Grow Beyond The Bully – Your Not Two Anymore

Anger, frustration, disappointment, fear, unmet-expectations.  The healthy human will experience all of these which we often label as “negatives”.  As children, when these surface, we might lash out with a physical expression in an effort to communicate how we feel.  Perhaps this lashing-out is because we haven’t yet learned how to form the correct series of words to express just how we feel. Perhaps it’s because the words we have used in the past aren’t working to our satisfaction.  Perhaps it’s learned behavior because we’ve seen someone in our own tribe use this effectively – and we follow in the footsteps of those who have the “power” in a relationship.

As we use the physical expressions, some of us will find success with them and others will continue to fail their efforts to communicate this way.  Those that find success with physical outbursts will rejoice and seek to further that skill-set – often to the detriment of developing their intelligent problem solving skills.

What sets adults apart from children is that as we age, we form the capacity to develop intelligence around problem-solving. Unfortunately, some of us forgo learning how to apply that intelligence when dealing with others with whom we share the planet.  Granted, we all have the capacity to feel so deeply about an unmet expectation that we allow anger to rise to the surface – resulting in a severe physical expression. The flip-side are those who prefer to use such outbursts in an attempt to control a situation – i.e.
“to get their way”.

If it sounds like I am describing a temper tantrum, you’re spot-on. If it sounds like I’m also describing a bully, well you are correct their also.

The bully within

We all have one inside. The ugly part of our personality that yearns to control a situation with physical, emotional, or verbal abuse.  Some of us hold it closer to the surface. some of have learned to control it, some have learned to suppress it,  some have learned to ignore it, and others have come to a state a peace with their inner bully and it remains silent.

The emotionally intelligent and intellectually wise person will have developed a skill set that allows them to nurture a situation in a direction that exceeds their personal desires. This nurturing inspires others to do great things because of an internal desire to perform.  The bully, like the two year-old, uses abusive behavior and language in an effort to force others to comply to their personal will. The end result is of course, doing only what needs to be done to avoid being  abused.

The supreme teacher in this struggle is our ego.

Egoic attachment is the root source of many of our emotional responses including the anger, frustration, disappointment and fear that lead to the Bully Expression.  Even the adult ego is like a two year old in that if it doesn’t get it’s way, it more than happy to throw a temper tantrum one that will range from mild to extreme.

Ditching the inter tyrant

With ego being at the root center of Bully Expression, some suggested steps in ditching your inner bully are:

  1. Accept that you have an inner bully.
  2. To become okay with that fact – avoid using it as a whip to punish yourself for past actions. Their in the past and you can’t change that.
  3. Do your forgiveness work. This is not to seek justification for your actions, but to seek to live in a space where you see your actions, what led up to them and how they affected others and yourself in disappointing ways. Then forgive yourself, resting in the knowing that from this moment forward, you will live differently and have greater meaning in your life.
  4. Work to be okay with not getting your way. Allow others to have their successes.
  5. Learn to nurture people in a situation, not command them. Playing dictator stifles those around you and limits your own life successes. Nurturing gives room for outcomes to exceed what our own minds thought to be possible by allowing for synergy.
  6. Discover your anger.  When anger is triggered, make note of it so you may work on it at an appropriate time. If you are too angered to act rationally, calmly ask to be excused for a moment so you can calm down and become rational. Only another bully would deny you of that opportunity.
  7. Heal your triggers. Meditate on your triggers. Connect the dots as to why this triggers anger in you. This can be the most fulfilling phase of growth. You get to learn the ugly and the beautiful truth about you that was previously masked behind egoic responses. Then you get to let them go and work to change them. You get to life the weight of all that horrible bagage you have until now, insisted on carrying around.
  8. Be prepared to lose some friends and gain some new ones. Chances are very high that you have encircled yourself with others who think like you used to. It’s easy to see that a majority of them are bullies. As you release yourself of your Bully Expressions, you’ll clearly see those old behaviors in others and want to get away. Your friends egos will work diligently to hold on to their present state of being and do their best to bring you back to their side of the street.  It’s a trap, but now that you know it’s coming you’ll see it and can avoid it.  Eventually they, or you will give up on the relationship. Do your best to be okay with that.

