Category Archives: Wellness WELL

A deep well of holistic wellness posts and tips. Self-help suggestions, affirmations, therapeutic options and personal wellness practices to improve your daily life.

Trade-offs: The Art of Compromise

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            Ever notice that to get something you want out of life you often have to give something else up?  Everything begotten in life comes with a price – a sacrifice or compromise of some kind.  If you want a new car or home, you need to spend time, effort, energy and money earned to purchase one.  Nothing is free.  Everything’s a trade-off.  Even “free time” has to be spent in some way.  If you spend your free time napping, you won’t get to read that new book you’ve wanted to crack.  If you would rather watch your favorite soap opera, you may be giving up your exercise time.  The same is true with indulgences.  If you eat dessert before dinner, you may not get to fully enjoy your pot roast.  It works the same with energy and emotion, too.  If you invest yourself in worry and doubt, you can’t feel confident or self-assured.  If your efforts are spent on being a great leader, you really can’t just sit back and be a follower, as well.  If you want to win the marathon you can’t well smoke three packs of cigarettes a day.

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You don’t have to go to extremes to see how one thing trades for another.  It’s not just about choice.  It’s about the big trade-offs and how they shape your life.  You go left instead of right and you find a path either way.  Turning left may lead you somewhere you don’t like.  But you can turn around and you can always turn right.  The point is how does the trade work for or against you.  Do you trade your time and energy to create good or do you squander it? It’s always a choice and either way you face the consequences and own the results.

compromise1We have to find work, a trade, business – a way to serve – to trade that service for what we want.  In college we have to narrow our field of study and pick a major.  If you decide to study basket weaving, you can’t also dedicate yourself to attaining a political science degree.  Some people are talented and organized enough to try for both, but most will lose ground one way or the other.  The concept of multi-tasking encourages a tight rope-balancing act of doing many things at once, but it’s an unrealistic endeavor.  You may be able to switch focus many times in a row, but you’re never really paying full attention to more than one task at once.  The same is true for every trade-off in life: you have to give up one thing for another in most cases.  Career versus family, risk versus safety, practicality versus fun – even health versus disease – all choices that involve compromise and won’t allow for contradiction.  Two decisions can’t exist in the same being at the same time.  Sometimes you have to trade what you want for what you actually need.

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Relationships are all about commitments and compromise.  Negotiating one person’s needs and desires with anothers is an art form, even a science, which requires a give and take to satisfy both parties.   If you have a family you know this is true.  You can’t go on a Vegas party vacation and provide consistent care and stability for those you love without some sacrifice.  If you’re developing a trusting partnership with someone, you can’t lie and cheat on them.  The contradiction creates so much internal stress that the trust you’re fighting for becomes meaningless and you wind up not being true to yourself or them.  If you want to be a team player in business, you probably shouldn’t ignore your team’s needs for your own.  Negotiating compromises in relationships is delicate because no one gets exactly what they want but they come closer to the middle where there is peace, resolution or satisfaction.  Trying to be selfless and selfish at the same time just won’t work.  Energy spent one way means it cannot be spent another.  There’s only so much of you to go around. powerfree           We all want the freedom of choice in life.  Choice denotes power and responsibility.  Too much choice can be tricky.  A need for too much freedom can become chaotic or imprison you in overwhelming liberty, lost in a sea of choices.  It can wind up becoming over-indulgence or abuse and you wind up running out of energy, getting sick, broke or worse.  Similarly, indecision, indifference, lack of discipline and abuse or over-indulgence can mean giving up your freedom, relinquishing your power to choose a different path.  We keep ourselves from being free, from following our dreams and from testing our limits to stay protected from the ramifications our bold choices can and do make.  Self-empowerment and encouragement are paths to wellness and success.  They allow you to make the big choices that shape your life and lead to your personal happiness.   The worst decision is making none.  Without willingness to compromise you can guarantee failure.  The worst failure comes from not trying.  When you try, you’ll find you have to give in at times, to get what you want out of your trial.  This is the course of learning and growth that we must all traverse.  Inaction is the compromise cowards make with themselves.  Action, effort, trial – possible failure – these are the compromises one must make to gain what is sought. 

 riskrewardNone of us need be limited by what we may have to give up.  The only limitation we impose on ourselves is what we are willing to do to get what we want.  But sometimes our emotions get in the way of our ability to compromise and choose what’s greater.  We can stay stuck in one mode of being, stubbornly clinging to what we can predict, ultimately sacrificing our freedom and success for safety.  To end the duality, hypocrisy and contradiction, we have to take the risk of re-programming what we are willing to trade for what we want.  Often it means giving up fear and anger or some vice.  Trade-offs are risks.  But how do we overcome our fears and doubts of the untried or unknown to make life better?  How do we trade those feelings, those limits, for what we really want to experience?

