Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Positive Start.

Start each day the way you wish to live it. Take positive control of your thoughts, your actions, your feelings and your attitude before some random occurrence ends up imposing its perspective on you.

Be open to the surprises while also being decisive and focused about what you intend to do. Get a few nice accomplishments under your belt early on, and set an effective, empowering pace for the whole day.

Right away, find some new thing for which to be thankful. Your sincere gratitude will shine its light on the best of the day’s possibilities.

When you feel a worry coming, move quickly to transform it into creative action. If it seems that you’re beginning to be overwhelmed, focus intently on whatever is most important to you.

While the day is young, decide on some new way that you can make a meaningful difference for others. Then start taking the steps that will make it happen.

Give yourself some real power and effectiveness by beginning each day in a joyfully decisive and lovingly purposeful way. And life grows richer with each passing hour.

— Ralph Marston

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10 Tips to Let Go of the Past & Embrace the Future.

Letting go can be difficult. Letting go of people, ideas, expectations, desires; letting go of bad habits, false beliefs and unhealthy relationships... the list goes on. Every day, every moment presents an opportunity to create ourselves anew, to shrug off the baggage of the past, open ourselves up to the possibility of the moment and take action to create an incredible future. 

Although we can understand this intellectually, knowing it and living it are two very different things. 

Here is my Top Ten Action list for letting go to get going:

1. Meditate. Find stillness, breathe. Meditation is action. Our mind is much harder to still than our body. Our lives are busy and fast paced, filled with external noise and distractions. Clarity comes from quiet.  Meditation, even in small amounts, will make room for the next 9 steps.

2. Understand. Take time to reflect on your own history as a third party looking in without judgment: simply observe. Understand that you are not your past. Understand that the situations and patterns and people in your life created your experiences, they didn’t create you. Knowing and understanding your past and some of your patterns will help you to recognize why you hold on and repeat self-destructive behaviours. Understanding creates awareness; awareness helps you break the cycle.

3. Accept. Accept your history and the people that have been a part of your history; accept your circumstances and remember that none of these define you. Acceptance is the first step to letting go and setting yourself free. Learn from the monk in the story: carrying bitterness, anger or animosity burdens no one but you.

4. Empty your cup. Consciously and actively work at letting go of your story; your judgments and ideals, the material things, all your stuff. They have no real value. They do not make you stronger, healthier or more powerful, and belief in them is a delusion. Pour out your expectations of how, who, where and what you should be as they, too, are part of a story that holds you back from simply being.  Once you let go of this story and empty your cup, your life purpose will open up and flow.

5. Align. Take a moment (or several: you’re worth the time) to write down the following: 
i. Your core beliefs/values
ii. Your Life Goals
iii. The actions that you are taking to pursue those goals.
Now take an honest look at your core beliefs/values and determine whether or not they align with your goals and actions. If not, ask yourself: is it time to create new core beliefs, set new goals or take new action? What actions must you take to align your actions with your beliefs in order to attain your goals. Write down 3 actions that you will take this week to get yourself moving. 

6. Flex. It may seem paradoxical to detach from outcomes, yet set goals and work toward them. But if you are flexible -- that is, willing to let go of the end result -- aligning your goals and true purpose with the greater good is righteous action. Be flexible; allow the path to unfold as it will, opening up to opportunities. Flex and flow with the current of life. 

7. Contribute. When you find yourself lamenting about your past or angry about your present or brooding about your future, find a way to making someone’s day better. Offering a smile to someone as you pass, opening a door, putting a bit of extra change in the parking meter, dropping off some food for the food bank: these simple actions can have lasting impact and help you to put your situation into perspective. Contributing to the well-being of others is the best way to align with your true self.

8. Believe in yourself. Believe in your purpose. Believe that the universe is unfolding as it should and that you have a divine roll to play. Believe that holding on does nothing in fact but hold you back from that purpose.

9. Love the process.  Have fun. Be playful, cheerful and positive. Give power to positivity. Love yourself, love others and love this life. It is a gift to unwrap each and every day, to gaze upon with new and excited eyes.

10. Be grateful. Be true. Once you have taken all of these actions, just be. 

Here’s to letting go of the past and embracing the future. 

By Cat O'Connor

Sunday, January 27, 2013

3 Ways to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude.

"May today there be peace within; may you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us." – Mother Theresa

These words expressed by a woman who gave completely of herself, Mother Theresa spent her life extending gratitude for all of her gifts by way of service to others; giving back to those in the highest level of physical and emotional need. 

