5 Things You Will Discover on the Other Side of Your Fears

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
5 Things You Will Discover on the Other Side of Your Fears
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Fear is a powerful yet essential emotion. Without it, neither you nor I would be here. We would not have survived as a species.

Fear of the saber-toothed tiger, or of straying too close to the edge of a precipice, have served us well, keeping us safe since our time on Earth began.

If we look closely, however, we may find that so many of our current fears serve no useful purpose. They are the product of our own imagination, the legacy of a whole series of “what-ifs.” All too often we allow our fears to stop us from embracing change and moving forward with our lives.

Yet if we summon our courage and move beyond our fears, we can discover some surprising things that make our lives more dynamic, energized and empowered.

Here are just five things you will discover when you take action to move to the other side of your fears.

More Energy

When we feel afraid, our primary human instinct is to run from the source of our fear. But fear is such a powerful emotion, and it is not easily shunned.

Often, we not only run from fear, but we try to hide. This can be a symbolic hiding of emotion or an actual retreat from the world. In this state, we feel lethargic, unmotivated and frozen in isolation.

When we have tried and failed to deal with our fear, its energy can easily become transmuted into anxiety, depression, or anger directed towards others — sometimes even those closest to us, the ones with whom we feel most safe.

Making the journey to the other side of fear releases a flood of energy and spark of passion that is based on a foundation of self-acceptance. Perhaps this means first looking at a childhood hurt, rejection or failure that affected our desire to participate more fully in life. Give it up, and the world becomes a brighter, more energized place.

Deeper Perspective

When we were young, each one of us passed through experiences that left their impression. These experiences were viewed from the younger self’s limited perspective and understanding, and were not necessarily a true reflection of what was actually taking place. They were the opinion of a child, and opinion is not fact. In other instances, our emotions were influenced by the perception of others, by their interpretation of experiences, which was passed on to us.

There are often things that happen in childhood that create a hesitancy or fear. These do not need to be major, earth-shaking events — when we are young, even small things can appear to be very big. For some, there might even be abuse, trauma or some kind of difficult experience that establishes a pattern of fear, hurt and pain. For most people, though, it is the small things that leave a lasting impression. Left unprocessed, these childhood interpretations, though not necessarily remembered by the conscious mind, can continue to eclipse our joy in life as an adult.

If this is the case, then we may well benefit from therapy. In therapy there is a shifting of perspective that can bring about the most powerful transformation. The “filter” of anxiety and unhappiness is erased when we move to the other side of fear — replaced with a better understanding that allows us to live so much more freely.

Positive Anger

Anger might seem a surprising thing to celebrate rediscovering on the other side of fear. In our modern “civilized” society, anger is so frowned upon and disparaged that we are taught to deny and internalize it. After all, few other emotions have the power to fill us with such fear. We are afraid of anger in ourselves as well as in others.

As children we were told off, or else heard someone else being chastised for being angry. And so we learned to stuff it down inside, to hide and deny anger like some shameful secret to which we must never admit — but we were not taught why it is there, how to respond to its message, or how to release it in any positive way.

When channelled correctly, anger can be a liberating, transforming emotion. It has energy and power that can spur us on to make a difference — not only in our own lives, but in the lives of others, too.

Perception

Though our uncomfortable feelings are, well, uncomfortable, the fact is that they are there for a reason. They are the precursors of change. Each difficult emotion is a message that contains an opportunity for personal growth, an invitation to become better balanced and healthier — provided we are wise enough to listen and to act upon that message.

Our troubling feelings are there to tell us that something needs attention. When we attempt to deny these feelings – to escape them through drugs, or drink, or distractive yet self-defeating behaviors — we stifle our ability to put things right and to fully experience the more joyful, positive emotions that life has to offer.

We stumble on in the darkness, as if following a badly drawn map, something roughly sketched from the memory of our past travels, our past experiences — or from hearsay gleaned from others. We depend on our map to guide us safely away from fear and discomfort, but all too often find it leading us further from the solution and deeper into confusion. Moving beyond our fears provides a more accurate, helpful roadmap, clearer vision, and changed perception.

