Tag Archives: Empower Yourself

Monkeys Are Brainwashing Us!

The monkeys have been your puppet masters

They are whispering in your ear at every turn, you just don’t know it yet. They are everywhere you are, in your home, at your work, in your dreams – everywhere.  You want to do things one way, they command you to do it another. They want to keep you under control by suppressing your will to be something greater.  They are devilishly sneaky and have controlled you by manipulating your emotional hot-zones with cunning, and razor sharp skill.   Today, we blow the lid off of their clandestine nature and bring to light the truth of their evil monkey ways.

 

Life can be hard, at least until we make the conscious decision to live with ease and grace.  Being human comes withsome conditions and challenges that can’t be changed – such as the need for food, water and shelter.  From the time we are born we develop traits that serve us for a while, but then those traits expand to become hurdles, roadblocks and burdens that drag us down and make life difficult.  They are like little monkeys that jump on our backs and cling like Velcro. The more monkeys we carry, the heavier the burden and the slower we move through life.  These monkeys whisper in our ear and tell us lies about ourselves and these lies control us in unhealthy ways.

Do you want to control of your life, or let the monkeys do it?

Losing the monkeys is just a matter of convincing them that their lies are wrong. Do that and they will fall away.  You’ll be lightened and astonished at just how much each monkey slowed you down.  Start living your journey with greater ease, grace, peace, and more empowered conscious control.

Tell the Monkey it’s Wrong.

The monkey’s role is to tell us lies about ourselves.  It might chatter in our ear that we are unworthy, fearful, unintelligent or lack some skill or attribute to make us successful.   We silence the monkey when we convince it that it’s wrong, and we can do this by affirming the Truth of who we really are.  An ideal pathway to this end is through the power of affirmations.

An affirmation at it’s simplest is a statement of truth that you wish to ingrain into your consciousness through reading and/or speaking.  Affirmations work by telling our subconscious the things we want to change by convincing it they have already changed.  – basically stating: “this is now the way it is. ”

We are in essence, reprogramming our mind to behave in a manner we want it to. This is a great pathway to get unstuck from old patterns that no longer serve us, or that we find to be unhealthy or toxic in our current conditions.

The concept is quite simple.  We craft a sentence or two that states what we want to change in our minds so it reads as if it has already changed and how it might look in application. Please try to include the words now and always in some context so the mind understands your intention clearly.  For instance, if we want to take  self doubt out of our minds, the statement might look something like this:

” I am now filled with confidence in every situation and make every decision with the knowing that the outcome will be perfect and serve me in the highest. ”  (every substitutes always in this context)

-or-

“At every encounter or decision crossroad, I am brimming with healthy vibrant confidence that guides me to make correct decisions and take proper action. This or something better now manifests in me ~ thank you God!”

There is another form of affirmation that we use here at Empower-Yourself.com, and we find it to be more powerful in our own lives, the combination of denials with affirmations.

The affirmation tells our mind what we are to become, the denial tells the mind what to release so it does not creep back in. Metaphorically , we are taking out the trash before we bring in the new.  By removing the old muck we are clearing the obsolete reactions while creating the new and this has proven to be more effective for us.  The denial part of this is not what most of us might think of when we use that word, after-all, denying that we have a condition when we do is a little crazy. What we deny is a conditions ability to control us – we deny it’s power over us and thus are re-mind-ing our conscious and subconscious that we are indeed in control.

A well crafted denial will list the condition or conditions you seek to change, and either it’s inability to control you, or that it is no longer a part of your experience.

“Self-doubt is no longer in control.”

Combined with the affirmation we sweep clean the old and bring in the new thusly:

“Self-doubt is no longer  in control.  I am now filled with confidence in every situation and make every decision with the knowing that the outcome will be perfect and serve me in the highest. ”

Keep your denial affirmations to one topic at a time unless they are directly linked as in this example with fear doubt and worry:

“Fear doubt and worry have no power over me.  At every encounter or decision crossroad, I am brimming with healthy vibrant confidence that guides me to make correct decisions and take proper action. This or something better now manifests in me ~ thank you God!”

Now let’s add a final finishing touch with an action you will take should the “demonic monkey” try to creep back in.