With your new self emerging, you will become attracted and attractive to people who just like you, are changing their ways in life. You’ll begin to see the world with a heightened state of clarity. You will see things that have been their all along, but were masked behind your old personal need to micro-manage the universe around you.  People will desire to lift you up – let them. They’ll actually desire to do things for you instead of doing them out of fear  – let them.   When we allow people to express their good in the world, good change happens. When we try to force people to do our will, we limit the outcome to our own personal will and miss amazing opportunities for greater outcomes – outcomes that exceed all expectation.

No matter how “well intentioned” a bully my be, wrong-action for the right reasons will never result in a better outcome than the right-action for the right reasons.

The bully around you.

Change comes hard from some. For most, change will only be triggered by a pain that takes them far removed from their comfort zone.  Bully Expressors won’t feel a need to change, as long as their behavior is getting results.  Hey if it works, why change it, right?  What the bully doesn’t realize is that they can reach their goals faster with greater efficacy with the intentional assistance of others.  They’ll get more done when people actually want to help them get there instead of people just doing something to avoid dealing with the bully’s anger.

We certainly can’t force someone to desire internal change, but we can lead them in that direction by demonstrating a better way.  Bullies are blame-casters. If something goes awry, they’ll throw someone else under the bus long before admitting their own deficiencies.  If it something goes right, it’s theirs to take credit for – if it goes wrong, it was the fault of someone else and often because that person didn’t do what the bully told them to do.

Through our own personal demonstration of self-accountability for our actions,  nurturing people and situations, we can hope that the onlooking bully will eventually witness how your successes come with ease and grace.  Perhaps they’ll begin to see how people will do amazing things when they are allowed to make their own decisions and learn from their choices.  Potentially, the bully will discover that despite how your preferences weren’t met, a great outcome happened anyway and your not just okay with it, but excited about it.

That bully might eventually “get it”, or maybe they’ll never see it. Either way, that needs to be okay with you. They are not your responsibility to change. Trying to force change upon them just makes you the bully too.

If your relationship with a bully is too toxic to bear, you have a right to make the personal choice to make a change in your life, but not theirs. Maybe that choice is to walk away from the relationship, knowing that that bully might resist your efforts to control your own life. Perhaps if you are an employer, you choice is to attempt to counsel them through HR and get them help, or to release them from their commitment and send them on their way.

Respect yourself. Bully Expression is an unfortunate physical and desperate expression of limiting thought in action.  If you seek to be all you can be, you need to release the limitations in your life manifested by the Bully Expression.

Live baby, live!

Namaste.

Overcoming your HOA Fears

 

Post Updated 12/23/2013 7:30 pm Mountain Time.

 

Fear Triggers

We are all unique, so we each have our own set of things that trigger fear.  Your exact triggers are up to you to discover, but we can talk a bit about how those triggers got there.

From the moment we were born we began to learn how our actions create behavior in others. When we cried in the crib, mommy or daddy came to comfort us.  From that point on we knew we could elicit attention by that certain action and it became programming. If we wanted attention, we activated the cry program.  The more it worked the more solid the program became part of our nature.  At some point in our development roles would reverse and we began to learn from other’s actions how we should behave.  If you as you were asked, an adult might treat you with some kind of reward.  Or if you did something they didn’t like, you may have been punished in some way.

It may sound simplistic, but raising a child does have some similarities to training a pet.  Do something right and there is reward – do something wrong and there are consequences.  Eventually the rewards for doing right fall away because the right behavior just becomes expected of you. The majority of feedback we then receive is on the negative side.   This leaves room for development of a lesser desire for the reward and a greater desire to move away from the painful situations.  Rather than strive for the rewards we tend to keep our heads down and just try to stay on the lookout for possible trouble and steer clear.  This is to say that we now put more focus more on what we do wrong than what we do right.