Health

Anxiety and fear not only influence our emotional stability, our consumption habits, and our inner balance. They produce a harmful effect on our physiology, sending waves of powerful chemicals and hormones washing through the nervous system and body like a tsunami, unbalancing and leaving mayhem in its wake.

Chronic anxiety leads to broad and harmful alterations in every single organ of our system, from our heart to our brain. While harmonious, balanced feelings result in mental, emotional and physical well-being, difficult feelings produce the emotions that upset and disrupt. These feelings have a direct impact on our health and lives, and can even influence us at the genetic and immunological levels.

My therapeutic experience demonstrates that some form of fear underpins and supports almost every issue that brings a person into therapy — from anxiety to panic attacks, compulsive behaviors to depression, addictions to low self-esteem. But with the exception of phobias, hardly anyone comes straight out and says: “I’m here because I’m afraid.”

What exactly is fear?

If we consider it for a moment, we’ll see that fear is nothing more than the belief that something bad is going to happen. This emotion arises in an attempt by the mind to protect us, to warn us of danger, and to get us out of harm’s way — remember that saber-toothed tiger. The ability to discern danger and then to take steps to evade or neutralize it is hard-wired into us. In that respect, the emotion of fear is entirely healthy.

When fear exists in the absence of a real threat or danger, it is time to do something about it. It is here that good therapy — and hypnotherapy, in particular, in my opinion — is so helpful. With it we can push forward; we can move through our fear, to the other side where clarity, light and positivity lie patiently waiting.

Peter Field is a UK-registered psychotherapist, qualified counselor and Board Certified hypnotherapist — www.peterfieldhypnotherapy.co.uk.

His new book The Chi of Change gives an in-depth look into the exciting world of hypnotherapy.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/hypnosource.

Living in the Moment
I think one of the problems that we as a society struggle with today is that we never take the time to stop and smell the roses. Everyone is always going a mile a minute, stressing about the future, worrying about what’s to come and rarely appreciating our current surroundings. Sometimes you just have to slow down, put your worries aside and live in the moment.

I’m sure if you were to look back at a time when you were living in the moment, you’d remember the smallest details. The music you were listening to, the smell of the ocean, the cool breeze that swept across your face on a crisp, fall afternoon. These little moments are what really matters.

I’ve noticed that since becoming a mother, I tend to live in the moment more often. What would have been a completely insignificant point in time before having children has now become the memories that I’ll hold on to forever. The Fourth of July that my son, Joey, was 3 was one of those times.

In the town that I grew up in, the annual Fourth of July fireworks display is huge. It’s a tradition that everyone looks forward to every year. On this particular year, my sister and I were helping to get some things done at our mother’s new house and planned on taking our boys down to watch the show later that night. I had spent the day painting the back porch and was just about ready to hop in the shower and get ready to go, when Joey cracked his head open on the corner of the futon. He was gushing blood and screaming. So without even thinking twice, we tossed the kids in the car and headed straight for the emergency room.

By the time we got to the hospital, Joey had stopped crying and was being so brave. I on the other hand, was basically a lunatic. Like a Silverback Gorilla, I came plowing through the doors of the ER, carrying my kid like a football, covered in paint and blood, barefoot and crying hysterically. Luckily, the wound on his head wasn’t anything serious. Six stitches and 20 minutes later we were good to go. The doctor gave me a quick run down of things I should look out for, went over his discharge instructions, and advised me to just have Joey lay low for the next couple of days. Specifically, no fireworks.

If ever there was a moment that I felt like the biggest failure of a mom, it was right then. As if his day hadn’t been bad enough, now I had to let him down even more. He stood at the door with the saddest eyes, as he watched his aunt and cousin leave, to head down to the park. It broke my heart. I spent the next couple of hours trying to do whatever I could to cheer him up, to no avail.

Then suddenly we heard a loud “bang” and both ran over to the front window to see that the neighbors across the street were lighting off fireworks. Joey’s eyes lit up. There was that smile I had been needing to see.

