Monthly Archives: May 2012

5/31/12 – Are you “Here”?

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“In a world that does too much, it is really hard to be present. We are merely really good at pretending we are not  – absent.” – Laura Berman Fortgang

Do you ever sit there and reflect at the end of a busy day of work and life and think: “I have no idea what I did today, who I talked to, what I accomplished!”?  You did so much yet you weren’t actually “present” for any of it. I know I do this all the time. I fill my schedule past the point of comfortable just so I fit everything in, so I don’t miss out, so I’m not “absent.” But what is the point of being somewhere, attending something, if I’m not really even “present”? If I’m not even “there.”

I need to start working on asking myself, “Am I ‘here’?” Time is going to pass us all by because we are so busy not being absent and so busy trying to fit it all in that we forget to actually be present, to enjoy the moment, to take in all the scenery and to feel every moment of our lives. What does the memory of being “there” really mean if you don’t remember why you were there, what you experienced, what you may have learned and what you may or may not have accomplished?

Be Present! Ask yourself right now, “Am I ‘Here’?”

5/30/12 – Be Your Own Best Friend

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“Be kind to yourself. Be your own best friend.”

I was just talking last week with a few different friends actually about a mantra that I keep repeating to myself lately, ” I will not base my happiness on my relationship with ANYONE other than the relationship with MYSELF.” I need to be my own best friend.

As the picture says below, you wouldn’t speak badly to a friend, so why do the same to yourself? You’re all you have at the end of the day, and if you can’t be happy with yourself you won’t ever be happy with anyone. NO ONE can  love you until you do.  I’m guilty as charged here! I’m so negative about ME sometimes when I tell others to be so positive about THEM. Why don’t I deserve the same from myself? There is no reason I don’t.

I will work on being kind to MYSELF, I hope you all will do the same!

5/29/12 – 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

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15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

(Taken from PurposeFairy.com)

Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:

1. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO ALWAYS BE RIGHT

 There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?”Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. GIVE UP YOUR NEED FOR CONTROL

Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

3. GIVE UP ON BLAME

 Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

4. GIVE UP YOUR SELF-DEFEATING SELF-TALK

 Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle

5. GIVE UP YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS

about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!

“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle

6. GIVE UP COMPLAINING

 Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

7. GIVE UP THE LUXURY OF CRITICISM

Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.

8. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO IMPRESS OTHERS

Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

9. GIVE UP YOUR RESISTANCE TO CHANGE

 Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” 
Joseph Campbell

10. GIVE UP LABELS

 Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer

11. GIVE UP ON YOUR FEARS

Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
 Franklin D. Roosevelt

12. GIVE UP YOUR EXCUSES

Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.

13. GIVE UP THE PAST

I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

14. GIVE UP ATTACHMENT

This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

15. GIVE UP LIVING YOUR LIFE TO OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

5/25/12 – How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

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“Transform jealousy to admiration, and what you admire will become part of your life.” – Yoko Ono

Beautiful quote! Instead of me writing about it, I have chosen to share an article by Dr. Judith Orloff. Enjoy and have a WONDERFUL holiday weekend! 🙂

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

By Judith Orloff MD

As a psychiatrist, I realize that comparing is a natural tendency we all have. It can be absolutely neutral, as when you merely evaluate similarities and differences. Such comparison is essential for astute reasoning. It’s also productive if you’re inspired to emulate another’s impressive traits. However, it becomes dysfunctional when it stirs envy and jealousy, if you judge yourself as better as or less than others. Think about it: Without comparisons, jealousy and envy couldn’t exist. Interestingly, it’s more common to feel inferior to those with “more” than to feel grateful compared to those with “less.”

We’re a society of comparison junkies. It starts from day one. Babies are compared to each other. Who’s smarter, cuter, more precocious? Then comes grammar school. I remember a hideous game some of my king-of-the-hill classmates would play. They’d pick a target, usually the shy, insecure student. Then, in a taunting tone they’d sing in unison, “There’s a fungus among us. Her name is (fill in the blank) fungus,” until the poor kid, totally humiliated, slunk away. So, at school, there were basically the funguses and the non-funguses. Not so different from the breakdown of our comparisons in later life, interpersonally and politically. Shiites and Sunnis. White supremacists vs. Jews and Blacks. Protestants and Catholics in Belfast. Comparing yourself to others can preclude a bond of common fellowship and is a disservice to finding true worth. Either you’ll end up with the short end of the stick or, if you deign to put yourself above anyone, you’re nowhere. (No one is above anyone else.) Self-esteem must come from simply being you.

