But Procrastination Feels So Right…

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
But Procrastination Feels So Right…
We’ve all been there: opening up a new document file with every intention of writing our essays, papers, or any assignment. A word or a sentence is formed, then something else catches our attention. Maybe it’s an email, a text, or a habit to check the latest news online. Before we know it, an hour has flown by and it’s time to have lunch. We may find ourselves repeating a similar dance for days until a deadline creeps closer and the consequences of not completing an assignment lead to anxiety and feeling stressed, pushing us to pull an all-nighter. Once completed, we feel a sense of relief of having closely averted a negative consequence, and we vow not to procrastinate in the future. Somehow as we reflect back, we can’t pinpoint where the time has gone and why a seemingly doable task wasn’t so doable after all.

The Anxiety Connection

Procrastination, when we put off doing something we are supposed to, is a form of avoidance. Like other forms of avoidance, procrastination can feel right or justified. Unlike social anxiety, phobias, and other forms of avoidance, however, it can be difficult to pinpoint when it is happening. We naturally gravitate toward doing things that feel more pleasant or neutral. So, if opening up that file and staring at it cause you to feel even a slight discomfort, you are likely to find other things to do or be distracted by. We clean up our workspace, answer emails, read the newspaper, text a friend, or work on less emotionally low-priority taxing tasks instead of doing what we planned on doing.

If left unchecked, procrastination can become an incapacitating habit, fueled by anxiety, which in turn can fuel more procrastination. A vicious cycle ensues. Hence, it is no wonder that many people who suffer from anxiety disorders also struggle with procrastination.

One way to tackle the problem of procrastination before it gets out of hand is to be more mindful of our feelings and behaviors, however subtle or innocuous they may seem. Here are a couple of suggestions to combat procrastination.

1. Set reasonable, achievable goals. This requires an honest review of your past behaviors and patterns. If you’ve never been able to write five pages in one sitting, then that’s probably not an appropriate goal for you. Try two pages and designate the time to complete it. Similarly, it can help to break down projects like papers into outlines, paragraphs, sections. Working on a project is more daunting than working on an outline. Estimate how long it will take you to complete each task. Now double the amount of time. This will ensure that you do not underestimate how long each goal will take. Once you complete the task, you are more likely to feel good and this positive feeling will motivate you to continue.

2. Keep a prioritized to-do list and a schedule. Write down specific tasks and organize them by priority. Also, schedule when you plan on tackling specific tasks. This way, you won’t forget to deal with less pleasant high-priority tasks by keeping yourself busy with low-priority tasks. If you find yourself repeatedly not tackling these tasks or running out of time, you’ll be able to revise your goal settings and scheduling.

3. Eliminate distractions. Were there times when you felt you tackled an assignment well? Identify factors that helped and hindered your work. Do you work better in a quiet place? At home? In the morning? Afternoon? Perhaps it would help to disable the Internet on your computer or tablet, or turn off your cellphone so you are not reading the news or answering emails instead of working. It can also be a good idea to let others know that you do not want to be disturbed during this period.

4. Review tasks accomplished and reward yourself. Take stock each day of what you are able to accomplish and document this. If you are able to meet your goals, reward yourself with a small treat or a kind word. This will help generate more positive feelings associated with the task.

Don’t underestimate the effort it takes to break the habit of procrastination. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be one of the popular items on a New Year’s resolution. As I mentioned in my previous post, by embracing challenges and reducing avoidance (of which procrastination is a form), we improve our self-efficacy, feel more content and capable, and feel less anxious. Visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America at www.adaa.org to find a mental health professional to help you with anxiety, procrastination, and related avoidance challenges.

Mindfulness in Everyday Life: Sitting in a Darkened Theater — Movies and the Mind
Sitting in a darkened theater, no one can see my face. Cloaked and hidden, I am in a private world. My stomach clenches. Droplets of sweat sit on my lip. My heart is pounding. The hero of the film is emerging from a critical situation. I hold my breath. He prevails, our hero, but, in fundamental ways, is forever changed: He is wiser, more heartfelt, more real. The good guy wins.

From my seat in the audience, I am also changed. In the movie in which I star, called “My Life,” I am the good guy too, and as the house lights fade up, I sense that I can emerge from my critical moments triumphant, like the hero.

I have played out this scenario in the viewing of so many films: The Wizard of Oz, Out of Africa, Terms of Endearment, When Harry Met Sally, The Help. Everyone has a list of movies that have changed their lives.