As we curled up on a bench out front of the house, Joey sitting on my lap and a blanket wrapped around us, the rest of the world disappeared. It was just me and my precious boy and our own private show. I remember the way the air smelled like smoke and the way Joey’s little legs felt so warm while resting across mine. The snapping and hissing noises let off from the fireworks rang through my ears, while Joey sang out with squeals of excitement. Colors of red, gold and blue lit up the sky and the reflection of the fireworks glanced back at me through Joey’s wide eyes. It was just the two of us and nothing else in the world mattered.

All of the stress and disappointment I had felt earlier that day was now so small and seemed so far away. Those were just things that happened. But this was living… just my boy and me and that perfect moment in time.

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A Simplified and Practical Guide to Spiritual Strength and Fitness – STLtoday.com

spirituality – Google News
A Simplified and Practical Guide to Spiritual Strength and Fitness – STLtoday.com

A Simplified and Practical Guide to Spiritual Strength and Fitness
STLtoday.com
St. Louis, MO – (April 2014) — Spiritual seekers routinely encounter difficulty with sustaining their spiritual connection throughout their daily lives. Douglas Colbert has discovered that spiritual sustainability rest on the ability to foster a fit

spirituality – Bing News
Watch: First Trailer For ‘I Origins’ Starring Michael Pitt & Brit Marling Sees The Number 11 Everywhere
The intersection of spirituality, faith and chance… these are tricky ingredients to work with when it comes to spinning a cinematic tale, with the possibility of tilting toward the New Age ever present. But Mike Cahill gets it right with “I …

soulful – Bing News
Lauren Wilhelm releases ‘Chocolate’ video cover by The 1975
Free-spirited, powerhouse vocalist, Lauren Wilhelm also known as Dazy (The Girl) has released a soulful version of the popular The 1975 tune ‘Chocolate’. The video was filmed at Wilhelm’s studio by Mike Wilson. Listen // Lauren Wilhelm – I Told You So

soulful – Google News
Documentary centres on little town with soulful sound – Simcoe.com

Documentary centres on little town with soulful sound
Simcoe.com
MIDLAND – Muscle Shoals, Ala., a little town on the Tennessee River, is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America's most soulful music. A documentary examining the home of Rick Hall and FAME Studios – an outfit that sold millions upon millions

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Researchers search for earliest roots of psychiatric disorders

#allowinglove

Stress News — ScienceDaily
Researchers search for earliest roots of psychiatric disorders
A single molecular mechanism in the developing brain has been identified that sheds light on how cells may go awry when exposed to a variety of different environmental insults. The findings suggest that different types of stressors prenatally activate a single molecular trigger in brain cells that may make exposed individuals susceptible to late-onset neuropsychiatric disorders.

#truelove Boise Bipolar Center, Charles K. Bunch, Ph.D, Boise Idaho Therapist Mental health photo 2168_zps680c452f.jpg

I Contracted a Flesh-Eating Bacteria and Lived to Tell

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
I Contracted a Flesh-Eating Bacteria and Lived to Tell
This story was written and performed by Karen Soltero for the live, personal storytelling series Oral Fixation (An Obsession With True Life Tales) at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Texas on Jan. 27, 2014. The theme of the show was “Silver Lining.”

Oral Fixation creator Nicole Stewart says, “Karen boldly takes us deep into the unfathomable experience of life changing in an instant.”

I thought it was the flu. I had all of the classic symptoms that Thursday afternoon last spring. A fever, chills and those body aches that squirm up and down your spine, telling you you’re in for it. I took some Tylenol. When that didn’t work, some ibuprofen. I didn’t have time for the flu. An emergency appendectomy in December had knocked me down, and I was just now back in the game. My new fitness studio needed me. I was teaching seven classes a week and working at the front desk. My new relationship, teetering on the “are we or aren’t we” precipice of real commitment, needed me. And I had a half-marathon to run on Sunday. I didn’t have time for this. I needed to kick the speed up a notch faster.

