gehrig's disease (like the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking), maybe your mother is assassinated (like Benazir Bhutto's son) maybe you get jailed for 28 years for expressing your political opinions (like Nelson Mandela), maybe you get sent to Auschwitz , the Nazi extermination and work camp, during the Holocaust, and your entire family gets gassed while you are in there (like psychiatrist and author Viktor Frankl), maybe your husband is decapitated in a high-speed boating accident (like Princess Caroline of Monaco's second husband) maybe you have to battle drug addiction (like actor Robert Downey Jr.), or alcoholism (like British actor Richard Burton, twice married to Liz Taylor), or maybe your young son falls 53 floors from a Manhattan skyscraper (like Eric Clapton's son Conor), or maybe you lose your sister to suicide (like Mariel Hemingway lost her sister Margaux). The list could go on and on. I've deliberately chosen famous names so you relate more readily. You probably know of most of these people, can picture them, and watched some of them via the international media as they were going through their particular experience.

So if you could choose what happens to you, and hypothetically, if you choose one of the above examples (never in my right mind, I can hear you say ... but just bear with me for a moment here), wouldn't you have chosen that specific experience in order to gain something from it?

Again, I can hear you saying: How could I gain something from such an awful situation? Do you remember the American couple, Maggie and Reg Green, some years ago whose young son Nicholas was shot in Italy while the family was on vacation there? His parents subsequently decided to donate Nicholas’ organs and tissues to seven Italians to enable others to live and to have a future that Nicholas was denied. Their gain was to see that their young son's life was not truncated in vain. Their gain was to see the joy in the lives of seven families who were able to benefit from their tragedy. Their gain was to look beyond the merely obvious, close-down, and personal to a broader situation where we are truly all one.

So what did they do to get there? One very important element was to focus on the right things, to look in all the right places. And part of that is: what can I do with this? How can I learn from this? How can I use this to make me a bigger, better person? How can this help me grow?

Do you doubt that most of the people I mentioned earlier did that? Remember Christopher Reeve's crusade for stem cell research? Or look at Stephen Hawkings zest for life and scientific discovery. Or Mandela's goal to end Apartheid. Yes, it's true, not all were able to use their experience in the way I'm describing. No one says it's easy. All I'm suggesting is that if you give this a try, and begin to look in all the right places, you will make your life better no matter what the external circumstances are.


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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How Your Thoughts Change Your Body

Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia
Thoughts do change our bodies.

We used to receive this information only through metaphysical sources that referred to concepts contained in "as a man thinks", or "what you see you shall become" (Gospel of Philip), whether they pointed us to the Gnostic Gospels (admirably discussed by religious historian Elaine Pagels), or James Allen and his now (thanks to movies such as What The Bleep Do We Know? or The Secret) ultra-famous book As A Man Thinketh (easily - and legally - available as a free download ... contact me).

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Now we receive this information from cellular and molecular biologists, from Ph.D.'s in keynote addresses at psychology symposia in hallowed Ivy League halls, from DNA experimentation by the American military, from international neuroscientists, from a Japanese scientist who studies water crystals, and from a plethora of others.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Candace Pert, molecular biologist, wrote The Molecules of Emotion, in which she pioneered the body-mind concept. (Her work of over several decades is based on how the bodymind functions as a single psychosomatic network of information molecules which control our health and physiology.) Do you remember how laughable many thought this was only in the 80's? How far we have come in accepting PNI (psycho-neuro-immunology), the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body, which has led us to understand, among others, the connection between stress - thoughts - and the potential future appearance of cancer in the body.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Bruce Lipton, cellular biologist, wrote The Biology of Belief and has also produced the audio CD The Wisdom of Your Cells: How Your Beliefs Control Your Biology. In its review of Lipton, Amazon writes: His experiments, and those of other leading-edge scientists, have examined in great detail the processes by which cells receive information. The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology; that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

In Japan, scientist Masaru Emoto wrote The Hidden Message in Water. Describing this book and the author's work, Amazon.com notes: Using high-speed photography, Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. The implications of this research create a new awareness of how we can positively impact the earth and our personal health.

Also see this great article about Masaru Emoto by Life Enthusiast, or watch this video showing crystals affected by thoughts and words, or watch this video of an interview with Dr. Emoto.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Muscle Testing (applied kinesiology), long a tool used in alternative treatments, essentially allows one person to test another person's response to anything, whether this is a thought (true or false), or the beneficial or detrimental effect something (for example food or medicine or treatment) may have on the other person. Much has been written about the subject by authors too numerous to mention since its appearance in the 60's as used by American chiropractor Dr. George Goodheart. However, if you want to read something truly interesting about the subject, have a look at David R. Hawkins' books, in particular, Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior

Thoughts do change our bodies.

See also:
Thoughts do change our bodies.
So we know that thoughts change our bodies - we may have known for a long time, and now we have proof (which for many is a determinant), so what is keeping you from doing something about it? Your thoughts - which you can get a handle on with a certain amount of dexterity and ease by guaging your feelings (see also The Energy Barometer: Make Your Mind Body Connection Work For You), and consistently moving yourself to higher levels of energetic frequency, can impact on the quality of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health to a degree of such magnitude that you simply can't ignore this information.
Thoughts do change our bodies.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Real Choice Is To Be Yourself

Photo: Vicenzo Cottinelli. Florence, May 24th, 2004.
"The real choice is to be yourself. When you get used to that thought, or when you make certain moves in that direction, when you think about it - really think deeply about it - then you will come to the realization and understand that every desire is a form of slavery. The more you desire, the more you limit yourself." Tiziano Terzani
I've been reading a great book recently by Italian travel journalist and writer Tiziano Terzani (his website in Italian), here is information about him and his books by Wikipedia in English ... and here is a Youtube video of him - also in Italian). Martin Woollacott penned a superb obituary in The Guardian (English).

The book - not yet available in English (I'm reading it in German) is Das Ende ist mein Anfang (The End is My Beginning: A Father, a Son, and the Great Journey of a Lifetime, or in the original version: La fine è il mio inizio).