Robert Rayher, senior lecturer in screen arts and cultures at the University of Michigan, explains that the “raw experience” of sitting in front of the screen can illicit strong emotional reactions. “Great movies, like other great works of art, can change the world for us,” he says. “Some filmmakers consider in great detail how they want the audience to feel about what is on screen — others don’t. But the purpose of ‘story’ is always to bring the audience into the world, the hopes and fears, the triumphs and defeats of the characters. Investment by the viewer is crucial to the ultimate payoff of the movie.”

My first memory of such a film was Love Story, seen with my grandmother when I was just a teen. I remember leaving the theater that night, the slick sidewalk reflecting a fresh rain. Walking down the street, we tightly held each other’s hand. All these years later, that single memory represents the jarring, crystallized moment of realization that my grandmother would eventually leave me, falling prey to the same unforgiving contract of mortality portrayed so vividly in the movie. Like Oliver and Jenny, played by actors Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, I saw that my grandmother and I would one day grapple with that same crushing truth.

Understanding through metaphor. Truth-seeking through story. Just as the bards of ancient Babylonia would visit towns to perform and educate through storytelling, modern-day film informs our self-awareness and deepens our connection to each other. What we learn at the movies helps us to mark our emotional coordinates and more clearly know where we are and, therefore, where we need to go.

From the first frames of film created by British inventor and photographer Eadweard Muybridge in his 1882 loco-motion study, called The Horse in Motion, to Thomas Edison’s invention of the Kinetoscope in 1892, through the days of the nickelodeon and Cecil B. DeMille’s silent film era, then, finally, to the introduction of “talkies” in the smash hit The Jazz Singer in October 1927, movies have woven their way into the fabric of American life. Hollywood, the industrial and spiritual center of movie making, rose out of the lust and desires through which theatergoers silently thirsted.

From late 19th century celluloid to the multi-layered, digital images of today, real life becomes a mere substitute for life glorified on the film reel. Movies give voice to political commentary, national dialogue, and pursue explorations of self-discovery. Norma Rae (1979) showed the exploitation of workers and the power of the union, Schindler’s List (1993) portrayed the plight of Holocaust Jews, Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) documented filmmaker Michael Moore’s view of President Bush and the Iraq war, and this year’s 12 Years a Slave portrays the horror of slavery and roots of discrimination in America’s history. Movies model the best of times and the worst of times, providing a subtle, unconscious blueprint for how to understand ourselves and our world, engendering in us, perhaps, a more mindful and compassionate way of being.

While it is true that movies may inspire rage and violence in an already psychopathological individual, as evidenced by John Hinckley’s naming Taxi Driver as inspiration for his assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, or mass shooter James Holmes citing The Dark Knight’s Joker as his role model, movies, at the same time, have an intrinsic and unique power to heal.

Farmington Hills psychologist Dr. David Manchel has researched the experience of “emotional transformation through motion pictures” and says that there is great healing potential in what is called “cinema therapy” — watching and discussing topics and characters in movies that impact us. “Often these stories reflected mythic themes, and these myths, in addition to entertaining people, often teach them how to deal with life’s challenges,” Manchel says. “Film viewers can learn valuable lessons on how to cope or work through problems when they identify with a movie character and see how he or she resolved an issue.”

Almost everyone loves going to the movies, even though we may not know why. Movies can be comforting, movies can provide a much needed respite from the personal drama of our own lives, and movies are, for the most part, affordable. While many families are struggling financially, and may be unable to take a vacation, going to the movies together, for example, may prove a viable, meaningful alternative.

Movies can also provide a much-needed escape from the harsh world waiting outside the theater doors. “We may be able to see and accept something on the screen that we would tend to repress or disregard in ourselves,” Manchel says, and so we are better able to face and come to terms with these aspects of our darker, shadow side. “There are no consequences when we enjoy watching a movie about a serial killer or some natural disaster where people die in horrible ways. We leave it all there in the cinema.”

Going to the movies can be an inexpensive break for the family, a womb-like place to hide when life gets overwhelming, and it can capture and tell truths in ways that the mind more easily accepts and understands. Motion pictures play pivotal roles in political and societal movements, capturing the human moments that comprise a growing collective zeitgeist, teach lessons of historic import, and, as Manchel puts it, “remind us of the pure magic of being alive.”

A version of this blog was originally published in Ambassador Magazine.

Follow Dr. Rockwell on Facebook, and Twitter @drdonnarockwell, and at her website: donnarockwell.com.

