"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, February 29, 2008

Patience: Is it Really a Virtue?

Baelo Claudia, Tarifa, SPAIN
Today I want to write a little bit about patience, because mine has been sorely tried over the past two weeks due to the fact that I broke my wrist in multiple places. Patience has never really been one of my strengths and therefore this particular incident in my life at a time where I was moving many projects and plans forward with relatively fast-paced motion, has caused me to look with much greater detail at the fact that patience may actually be something very important even in my very impatient life.

Interestingly enough, the day after I broke my arm. I was scheduled to teach a workshop titled: The Now Moment: Using the Now Moment to Release Stress, Problems, and Anxiety. Due to the fact that by the time I came out of the emergency room with my hand-to-elbow cast in place it was already quite late in the evening, I decided that it was far more complicated canceling or postponing the workshop than continuing with it as planned despite a relatively high degree of pain on my part.

So, the next morning found me bright and early at the very lovely venue, where I was going to teach the workshop, thinking to myself: I am probably the best example at this particular moment in time to explain to the attendees of the workshop what remaining in the now moment signifies, or what not remaining in the now moment may signify. It was in fact rather ironic.

This was not the first time I had taught this workshop. Furthermore, the now moment is a subject to which I have given a great deal of thought, especially due to another time in my life when I had been diagnosed with cancer and living in the now moment had become particularly important for me. Therefore, the fact that I had been hurrying along, oblivious to the now moment, just before I slipped and fractured my wrist, seems to be a somewhat painful but timely lesson about the subject of patience and living in the now.

Not only had I not been paying attention to the now moment, but I had been worrying about the fact that I was arriving slightly late to an appointment - a personal appointment - and I had actually been having an inner dialogue in which I was telling myself that arriving a few minutes late was not such a big deal and that I really shouldn't rush that much, that I should slow down, and that I should take it easy. As I continued to think about the fact that I had - by force of necessity - been obliged to put the person I was seeing off several times in the past, and therefore was feeling greater bites of conscience for arriving a few moments late, and was therefore obviously not in the now moment, but off somewhere in my thoughts, and furthermore walking far too quickly in order to compensate for the lateness of my arrival, I went in the wrong direction, realized it at the last moment, corrected the direction by swiveling on my boot heel, and slipped and fell. Due to the speed of my motion, my fall was particularly spectacular, fracturing not only my wrist, but leaving me with numerous very large and very black bruises.

This whole scenario, of not being mindful, and the subsequent fall, along with the fact that the Now Moment Workshop was scheduled for the very next morning, appeared to be telling me … reiterating and underlining … that this was something much more important in my life, than even I assumed.

I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe in connections and reasons for things happening. Patience may be a virtue about which I am also learning a few lessons, but in particular, being in the NOW is vital. Not only for our physical well-being, as in this case, but for our psycho-emotional and spiritual well-being as well.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Results of Search For VRS (Voice Recognition Software)

Since my last post a week ago, after I fractured my right wrist, I asked my readers, as well as friends and acquaintances to help me in my search for voice recognition software, because of course it is very difficult to type with only one hand, especially if it is the left hand and you are right handed.

I appreciate the information I received, in particular that of one very dear friend who put me onto a software called Dragon Naturally Speaking. With this software, which I was able to purchase here in Spain for use in English and Spanish, I am able to talk and then see my words immediately appear on the screen. This is a wonderful thing for someone like myself or someone in my position, especially bearing in mind how quickly one is able to make it work in a fairly decent fashion.

Everything that you’re reading here is the result of my voice telling the computer what to do to finetune the software on the occasions that there are mistakes (files are maintained with your corrections for future reference). I am also able to talk the software into correcting mistakes as long as I actually learned how to do that while I was training with the software.

Interestingly, this software will train a number of different users because of course we all speak the same language differently. So those of us who speak English don't necessarily all pronounce it the same way, and then there are those of us who write, read, and speak in a number of different languages, and therefore in this particular software I sign in as different users depending on the language I wish to use, which allos the software to switch to the language (and its stored correction and usage files) immediately.

The software basically allows me to do exactly the same kind of thing with my voice as I would normally do using the keyboard with my hands. So it's quite amazing. It is even allowing me to use it with Blogger or or in any kind of chat software, in Outlook, apart from typical or more conventional software such as MS Word or Excel and so on.

On another note, I believe that this software has the potential to revolutionize the lives of many and will certainly revolutionize at least my own personal and business life.