limits2To negotiate the freedom we desire, to keep the power and choice we want, to find fulfillment, to go beyond our negative emotions and preconceived notions, we must be willing to trade.  Below I have written a set of emotions and actions, choices and compromises, which show how to trade what you want for what you don’t.  One the left you’ll see experiences that usually won’t serve you and on the right you’ll see options for what can resolve patterns of self-sacrifice and self-undoing.  A tried and true trick for trading off negatives for positives is to focus your energy on the opposite of what you want to change. 

einstein-quotes1            There’s a metaphysical way to speed up the process of compromising one feeling experience for another that works wonders.  It’s called “finger holding.”  While you meditate on the proposed opposites, try taking ten deep breaths while holding the finger that matches the state of mind or emotions you want to change.  My experience is that this simple meditation and self-acupressure technique should be practiced as often as needed to reset and recharge your energy and redirect your decision making abilities.  I suggest starting with the right and holding the left hand’s fingers working in thumb-to-pinky order.  Then work the right hand’s fingers with your left hand. Keep light to moderate pressure on each hold and after ten breaths or about 30-45 seconds you can let go and move on to the next finger.  The process should take three to five minutes.  Think of it as a sweep, to clear the hands for giving and receiving and cover your bases for emotional self-maintenance.  Especially if it’s an emotional issue , hold the corresponding finger on your left hand with your right.  If it’s more of a mental or intellectual issue, hold your right fingers with your left hand.  Practicing this meditative technique actually changes the way your nerves fire, shifts your energy and focus and clears the way for positive compromise – the trade offs you need and want to become happy, healthy, successful, wise and well.

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Opposites:                                                                              Finger to hold:

Doubt/worry/shame vs. Trust/confidence/pride                         Thumb

Fear/intimidation/anxiety vs. Love/bravery/passion                  Index

Anger/frustration/guilt vs. Calm/patience/forgiveness              Middle

Grief/sadness/depression vs. Joy/happiness/pleasure               Ring

Desire/longing/lack vs. Fulfillment/peace/gratitude                  Little

earth-heart1Remember: love and approve of yourself first and you’ll never be compromised!

Be well & be inspired! ~Namaste

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Meditation Recharge

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            The last couple posts have been about beating stress and finding peace in your life.  In my previous post, “Pray It Forward,” I outlined the benefits of prayer and connecting with your higher self.  Another proven method for finding your divine power and gaining control over your emotions is meditation.  Meditation is a simple, if often misunderstood way to help you minimize stress and develop good habits of wellness over time.  Try the meditation techniques below any given morning, noon or night to recharge, renew and revitalize your day…

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            Find a relaxing place where you won’t be disturbed, close out any distractions and turn off any hand-held devices.  Lying flat on your back or seated in a comfortable reclined position allow your body weight to sink into the surface you’re resting on.  Close your eyes and let your head feel heavy.  Allow your arms and legs to feel heavy, loose and relaxed, like every bone is made of lead.  Imagine feeling a warm wave of relaxation move up from your feet through your legs into your pelvis and spine, moving up through your torso and out through both arms to your hands and fingers.  The warm wave relaxes every part of your body it touches.  Feel it move up through your shoulders and neck, relaxing your throat.  Feel it move up through your head, relaxing your jaw and tongue, relaxing all your facial muscles, all the way up through your scalp.  Feel your eyelids relax.  Notice how heavy, loose and relaxed your whole body has become.  Now notice your breathing.  Notice the natural rhythm and flow of your breath, moving in and out, like the tides of the ocean, ebb and flow, each breath slowing down, deeper and deeper relaxed.  Feel the breath washing over you like a warm wave, whisking away tension.  Feel every breath easing your mind, clearing and calming your body, healing and purifying your soul – energizing every part of you.  As your breath slows, feel it becoming your guide to deeper and deeper levels of total mind and body relaxation.  Allow yourself to feel heavy, letting gravity take over until your whole body is limp and loose.  Let your breath lead you as you give in to a serene feeling, surrendering to your breath, allowing it to guide you deeper into restorative, peaceful, gentle relaxation.  Find a quiet stillness within, a sense of serenity, centered on how calm your breath can become…

breathedeeply            Now feel how relaxed your body has become and know that you can go ten times deeper relaxed just by thinking of going ten times deeper relaxed.  You relax so easily, it’s so easy to just let go and give into gravity.  Notice how heavy your arms and legs feel.  Feel yourself sinking and melting down, deeper into the comfortable surface below you.  Feel your eyeballs sinking into their sockets, sinking deep into your head.  Feel your navel sinking deep into your abdomen, deep down to your spine.  As your sink and melt down, giving into gravity, feeling long and loose and limp and heavy, your body begins to feel lighter and freer.  So light and free that you can begin to drift and float.  Drifting and floating up as if on a bed of air, on a cloud or onto a raft that floats down a lazy river off to a beautiful, peaceful, natural place, there just for you to relax.  It’s the most peaceful place you can imagine.  Allow all the details of that place and time to fill in around you so you can see yourself there.  Now feel yourself there.  Feel the comfort and tranquility all around you.  Notice your breathing, so free and calm and deeply relaxed…