In my book Emotional Freedom, I emphasize that comparing ourselves to others can come from low self-esteem and lack of belief in the integrity of our own unique life path. In a spiritual sense, comparing your path to another’s is comparing apples and oranges. Why? Your life is explicitly designed for your own growth. Every person you meet, every situation you encounter, challenges you to become a stronger, more loving, and confident person. Try to appreciate the grace of both the hurdles and the joys you’ve been given. This is life’s legacy to you. Self-esteem comes from embracing this, working with what each day brings. How you spend your time here is up to you. Why squander it by comparing? Realistically, you’ll probably still do it. We all will. Even so, let’s strive to keep our eyes on ourselves to build self-esteem so we can become more emotionally free.

The following exercise will help you to turn jealousy and envy around. The more your practice it, the easier it will get.

Stop Comparing, Build Self-Esteem:

    1. Choose a person you feel jealousy or envy toward. Perhaps a coworker your supervisor favors. Or a cocky, well-off relative. Make this person your test case before you go on to transforming these emotions with others.
    2. Behave differently. Practice dealing with jealousy and envy by mindfully using humility and avoiding comparisons, even if the person irritates you. For instance, rather than automatically bristling or shrinking in your seat when your supervisor praises this co-worker, second her good ideas, a collegial gesture. Try not to feed into feeling “less than.” Instead, as an empowered equal, add your own good ideas, not letting their rapport or your wobbly self-esteem deter you. Although you have the right to be upset about your supervisor’s favoritism, a humble but confident approach will begin to improve things. In that instance and the situation with your well-off relative, practice the commandment “I shall not compare.” Shift your mindset to concentrate on what you do have, what makes you happy. Let that be the tone of your interaction.
    3. Give to others what you most desire for yourself. If you want your work to be valued, value others’ work. If you want love, give love. If you want a successful career, help another’s career to flourish. What goes around comes around, an energetic dynamic you can mobilize.
    4. Learn from a rival’s positive points. Get your mind off of what you perceive you lack and towards self-improvement. Yoko Ono says, “Transform jealousy to admiration, and what you admire will become part of your life,” an inspiring credo to live by.
    5. Wish a rival well. Even if it’s hard to do this, try. It helps you to turn negativity around to something more positive.

Enlisting these methods helps you take your eyes off of other people and back to yourself. The point is to appreciate what you have rather than focus on what you’re lacking. A big part of emotional freedom is developing self-compassion rather than beating yourself up. Praise yourself. Gain self-esteem from your efforts to deal with jealousy or envy positively. Showing humility and avoiding comparisons lets you build self-esteem. It fosters a loving versus defensive posture in relationships.

(Oh and HAPPY “65th” Pops!!!)

5/24/12 – The Sum of a Person’s Life

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“It’s difficult to understand the sum of a person’s life… Some people would tell you it’s measured by the ones left behind, some believe it can be measured in faith, some say by love, other folks say life has no meaning at all… Me, I believe you measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you…”

– The Bucket List

First of all, GREAT movie! If you haven’t seen it, you should. I can’t promise you won’t cry, but I can promise you will learn a thing or two about life.

That being said, I think that life has meaning, so that part of the quote doesn’t apply to how I measure a person’s life. I agree with all of the above, but particularly with the end, “Me, I believe you measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you.” Did you ever look at it this way? It’s like that old saying, “You are who you hang with.”

This reminds me how truly important my friendships are. My friends aren’t just random people in my life. I have chosen them carefully and take pride in who they all are. I affect their lives as they equally affect mine. At the end of the day, I want to live my life better knowing this..love a little stronger, care a little more, work a little harder and know that someone else measures themselves by me in some way. That in itself makes life worth living to the fullest. I want to put my time, energy and love into GREAT people. This way, I can be sure that my life is measured at the highest point possible.

5/22/12 – How to Feel Comfortable in your own skin

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“…it is important to remind yourself that beauty is never dependent upon the approval of others. Quite the contrary, beauty is very much self-defined and self-created. The only person who can ever truthfully tell you “you are beautiful” is also the only person who can “make you beautiful.”

You are the only person who can do this.

The power to be beautiful lies not in the eyes of others.  It comes from deep within you.”

This is a blog post from another blogger, but I HAD to share it! Thanks for the reminder Stacy!!! ❤

HOW TO FEEL COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN

Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Mary Dunlop

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

From the time I was a little girl, people told me I was pretty, but I never believed them.  Instead, I scrutinized myself in the mirror searching for ways to look better, not realizing that what I was really looking for was a way to be me and feel good about myself.