We are filled and surrounded by abundance. The mere fact that we have been given this gift of breath, of a beating heart, of life – what greater gift could there be? 

The only thing greater, I would suggest, would be the recognition and expression of gratitude for this precious gift. 

It is up to us to recognize, embrace and utilize our abundance – every day smiling and sharing our many unique gifts with others. This does not have to be as seemingly extreme as Mother Theresa’s actions – dedicating her life to serving the sick and dying – rather it can be in the simple everyday actions and choices in your own life.

When you wake up in the morning, what do you think about? What do you do? Consider taking a moment upon waking to simply lay still and acknowledge the many gifts in your life in that moment – the gift of a new day, a new opportunity to create the life that you desire; the gift of a roof over your head and a bed in which to sleep; the gift of food to nourish you and a family with whom to share that nourishment… The list goes on and is unique to each one of us (yet completely the same, since we are all one; sharing this physical world, our collective energy, on a journey alone, together).

The more we are able to focus our energy and attention on gratitude for the abundance within our lives, the more the other, seemingly negative aspects of our lives will melt away… This is the law of attraction. Like attracts like – the more that you focus on the positive, send out gratitude and recognize the abundance in your life, the more positivity and abundance will be drawn into your life. 

Challenge yourself to build and share an attitude of gratitude by incorporating these three acts into your life:

1. Each morning upon waking, lay still and breathe in the new day, recognizing the abundance surrounding you – a bed, a roof, food in the fridge and, more than anything else, the opportunity to begin fresh and anew. A brand new day has just been given to you to discover and explore – what will you do with this gift?

2. As you go about your day, be aware of the seemingly little things which make up your day, your reality. So often, we take them for granted in this life: water running out of your taps, the freedom of walking out of your door into a peaceful street, the gift of mobility via a car, a bus or a subway, sipping coffee and chatting with friends or colleagues… as you come home from your day, take a few moments to write down a list of things in your life for which you are grateful – begin a gratitude journal.

3.As you begin to recognize the limitless gifts in your life, begin to share this recognition with others. Share your understanding, your insights, and your talents. As you begin to share your own abundance and extend these gifts to those around you, you open up possibilities and opportunities for others to do the same, which of course is the greatest gift of all.

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful." – Buddha

With gratitude and abundance overflowing, Namaste. 
By. Cat O'Connor

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reclaiming Your Spirit.

When our childhood environment contains chronic problems accompanied by denial, we internalize belief systems to protect us from overwhelming pain.  When healthy needs, honesty, openness and vulnerable feelings meet rejection or punishment, our original spirits become imprisoned and forgotten.  We adapt to our environment which dictates who we are and what to expect from life and relationships.  If this were a temporary evasive tactic, it wouldn’t be so problematic.  But because we attach to new identities and new life scripts out of fear, the fear continues to hold us hostage to a defensive system which can propel us into creating a lifetime of similar misfortunes.
Just as drugs seem to protect us from pain, then backfire as the disease progresses, so our adaptations to living in a hurtful environment initially protect and eventually engulf us in deeper hurt.  Addictions and overused defenses remove our abilities to solve problems because they remove honest, uncensored thinking.  What we think is protecting us, is actually setting in motion new problems.  To deny our true feelings and desires and adapt to dysfunction means that we change ourselves to accept, expect and pass on the dysfunction to others.
The wounding which began long ago continues of our own volition.  There is a desperate need to drown out the old childhood voice of pain and need, but it is only replaced with a new version of pain and need.  Unhealthy habits generate dishonesty, destructiveness, disease, and denial of what lies deepest within us.  Adrenalin and chaos replace hope and excitement.  Depletion and depression replace relaxation and replenishment.  Fleeting fantasies of euphoria and relief replace contentment and gratitude.  A treadmill of goals and achievements replace our soul’s purpose.  Authentic life is held within our true self and we can’t get to it without a courageous struggle.  At the very least, this leaves us confused and constantly craving what we think will make us whole.  At the very worst, we feel as if we want to die, because this life is so oppressive and draining.
So how do we reclaim our spirit and its truth?  First we recognize that the defenses which initially protected us, are now causing harm.  Many of us then use counseling to encourage the original hurt and yearning parts behind the defenses, to emerge.  This brings back the fear, pain and powerlessness we felt at the age we first experienced it.  If we persist with helpful support, however, we grow in our ability to distinguish between painful past events, and present life circumstances.  Examining and healing old wounds allows us to identify and take responsibility for our current healthy needs.  Letting go of old fears enables us to confront and resolve problems and pain with courage and compassion.  As we surrender defenses and free ourselves from outdated scripts, we get a glimpse of our true self.
Therapeutic environments stimulate our long forgotten inner hope, excitement, relaxation, replenishment, contentment, gratitude, and awareness of our soul’s purpose.  We can no longer settle for mere survival and we understand that chasing cravings only brings more cravings.  Now we can focus on living from the full spectrum of our potential.  Exchanging our adversarial role with life for a complementary role propels us into perpetual growth.  The paradox of dysfunction is that the parts we hold hostage behind defenses contain all of our solutions.  They are our greatest teachers when we set them free.
By. Mary Cook