relax-recline            Find a place in that space where you can just lie down and relax.  Maybe it’s a cool, grassy hillside or a warm, sandy beach or a hammock strung up in the shade.  See and feel yourself there, allowing yourself to just lie down and relax there and experience that peaceful place and time just as real as any other experience.  Feel your belly rise and fall with each breath as the breath winds down, winds you down, deeper relaxed.  Allow your mind to wander back to your breath, allow your breath to wind down.  Bathe and bask in the light and warmth of that place and time.  Soak in all the peaceful feelings of that place and time, drinking in those peaceful, serene feelings through every pore.  Absorb those calm, harmonious feelings with every breath until they fill you up inside.  Feel yourself so full of peace and light and joy until it pours back out of you, radiating from you like a star.  Feel yourself shining brightly in all directions, sending out light and love to all those you cherish.  Now take a moment more to notice how radiantly joyful and peaceful you feel all over…

meditation-recline            Take those feelings of serenity and bliss with you for the rest of your day and evening and beyond as a deep sense of harmony and tranquility, of energy and vitality in your life.  Keep that sense of peace and calm with you as you being to return your awareness to the room you’re in, to the present time.  Begin to wiggle your fingers and toes and blink your eyes, adjusting back to the light of the room you’re in now.  Coming back all the way, wide awake and aware, full of energy and vitality, refreshed and recharged all over.  Take one more deep breath and hug yourself with both arms and as you exhale, hold yourself and affirm your health and well being in this moment and feel grateful for your healthy, beautiful body and mind.

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            As you practice this meditation its effects will increase over time.  I hope it brings you the calm, clarity and energy that is has so many of my students through the years.  It should take you no more than five to ten minutes to practice each time you do this meditation.  Please do set an alarm if you have to get up after this meditation as it will profoundly relax you and may cause you to drift off to sleep.  As you practice finding that inner space of peace it will become easier to relax at any time, easier to visualize and feel yourself calm, centered and energized in any situation. As you can see, this process has nothing to do with a certain religion or belief system and is designed to be universally effective.  If prayer is asking your higher power for something in question, meditation opens the space in your mind where the answer can be heard.  Since meditation should be a practice that fits your life I suggest finding the right time and space for you to make it a habit.  Try different kinds of background music, chanting, chimes or water sounds to take you there.  Hindu and Buddhist traditions offer plenty of meditative practices, doing yoga or tai chi can work wonders and New Age movements have diversified what meditation can mean.  It’s up to you how you want to meditate, but it takes time, effort and discipline for it to work in your favor.  Remember, no matter how you practice, start off small and simple and allow it to build over time.  It’s a process that processes.

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            Another way you can simply recharge and unwind is to lie quietly for a few moments and take some deep, slow breaths, picturing your mind as a cluttered desk.  Begin removing one item at a time from that desk – papers, envelopes, bills, notes, post-its, pens, paper clips, etc.  Just take them away one at a time and see the desk being cleared.  If you have trouble with that visualization try taking a deep breath in with your eyes open and then close your eyes as you exhale.  Each exhale should take a little longer than the last so your eyelids stay closed longer and longer.  Feel your eyelids becoming droopier and the feeling of drowsiness coming over you, breath by breath.  Finally, allow your eyes to remain closed and keep breathing deeply.  Then imagine your thoughts (images, words, plans, feelings) bubbling up from your mind like soap or hot water bubbles.  Allow your mind to slow down and see your thoughts encased in those bubbles and watch them, one by one, floating up and out of your mind, into the sky.  Soon there are fewer and fewer bubbles and your mind becomes empty, blank and open – relaxed, receptive and free.  This process clears the mind and can be attributed to Transcendental Meditation (TM), which helps the mind relax and open to the process of letting go and receiving the guidance you need to feel good.  Even just sitting quietly for a few minutes a day, daydreaming or taking a “meditative walk” a few times a week can also help you to recharge and overcome stress.  Hypnosis therapy is another effective technique to teach you how to relax, reprogram your mind and begin a meditative practice.  Seek out the help you want and you will find the help you need.  I hope these methods of meditation help you to feel and be your best!  Please keep exploring the power of your mind to make positive changes and create new, empowering habits in your life.  I’d love to hear how they work for you.

bubbles1One more tip!  Remember that meditation is the process of letting go and clearing your mind so a greater consciousness can filter in, recharge and inspire you.  When practicing, gently continue redirecting your thoughts with this suggestion: What else can I release?  Then let whatever you find drift away until you feel open, relaxed and receptive.  Then and only then will meditation begin to work for you, within your life.

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😀

Be well… Namaste.

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Want Power Over Your Stress? Under-react!