Clearly, one can speak much more quickly than one can type. Once the software has been trained in such a way that one can actually speak as quickly as one normally would (right now. I'm speaking the way I might speak to someone who needs very careful enunciation rather than the way I would normally speak), the potential is that one could dictate exactly the way lawyers do in a courtroom when the stenographers are taking down every single word that is spoken. I don't know about you, but when I am working using the keyboard with my hands I always find that my thoughts go way ahead of my hands, but this way I am able to speak, and the computer types exactly what I'm saying (except when it misunderstands me, which can be hilarious...but again, as stated, the more you correct the software's misunderstanding, the more it understands - and transcribes - your words correctly).

The orthopaedic surgeon who repaired my fracture (with external fixation via four nasty looking pins and a cast) said that he also wants to start using this software. Attorneys who are friends have said the same thing. Engineers, housewives, hoteliers, businessmen of all kinds, and certainly writers and other creative types who might gain a great deal of time by using voice recognition software, could benefit from it.

As I explained earlier, in order to use this software, one does have to train not only oneself using the tutorials, but also the software in the recognition of your way of pronouncing words in different languages, and therefore, for today this shall be enough. And I will continue training in order to be able to produce posts on this blog without typing. (Future posts shall not be about voice recognition software).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Radio Program March 2008

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

This is what the March 2008 schedule looks like:

March 5: Cross-Cultural Marriages: Pros and Cons
March 12: Talking To Your Kids About Sex
March 19: Mothers As Professional Victims...Do We Need to Rescue Them?
March 26: Social Networking

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

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

See below for equivalent times in other locations.

Ways To Listen

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

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

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

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

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Fractured Wrist & Voice Recognition Software

Late this afternoon (Friday, Feb. 15th) I slipped and fell on one side, fracturing my right wrist. It seems I will have a cast from hand to elbow for six weeks. So far typing is quite a chore. I may look into voice recognition software (VRS).

A workshop that I was scheduled to teach the morning after the fall and somewhat lengthy emergency room visit could not be postponed for logistical reasons, and so I went ahead with it, but paid the price in the pain my not elevated arm and hand exacted. Today (Sunday) I've taken things somewhat more easily and feel corrrespondingly better.

I use Windows XP, and would welcome any tested and expedient suggestions regarding the topic of voice recognition software, as I have numerous on-going and pending writing projects I would need to put on hold, should I not be able to find a virtal dictation slave or appropriate VRS.

Thanks in advance for any input!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Abraham II: The Law of Attraction in 5 Parts

These five videos for a total of 40 minutes viewing time (7 minutes each) are an excellent introduction to the law of attraction.

Those of you who saw the original version of The Secret may remember that Esther Hicks formed part of it, and in the subsequent version she had disappeared due to some discrepancies between the parties involved. The fact is that the law of attraction is explained admirably by Abraham (via Esther Hicks), and that is the main reason why I am including the link to these videos here. Should the video (I have only put up the first one of the five) not work, click here for a direct link to YouTube, as well as to the other four videos.

Now go on to the other four videos by clicking here

Related Posts:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When Love Walks Out the Door: Six Tips For Intelligent Survival

Blue Bay Beach, Kiwengwa, Zanzibar
When you are in love - or believe yourself to be in love - and love walks out the door, you are not only justifiably devastated, but you may be devastated to the point of paralysis, palpitations, pain that can associate with physical nausea, and above all, a sensation of not being able to continue with this deep, bottomless pit that has formed at the center of your being. The yawning Hades, whose blackness spreads before you, is only known by those who have been there.

Just one day before Valentine's Day, this subject seems slightly off-kilter. Valentine's Day (if it's something that is important to you) is about love, not love gone awry. It's for the joyful celebration of two lovers who revel in their love for each other ... well, I guess we shouldn't forget that sometimes it's just about the sex ... so what am I doing writing about unhappy love just hours before the day like the one whose (occasionally nauseous) ads have been beleaguering us for the past fortnight?

The fact that this day of the celebration of love is nearly upon is, is, in actual fact, the reason for this post. On such a day, those whose lives have recently been ripped asunder in the fashion described, those whose love has walked out the door, are particularly vulnerable.

Ideas of some of the things you can do to help yourself back to the road of equanimity, if not inner peace and contentment, or even happiness, follow:
  1. As you examine the relationship that has just ended - as most people tend to do ad nauseam, to the point of sorely trying their friends' patience, because of the desire to understand why it ended, or what you did that was wrong, or what you could have done differently - ask yourself what truly positive thing you could learn from this most painful experience. This questioning process that almost always takes place on an inner level can lead you to the beginning of the road to recovery. Perhaps you could learn that this is not the way to allow yourself to be treated. Perhaps the learning has to do with always telling the truth, or always being transparent with your own beliefs, likes, and dislikes, and not hiding them in order to be liked or loved. Perhaps you could learn that simply loving another human being does not guarantee love in return - or at least not everlasting love.

