WELCOME TO THIS BLOG


"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, July 28, 2011

The Birth of a Book - Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self

Introducing you to the proud birth of my book:




Here is the Product Description from the Back Cover and Amazon:  

Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.


Here's what some early reviewers are saying about it:


"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time."
Paul Rademacher, Exec Dir, The Monroe Institute; 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, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"The instruction manual on rewiring the soul. An in-depth guide on life, love, spiritual evolution & our integration within the universe."
Michael Habernig & April Hannah; Producers: The Path- The Afterlife & The Path 11 Documentaries

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world & practical. The implications are profound."
Peter Shepherd; Founder Trans4mind.com; author: Daring To Be Yourself

"The human being's directory to the soul. A breakthrough for those seeking practical assistance, those of a more mystical bent & every soul awaiting discovery."
Toni Petrinovich, Ph.D.; author: The Call: Awakening the Angelic Human


This Recent Interview Answers More Questions

Who is the book written for?

Rewiring the Soul is written for anybody who suffers and I guess that means just about all of us! It is written for anybody who has not yet experienced enduring happiness and inner well-being; anybody who is reaching for inner peace; anybody whose life is not as they would wish it to be.

What can a reader expect to gain by reading this book? What makes it different from most other transformational or self-help books out there?

So many wonderful teachers tell us about working on our spiritual selves. So many other wonderful teachers show us how to work on our psycho-emotional selves. But very few actually integrate the two. And Rewiring the Soul is my response to that challenge. Rewiring the Soul brings together the need to take your daily life in hand with the need to put your spiritual life in order as well. By daily life I mean your personal life, your professional life, the way you do or do not love yourself and all that such an attitude entails: conscious awareness, healthy boundaries, meaning in your life, recognizing you always have a choice, and taking responsibility for all your choices, etc., and by spiritual life I mean the inner connection to your eternal self.

If you have learned how to meditate, or do yoga, or whatever it is that you do, have you also learned how to observe yourself in the middle of an argument with your rebellious teenage son or your angry partner and hence choose to react differently because you have learned to love yourself enough to do so? If you have learned how to communicate more effectively with your children, spouse, friends, colleagues or employees, have you also learned how to be mindful and connect to yourself in meaningful ways to achieve that spiritual balance in your life?

While Rewiring the Soul is about so much more than that, those previous examples give an idea of what my book is about and how it does so in such a way that our psychological and spiritual selves nurture each other.

In a nutshell: neither the spiritual nor the psychological or emotional dimensions of your life will work if you neglect:
  • your inner connection to the eternal self while you seek happiness in the outer world
  • your happiness in the outer world while you seek the connection to the inner eternal self

It was Gandhi who said “If everyone will sweep in front of their own door, soon the entire world will be clean”. In Rewiring the Soul ‘sweeping in front of your own door’ means bringing yourself to the utmost point of inner and outer growth, creating progress in body, mind, and soul. This literally means that you have already begun to change the world because of how you are changing yourself.

Are there many exercises in the book?

Not at all. This book does not mean hard work, or spending a lot of time doing specific things. It simply means that as you read – if you so desire - you begin to incorporate small changes into your daily life. And so it begins. And the quality of your life changes…

How did you come to write this book?

For years the essential content of Rewiring the Soul was like a small, recurring voice in my head; it was always there, and simply would not leave me alone. I had dozens of excuses for not writing it: I was working on my Ph.D. in psychology, I was teaching at a state university, I had three sons, later I was occupied with moving back to Spain, I was setting up my private practice, I had a monthly newsletter to write in English and Spanish, I had a weekly one-hour radio show to broadcast, I had a daily blog post to write, I facilitated numerous workshops and gave frequent speeches, and apart from all of this busy activity and work, sometimes I even had a life. In short, I told myself the book would simply have to wait. But just as a splinter under your skin eventually needs to be seen to, I ultimately realized that the only way I was going to be able to honor the more and more loudly clamoring voice in my head – and heart - was to sit down and write the book.

And you know, that goes to meaning. We all need meaning in our lives, and although I had many things that gave much significance to my life already, the inner urging and excitement I felt each time I thought about Rewiring the Soul compelled me to write the book. Rumi puts it beautifully: When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.


More Early Reviews From the Inside Pages and From Amazon

"I thought I could pick just one chapter to write a review, but I couldn't .... I was glued to the chair as I read Rewiring the Soul ... a literary, in-depth masterpiece to the human psyche, behavior and ultimate transformation. Exquisitely written, beautifully executed."
ALI R. RODRIGUEZ, Business Coach, co-author of Mastering the Art of Success with Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Aug. 2011)

"A glance at the contents of Rewiring the Soul will tell you much about the values promoted: awareness, freedom, peace and love. I fully agree with the author that it is all about re-connecting with our authentic 'loving self': it is only then that we can deeply transform our life while also inspiring a transformation in the lives of others! Through this powerful book, Gabriella Kortsch honestly shares her love of serving the inner potential and the spiritual growth of human beings with passion, joy and commitment."
ELISABETTA FRANZOSO; International Speaker, Coach, author of Stella's Mum Gets Her Groove Back: A True Story

"This book is a gift to humanity, a valuable tool in aiding seekers to accomplish mastery of their own lives. Gabriella Kortsch provides clear steps to help people find peace in a practical and powerful way. She does not ask you to give up anything other then what no longer serves you. Brilliantly written!"
HILLARY RAIMO; Author & Radio Host

"Rewiring the Soul is a thoughtful guide to the peace and joy that self-government through inner awareness brings. In the words of author Gabriella Kortsch, anyone's ideal 'possible human' becomes their actual reality by following the simple inner steps in this remarkable book."
JIM WAWRO; author of Ask Your Inner Voice

"Gabriella Kortsch uses her talent and experience to write the instruction manual on rewiring the soul. An in-depth guide on life, love, spiritual evolution and our integration within the universe."
MICHAEL HABERNIG & APRIL HANNAH; Producers of The Path: The Afterlife and The Path 11 Documentaries

"This meticulously researched and crafted book is clearly the masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul, one who thinks deeply, feels deeply, and cares deeply about the well-being of the world and its humankind. Reading it will change your life; beginning to live actively any of its ideas, principles, and suggestions will transform your life. And bring you safely and joyfully home to your true self, your soul. I found it dazzling, challenging, and wondrously useful."
PEGGY RUBIN, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author of To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre."