It was around 10 p.m. when the pain in my leg first snaked its way around my left knee, stretched up my IT band and settled into my hip with defiant certainty, forcing me to question mine. This wasn’t on the flu menu. Hour by hour, the pain in my leg increased, and then there was vomiting and diarrhea. I didn’t sleep. I was crying. I repeated over and over, “Something’s not right.”

By morning, I couldn’t walk, so I crawled into the car and my parents drove me to Baylor Hospital. I was tachycardic; my heart rate never fell below 150 beats per minute. I was in kidney failure and septic shock. My white blood count was sky high.

“It’s an infection,” the first doctor said, looking down at me with all kinds of doctor-y authority. Duh, I thought. I was hopped up on enough IV pain meds to keep a heroin addict happy for a week, and I could have told myself that.

“Probably bacterial gastroenteritis,” he said. “But the pain in my leg…” I said. “Pulled muscle, I suspect. You said you’re a runner, right? We’ll get you on antibiotics right away. Your CT Scan came back okay, so you’ll probably be home in a couple of days,” he said. He was pompous, and, something told me, wrong, but I let out my held breath. I called Greg, my “is he or isn’t he,” and told him it wasn’t too serious and that I’d be out in a day or two. I had wanted to call him all day, but we were so new. I didn’t want to burden him. “I’m coming up to see you,” he said. “I’ll be there soon.”

That afternoon, another doctor came to see me. He was mad scientist-like, running in and out of my room, asking questions. He zoned in on my leg. Had I been out of the country? In any strange bodies of water? Did I, no judgment here, use any recreational drugs involving needles? I answered no, over and over, while the gears turned in his head. “I’ll be back,” he said. It was then that I started asking my mom, my dad, the med student who came by to study me, and really, anyone in the vicinity, if I would still be able to run the half-marathon on Sunday.

There are moments in life when everything goes in slow motion, even as it’s happening. I can still see it unfold in my head, over and over. Doctors and nurses flooding into the ICU room. Greg coming to the doorway and getting stopped by whoever was acting as the gatekeeper. “I’m her boyfriend,” I heard him say. Someone looked at me for confirmation and I nodded, vaguely registering that in the midst of the chaos, I’d just gotten an answer to a very big question.

He came in, sat down and held my hand. Someone asked me if I had a living will, and if I wanted extraordinary measures. I signed over power of attorney to my father, who was standing across the room. When he looked at me, the normal smile crinkles at the corners of his eyes were gone, replaced by a loose, haunted look. It scared me more than all the needles, the relentless pain and the paperwork put together. It told me what no one had said to me in so many words: “You could die.”

Someone hugged me. The chief resident and another doctor tried to stab a central line in my neck. I bit my lip and clenched my hands. While my head was turned sideways and they held pressure on their failed attempt, an orthopedic trauma surgeon sat down in my field of vision and told me what was really wrong.

Necrotizing Fasciitis. I rolled the words around in my head. Bacteria, strep A, I would later learn, had found it’s way into my healthy body. Through a bug bite, maybe a scratch, I’ll never really know. Once in my blood stream, it found a happy place to settle in my left hip and leg, and went to work — eating connective tissue, sucking up fluid from muscles, leeching nutrients from tissues, in effect, killing the host it was trying to feed off of. If it isn’t caught and treated in time, necrotizing fasciitis is always fatal.

Amputations are common. They would cut me open from hip to knee. When I went under for the first time, I didn’t know if I would wake up with a leg or not. I didn’t know if I would wake up at all.

I spent three weeks in the hospital. They ran four different kinds of antibiotics into my bloodstream, one tasted metallic, like I was sucking on a penny. It was nine days before I could stand at the side of my bed and transfer to a bedside toilet and relieve myself in private. Six weeks before I took a real shower instead of a sponge bath. I had two wound vacs to suck fluid from my open wound, first a big one at the foot of my hospital bed and then a portable one I carried around at home like a purse. Seventeen days before I walked across my hospital room on crutches.

I had 11 surgeries. It’s been almost 10 months now. I still don’t know how to run, and things still hurt. I still have a ways to go. My physical therapist told me to stop thinking about my rehab in days and weeks and start thinking about it in seasons. In summer, I began to find my way back, pedaling in slow circles on an old fashioned upright bike. In fall, I built up tiny new muscles along my left leg where they all had been severed and sewn back together.