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Power of Affirmations.

Affirmations are words or phrases which are said over and over to AFFIRM a single thought about yourself or other people. This is the way you have formed negative and positive programming through out your lifetime, saying things to yourself, about yourself, over and over. After thoughts are repeated, they soon become a BELIEF, and then we think this belief is our reality. In this way we form fears of poverty, health, weight and relationships and the emotions connected with these beliefs can even become our comfort zone, no matter how negative they might be.

Since we created these beliefs we can also change them. This is where real freedom comes from. Focused affirmations are a great way to start your new tomorrows. When you feel tension, stress, or any type of anxiety, an affirmation which makes you feel good is where you need to go. My favorite is: I AM POWERFUL. It makes me feel so good! However, for the affirmations to work you must not only say something which makes you feel better you have to FEEL the words. So, say whatever makes you feel good, then see yourself in a happy scenario doing or being your desire. See it, feel it, even taste it! The more emotion you have the faster you will draw it to you. Here are some affirmations you might use, but the best ones are ones you make up yourself:
  • I LOOK AND FEEL WONDERFUL If it takes saying them over and over a thousand things a day, then do it. If you say an affirmation when you are feeling really down, and you don't think it's doing anything for you, just keep on. Every time you say something positive you will bit by bit feel better. A little bit of feeling better is better than lots of feeling depressed.

    Go for it, and live in Love, Peace and Joy!

  • by. Gail Bell

    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    7 Things to always Remember...

    1. Courage- Courage does not mean being fearless. It means being able to face your fear.

    2. Forgiveness- Forgiveness releases the past. It heals the pain so that you are free to dance and love again.

    3. Inner Silence- When we listen to the inner silence, all sounds become beautiful.

    4. Open-Mindedness- When we release our prejudices and judgments, we enter a deep, abiding peace.

    5. Compassion- Compassion is the provision that arises from the wish that all beings be free from suffering.

    6. Patience- A beautiful flower does not grow overnight. Your patience will encourage many flowers to blossom.

    7. Truth- We do not have to search for the truth, but simply let go of our opinions and judgments.

    ~ Unknown

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    10 Things you must give up to move forward.