Terzani (1938-2004) wrote the book together with his son Folco at the end of his life - he was only 66 - and it was published posthumously. He was dying of cancer, had come to terms with it, and decided he wanted to have a last say, especially about letting go, hence the book. It is well worth a read if you are fluent in one of the languages mentioned, because of the story Terzani tells us about his journey through cancer and towards death. It is not the typical story of denial, anger, and acceptance of a terminal diagnosis, but rather, a fascinating journey through the soul of a man who decides to regard this - his diagnosis - as another journalistic experience to be recorded for posterity, because it is, indeed a journey. He calls his cancer a "great gift".
This I understand only too well, as I have also been there, facing a diagnosis of cancer, although my story ended differently, because I am still here. That journey, my own journey through cancer however, I will relate in another post.
The thought, however, in the book, that grabbed my attention, was that the real choice is to be yourself. To be yourself rather than anything anyone may think you should or could be, to be you in the most free and unencumbered sense of the word, to not be fettered by desires, and to realize that the relinquishing of desires is, in actual fact, simply a choice. Tarzani's ideas are not new, but one pays that extra bit of attention because they come from a dying man who has made friends with his own death. He also says that the only journey worth undertaking is the journey into one's own self.
I talk a lot about making choices on this blog because in our choices we find our greatest possible inner freedom and happiness, or our greatest suffering and pain.
See also:

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Greatest Quality in Life

Venice in Dubai - Al Kasr Hotel Canals with the Burj Al Arab in the background
You take decisions often every day, don't you? Some are easy, some less so, but you know all about taking decisions, and then sticking to them. You might decide to move to another city due to a fantastic job offer, you might decide to stop smoking, you might decide to incorporate some physical activity into your life, you might decide to spend more quality time with your kids, or you might decide to stop straightening your hair, and let it out in all its curly glory.

Imagine taking a decision one day to be happy.

The ability to enjoy life, the ability to be happy, is, from my point of view, the greatest quality in life. With this one quality your life becomes - ipso facto - better, more enjoyable, increasing in satisfaction and daily contentment. What can go wrong, if you have decided - in advance - to always be happy, no matter what?

Imagine waking up in the morning and saying to yourself, no matter what happens today, no matter who does their best to frustrate or anger me, I will not stray from my path of feeling good about my life. No one will have the power to make me leave that path. No event will cause me to leave that path. This means that you correct your feelings, your reactions, at their very inception...in other words, if you notice that something is occurring that is threatening to make you go in another direction, you literally decide to choose another alternative at that moment, because you know - you are aware of the fact - that you have this choice.

You have the choice because in the end it always depends on your own decisions much more than on absolutely anything else. I repeat this over and over again, because in psychology, just as in marketing, it typically requires that a concept is heard or read nine times before it totally sinks in, and this concept of how you feel at any time, and how you react to events, is truly your choice.

A wonderful book I have often mentioned by Barry Neil Kaufman is Happiness is a Choice, in which the author points the reader in the direction discussed in this article today. Another book along similar lines, although from a slightly different perspective, is Wayne Dyer's The Power of Intention, and finally - same idea, but in another direction altogether, by celular biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, and Miracles.

In an earlier post (Abraham I: The Astonishing Power of Emotions) I wrote:

Much has been written here on the blog about the importance of your energy and your vibrational frequency, as well as on my website (e.g., my March 2006 newsletter: Intentional Focus: Your Happiness, Your Success, & the Law of Attraction, and my article The Energy Barometer, Make Your Mind Body Connection Work For You, first published in May 2006).

The importance of how you feel is so great that its effect on the quality of your life can not be stated often enough. Pay attention to how you feel, and if you do not feel good - vibrationally - do what it takes to feel good, shift your energy, recognizing that not feeling good is not a place in which you have to stay. Understand that choice forms a great part of that (Making Choices: Taking Responsibility For Our Lives).

Much of what I write about on my website and this blog, much of what I teach in my workshops and talk about on my weekly radio show and speaking engagements, is focused in that direction, in order to give you ideas and inspiration about how to go about this.

Go about your morning, your day, your life with a new decision to give yourself the greatest quality in life ... deciding to live a content life ... no matter what ... simply because you so decide.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Dream Symbols 23: Fire

Fire is a great nature element, which evokes - even today in our 21st Century - something of that feeling of awe that must have struck mythological man when he stole fire from the gods in order to force it into his own service and advancement. Fire stands at the birth of all human culture and this primordial creation value can be discerned through the red glow of a fire dream.

In a dream about fire, it is very important to determine:
  1. whether fire per se is being dreamed about, we might say a contained fire, as in a campfire, or fire in a fireplace, the light (fire) of a torch or candle, or fire in a wood-burning stove, or a bonfire, such as those that take place here in Spain on Midsummer's Eve (la noche de San Juan)

  2. or whether the dreamer is faced with a burning, or a non-contained fire, such as a room or a house on fire, or fire due to an explosion in a war scene, or a fire due to self-immolation, or fire in the kitchen due to hot oil catching fire, etc.

Such a dream brings us into proximity of the great power of the soul, because one of the values of the soul is its fire. It is for this reason that the appearance of fire on the outside is so seductive for most of mankind. Fire attracts us, calls us into its proximity, whereas burning causes panic and fleeing. Where there is fire, people tend to stop and look: a blacksmith working with his tools, an open fireplace, etc.

Fire as a symbol of eternal life burns before altars, on the altars of the gods fire consumes sacrifical offerings brought by supplicants. In this process God may be found, and hence this is also an important symbol of dreams of fire.

Imagine what fire must have meant to mankind before electricity or gaslight. An eternal night of darkness, danger, and cold was suddenly transformed ... light and heat were now available ... marauding wild animals could be kept away, hours of productivity increased. Fire became the center of home life, the hearth was the heart of a home, its heat transformed food and metals, and in symbolical fashion, in the glow of spiritual and psychological fire the hardest substance of all - the human heart - melts and becomes malleable, soft, and tender. Additionally, fire purifies us of all circumstantial values, of all unworthiness that may still cling to us.

Are you approaching a great fire in your dream? Is firelight appearing in the heavens? The symbolism refers to coming close to numinous (godly) forces. Many religions refer to fire with great awe, fires in which God appears to chosen ones.

If, however, you dream of a great fire blocking your path, you may need to endure and persist...those who battle their way through generally find themselves in great danger.