“If I ever feel fear, doubt or worry, I place may hand on my heart, gently breath and remind myself that I choose love, peace and confidence. ”

Altogether now:

 “Fear doubt and worry have no power over me.  At every encounter or decision crossroad, I am brimming with healthy vibrant confidence that guides me to make correct decisions and take proper action. If I ever feel fear, doubt or worry, I place my hand on my heart, gently breath and remind myself that I choose love, peace and confidence. This or something better now manifests in me ~ thank you God!”

 

Practical application

An affirmation should be used at least three times a day for at minimum 32 days.  If you are experiencing change after those 32 days, you may include another denial affirmation for another issue, but continue the first denial affirmation until you know the change in you is complete.

If you are new to affirmations, having reminders can be valuable to your success. Simply knowing the technique is not enough, you must put the treatment into practice for it to work.

  • Set a reminder in your smartphone
  • Pick specific times during the day that you will remember such as before you eat a meal – you can treat it as or include it with your mealtime blessing.
  • Set Google calendar daily reminders.
  • Use a cheap digital timer from the dollar store.
  • Find a partner who is doing affirmations and arrange to remind each other or to do them together.
  • Additionally, include your affirmation in your prayer times.

You may find it handy to print out a little card you can carry in your pocket or purse. If you are using Google calendar,  you can put the text right into the event and it will show when you get the reminder.

Remember the affirmation by heart so you no longer need the card, this can make the treatment more effective.

 

Summary

The more we empower ourselves, to more we realize that it we always had the power, we just used it in unhealthy ways.  We were choosing old ways often because we simply didn’t know any other way.  Affirmations are an excellent way to ease into change over many days or several weeks.  If we chose to make a change before we are forced to change, we allow ourselves to side-step the cosmic 2×4 and the pain that comes with it.

If  you have questions or would like some assistance, let us know in the comments below or reach out via our contact us page.  We hold all consultations in complete confidence.  Please feel free to share your affirmations with our readers!

Namaste!

Meanies and How They Ruin a Perfectly Good Day

Congratulations, person who wanted to be mean and hurt my feelings.

You were successful.

Big_Fat_Meanie

Your comment about me to my boss not only hurt my feelings, but made me question myself.  And made me cry.  Not the Ugly Cry but tears, nonetheless.

You took a day that was going better than average and turned it on its ear.

I’ve been doing what I do for a really long time.  To say that I’m comfortable in my abilities and social skills, would be an understatement.  But when I receive out of the blue comments about my less than great attitude or my unwillingness to be helpful, it throws me off my game for a bit.  To my benefit (and the benefit of those around me), my age and the spiritual work I’ve done allows me to bounce back pretty quickly.

There is a musing I heard quoted (I don’t have the original quote) about if you are going to suffer, then SUFFER.  The inference is that you need to really feel the hurt and the pain and move on.  Don’t dip your toes in the suffering pool a little bit at a time and prolong the agony.  Jump in, feel the feelings and get the heck out!

We’ve all heard the Buddhist proverb “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”  I think we’ve even used it several times in this blog.  Living life hurts, but you don’t have to suffer the hurts longer than you want to.

From BUDDHIST SANGHA OF SOUTH JERSEY

First Noble Truth – Right Understanding

The Path begins with the Right Understanding of the Four Noble Truths:

· There is suffering in life.

· Suffering comes from ignorance which leads to craving, grasping and clinging.

· We can become free from suffering and achieve happiness.

· The way to become free from suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path

I like the first point a lot.  Because as much as I would like to claim that I am above choosing to suffer the pains in my life, I’m not.  Sometimes I sit back and lick those wounds over and over.  Was there something I could have done differently, better, that would have let me escape the sting?  The first point clearly states — there is suffering in life.  It happens.  Denying the suffering doesn’t help anyone.

Point 2 – suffering comes from ignorance which leads to craving, grasping and clinging.  Oh!  Sound familiar?  If I’m suffering from words spoken, then I’m the only one suffering.  The person who spoke them has moved on.  They are not suffering.  I’m in ignorance of the motives and standing in conscious ignorance to my own higher beliefs.   I’m left craving answers, grasping at the what-if’s and clinging to my injured ego.