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Trappist monks’ spirituality hailed as key to business success

spirituality – Bing News
Trappist monks’ spirituality hailed as key to business success
Trappist Monks combine business acumen with spiritual devotion to provide superior workmanship and value to clients. WASHINGTON D.C., February 26 (CNA/EWTN News) – Trappist monks build a culture of “service and selflessness” in their monasteries …

Christian Scientist to discuss technology, spirituality in La Jolla
Longtime Christian Scientist Mary Alice Rose, will present the free lecture, “Has technology made God and spirituality obsolete?” 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 2 at the Sherwood Auditorium in the Museum of Contemporary Art, 700 Prospect St. “I …

Women and spirituality
What exactly is the nexus or connection between spirituality and women who constitute almost half of the population? Sacred Hindu women have been given titles like Grihalakshmi, Dharmapathi and Arthangini, which all imply women are the better (and …

soulful – Bing News
Soulful Symphony Brings Music From The Stage To Baltimore Students
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The Soulful Symphony has been making beautiful music in Baltimore for nearly 15 years. The musicians are not only busy on stage, they’re out in the community. Ron Matz has more on the symphony as it extends its reach and …

Bachata king Romeo Santos to play Yankee Stadium
Santos also recently announced that he will become the first Latin solo artist to headline a concert at New York’s Yankee Stadium, and the first Latin act to perform at the iconic stadium since the Fania All Stars in 1973. Since its relocation …

spirituality – Google News
Women and spirituality – Deccan Herald

Women and spirituality
Deccan Herald
Women are considered as harbingers of their family's happiness, security and prosperity, and therefore, it is incumbent on them to practise spiritual lives of prayer and ethical living. It is no less a person than Mahatma Gandhi who said, “When you

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Healing Vigilante: 7 Ways to Own and Trust in the Crap

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Healing Vigilante: 7 Ways to Own and Trust in the Crap
There are several underground therapeutic terms that circulate in the counseling biz. “CRAP” is one of them. It represents your issues, challenges, unresolved conflict, and unfinished business that tend to interfere with having a good day and a fulfilling life. It can show up as insecurity, fear, anger, addiction, jealousy, conflict, depression, body issues, trust issues, anxiety, and much, much more.

But it all filters down appropriately into one very scientific and professional term: CRAP.

“You’re crap is getting in your way.”
“Aren’t you tired of being stuck in the crap?”
“You are taking on other people’s crap.”

These are common phrases that have come out of my mouth. There are two primary types of personal crap: (a) that you are experiencing in that moment, and (b) that is leftover from your past. Regardless of what type of crap you are in, the healthiest thing you can do is own and trust in it. When you take accountability, and trust the crap is there to help you grow, that is when the magic happens. Here are seven ways to do that:

1. Admit you have crap. The first step in persevering and growing from your crap is to know you are in it, or that you have it. Without the accountability or awareness, you will usually project and blame others for it, and most likely push them away. Or you will walk away from many interactions feeling regretful or unsatisfied.

2. Get to know your crap in two ways:

(a) In the crappy moment. What does it look and feel like when you are in your crap? In your body? What are you feeling? What are the thoughts that come up? Really get to know your “crappy movie” so that when it starts to play, you know to do Step 4. Write it down.

(b) In your overall life. Look for the patterns/common threads in your history that have been crappy. Have you consistently sabotaged jobs, friendships, or relationships? Do you have trust issues? Past trauma? Are you a blamer? Do you doubt yourself constantly? Are you a worry wombat? Do you shut down? Do you keep your feelings inside? When you want to cry do you bust a vein trying to keep it inside? Are you given nicknames like “Negative Norm?” or “The Ice Queen”? What would each of your exes say was the one thing about you they did not like? Write it down.

3. Don’t be a victim of your crap. Look your crap in the eye and say, “I see you, and I’m going to thrive from you!” or “I’m going to chew you up and spit you out!” (okay maybe not that one). Make a choice to change what you do not want and accept that it may be challenging. Changing old patterns can be tough, so take some time to give yourself lots of patience and compassion (like you would a child). And keep going, even when you feel like giving up (remember Step 7).

4. Learn how to take care of your crap internally. Do something other than nothing. FYI: “biting the bullet” is not considered a therapeutic method. The moment you notice that you are in the crap: shut up, stop what you are doing, and breathe. Slow the moment down by taking long, deep breaths. Give yourself time to take care of it. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” And get the answer (mad, sad, glad, or worried). Then ask, “What do I need to take care of myself right now internally?” Here’s one way to do that (look for the more fulfilling, provocative version in the future):

Go to a private area, even a bathroom stall or your car, and practice the *Stress Relief Breath (SRB): (1) Inhale all of the negative feeling (stress, worry, frustration) up into the throat, and (2) Let it go on the exhale with a long sigh (about three times longer than the inhale). Repeat until you feel a shift. Practice one now.