  2. Ask yourself if the love you felt for this person who has just abandoned you, was a love that made you feel free, or a love that made you feel anxious and dependent. If it was the latter, ask yourself if you truly think it is a positive thing to feel that way, when you are supposed to be in love and therefore in the best place any of us can be. Is it possible that something so good can make you feel so miserable? I refer to how you felt while the other person was still your partner, was still with you, not how you feel now, that the other person has left. And if you agree that this is not the way one should - ideally - feel when one is in love, then ask yourself what is wrong with your scenario. In other words, why did you feel so anxious and dependent? The answer is quite simple: anxious and dependent love has its roots in neediness, and we are needy when we have not yet begun to love the self. So we love others in the hope (unconscious) of being able to love ourselves as we see the reflection of their love for us in their eyes. I have explained this in greater length in the first of the Related Articles below). Understanding this inner neediness takes you another big step on the road not only to recovery from the painful loss of the relationship, but also to finding yourself.

  3. Ask yourself if there is anything in your life that truly gives it meaning. In other words, do you feel a passion for something? Does something that you do, give you a sense of purpose, or mission, or fill you with excitement. If so, a big part of your problem is already solved, because by dedicating yourself to that, you will be able to get over the worst of your feeling of being bereft. Such a sense of purpose and meaning in life is as fundamentally important as breathing. Therefore, if you have no such sense, or if you would like to have it, but don't know what it might be, please read the second article below in order to learn how to implement something like this into your life. Having a sense of purpose and meaning in life canot be stressed highly enough. If you resolve this one, you will have come a long way.

  4. Ask yourself how well you know yourself. How comfortable you are with yourself. Because if you do not know yourself, or if you are not comfortable with yourself, you will find great difficulty maintaining a viable and healthy relationship, and you will tend to attract to you partners who are on the same wave-length of not being very aware of themselves. Make an effort to walk down this road a little bit every day, in order to change - to broaden - this aspect of yourself, so that future relationships can be very different. Also read the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth articles below.

  5. Ask yourself how much of what is going through your head right now is blame. If you are blaming the other person for how terrible or awful he/she is for doing this to you, after all you did for him/her, please know that this blaming will take you no where. It may very well be true that you have been treated badly, but what must be learned from this is that for some reason you have allowed it. The other person is not in your control, but you are. To begin to walk down this road, read articles 7, 8, and 9 below.

  6. Ask yourself what choices you have today. That's right. What can you choose today to make things better for yourself? Understand that everything you do and think, and that how you act and react is your choice. This is a long topic, there are many things to be said about it, and so I simply want to leave you with this thought: you always have a choice. Even when you are in pain. You can choose how you think about your pain, you can choose to remain immobilized, or you can choose to do something about it, such as, for example, right now, read some of the related articles below, to begin the process of bringing yourself to another level. Not of suppressing the pain, but of beginning to understand how you don't really have to be here, and of implementing some of the tools that will help you leave this place inside of you, to one where the sun shines every day. I encourage you to look at articles 10 - 14 below.

Related Articles:

  1. I Need You...I Need You Not. Does Love Imply Needing?

  2. Finding a Meaning For Your Life

  3. Tending Your Inner Garden

  4. Do You Like The Person You Are Alone With?

  5. The Unexamined Life

  6. Giving Birth To Yourself

  7. Choosing To Wallow in Relationship Pain?

  8. Anonymous Reader and Relationship Woes

  9. Relationship Pain

  10. Book Review 2 - Happiness Is A Choice

  11. The Greatest Quality in Life

  12. All You Have Is Now

  13. No One Can Control Your Emotions

  14. Taking the State of Your Energy into Your Own Hands

  15. Losing the Connection: You Still Love Each Other, But No Longer Connect

  16. Your Parents, Your Children, and the Marital Bed

  17. The Mirror of Relationships

  18. Transparency in Relationships

  19. Are You in Love or Do You Love?

  20. Emotional Unavailability: An Introduction

  21. Committed Relationships: Use Them to Grow Towards Understanding and Real Love

  22. Marriage in the 21st Century: Could Cutting-Edge Spiritual Psychology Make it Viable Again?

  23. Finding it Hard to Love Yourself? Check Out Your Boundaries

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Where Are You Now?

Asking yourself where am I now at intervals throughout your day in order to discover not so much where you are physically, but where you have gone in your mind will begin to show you how frequently you are not present here and now.

This is a problem of phenomenal proportions when we pause to consider what happens when we are not in this now moment:
  • we are concentrating on a problem or worry that is not part of what we are actually doing now, and that therefore keeps us from being present in what we are doing now

  • we are reliving past pain and hurts that keep us from being present in what we are doing now

  • we are reliving past moments of joy that keep us from being present in what we are doing now

  • we are concentrating on future possibilities - good or bad - the thought of which keeps us from being present in what we are doing now

All of these examples indicate that we have left the only place where we live, where we are, which is now.