Wounded people, wound others.  Angry people share anger.  Misery loves company.  For some reason, humans try to hurt each other but it is my REACTION to the pain which creates my suffering, not the event itself.  When I rise above my emotions and clearly see the other person in this situation,  I can see that they are unhappy in their world and desperately trying to defend their actions by putting the blame on someone else.  I’m not discounting their comment– maybe I was snippy to them once — but why wait YEARS to provide this feedback?  If you want to be helpful in providing feedback, it should be timely and clear.  By waiting so long, they are now evidence gathering as to why they are “right” in making the decisions that they are making.

Point 3 – we can become free from suffering and achieve happiness.  I could choose to carry the hurt for the rest of the day, week or month.  There is a high likelihood that I will see this person again.  How long do I feel justified in carrying my hurt?  I could be cold in our next encounter — but doesn’t that just confirm their opinion of me?  They will probably have forgotten their words and only  remember the feelings.  My being hurt and miffed in their presence isn’t going to clear up the situation one bit.

John & I were just talking about the analogy of suffering being like someone throwing garbage in your car and you refusing to clean it out.  You drive around with this smelly, awful mess — suffering the whole way — and they don’t even remember throwing trash in there.  I choose to release the suffering and thereby free my energies up to be happy.  Ultimately, this person has nothing to do with my everyday life and I should not make their opinion so important that it colors my world into gray.

Point 4 – I know nothing of the Noble Eightfold Path but I do know that choosing not to suffer and learning the skills to live in a non-suffering way is a journey!  You pick up one skill at a time and practice that until it feels less hard and then you are ready for another one.  Each time you practice a higher thought process you learn something about yourself and the process.  And you trust the process a bit more.  Berating yourself for not handling the process better does not help.  You must accept that you chose only to suffer a day this time and that is better than the three days you suffered last time.

So, in the midst of my suffering, while I was wiping away the tears of hurt, indignation and pride, I remembered to breathe.  I say that a lot — breathe, breathe.

The very act of taking a conscious deep breath connects my mind and body.  By taking another one, I feel my body settle into that place I know is safe and firm.  The anxiety leaves me and my feet start to feel very planted in Spirit/God.  Another breath, and I feel connected to my higher self.  From this higher place, in the calm state that simply breathing deeply has provided, I am able to see/claim that this hurt is not mine to carry.  I am able to have perspective and even understanding.  I feel the suffering slipping away as quickly as it came to me.

My father says “forgive but never forget!”  I always laugh at him when he says this because I couldn’t possibly carry around all the perceived slights in my lifetime — nor do I want to.  But there is some truth here.  It is our work to discern what comments/feedback are said to help us wake up and realize that we’re not showing up as we want to, versus the ones that are just thrown out there to wound.  Besides, forgiving is a much harder requirement.  Forgiving means no chip on your shoulder, no what ifs, no plans for future action.  Forgiveness is that I understand that you are human making your way on your path and our paths intersected and that I’m not going to knock you down just because I can.

Meanies are just part of this earthly experience.   Take a moment to recognize that the experience of a meanie hurt — temporarily.  You don’t need to suffer it over and over and over again.  Move on.  Claim the higher perspective.  Wipe away your tears and breathe.  Claim the joy in a good day.  Because they all are good days, even if there are meanies in them.

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………

 

Why Are We Here?

Starting off with an easy question today………

Hands touching a globe

Have you ever wondered what your purpose is?  Why are you here?  Why did you have to experience that awful time in your life?

Sometimes the answers to really big questions fall in your lap and you have a moment of clarity so strong that it takes your breath away.

It happened to me today.

A number of years ago, I was in a really hard part of my life.  Broken first marriage, beginnings of a new relationship, a shattered child who took on many other issues, a full time job with heavy responsibilities and a household to keep up with.  There were days when it took all of my strength just to put one foot in front of the other — and it never seemed like I was in balance or had it all together or even was close to enjoying it.  I don’t actually remember asking “why me” but I’m not saying it didn’t cross my mind.

It was SUCH a hard time.  There weren’t any instruction books — just lots and lots of opinions freely offered, of course, by well intentioned people in my life.  I made decisions that others didn’t like and that I wasn’t 100% sure of, but I made them because I was following that voice of internal guidance that I kept praying for.  I listened to all the advice and took away bits and pieces, followed threads that lead to new schools, new ways, new thoughts, and new practices.  We did more than survive those years, all of us have grown and now thrive in our lives.