As I focused even more on my looks throughout my twenties, I became increasingly self-conscious and dependent on how others perceived me.  If someone complimented me and gave me attention, I would feel confident, but if I went unflattered or unnoticed, I would return to the mirror in an effort to figure out why.

I had often heard the expression “what you are inside shows on your face.” However, I didn’t know what these words truly meant until one day at the age of 35.

That day, I took another long look in the mirror, and suddenly something clicked: My looks were not the problem—they never were.

Somehow I understood that what I didn’t like about my face had nothing to do with my physical features. It was something else; something within myself that was reflecting out and causing me to feel unattractive, ill at ease, and unconfident.

At that moment, I knew there were two things I needed to do. The first was to stop staring in the mirror. The second was to look at what was going on inside.

Soon, a friend recommended meditation, so I gave that a try. I sat, breathed, quieted my thoughts, and shared my feelings in a nine-hour course, which I soon followed with a two-day silent meditation retreat.

It’s possible that a silent retreat may not be for everyone, but, for me, it was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. The two days forced me to meditate, reflect, and “be” with myself in an environment that did not permit social interaction, not even eye contact.

There were also no distractions, such as telephone, TV, books, or computers.

Was the experience disagreeable? Initially, yes. Was it painful? Sometimes, but it allowed me to bring forth a lot of valuable self-information and one remarkable realization: I became conscious of how unnatural I felt.

In the time I was there, I recognized that I was not uncomfortable in that setting because I didn’t know how to be with myself. I was uncomfortable because I didn’t know how to be myself.

This was also why I often felt unattractive and ill at ease with others.

I was frequently projecting someone who didn’t feel “like me,” and that projection habitually depended on who I was interacting with.

It was this realization that launched my journey to authenticity and the discovery of a beautiful me.

Slowly, I started to learn about myself and the things that make me happy, and I found that I had a rhythm. I could hardly believe it, but I actually had my own beautiful flow, and as soon as I began to follow it, my authenticity started to build on itself.

I gradually began to feel less self-conscious around others and much more comfortable with myself.

For the first time in my life I started to feel well and beautiful—and it showed. I saw it in the mirror. My husband noticed it in my body language. He said I carried myself differently, like I had more confidence and ease.

Of course, many practices assisted me in my journey, but the ones that helped the most are the ones that keep me grounded in myself today.

If you’re also looking to feel more at ease with yourself, I recommend:

Honor your body

I can never say enough about how important it is to celebrate my body. Every day, I thank it for all that it does, and honor its needs through 30-40 minute runs, long showers, flossing my teeth, and drinking lots of water.

Make a list of the things you need to do to take care of yourself so you feel healthy and grounded, and then schedule them into your day. It’s easier to feel good about who you are when you make your needs priorities.

Maintain a healthy, positive mind

Along with running, creative writing has contributed greatly to my journey. It keeps my mind filled with positive thoughts, and so much of who I am comes out in the characters I write about.

I also love to read, learn new things, and travel to different places, even if just new areas or neighborhoods near my home.

What practices make you feel passionate and positive about the way you’re living your life? Doing what you love is an important step in loving who you are.

Maintain a happy, healthy spirit

Without inner peace, authenticity is fleeting. Consequently, I meditate daily and do my best to live where peace is found—in the present moment. I also make a point of watching a couple of funny movies every week.

Nothing helps my spirit soar as much as laughter. It helps me see the world through younger eyes and reminds me that, no matter what, every moment contains hope and possibilities.

Take time out to nurture your spirit, whether that means practicing yoga, walking on the beach, or simply relaxing. In order to be comfortable with yourself, you first need to be comfortable just being.

And always keep in mind…

Finding your authenticity—finding yourself—will help you feel your beauty. When you endeavour to be who you are and be true to yourself, you will automatically feel attractive and unique.

Also, it is important to remind yourself that beauty is never dependent upon the approval of others. Quite the contrary, beauty is very much self-defined and self-created. The only person who can ever truthfully tell you “you are beautiful” is also the only person who can “make you beautiful.”

You are the only person who can do this.

The power to be beautiful lies not in the eyes of others.  It comes from deep within you.

Photo by Hannah Nicole [Aspire]

5/18/2012 – 15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently (Thanks for sharing, Mom)

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My mom shared this on Facebook today and KNEW I’d love it. Well, she was right…I DO! This is SO important to share!!!

My favorite: 

 “Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.” – Buddha

I’m a giver and I try to explain to my boyfriend EVERY DAY how important it is to my happiness to GIVE to others as much as I can 🙂

15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently

What is the difference between happy people and unhappy people? Of course, it may be very obvious, happy people are happy while unhappy people are unhappy, right? Well, that is correct, but we want to know what are the things that these people do differently and that is why, I have put together a list of things that HAPPY people do differently than UNHAPPY people.

