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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

Friday, May 30, 2014

What Fills Your Head?


Clearly, we all have varied interests. John's into politics, Ted's into football, Marguerite likes the theatre, and Evelyn runs marathons. So those interests we hold, obviously form part of what fills our head. But let's take that a step further. We all have 'lives'. And our lives consist of our family and loved ones, our work, our hobbies, our social lives, etc. So again, part of what fills our head is related to that. But beyond all of that, we still have other pockets of interest in our minds.
  • reality tv shows
  • social media
  • non-stop televised sports
  • soaps (or what passes as something slightly different in our more modern televison viewing, but could be classified as soaps: those series with season after season of episodes that keep us chained to them)
  • non-stop news coverage on the canned channels that offer little room for anything other than the latest sound bite
  • rom-com's (movies or books)
  • thrillers (movies or books)
  • physical exercise: jogging, walking, circuit training, exercise classes, etc.
  • money
  • power
  • prestige (social, academic, professional, etc.)
  • youthfulness
  • being accepted
  • shopping
  • gardening
  • illness
  • following the latest news of your celebrity of choice
  • attending political rallies
  • attending back-to-back social events
  • worrying about what others think of you
  • gossiping
  • getting published in peer-reviewed journals in your chosen discipline
  • getting your art/music/film/book reviewed on major platforms
  • doing charitable work (bet you didn't expect that on this list!)
  • attending mass/church/synagogue/mosque/satsang, etc. (bet you didn't expect that either!)
Disclaimer: Do I not do any of this? Of course I do. I'm also there - at least in some of those places - and often grappling with myself about it. And do note that some of the potentially 'better' activities are - in my opinion - only better when they are done from a position of self-reflection, as opposed to from a position of either the ego wanting to show others something, or from mindless following of what someone else is doing or saying, or from a mindless (perhaps also desperate) need for momentary distraction.

As I observe people, both in my private practice and in my personal life (and as I observe myself), and as I observe what cinema and television serves up for us to consume, most of which does not encourage what I'm talking about here, I have to ask myself what has happened to contemplation? To self-reflection? To the inner quest for growth and understanding? To being mindful? How is it that we spend the bulk of our existence distracting ourselves with all of the above (some of which, admittedly, depending on how it decorates your existence, is very important to living a good life)?

Think of it this way: how much of what fills your head provides you with joy? With peace? With improved inner well-being? How much of it raises your energetic frequency? How much of it causes you to feel your life is worth living? How much of it makes you want to continue on the same path, knowing that each step forward creates even more of what you already have? That for me is the benchmark.

What fills your head?


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

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch:

 
Rewiring the Soul

Click here to download the first chapter.
To see the Table of Contents click here

Reviews From the Back Cover:

"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

"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

The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come."
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of: Ecstasy is a New Frequency

“Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion.” 

Robert Schwartz: Author of Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born 


The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self 


My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is just out. Click here to download an excerpt. 

From the Introduction: It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.


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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Heroes & Heroines


It's that day of the year again where the inevitable passing of time assigns an extra number to the years we have been here. I've decided to have a look at one aspect of those years - a manner of summing up thus far, by remembering a number of my heroes and heroines over the decades.

In no particular order, here are some (not nearly all) of those that I have admired, in particular, some of those I admired most fervently when I was still very young: Simone de Beauvoir, Henry Miller, Somerset Maugham, Anäis Nin, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Gloria Steinem, Liz Greene, Jean Houston, Alexander Ruperti, Carl Gustav Jung, Victor Frankl, Wayne Dyer, Mother Teresa, Chris Griscom, Aung San Suu Kyi, Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, Christopher Reeve, Martin Luther King, Jr., Joseph Campbell, Eckhart Tolle, Aimée Mullins, Nelson Mandela, Frida Kahlo, Thomas Moore, Oprah WInfrey, Ram Dass, Lawrence Anthony, Princess Diana, Sabriye Tenberken, Coco Chanel, Hillary Clinton, Christiane Amanpour, Elaine Pagels, Angelina Jolie, Graham Hancock, Betty Friedan, Sydney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn, Maya Angelou, Leonardo da Vinci, Richard Branson, H. Rider Hagard, C.S. Lewis, Leonard Cohen, Pablo Neruda, Benazir Bhutto, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, T.S. Eliot, Rainer Maria Rilke, Kahlil Gibran, M. Esther Harding, Marija Gimbutas, Elizabeth Kübler Ross.