It is now winter. I teach a few classes a week. I can empathize in new ways when class is a challenge for my clients, because of illness, injury or lack of physical fitness. They tell me I inspire them to try harder, which is enough to get me there on my toughest days. I am working my way back to cycling and yoga, to being an athlete. I’ll get there, but it might be another season or two before I do. This, like so many things, takes time. I remind myself often that you don’t have to be the best or get it all done on day one. There’s time. There’s plenty of time.

It’s another story, but 13 years ago, my younger sister was killed in a robbery. Since then, I started to believe you have to hurry and fit it all in, because who knows how much time you really have. When mine almost ran out too, I learned that sometimes you’ve got to slow down.

During those first days in the hospital, when I was lying in a bed in ICU with a wide open leg and swollen toes squished together like fat Vienna sausages, Greg handed me a card. The front of it read, “One day at a time, one step at a time, you can make it.” Inside he wrote, “We’ll get through this… one step at a time,” and then he told me that he loved me. A lesser man with his triathlete skills might have been pedaling hard and fast in the opposite direction. But he sat by my hospital bed and held my hand and waited for me to get better.

Greg, my family, my friends, they all stayed with me for hours at the hospital when I couldn’t come home and I was way to sick to be interesting. When I learned to walk again, and I was slower than my 96-year-old grandmother on a bad day, they matched me step for step. I’m faster now, and Greg marks my distance on his triathlete watch, cheering on each extra mile as I get stronger.

And for each mile, our relationship grows stronger. My illness taught us to take the time to celebrate each step of the journey. A journey I almost didn’t get the chance to have. I’m tired, but I’m happy too. The challenges are good, the victories are sweet, and there is, in fact, time to get it all done. And if I ever get impatient, get in too much of a hurry, and need a reminder, I’ve always got one with me. The scar threaded into my skin. The straight line running like a seam from my knee to my hip, curving just at the top, is still red in places, but ever so slowly turns pale, shining against my skin, like silver.

Mountains as Sacred Centers
In traditions around the world, mountains have served as sacred centers. Mountains remain a dwelling-place of the gods and destinations of spiritual journeying. People of diverse cultures continually view and interact with mountains they revere. It is convincing why the ancient Greeks placed their pantheon on Mount Olympus, why Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and why Mount Kailash is believed to be the abode of the Hindu deity Shiva.

A mountaineer knows that a climb up a peak can be physical or metaphysical. Just as a mosque, temple, church, or meditation concentrates the mind on God, mountains can too. Mountains serve as an axis point between the metaphorical divide of heaven and earth.

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photo credit: Ginna Kelly, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

I personally draw great spiritual strength from mountains. While climbing a mountain, I am fully in the present moment. I come face to face with what seems to be ultimate reality.

I am not only forced to be mindful, but I often find myself asking the big questions. “Are we here by chance, by necessity, by serendipity, or on purpose?” When I conclude a climb, I somehow feel I’ve probed deeper into questions about existence.

From time immemorial, mountains have been sacred centers that invite spiritual seekers. God or Ultimate Reality can speak to us in many ways — through intimacy with mountains, oceans, love, compassion, and even suffering.

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Photo Credit: Ginna Kelly, Peru

Standing in front of a 18,000 foot peak, I feel small. But the smallness I feel is a recognition of my place in the vast universe. It takes me from a place of self-centeredness to Reality-centeredness.

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I Found My Story in Me

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
I Found My Story in Me
My wife was giving a television interview yesterday and she said: “My husband is the bravest man I know.” Just writing those words makes me cry, but hearing them coming directly from her shook me to my core. It’s ironic that for most of my life, I’ve walked around feeling weak, vulnerable, and directionless, but here’s the person I love and trust most in the world telling me the complete opposite is true.