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            Folks are leading more and more complicated lives and having to deal with more stress than ever these days.  Is it the same for you?  Have you flipped, freaked or fallen ill due to stress in the past year?  Even with more conveniences, more tools for communication and a better overall quality of life, we have more on our plates than ever.  Whether it’s work, family, finances, travel, health or any other part of life, we have lots to juggle and never enough time in any given day to keep all the balls in the air without stressing out.  Stress is the number 1 killer in the U.S. and contributes greatly to an increasing prevalence of heart disease, cancer and diabetes among our populace.  We are all becoming more prone to overreaction and anxiety than ever before, it’s literally killing us, but we can fight back.   So, how do we get off the stress conveyer belt and stay healthy without neglecting our responsibilities and aspirations?  I have practiced and instructed others to do one simple mental technique when stress becomes unmanageable: under-react.

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            It takes practice, but when you’re stressing, give yourself a mental cue to stop and take a moment for yourself to process everything that’s going on around and inside you.  Breathe and take your emotional reaction down a few notches by will.  It may seem too easy, but it really works.  Simply taking a deep breath and realizing that you are only one person, everything’s temporary and the world will keep on turning whether you stress out or not can give you enough perspective to relax.  The human condition is evolved for and demands relaxation time to deal with stress, but we often forget to give ourselves a time out.  Not resting and relaxing enough creates a pressure-cooker within the body and mind.  Eating wrong, taking stimulants and other drugs, drinking and not working out makes things even worse.  Whenever we stress out, adrenalin and cortisol surge, finger nails can get bitten, friends and family can get their heads bitten off and our bodies can get very sick.  Then we feel even worse for having our over-reactive stress response and hurting others and ourselves in the process.  It can become a vicious cycle of pain, lowered immunity, self-abuse, social rejection, anxiety and depression – but we can off the not-so-merry-go-round of stress with some simple mental redirection. 

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            Since we don’t have sabre-toothed tigers or cave bears trying to eat us every other day, we use our adrenalin to battle traffic, worry over bills and tense up when our boss micro-manages.  That automatic, defensive streak is meant to protect us and has been a benefit to our survival until the present.  But allowing that fight-or-flight energy explosion to surge only depletes us, adding to the negative feedback loop initiated by what set us off.  The best thing is to stop the melt-down before it begins.  Working out, eating right, sleeping eight hours, long walks, peaceful music and positive thinking aren’t always enough to combat stress, especially when we have no control and no power to change what effects us.  Often we have to change how we think about stress and better understand our reaction to it in order to manage and alleviate it, which we thankfully have some power over.

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            When something stresses you out, try under-react.  I know it sounds simple, but that’s the point.  Let me elaborate: turn down the volume in your head and dial back your emotional reaction to the most minimal response possible when you feel stress growing inside you.  If heavy traffic gives you “road rage” or having your mail delivered late makes you want to “go postal” ask yourself, why am I losing my cool?  Then give yourself a rating on a scale of 1-10 of how irate you feel.  You have to slow down and catch yourself for this to work.  Once you do, see where you fall on that scale and scale back your reaction.  If you get a 7 to 10 reading, your blood pressure has definitely spiked.  Take at least three deep breaths, exhaling completely with each.  Remember that you are only in control of you.  Regain your composure and sit down if you can.  See if you can calm yourself to a 3 or 4 rating.  Practicing this stress-relieving technique over time works wonders as you see potential “ten+” reactions shrink down to one’s and two’s.  When I encounter a lot of stress or my coaching clients bring up their stress levels, I’ll ask, will this issue matter in ten years time?  Is this a life or death issue?  If the answer is “no,” then it isn’t worth the upheaval.  If it’s a “yes,” then perhaps you ought to feel some pressure to fix what’s stressing you and start making changes in your life to mitigate stress.   

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            One of my clients loves the term “un-bothered,” which I now use to describe the under-reaction technique.  She says it helps her to remember that it’s up to her whether external stressors bother her or not.  The less she is bothered by potential stress the lower degree of negative emotional response she has.  Put another way, the less reactive energy and emotional focus we give to stress the less power it has over us, the less it effects us.  Cancelling some of what might normally irk you gives you emotional power to overcome greater obstacles, too.  When you don’t know how else to dial down your angst, remember to ask yourself, is the issue at hand really such a big deal?  Did you really see the earth shatter under your feet?  Will it actually matter someday?  Try under-reacting the next time you want to freak out and see if you feel better and can handle the stress better for doing so.

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“If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ~Maya Angelou

Be well!  ~Namaste.