Take a moment to recall your childhood. Especially the parts in your childhood when you were aware of time passing. Perhaps someone went on a trip and it seemed to you that they had been gone forever. My father had traveled to Europe on business when I was about seven and living in Canada. A friend of my parents came to pick me up in order that I could play with his young daughter. On the way to their house he asked me if I had heard from my father. I told him how much I missed him and that he had already been gone for about a year. The friend looked at me and said It's only been three weeks.

Of course at that age it meant little to me, but I always remembered the incident insomuch as it demonstrated to me as an adult, how malleable time is. As a child a mere three weeks seemed endless to me.

Other examples you might resonate with are summer vacations. When they started, they seemed to stretch into delicious infinity. Sometimes just one single, solitary day seemed so long, so full of possibilities.

So fast forward to now. 2008. How long does a day seem? A week? A month? Even a year? Isn't it true that now they seem to pass in a flash? Monday comes, and as much as the work week may seem onerous, before you know it, it's Friday evening. January begins, and before you know it, it's Easter, then summer, Hallowe'en, and Christmas is on us again.

What really causes this apparent speeding up of time?

Without going into any kind of scientific or quantum explanation, I'd like to offer this: as children we live totally in the now. We pay attention to what we are doing while we are doing it. When we are on a swing, that is what we are involved with, with all our being. When we are building a sand castle on the beach and collecting shells, and pebbles, seaweed, and sticks to decorate it, we are involved with this creation with all our being. When we watch a movie or read a book, we are involved with this activity with all our being.

However, as adults we tend not to be involved with what we are doing, because we are off - in our minds - elsewhere. As illustrated earlier, we are worrying about something that may never take place, or reminiscing about something that already took place, or looking forward to something that will take place once such and such happens. All of these modes of thinking mean that we are not here and now. We are escaping the now moment, either because we don't like it, or because not being in the now moment has become such a habit, that we barely know how to remain there anymore.

This is huge. If we are not in the now moment, I ask you, when do we live our life? Now is all we have, as Eckhart Tolle so aptly pointed out in his The Power of Now. And if now is all we have, does it not make sense that we learn - remember - how to remain present?

Hence the question at the beginning of this article. Get into the habit of querying yourself about where you are at this particular moment. And once you pull yourself back into it - even if it is while you are involved in an activity that gives you little stimulation or joy - attempt to remain present, to do whatever it is you are doing with a sense of awareness, and in order to determine whether you could - if you really put your mind to it - derive satisfaction even from this (whatever it is).

More importantly, when you are involved in a pleasant activity, perhaps spending time with your partner or children, or out on the golf course, or bicycling through the neighbourhood, and you ask yourself the question, if you then also find that you are elsewhere inside, you will realize how monumentally important it is that you begin to be here now. Jon Kabat-Zinn's book about mindfulness Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life is excellent for further pointers, as is Charlotte Joko Beck's Everyday Zen: Love and Work, and also Tara Bennett-Goleman's Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart.

I encourage you to explore your now. With some patience not only will you find unaccustomed joy, but you will add years to your life, simply because you will be so much more aware at so many more now moments.

Related Articles:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Marketing For the Healing Professions

I am often asked how I started up my practice, and began to get a decent flow of clients. Obviously the answer to this is not black and white, nor does it depend on a set list of rules or the magic silver bullet. Much will depend on how you actually do the work, once people walk in through your door, how you help them, and how you then help them be autonomous with no dependence on you whatsoever.

Much will also depend on the work you have done on yourself, your self-examination (Physician, know thyself, we might say), and hence the degree to which you know yourself, are comfortable with yourself, and therefore comfortable with deep feelings as evinced by others in your presence.
Having said that, here is, nevertheless, a list of ideas to work with, that the beginning therapist might consider when hanging out the proverbial shingle:

The best way to start up a new practice is joining forces with an already existing practice (especially if the other practitioners do something different from your own speciality, or, if they are a totally different breed of practitioner), allowing you to “feed” off this friendly neighborly practice, so to say, as well as your other colleagues…so you are well on the road.

You might also consider this:

  • attend at least one networking event a week (even if it’s lunch or coffee with a potential contact, such as another practitioner)

  • become acquainted with practitioners of different types in your area, and begin to form your professional networking group, that is, the group of professionals you would feel comfortable in calling upon in a case of an emergency with one of your clients

  • call at least one potential contact per week (like other colleagues who might recommend you, someone who runs a group where you might give a talk (ladies who lunch…), etc.)