This focus on our potential wrong-doings is a huge confidence killer.  Without the confidence that we will have a successful event, there is room for thoughts of potential wrongdoing and this leads to our fear.

During the HOA we address some questions around the fears some of the panel and audience have around live streaming.  If you pay close attention, there is a common thread of “wrong-doing” in each concern.  I won’t know enough, I’ll make a mistake and hit the wrong button, I won’t be prepared, I’ll stumble, someone else won’t meet my expectations…

To my point of view, each of those concerns has fear that is rooted in judgement. Either judgment of others or personal judgement about self.  So the fear is not about making the mistake, the fear is about being judged for the mistake.

Let’s do an exercise: Take a moment to breath, close your eyes, breath some more an imagine a situation where you have made an error in front of someone of authority in your life, such as a boss.  Try to really see the event in your minds eye. From the moment the mistake was made, through the discovery of the event and on to your boss’ reaction and your reaction to them.

 

Were you able to feel an emotional response from someone realizing the mistake? Shame, embarrassment, fear?  If you were, you are far from alone. Most of the population is able to do exactly that – feel negative emotions for events that were in their heads.  Is it odd to know that you felt judged by your own day-dream.

Some say that dreams aren’t real. I say that’s bogus.  They are real, but perhaps just not tangible for others. You experienced it in your head so there is some level of reality if only as thought forms.  I am sure you would agree that your thoughts are real – yes?

If we are focusing more on watching out for trouble and combine that with the reality of thought forms and the emotions they create,  we have begun to piece together origins of this thing we call fear.

Maybe you were this kid in class – the one who refused to read out loud.  It may have been a horribly paralyzing fear of being judged by others that silenced you.  Children can be cruel. They’ll laugh at the stumbles of their peers, mock them heavily and just generally be mean.  As grown-ups, hopefully, we have learned to be more nurturing and forgiving of others, but unfortunately much of that childhood programming remains.  There may exist in us a deep down absolute resistance to doing anything in public because we falsely expect a room full of people to treat us like they did when they were nine years old.   Are you comfortable with the idea of erasing that old crappy program and installing a fresh update to something better? Then read on. Here are a few bullet points to ponder. Try not to just blow through these. Take your time to read them one by one and sit with each for a minute or two and really think about them.  I’ll grab a cup of coffee while you read and experience.  When you are done with these bullet points, take a break, walk around a bit and breath.  Then we’ll get on to some day-dreaming exercises.

  • We allow ourselves to be subject to past programming of influences in our lives.
  • Fear is triggered by negative thoughts of things that may have happened in our past and we have associated them to things that have not yet occurred anywhere but in our mind.
  • We don’t fear the past or the present, only the “horrible” possibilities we conjure up about the future.
  • We can compound fear by imagining others reactions to those conjured situations.
  • Others around us might be supporting us in our fears rather than in our true abilities.
  • We have developed the habit to imagine the worst possible scenarios.
  • Like any training, we can replace habits that no longer serve us with habits that do.

 

 

 

If you have come this far, I suspect you have made a decision to reduce or eliminate irrational fear.  Congratulations, you’ve done the really hard part already – you have gone through life with irrational fears that have held you back. That’s a pretty hard way to live, so the exercise below should be a cake-walk for you.

Room for Discovery

Create a quiet environment free of distractions where you can be alone with your thoughts.  No music, no TV, just you and your thoughts.

Getting Into Your Head

  • Make a list of what you would call your perfect scenario.
  • Get imaginative and get into the day-dream.
  • What are people saying to you and what are you saying back?
  • What things are going right
  • How those things feel

Let’s Kick Fear’s Butt!

  • Now make a list of all the things you fear might go wrong.
  • Include your reactions to the events
  • What would be the worst possible outcomes

OMG!

In any of those fear-based scenarios:

  • Did you die in real life?
  • Were you injured in real life?
  • Did you or your family suffer irreversible harm in real life?
  • Whew!

Change it up

  • Take any one of your fear-based scenarios back into your day-dream and look at ways you can react differently in a positive direction.
  • Remind yourself that it’s okay to make a choice that is outside of your past programming.
  • What changes the outcome is how you choose to react to fear.