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Pay Attention! To Your 6 Sacred Parts

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            There are many parts to you and me.  We each have parts that work better than others and parts we know need work.  A part of you decided to read this blog post.  A part of you is looking for enlightenment and empowerment and believes life is more than what meets the eye.  I’m not talking about literal components of your body when I say there are six parts of you and every person that need constant tending to or life just isn’t fulfilling.  Giving care to these parts is essential to our health and well-being.  They cannot be ignored if you want a full and balanced life.  If you don’t give them enough attention they whither and atrophy like a neglected or sedentary body part.  If you treat them right and regularly, these sacred parts become steady pillars on which to build your life and can help you find the power, success and happiness you desire.

            The parts I’m talking about you already know but may not realize need routine investments of time, care and positive energy to make your life work in a holistic way.  To find such wholeness and wellness in your life you have to examine yourself and assess what your needs are and then begin the process of fulfilling them.  Taking a closer look at these parts of you on a daily basis makes you feel more complete, happier and more healthful.   Am I holding you in too much suspense?

            It’s a really simple but profound idea: attend to these sacred parts of you for a little while each day and you will start to find your life working better in every facet.  Here’s the list of the “Big 6” parts of you that you can enhance just by giving them regular attention.  I’ve also included some proven ways to heighten each part’s energy and help you find more peace, prosperity and balance in your life.  Try it for a month, practice for a set amount of time every day and witness the powerful results for yourself… greater health, wealth, wisdom and happiness!

How-stress-effects-the-body            

              The Body: the temple, the vessel, the form and function that is your human self.  It, above all parts of who you are, cannot and will not be ignored.  You already know this.  When you neglect to take care of it, it complains with pain and stops working the way it should.  The body is always talking to us – if only we would listen more carefully.  You step wrong off a sidewalk and your ankle tells you, “Smooth move!” by aching for the next two weeks.  You lift weight heavier than you’re used to and your shredded muscles remind you the next day.  If you eat a cheeseburger, fries, pizza, egg foo young and a milkshake in a 24-hour period, doesn’t your body put up a form of protest?  If it doesn’t, you have an iron gut and I’m jealous!  Enough years of eating junk, sitting too long, being inactive or injuring yourself with thoughtless workouts, poor posture and repetitive stress your body will always inform you.  You’ll be the first to know your body hasn’t been getting the right attention when you scream, “Ouch!”  An ounce of prevention is they key to keeping your body healthy and strong.          

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           Some simple tips to make your body happy and have it return the favor: drink more water, eat less/exercise more, sleep in quiet darkness for 7-9 hours each night, buy a rice cooker so you can conveniently make whole grain meals (my passion), eat more fruit and veggies than any other food, do 30-60 minutes of exercise each day and make yourself sweat.  Then drink more water.  Yoga is my fitness choice on any day I’m not weightlifting, on the Stairmaster or swimming.   Whatever works for your body – go for it!  We have the most control over what we physically do in life – our actions, behavior and activities.  So let’s put that power to work by giving the body the regular care and attention it deserves.  It’ll thank you with vibrant health.                                                                                                                  

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              The Mind: the seat of reason, logic, memory, wisdom, consciousness and creativity.  It’s a gray matter of fact that when we fail to feed our minds with new knowledge, regular mental challenges and periods of rest things can get fuzzy fast.  We lose focus and start forgetting names, numbers and appointments.  Our thoughts and plans become mismanaged.  Everything else suffers when the mind isn’t clear, too.  Our confidence and self-esteem can slip.  Depression and anxiety can set in.  Imagination, creativity and ambition lose their punch.  Relationships can become confused and harder to maintain.  Sensible goals and activities can become frustrations.  We have less to give and our sense of worth becomes diminished.  A dull mind becomes a dull life.                    

              Playing games that increase your neuroplasticity like you’ll find on websites like Luminosity.com or watching “Brain Games” on Nat. Geo. can help retrain your brain for peak performance.  Crossword puzzles, Sudoku and word finder games can work, too.  But I think reading good books, writing a regular journal, listening to classical music or binaural beats, meditating, chanting mantras or just varying your daily tasks can help you keep your mind sharp. The biggest challenge to maintaining a neat noggin is that we deal with too many distractions each day.  Be it your cell phone blowing up, a TV buzzing in the background, cascading emails, texts, social media updates and posts or any other hand-held, electronic or entertainment device, it can keep your mind too busy to be clear and concentrated.  Yes, your smart phone can make you dumb.  Every day we should turn off, unplug and disconnect for a while and enjoy some good, old-fashioned quiet time or curl up with some legit literature to save our cerebra!     

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            The Heart:  I’m talking about the emotions – the feelings that flow into and out of our hearts.  For maintaining a healthy cardiac muscle, please refer back to the body’s needs.  The heart, in terms of emotion, is like an energy switching station.  It interprets the energy moving toward us and directs how we should respond to that energy before the brain even knows what’s happened.  Instinctively, we can feel before we have a chance to think.  The vibrational waves that our hearts emit have been measured to be over three times as powerful as our brainwaves!  The emotions are powerful forces that can become beautiful expressions of love, mercy and joy or can become twisted into fear, anger and shame.  If it endures enough emotional imbalance the heart can close, harden and grow cold or break.