The Soul doesn't get sick but it does need nourishment; if not it seems as if our life starves to death. This wonderful book by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch is definitely healthy "Soul food". It becomes clear that as the personality endeavors to "rewire" the Soul, it is its own energy or conscious awareness that is elevated to that higher level where the invisible becomes visible and experienced as peace, joy, love and freedom. A treat to enjoy and celebrate."
ERIC ROLF; author of Soul Medicine: The Heart of Healing

"Rewiring the Soul is a revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering and transcendence. It not only lays out the essential steps for inner freedom and joy but it also illuminates the way to true human potential: the stunning and dynamic "Possible Self." Written with clarity, compassion and wisdom, this chronicle is not one of mere speculation, but arises from the depths of hard won personal experience. Gabriella Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time."
PAUL RADEMACHER, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author of A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. Read it and Soul is no longer just a dogma, nor hypothesis, it is made real and as much a part of your being as your toes. We usually shut off our inner voice, yet by recognizing this aspect of ourselves we begin to discover our essential nature, our intuitive truth, and that becomes our loving guide. The author illustrates the limitations of living only as the mind's Ego, and demonstrates in practical terms how we can transcend this by awakening a conscious viewpoint, following the path of our intuition and feelings, no longer separated from our body and the reality around us, and integrating at last our Soul's inner guidance and wellspring of love. The implications are profound."
PETER SHEPHERD; Founder Trans4mind - trans4mind.com; author of Daring To Be Yourself

"Rewiring the Soul is the human being's directory to the soul. This inspirational book asks you to simply open yourself to the possibility you are much more than you have considered yourself to be; in truth, you are spirit in form living a soul-directed life. It is a breakthrough for those seeking practical assistance, those of a more mystical bent, and every soul awaiting discovery. Read it cover to cover first; then place it close at hand to pick up every time your mind strays from your soul's message radiating from within the heart."
TONI PETRINOVICH, Ph.D.; author of The Call: Awakening the Angelic Human


More About the Book From Amazon:

'Rewiring the Soul' provides a user-friendly roadmap for personal transformation. Using conversational style, it guides the reader to an understanding of those problems and how they can be resolved, deliberately including the reader's connection to his own soul and spiritual growth. Based on common sense and the author's work as an integral psychotherapist as well as lessons gleaned from teaching and personal experiences, all interwoven with current findings from neuroscience, positive psychology, quantum physics and Buddhism, 'Rewiring the Soul' signposts the path to resolving everyday life and its problems while converging with the inner quest for connection with the soul. This process allows life to take on a revolutionary new meaning: resolving personal and interpersonal issues while keeping the inner connection to the soul in mind leads to unprecedented growth that is simply not possible if psycho-emotional matters and spiritual concerns are not combined.

Taking responsibility for your own happiness, your own well-being, your own feelings, your own actions, reactions, attitudes, and way of thinking, is the philosophy that lies at the core of her work and in her book Rewiring the Soul this comes to the fore. Whether you want to improve your relationships, your professional life, your inner and outer health, or the way you feel about yourself; whether you feel blocked in your emotional expression, whether you are suffering from phobias, fears, trauma, difficult sexual relationships, obsession, possessiveness, desire to control, depression, shyness, lack of confidence, self esteem, and assertiveness; whether you cannot control your anger, live with violence or abuse of any kind, and are unable to extract yourself from dysfunctional situations; whether you no longer feel motivated in your life, or that you simply are unable to find the next turning in the road, her work and this book focus on the reader's growth and empowerment.
 
The e-book version for Kindle and all Kindle applications will be available mid-August via Amazon

Rewiring the Soul is also available via most of Amazon's global sites (USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Japan), but due to reasons I am unable to explain, it appears that the US print book rate (even taking shipping charges to Europe and other areas into consideration) is currently the best.

Rewiring the Soul can also be ordered via most bookshops, but due to additional delivery charges and other fees, choosing that method may notch up the rate.







Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Do You Dance?


When do you dance?

I'm talking about dancing in your life, not at night at a club.

  • Dancing in your life has to do with joy, with exuberance, with letting go, with letting your hair down, with feeling free to be you and exhilarate in the unrepressed delight of being you
  • Dancing in your life has to do with knowing that life can be as good as you allow it to be, despite your outer circumstances 
  • Dancing in your life has to do with the thrill of knowing you have choices, as long as you choose to have choices at least on an inner level, even though externally your choices may be very limited
  • Dancing in your life has to do with being conscious and aware
  • Dancing in your life has to do with doing your joyful utmost to pursue your dreams because your dreams give your life meaning
  • Dancing in your life has to do with surrounding yourself with joy, love, and peace, even though these may only available on an inner level
  • Dancing in your life has to do with knowing that you will not die without having danced to the music that is inside of you
Have you danced lately?

Taking Responsibility for Your Unhappiness

That is not a fun thought

Taking responsibility for your unhappiness sounds like there's no one and nothing left to blame. And that - of course - is what this is all about.

It’s the Other Person’s Fault

When you are unhappy, it is often because you have chosen to be so due to someone not behaving the way you wanted them to, or something not turning out the way you might have it expected to. So life did not go your way. Things simply weren't the way you wanted them to be.
  • your partner forgot your wedding anniversary
  • your boss did not promote you
  • you wanted to go to the beach and when you opened the curtains, you saw it was raining
  • you expected to be able to find the car of your dreams for the budget you had stipulated, and then realized it would cost much more. So now you have to make do with a lesser car
  • you thought the person you had dinner with the first time two nights ago would call you by today, and they have not done so
  • you expected your son to help you with the garden this weekend and he went out with his friends instead
  • you expected your best friend to help you set up your party, and it turns out she forgot!
And so - understandably - you are unhappy.

And of course you believe you are unhappy because of what the other person did or did not do, or because of the situation that did not turn out the way you would have liked it to.

And that is precisely where you need to begin to take responsibility for your unhappiness.

How?

By taking responsibility for your happiness. So if you are unhappy about something, you are the one who can change how you feel. Either by choosing to change how you feel about something, how you think about something, how you view something, or by choosing to do something that will raise your energy to levels where you are able to once again feel happy.

Your happiness is in your hands. If you leave it in the hands of the acts and deeds of others, or in the manner in which situations in your life turn out, you are not free.

Freedom implies being in charge of your happiness.

Creating Joy in the Way Your Life Unfolds

So it means that it is also about your responsibility in creating joy in the way your life unfolds.