So WHY did it have to be so hard?

Today, I was talking with someone who I’ve known casually for 17 years.  We connect because of our sons.  While he is experiencing different issues with different players, the emotional toll it is taking on him feels incredibly familiar to me.  I see the sadness in his eyes.  I feel the heaviness in his parental heart as he has to make really hard decisions about his son’s future.  I hear the words he’s using to distance himself from those hurtful opinions of others.  I know his internal battle well.

And then clarity hit.

With one breath in, my world came into focus so clearly that I thought he could hear the snap.  My back straightened, my heart oozed support, and I heard myself calling him out of his darkness.  I heard my voice telling him that he must take care of himself so that he can care for others.  I felt the power within me, borne of the fire of trials, surge towards him.  You are not in this world alone.  I hear you.  I see you.  I give you my strength and my knowledge and my understanding.

Why are we here?

We are here to claim what has happened to us and to turn it into reasons to understand another.

We are here to listen and really hear.

We are here to lift up, encourage and shine as examples of triumph.

We are here to connect, heart to heart.

Do that.

Be that person.

Shine a light in someone else’s darkness.  Lift your light high enough that it shines upon another’s path and makes their next step more visible.

You have everything within you right here and right now.

 

The Dark Side of Goals – Does having a preference hold you back?

Most of us have grown up hearing that one must have a goal to succeed.  While having goals gives us a target or a direction, does that very step towards success have a darker side – one that potentially limits our success?

Goals have a long history in our culture of being the mother of all of signposts on our path. Hitting our goal was, well… the goal.  Meeting that particular expectation might be seen as a successful milestone on the path to our “complete” success – the Holy Grail if you will.  If  one could just hit their goal, then all would be perfect in their world. We have blogged in the past on how that is backwards thinking.  But this is not to say that goals are a bad thing.  Just like anything in our world, there is a light and a dark side – a Yin and Yang.  Anything we label as “good” can swing the opposite direction if misused.

Having a preference provides a target for your goal but your attachment to how the end result should look may cause you to miss out on what could actually be the best possible outcome. If you are too fixed on things looking a specific way, you might miss out on better opportunities that pass right in front of you. Your awareness has been fixed and you see only the things you have expected to see, and that is a form of limiting thought.  Yes the very goal you set to expand your possibilities is, if misused, limiting thought. It’s limiting you to the standards you set rather than leaving the door open for more.

Let’s assume for a moment that your goal is a $250,000.00 per year job in your chosen field – one that would give you options to help others well beyond your present abilities. The Divine wants the very best for you and the world and has greater good in store for you. Perhaps there is a $750,000.00 position that is just waiting for you, but it’s in a different field. You are supremely qualified for it, and the job listing was right there on the very same page of the job site you were looking at, but you chose to avoid reading that column because it’s a field, title or description that is not in your goal plan. The CEO is looking for someone like you, with your experience and your values, but she never gets to meet you – because your focus is too narrow and you see only what you want to see.

Perhaps the right and perfect connection was the person in line behind you at the coffee house. You know, the one you let in front of you, because your that kind of person, only you chose not to respond in your best-self to their light-hearted chit-chat. A choice you made because they were dressed in an old t-shirt and ratty jeans. After-all what could that person do for your goals?  Turns out, Mr. T-Shirt was looking for the connections you could provide and in helping him, something magical would have opened up for you and your “goals” through someone you introduced him to.  But he obviously wasn’t part of your plan, so for now we’ll never know for certain.

“God Laughs at Our Plans”

We like to think we’re under control. That when we plan things, they will fall in place like perfectly stacked dominoes. Honestly, how many times have your plans actually gone exactly the way you expected? If you were all alone on a deserted island, you might have a shot at it, but the more individuals you invite into your day, life or event, the greater the likelihood that their thoughts, plans and actions will redirect what you had envisioned.  On the other hand, there are countless stories of great things happening to people when they least expected it. But just because they did not expect it, does not mean that they weren’t awake enough to take action when it came along. What if these people chose to say “No thanks, it’s not part of my goal”.    Is it enough to learn to expect the unexpected, or should we learn to look for the unexpected?  Now move in close and pay attention here as this is the secret: you absolutely must be willing to take action on the unexpected. Without action, it may as well have gone un-noticed and without willingness, the mind will learn to tune it out and go back to the old ways. Taking action does not meen a commitment to the new direction, but it should at least lead to having a good look at it’s potential.