              I like the expression, “emotions are energy in motion.”  That makes sense to me.  We take the energy we receive from other people and our experiences into our hearts and then we let out some corresponding energy through our emotional response.  The feelings we feel carry a lot of weight and often define our needs and desires.  That kind of power can’t be neglected or abused without negative effects.  And ignoring one’s emotions simply makes them fester and if left to wallow in pain long enough they can develop into dysfunction and disease.  Luckily, the emotions are a part of us that we can change and that we have ultimate control over. 

              Some times we all need some help and encouragement when our emotions get the better of us.  Asking for help from friends and family or spiritual advisers or seeking professional help with an emotional issue you might be facing is a sign of courage and willingness to change.  That’s the beginning of growth and healing.  Manifesting better emotions is a matter of will, not chance.  Like all things wild and unpredictable the emotions must be harnessed for good purposes or they backfire. Some emotional states just aren’t worth suffering forever and you have to move on and get the help you need to make yourself feel better.  Sometimes our desires or feelings aren’t as important as what we need to move ahead emotionally and we have to turn them off.  Somehow order has to be made out of chaos.                 

              Tending to the heart and getting the most positive energy out of your emotions can be as simple as showing compassion and gratitude more often.  Finding a charity or worthy cause and lending your time, talents and energy to support it can make your heart feel warm and well.  Helping others anonymously or “paying it forward” is a rewarding emotional experience, too.  Having a secret project or creative endeavor that only you know about can give you a safe emotional outlet for expression.  I think journaling, painting, singing, dancing or any form of artistic expression helps the heart to heal and grow.

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            Music soothes the savage beast, as well.  Ever notice how some songs come on and you have an immediate emotional response?  Those good vibrations are harmonically tied to your heart, making music a most valuable tool for feeling and dealing with the emotions.  Taking long walks, getting fresh air, growing flowers and cleaning out closets often does your heart good.  Forgiving the past and clearing up old emotional residue within can also make your heart lighter.  If it’s a person you need to forgive so your heart can move on, write them a letter and don’t send it!  Throw it in the toilet and flush.  That way your heart knows you’re resolved to let it go and move on to a better state of true emotional well-being.                                    

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           The Spirit: The seat of your soul, the life force that you embody, your connection to the “God-head,” your higher self.  I think the spirit is the most often ignored and neglected part of most modern people because we don’t know how to attend to it regularly.  Many people can no longer relate to organized religion or community and tribal beliefs.  For others, agnosticism and atheism have blocked a connection to higher spiritual truths.  Materialism and individualism also prevent many from bothering to invest in their spiritual growth.  But still we yearn to believe in some greater wisdom to make sense of our lives.  How do you address something you can’t see or touch?  Can you feel or sense your spirit?  You know when you see a breath-taking view, your spirit seems to soar and you are uplifted.  Lifting up your outlook and mood and those of others is important spiritual work.  That’s why it’s crucial to remain inspired, to believe in yourself and celebrate the good in others.  If our spirits are high we know all will be well.  When we feel our spirits sink, it’s hard to see the light.                    

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          Believing in something beyond you, trusting in what seems magical, having faith in the unseen and unknowable spirit behind all things helps us live the enlightened life.  Regular prayer, meditation and other rituals and ceremonies of spiritual significance can help us connect to the “God” within.  Inspiring and helping others with your gifts and talents can also lead you to experiencing freedom of spirit.  Giving generously without expectation makes your spirit shine, too.  Indulging your inner-child now and again can also bring you spiritual fulfillment.  Buy yourself a toy or game or play hide and seek with your child, niece or nephew to lighten your load.  Being silly, telling jokes or getting your giggles on always lifts your spirits.  Take action and connect with that part of you that wanders and wonders.  Talk to it; nurture it.  You’ll be glad you did and curious to seek out more of that hidden aspect within, so powerful and intrinsic to your health and whole being.   

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            The Means:  The resources, income, investments and finances to properly manage your affairs and build wealth.  This part of you extends to your job, career and ambitions, too.  It can also include your education and knowledge, your travels and experiences and your creativity and sense of self-worth.  Let’s not forget your money and how much it matters to you when you examine this part.  If we neglect our financial worth and material needs we wind up impoverished and unable to help others or ourselves.  If we pay careful attention to what we make and how we spend and invest it we can build great wealth and become paragons of prosperity.

             Besides having a savings and retirement plan, a 401-K, stock portfolio or real estate investment we can use our finances to better the world and thus better ourselves.  You can tithe a certain amount from each paycheck or dividend toward a worthy cause like disease research, feeding the hungry or saving animals or the environment.  Or give to your favorite local charity or spiritual institution.  People can be very funny about money – what they believe it means, how they feel about it and react to it.  It means something different to everyone.  For some it equals security, for some its a way to do good, for others it represents success and luxury and for some its a symbol of power or control. 