Despite the evident diversity, there's a bit of a common thread here - at least for me: most appeared to be interested in peace, equality, and justice, an element of self-reflection glitters in their lives, courage and persistence run through the days and years of their existence, the status quo or comfort zone was not necessarily a place to which they clung, an  inner purpose, an interest in growth, an interest in our common humanity - might we even say - an interest in the idea of we are all one can be observed. They have inspired me and moved me in the directions in which I have traveled, and while my life does not take place before the cameras, or on the front pages of the press, I have aspired - in part thanks to them - to more and more live a life that moves - even if only by small, tiny, but daily steps, in the direction of all that which I find so admirable in the existence of these.

Admiring others is a wonderful thing precisely because it can - if you let it - inspire you to greatness. Not greatness on the world's stage, but greatness in your own existence because of how it (you) may shine in the lives of others. We might even call it a win-win equation. Your growth serves the potential growth of others whose lives you touch. Is that not a goal worth reaching for?

Who inspires you? What does that tell you about yourself?

Image: Easter Island


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

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch:

 
Rewiring the Soul

Click here to download the first chapter.
To see the Table of Contents click here

Reviews From the Back Cover:

"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

"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

The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come."
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of: Ecstasy is a New Frequency

“Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion.” 

Robert Schwartz: Author of Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born 


The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self 


My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is just out. Click here to download an excerpt. 

From the Introduction: It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.


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

Monday, May 26, 2014

When Others See You How You Are Not: Its Effect on Your Relationships


We often fall in love with a projection, which simply means that we aren't properly aware of who the other person really is ... and what we love is not necessarily who they really are. But we don't know this and we are in love and our partner most likely is doing exactly the same thing. You can see how this might create a problem.

In one scenario I'm aware that I'm not the ski slope lover my new partner thinks I am, but I really want him/her to love me back, so I try to mold myself into that, and we do frequent ski trips together. Thing is, I ski relatively well, but perhaps I hate the cold. Or perhaps I enjoy the après-ski a lot more than the actual skiing, but by the time après-ski comes around, my partner is quite tired and wants to go to bed. Or - substitute football, opera, gardening, discussing politics until the wee hours of the morning, or any other activity you care to mention instead of skiing, and since again, I really would like my new partner to admire me, approve of me, like, and love me, I allow myself to get settled into that particular strait jacket. In time I will find this too constricting and will rebel against the strait jacket and then important and potentially difficult issues will arise when my partner begins to see the greater reality of who I really am.

In another scenario perhaps my partner views me as funny, the center of any party, or perhaps he/she sees me as a veritable Doric column of justice and rectitude or a pillar of strength. We don't know why he/she sees me that way, as said, it's often a projection, but since I am being seen that way, and I may not even be aware of it, important and difficult issues will arise when my partner's rosy-colored glasses fall and he/she sees me for who I truly am.

The point of this preamble is to encourage you to see that much as we want others to like or love us, there is great danger in not being true to ourselves in the way we present ourselves. And of course this means that in the first scenario I be as open as possible about my lack of fire for skiing or football or opera, and that in the second scenario - recognizing at least on the basis of this brief post, that it is vital to be as aware as possible at all times in my relationships - I now go about them in a much more conscious way than before in order to prevent - as much as possible - blind actions and reactions such as those described from happening, or at least, catching them as soon as possible, and then nipping them in the bud by discussing what is going on.