No, I can't do that.
  • My life is not unfolding to plan
  • My life is not good
  • I don't like my life
  • Under such circumstances how do you expect me to create joy in the way my life unfolds?
That is, however, precisely it. Most of our lives don't always unfold according to plan, or in the best way possible. That's the reason why we have to take charge about creating joy in the way our life unfolds.

If we do that, we begin to see joy appear in the most unexpected ways and in the most unexpected places. Once that happens, we are well on the road to experiencing joy in our lives at will, no matter what the circumstances.

How can we create joy? How can we become responsible in creating joy in the way in which our life unfolds? By deciding to do so. It's a choice. So simple. Start now.

Our Joys
Our joys as winged dreams do fly; why then should sorrow last?
Since grief but aggravates thy loss, grieve not for what is past.
Thomas Percy, English poet 1729-1811

Grieve not for what is past ... our joys as winged dreams do fly ... doesn't it make sense that we behave the same way with our grief as we do with our joy? As the poet - Thomas Percy - says, our joys tend to leave us very quickly. And yet we dwell on our sorrows.

This is in fact, an unusually interesting statement about the human condition. We have a much greater tendency to stay with those aspects of our lives that are not bright and clear, that do not have sunshine and warmth, and tend to bring on the clouds swollen with rain. Why do we do this? Is it just a wired into us? Wired into our hearts? Wired into our brains?

I don't think so. This may very well be due to what part Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body, and what Chris Griscom calls the emotional body. I've written about this in the past, so I'll just briefly reiterate the basic points:
  • the pain body is seductive 
  • the emotional body has an emotionally sticky quality that we find hard to pull away from 
  • both pain body and emotional body are familiar to us because they represent pain, difficulties, and hardships that we have been subject to in the past 
  • this very familiarity based on the amount of time we have spent revisiting those difficult moments, is what causes us to field the seductive pull 
  • once we give in to the seductive pull into the pain or the negative emotions via our memory needs, we tend to wallow in the pain, much as pigs wallow in mud 
  • why? 
  • Because we prefer the familiarity
  • if we spent as much time revisiting our joyful moments as we do our painful ones, we might find - ironically - that we experience greater familiarity with our joy than with our pain - and wouldn't that be a wonderful state of mind to be in... 
Have you ever considered why the sum total of your life very possibly seems to have an uneven tipping of the scale in favor of the negative? Could it not be simply because of where you spend much of your mental time? And don't you agree that where you spend much of your mental time is a matter of choice? And if it is a matter of choice, why not spend more time with your memories of the joyful moments, as opposed to memories of the painful ones? It really is that easy.

So Are You Being Responsible --- About the Joy in Your Life?

We know we are meant to be responsible about all those things that a decent sense of morality and a firm Puritan work ethic would demand of us.

But being responsible for the joy in our lives seems to throw our thoughts (and even emotions) into turmoil.

How, you ask. How can I be responsible for the joy in my life if my partner or spouse / parent / child / colleague / boss / friend, etc. does what they do and make my life difficult / miserable / impossible / painful / exasperating, etc.?

Simple.

By deciding that you will be in charge of the joy in your life. By deciding at each moment - no matter what it contains - that you will seek joy, or at least, that you will seek the road that allows you to remain in a state of equanimity, which will - eventually - return you to joy. If you furthermore receive joyful moments thanks to some of those others who populate your life, wonderful! But if you don't, and if you decide to be in charge of the joy in your life, you will have joy whether you receive it from others or not.

The Greatest Gift For the World is a Healthy You

The more vibrant you are, the happier you are, the more conscious and aware you are, the more responsibility you take for your own inner and outer well-being - the healthier you are.

And the healthier you are, the more you are able to give the world a gift: a gift of this higher energetic frequency, a gift of all that you emanate, a gift of your innate joyfulness ... innate, because you have made it so, and not because you were born this way.

Can you imagine the ripple effects of all of this?

And then think of it in geometric progression: the ripple effects of your presence will affect the people whose lives you touch. As they in turn, should they choose to emulate your energetic frequency because they can feel how great it is, also create ripple effects in their lives, affecting the people whose lives they touch, the potential for more and more people to create ripple effects grows exponentially.

If only you will work on yourself to heal and change yourself, you can have the potential to be the catalyst for change in the lives of many others. And that will change our world.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dream Symbols 7: The House Part 2: The Kitchen

Photo: Georgian Manor Kitchen
Each room of the house carries symbolism due to that activity that naturally takes place in it. On this basis, much sense can be made out of our being in specific rooms in our dreams.

The kitchen is a room of the house in which we prepare meals. We bring basic elements there in order to cook them and turn them into dishes of varying types. In other words, the basic elements are transformed into something else. There is a process of transformation that takes place in the kitchen, an alchemical laboratory, and this process of transformation is similar in nature to the alchemical process in mythology and imagery, whereby a base metal such as lead is turned into gold.

So when we dream about being in a kitchen there is a symbolism of transformation in some part of our lives that is taking place. Being in the kitchen in the dream points to the fact that in waking life something is being changed from one state to another state.

Mexican Kitchen (Colonial) Photo Credit
Because kitchens used to be the realm of women, if in the dream kitchen there is a woman busily going about the business of food preparation, she may symbolize the part in us that is nurturing and motherly, even if the dreamer is a male.

Kitchens can point to the process we undergo when we wander along a higher and higher spiraling spiritual path, and kitchens can symbolize – due to the nature of objects held within it, especially in kitchens of another time – our sexuality. Some of these objects are mortar and pestle, a black chimney opening, the fire hole in a cooking surface, and so on.

If you are interested in looking at a list of recommended books about dreams or symbolism, please visit the related areas on my website on the Books page under those respective subject areas. In previous posts I've offered direct links to some great books about dreaming, and here are some more:

Crisis Dreaming         Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill  














Wisdom of the Heart:
Working With Women's Dreams     














Men's Dreams, Men's Healing  














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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Livin' La Vida Loca ...


The name of the popular song from the late 90's evokes joy, a sense of being carefree, and yes - why not? - the ability and right to do some loca (crazy) things in order to make life more exciting. And at some point in our lives most of us have done that, and often (but not always) it made life better for a while.

The way I'm using the title today however, has more to do with how so many lives are lived in that non-thinking way that "crazy" in the song title implies, but not in order to bring excitement into the life as described above, but because thinking is not being practised. Or better said, thinking is done in that non-thinking way that implies that the mind is being controlled by random thoughts that are not being thought consciously.