            Pay close attention to how money makes you feel and you’ll better understand your relationship with it.  I like to do a specialized savings plan for enjoyment that I call “fun money.”  I’ll take whatever money I have left in my wallet at the end of each week and put it into a sealed envelope and label it something like, “clothes shopping” or “road trip” and hide it.  It gives me extra savings and something to look forward to even if I never spend it on my apparel or a vacation.  It’s already marked and set aside so I no longer see it as disposable.  It tricks me into saving more and gives me available funds for a rainy day or when I really need to have a good time.  Try it and see if it helps you conserve the value of your dollar.  It beats a penny jar any day and develops a worthy part of you!  What you do to serve the world becomes your wealth so that part of you is money, baby!                       

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           The Masses:  Yes, I mean people and more specifically, your relationships with them.  People are a part of you!  I’ll state it again; people are part of who and what you are, essential parts of your life.  There’s no escaping it: from our knowledge and culture to our sense of society and self, we are defined by our relationships and our connections with other human beings.  Our friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, co-workers, co-creators, supporters, employers, employees, vendors, servicers, customers, clients, teachers, scholars, students, champions, inspirators, healers, guides, critics, authorities, celebrities, intermediaries and strangers and everyone else we meet are all part of our own living network.  It is the company we keep that makes our world go ‘round. 

              We are each, in many profound ways, our brother’s keeper.  Our good always comes from someone else’s hands. All the good we have to give we are meant to share, to serve, to benefit others.  We live in an interdependent web and all parts affect the whole.  If we fail to give we fail to receive.  But if we take good care of each other and our relationships, the entire world is our oyster.  Nowadays we’re more connected than ever through lightning fast social and mass media, smart phones, email and the miracle that is the Internet with blogs like the one you’re reading now.  So why do so many people feel they’re disconnected or even isolated? 

Executives crowded into elevator

            I think its because we don’t have enough “third places” or locations where people meet to carouse and unwind.  We move from one box to another; racing from our car to our cubicle to our home or apartment to a computer or TV screen.  We all have enjoyed social outlets like weddings, sporting events and parties but still much of what we do together socially involves watching screens, buying more stuff or eating too much.  The focus of many social events is the entertainment, the distraction, the experience or the payoff.  The people and their shared enrichment often get left out.  Everyone also wants to be different, forgetting we are all the same inside.  It puts a distance between people when they don’t know how much they have in common or if they feel they don’t need each other.  We want to be politically correct, too, because people can get so offended and ignorance doesn’t help.   We avoid getting involved with people in need because we don’t want to chance the drama.  We gaze at our computers and forget to pay attention to the person sitting next to us.  We’ve taught our kids to be even more distracted.  Half the kids I meet can hardly make eye contact! 

            We are social creatures at our base and we need each other.  In agrarian times people used to be part of farming communities tribal networks with unavoidable social intersections like going to church or town meetings, planting crops and harvesting, building shelters, keeping livestock and helping each other survive.  It was impossible to be isolated unless you were a hermit.  Now we can avoid each other with almost no effort at all.  They say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Well, we’ve disintegrated and I feel the greater mass consciousness has suffered for it.  How do we reconnect with people when everyone is caught up in their own private lives?  Contact!  Reconnecting with old friends and school chums can spark enriching relationships.  Sending thank you cards to show your gratitude can help, too.  Showing those you love and even perfect strangers that you care through good deeds is a way to reinforce your relationship with the world.  Reach out and touch someone – with a compliment or a kind word, with some assistance or a shoulder to lean or cry on, by sharing a laugh or by lending a sympathetic ear of understanding.  Such actions can help you and the world to have a better sense of your relationship.   

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Everything in life is a relationship – its all relative!  You cannot make others treat you any better than you treat yourself.  You can influence others by your good example but you can’t bend their will in how they relate to you.  You only have power over how you relate to them, which is kind of a relief!  Love, trust and please yourself and you wind up getting the same from others.  It starts with you!  Investing in your relationships will always bring you more enlightenment and improve the state of your body, mind, heart, spirit and the means to give back more.  Give until you’ve given all you can.  The smiles and thanks you receive in return are priceless!

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           We are all a part of a bigger picture but on the individual level we can make big changes that help us to improve our lives and help the world in doing so.  No one has control over another person’s will but we can always control our own choices.  The main things you can control are your state of mind, body, emotions, predominant thoughts and feelings, how you treat others and yourself and the decisions you make, the actions you take.  That’s a lot of power!  If you pay attention to the six sacred parts of you and apply your power of will to practice holistic routines a bit each day you will be enriched and enlightened more all the time and have a more peaceful, beautiful, happier, healthier, wealthier, wiser and more wonderful existence.  Please let me know how your practice pays off.  I bet you’ll have great news!

~Namaste.                

 

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Transformation through Af-FORM-ations!