The problem with this for most people is the fear of losing the potential partner. We fear that if we 'own' up to our true self, we won't have that chance at happiness. And we bargain with ourselves, convincing ourselves that it will soon sort itself out. And yet - isn't it better to have a chance at happiness with someone who knows (as much as possible) who you truly are, as opposed to having a chance at happiness with someone who believes you are what you are not? Projection - and all it entails - is not an easy subject to deal with, especially when we ourselves are still caught up in it, but this is one of the steps you can take in order to begin the unraveling.

Image: Jawa Barat, Indonesia


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

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch:

 
Rewiring the Soul

Click here to download the first chapter.
To see the Table of Contents click here

Reviews From the Back Cover:

"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

"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

The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come."
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of: Ecstasy is a New Frequency

“Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion.” 

Robert Schwartz: Author of Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born 


The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self 


My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is just out. Click here to download an excerpt. 

From the Introduction: It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.


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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Choosing Where to Place Your Attention


Consider where your attention tends to be during your day. Obviously part of your attention is on the things you must do. Get up, exercise (I hope), shower, eat breakfast, drive to work, work, have lunch, more work, drive home, have dinner, do household chores, watch TV, go to bed.

I am aware of the fact that the day I have portrayed sounds abominable for its lack of anything at all in it to redeem it (maybe the food? the scenery on the drive to work? maybe you enjoy the exercise?) ... but in a nutshell, that is, in fact, what many people's Monday - Friday lives boil down to. (And if the Monday to Friday is not good, the probability that the weekend will be better is not great, or even if it is, it may be plagued with headaches, backaches, etc., trying to call your attention to the fact that you need to change something about your life). Add in a spouse or live-in partner, factor in some kids, parents-in-law or other relatives, add in night studying to prepare yourself for greater ease in the job market, and the daily routine becomes even more congested with elements that may not give you great joy (or, if you've become more conscious and aware, perhaps they do).

So here's the thing: in this day of yours, where is your attention?
 
  •  Is it on the fact that you don't like your day?
  •  Or is it on the fact that you find your day mind-numbingly routine?
  •  Or is it on the fact that you don't like your job?
  •  Or the commute to work?
  •  Or that you are so tired because you didn't get enough sleep?
  • Or on the fact that you can't focus on anything other than that your partner/boy friend/ girl friend has left you?
  •  Or that you are dreading the presentation you have to give at the meeting at work today?
  •  Or that you find your colleagues stultifying?
  •  Or that you are worried because your doctor told you that you will have to cut down on the cholesterol?
  •  Or that you need to exercise and never seem to find the time?
  • Or that you don't know how you'll pay the increased mortgage? 
So let's assume that your attention is on some of those points, or others of a similar nature. Now what happens to your energy while your attention is there? After all, attention in that place means that your attention is in a negative place, and therefore your energy can't possibly be high. And apart from the fact that when your inner energy, the frequency at which you are vibrating inside of you, is low, due to the place where your attention is, things like your immune systems are implied, and so it would be easier, for example, for you to catch a cold, or the swine flu, it also means that what you are sending out there for yourself in the world, can't possibly reflect anything positive back to you.

So it's very important to catch yourself in the act of having your attention on the wrong things. You can do that more easily by paying attention to the way you feel. When you realize you are low on that vibratory scale (which right now may be most of the time), you know that you have to do something about it. And one of the things to do, is to re-focus, focus on something else, something that gives you pleasure, something that excites you.

So here you are in the car thinking about the dreariness of your commute, and you can focus on the brilliance of the blue sky. Or the beauty of the rain as it gives life to all that grows. Being mindful of your surroundings - especially the berauty of your surroundings and feeling gratitude for that - is one of the best ways of deploying your attention in a healthy and nurturing (for yourself)  fashion. Or you can focus on what you are planning to do so that the commute will soon be a thing of the past (as in re-engineering your life so that you can find a different job), or you can daydream for a bit, by focusing on something that suffuses you with pleasure, such as, for example, sailing around the world on a sailboat, or re-tracing Marco Polo's Silk Road in a Jeep. The possibilities are endless, and it is - of course - up to you to come up with some scenarios that will give you pleasure, but in so doing, you change the energy of your self, and once that is done, it will be easier for you to focus on the here and now with a new outlook.