When I catch myself thinking for the 18th time how much I dislike doing the bills, or watching football on TV, or anything at all, and I realize that I had the same thought so many times before, but wasn't actually aware of the thought the way I am now, the 18th time, then it is signalling to me that those other umpteen times I was not conscious. A similar case might be when I catch myself with a sad thought about something that happened in the past. I am familiar with the feeling the sad thought gives me, and when I become aware of the sad thought consciously, I realize I've been in that place of sadness for several days, where I've been going over and over the events that caused the sadness with no awareness until right now at this moment where I realized I was thinking these thoughts again.

Countless sages, writers, and philosophers have written about this phenomenon that happens to all of us, until we wake up. Until we begin to take responsibility for being conscious in our lives, for living consciously, and hence for being conscious at all times of the thoughts we have.

My new book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self goes into this in much greater detail. Becoming conscious is one of the greatest steps we can take in finding our own inner peace, freedom and joy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dream Symbols 6: The House Part 1

Continuing in the dream symbols series, today I want to start a multi-part post about the rooms of the house.

Dreaming of a house often symbolizes dreaming about the self, the identity, the current life situation, or the current inner situation coming out into the external life by virtue of some element of the quality of the dream house.

Imagine, for example, that you dream of entering a relatively modest or humble house, which, in the dream, you know belongs to you, or that in the dream it is where you live. Its exterior promises little, it is small, and not particularly attractive. Nevertheless, as you enter through the unprepossessing front door, you are amazed to see an enormous entrance hall. As you have not yet even begun to get over your surprise at the size of this hall, thinking to yourself that it just isn’t possible that such a large hall exists in such a small house, you see a number of doors, each of which leads to a more opulently appointed room than the one before. Costly Persian rugs, old masters on the walls, Bohemian crystal, antique Chinese floor vases, Biedermeier chairs…you are stunned. How could something so beautiful - and of such grandeur - be found in this small, humble little house?

Then to your amazement you see an elegant staircase that leads to the next floor, and you specifically remember noticing when you saw the house from the outside, that it only had one storey. The staircase is curved and broad, and you are even more astonished that such a small one-storey frame house could have room for a second floor.

The point of this entire description is to demonstrate how the symbolism of a house in a dream of this nature may point to the dreamer’s growing inner life (the hugeness of the house inside), which the dreamer, however, may not yet have consciously assimilated.

Conversely, a dreamer who enters a fantastic mansion, and finds it poorly furnished inside, or totally bereft of furniture, lacking rugs and curtains, chipped paint, and so on, might need to consider what it is that is lacking in the dreamer’s inner life. Is he/she pompous and pretentious on the outside, and totally lacking in substance and beauty inside?

The house contains many symbols, and in the next post about this I’ll begin discussing the rooms of the house. First: the kitchen.

Previous posts in this series:

Dream Symbols 1: Pregnancy and Birth
Dream Symbols 2: Death
Dream Symbols 3: The Snake
Dream Symbols 4: The Butterfly
Dream Symbols 5: Flying

Photo Credits:

Top Photo: Icelandic Turf House with kind permission of Danny Yee

Monday, July 18, 2011

Does It Make Sense To Live Your Life For Others?


What is it you really care about? What gives you a wonderful sense of inner well-being?
  • Is it what others think of you?
  • Is it about how important they perceive that you are?
  • Or how popular you are? Or the people you rub shoulders with, or are on a first-name basis with?
  • Is it about being seen at certain places, restaurants or parties?
  • Is it about wearing certain kinds of clothes?
  • Or perhaps about how your home is furnished? Or its location? Or what sits in your driveway? Or in the berth at the marina?
Somehow I don't believe any of the above give you that wonderful sense of inner well-being, and yet, that is what so many do ... living a life for the sake of others, in the sense of how they are perceived by others based on any or all of the above benchmarks.

Why on earth do we do this? How do we allow ourselves to be lulled into this manner of thinking that has nothing whatsoever to do with real inner well-being? Is it because of our childhoods? How we are taught to give importance to our appearance and the toys we have, or the toys our parents have? If so, please also print up this article and give it to your parents, and ask yourself some very serious questions about how you are handling the raising of your own children. Is it because of the all-pervasive influence of mass media? We can't discount it, and we often discuss it, so why not give it its proper place in our lives ... a place that we control, as opposed to us being controlled by whatever it is mass media are trying to make us believe.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying there is anything wrong with any of the above, having lovely things, knowing popular, famous or powerful people, going to lovely or exclusive places. What I'm suggesting is that it makes no sense to live our lives for the sake of others, for how they perceive us for the sake of the place these things have in our lives.

Think about it: do you make yourself happy, or does a thing do so? In the case of the former, it is safe to assume that you are free, but in the case of the latter you are dependent on the existence of that thing in your life, so you are not free. It is up to you because it is a choice you make every day, all day long.


Photo Credit: Boaz Yiftach

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Our Obstacles


Our obstacles are our problems. Sometimes our problems reside only in our heads, as in negative thoughts, or worries, or fear, and sometimes our problems are actual events that occur to us, such as losing our job, having an accident, failing to pass the bar, and so on. Sometimes our obstacles are individuals whose presence in our lives makes everything so much more difficult. Think of the nagging mother-in-law, the over-bearing supervisor at work, or the colleague who steals your ideas. I could mention the life partner who abandons you (see also When Love Walks Out the Door: Six Tips For Intelligent Survival), or the one who cheats on you (see also Why Does My Partner Treat Me Like This?), the teenage child that takes drugs, or the sister that was just given a terminal diagnosis. Obstacles are what stand in our way to an easy life. Our obstacles make our life difficult, and we just know, we absolutely know that the day we manage to get rid of them all, everything will be so much better...or will it? (Also listen to my audio clip How Do You Choose to React?).

A Bad Rap

Obstacles really have a bad rap. Life's burdens. Our crosses.

We don’t tend to refer to obstacles in positive terms, nor do we speak well of them, or welcome them into our lives. Obstacles form part of our lives, and when they hover on the horizon, we cast our eyes about, attempting to find the quickest way to rid ourselves of them.

The very connotation of the word 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.

Our Friends

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. (See also Claiming Responsibility For the Self).

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.

A Greater Purpose

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.