A bright fire may burn in a dream, symbolizing being taken by an idea, by something new. Even erotic longings and the glow of sexual desire are often symbolized by fire in dreams. Where there is fire, there is life, something new is happening. And just as one can be burned by a fire in real life, so can one be burned by the fire of sexual longing and desire. The lion is symbolized by fire.

Fire dreams are never small dreams, where they arise, there is heightened and great life, but also life in danger.

If the fire in the dream is burning a house, a room, or in some way indicating obvious danger, it is very important to determine what exactly is smoking or burning...is it the room of one's partner, one's children, one's parent? Is the supply room burning, or the library, or is the fire in the stable? It may symbolize something "burning" in that sector of the dreamer's life, and that something else must be undertaken in order to "put out" that fire.

Sources: Aeppli, Ernst; von Franz, Marie-Louise.

In the first case

Previous posts in this series are:

Dream Symbols 1: Pregnancy and Birth
Dream Symbols 2: Death
Dream Symbols 3: The Snake
Dream Symbols 4: The Butterfly
Dream Symbols 5: Flying
Dream Symbols 6: The House Part 1
Dream Symbols 7: The House Part 2: The Kitchen
Dream Symbols 8: The House Part 3: The Bathroom
Dream Symbols 9: The House Part 4: The Bedroom
Dream Symbols 10: Marriage
Dream Symbols 11: The Spider
Dream Symbols 12: Sex
Dream Symbols 13: Exams
Dream Symbols 14: Murder
Dream Symbols 15: Water, Swimming and Drowning
Dream Symbols 16: The House Part 5: The Cellar
Dream Symbols 17: Types of Dreams Part 1: Paralysis Dreams
Dream Symbols 18: Types of Dreams Part 2: Lucid Dreams and the Senoi
Dream Symbols 19: Sweets, Chocolates, Pastries
Dream Symbols 20: Animals in General
Dream Symbols 21: Animals (2) Fleeing From a Pre-Historic Creature
Dream Symbols 22: Finding Buried Treasure

You may also be interested in viewing some of the recommended dream books and books on symbolism on my website, as well as some of the dream links on my links page.

There are also some videos posted about Carl Jung and his take on dreams. Click here to view them.


Foto Credit

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

How Do You React To Things?

Romanian Countryside
Your reactions say a lot about you and your chances for living a content and satisfied life. Your reactions have little or nothing to do with what actually happens and all or almost everything to do with your choices.

In order to come to a place inside of you where you are capable of choosing a reaction rather than being reactive, or reacting blindly, it is of prime importance to be aware of yourself. Without awareness, it is almost impossible to be in a position to choose.

Imagine for a moment leaving your home 10 minutes later than you should have, and so reacting by becoming more and more stressed. Your commute is on a crowded freeway, you are obviously in a hurry to get to work, and some asinine idiot in front of you almost provokes an accident. Add now to your already stressed frame of mind, your anger at this person's carelessness...your logical reaction to a typical driving situation.

So, stressed and angry, you now head for the Starbuck's just around the corner from your place of employment to get the large lowfat latte so that at least with that you have a moment of respite, but a new employee is being trained, and so your wait time is double what it normally is, and your impatience bubbles up as you pay and make a less than polite comment about the lack of efficiency of the management of the place to be training new personnel at such a time of day.

Stressed, angry, and impatient, you now arrive in your office, and your secretary tells you that your immediate superior has been asking for you for ten minutes...and of course, you are ten minutes late due to all of the above. As it is the second time you've been late this week, and as unfortunately your supervisor became a witness to it the last time as well, you now add worry to your list of reactions that are causing your day to go rapidly downhill.

And it's only 8:40 in the morning.

How could this scenario - this very common scenario - look different with some awareness? (Remember, awareness allows choice).

As you leave the house ten late minutes and feel the stress rising, you could have a brief mental conversation with yourself. You could tell yourself that becoming stressed might put you into greater danger on the crowded freeway, that becoming stressed would simply raise your adrenaline levels and make you feel even worse, and that you do, in fact, have a choice about it. That you can choose an alternative to stress, and that is to accept the fact that you have left 10 minutes too late and that all you can do is go with the ride (apart from determining not to do this again tomorrow), listen to some soothing music, or a motivational CD by one of your favorite speakers (as I advocate in many of my articles), and get yourself to work as safely and in an as expedited manner as possible.

As the careless driver almost causes an accident, you again can choose your reaction. Is it necessary to get angry? Will things be better if you get angry? No, but wouldn't you get angry if someone were so careless on such a busy road? Isn't it natural to get angry? Well, it may be natural simply because that is the reaction of most people who are unaware, but it is not your best choice. And this article is about showing you how your choices make up your morning, your day, your week, your year, your life, and so if you can choose alternatives that contribute to your well-being rather than feeling awful, then wouldn't you say that those choices are wise and eminently effective? So in this case of getting angry, choose rather to be grateful that nothing did indeed happen, and that you can continue on your way to the office. Or choose to simply ignore the incident, saying to yourself that it is not worth losing your state of well-being over someone so careless. You see how this works?

Your impatience with the new employee (or the training personnel) who is valiently trying to get you your latte could be shelved in a similar way: what do I gain by becoming impatient? I feel worse and worse. Will it get me to my office more quickly? Obviously not. So what is the point? I might just as well be peaceful within myself and wait. (Careful - I am not advocating allowing others to trespass your boundaries. If something unacceptable happens, you will need to speak up. But speaking up still does not imply going to a place inside of you where you no longer feel good...it simply means respecting yourself enough to speak up about the situation...for more on this see articles about boundaries on my website as well as here on the blog).

Finally, your worry about your supervisor's potential reaction to your tardy arrival at the office is also not productive. It will put you into a more negative frame of mind prior to your meeting with this person, and therefore your reactions in conversation with him or her may be less effective than if you continued to be in a positive frame of mind. So again, have a conversation with yourself. Is the worry of any use? No. (It might be useful to wake up a bit earlier every morning in order not to have this escalation of circumstances). Therefore the best attitude will be to face the potential music, have a plan in mind to indicate how you will ensure this will not happen in future, and you may be surprised to note that when you do meet with your supervisor in this more positive frame of mind that you have deliberately chosen from a menu of choices, that the conversation is not about your late arrival at all, but about a new advertising campaign you will be working on...