1. LOVE vs. FEAR. Well, I can tell you for sure that those people who are really happy, FEAR less and LOVE a lot more.They see each moment, each challenge, each person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

2. ACCEPTANCE vs. RESISTANCE.  Happy people understand that you can’t really change a situation by resisting it, but you can definitely change it by accepting that it is there and by understanding that there might be a reason for its existence. When something unpleasant happens to them, they don’t try to fight it, knowing that this will make the situation even worse, but rather, they ask themselves questions like: What can I learn from this? How can I make this better? and they go from there, focusing on the positive rather than on the negative. They always seem to see the glass half full no matter what happens to them.

3. FORGIVENESS vs. UNFORGIVENESS. Really happy people know that it’s not healthy to hold on to anger. They choose to FORGIVE and FORGET, understanding that FORGIVENESS is  a gift they give to themselves first and foremost.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha

4. TRUST vs. DOUBT. They trust themselves and they trust the people around them. No matter if they talk to the cleaning lady or the C.E.O. of a multi billion company, somehow they always seem make the person they are interacting with feel like there is something unique and special about them.

They understand that beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, and because of that, they make sure to treat everybody with love, dignity and respect, making no distinctions between age, sex, social status, color, religion or race. These are the great men that Mark Twain was talking about: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain

5. MEANING vs. AMBITION.  They do the things they do because of the meaning it brings into their lives and because they get a sense of purpose by doing so. They understand that “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life” like Wayne Dyer puts it, and they care more about living a life full of meaning rather than, what in our modern society we would call, living a successful life.

The irony here is that most of the time they get both, success and meaning, just because they choose to focus on doing the things they love the most and they always pursue their heart desires. They are not motivated by money; they want to make a difference in the lives of those around them and in the world.

6. PRAISING vs. CRITICIZING. Happy people would probably agree with Carl’s Jung theory on resistance: “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size”They don’t criticize the absence of the behavior they want to reinforce, but ratherevery time the behavior is present, even if it’s not that often, they know that by praising the person and the behavior, they will actually reinforce the positive behavior.

When a parent wants to make sure that his 7 years old boy will learn to always put the toys back in the box after he’s done playing with them, he will make sure not to focus on the many times the child won’t do it, criticizing him and his behavior, but rather, every time the little boy does put the toys back, the parent will praise him and his behavior and that is exactly how he will reinforce the positive behavior, and in the end geting the wanted results.

7. CHALLENGES vs. PROBLEMS. Happy people will see PROBLEMS as CHALLENGES, as opportunities to explore new ways of doing things, expressing their gratitude for them, understanding that underneath them all lies many opportunities that will allow them to expand and to grow.

8. SELFLESSNESS vs. SELFISHNESS. They do what they do not for themselves, but for the good of others, making sure that they bring meaning, empowerment and happiness in the lives of many. They look for ways to give and to share the best of themselves with the world and to make other people happy.

 “Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.” Buddha

9. ABUNDANCE vs. LACK/POVERTY. They have an abundant mindset living a balanced life, achieving abundance in all areas of life.

10. DREAMING BIG vs. BEING REALISTIC. These people don’t really care about being realistic. Theylove and dare to dream big, they always listen to their heart and intuition and the greatness of their accomplishments scares many of us.

“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” Goethe

11. KINDNESS vs. CRUELTY. They are kind to themselves and others and they understand the power of self love, self forgiveness and self acceptance.

12. GRATITUDE vs. INGRATITUDE. No no matter where they look, no matter where they are or with who, they have this capacity of seeing beauty where most of us would only see ugliness, opportunities, where most of us would only see struggles, abundance where most of us would only see lack and they express their gratitude for them all.

13. PRESENCE/ ENGAGEMENT vs. DISENGAGEMENT. They know how to live in the present moment, appreciating what they have and where they are, while still having big dreams about the future.

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek your self in it and mistake it for who you are.” Eckhart Tolle

14. POSITIVITY vs. NEGATIVITY. No matter what happens to them, they always seem to keep a positive perspective on everything and by doing so, they tend irritate a lot of negative and “realistic” people.

15. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY vs. BLAMINGThey take full ownership over their lives and they rarely use excuses. Happy people understand that the moment you choose to blame some outside forces for whatever it is that happens to you, you are in fact giving all your power away, and they choose to keep the power for themselves and taking responsibility for everything that happens to them.