Choices We Make About Our Obstacles

Those early lessons didn't make me perfect. Later lessons were – seen subjectively - even harder, and – in some, very dark moments of my life - much more devastating. In the richness of hindsight I now know, and am pleased to affirm, that the person I am today – someone that I like very much – is this way precisely because of some of those major difficulties in my life. You might almost say that the obstacles were the jewels in my life that helped to hone me to bring me to the place I am today – on an inner level, and that without those obstacles, I would not have become who I am.

In trying to learn the lessons these obstacle brought to me, 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, can indeed present us with magnificent opportunities to grow and learn, can indeed teach us important lessons about life, and thus can indeed bring us to a place where we actually live life more authentically and in a much better – and more free – way than before.

Not Minding What Happens

Viewing our obstacles from the point of view expressed by the great Krishnamurti – by what he said was his secret – I don’t mind what happens – allows us to recognize that – in the words of Eckhart Tolle in his A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose: “To be in alignment with what is means to be in a relationship of inner nonresistance with what happens. It means not to label it mentally as good or bad, but to let it be. Does this mean you can no longer take action to bring about change in your life? On the contrary. When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.”

(If you have not seen his ten 90-minute webinars about this book on Oprah's website, click here to access them. This link is always available on the right side-bar of my blog in the links section.)

Where There is no Resistance, There is no Pain

Chris Griscom also wrote, many years ago, in one of her many magnificent books: where there is no resistance, there is no pain.

And that brings to mind something similar in Tolle's seminal work The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Two short paragraphs in this – his first book - had meant a great deal to me almost three years ago when I was given a diagnosis of malignant uterine cancer.

“The present moment is sometimes unacceptable, unpleasant, or awful. It is as it is. Observe how the mind labels it and how this labeling process, this continuous sitting in judgment, creates pain and unhappiness. By watching the mechanics of the mind, you step out of its resistance patterns, and you can then allow the present moment to be. This will give you a taste of the state of inner freedom from external conditions, the state of true inner peace. Then see what happens, and take action if necessary or possible.”

A Miraculous Transformation

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”

And that is what brings us to the point of this whole article: as you work with your obstacles, rather than against them, you will find – through this miraculous transformation Tolle refers to - that one singular ingredient – worth its weight in gold - in your life that can make it so much better –transform it miraculously - and that I continue to talk about over and over again in these newsletters: you will find inner peace and inner freedom.

BIO

Gabriella Kortsch, Ph.D. (Psychology), author of Rewiring the Soul, is a practicing psychotherapist who works with an international clientele in Marbella, Spain using an integral focus on body, mind and soul. She has published a newsletter in English and Spanish since 2004, facilitates monthly workshops and broadcast a weekly radio show both locally in Spain, as well as on the internet for seven years.

Blog: http://www.rewiringthesoul.com/

Website: http://www.advancedpersonaltherapy.com/

Connect with her on Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / YouTube

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Emotional & Energetic Vampires


What a way to think about some of the people in our lives! Most of us have been conditioned to regard vampires as the very substance of our most dreaded nightmares. The absolute epitome of horror. And yet … many of us lead lives with more than just a nodding acquaintance with one or more emotional and energetic vampires.

Perhaps the most daunting aspect of this – if we wish to do something about it - is that a good number of people with this type of personality often appear to be anything but emotional or energetic vampires. They appear to be kind, generous, considerate, and hospitable. And certainly, in many ways – at least on the surface – that is exactly what they are. So why do you feel so awful when you are with them? Weakened, drained, exhausted, sapped. Your energy is gone. Your vitality is gone. Your good mood is gone. You’ve been sucked dry in the truest sense of the word.

How to Recognize When You Are in the Presence of These People

(Use Your Feelings as a Gauge)

Feel a tightening in your gut? A restriction in your chest? A queasiness? An uneasiness? These body sensations, as well as what follows, which is taken from the way we feel, gives you a hint that you might be in the presence of an emotional or energetic vampire. Remember: the way your body feels when you spend time with someone, and your feelings in the emotional sense of the word, are always indicators of something going on that you want to investigate. It may not always mean you are faced with a person of the type I have been describing, but it certainly warrants some careful consideration.

  • Guilty (we feel guilty as we ask ourselves how we can possibly be feeling some of the things we are feeling, if this person is being so good to us or so helpful and hospitable.)
  • Drained and sapped
  • Tired and weak
  • Unenthusiastic (or if we were enthusiastic earlier in the day, after a bit of time in their presence, our enthusiasm is gone)
  • Pushed and pulled in directions you don’t want to go (ever heard of subliminal manipulation?)
  • You may even feel befuddled, less clear in your head, as if you had been mildly drugged
Who Are They?

They can be anywhere and everywhere. Or not. What I mean is this: if you have someone like this in your life, that person, or those persons, could be in any sector of your life. Very close to you. Or more distanced. But if they are emotional or energetic vampires, you will know it because of the way you feel when you are with them for more than a few moments.

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Co-workers
  • Neighbours
  • Superiors
  • Acquaintances
Some Typical Scenarios