Your reactions to things, events, words, actions of others, etc., determine the quality of your life. iFrom a position of self-awareness choose those alternatives that contribute to your well-being, and that will therefore raise your energetic frequency, and improve the overall quality of your life.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When the Motivation is Gone

Roman Bridge over the Guadalquivir River in Cordoba, Spain
You've been working on a project or goal. You've done all kinds of things to get to that final point, but it just never quite works, so now you've lost your motivation and you're on the verge of giving up.

Losing motivation can be numbing, because it's as though you've lost your way and you no longer know what your next step is. Not knowing what your next step is, stops you in your tracks and it seems you can no longer see the forest for the trees.

So you have several choices:

  • You can either stay in the place your lack of motivation has brought you to

  • or you can figure out how to get your motivation back

If you decide to take that latter alternative, you might first take a look at some notable failures in history, who nevertheless kept going on and on:

  • Thomas Edison who discovered 1000 ways not to make a lightbulb until he finally succeeded

  • Abraham Lincoln, President of the USA, failed over and over and over again to achieve his goals (see also The Difference Between Success and Failure), consistently picked himself up and continued going, believing in himself, his goals, and the reasons why they were important. He said: I never had a policy, I just tried to do my best every day.
  • Gary Cooper, the actor whose career culminated in the classic High Noon, but before he made it big, he was fired and rehired by the studios seven times.
  • Neil Diamond, the singer (Sweet Caroline), dropped out in his senior year to take a songwriting job with a music-publishing company. "It was a chance to step into my career," he explains. The job lasted only four months. Eventually, he was fired by five other music publishers. After eight years of knocking around and bringing songs to publishers and still being basically nowhere, he met two very successful producers and writers who liked the way he sang. And only then did he begin his real climb to fame and success.
  • Dune by Frank Herbert: this epic science-fiction tale was rejected by 13 publishers with comments like "too slow," "confusing and irritating," "too long," and "issues too clear-cut and old fashioned." But the persistence of Herbert and his agent, Lurton Blassingame, finally paid off. Dune won the two highest awards in the science-fiction writing and has sold millions of copies, and the movie rights to the novel.
  • Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.

So ask yourself: even though I have lost my motivation, is it possible for me - just for today - to do my very best?

Here is a wonderful analogy I read in a book by Tom Venuto, pertaining to flying. Imagine a plane taking off from London. Its destination is New York, and along the way it veers slightly off course, or from its pre-determined flight path, and it does this over and over and over again. Clearly the instruments constantly make minor adjustments and re-adjustments during the flight in order to actually be able to reach New York.

This is such a pertinent analogy for us, as we move along the path towards our goals. We have to realize that when we lose our motivation, it is partially because we have not yet seen our dreams realized. Therefore, and in order to become re-motivated, we need to do the same as the plane - we need to re-adjust (as did Edison each time he invented another of the 1000 lightbulbs that did not work, as did Lincoln each time he was not successful in standing for public office).

And then, we need to keep on re-adjusting as often as necessary.

  • this technique didn't work? Try a different one.

  • that advertising program didn't work? Try a different one.

In order to do this, you may need to re-visit your original goals:

  • what did you write down when you first conceptualized them?

  • maybe you didn't write them down ... do so now!

  • maybe you weren't specific enough ... so do it now!

  • write down your main goals as specifically as possible. Let's say you have a 5-year goal.

  • so now sub-divide it or chunk it down into yearly goals, i.e., where you should be at the 4-year mark, the 3 year, the 2 year, and the 1 year mark

  • from the one year mark, chunk it down, by going back by month

  • the 12-month mark

  • the 11-month mark, etc.

  • and when you get to the 1-month mark, chunk it down by going back by weeks

  • the 4-week mark

  • the 3-week mark

  • and when you are at the 1-week mark, write specifically what you can be doing each and every day this week.

  • think of it a bit like the 12 steps in AA - while you are working on getting your motivation back, take it one day at a time, and do what you've written as your tasks and goals for this day. Paul McKenna calls action the great equalizer.

  • help yourself get back on track by continually reading books or listening to CD's by authors who motivate you, such as Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer, Jack Canfield, Denis Waitley, Zig Ziglar, Vic Conant, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, John deMartini, Napoleon Hill, and many more.

RECESS

When you were in grade school, and you attended a class of spelling and another one of math, what happens?

  • you're tired

  • your fingers are stiff from holding the pencil

  • you're looking longingly out the window at the sky - the blue, blue sky - because you want to be out there playing, rather than working

Wheb you're not motivated, you may need a break. Perhaps a walk, or a visit to the gym, maybe a catnap, o a cup of tea, but more importantly than that, you may need to take stock of your emotions.

You've lost your motivation in the past because what you've been doing - trying to reach your goal - has not yet given you the results you sought.

But the other part of your loss of motivation has to do with the thoughts and feelings you've been having about the subject. They have probably been negative, contrary, with a concentration on failure as their mainstay. Here is where you need to swivel, or pivot, as Abraham calls it.

As a child you may have stood on the heel of one foot and swivelled or pivoted in such a way that you were looking in a totally new direction, you had turned 180 degrees by the act of pivoting. You can do this in your mind when your motivation has gone down the tube. Pivot to something - in your thoughts - that makes you feel good ... whatever that may be. Imagine something that gives you a sense of joy, pleasure, etc., you will notice the tingling inside of you, and use that good feeling to get back on track. In other words, if you first make yourself feel good, you will find it much easier to get back on track and motivate yourself, than if you try doing this from a low place. More about this in future posts.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Radio Program February 2008

Once a month I will be posting the current list of topics for my weekly radio show.

This is what the February 2008 schedule looks like:

Feb 6: Adopting Older Children
Feb 13: Adopting Children From Another Country
Feb 20: Give Yourself the Gift of Solitude
Feb 27: Autism and Bio-Chemistry

Click here for radio show archives from 2004-2008 (not all are up, but you'll find more than 100 different radio shows!).