When I asked her why she felt this way, she told me that I was doing what many people aren’t able to do — “Live their story.” Now would be the perfect time to put my ego in check and to come right out and say that for over three decades, that was not the case; in fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. You see, when a child is sexually abused, two things invariably happen: the trauma careens the child off the natural path of development, and the seed of shame is imprinted on the innocent fragile mind. It’s this shame that germinates into self-loathing, fear, and sexual uncertainty, all of which ruminate throughout adolescence and adulthood. Now when I look back on my life rife with addiction and mental health issues, I see the genesis of this disconnection in the childhood trauma.

Throughout the past year, little by little, I’ve been going back to the place where that young boy was knocked off course, and page by page, I’m trying to take ownership of my life story. When it comes to taking stock of our lives, just as in art, perspective is everything. Because I’m so deeply enmeshed in it, what I’ve always railed against as an apparently endless onslaught of battles with addiction and depression, those around me, who witnessed my weathering the storm, have seen as an inner strength I never had the perspective to acknowledge.

The older I get, the harder it is for me to deny that if I quiet my mind for a little bit, I allow the space required to really accept what and who is before me. And if I pay close enough attention, I might be able to go back and pick up another page of my “story.” Something magical unfolded when I put my trust in the chorus of voices around me that through so many dark periods, has enveloped me like a warm hug.

Today, because of all the support I’ve been given and all the love that I feel flowing through me, I was able to do something I never thought I’d be able to do. I walked into a police station and gave a sworn video statement detailing the childhood sexual abuse I lived through. As I sat across the table from two detectives in a small, claustrophobic room, my heart was in my throat and within the tentative, quivering words that came out of my mouth was the voice that I hadn’t heard since it was taken from me in my childhood.

To be honest with you, I don’t know how I’m feeling, or even what I’m feeling, but I do know that “I am feeling.” It’s going to take me a lot of time and a lot of professional help to train myself not to retreat to my natural default position of numbing any uncomfortable feelings. I’m reminded of something I heard recently on the CBC podcast ‘Under the Influence.’ The Disney Corporation drills the following mantra about customer service into all of its new employees. “It’s not my fault, but it’s my problem.” For me, the childhood sexual abuse I experienced was “not my fault,” but I’ll never be able to move through it unless I look it directly in the eye and acknowledge that “it’s my problem.” Maybe this is what my wife was referring to when she said “owning my life story” is brave.

If you’re reading this and you too are suffering out there, in an unhappy relationship, or in a soul-destroying job, or coming to terms with past or current trauma, take a step back and trust that you might find some perspective. For the first time in my life, I wholeheartedly believe that we can make meaning out of the meaningless — that we can make tragedy into a trajectory.

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Before and After: The Renaissance Long Beach Goes from Grandma to Pretty Young Thing

soulful – Bing News
Before and After: The Renaissance Long Beach Goes from Grandma to Pretty Young Thing
The hotel design offers a peaceful retreat which mutes the noise of a busy day and the magical, soulful qualities of the sea,” said Hydee D. Hirsch, Principal of CRA. While the entire room is a true sight for sore eyes, we actually love the …

Scene Report: Grand Analog On Toronto, Canada
You may or may not know how soulful Toronto can get at any given moment. I mean good clean dirty soul. You will also be surprised to know that very soul I speak of is unique and diversified ever so elegantly. In my report on Toronto I decided to …

Bloodhound named Pa Kettle elected mayor of Divide
DIVIDE, Colo. – A soulful-eyed bloodhound named Pa Kettle has been elected mayor of the Colorado mountain town of Divide. He beat a cat, a wolf, a hedgehog, a horse and several other dogs. The town doesn’t have a human mayor. So instead, 11 animals …

spirituality – Google News
Balancing spiritual independence and group settings through leadership – Beliefnet

Balancing spiritual independence and group settings through leadership
Beliefnet
The fastest growing “religion” in the West is the trend toward spiritual independence. Spiritually independent people are eager to explore the teachings, texts, and techniques of all religions and refuse to be limited to or labeled by one religion alone.

soulful – Google News
Editor’s picks Phelps a unique, soulful singerwith strong voice – Times-Mail (subscription)