Let’s recap

What we think, eventually becomes who we are. If we think about fear, we become fear. If we focus on doing things with clear intention,  we activate our actions towards clear intention.

  • Every action or reaction begins with a thought
  • Change your thoughts – change your actions and reactions
  • We can only think about one thing at any one time – choose wisely.

By learning to shift our thoughts away from fear and in the direction of proper action, we leave no room in our thoughts for fear.  And yes, it takes practice. It took you a life-time to get here, so it will take a bit of work to reverse things. Be patient with yourself, take small sweet steps in the right direction. As long as you create motion, you’ll see some changes that can keep you motivated to keep moving.

Practice

  • Practice is required to release old habits by developing behaviors that become new habits.
  • Some habits were developed at childhood. You have a lifetime of bad practice to overcome so be patient with yourself.
  • Use a reminder tool to change your habits such as a bracelet, ribbon or watch you can move from wrist to wrist when you catch yourself in your old ways. Strive for going 31 days without changing it over.  Remember, you have a lifetime of pain and programming, you’ve done the hard work, this should be easy by comparison.
  • Be patient and be kind.  Don’t judge yourself if you don’t get it right away. Judgment got you here to begin with.

Bonus Tip!

If you want to speed up the process, stop judging others and you will cease to feel judged by them.  What we do, we become. What we focus on expands. The easy path to stop any negative behavior is to replace it with it’s positive mate.  To stop judging is to begin complimenting. Look for the positive in others and tell them you noticed.

As always, let us know how you get on with the exercises and feel free to drop comments and questions below!

Namaste!

On the Dark Side of Setting Goals: Live Interview by David F Leopold

Entrepreneur advocate and expert David F. Leopold hosts a daily online discussion focused on providing sound and powerful advice to the entrepreneur. David, who flys under the moniker “SmallBizDavid” was introduced to our post on The Dark Side of Setting Goals and being intrigued reached out to me via my account on Google Plus and immediately scheduled an interview. Here is the video of that live event. And thanks David, I had a great time!

 

You can find a full list of David’s interviews and reach out to him on his Google Plus page by clicking here.

Dinner Schminner — Life’s Ruts

joyofcooking

I’m in a dinner rut.

It’s ugly.

I don’t want to make dinner.  I’m uninspired and not motivated.  Cereal sounds too good (and easy) to go through the effort of thinking of, prepping for, cooking and cleaning up.  Bleh.

I actually like to cook.  I like taking care of my family and being creative with recipes and ideas.  I have a fully stocked freezer, pantry and utensil drawer.  I have a bunch of cookbooks with various lilts and several websites bookmarked which are filled with many other recipes to tempt me.  My pots and pans sit at the ready to be heated and filled.  I HAVE everything I need to create a meal.

And yet….

My kitchen is quiet.

<sigh>

Newton’s First Law:  An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it.

Hence, those pots and pans aren’t moving themselves.

As I  contemplate this dilemma, I am struck with how similar this is to our journey.

We HAVE everything we need to live a better life.  And if we don’t, there are millions of books, websites, spiritual leaders, and classes to help move us in the direction we imagine.

Are you like me…..stuck in a rut?

Your prayers have become more rote, less heart centered.  Meditation time, while time well spent, just isn’t as inspiring as you think it could be.  You look at the stack of books you couldn’t wait to read and sigh the sigh of disinterest.  The projects that used to move your heart aren’t moving anywhere and feel heavy to complete.

It’s kind of like going to my fully stocked pantry and declaring that there isn’t anything to eat.

It’s not about what’s available to us, it’s about our inner motivation.  Or lack therein.

So, what can we do to reclaim that spark of interest in nurturing our spiritual selves?

Perhaps you have a friend with whom you can talk about spiritual stuff.  What are they reading?  What awareness have come to them lately?  You might find that your friend is so excited about learning something that you catch a bit of their fire of excitement.