“A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.” ~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Truth is, any action we take cascades through our physical world and the potential results are so vast that a mere shift in your awareness, a simple change of mind or differing decision can and will cascade into untold numbers of shifts in your life and the lives of others. The entire human condition today – all of it – what we eat, where we live, the languages we speak and even our religious views are the result of thoughts, actions and decisions made by countless others who came before us.  Imagine how different things might be if Christopher Columbus had decided “Meh…enough of this ‘New World’ talk, lets hit the pub for an ale instead!” One decision, or a few negative words have been enough to bring down Presidents, Kings and nations. On the other hand goals and courageous actions have resulted in some pretty amazing shifts in our world, and yes, built a great nation or two.

 

Shift your awareness to a broader view. As you set your goals, make room in your thoughts and actions for something greater. Be open to see more, do more, and receive more than what your goal includes.  As you awareness expands, so will the outcomes.

 

We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please share in the comments area below.

You can watch a live interview on this topic here.

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!

 

Growing up.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
― Anne Frank

Our son came home this last weekend.  He hasn’t been home in 6 months and for 5 months before that.  It was incredibly normal to have him home, as if, he’d never really left.  I tried to remind myself that this is not the new normal around here, this is special time, to be spent together and enjoyed and cherished.

He’s turning into a grown up.

There were days, years even, when I didn’t know if that would happen.  I’d like to take credit for it but I can’t.  I’ve guided and yelled and listened and pushed with all my might.  It took him choosing to want to make his life better.  And now I see him making decisions based on how much sleep he can get and how much money it costs.  And I’m in awe of the fact that I don’t have to reason with him about it.

About a month and a half ago, I decided that I was really ready to change my ways.  I’m the clutterer in my house.  I come home, drop my purse, my keys, my sunglasses, the mail, etc, wherever there is a spot for them.  About a month and a half ago, I thought, geez, really?  When are you going to grow up and realize that it takes more energy and more time to clean up after yourself than to just deal with it right away.  So I cleaned out a basket and now I have a place to put the OPENED bills and stuff I need to deal with.  I sort the mail right when I bring it in — open every envelope, put the important stuff in my basket or file it, throw out the envelopes that won’t go in the compost, and put the rest of the junk mail or stuff to be shredded in the shred bucket.  Amazing what this one thing has done in my life.

You can see the top of my kitchen table.  There’s not one pile on it.  And there hasn’t been one for a couple of weeks now.

This urge to just deal with stuff has spread to the laundry.  You see, I don’t mind sorting it or washing it or even folding it out of the dryer, but I really don’t like putting it away.

Other than the load that is in the washer right now — my clothes are all hung up and put away.

I even double vacuumed yesterday AND mopped the floor.

(I may need to be checked out by a doctor because this is just not my usual self.)

Guess what.  I’m growing up.

Most of the time, I’m a take it on, put it behind you kind of person.  I always put my lack of enthusiasm for housework under the “I don’t have time to care” column.  With my son officially on the grown up side of life, I’m ready to finally care.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be the A1 housekeeper but I’m okay with that.

Growing up is all about claiming the power to change your mind, your circumstances and your life.  Kids can’t wait to be a grown up because they see how much power grown ups wield.  Grown ups wish they hadn’t grown up so fast because the “power” they thought they’d get, just isn’t what they thought it would be.

But the truth is we do have the power to create happiness and peacefulness and harmony and everything we’ve ever wanted.  We have the power to make someone else feel special, to make ourselves feel special, and to choose a different way in our lives.

It’s time to grow up.  It’s time to choose a better way.  It’s time to do that which you have been putting off, delaying action or just flat out avoiding.

Becoming a grown up is hard to do.  It feels hard to choose a different way.  But it also feels amazing when you know you pushed through some difficulty or some obstacle or some habit you’ve created.  The rewards for growing up far outweigh any pain or angst.  You feel empowered, bold and incredibly encouraged.