The show airs weekly on Wednesdays from 11 – 12 noon CET (Central European Time) which is 6 hours ahead of New York, one hour ahead of London, the same time as Paris or Berlin (except at the end of October and March, where there tends to be a week of confusion, as not all countries change to daylight saving and back, and those that do, don't always do so on the same day).

See below for equivalent times in other locations.

Ways To Listen

1) LIVE on your radio dial OCI FM 101.6 (Costa del Sol) or FM 94.6 (Costa Blanca)
2) LIVE on the web Onda Cero (Once there, click on “Internacional” on upper right)
3) Listen to over 100 archived audio files on my website

Equivalent Times in Other Locations: (Locally: CET: Central European Time)

or go to http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html to convert from your time zone (some of these times may not be correct at certain times of the year):

11 pm – 12 midnight: Honolulu (locally Tuesday evening)
5-6 am: New York City, Miami, Montreal, Toronto, Nassau, Santo Domingo, Barbados
6-7 am: Rio de Janeiro
9-10 am: Reykjavik, Casablanca
10-11 am: London, Lagos
11-12 noon: (LOCAL) Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, Tripoli, Harare, Cape Town
12-1 pm: Bucharest, Riga, Istanbul, Cairo, Amman, Kuwait City, Addis Ababa, Nairobi
12:30-1:30 pm: Tehran
1-2 pm: Moscow, Dubai, Baghdad, Seychelles
2-3 pm: Islamabad
2:30-3:30 pm: New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai
4-5 pm: Hanoi, Bangkok
5-6 pm: Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Manila, Bali, Taipei, Perth
6-7 pm: Tokyo, Seoul
7-8 pm: Sydney
9-10 pm: Auckland, Fiji Islands

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Why Does My Partner Treat Me Like This?

Mangrove Swamp, The Keys, Florida. Photo Credit Danny Laburu
The eternal cry of the broken heart; the eternal cry of the emotionally abused person; the eternal cry of the person who feels the pain, the frustration, the jealousy, the violent emotions that are the result of living with someone who treats them in ways that are less than loving.

The type of pain that ensues from such a relationship leaves no doubt in anyone's mind (especially anyone who has experienced it) that it is agonizing in its sheer numbing - or hysteria-producing - effects. No one would deliberately wish this upon anyone else, and if we have a friend or family member who is currently going through such a situation, we can almost feel their pain, and we would generally do anything to get them out of that horrific place in their minds and hearts into which they have been placed due to their unfeeling or cruel partner.

Because that is the reason for their pain, right? They currently have or they had in the past a relationship with someone who simply did not treat them correctly, someone who was abusive (whether the abuse is emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual makes no difference) or emotionally unavailable or addicted to some substance, etc. And because of this partner, they are now going through the gates of hell on earth.

Because that is the reason for their pain, right?

Wrong.

At least it's wrong insofar as the culprit is the other, and he/she had perpetrated these dastardly deeds and caused such pain and suffering in the other partner due to his/her cruelty, coldness, dysfunctionality, twistedness, etc. We could surely come up with a long string of additional adjectives to describe the kind of behaviour this type of personality evinces.

So what is wrong with this picture?

No one is pretending that the guilty party is behaving properly. No one is saying that the way they are treating the innocent party is right. What we are saying is this: as long as the "innocent" party is saying (to the world or to the self) that he/she is in this situation of suffering and pain due to the actions of the other, i.e. the "guilty" party, no one, including the "innocent" party will get anywhere that might be called an improved state of being.

This is so because as long as the hurt person does not take responsibility for their hurt (as the dysfunctional party ought to take responsibility for their own cruel or cold behavior), the hurt person will not improve their life. Oh, they might get a divorce, they might get a court settlement, they might get custody of the kids or the house, or anything at all that on the surface seems to even out the erstwhile imbalance in this relationship of inequalities, but that alone is not enough.

I cannot emphasize enough how important this point is. Walking away from behaviour - on the part of another person - that is not acceptable, is a very important first step. But walking away and continuing to look at the situation from a blame perspective is simply not enough. Not only is it not enough, it is conducive to perpetuating the pattern in the next relationship and the one after that, and so on. Some people come to my practice and tell me this is a question of their bad luck in choosing partners unwisely.

Well, in a way we could agree that it is...but much more importantly, it is a question of their not taking responsibility for their own role in the affair. Careful, this is not about blaming themselves. This is about realizing that - as Jung might have put it - the incredible intelligence of the psyche has led them - over and over again - to be attracted to individuals and hence enter into relationship with them, who will cause them such pain and frustration in specific areas of their lives, that if they choose to do so, these situations can be used to grow as individuals and to overcome the challenge of this particular lifetime.

To overcome the challenge ... you might say we all have a mission in life (and here I am not referring to the life purpose or mission with regards to the mark one can leave, but to the mission with regards to the self, with growing the self, with Giving Birth To Yourself , so to overcome the challenge we need to begin to understand the foibles, the unhealthy parts, the dysfunctionalities of this lifetime that we have chosen to work on.

If you look at it from that point of view, the fact that someone in your life is pushing you to the limit, causing you pain and frustration, might be regarded as something akin to a jewel. Your partner could be viewed as a jewel. Only - I hasten to add - because he/she has been the instrument that has brought you to this point of frustration or pain; only because by coming to this point, you want to go no further in that direction of negativity, but want to resolve this issue in your life once and for all. And so you begin to look at yourself and your role in accepting such pain. Not to blame yourself, but to learn how you can grow beyond such feelings and hence never need to experience them again. Once you've been through the measles you don't get them again, right?

But - and I know I'm repeating myself here - I need to reiterate over and over again: this is only achieved if you look at the self, if you commune with the self, if you pull responsibility for all your thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, and reactions into yourself. This offers freedom, this offers growth, and you are the only one who can do it for you.

See also No One Can Control Your Emotions and search this blog under emotions or relationships.

My website offers many articles related to this subject, but in particular, you may wish to look at these two:

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Giving Birth To Yourself

El Castillo, Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Erich Fromm, psychoanalyst and author of The Art of Loving among many other books, wrote: A person's main task in life is to give birth to oneself.

Giving birth to yourself can happen at any age. You could be in your 70's, you could be a teenager, you might be in your mid-thirties: it makes no difference, you can make this exhilarating change in your life at any time.