Think out of the norm.  Go to a bookstore — brick & mortar or virtual — and browse through the spiritual/religious area.  Is there something there that catches your eye — especially if it’s something you wouldn’t normally pick up — check it out.  I’m often amazed how reading one thing makes me think that I need to explore the author more, then that leads to something different and all of a sudden, I’m caught up in the learning.

Go to trusted public mentors’ websites.  Fan of Oprah?  She is a wealth of different inspiring books, quotes, practices.  I’m loving Brene Brown right now.  Joel Olsteen’s I Declare is one of my favorite go to books for a pick-me-up.   Have you seen Who Have You Come Here To Be?  I use this book so often it’s falling apart.

Go for a walk without the music in your ears.  Connect with nature and your surroundings.  Plant something, tend something.  Fully engage with your pet.  Throw the ball for your dog until your arm hurts and then sit back and really look at his face.  He’s all in.  He’s fully with you right now.  Sit in the sunshine and soak in that warmth and energy.

Mostly the answer is move your feet.  It’s doing something even though you don’t feel like doing it.

It’s stepping forward in faith knowing that if you do your work, Spirit meets you there with more inspiration.  And when you get that sweet taste of accomplishment and relight the fire of curiosity, you will feel better and more motivated.

Newton’s first law doesn’t apply well to humans.  Yes, you can apply an external force to a human to make us do something or refrain from something.  However, it’s only when the motivation comes from within that we change our lives.  We don’t have to wait for an external force.  We can find the spark within us and move to claim who we want to be.

Just sharing these ideas and my cooking rut has energized me!  I’m feeling connected and motivated.

Now, if I could only figure out what we’re having for dinner………

 

Is attachment at the root of global violence?

Like most of us, when I heard about violence committed at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, I was deeply shaken. Many months later I am still very very saddened. It is my own personal belief that God brings only good into the world and and it is we as humans through free will and error thinking that bring what society calls “evil”. I also believe that through every terrible act, God is pouring something good our way if we are just willing to look for it and embrace it.

If you have been watching main stream commercial media and social media, no doubt you have seen plenty of video and plenty of pictures worthy of night-mares. Yes, they are hard to look at, yes they are shocking and yes some are downright disgusting to look at. Hollywood, television, internet streaming, video games and even mainstream authors are all quite adept at bringing fictional violence into our living rooms and bedrooms 24/7 and on demand.  All this has had quite the effect of desensitizing people of developed nations to the horrors of real violence. It has become all too easy to turn off our caring nature when something real and tragic happens – even in our own towns.  A while back, a very graphic photo was making the rounds on Facebook. Three dedicated individuals desperately pushing a wheelchair occupied by a man who had both lower legs ripped of flesh from an I.E.D. The image of ragged. splintered exposed bone and missing extremities shook me. Instinctively I went into prayer and prayed for this man, his family and those who would be affected by the image as it unexpectedly unfolded before them when they opened their Facebook news feeds.

A little bit of text at the lower left of the image read “like = prayer”  and the image had accumulated thousands of likes and 204 comments.  The supportive outreach in the comments were often heart-felt and they came from around the globe in dozens of languages. There was a smattering with a direct tone of how America deserves this for their atrocities and plenty of “how dare you post this!”  What struck home for me were the two pointed reminders of how this stuff happens around the world every day and every hour,  and how it appears that we in America don’t care until it happens to “us”. The missing comments I longed to see were those that reached out and said: “This is real – this is what happens when humanity commits violence against humanity – this is NOT Hollywood makeup – this is genuine suffering and this needs to come to an end.”

Our mainstream media is practiced and plished at not showing reality in such graphic detail – to protect our “sensibilities.”   Indeed what would happen to society if we were to see what the reality of violence looked like? Perhaps we would grasp a deeper understanding for what others go through daily and become compassionate. Perhaps we might wake up and demand of our leaders to stop the aggressions.  Perhaps we might get the clarity to see that there is no “us over here and them over there”  – there is only the universal us. We the people of the United Earth.