5. Introduce your crap to others… in advance. You teach others about how to be with you. Part of that teaching has to do with your not-so-incredibly-awesome side. Get vulnerable — it is the glue in all relationships — open up and share what you learned in Steps 1 and 2. When you own, understand, and support your crap others will be more open to do the same. If you have scars from your past, let your partner know how that might show up in your relationship. If you know that you tend to be short-tempered or have trust issues, put out a public safety announcement. And then…

6. Take ownership of your crap when it shows up. Even it if just shows up a little. The more accountability you have, the more likely you are to take care of it, especially during a conflict. If there are a 1000 people in the room watching and they agree that your part was 20 percent — still take ownership of that 20 percent.

7. Trust in the crap. Practice trusting in how life unfolds. Your crap is a powerful mirror for you. Look a little deeper when your crap comes up. Ask yourself: What is my lesson? Why was this challenge brought to me? How can I grow and persevere? Write down the answers.

Next post: Day One of my prison sentence

*Stress Relief Breath © 2011 No Stress Foundation

The Muppets Show Us That All NYC Needs Is A Little Tea And Music To Chill The F*@# Out
Living in New York City can take its toll. The non-stop hustle-and-bustle is stressful to say the least, but the Muppets know just what we need to chill out.

A cup of Lipton Tea, duh.

All it takes is one sip for the Harry Nilsson to start ringing in our ears, the world to look a little sunnier and the smiles to slowly return to our faces.

As far as viral ads go, we have to tip our hats to Lipton and The Muppets. We could watch hundreds of NYC Animals screaming at each other all day long.

But seriously, New Yorkers should all take one big collective gulp, and calm down.

Kermit knows it.
kermit

Miss Piggy knows it.
muppet

And now you know it too.

Gary Sinise Remains Inspired By His ‘Forrest Gump’ Character, Brings Wounded Veterans Joy
It’s a beautiful thing when actors are inspired by the roles they play.

It’s been 19 years since “Forrest Gump” took home the Academy Award for best picture, but actor Gary Sinise remains influenced by his character, Lieutenant Dan Taylor, who loses both his legs in the Vietnam War during the film.

Sinise made an effort to get involved with the military community after his role in the 1994 film, according to U-T San Diego. He started the Gary Sinise Foundation to honor veterans, first responders and their families.

Earlier this month, Sinise teamed up with American Airlines and Disney in order to provide 50 wounded veterans with an all-expenses paid trip to Disneyland and the Paramount Pictures studio in California, according to ABC News. During the three-day trip, the vets saw a screening of “Forrest Gump,” and had the chance to meet Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis.

“After the injuries and all that, it feels like you can’t go out in the world anymore,” Staff Sgt. Michael Irish, one of the servicemen on the trip, told ABC News. “All you want to do is be in a dark room and just sleep it off … and now with Gary and his organization helping us … to have fun and be yourself, that’s very important to all of us.”

Sinise became emotional during the one of the events, according to the Orange County Register.

“Getting out of the hospital is part of their recovery,” he told the outlet. “Seeing them have a good time means a lot to me.”

The Relationship ‘Onion’
Red_onions

We’ve arrived at the “R” of our Core Assets – Relationships. Humans are social beings by nature. Forming good relationships is among the most difficult and most rewarding things you can do. Love, affection, companionship, friendship, and other variations on closeness are necessary for our well-being and touch us to our deepest core. Poets and scientists alike continue to search for the perfect way to describe or evoke the experience of love and connection. The jury may always be out on singular definitions, but one thing is sure: we need each other.

A very useful way to look at the structure of relationships in our lives is to think of an onion. It has many layers, just like the circles in which we associate. The inner core of our connections is comprised of our best friends, lovers, and immediate family. Most likely this is a haven for only five to ten people in your life. In this inner core you encounter your most significant emotional experiences.

Once you move out from the core, the middle layers of your onion represent a large percentage of the people you know. These aren’t your most important confidantes, but these are friends with whom you seek to spend a regular amount of quality time. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family members usually have middle-layer places in our lives.

You might envision the next outer layer as being made up of current and former colleagues. These are the people you work with or, if you are a student or teacher, the ones who share your academic environment.

Neighbors are another layer. You live nearby, and thus feel a common bond. You may help rake their yard on occasion, and they may share a meal from time to time.

After that come the communities through which you travel. These may include religious organizations, ethnic affinities, and special interest groups like a writers’ group or an investment club.