Why is it exhilarating? It has to do with you finding the real you...the one that was meant to be...the one that senses a true meaning and purpose in his or her life...and the one that will bring you to greater levels of joy, fulfillment, and happiness than any other aspect of you, barring none.

When we begin to look at our lives (and again, let me insist that this is not a question of age), from the point of view of growth and purpose; when we realize that we are here for more than the accumulation of honor, prestige, money, and things, much as those are all perfectly valid elements of a good life, then we begin to know that there is another way of looking at how we can continue to develop, that has much more to do with the eternal validity of our souls than with anything else.

We begin to become interested in our own inner life - not in a selfish fashion, not born of our ego - because this inner life is precisely what can most clearly point the way towards our own birth. The fact that our intution is hugely involved in this process, should surprise no one. You may have heard of the fact that scientists now refer to our second and third brains (see also my May 2006 Newsletter about this subject), with regards to the billions of neural cells they now know we have in our gut (intestine) and heart, respectively. These neural cells offer intelligent information of another kind to our being, so that in conjunction with the logical information we receive via the neural cells in our brain, we also receive intuitive and emotional information from the neural cells in our gut and heart respectively. Together, the three types of information - if we will but use them in conjunction - allow us to make choices that are much more informed than those that originate merely from our rational brain.

Our intuitive intelligence has much to offer us. It can speak to us in the language of our innermost self ... of that part of us that is not only the part that is visible to the naked eye, the part that others can see, but also of that innermost part of us that has always existed, and that will always be. To understand its language is to understand how we can give birth to ourselves. Hence, learning to listen to our intution is of utmost importance, and one of the best ways to do so, is to begin to allow our hunches to lead us. (Also see the brief post about Gert Gigerenzer's new book about the subject: Intuition Has Great Value After All!).

Listening to our intuition can be fomented by spending some time alone, by meditating, by taking solitary walks, but above all, also by allowing the little voice inside of you, when it comes up and nudges you about something, to be heard. In other words, don't just ignore it, don't just tell yourself that whatever it was that you just thought had no value, and that therefore you will not pay any attention. Do something about it. Or notice if right after, something happens, as in: I just thought of Aunt Mabel and two minutes later she rings me. While this type of example is minimally important, it does allow you to begin the process of better understanding the role of intuition in your life.

Extrapolating that to today's topic of giving birth to yourself, it is precisely from this sector of your being that you will get the greatest amount of vital information about where to go and what to do in order to expedite your birth.

How do we find meaning in our lives? One of the easiest ways is to listen with your inner ear to your bodily reactions to anything. Notice especially a sense of excitement in your solar plexus, an increased rhythm of breathing, heightened facial color and body temperature, as you hear a conversation, listen to something on the radio, watch a documentary on TV, because your body is giving you information about the importance of the particular subject in question to you and your true purpose in life (see also my June 2006 Newsletter: Finding a Meaning For Your Life). This inner listening is totally connected to your intution, and it is another way of strengthening the inner dialogue in order to give birth to yourself.

Here are some further ideas about how you can go about this important process of change:

Giving birth to yourself has something to do with Animating Dormant Lives, with The Life You Don't Lead, as it does with examining The Unexamined Life. If you are living an Inauthentic Life, you may also want to consider this notion of giving birth to yourself, and Finding Flow is another aspect of it, because giving birth to your life, implies giving meaning to your life, as it does realizing that Low Frequency Thoughts Erode the Quality of Your Life and learning how to Keep Your Energy High by Taking the State of Your Energy into Your Own Hands so that you can Have A Good Life.

Recognizing that you can Be a Victim or Choose Freedom, that your Healthy Boundaries and the Choices You Make can make or break it for you, that you may Use Your Emotions to Learn About Yourself, and that if you can but Be Who You Are With the People You Love, your chances will be optimal for giving this birth to yourself. Making Happiness a Priority is an important consideration, as is understanding the concept of Self-Actualizing People. The idea that The Answer to Your Future May Not Lie in Your Past is germane to this, and learning not to Let Anybody Take Your Dream From You! is part of it too.

Asking yourself Whom You Admire, realizing that you need to Grant Yourself the Gift of Solitude, learning that Feeling Sorry for Yourself may not be the swiftest way to growth, and seeing the small within the large, the microcosm within the macrocosm will become apparent if you learn to understand the concept of As Without, So Within .

Shakespeare told us that Our Doubts Are Our Enemies and many authors over the centuries have told us that All You Have Is Now.

Use these ideas to rekindle dying fires in your life, to move yourself to another level in the process of giving birth to yourself.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

How Are You Treating Your Jaguar?

Toledo, Spain
How are you treating that $ 80K Jaguar in your garage? Oh, you don't have one? Well then, how about your $ 15K Rolex? I bet you take good care of that. Don't have that either? The Armani suit? The Gucci bag? The Ferragamo gown? The Vuitton briefcase?

Whether you own any of these items or not, I imagine that if you did, you would take very good care of them ... treat them well, in other words. I don't see you throwing a hammer down on the immaculate paintwork of the Jag, nor do I see you carelessly leaving the Rolex in the sand as you go for a swim. The suit and the gown would definitely get hung up properly after wearing them, and you wouldn't leave the Gucci bag out in your garden for the humid night air to do its work on it.

So if you take such good care of your special possessions (even if yours are not the ones I've described with tongue-in-cheek sassiness), why don't you take the same kind of good care of yourself? Particularly, why do you treat yourself in ways you would in all likelihood never treat a special possession?

We place great value on some of the objects that populate our lives, even if they are not as costly as the ones indicated. Perhaps you are a book lover, and cherish each of those volumes. Perhaps you play the piano and the one standing in your living room is lovingly tuned on a regular basis. You get my point. What is it about us that we do not tend to cherish ourselves? In yesterday's post Do You Like The Person You Are Alone With?, much of this topic of self-love was touched upon, but I'd like to take it a step further.

One thing is how we do or do not love ourselves, but quite another thing is how we treat ourselves. This involves the care we give our bodies (quality of food, air, exercise, relaxation, and rest, quality of the company we keep, and what we feed ourselves with with our eyes, our brain; i.e., what do we watch, what do we read, what sort of conversations do we have), as well as the care we take in speaking to ourselves.