Cities, states, countries – they are all imaginary lines drawn on maps or in the sand that we commit violent acts to defend or change. Much of politics are opinions. If someone doesn’t agree with the opinion and conversations won’t change their mind, then let’s bully them or beat them up. And violence in the name of religion is just plain twisted. At the root of all great religions is compassion. If someone worships differently than we do, why do we have aggression instead of compassion? Why are we so eager to look for what is wrong with their beliefs instead of what might be right?  Instead we are willing to kill to make our opinion the dominant opinion. And yes, what belief system you agree with is a matter of personal opinion, and until that belief system can be “proven” it will remain as such.

Maybe the answer to all of this is to release our harmful attachments.  When we are so completely fixated on the attachments of: being right, having the most power, land, money,  _____(fill in the blank)____, that we are driven to willingly harm one another, we are operating at a deeply dysfunctional level.  And all because of our refusal to release.

Many people have said that the human condition is at it’s greatest level of evolution thus far, and yet we still throw such violent tantrums. Unfortunately, adult tantrums can reach catastrophic levels of foot stomping, and instead of hurt feelings, people die.

 Divine Spirit, today I affirm that I release all unhealthy attachments in my life. I am freed from their limiting grip and am empowered by that freedom to choose greater outcomes for myself and the world. When confronted with the attachments in others, I honor them where they stand, yet stand myself as an illuminated example of living an attachment-free powerful life.  ~ Amen

Share your thoughts on attachment with us!

 

The Story of the Two Cats

I’m fighting the urge to call this The Tale of Two Kitties.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times……. Tao1

We currently have two cats and a dog.  We lost a cat earlier this year and recently decided that the time was right to get another cat.  Tao, our existing cat, is a lovely little creature who never learned to be a lap kitty.  She was originally a stray and still maintains that “I can fend for myself” air about her.  She used to like to run the hallway and stalk the other cat but since losing him, she’s not done much of the running and obviously, no stalking.

We thought maybe a new cat would be a bit more cuddly to us and would give her a playmate.

Well, it hasn’t worked out quite as we had imagined.

We found a seven month old cat whose family turned up allergic to him.  He’s very sweet.  He wants to sit with us and be in the same room with us.  He’s very social and misses us greatly when we’re not around.  And Tao does not like him.

Tao is the princess cat.  She has that air of royalty that is entitled but doesn’t get her hands dirty.  And she’s always been the Alpha animal.  Since the day we brought her home, she’s been the ruling animal personality in this home.

Stitch, the new cat, doesn’t understand that she’s the Alpha and he’s making a serious play for the position.

The position isn’t open and neither one of them can make the other understand that.

But here’s what has struck me:  In a very real way, Stitch has claimed the dominant role.

Stitch doesn’t realize it yet.  He’s still trying to engage her in a battle.  He spends a great deal of time looking for her and watching her and then plotting his attack.  He waits until we’re out of sight before making his move.  It’s difficult to reconcile the very sweet, wants to be loved cat with the mastermind who has figured out how to get to the other cat.

Meanwhile, Tao spends her time growling at his intrusion into her world.  She spends a lot of time under the bed, or under the table, huddled into a pissed off ball of fur.  When engaged by Stitch, she lets out this unholy scream of indignation that lets everyone know that not only has her bubble been breached but she’s not going to stand for it.

It’s a very interesting dynamic that has become all consuming.   If they are in the same area together, they are stuck in this drama and thus, so are we.  If Tao would concede her authority, she’d figure out how to play with him and would have a companion.  If Stitch would stop trying to take the authority, he’d find himself with a friend and someone to share the toys with.  For all intents and purposes, Stitch is dictating the relationship right now and with that, has gained the upper hand.  But he doesn’t see it.  And so the cycle continues.

Neither one of the cats is fully happy.  Even though they have a nice home, with clean litter boxes and good food that they didn’t have to buy, open or catch, they are not happy.  They are consumed by the other one’s presence.  It’s blocking their ability to see and appreciate all the wonderful things in their world.  And it’s blocking us from being able to give them even more love because we feel apprehensive and divided.  Which, of course, they pick up on and are quick to act on.  It’s a really vicious cycle.