  • approach groups who might like to hear you speak about topics related to your practice (probably this will not bring you any money…just contacts and publicity)…whenever you do go and speak to them, always take a flyer about your practice with you…not just your card

  • develop a website and/or blog

  • write readable – people-friendly - articles about subjects related to your practice to give to clients or others as handouts, even if you don’t have a website to post them on (or create iPods they can download from your site, or short videos they can watch on it)

  • develop short workshops (for parents, for couples, for teens, whatever)

  • start collecting email addresses of anyone who might be interested in your services

  • send them a periodic something to remind them about your existence (that’s how I started my newsletter) – offer something of interest or value in this mailing

  • read Building Your Ideal Private Practice by Lynn Grodzki, check out her website http://www.privatepracticesuccess.com/ and sign up for her excellent newsletter

  • talk to local radio and TV stations to see if there is any chance you could come on any of their shows, even if it's just for a quick filler

  • if they are not receptive, and if you have already developed the newsletter, ask them if you might send them a copy of your current edition, so that they slowly become acquainted with your type of work

  • consider taking some courses…even if they are online...that are related to your particular educational background, just to give you another tool for your toolbox. Anyway, learning something new or different from the rest of your baggage is good for the brain cells

  • live life fully…the more you live and engage in life, the more you will have to draw on as experience in your practice

  • examine yourself…examine yourself…examine yourself

Friday, February 8, 2008

CD / DVD Review II: You Can Heal Your Life: The Movie

Hay House, Inc.This excellent DVD titled You Can Heal Your Life, produced by Hay House, the publishing company that belongs to Louise Hay, and which publishes many of the authors I often refer to here on this blog, rivals The Secret, although it is often touted as the story of Louise Hay's life, and because of that, perhaps gets a little lost in the shuffle.

While her life is indeed commented on due to the seeming miracles that happened to her at her moments of greatest difficulty, the true essence of the movie resides in the idea I am willing to change.

This thought alone, carried within the mind long enough, is capable of bringing about great change in our lives. It is repeated over and over again throughout the movie, as the story unfolds, in which a number of luminaries in the fields of self-help and health and spirituality and new thought—including Gregg Braden, Wayne W. Dyer, Gay Hendricks, Esther and Jerry Hicks, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Candace B. Pert, Cheryl Richardson, Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz, and many others share their personal stories.

On this blog I so often refer to energy or your energetic frequency, by which I mean how you feel inside, and hence the energy that flows through you on levels that go far beyond the merely physical. I have often recommended listening to some audio CD's in order to help yourself raise your energy, and this DVD certainly can be added to this group. Raising your energetic frequency is one of the best things you can do for yourself in order to improve your life (it is hard to feel low if your energy is high), and in order to ensure that the law of attraction has a good opportunity to work for you. Raising your energetic frequency is also one of the things that most people have a bit of difficulty with at the beginning, because they are not used to thinking about their lives that way ... that rather than worrying about resolving their problems, they can simply choose to feel better, in order to work towards improving their lives.

The movie is available as a regular version, or an extended version which includes a second DVD with more hours of interviews with the participants in the movie, or as a very inexpensive on-line one time viewing via streaming video. If you decide to purchase the DVD's make sure to get the version for your country of residence, as DVD's for viewing in the USA, do not work in the EU and other countries.

You can see the 4 minute trailer by clicking on the image at the top of this post.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

What Do You Do When You Hit a Patch of Ice?

Normally when we hit a patch of ice while driving, we correct, adjust, and after bringing the car back under our control, we cautiously continue on our way, driving, perhaps, somewhat more slowly than before, but nevertheless driving with confidence, secure in our ability to handle the newly difficult driving hazard.

Life is no different.
But how you react to those patches of ice in life not only says a lot about you, but also helps determine whether you will - or will not - reach your eventual goal.
So let's look at some possible reactions to those patches of ice:
  • abandon the quest ipso facto

  • decide it's too dangerous

  • it's too risky

  • it leaves me open to failure

  • it leave me open to rejection

  • it leaves youme open to possible ridicule, so I might as well not continue

  • it frightens me

  • I don't believe I can go on

  • I don't believe I can find a way around, or over, this patch

  • I can't see how big the patch is, therefore it must be too big to surmount

  • I haven't got the right tires to cross the patch

  • I don't know what's on the other side of the patch

  • the patch of ice might actually be hiding a big pot hole, and if I go on, I might fall into it

  • it's too dark to see what is involved here

What are all of these? Excuses. And also a way of giving yourself permission to give up. Yes. Give up.