The outermost layer represents your acquaintances. It is tempting to believe that someone you see at the coffee shop once in a while is inconsequential, but even these simple, more distant relationships play roles in how you construct your sense of belonging. After all, an onion with only a core would be missing many of its subtle flavors. An onion with only an outer layer would be hollow. Sometimes the wise words of your best friend may feel like the only thing that matters. On another day a smile from the guy who is always working behind the counter at the hardware store might make all the difference.

The nature of relationship dynamics does a very good job of giving credence to the saying “the only thing constant is change.” No matter how much you may want some of them to stay exactly the same, your relationships are never static. Are all the relationships you had ten years ago exactly the same today? The chances of that being the case are rather low. By the same token, ten years from now you can expect friends and acquaintances to have again shifted significantly. You will lose touch with some people while others will move closer to becoming core connections.

Working through all layers of the onion today is the web of social networking. No discussion on contemporary relationships would be complete without it. The impact of Facebook, Twitter, and myriad other Internet and social media sites is nothing short of revolutionary. Texting also contributes to the prevalence of instantaneous communication at any time of day or night. The high ROI of being plugged in 24/7, which includes making and rediscovering friends, the exploration of ideas, and business networking, can be counteracted by problems like time consumption, privacy concerns, and ironically, decreased communication skills. Do we want to continue on a path that reduces the art of the love note to this?

OMG, gr8 2 c u last wk! I rly like u. C u agn irl?

idk, mayb 2mrrow?

I am not suggesting we turn back the clock on social networking, even if that were possible. You may land your next job or meet your next great love online. I do want to stress that no online chat or text-speak can take the place of face-to-face interaction and nuanced conversation. I focus on real-life relationship building in the next post.

###

Sanjay Jain is a US-trained Board Certified physician, with over 15 years of clinical experience. He is the author of the new book, OPTIMAL LIVING 360: Smart Decision Making for a Balanced Life (Greenleaf, February 2014). Sanjay represents a new wave of thought leadership and expertise developed not only from his medical and financial education, but also his life experiences. Follow Sanjay on Twitter at @sanjayjainmd and visit his website at SanjayJainMD.com.

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Being in the Moment When We Don’t Like the Moment

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Being in the Moment When We Don’t Like the Moment
I always giggle when I see the photograph that accompanies blogs or articles on “being present.” The image, nine times out of 10, is of a person (usually a woman) sitting cross-legged on a beach, looking out at an ocean or other body of water, with the sun setting or rising in front of her. The implication is that this peaceful beautiful scene is what presence feels or looks like. The truth is, if life were a beach at sunset we might not have to work so hard at being present “in” it.

If what we were hearing was the lapping of the waves against the sand, we might want to listen to the sound of now. But what happens when what we are hearing is the siren of the ambulance directly behind us when there’s nowhere to change lanes? If what we were smelling was the fresh salt air coming off the sea, we might want to breathe in what is here. But what happens when we are smelling the cleaning solution the gym attendant is spraying on the machine we are using, even though we are the only one in the place? If what we were feeling was the warm sand against our toes, we might want to dip into the present sensation. But what happens when what we are feeling is the cold wet slush soaking our pants as the bus wheels past? If what we were seeing were the pinks and blues of a glorious sunset, we might want to keep our eyes open to what’s now. But what happens when what we are looking at is a homeless person hunkered down for the night under filthy blankets on an icy sidewalk? How can we be “in” the present moment when we don’t “like” the present moment?

Life includes experiences we want and ones we don’t. We are better at being present in the ones we want, and we need more practice staying in the moments we don’t want. Many people ask me why we would even try and be present in the bad moments. Our assumption is that by agreeing to be present in what we call the bad moments, we are somehow agreeing to them, surrendering to them, and giving up all efforts to change them. We believe that, in order to keep things good in our life, we must brace against, ignore, and reject anything not good. This is an incorrect assumption with profound consequences.

Agreeing to be present in the hard moments is simply agreeing that what is happening is happening, and that we are in it. We accept that this is what we are living right now, whether we like it or not. We say, “Yes this is so and yes this is hard.” This “Yes,” this acceptance, is fundamentally different than, “Yes, we want this.” When we accept what is so right now, we give up the fight against what is supposed to be, and the idea that what is happening should not be happening, and certainly not be happening to us. When we give ourselves permission to be “in” the moments that don’t feel good — which may even feel like hell — ironically, we experience a kind of wholeness. There is a profound completeness, you could almost call it a joy, in being able to experience life fully, in all its presentations — even the ones we despise.