If either of them realized that that their world would not change no matter who “has the power” , maybe the title wouldn’t matter so much.  They both will still be fed at the same time by the same hand in the same house.  The toys, beds, cat perches are all still available to them.  They are safe and warm and tended  to.  But they cannot see it because they are so busy suffering their positions.

This situation has made me wonder what similar situations could be in my life.  Where am I stuck in a dramatic power play that is taking over my thoughts and energy?  What relationships have I decided should go a certain way?  And if that relationship doesn’t fit 100% into what I think it should look like, am I plotting and harassing my way through it? Or am I screaming with indignation?

If I were to realize that power is an illusion and claim the reality that my world doesn’t really change if I change my stance, what could my relationships be?

Something to ponder.

 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

 

Stitch

 

Struggling

I want you to know that everyone struggles with something in their life.  Everyone, no matter how serene their outside facade, has inner demons and struggles.

I am reminded of that anytime a couple who I thought had it all splits up.  Or when some gorgeous, young, vibrant person takes their own life.  Or when a family is shattered by unseen forces.

I think one of the hardest things in this life is the inner voice that is so hard on us.  It knows the secret thoughts of doubt, anger, self recrimination, unworthiness, and the times when you know you didn’t live up to who you want to be.  That voice’s world is dark and cold.  And it usually surfaces when we’re tired and stretched leaving us more vulnerable to accepting that voice as the voice of truth.

I find myself working through some deep thoughts in the middle of the night.  It may seem like the best time, the outside world is quiet, there are no distractions, but it’s actually when my defenses are down and that negative voice seems its loudest.  I know I’ve hit the wall of Out of Control when I worry about when the last time the kitchen floor was mopped.  But I don’t always hit that well recognized wall.  Most of the time, I stop short and just wallow at the base of the wall, unable to sleep and unable to work through the issue with my sleep deprived reasoning skills.

In the morning light, my fears and worries are put back into perspective.  They shrink back and are replaced with my life’s missions and obligations and by the affirmations of those around me who find me valuable and worthy.  Yes, there are days when the shadows sneak in but in the daylight, those shadows are not overwhelming.

So, what do you do when the shadows seem to be overtaking you?

My simple answer is pray.  Pray to your Higher Power, God, Allah, Jesus, Messiah, All That Is, and surrender the fear and the doubts and the worries that are swirling around.  Imagine gathering all the darkness and putting it in a basket or a box and handing it over to the Great Light of the Universe.  Imagine this basket/box being lifted from your hands and feel the weight of it being removed from your being.  Feel your fingers releasing the basket/box.  Let it go.  Don’t reach for it again.

Feel that sense that you are safe and that your biggest worries are being handled by someone who has more knowledge than you do.  It’s safe here.  You are safe.

Close your eyes and imagine a great sunrise on all those shadow thoughts.  Blasted in the light of knowingness and centeredness, they are gone.  Shadow thoughts cannot stand in the light.

You have the power within you to raise the light of your being any time of day.  As I sit here at 3:32 AM, I know that my light and my God rise inside of me and banish all those shadows thoughts.  I am an expression of God, full of worthiness, confidence, wisdom, power, zeal.  There is no situation here that can overtake the light of who I am.

Grounded in this wisdom, I sleep.

How Meditation Can Affect Alpha Rhythms in the Brain – Re-post

 

This is a re-post from an email sent to me from Luminosity.com by Pam Zhang.

http://www.lumosity.com/blog/meditation/

 

How Meditation Can Affect Alpha Rhythms in the Brain
Meditation might act as a “volume knob” forselective attention, leading to better control over pain and negative emotions. A recently published Brown University study on mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) has shown that attentional training holds promise for improving everyday functions.
What is MBSR?
Originally developed by a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical Sc hool, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) has grown to become part of many healthcare plans in the last 20 years.It consists of an 8-week program that trains patients to focus a “spotlight of attention”on different parts of their body, and eventually to develop the same awareness of their mental states.