Imagine you are out on the golf course and came in way over par. What words do you sling into yourself, as you berate yourself for the idiot you were for not being able to play better? Would you speak like that to your young son or daughter whom you are teaching how to play? Would you not - instead - encourage him or her to try again, saying it's because next time they have a good chance of doing it a whole lot better? Would you not speak words of positive and proactive support, in order to ensure that they would indeed try again on the most constructive and helpful note possible?

Imagine you have just tried a new recipe and somehow it did not result in quite the mouth-watering dish you expected. Are you angry at your lack of culinary expertise? Do you insult yourself for being less than perfect? Or do you have an internal conversation that encourages you to try it in another way, or to consult with someone who has greater knowledge than you about the subject, recognizing that this is the way one learns, by trial and error.

What are your mistakes and failures, but attempts at doing something that are not yet quite part of your repertoire. See also previous posts about failure and risk. How did you learn how to drive? Were you perfect from the start? How, for that matter, did you learn how to walk? I love using this example with my clients. We've all learned how to walk, even though we may not remember it, and many of us either have children that we have observed learning how to walk, or we know children of other people that we have observed in that same process. What happens? Doesn't the burgeoning walker get up from a crawling position by holding on to furniture or a conveniently placed adult and take a few steps? Doesn't that child then totter forwards, with a big grin on its face in view of this new world he is discovering? And doesn't he then almost always fall? What happens then? Does he make faces at himself, and shake his fist, and shout (assuming he was not hurt in the fall)? No. The child simply lifts himself up again, and tries again, supremely convinced that this time it will work. And if it still does not, the scene is repeated. And repeated and repeated again. Not once does the child think I'm so bad at this, I guess I had just better leave it, because I will never succeed. I am such a failure. And what does the adult that is observing the child do? The moment the child falls, he shouts at him, telling him how stupid he is for not knowing how to walk yet. How on earth could he not have done it perfectly the first time? Don't you see what an idiot you are, he continues to berate the child? Of course not. The loving or caring adult open his arms to the child, encouraging him to get back up on his feet, encouraging him to try it again, showing him how much he, the adult, believes in the capacity of the child to master this process.

This is love. This is constructive encouragement. This is bringing out the best in another. And this is how we must treat our most valuable asset...ourselves.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Do You Like The Person You Are Alone With?

Funny question, isn't it? Do you like the person you are alone with? If you are alone, there is no one with you ... other than yourself. So what about it? Do you like the person you are alone with? Do you like yourself? Enjoy spending time with yourself? Look forward to being alone with yourself? Consider yourself good company? Are you comfortable with yourself? Would you choose yourself as a friend, if you were not you?

Or do you, as so many of my clients admit to me, shy away from spending time with yourself? Find yourself looking for any activity at all in order to avoid being alone with yourself? Literally run away from any possibility of being alone with yourself? Some of my clients find themselves experiencing extreme anxiety if they have to be on their own. They will go shopping, they will eat, watch television, go to parties they don't particularly enjoy, go out on dates with people they don't find very interesting, drink, smoke, take drugs, have sex (including indiscriminate, even promiscuous sex), in short, do anything they can to avoid the ultimate confrontation with the self.

Why does this happen? We could blame it in part on a society that places a much higher value on outer, material, social, and professional accomplishment than on the inner quest, where in reality both should be in balance (see also my May 2007 Newsletter: Tending Your Inner Garden). We could blame it in part on a society that does not further - or help us - to take these looks at ourself (see also The Unexamined Life).

We could also blame it on a society – and a process of socialization within our family, religious, and educational structures, that does not generally give us appropriate tools to begin the process of self-love. Not egotistical self-love, but healthy, good self-love. The kind that airline personnel refer to, when they are giving the little talk at the beginning of the flight and say that if there should be a drop in pressure, oxygen masks will appear, and if you are traveling with small children, please put yours on first, before attending to your child. You understand that one with no problem, so perhaps you can take another look at the healthy kind of self-love we all need in order to be of use to ourselves and others.

If we do not love the self, we will probably not look forward to spending time with the self. But if we want to love the self, we must also come to know it. In order to know it, we have to look at it. And looking at it means that at first we may find much we don’t like. That’s ok. We can deal with all of it bit by bit. But let’s begin by looking inside.

Amazingly, even psychiatrists, psychotherapists, psychologists, mental health counselors, marriage therapists, family therapists, etc., are generally not required to undergo analysis, or encouraged to delve deeply within ... and as my three sons (well-versed in my opinions on the matter) would say ... Hellooooo?. Hello indeed. How is it possible that those of us who deal with the human psyche are not required to deal with our own? That, however, must be the topic of another future post.

Because we do not find this encouragement to embark on the inner quest, those of us who nevertheless go ahead with it, find ourselves at odds with the bulk of society, if we are courageous enough to speak about it. We are either not understood, we may be mocked, and we may ultimately find ourselves ignored, or our friends may shake their heads and say or think: well, that's just his/her thing.

But what can the person who has not spent time with him or herself do to make this process easier? How can they walk along the path that will lead them into themselves, rather than consistently looking for something external? We could recommend meditation, solitary walks, and so on, but I find that such practices are often too much for the novice, as they are then thrown into themselves to an overwhelming degree, much as someone used to a regular Western diet and who wishes to eat in a more healthy fashion, may find that going raw (eating only raw foods) is too much. (In a side note, I might add, I have gone totally raw from a regular Western diet over the past week - as a finite experiment, after much reflection and reading about the subject over a number of years ... since the 70's, and find the initial effects of this raw diet - fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouts - on my body and mind and state of being, as well as on my energy level and quality of sleep, highly illuminating ... more of this in another post).

Here are some transition suggestions:

  • use audio CD's or tapes to spend some time on your own, but in a sense accompanied by someone (the motivational or inspirational speaker) who fills your mind with thoughts you might not normally get into on your own (see also my September 2007 Newsletter: Nurture Yourself to Happiness and Success as well as prior posts on energy)

  • start the daily practice of journaling: write down your thoughts during a period of five minutes to begin with and see where it takes you
  • and if you are already journaling, do a gratitude journal as well. Just jot down five things every day you are grateful for...and remember...things can be something ranging for a material thing, to something about your looks, to a sea gull you have just spied, to the sound of wind through the trees, to your own particular gifts and talents, etc. Being grateful brings us closer to ourselves. We become more humble in view of the greatness that surrounds us. And so we come closer to ourselves as well. (See also these previous posts on gratitude).