I've frequently written about success and motivation and failure and risk on this blog (see also my August 2007 Newsletter: Making Fear of the Unknown Work For You). And I have always insisted that most of those who hit the big times, who succeeded, first hit plenty of ice patches, failed, and looked as though they might never make it. As examples I've given Lincoln, Edison, Mandela, to name only a few. When they were at the bottom of their deepest pits, or on their greatest and most overwhelming or frightening or apparently unsurmountable ice patch, they essentially told themselves to carry on. They reminded themselves how much they believed in their quest. They straightened their shoulders, lifted their chin and took the next step, even when they didn't know whether that next step would get them to the other side of the ice patch, or would merely land them in more deep water.

This is called persistence. This is called having a mission. This is called having a meaning in your life (see also my June 2006 Newsletter: Finding A Meaning For Your Life). And as we sit back and think about those attitudes and mid-sets, let's not forget that just about every single success story you have ever heard of follows a series of set-backs, rejections, failures, and other difficulties. When we hear about the successful person, he has just jumped out of nowhere and become a household word, so we tend to assume they were an overnight success story. Not so.

They had to work for it. They had to put into practice that business about believing in their quest, their purpose, their mission, their meaning. And they had to believe in themselves. Sometimes, as in the case of Lincoln and Edison, they just ran into failure after failure (the former simply could not get elected to the different posts he wanted, at least not the first time, and the latter kept inventing light bulbs that did not work), and other times, as in the case of Nelson Mandela and his vision of an apartheid-free South Africa, his plans got put on the back burner while he spent decades in jail.

Ok, you say, but what about people who just live regular lives? I'll tell you a story about a woman who lived a regular life. A bunch of kids, no money, divorced, out of work, but she kept doing what she believed in, and wrote stuff on café tables. Nobody wanted it either, when she shopped it around, she just kept running into brick walls: personal, emotional, financial, and then literary. Until finally one publisher did believe in her story. And the rest of the Harry Potter saga is history.

Can you believe in yourself? And in what you are doing? This will help get you across the patch of ice. I promise.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Your Beliefs and Your Health

If you have been following the posts on this blog, you will have noticed that I often refer to Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., cellular biologist and author of The Biology of Belief because of his discoveries in the lab (as he recounts in the book and in his excellent article Wisdom of Your Cells: How Your Beliefs Control Your Biology, available on the website), regarding the fact that:
  • the state of our health is not genetically pre-determined
  • the state of our health is determined by our environment
  • the state of our health is determined, therefore, by our beliefs, as they form part of our environment, so if we believe that we will get cancer, or have a heart attack, or suffer from Alzheimer's because it runs in our family, then that is what will happen, but not because we are genetically pre-determined for these diseases, but because we believe we are.

This is monumental. Please sit back for a moment and think about it. Your beliefs determine your health.

At any rate, as I have been repeating Bruce Lipton's findings over and over again, I ran into a video the other day on Joe Mercola's website (Joe sends out an excellent health newsletter - sign up on the site - that I have been receiving for over six years) about Bruce Lipton explaining this phenomenon in clear terms.

The video is only 7 minutes long. Please watch it. Don't ignore this important information that could be vital for the future of your health. If my embedded link should not work, click here to go directly to the YouTube site where the video is housed.

Previous posts referring to Bruce Lipton:

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Are You In Love With Two Different People?

Recently I was asked to publicly comment about an individual's plight. This woman, happily married and with a thriving family, had renewed contact through one of those circumstances of life that do happen, with a former boy friend. At the time of their break up, years ago, one of the propelling forces that pushed her to do so, was her fear that he would at some time leave her anyway. He, now married, lived at quite some distance, and she had fallen in love with him again, even though she continued to love her husband.

The former boy friend and the woman had decided to meet, but the woman was plagued by doubts, a guilty conscience, and worry.

Hence the question: can one love two persons simultaneously.

Here is a portion of my comment:

The fact that a relatively recently married man is so willing to rock the boat with his new wife, due to the burgeoning relationship with a woman who formed part of his life at an earlier time, does, at first glance, cast a grey cloud on him.

However ... at no point do we have proof of the fact that he actually wants an affair with the former girl friend. It is possible he just wants to be friends, to maintain upright the re-found relationship with her. If that is the case, then perhaps his feelings are quite different than those of the woman. The fact that she is going to see him begs the question of which of the two instigated the trip, and what the idea behind it is, in both individuals' heads. I would also like to know what he has told his wife.

However, I also believe that all of that takes us off the broad arena of the main question ... is it possible to love more than one person at the same time? I can only answer from within my own professional, academic, ethical, and personal parameters.

When there is "unfinished business" between two people, such as is the case with these two, then it is - I believe - a simple matter to convince oneself, when something happens to bring the relationship back into one's life, that one is indeed in love.