  • The “nothing you do or say is ever valued” vampire: This type never is happy for you if something good happens. Or, rather than showing happiness when you tell them about something good, or something you are proud of, they find a reason to put it down, or to show you how it could go wrong, or why it will never work. If, after many of these situations, you finally say something about it, there is a good chance that they may defend themselves by telling you: well someone has to be realistic. If you mention that they never seem to be happy for you when something goes well, they may seem puzzled and ask: but what do you mean? Of course I’m happy for you. If you don’t catch on, you won’t see the connection between your low feelings after being with them, and their lack of joy about your good news. Or you may find yourself striving to do something really spectacular, just to get a favorable reaction from them. And when it does not come, the circle repeats itself, with your vitality and enthusiasm going lower and lower each subsequent time. 
  • The “I know it better than you do” vampire: This vampire is not a vampire because they actually do know something better than you do. I mean when they talk about those areas where they truly have expertise, you do not feel drained or empty. What happens here is something different. You tell them about something. You are enthusiastic. It could be something you did, or experienced or heard about or read. And immediately they have some kind of one-up-man-ship. It could be that they heard about it long before you. They were dong this when you were still a baby. Or they know all about feeling that way (if you had been describing feelings), but now they are well launched into their own description of their experience of this type of thing. Whatever it is, they have been there, done that, or know about it. You begin to feel flattened, drained, sucked dry whenever you speak to them.
  • The “victim” vampire: This one can actually be putting on a very brave face, interlaced however, with much possible sighing, and a soft, suffering voice. Here there has been a great injustice done to the vampire, perhaps it is the family that has let the person down, perhaps it was a spouse, or friends, occasionally this vampire may even blame him or herself for some events, but nevertheless, because they view themselves as victim, albeit brave and all-suffering, you are put into the untenable role of someone who is expected to help this person, generally at the expense of your own well-being. Your help may come in the guise of marathon talk sessions, ideas, something you physically do for the other to help them get stronger or better, but whatever it is, it drains you. And of course, if you stop accepting the role of helper, builder-upper of strength (the other’s), you feel guilty for being such a bad friend (or relative, or partner).
  • The “monologue” vampire who never lets you get a word in edgewise: This one isn’t just talking endlessly about what is not going well in his/her life; the endless talking can also be about potentially interesting subjects, but there is simply no interest whatsoever in what you might have to say about it. So the monologue goes on and on. And since this particular vampire has never done anything to offend you, you feel you would be rude or discourteous by complaining. And so you continue to listen as your life blood (your energy) drains out of you. This can go on for decades.
  • The “I just want to be like you and do everything you do” vampire: This one suffocates you by their desire to emulate you to the nth degree. They may begin by dressing like you, going to the same tailor or designer, using your salon, picking up your discards when you no longer date someone (or after you’ve divorced someone). Later they may actually try to date them even when you are still with someone. They want to go everywhere you go, participate in all your activities, they may decide to sign up at your gym or your yoga class, they may show up unbidden at restaurants when you are dining out with other friends. But basically, because all they are really doing is trying to be like you – which we often take as something complimentary – you may not notice how much you are being suffocated until it has reached a point of strong frustration. And then, if you want to keep your head over water, you may need to disappear from their life.
  • The “please take care of me” vampire: This one is another type of victim vampire, but comes dressed in new clothing. This vampire comes right out and says he/she needs your help, needs you to take on responsibility for some portion of their existence. And for some reason, you fall right into the role. It could be because at the beginning it makes you feel good, or strong, or valuable. Or perhaps they admire you as go about whatever it is that you do for them. But eventually it suffocates you. Because you are now in the strait-jacket of having to be responsible for the other. And to remove the strait-jacket, to stop being suffocated, you may need to take drastic measures, never an easy step. To begin with, it will probably make you feel highly guilty to refuse to continue in the role. But if you do continue in the role, you may feel, apart from suffocated, very resentful, low in energy and enthusiasm, because life just is no longer very good. How can it be, if your life blood runs through their veins? Don’t forget, that in some fashion, vampires are parasites.
  • The “I can’t live without you” vampire: This is a cousin of the please take care of me vampire, i.e., another type of victim vampire, but this one is bigger and stronger. This one may even get the kids to help reel you back into the fold in order to re-establish the status quo. This one may have been feeding off you for an entire marriage. Or as your sibling an entire lifetime. Or your parent, or even your child. You know that you feel drained and empty, perhaps even hopeless in their presence (hopeless because you just don’t know how to stop it). So finally you take the big step and give them an ultimatum – or, even more drastic - remove them from your life. Now they use strategic tactics to undermine your recently-found strength. They pull at your heart-strings by sending you the children (possibly adult children) to let you know how they are not able to live without you. Or they send you your parent (in the case of a sibling) to pass on the same message. The result? You feel so guilty, so terrible about your own selfish behaviour (for wanting to be out of their presence), you feel so responsible for their well-being, that you may capitulate. Don’t. It’s your life that is at stake. You are responsible for you. They are responsible for themselves. They need to learn how to exist without feeding off you, and it is not your role to teach them how.
  • The “I need to know everything about your life” vampire: This one really suffocates as well, but here the suffocation has nothing to do with imitating you or behaving like a victim who needs you to be responsible for them or who can’t live without you. Here we’re talking about someone whom you have become used to giving blow-by-blow accounts of the details of your life. You may be friends and talk on the phone every day and all the fine points are gone over in minute detail. Or you may be colleagues with a similar scenario. At the beginning it just happened. If someone asked you how it came about, you might say that you aren’t really certain. It felt good, and it was lovely to be able to share with someone in such intimate fashion. At some point however, it started to become an obligation. Perhaps a moral obligation. You felt guilty if you didn’t share all. You sometimes began holding some bits back, noticed it, and then felt resentful if the other pried, or prodded you into saying more. In time, you started feeling drained as you recounted your daily life to the vampire. But by now – at least on the surface – you are so close, that it seems to make no sense that you want out, or that you have any negative feelings, so guilt builds up on more guilt. And you feel more drained.
Note: This listing is not meant to be definitive. There are many, many other versions of emotional and energetic vampires. Some, who appear in the workplace as your superiors, have not even been touched upon here, and they can make life a living hell. Others can appear in your bedroom. That will eventually also turn into a living nightmare.

What Does it Mean?

  • There is high degree of manipulation in the art of being a vampire – manipulation directed at you in order that you will offer your neck (and your life blood) willingly
  • In the early stages of the relationship, you may have a feeling of being worthy, of having value, but when you begin to feel drained and robbed of energy, you know that those feelings were merely part of the unresolved issues in you that need work 
  • The vampire:
    • Does not have to take care of the self
    •  Does not have to work on being responsible for the self
    • Feels alive by draining others
    • Feels powerful by draining others
    • There is something very needy about the vampire – why else would they be draining you of your life blood? However, this kind of neediness is highly dangerous for you, if you decide to “help” them with it. Where they are needy, they are dysfunctional. And that is totally their own responsibility. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t be a supporting friend or partner, should they decide to do something about it. But as long as they expect to get their blood from you, and you comply, you are both highly dysfunctional.
What Can You Do About It?

Try talking openly. Maybe you can salvage the relationship, although I don’t think it’s very likely (in order for this to happen, the other person will have had to do some growing of their own, and more often than not growth takes place at different time in individuals’ lives). Try explaining. If none of that works, keep as much distance as you can, both physically and emotionally. Examine everything that is being said and done, and remember that whatever it is that is being said and done has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the other person. Consciously choose to hear it and observe it, but to not let it affect you the way it has up to now. Leave the presence of the other person as soon as you can. But in some cases you may need to walk away … perhaps in a definitive way, by ending the relationship.

Why Do You Have Someone Like That in Your Life?

Let’s start with the premise that the reasons I enumerate are in line with the spiritual philosophy of psychology I’ve been offering in these newsletters over the past four years There are numerous possibilities. However, I just want to touch on one of the most obvious and frequent reasons that pertain to inner growth regarding the reason why people have emotional and energetic vampires in their lives.