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If you want a simple way to transform your life and master your body, mind, heart and spirit I recommend developing the habit of invoking daily affirmations.  I think affirmations have gotten a bad rap or at least have been misunderstood as cheesy, New Age, metaphysical wishful thinking, like, “if you wish for it hard enough, it will happen.” Affirmations are really just positive statements of truth based in the power of the present moment.  They’re not really about wishing, which displaces your power to change into the future where it is always just ahead of you and therefore unreachable.  If you say, “I am well” you’re stating a fact of how you feel, how you interpret your state of being.  Just as if you say, “I’m sick” that describes how you are, in a temporary state.  Everything being relative, you ultimately decide how you feel or what you perceive as your existence.  You can choose to see a warm, sunny day as “exhausting” or a cool, rainy day as “refreshing.”  The choice of how you arrange your state of mind, no matter what you encounter, is up to you.

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*Lady’s face or saxiphonist?

 

            With that power in mind, you are in control of how you react to life.  In fact, there is nothing passive about living on this earth.  Everything we want requires dynamic action.  Affirmations can be part of that investment as an active way to state your truth, even if what you want has not arrived in your life yet.  You can live as though what you want is already so and become what you want over time.  Don’t be fooled by current conditions – what you find in your life now is just a result of what you’ve already learned and applied, what you’ve already thought, felt and tried.  The future harvest depends on what seeds we plant now.  If we keep watering our garden with affirmations, eventually the seeds we nurture become the results we’re looking for.  Most important with affirmations is that they must be something you can feel and see now.  You have to step into the role of believing they’re true, in the present.  The prophet Neville said, “Assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled.”  He meant to own what you want and live as though you already have it.  That is the spirit of affirmations: to state what you want as already true and live with those positive feelings and visions as your guide.

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            When practiced daily, affirmations become a part of you.  You come to believe what you’re telling yourself like when an athlete psyches himself up for a big game.  That belief becomes your reality over time and you wind up transforming into your assumed truth.  The same is true for repeating negative thoughts or statements, so why not turn things around in your favor by choosing to affirm your good?  Sometimes simply affirming the opposite of what you don’t want is enough to change your circumstances for the better.  Affirmations can be so transformative when use regularly that I like to call them “Af-FORM-ations.”  The following three affirmations have helped me and my clients make many positive changes and can lay a foundation for your personal growth and transformation.

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            Try saying these aloud to yourself daily for 3-4 weeks, a few times a day – with feeling – and please let me know how they help improve your life or empower you to make the changes you want to make real. 

 

1.     “I trust the process of life and I am willing to change.” 

 

2.     “I am the power in my world and I love and approve of myself.”

 

3.     “I am open and receptive to the goodness and abundance of life.” affirm6

 

            Making such statements everyday will change your attitude, rearrange your feelings and ultimately shift your actions, which define your progress toward wholeness and wellness.

For issues with your body, try saying (and believing):

“I live in radiant good health,” or “I am beautiful, perfect, whole and complete.”

For changing how you feel in your heart and emotions, say:

“I feel safe expressing myself and making quality relationships,” or “I am free to feel and live my truth.”

For changes you’d like to make in your mind, affirm:

“I am clear, calm, confident and positive,” or “I am the power in my mind.”

For spiritual guidance, affirm your wisdom:

“I am in touch with my inner wisdom,” or “I am always divinely guided.”

For improving finances and success, try these:

“I am a money magnet,” or “Everything I touch is a success.”affirm5

 

              Using daily affirmations to direct and control how you think, feel and behave, you become master of your life and all you want.  Get excited about the process of positive changes these powerful statements can make in your life as you make them routine.  They really can help you to heal and grow as you get used to them being part of your daily life.  Feel and see what you want as already real, like when you played “make believe” as a kid.  That’s what “real-ize” means: make it real for yourself, in the now.  Form it out of your consciousness, mold it to your needs, fire up your feelings and forge it by your will.  Hack into reality and project what you want in the moment to see it become your experience.  Bend it, shape it and demand it into being by what you state as true.  Keep your focus and keep repeating daily affirmations and results will surely manifest.  Invest your time and energy each day wisely with a few affirmations that amplify your power and see how you change for the better.  I’d love to hear how well you transform!

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            Singing or chanting an affirmation also helps, lending even more power to the feeling you want to cultivate as true.  Here’s a rhyming daily affirmation I’ve written to inspire you:

“I am grateful for this day and this night.  I am happy, healthy, wealthy and wise and all is right.  I give and receive the very best today; in every way my dreams take flight.  All is well in my world and all is light.” ~DJ

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              Make up your own customized affirmations to foster more specific empowerment over your reality.  For a list of affirmations related to improving body conditions and personal physical wellness, see Louise Hay’s Affirmations for the Body.

Form your truth, live it and give it with love.  Be well!  ~Namaste

 


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