How MBSR affects alpha rhythms
There is strong evidence that the MBSR techniques of increasing attentional control have measurable effects on alpha wave behavior in patients’ brains. Alpha rhythms are a key part of the sensory system: they’re related to how the brain processes and filters irrelevant sensory inputs.Filtering inputs is a crucial part of higher order cognitive process such as selective attentionand working memory. Both of these processes are based on a person’s attention to focus on relevant information while ignoring irrelevant information. Without proper filtering, your ability to carry out even the most basic cognitive operations can be crippled.

Imagine the simple task of backing your car out of the driveway. In order to reach the street safely, you must hold your destination in mind while steering t he car and ignoring distractions from every modality: the news on the radio, children playing at the end of the block, an itch on your foot, the glare of the sun in your eyes. Most of us do this filtering subconsciously—but if you let such irrelevant stimuli distract you, even such a daily task can become a difficult ordeal.

That’s why MBSR’s value extends even beyond its ability to improve attention during regular tasks: one of its primary clinical uses is in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic pain, who struggle with ignoring irrelevant pain stimuli on a daily basis. In fact, MBSR has been shown to have positive emotional benefits in those suffering from chronic pain and depression.

Brain scan evidence of MBSR
In this 2013 Brown University study, researchers divided participants into two different groups: a test group that underwent MBSR training for 8 weeks, and a control group that did not. After 8 weeks, both groups were analyzed using a brain imaging technique known asmagnetoencephalography (MEG).Participants in the brain scan were told to direct attention to or away from their left index fingers. The MBSR group’s neuronal response was significantly faster than the control groups, as measured by concentration of alpha power.

 

Silence

soundofsilence

“In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.”

     -Henry David Thoreau

 

You’ve heard about “going into the silence” but I’m not going to talk about this.

Silence.  It’s a tool we use to help us discern but it can also be a weapon used against our relationships.  Just like a hoe is a wonderful tool in the garden, it’s not so good to the snake that surprises us in that same garden.

We all have some relationship in our lives (and it’s very likely there’s more than one) that has gone silent.  Nothing happened to sever the connection, no great fight or disagreement, but just a passage of time with no communication.  I have several of these and they break my heart.

Through modern technology and social media, I have begun to Un-Silence some of these relationships.  While not the most intimate of communication styles, it opens the door to communication where once there was not even a window.  A friend of mine from college asked me about why our relationship had gone quiet….neither one of us could come up with a why.  She looked me in the eye with a touch of sadness and said “effort.  It takes effort and energy to keep relationships.”  She is right.

It also takes mindfulness and awareness and compassion.  Sometimes relationships need to go quiet for a while because your lives just don’t mesh.  Sometimes they go quiet because we are all just too busy to lift up our heads and commit some time and effort to keeping up the connection.  Whatever the cause, do something this week to Un-Silence a relationship you wish you had back in your life.  Make a choice to reconnect with someone and then move you feet (or your fingers) and make it happen.

Let’s talk about the silences in your love life.  Do you have silences?  Do you have places that are silent because of anger or fear or hurt?  Are there topics that you are silent on?  Come on, we all have things that we just don’t talk about with our partner……

And if it’s just a silence, then, so be it.  However, if it’s a silence with feeling, then it could be a problem.

Silence from a partner can trigger deep stories in our own head.  The other person may not (and probably does not) know about the story we’ve created around the silence.  Have you ever played the “well, if he says this, I’ll say that” game?  You work out the entire conversation and/or argument and you haven’t heard a word from the other person yet.

You can’t make someone talk about anything (Thank You, God, that I finally got that message) but you can control the story you tell yourself.  Don’t feed the what ifs without hearing what the other person has to say.

Silences in relationships are natural occurrences, it’s not about labeling them good or bad.  They happen and we get to choose how we react or create from them.

So, let’s check in on those silences.  Are you carrying sorrow around them, if so, do something!  You have everything you need to reconnect.

Peace out!

 

You Improving Your Life