But what is this love? Isn't it more readily equated with "need"? She needs something from this man ... even if it's just closure, or perhaps the sexual experience per se, or the feeling that he loved her very much all these years, or something else. But there is a need.

How is that different from her marital relationship and the love she feels for her husband? I don't know, because of course I know nothing about that relationship, other than that I am told it is good, that she loves him, and that she has a happy family. I would assume that there are also elements of need there, in her marital relationship (in the sense that I refer to need in my article I Need You...I Need You Not), because until we truly learn how to love, we tend to need our partners.

Bottom line, we fall in love with people who will bring us further in life, as they tend to help us discover nascent, as yet undeveloped facets of our being, as well as all too frequently bringing us to a peak of frustration, which, as we attempt to resolve it, tends to help us grow, if we can only look at it from the point of view of how we got to that place with them, rather than simply blaming them, and then forgetting about it (or getting a divorce).

Therefore, if we fall in love with people who will bring us further, clearly the kind of people we have fallen in love with over the course of a lifetime let us know much about ourselves. And we begin to realize that the places where we grew within ourselves, were places we had not yet developed, places that were, you might say, voids, lagunae, unexplored aspects of ourselves. So...clearly the kind of person we fall in love with tells us much about ourselves, and the older we get, the more we can see this (if we bother to think about it).

So ... in the predicament describe herein, I would ask myself this:
  • am I willing to risk my current relationship?

  • am I willing to break up my family?

  • am I willing to break up the other marriage?

  • why am I willing to risk a relationship with this man now, where I was afraid of him leaving me when we were first together?

And if the answer to the first three of the above leans towards a "no", then I might ask myself a whole other set of questions that I personally consider infinitely more interesting:

  • what exactly is this predicament trying to show me about myself?

  • what about him attracts me so much that I am almost willing to put everything else on the line? - could it not be that precisely in discovering the answer to that - to what it is about him that attracts me so much - I could find the answer to what is missing in me?

And please remember, what is missing in me is NOT something someone else can supply me with. Rather, it is something I need to supply myself with, by working on developing that part. Hence, this man might well be a signpost in the right direction ... not to leave the current relationship, or to go and have an affair with him, but to examine myself from the point of view I've tried to discuss here.

The answers are NEVER outside ... they must be found within ... they CAN be found within, if we are only willing to look.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Claiming Responsibility For the Self

As children, our parents often admonished us: be responsible! Take responsibility for what you do. And we took it to mean that if we had chores or homework to do, then we needed to be responsible about completing those tasks, and not dawdle, or worse, procrastinate so much that in the end they never got done, and we wound up with real emergencies on our hands.

I used to say to one of my sons (I found the saying in some article): your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency when he would come to me in the 11th hour with a paper that had not been written, or a project that had not been properly planned.

But this is not what claiming responsibility for the self is really all about.

One thing is to be responsible out there in the world, as described above, and another thing is to claim responsibility for the self. Both types of responsibility form part of responsible behavior, but the latter is much less understood, and even less implemented in an individual's life.

To claim responsibility for the self literally means to decide to be responsible for all that goes on within the self. Not, let me hasten to add, for all that happens to the self. You can not control that. If you live in a police state and are arbitrarily arrested, or if you live in an area often devastated by hurricanes, or if you live in a third-world country with raging hunger and poverty, or if you are of the wrong ethnic or religious origin (according to the pwoers-that-be) and are subject to harassment or worse, it is clear that you are unable to claim responsibility for that manner of events.

But you can - without the slightest doubt - claim responsibility for the way in which you react to all of that, and therefore, you can claim responsibility for the way you feel about it all, for the state of your being in the midst of such havoc and chaos, and therefore, in a nutshell, you have control of your life. As long as you are in control of what goes on inside of you, what happens on the outside carries much less weight.

We can take this into the arena of much more normal external events and experiences and understand how we can begin to take control of much of that which ails and plagues us by claiming responsibility for the self.
  • you boss just passed you over for a promotion

  • the bank declined your request for a loan

  • the man you love just walked out on you

  • the girl you asked out for a first date said she already has a boyfriend

  • it rained the entire week you spent in Hawaii

  • ten publishers rejected your manuscript

  • your college application was put on waitlist

In each of these examples something external to the self causes frustration, heartbreak, pain, annoyance, anger, or any number of other emotions. And so we explain our negative emotions to ourselves by blaming them on the event or the person. Obviously we feel that way because of what happened.

If that is explanation enough for you, then you are willing to give over control of your state of well being to an event or another person. It is tantamount to saying that you are not in control of your state of well being. How can I be when these things happen to me? You can be in control of your state of well being by deciding to be. It's as simple as that.