Having emotional and energetic vampires in your life eventually teaches you about boundaries … about the fact that you have poor boundaries …about the fact that you have now (as you truly become aware of this in your life) developed a real allergy to this ... to people who do not respect you. In either calling them to order, or in ridding your life of them, you become much more aware and conscious about yourself. Due to this you are now in a position to move to a whole new level in your life because of this new awareness and your conscious decision not to let individuals of this type continue to be an influence in your life.

This reorganization of your inner self and the subsequent move to a whole new level is immensely important. It means you become responsible for your entire self, not just for your physical well-being, for example. By so doing, you ensure that your environment – in this case the type of persons that people your world – are healthy for you. Another magnificent step to inner freedom.

Related Articles:

(all are available here)

  • Claiming Responsibility for the Self 
  • Controlling Ourselves, Our Lives, and the People in Them
  • Do Your Relationship Boundaries Contribute to Your Well-being?
  • Emotional Unavailability: An Introduction
  • Finding it Hard to Love Yourself? Check Our Your Boundaries
  • Gratitude Choice, and the “Why Did This Happen to Me?” Syndrome
  • Grow in Richness: Stop the Blaming
  • I Need You, I Need You Not: Does Love Imply Needing?
  • Intentional Focus, Your Happiness, Your Success, and the Law of Attraction
  • Making Choices: Taking Responsibility For Our Lives
  • Rejection: The Devastating and Paralyzing Effect it Can Have on Us
  • What Are Your Addictions?
  • When Love Walks Out the Door: Six Tips For Intelligent Survival

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dream Symbols 5: Flying

Flying is one of those fascinating dream symbols that appears to crop up more frequently in the dreams of persons who have lucid dreams. Lucid dreams are those dreams in which the dreamer is conscious of the fact that he or she is dreaming and is frequently capable of actually changing the tenor or direction of the dream. Lucid dreams have even been used in therapy, and I will be addressing this subject more deeply in a future post about dreaming.

So what does it mean when the dreamer is flying in the dream? The first question is whether the flying is done under your own steam, or whether you are flying in an airplane. The airplane type is much more similar to any other vehicle type of dream, where the vehicle may represent the dreamer’s life, and it is important to understand the physical positioning of the dreamer in the vehicle (are you the pilot, or a passenger; are you in the cockpit, in the galley, in the hold, or seated), another important element is to know whether you are flying smoothly, or there is turbulence, or whether you are flying up or coming down, or perhaps even nose-diving.

Each of these different possibilities offers a different potential symbolism pertaining to the dreamer's real life, so for example, in the case of the dreamer being the pilot of the plane, it would symbolize having much more control over the motion and forward movement of one's life, than if the dreamer were a passenger. Likewise, if the plane is undergoing difficulties, or if there is outer turbulence due to bad weather, it would symbolize such a condition in the dreamer's real life.

However, when the dream is of a dreamer who is flying himself, i.e., his body is flying through the air, then it has another possible panoply of symbolic meanings. First of all, take into account the possibility of the lucid dreaming as mentioned. Flying symbolizes a certain measure of freedom from earthly ties. It also symbolizes the possibility of a heightened sense of spirituality, or an increase of spirituality in the life of the dreamer, or a seeking of such spirituality by the dreamer.

It’s also important to get a feel for the ambience or atmosphere of the dream. Was the flying process enjoyable, or did it frighten you? Did you have a measure of control over the process, or was it all out of your hands? Were you keen on trying new stunts, or flying yourself to new places, or were you more interested in determining how to get back to the ground safely?

As with all dreams, it is important to make a note in your dream journal about the type of situation going on in your life during the day or two prior to the dream, as well as your feelings immediately upon awakening with regards to this dream in particular.

In most of these dream posts I have been recommending books, and here I recommend one about lucid dreaming by Stephen Laberge as well as another about healing dreams by Marc Ian Barasch:



      













Photo Credit: Exsodus

Friday, July 8, 2011

Change Your Mind - & Your Life Will Also Change - in 3 Weeks


Many people have asked me to re-print my New Year's newsletter article from January 2011 Change Your Mind - & Your Life Will Also Change - in 3 Weeks because of my 21-day program I recommend in the article, so here it is again ... if you can just love yourself enough to do it, you will find that things change very rapidly in your life (y para los hispano-parlantes, el artículo con enlaces a videos o artículos en español, también se puede pedir, acudiendo a mi website):


Here is my gift for you, my reader, as we are on the verge of entering a New Year. But even if we weren’t, or even if you read this article at any time at all during the year, you can begin the three week process whenever you wish. We want to make New Year’s resolutions, we want to change our lives, but life seems to get in the way and we wind up doing nothing. And yet, just like learning how to play a sport, or a musical instrument, or learning a new language, or learning your way around a new city you have just moved to, all it really requires is that you practice and that you keep yourself focused – on a daily basis - by spending a little time (and it truly is just a very little time) on reading or viewing something that strengthens your resolve to continue with this new practice.

In a nutshell: each day you will:

• do a brief “activity” and
• read a brief article or
• view a brief video or
• listen to a brief audio or
• reflect on a thought

Note: When the instructions for a given day indicate you should repeat something from the day before, it never refers to the bulleted activities.

The Three Week Plan

WEEK ONE

During this week you will mainly begin to practice becoming aware of your thoughts.

Day 1: Pick a time when you will have 10 free and uninterrupted minutes. Scan your day up to that point, and become aware of any time during that day that you were not in an optimal frame of mind (there will probably have been many such moments). Simply jot down a few words in bullet fashion about any or all of the moments of that day that you remember. You could jot down what had just happened, what you felt and/or what you were thinking, if you remember that.

• Read Looking In All the Right Places

Day 2: Do the same as on Day 1, but now insist on remembering what you were thinking when you were not in an optimal state and write down those thoughts in brief, bullet fashion. This process helps you become aware of your thoughts. Do this at least twice today.

• Reflect on: Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. Aristotle

Day 3: Repeat what you did on Day 2, but this time, take note of your feelings as well. What feelings appear to manifest in conjunction with those thoughts? As on the day before, note it all down in bullet fashion. Do this at least twice today.

• Read Six Ingredients of a Good Life (Harvard Business Review)

Day 4: Repeat what you did on Day 3, but this time, take note of your body as well. What physical sensations appear to manifest in conjunction with those thoughts and feelings? As on the day before, note it all down in bullet fashion. Do this at least twice today.