Furthermore, as long as we are “checking out” on the moments that we don’t like, we are an extra step away from being able to change them. It is counter-intuitive, but until we fully accept what is happening we cannot move on, we reject what is and as a result, what is gets stuck. When we settle into, and accept our starting place, we plant our feet in the place from which we can launch change. Scary though it may feel, agreeing to be here doesn’t mean agreeing to be here forever, it just means agreeing to be here in this moment, right now. The fact is, whether we agree to being here, in “it,” or not, “it” still is; our rejection or acceptance of “it” does nothing to “its” is-ness. When we are present in the hard moments, we are released from the primary cause of suffering, which is refusing to be where we are, rejecting our very life. Joined with the moment, we stop wasting our energy, futilely demanding that what is so not be so. When we enter where we are, pretty or not, we can at least stop bracing against our life, stop expending the effort that is required to keep us out of now. Once in the moment, inside our actual experience, we can begin the constructive work of creating change.

It is also important to remember that when we settle into the more challenging moments of life, we do not lose awareness of how we feel or the desire for change. We don’t suddenly become unconscious. We still don’t want it to be the way it is but that not wanting is simply included in the “what is,” along with the wet slush and the ambulance siren. Our dislike of the moment is part of and not a contradiction to our presence. Being able to be in the moments we don’t want is a challenge that requires different skills than being in the moments we want (which also takes skill). Experiencing what is, as it is, along with our dislike of it, forms a base of compassion for ourselves — that we are living this hard moment and it is painful and we want it to be otherwise and it is what is so right now. All are true — all at once. This self-compassion, of diving into the whole of what is, regardless of the difficulty that inspires it, is always healing and always carries the feel of a loving embrace.

Life presents all of us with the opportunity to be present “off the beach” — on a small scale, when the skies open up and we have no umbrella; on the larger, as we sit with our parent dying in the hospital, or any one of the infinite human hardships we face. Life gives us endless chances to practice being “in” what is when what is is not what we want. To be able to be “in” the moment in all its forms is to experience the full depth and scope of our human existence. To embrace what is happening, how we feel about it, how we wish it weren’t so, how we are going to try and change it and everything else, all at once, without having to reject any of it… this is what it means to be fully alive! Even when we are not at the beach, we are here, tasting life, and that in and of itself is the real gift!

How Limiting Beliefs Can Stop Shaping Your Thinking
When the student is ready the teacher appears. As clichéd as that is, archery, my own personal yoga for type-A people practice, constantly creates a life lesson classroom for me.

This weekend was a lesson in trust. I have spent the last four months completing an almost Zen exercise in shooting three thousand arrows at a blank piece of cardboard while focusing my ability to pull through the shot, to let it happen. This was an extended lesson in teaching my physical body its abilities and my mental body that it was okay to surrender control to the automatic. Today, I needed to call upon trust to execute the work I had spent many hours working on.

Needless to say the first time you try out a new skill can dicey at best. While challenging any new skill, you may run into some speed bumps and hurdles to your success. This is where trust comes into play. Whether we want to finally nail that headstand in yoga class or bring our golf swing from the driving range to the eighth hole, we need to be patient and trust that our practice will show up if we give it enough time. So today, I learned that I still needed to dig deeper and trust myself and the hard work I have put into my shooting practice.

It can be a real downer when your results don’t meet up with your expectations. You want to get to where you are going. You want the ball to sail down the green. You want that headstand in yoga without the embarrassing thud on the floor. However, frustration often ensues on these new paths. In my case, archery once again pointed to a much larger life lesson. While this comes as no surprise, it does not mean I always welcome a new lesson.

At lunch after the tournament, I announced to my friends, “I don’t trust anything.” And my wise friends immediately corrected me — revising the story I was telling myself. The one began with, “You trust walking. You don’t think about that when you do it. Start there.” The other followed, “You trust writing. You have instincts there.” And as they encouraged me, reframing my limiting beliefs into positive pathways, I thought about how I want to teach people exactly this — how to revise negative self-talk with the same skills writers use to revise stories.

Applying this Story Principle, the art of revision one’s experiences and beliefs, to my current archery challenge enables me to document the chapters of my life where my beliefs about trust have been formed. Yes, I have had many moments where I couldn’t or didn’t or refused to trust things — and perhaps rightly so! But as my friends pointed out, I do have aspects of trust in my everyday life that I could call upon just as easily. The trick to the Story Principle is remembering that you are the author and the editor of the story. You can choose what stories to include in the anthology of your life. This moment with my friends also highlights why it is sometimes important to have the perspective of someone else to help you in this life-editing process.