Make the decision that when things happen that would normally upset you, you will, in future, look at all the possibilities, all the alternatives of reaction at your disposal. Of all of these alternatives, one of them is always going to be:

  • I can choose not to get upset

  • I can choose to remain calm

  • I can choose to keep my cool

  • I can choose to remain in a good mood

  • I can choose to refuse to let this person or event bother me

  • I can choose to look at this as a learning situation and take something positive from it in order to advance to the next place in my life

  • I can choose to grow from this

  • I can choose not to worry (because worrying never solved anything at all)

  • I can choose to smile

  • I can choose to walk away from this situation

  • I can choose to let this person be the way they are, realizing that their way of thinking, or their behavior says nothing at all about me

  • I can choose to believe in my own value as a wonderful human being

  • I can choose to laugh

  • I can choose to shake hands

The examples of the choices you can offer yourself are endless, but if you make certain that your choices are always roads that take you to a good state of being, that enhance your well-being, and that serve you in some way, you are truly taking control, and claiming responsponsibility for the self.

Click here for more posts about responsibility.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Can You Forgive?

Sukhothai Temple, Thailand

When your father walked out on you, your siblings, and your mother, your life changed drastically. Now, decades later, it still lives on in your mind, as you remember how difficult things were, and how - about 15 months after he left - you caught a glimpse of him one day on the street in the company of another woman, much younger and less stressed-looking than your mother, who had a baby in her arms. Your father had just hugged her and kissed the baby, and you felt such agony. You also felt rage. And you remember it to this day. How could you forget how he affected all your lives?

When you found your high school love - the first girl you ever went to bed with - making out with your best buddy - you were both on the basketball team - something shrivelled up inside of you and died. With that one act she took away your self-esteem. It took you years to work your way out of that. And your best buddy. After a shoving match with him after having found the two of them there, you never spoke to him again. And you never found a friend again with whom you shared the way you used to with him - before you realized what a traitor he was. Even when you ran into that first girl friend again recently, now that you're both in your forties, and you saw how she had gained weight and lost her youthful sparkle and attraction, you felt no sense of satisfaction, only pain in the memory of what happened that devastating day.

Have you noticed the common thread that runs through each of these vignettes? You remember what happened with a great deal of emotion, almost as though you were reliving the painful incident.

What's new about that, you may ask. Of course I relive the painful moment. How else could I react? Do you expect me to forget it?

Not exactly. Although there is an element of forgetting it involved in what I am about to write.

What I'd like you to think about is this: by remembering, by bringing it back into your mind over and over again - even though you only do it once a week or once a month - you maintain the freshness of the pain. Reliving a painful situation in your mind is tantamount to reliving it in reality ... have you not noticed how the tears can flow again and again, or the red-hot anger can flare over and over ... even though decades have passed?

Of course, you say, of course the tears flow or the anger flares. After all, what happened was very painful...

Let's switch to another topic for a moment: you've read about The Law of Attraction, the power of intention, heard about the movie or book The Secret, etc. Maybe you've even read some of the multitude of books about the subject. If so, you know the insistence of all these authors on one central philosophy: what you think about becomes your reality ... thoughts become things ... as a man thinketh, so shall he be ... and of course, all of these authors are encouraging you to imagine in your head, to visualize, or create scenarios in your head to the point where you can literally feel yourself inside of them, and feel the emotion or excitement that would be part of your life if your "scenario" were already a reality. They are basically stating that by so doing, that "scenario" you are so vividly imagining will eventually become a part of your life. That is the power of the law of attraction.

Now let's back track to our original subject. You reliving and remembering painful or traumatic experiences from the past to the point of physical manifestations such as tears of bursts of anger. Is that not the same as what I've just discussed in the previous paragraph, but in a negative version? You keep thinking about - visualizing - imagining - that event from the past to the point of making it a reality in your present life in the sense of how it affects you. In other words, it affects you as much as it might if it were actually happening now. So you have made it into a part of your current reality.

Is that what you want? Is that how you want to live your life?

Nothing stops you from hanging on to your anger or your pain, but only the decision to make new choices stops you from continuing on this desperate treadmill of pain. Making a new choice would be to say to yourself that for your sake, for your peace of mind, you will forgive whoever it was that treated you so badly, so that you can live a good life now. So that you no longer have to continue to relive the pain.

That is all it takes: a choice of dealing with the past differently. You decide, you choose, and your life changes. It is literally as simple as that. So when you get the old thoughts that lead you to the pain you literally say to them no, not today, thanks, I've got better stuff to do than to let you bother me again. Instead of you I'm going to think about what I want to accomplish, or I'm going to shift my energy.

Do it for yourself, and not only you will benefit, but all those whose lives you touch.

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