Pay attention to where your attention is and you may change your life.

Image: Saint Bishoy Monastery (Coptic Orthodox), Wadi el Natrun, Egypt

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

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch:

 
Rewiring the Soul

Click here to download the first chapter.
To see the Table of Contents click here

Reviews From the Back Cover:

"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

"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

The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come."
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of: Ecstasy is a New Frequency

“Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion.” 

Robert Schwartz: Author of Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born 


The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self 


My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is just out. Click here to download an excerpt. 

From the Introduction: It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.


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

Monday, May 19, 2014

Follow Your Bliss: Perhaps Not?


Do what you love. Follow your bliss. 

I've repeated those phrases endlessly, as I am a great admirer of Joseph Campbell, Goethe, and Thoreau, yet I always felt a niggle in my gut (that's the second brain, for those of you who follow that kind of information) that something about them wasn't quite right. Because it literally meant that so many who could not - and did not - follow their bliss, were totally left out of this equation. In one of my articles (Finding a Meaning For Your Life), and in talks I've given about the subject, I would generally interject something like: 'if you're not there yet; if you're doing something you don't love, find meaning and purpose in doing it well, in deriving satisfaction from a job well done, as opposed to actually following your bliss, and as you do your job well - even if you're sweeping streets (my apologies to street sweepers, lest it sounds as though your work is a lowly job - yours is an honorable task, thanks to which we may walk through clean and dust-free streets) - and know that you would much prefer to be doing something else, then utilize your free time well to prepare yourself for another kind of activity in order that at some point in the future, you may move towards it.

So I was very gratified to find two recent articles in Slate (here is a slightly expanded version in the Jacobin magazine) and the NY Times that dealt precisely with this topic. 

Gordon Marino (author of the piece in the NY Times) writes: "The universally recognized paragons of humanity — the Nelson Mandelas, Dietrich Bonhoeffers and Martin Luther Kings — did not organize their lives around self-fulfillment and bucket lists. They, no doubt, found a sense of meaning in their heroic acts of self-sacrifice, but they did not do what they were doing in order to achieve that sense of meaning. They did — like my father and some of those kids from town — what they felt they had to do."

So doing what you feel you have to do may occasionally be connected to 'doing what you love (DWYL)', but most frequently arises more from a need: whether that need is to earn money and feed the family or to change an injustice.

And Marino states: "Our desires should not be the ultimate arbiters of vocation. Sometimes we should do what we hate, or what most needs doing, and do it as best we can."

Because of course, sometimes doing what we hate, is simply what we have to do. I've been there on several occasions in my life and know whereof I speak. Jobs that left me numb, work for which I had not one iota of interest. And yet I persevered. Why? Because I had no other choice. That doesn't mean I wasn't busy planning ways to move elsewhere work-wise, but while I held those jobs, I did them as well as I could. That - if nothing else - was my main satisfaction.

Miya Tokumitsu (author of the pieces in Slate & the Jacobin magazine) writes: "...with the vast majority of workers effectively invisible to elites busy in their lovable occupations, how can it be surprising that the heavy strains faced by today’s workers—abysmal wages, massive child care costs, etc.—barely register as political issues even among the liberal faction of the ruling class?

Damning words indeed!
And she doesn't stop there. "In ignoring most work and reclassifying the rest as love, DWYL may be the most elegant anti-worker ideology around. Why should workers assemble and assert their class interests if there’s no such thing as work? If we believe that working as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur or a museum publicist or a think-tank acolyte is essential to being true to ourselves, what do we believe about the inner lives and hopes of those who clean hotel rooms and stock shelves at big-box stores? The answer is: nothing."