So as I work out more on this aspect of trust and applying the Story Principle to my daily life, I will remember to be grateful for the life lessons as they appear and equally grateful for the supportive friends that help me learn even more.

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Are You Living Your Resume or Eulogy?

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Are You Living Your Resume or Eulogy?
I had the honor of both attending and speaking at the annual Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco recently.  The event was great, and one of the highlights for me was listening to an inspiring talk given by Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post.  In her talk she asked us a powerful question: “Are you living your resume or your eulogy?”

Her question gave me pause, and I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit ever since.  In this week’s vlog, I talk about why it can be challenging for us to focus on what truly matters and why we’re often caught up in our desire to “get ahead” (aka focus on our resume). I also offer some suggestions about how we can keep things in perspective, focus on what’s most important to us and stay connected to the kind of impact we want to have in the world (aka our eulogy).

Check out the video below and feel free to leave a comment about how this relates to you and your life here on my blog.

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In Just 2 Minutes, This Video Will Make You Want To Go Out And Start Really Living

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
In Just 2 Minutes, This Video Will Make You Want To Go Out And Start Really Living
We can all use a little reminder to stop ignoring our dreams.

The video above from social networking site Posibl. does just that. Consider this a two-minute burst of inspiration — a quick push to keep going after what’s important to you.

“Your wildest dream is closer than you think,” the video’s narrator says.

We couldn’t agree more.

Never Waste Time Again
2014-02-27-waiting.jpgLife often asks us to wait, and a lot of this waiting can feel crushingly pointless. We cool our heels in lines at the supermarket, the bank, or at a restaurant. We spend hours stuck in traffic, held up in airports, or sitting at a desk. I find wasted time to be an unpleasant experience. Life is too short to be eaten up by all these dull, meaningless moments.

These days we have the option to zone out into our smartphones, but I contend that playing Candy Crush while lingering in the doctor’s office doesn’t really give much meaning to that half an hour. It’s still a waste of precious time, albeit a pleasant one.

A much more powerful way to engage these moments is to practice on your meditation skills as you go about your day. With a little bit of adaptability, you can gain valuable and effective meditation practice while watching the clock hands crawl at the DMV. Do simple (and safe) meditation exercises while you are stuck in traffic or waiting at the airport. Every formerly wasted moment can become a part of your mindfulness training regimen. Here are some possibilities:

Breathe — This standard-issue meditation practice has a lot going for it, including the fact that you can do it almost continuously while going about your daily business. Just tune into the body sensations associated with the act of breathing, while continuing to breathe normally. Feel the raising and lowering of your rib cage, the movement of the diaphragm, the rush of air in your nostrils, and so forth. You’ll notice how your breath quickens in certain situations, but actually seizes up in others — remember to just keep breathing.

Feel Your Emotions — Meditating on emotional body sensations is a little more challenging, but has several advantages that might make it worth the effort. You contact the place in your body where it feels like an emotion is happening. For example, if you are happy, you might feel your face lighting up in a smile, or an uplifting feeling in your chest. Continuous contact with emotions in the body keeps you aware of how you’re feeling moment by moment — something that many of us could use more of. This technique also allows you to notice when unpleasant emotions die down or fade away entirely — often accompanied by a soft wave of relaxation and relief.

Listen — most people imagine that mindfulness means only focusing inwardly, but you can just as easily focus on external sensory events. For example, it’s relaxing and stimulating to open your ears and listen to the sounds around you without judgment. The trick here is to not focus on any particular sound, but to hear everything together at once. It’s a sound bath that is ever changing and ever fresh.

Of course it’s important to keep your eyes open while doing all of these in public, which may be different than your normal technique. Nevertheless this meditation in motion practice will serious up the hours per week you spend doing something useful and positive. They may even help you to be present in every situation and experience of your life. And that’s the goal, isn’t it?

Photo by moonux

Read more about meditation on Deconstructing Yourself

3 Ways to Stop Your Job From Ruining Your Life
He can’t be serious, Jim thought. Jim been recruited away from a Fortune 500 firm by a fast-growing start-up, and it was his first day. The president of the company had just handed him a BlackBerry and said, “Keep this with you at all times.” Really?, Jim thought.

That Saturday morning, one of the founders sent an email to the senior leadership team. By 5 p.m., there were more than 30 replies. Jim soon learned that at this company, there was no concept of detachment from work. He grieved the loss bitterly, and his friends would mock him for stepping out of the bar to check email at 10 p.m. while they were out for a few pints of beer. In a matter of months, Jim’s job began to seriously interfere with his relationship with his wife.