• Reflect on: It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. Buddha, and: It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. Edmund Hillary

• Read Your Attention to Bad Things

Day 5: Paste post-its in as many places of your home and office (perhaps even your car), such as bathroom mirror, refrigerator, computer screen, etc., and write on these post-it’s something such as:

• What am I thinking?
• What am I feeling?

If the above sentences cause embarrassment when you think others might see them when they come to your home, or perhaps even members of your family who don’t know what you are up to, and to whom you don’t wish to give explanations, write brief quotations instead, from favorite authors, philosophers, etc., but knowing that when you read them, you know that what they are really reminding you to do, is to think about what you are thinking and what you are feeling. Some sample quotations could be:

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Gandhi
Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. R.E. Osborn
The only people who can change the world are people who want to. Hugh MacLeod
Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome. Samuel Johnson

Repeat everything mentioned in Day 4.

• Reflect on: Forever is composed of nows. Emily Dickinson

• Watch The Opportunity of Adversity with Aimée Mullins (20 min)

Day 6: Begin to become aware of your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations as often as possible throughout the day, and certainly each time you see the post its. Make a very brief note of each time you become aware:

• On your own
• When you see one of the post-its

How many times did you notice your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations today?

• Read How Your Thoughts Change your Body

Day 7: Repeat Day 6 and each time you become aware of the thoughts, feelings, and sensations, ask yourself: is this where I want to be?

• Read Why You Don’t Want To Be Happy by Deepak Chopra

• Reflect on: We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. Buddha

WEEK TWO

During this week, you will mainly practice choosing to take your thoughts elsewhere when you have become aware of them and realize they are not serving you well.

Day 8: Repeat Day 7 but today, as you ask yourself Is this where I want to be, you begin to choose to be in a different place in your thoughts. Here is an example:

• A scenario you have imagined about an ideal place or situation in which you would like to find yourself. The more detailed it is, the better, because you will be able to totally enter the scenario and enjoy it, noticing that your state of inner well-being will have changed: imagine yourself on vacation, or imagine yourself working in your ideal profession, or imagine yourself with the home life you desire, or imagine yourself perfecting a hobby or sport

• Read Different Vibrations, Different Results

Day 9: Repeat Day 8, but include at least one time during the day this other alternative for changing your thoughts: as you become aware of thoughts that are not serving you well, that are sabotaging you, go for a brief, 10 – 20 minute walk, a walk that we could call a “mindful” walk because during the walk you are going to do your utmost to be fully mindful, aware, of yourself, your body and your surroundings. Start out by noticing your feet as they touch the ground, your legs as they move forward, your torso as it also comes forward, your arms as they swing by your sides, your shoulders as they move rhythmically, and your head as it rests on your neck. Notice the breeze (wind, rain, sunshine) on your face, notice all the smells, aromas, perfumes you are able to perceive, notice everything you can hear (a child laughing contagiously, a dog barking, a car braking, the wind soughing through the trees, etc.), and thus be totally aware not only of yourself but also of your surroundings.

• Watch Dan Siegel & Goldie Hawn on TED about MINDFULNESS (19 minutes)

Day 10: Repeat Day 9. 100%

• Read Reacting to External Things

Day 11: Repeat Day 10. 100%

• Reflect on: Truly the greatest gift you have is that of your own self-transformation. Lao Tzu

• Listen to: Aria at the Acropolis (Yanni) and observe what the sound of it does to your inner state

Day 12: Repeat Day 11. 100%

• Read Is Your Universe Friendly or Hostile?

Day 13: Repeat Day 12. 100%

• Reflect on: Let him who would move the world first move himself. Socrates

• Watch The Best Gift I Ever Survived (Stacey Kramer) 3 minutes

Day 14: Repeat Day 13. 100%

• Watch Deepak Chopra on the Heart (4 minutes)

WEEK THREE

During this week you will mainly practice consciously choosing alternatives to those thoughts that are not serving you well, that are of most benefit to you, and thus you will grow and stimulate the habit of doing this on a daily, 24/7 basis.

Day 15: As you repeat Day 14, each time that you become aware of thoughts that do not serve you, and also during your mindful walk, begin to bring your thoughts to something you are grateful for in your immediate presence. As you will have practiced being aware during the previous week, finding something to be grateful for, will be simple. The contagiously laughing child, the frolicking puppy, the butterfly, the bougainvillea climbing up a white-washed wall, the brilliant blue sky, the deep dark rain-filled sky, the falling snow, the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, the sound of lawnmowers, the smell of freshly-mown grass, etc. It makes no difference what it is … the important thing is to notice something that fills you with gratitude for its very existence. Notice that as you feel this gratitude, your inner state of well-being improves. Notice that as you do this more and more often – even though each time you do it, it’s only a nano-second of time, your inner feeling of peace increments. This is worth gold and will serve you for the rest of your life.

• Reflect on: We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves. Dalai Lama

Day 16: Repeat Day 15. 100%

• Watch The Benefits of a Calm Mind by the Dalai Lama (3.5 minutes)

Day 17: Repeat Day 16. 100%

• Read All You Have is Now

Day 18: Repeat Day 17. 100%

• Reflect on: Past and future are in the mind only - I am now. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

• Read Different Vibrations, Different Results

Day 19: Repeat Day 18. 100%

• Watch: Habits of Happiness with Matthieu Ricard (20 minutes)

Day 20: Repeat Day 19. 100%

• Reflect on: Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world. Wayne Dyer

• Listen to: Glorianna by Vangelis and observe what the sounds do to your inner state

Day 21: Repeat Day 20. 100%

• Reflect on: The word "buddha" means being awake, which means not being identified with thought, because being awake means being in the now. That's the only place you do not identify with thought. Paraphrase from Eckhart Tolle talk.

What you have just done in 21 days has begun the process of changing a neural pathway in your prefrontal cortex. If you continue with this, it will strengthen so rapidly that you will have a hard time not doing it in future, because the neural pathway associated with your earlier behavior, where your negative thoughts were running your life, has become weaker.

And therein lies a large part of the secret of being in charge of your thoughts. By doing this you have begun to free yourself of all that previously enslaved you, of all that previously made you believe that your life was not in your hands. By doing this you give yourself peace, joy and harmony. By doing this you see light where before there was darkness. By doing this, you give yourself freedom.

May your New Year be filled with freedom, joy, harmony and peace.