    "You can only grow by letting go." ~ Melanie M. Koulouris

    If you want to fly and move on to better things, you have to give up the things that weigh you down – which is not always as obvious and easy as it sounds.
    Starting today, give up…
    1. Letting the opinions of others control your life. – People know your name, not your story.  They’ve heard what you’ve done, but not what you’ve been through.  So take their opinions of you with a grain of salt.  In the end, it’s not what others think, it’s what you think about yourself that counts.  Sometimes you have to do exactly what’s best for you and your life, not what’s best for everyone else.
    2. The shame of past failures. – You will fail sometimes, and that’s okay.  The faster you accept this, the faster you can get on with being brilliant.  Your past does not equal your future.  Just because you failed yesterday; or all day today; or a moment ago; or for the last six months; or for the last sixteen years, doesn’t have any impact on the current moment.  All that matters is what you do right now.  Read Awaken the Giant Within.
    3. Being indecisive about what you want. – You will never leave where you are until you decide where you would rather be.  It’s all about finding and pursuing your passion.  Neglecting passion blocks creative flow.  When you’re passionate, you’re energized.  Likewise, when you lack passion, your energy is low and unproductive.  Energy is everything when it comes to being successful.  Make a decision to figure out what you want, and then pursue it passionately.
    4. Procrastinating on the goals that matter to you. – There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.  Follow your intuition.  Don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.  When there is love and inspiration, you can’t go wrong.  And whatever it is you want to do, do it now.  There are only so many tomorrows.  Trust me, in a year from now, you will wish you had started today.
    5. Choosing to do nothing. – You don’t get to choose how you are going to die, or when.  You can only decide how you are going to live, right now.  Every day is a new chance to choose.  Choose to change your perspective.  Choose to flip the switch in your mind from negative to positive.  Choose to turn on the light and stop fretting about with insecurity and doubt.  Choose to do work that you are proud of.  Choose to see the best in others, and to show your best to others.  Choose to truly LIVE, right now.
    6. Your need to be right. – If you keep on saying you’re right, even if you are right now, eventually you will be wrong.  Aim for success, but never give up your right to be wrong.  Because when you do, you will also lose your ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
    7. Running from problems that should be fixed. – We make lifeharder than it has to be.  The difficulties started when… conversations became texting, feelings became subliminal, sex became a game, the word ‘love’ fell out of context, trust faded as honesty waned, insecurities became a way of living, jealously became a habit, being hurt started to feel natural, and running away from it all became our solution.  Stop running!  Face these issues, fix the problems, communicate, appreciate, forgive and LOVE the people in your life who deserve it.
    8. Making excuses rather than decisions. – Life is a continuous exercise in creative problem solving.  A mistake doesn’t become a failure until you refuse to correct it. Thus, most long-term failures are the outcome of people who make excuses instead of decisions.
    9. Overlooking the positive points in your life. – What you see often depends entirely on what you’re looking for.  Do your best and surrender the rest.  When you stay stuck in regret of the life you think you should have had, you end up missing the beauty of what you do have.  You will have a hard time ever being happy if you aren’t thankful for the good things in your life right now.  Read The Happiness Project.
    10. Not appreciating the present moment. – We do not remember days, we remember moments.  Too often we try to accomplish something big without realizing that the greatest part of life is made up of the little things.  Live authentically and cherish each precious moment of your journey.  Because when you finally arrive at your desired destination, I guarantee you, another journey will begin.
    By. Marc and Angela "Hack Life"

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    Dear Human...

    Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong. 
    You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty.
    ~ Courtney A. Walsh 

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Positive thinking: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk

    Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health. Practice overcoming negative self-talk with examples provided.

    Is your glass half-empty or half-full? How you answer this age-old question about positive thinking may reflect your outlook on life, your attitude toward yourself, and whether you're optimistic or pessimistic — and it may even affect your health.
    Indeed, some studies show that personality traits like optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. The positive thinking that typically comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits. If you tend to be pessimistic, don't despair — you can learn positive thinking skills. Here's how.   
    Understanding positive thinking and self-talk
    Positive thinking doesn't mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life's less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
    Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of information.
    If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you're likely an optimist — someone who practices positive thinking.
    The health benefits of positive thinking

    • Increased life span
    • Lower rates of depression
    • Lower levels of distress
    • Greater resistance to the common cold
    • Better psychological and physical well-being
    • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
    • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
    Identifying negative thinking

    • Filtering. You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received.
    • Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.
    • Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.
    • Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you're a total failure.
    Focusing on positive thinking

    • Identify areas to change. If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it's work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
    • Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
    • Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
    • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress.
    • Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
    • Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you.
    Negative self-talkPositive thinking
    I've never done it before.It's an opportunity to learn something new.
    It's too complicated.I'll tackle it from a different angle.
    I don't have the resources.Necessity is the mother of invention.
    I'm too lazy to get this done.I wasn't able to fit it into my schedule but can re-examine some priorities.
    There's no way it will work.I can try to make it work.
    It's too radical a change.Let's take a chance.
    No one bothers to communicate with me.I'll see if I can open the channels of communication.
    I'm not going to get any better at this.I'll give it another try

    Practicing positive thinking every day

    Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
    It's unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. It's also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don't smoke or drink alcohol in excess.
    Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Here are some common forms of negative self-talk:
    You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you're creating a new habit, after all. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:
    Here are some examples of negative self-talk and how you can apply a positive thinking twist to them
    If you tend to have a negative outlook, don't expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You may also become less critical of the world around you. Plus, when you share your positive mood and positive experience, both you and those around you enjoy an emotional boost.
    Practicing positive self-talk will improve your outlook. When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you're able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. That ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of positive thinking.
    By Mayo Clinic staff