One study found that half of employees believe their current workload is unsustainable. As a result, 33 percent of people start thinking about work the moment they wake up and 75 percent think about it until they go to sleep at night.

Luckily, Jim’s story has a happy ending. Less than a year after being handed that BlackBerry, he left the company for a job that allowed him to have a life. But for many, especially in the cold, dark days of February, the concept of a real life outside of work is like a unicorn — it might exist, but you haven’t seen it.

So whether you’re spending too much time at the office or taking your stress out on your family, allowing your job take over your life is a slippery slope of misery. More scientifically, research shows that workers who experience such conflict are less healthy, less happy, and more likely to engage in passive coping behaviors like overeating, drinking, or drugs.

Want your job to stop ruining your life? Here are three tips to end the madness:

1. Stop Wasting Time at Work

More hours at work don’t always make us more productive. Think about a typical day in the office. You arrive, fire up your computer, and answer email. Then maybe you wander down the hall to the coffee machine and leisurely pour a cup of coffee. You run into your friends and discuss last night’s football game. You wander back to your office, start a task, and get interrupted by a member of your team. And on it goes. By the time you leave at 7 p.m., you might have had only five to six productive hours. Do you ever wonder if there’s a better way?

We live in a society where the number of hours we spend at work can be a barometer for our self-worth. Because I spend 12 hours per day at work, we think, I must be important and valuable. This reasoning is dangerous and illogical. It is not a crime to do things efficiently; if you can get the same result in eight hours vs. 10 and spend two more hours with your family, do it!

To get more done in less time, use the One Less Thing Principle. For every work activity, ask yourself:

Can this activity be focused so less time is spent completing it?
Can this activity be delegated to another person or group?
Can this activity be stopped?

2. Harness the Power of Power Breaks

Just like Jim discovered, being tethered to your email 24/7 isn’t a good idea. One study examined the effect of uninterrupted work on our ability to focus. The researchers asked two groups of students to complete a 40-minute task that required concentration. One group simply completed the task. The other group was asked to stop the task and memorize a set of numbers at three points while they completed it.

The results were striking. Even though the second group spent less time on the task, they performed better. Viewing the numbers served as a “power break” — something that let them briefly turn their attention from the task to something else.

Similarly, power breaks from work help us perform better. Certainty, it’s not easy to take a three-week vacation and lock your phone in the hotel safe. But at a minimum, carve out evenings and weekends to escape your “technology tether.” Perhaps you can’t unplug every evening — then aim for three evenings per week. If you have to work on a Saturday, don’t work on Sunday. Find what works for you.

3. Get Moving

There’s a great deal of evidence that exercise reduces stress — in particular, high-intensity workouts have proven effective in reducing anxiety. And recent research suggests that exercise actually decreases work-family conflict. In a study of 476 workers, Russell Clayton and his colleagues found that people who exercised regularly had less conflict between work and home. Why? They argue that exercise can be a powerful way to “psychologically detach from work.”

So, it will pay off to keep your New Year’s resolution to exercise more — not only will you look better in your jeans, you’ll have a more balanced life!

Daily Meditation: In The Arms Of An Angel
We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these daily meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today’s meditation features the world-renowned Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa, performing a rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.” The song encourages listeners to find calm in a chaotic world and feel the safety and comfort of being held in the arms of Peace.

Angel by Sarah McLachlan

Spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For the break that will make it ok
There’s always some reason to feel not good enough
And it’s hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction oh beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
Let me be empty and weightless and maybe
I’ll find some peace tonight

In the arms of the Angels fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
You were pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the Angels; may you find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn
There’s vultures and thieves at your back
And the storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack
It don’t make no difference, escaping one last time
It’s easier to believe
In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees

In the arms of the Angels fly away from here
From this small, cold hotel room, and the emptiness that you fear
You were pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
In the arms of the Angels; may you find some comfort here

You’re in the arms of the Angels; may you find some comfort here

Religious Party Holidays Are The Wildest, Holiest Celebrations Around
With Carnival here and Mardi Gras right around the corner you might be wondering how a religious holiday could be so fun.

Turns out, Carnival isn’t the only wild religious celebration out there. Unlike some of the more sober observances, these religious “party” holidays encourage the uninhibited revelry that spiritual experience can induce.

Which religious holidays do you have the most fun celebrating? Here are some of our favorites, arranged by their 2014 dates:

Click through the slideshow to see a pictorial religious calendar for 2014 with photographs of celebrations of the world’s numerous beautiful and sacred holidays:

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