So it appears we need to rethink our stance on following our bliss. (In some twisted way it reminds me of those who espouse the law of attraction as a be-all and end-all for endless abundance and success, without bothering to think of the fact that it was never meant to signify that you would receive without ever giving AKA 'working' on your side of the equation in order to bring about whatever you were seeking).

Tokumitsu adds a final thrust: "Yet another damaging consequence of DWYL is how ruthlessly it works to extract female labor for little or no compensation. Women comprise the majority of the low-wage or unpaid workforce; as care workers, adjunct faculty, and unpaid interns, they outnumber men. What unites all of this work, whether performed by GEDs or Ph.D.s, is the belief that wages shouldn’t be the primary motivation for doing it. Women are supposed to do work because they are natural nurturers and are eager to please; after all, they’ve been doing uncompensated child care, elder care, and housework since time immemorial. And talking money is unladylike anyway."

Clearly, 'doing what you love' (DWYL) is not as easily done as said. Nor is it a clear-cut proposition that supercedes the other option. I am reminded of two Zen Buddhist aphorisms that offer excellent advice for those immersed in work they do not love, those others who are actively involved in seeking it, and those who believe they have found it:
  • To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others
  • We are shaped by our thought; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves
This inner part that both quotes refer to, has so much more to do with your state of bliss no matter what you do.

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

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch:

 
Rewiring the Soul

Click here to download the first chapter.
To see the Table of Contents click here

Reviews From the Back Cover:

"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

"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

The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come."
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of: Ecstasy is a New Frequency

“Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion.” 

Robert Schwartz: Author of Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born 


The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self 


My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is just out. Click here to download an excerpt. 

From the Introduction: It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.


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

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Improving Gut Health Improves Mood


This blog isn't really about the body, at least not directly. But over the past few years more and more articles have emerged indicating that not only do we have that - by now - famous second brain in our intestine (see my 2006 article: Introducing Our Second & Third Brains: We Do Think With Our Heart & Instinct) due to the millions of neural cells found there, but it appears that the physical state of health of that part of our body - the gut - influences our mood.

Ho-hum. So this is about food.

Yes and no. More than about food - healthy food, processed food, or junk food, it's about understanding what you are doing to your state of inner well-being; i.e., your happiness and joy, if you are not aware of how the health of your intestine has great influence over mood. So it's not about the fact that you feel happier when you have some sugary or carb-laden food than if you eat broccoli, but that it is potentially a given that your gut is creating a mood due to its - let's call it - lack of balance. So it's possible that even if you were to switch to a much healthier way of eating, as long as you don't take care of also tweaking the gut, the mood may not improve as much as you'd like it to.

And the tweaking has much to do with certain ingredients you give your gut in order that it may restore its natural microbial balance in order that your mood is as good as it can be. As you will see in the following articles, probiotics (good ones - don't worry, I sell none, nor am I affiliated with anyone who does), or good fermented foods that you can easily make yourself at home, are key to this issue.

Have a look:
"Your gastrointestinal system is the most abundant source of regulatory neurotransmitters and neuro-peptides outside the brain. An example of this is the fact that serotonin, one of the brain's chemicals that influences mood, actually has its highest concentrations in the gut." 
"The digestive tract and the brain are crucially linked, according to mounting evidence showing that diet and gut bacteria are able to influence our behavior, thoughts and mood. Now researchers have found evidence of bacterial translocation, or “leaky gut,” among people with depression."
"With a sophisticated neural network transmitting messages from trillions of bacteria, the brain in your gut exerts a powerful influence over the one in your head, new research suggests."

"Research has found, for example, that tweaking the balance between beneficial and disease-causing bacteria in an animal's gut can alter its brain chemistry and lead it to become either more bold or more anxious."

"Do the trillions of microbes that live in our bodies help mold our brains as we're growing up? Do they continue to influence our moods, behavior and feelings when we're adults?" 

"The brain connections of people whose microbes are dominated by one species of bacteria look different than those of people whose microbes are dominated by another species. That suggests that the specific mix of microbes in our guts helps determine what kinds of brains we have, how our brain circuits develop, how they're wired."