Do you have a dream?  What is keeping you from achieving it?  Money, time, circumstances?  What was the last step you took towards that dream?  It’s time to get moving.  Every step you take toward that dream gets you that much closer.  And with every step, you’ll find the enthusiasm and the motivation to take another.  Don’t worry about the side trips.  They are part of the journey to your dream.  Just keep faithfully and diligently taking those steps.

So be encouraged!  Be empowered!  Be a grown up in your life.  Take responsibility, take action, move your feet.  Who you become is in your hands now.

As Glinda, The Good Witch, says in the Wizard of Oz:

“You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power….”

dale and me – Melissa

 

6 Incredibly Useful Ways to Stop Making Mountains out of Molehills

Dartmoor Diary St Olaves D200 Apr 2013 099Over inflating our responses can become such a distraction, we fail to see the truth of the situation.  When we step away and allow ourselves to see conditions from heightened clarity, we are in a much better place to make good decisions from an empowered space. Here are six useful ways to stop making mountains out of those molehills.

1) It’s only big if you make it big, so stop making it bigger than it really is: One man’s hill-side is another man’s mountain-side. The difference is perception. If one had only lived on flat ground, then a 300 ft. high hill might appear mountainous. On the other hand, growing up in the Andes on a 14,00o ft. peak, a man might think of a 5,000 ft. peak as a simple hill. In neither case did the size of the hill change, only the perception of it’s size, and perception is a creation of the human imagination. Change the way you think and you change size of the obstacle. Even the largest mountain is traversed one step at a time.

2) Stop stacking it on: When we see a small obstacle as a large one, we sometimes begin piling new obstacles right on top that give us “excuses” for not moving forward.

  • Fear leads to inaction
  • Lazyness leads to inaction
  • We gather evidence that “excuses us from action”
  • Guilt develops for not dealing with it right away
  • Frustration as deadlines loom
  • More Guilt – for lack of action
  • More Fear – now that it’s bigger
  • More Frustration – “Now how will I EVER deal with this?”

3) Commit to stop seeing obstacles as problems and begin viewing them as “projects”: Any obstacle can be overcome when steps are taken — just like it takes a series of steps required to complete a project. When we label something as a ” problem” we put an imaginary burdening weight on it that can freeze us in our tracks like a deer in the headlights. Start viewing it as a project and the freezing oppression is allowed to fall away. Then our thoughts and efforts are available for motion.

4) Take action in a constructive direction – any action. Just MOVE: Don’t wait for the perfect plan to fall into place. If there was such a thing as a perfect plan, it wouldn’t stay perfect for long anyhow. As we move through the “plan” unforeseen changes are going to arise and alter our course. Knowing this allows us to expect change and this tells us we must remain flexible. And knowing we must be flexible allows space for us to stay out of panic when changes arise. Anticipate change and you have nothing to fear. So stop nit picking a plan and just move! As long as you have forward motion, it will work it’s way out however it needs to regardless of any “planning” you might do. Cease motion however, and the molehill will continue to expand.

5) Stop the whining. Complaining serves only to tell yourself and those around you that you are too weak to change the situation. After all, if you actually had the power to change things, wouldn’t you be putting your efforts into actually changing it? Complaining does nothing but deepen your conviction that something is not going your way and you are powerless to effect change. You DO have the power to change, so empower yourself! Stop complaining and put your mental and physical resources towards a constructive outcome. Constructive behavior leads to smaller hills. Destructive behavior just makes bigger mountains that YOU eventually get to traverse.

6) Multitasking is a myth. We can only focus on one thing at a time. “Multi-tasking” or what I am coining in this very post as: Scatter-Braining™ is merely shifting focus from one task to another and back again – never really putting your best efforts into either one. It’s like trying to run up two hills at the same time, only you have to run back and forth between them to make progress. Just wasted effort. Pick the hill that requires your attention and focus focus focus. When your mind gets going, the mental momentum will build and tasks will get accomplished faster with greater efficacy. Keep flinging your focus around like a sloppy mop and if things do get accomplished, you may find that the efforts don’t meet expectation and you have to revisit them to clean up the spatter. This just means more work and that equals a bigger hill.