  • start recording your dreams (see previous dream posts or listen to my audio clips on dreams) and attempt to interpret them, as this will lead you into the psyche

  • if you enjoy reading, start picking up some books that don't exist merely to entertain, but also to serve as an aid with which you can get to know yourself better (there are numerous books in my extensive Recommended Books Section, others are to be found in the December 2006 and 2007 Newsletters with the yearly list culled from the books I recommend each month, in each respectively, and other books can be found here on the blog)

  • once you've done some of this, you may find yourself desirous of trying that solitary walk (I power walk one hour every day on the beach here in southern Spain, which affords me a superb opportunity each and every day to commune with myself, or be internally creative, or practice open-eyed meditation, or be grateful for this blissful part of my day, etc.), or a brief period of daily meditation.

Getting to know the self, becoming enamored of the self, finding the beloved within, is one of the most liberating things you can decide to do for yourself. All it takes is the first step.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Our Obstacles

Hokkaido, Japan
Our obstacles are our problems. They are what stand in our way to an easy life. Our obstacles make our life difficult, and we just know, that the day we manage to get rid of them all, everything will be so much better...or will it?

Obstacles really have a bad rap. Life's burdens. Our crosses. (Someone once announced that I was his cross...don´t ask).

The very connotation of obstacle is something grim, gloomy, foreboding, awful, and the dictionary tells us that it is a barrier and a hindrance, an impediment, an interference, a difficulty and an inconvenience.

And yet, obstacles, by their very nature, precisely because they must be overcome if we are to surmount them, offer an innate opportunity. If we allow ourselves to view obstacles from another standpoint, we might just come to the conclusion that obstacles are our friends.

Huh?

Yes. Our friends. That old business about every cloud having a silver lining...there is actually some merit in it. If you can look at your obstacles as opportunities for growth, there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that you will find something of value in your moment of difficulty, and furthermore, you may even find that in some measure, the obstacle proves easier to overcome than others in the past, simply because of this new viewpoint.

When my mother died when I was 19, while I was traveling abroad without the faintest idea that she was even ill, I was hurled headfirst into a bottomless black pit of gut-wrenching despair. I thought at first that I would never come back out of it. I imagined her having known that she was dying of a very fast-moving cancer, letting me go on my trip, taking the decision not to tell me so that I did not have to watch her die, and I felt myself tear into pieces. I could not imagine that I would ever be able to leave that black subterranean place that accosted me with its ferocious pain as I woke up every morning, and held me in its gelid embrace as I fell asleep at night.

After only a few days, out of some deep place inside of me, I knew that this had to serve a greater purpose. She could not have died in the manner in which she did, without it coming to mean something valuable in my life. I had to make something of it. And I did. I began to realize the importance of the now moment. I began to appreciate the utmost wonder of every moment we have that we can share with those we love. I recognized how important it was to tell those we love that we love them. It's not enough to know that they know...it's also necessary to put it into words every so often.

Those early lessons didn't make me perfect. I fell by the wayside many times, and certainly will again, but they placed me firmly on a road from which I have not side-tracked for decades. And they taught me that all our obstacles, or our challenges, if we make the choice to view them through this new prism, can indeed become our friends, teach us important lessons about life, and thus bring us to a place where we actually live life more authentically and in a much better way.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

All You Have Is Now

Here's what we sound like when we're talking about the future:

  • I can't wait until we go on vacation

  • I'll be so relieved when I lose these last 10 pounds

  • Everything will be perfect when we move into the new house

  • Things will be so much better when I find a new job

  • My relationship will be fantastic as soon as my partner changes

And here's what we sound like when we're talking about the past:

  • I wish I could just have my last vacation again

  • I looked so fantastic and slim when I was 18

  • The house we had when we lived in ___ was so perfect

  • My first job was just incredible

  • When I first met my partner our relationship was so wonderful

So when do we live in the present? All we have is now. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow hasn't come yet, but we insist on filling most of our present moments with wishful thoughts of the future (when things will be better), or nostalgic thoughts of the past (when things were better).

Yet what we could really be concentrating on is making our present moments better. By not doing this, we could equate ourselves to the overweight person who moans about the weight, wishes it would be gone, remembers when it was less, but never does anything in the present moment to improve the situation. If our present moment is not as wonderful as it might be, one thing to do, therefore, is to change some of the things that are not so good in this present moment.

But be careful: that kind of thinking may also take you into future mode, where all you do is spend time on how wonderful things will be when you accomplish this or that.

Therefore, in order to improve the present moment, things must be done in the present. For example, being grateful for anything at all in your present moment, as simple and small as it may be (the butterfly that you see, the blue sky, your skills in a specific area - whatever it is, etc.). This action, being grateful, has the capacity to make your present moment better.

Think of your positive points. Dwell, for a moment, on all you have already accomplished, no matter what it may be, in order to see - now in this present moment - all that you have inside of you, and all that you can use (that is already there, and that has served you well in the past) to make this now moment even better, in order that future now moments will be similarily improved.

Remember...you literally throw your life away, if you do not make some of these changes...life is to be lived now, today, and not tomorrow or yesterday.

Treasure each moment.

  • are you taking a walk or working out at the gym? Treasure that

  • are you having your early morning coffee or tea? Treasure that

  • are you driving to work in heavy traffic? Treasure that by listening to something truly enjoyable on your CD or cassette drive or radio (inspirational speakers are my favorite, but you may prefer music, or learning a language that you would normally not have time for, etc.)

  • are you taking your children to a soccer game? Treasure that

  • are your preparing dinner? Treasure that

The trick (if we can call it that) is truly to begin to recognize that each and every moment of our lives offers the opportunity for us to treasure it - if we so decide. That means we must be fully aware of ourselves as well. Choices are hard to make without awareness. And inner freedom is hard to achieve without making choices that are based on a life lived in the now.

See also:

Also see these articles from my website:


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