"It's the first time that it's been demonstrated in a controlled study that if you alter the gut microorganisms or microbes, that this affects the brain in a fairly profound fashion in healthy people."

"The secret to improving your mental health is in your gut, as unhealthy gut flora can have a detrimental impact on your brain health leading to issues like anxiety and depression."
Also visit my new website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch:

 
Rewiring the Soul

Click here to download the first chapter.
To see the Table of Contents click here

Reviews From the Back Cover:

"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

"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

The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come."
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of: Ecstasy is a New Frequency

“Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion.” 

Robert Schwartz: Author of Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born 


The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self 


My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is just out. Click here to download an excerpt. 

From the Introduction: It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.


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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Raising Oxytocin: Stress, Health, Weight & Well-being


Stress is very bad for your health. You know this. Stress also negatively induces weight gain. You might not have known this. More below. And stress - obviously - impacts on your inner well-being.

How Stress Affects Weight:
  • The hormones released when we're stressed include adrenalin -- which gives us instant energy -- along with corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) and cortisol. While high levels of adrenalin and CRH decrease appetite at first, the effects usually don't last long. 
    And cortisol works on a different timetable. Its job is to help us replenish our body after the stress has passed, and it hangs around a lot longer. It can remain elevated, increasing your appetite and ultimately driving you to eat more. Source
  • Weight gain when under stress may also be at least partly due to the body's system of hormonal checks and balances, which can actually promote weight gain when you're stressed out. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite. Cortisol has been termed the "stress hormone" because excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress, and the normal pattern of cortisol secretion can be altered. This disruption of cortisol secretion may not only promote weight gain, but it can also affect where you put on the weight. Source
Clearly stress, that already affects your health and well-being, also affects unwanted weight gain, and just as clearly, it would be highly beneficial if you could learn how to easily alleviate yourself - and your entire system - of stress. You've been reading about the benefits of yoga, meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, sitting in nature, and so on, but at times it is beneficial to have even more tools at your disposition.

Enter Oxytocin:

Oxytocin is a hormone that helps relax and reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels. It increases pain thresholds, has anti anxiety effects, and stimulates various types of positive social interaction. In addition, it promotes growth and healing. Source
Clearly, raising your oxytocin levels appears to be something that would work in your favor. Some of the most well-known methods of doing this (short of ingesting the hormone), are brought about by physical touch (taking a walk with a loved one hand-in-hand, arm on shoulder, linked arms, where the loved one could be a child, a friend, a lover or spouse), by cuddling, hugging, sex, and orgasm, or even by caressing a pet. 
There are other natural ways of raising those oxytocin levels in order to lower your stress levels and connect with others at the same time because in some fashion our oxytocin levels increase precisely when we connect:
  • massage
  • dancing
  • praying
  • giving someone a hug ... in fact, giving many hugs each day ... Paul J.Zak (see below) recommends giving eight hugs a day
  • increasing the amount of time you spend looking into someone's eyes when you speak to them, as opposed to checking your digital devices every few seconds
  • giving something to someone 
  • thanking someone for something they have done for you
  • calling someone or sending them an email just to let them know you are thinking of them
And by the way, according to this illuminating article by Paul J. Zak, author of The Moral Molecule: How Trust Works, and TED speaker here: "Studies show that the more one releases oxytocin, the easier it becomes to do so. That has certainly been my experience practicing these oxytocin-releasing activities. If you can do all ten of these (listed in the article), you'll be an oxytocin master." 


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

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch:

 
Rewiring the Soul

Click here to download the first chapter.
To see the Table of Contents click here

Reviews From the Back Cover:

"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

"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

The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come."
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of: Ecstasy is a New Frequency

“Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion.” 

Robert Schwartz: Author of Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born 


The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self 


My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is just out. Click here to download an excerpt. 

From the Introduction: It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.


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