Editor's picks Phelps a unique, soulful singerwith strong voice
Times-Mail (subscription)
Editor's picks Phelps a unique, soulful singerwith strong voice. Story · Comments · Image (1). Print: Create a hardcopy of this page; Font Size: Default font size: Larger font size. Previous Next. Phelps a unique, soulful singerwith strong voice. BOB

and more »

A soulful Robert Cray tunes in to the sounds of his youth – BusinessWorld Online Edition

A soulful Robert Cray tunes in to the sounds of his youth
BusinessWorld Online Edition
A soulful Robert Cray tunes in to the sounds of his youth. LONDON — Veteran blues guitarist and singer Robert Cray has set off on a new US and European tour with an album harking back to the early days of soul music, the kind that filled his ears as a …

Here’s hope! – Silky soulful voice, Kakra Nartey unveiled! – Vibe Ghana

Vibe Ghana

Here's hope! – Silky soulful voice, Kakra Nartey unveiled!
Vibe Ghana
Singer Kakra Nartey With Voice, verve and faith, Ghana's new kid on the gospel music block, Kakra Nartey hits the road with her debut album “MASE BI”, thanks to Bang Records and the strong music ministry of Harvest Chapel International. For someone …

spirituality – Bing News
Post-Apocalyptic Spirituality and the Legacy of Battlestar Galactica
Ronald D. Moore’s 2003 adaptation of Battlestar Galactica was an instant classic. With its mix of apocalyptic thrills, politics, military strategy, survivalism, and spirituality, it was next-level entertainment for complicated times. Since the show’s 2007 …

Hope United Methodist Church hosting Women’s Spirituality Day
From 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Saturday, the public is welcome to attend Women’s Spirituality Day at Hope Church, 3166-197th St. E. in the apple orchard. Lunch will be served at minimal cost. For additional information, call 334-6541.

Barbara Ehrenreich on Science vs. Mysticism
But you don’t just fall on your knees and worship it. That’s where I can’t stand spirituality; I can’t stand people who say, ‘Oh, it’s a lovely mystery.’ No. We’ve got to find out what it is. Barbara Ehrenreich is not the writer you …

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How You Can ‘Grow’ Your Mental Health

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
How You Can ‘Grow’ Your Mental Health
Despite our advances in understanding and treating emotional problems and the more serious mental disorders, we don’t know much about what mental health is, in contrast. I’ve been thinking about this lack for the last several years, and it was brought to mind again recently by the comments of two psychotherapy patients. As I reflected on them, in relation to some recent research findings from outside the mental health field, it struck me that we can identify some features of a psychologically healthy life in today’s tumultuous, stressed out, digitalized world.

In fact, there’s a great deal of information that you can use and apply in your daily life to increase your mental health. But you’re more likely to find it from outside the mental health profession than within it.

To explain, consider this 40-year-old woman. Her career and family life feel to her like running on a permanent treadmill. She’s been depressed for years, and her long-standing use of anti-depressant drugs doesn’t make much of a dent. Moreover, they create many side effects. Nonetheless, she won’t consider how some research-based alternatives suggest ways she might help herself. She’s terrified that she’ll become more depressed if she tapers off her medications.

Then there’s the man with a successful career and seemingly stable marriage. He tells me that despite feeling “pretty normal,” now — he had several years of therapy in the past that helped him with some lifelong relationship issues — he experiences a kind of dullness in life. He works hard, is engaged with his wife and children, but feels little spark or excitement about his day-to-day existence, now or in the future.

Neither person knows what a fully healthy life would look like, or that they might be able to “grow” it. That’s understandable: Ironically, the mental health field doesn’t really deal with mental health.

My profession has done a great deal to sharpen diagnosing and identifying psychiatric symptoms. And it’s helped enormously to de-stigmatize seeking help and encourage greater resources for treatment. But the mental health field has become immersed in describing symptoms of emotional disorder, to an extreme. Along the way it’s lost sight of what mental health is, beyond healing. Beyond effective management and control of early trauma and other experiences that give rise to symptoms like anxiety and depression, which so many people bring into psychotherapy. Consequently, the public assumes that keeping symptoms quelled and dysfunction well-managed is equivalent to health.

But it’s not. Creating a vision of what psychological health looks like in today’s world — and what it requires for your bio-psycho-social being (these dimensions are all interconnected) — is a challenge. But it’s possible, if we look at some unlikely sources. These include a variety of research findings and other sources of information. Most aren’t directly related to mental heath, but many coalesce into some indicators about what a psychologically healthy life looks like, and how you can “grow” it. Some examples:

People who experience positive emotions also have greater longevity, as do those who express self-determination in life. Also, those who enjoy life maintain better physical condition as they age.

Happiness is highly linked with self-awareness, self-acceptance and compassion towards oneself and towards others.

People who practice transparency and authenticity in their relationships have more successful, sustained romantic connections with their partners. Moreover, how you relate to your partner affects your long-term overall health.

Brains are hard-wired for empathy and human connection. One example: When a person experiences social pain in another, a region of the brain associated with physical pain is aroused. Also, when a spouse experiences chronic pain, the other spouse may develop health problems.

You can learn to alter your brain functioning, your consciousness, attitudes and behavior. Research using functional MRIs shows that meditative practice strengthens areas of the brain associated with self-regulation of emotions, calm, cognitive focus, and empathy towards others.

Practicing mindfulness — paying attention to your current thoughts and feelings, and observing them in a non-judgmental manner — improves self-knowledge.

In the business realm, being able to see, understand and deal effectively with others’ perspectives is key to successful leadership.

Workers who report greatest happiness and fulfillment describe a culture of opportunity for growth, learning, and having impact on something larger than just their paycheck or career advancement. The venture capitalist Ben Horowitz has emphasized the importance of “the contribution you can make, that you’re being part of something bigger than yourself.”

Successful companies provide a culture of nimbleness, collaboration, and support of out-of-the-box thinking. Their employees respond flexibly to disruptive innovation and changing conditions with openness and non-defensiveness.

Happy workers have higher productivity and creativity than less-happy workers. Another study found that productivity rises in the presence of bosses who support learning and growth.

A direct relationship exists between diet and brain functioning. Specifically, an anti-inflammatory diet has significant impact upon one’s mental state, both cognitively and emotionally. Chronic inflammation is the cause of such illnesses as heart disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease. Certain foods contribute to it, while some substances, such as turmeric, cause significant improvements in cerebrovascular dysfunction.

A Convergence Of Themes

These seemingly unrelated studies suggest some elements of a psychologically healthy life in today’s world. First, it’s important to realize that you’re not imprisoned by your genes. Epigenetic research shows that how your genetic tendencies are expressed — or aren’t — is shaped by your choices and life experiences. The depressed patient I described above, afraid of life without her medication, unwilling to consider how she might create a more emotionally fulfilling life, keeps herself imprisoned, unnecessarily, by her belief that she’s “fixed” in this way.

Nor does one have to live within a state of comfortable deadness, as the man I described who sees no other way of being. Yet there are pathways to greater vitality, aliveness and creative pleasure in life that people do experience and create for themselves, in personal life and in their careers.

One theme connecting many of the above findings is that your internal wellbeing and external success are linked with serving something larger than just your own wants and desires. Having impact on something greater than just yourself is key. It might be the relationship between you and your partner, as a third entity in it’s own right. Or positive engagement with others aimed at success with the joint mission or project. Or more generally, engaging with others in with mindful awareness that we’re all interdependent and interconnected in this complex, ever-changing world.

Overall, this general theme points to a psychologically healthy life as a state of integration: Of self-regulation of emotions; cognitive focus, moment-to-moment; values, attitudes and behavior that support wellbeing in both yourself and others; and physical-dietary practices that are linked with them.

These are just some initial thoughts. We mental health professionals need to focus much more on identifying and emphasizing what psychological health really means in our current world. And, how we can help people learn to build it in daily life.

Douglas LaBier, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Progressive Development, and writes its blog, Progressive Impact. dlabier@CenterProgressive.org. For more about him on The Huffington Post, click here.

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