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22 Nov

Minimum Daily Requirement

84434An excerpt from Start Right Where You Are

by Sam Bennett

As the creator of The Organized Artist Company, bestselling author Sam Bennett’s mission in life is clear: to assist people in getting unstuck by helping them focus and move forward on their goals.

 

That is also the intention of her new book Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers, and Recovering Perfectionists, which is based on the premise that small shifts in the right direction can yield big results in the realization of our creative dreams.   We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book.

 

# # #

 

You think that once you get that big expanse of time, you’re going to be in clover. You’re going to get all those projects done around the house, you’re going to finally have time to write, do yoga, and practice the flute, and it’s going to be great. Retirement. Getting laid off. Summer vacation.

 

And then that big expanse of time comes, and somehow, day after day, the time slips by, and you just don’t get anywhere.

 

Having too much time can make a project feel just as overwhelming as not having enough time. When you can start anytime, how do you know when to start?

 

The other problem with this problem is that no one believes it’s a problem. You feel ungrateful at best and like a fool at worst complaining that you have too much time. Who’s going to sympathize with that? So you keep it to yourself. And you feel ashamed. And nothing feeds shame like secrecy. Can you see how a person could end up in a downward spiral that leads straight to long afternoons spent watching home-remodeling shows?

 

Now, I love home-remodeling shows, but I also believe that we are naturally inclined toward productivity. We love to be learning, doing, and playing. We love to stretch and grow and solve problems, and we love to feel like we’re making a contribution to the world. Too much unstructured time can be stressful and depressing. When we don’t know what to do with ourselves, we give up.

 

The trick is to inject some creative tension into your life. The word tension gets a bad rap, but remember that it is structural tension that holds the keystone in every arch — and sexual tension is often the beginning of all kinds of wonderful things.

 

Think of a goal that frightens you a little bit, something that stirs you up, maybe even something that you’re pretty sure is impossible. Let it loom large in your mind. Connect with it. Feel the energetic relationship — the tension — between where you are now and where the goal is. Feel that energetic spoke of the Net between you and that goal, and let that tension pull you forward into taking one first step.

 

When you’ve taken one step, celebrate. It’s easy to brush aside first steps, especially when you believe that you really should be farther along already, but don’t. You did something, which is more than you did yesterday. Which is excellent. Be proud.

 

Now create a “minimum daily requirement” (MDR) for yourself. Make it something super-easy to do but still meaningful. If you want to write a book, perhaps your MDR is to write one sentence on an index card. If you’re trying to declutter the garage, maybe you will commit to spending five minutes a day in there, whether you do any work or not. And of course there’s my favorite “fifteen minutes a day” strategy. I firmly believe that spending just fifteen minutes a day on the project that is dearest to your heart has the power to change your entire life. Try it and let me know.

 

If your project is a bit epic, you can do yourself a favor by setting a series of six-week minigoals that will lead you to that bigger result. Six weeks is enough time to see significant progress, and two six-week periods will take you through a season. To create a plan in which, say, you research your historical novel in the fall, begin writing at the winter solstice, and have a rough first draft by spring might have a nice, natural rhythm to it.

 

By allowing yourself to engage with a big, juicy project, create incremental six- and twelve-week goals, and maintain your minimum daily requirement, you can shake yourself out of the shadowy morass of too much time and right into the sunny fields of creative productivity.

 

Little Changes Action Step: Write down a goal that sends a genuine thrill through your body. Now write down what you think a good minimum daily requirement for achieving that goal might be. Your MDR should be so small that there’s no way you can’t do it. Now reduce that MDR by half. That’s right — lower the bar. So if you want to get in shape and your initial MDR is to do fifty sit-ups a day, reduce that number to twenty-five. If you want to redo the backyard, then commit to spending just fifteen minutes a day out there. Of course, you may end up doing fifty sit-ups or spending all afternoon weeding, but that’s a bonus. You still do your MDR the next day.

 

Steady, consistent movement is how the Colorado River carved out the Grand Canyon, and that same persistence will give you equally awe-inspiring results.

 

# # #

 

2796Sam Bennett is the author of Start Right Where You Are and Get It Done. She created The Organized Artist Company to help creative people get unstuck and achieve their goals. She is a writer, actor, teacher, and creativity/productivity specialist who has counseled thousands of artists and entrepreneurs on their way to success.  Visit her online www.startrightwhereyouare.com.

 

 

Excerpted from Start Right Where You Are. Copyright © 2016 by Sam Bennett. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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22 Nov

5 Tangible Ways to Ease Political Tensions During the Holidays

thanksgivingGuest Post by Emily J. Hooks

Do you have a little extra apprehension about the holidays this year? Wonder how you will handle the uncle or second cousin who voted for “the other guy?” What about the sibling who can’t help but gloat?

We’ve all heard the expression, “Never talk about religion, politics, or money at the dinner table.” That is going to be harder this year than ever, and it may also be a missed opportunity because it is empathy and understanding within families that plant the seeds of tolerance in communities and the world. Tolerance is cultivated by getting to know and respecting the views of those different than us. This isn’t only true for “them.” It is also true for “us.”

So, how do we, on a practical level, embrace our differences to build bridges when many of us are experiencing shock, even grief after the election this year? As we move into a time of thanksgiving, we need to prepare for the inevitable conversations that will unfold. How can we handle our heartache and indignation while living by the values of inclusion, diversity, and acceptance?

As a forgiveness expert and the author of, The Power of Forgiveness: A Guide to Healing and Wholeness, I began by reminding myself of the values that inform the way I live my life. I have had to investigate the ideas of tolerance, human rights, diversity, compassion, and empathy and ask myself, “Am I living all of these values today, as I am challenged to understand views so different than my own?” With honest reflection, what I found was that some of my core beliefs had been tested. I have been deeply challenged to stay present to my truth and to live it. Yet, I know these principles to be more important now than ever.

When someone has a worldview we cannot with any amount of reflection and willingness comprehend, we become fearful. Why? Because the unknown and unknowable scare us. We cannot predict the outcome, and therefore, the impact in our lives. We feel helpless in our inability to grasp something so different from ourselves. We feel powerless to do the one thing we know we must do: protect ourselves, those we love, and the values upon which we base our lives, which for many include protecting the civil liberties and the well-being of our fellow human beings. So, we react to defend. It makes sense. If you think you might be in danger, you react.

The problem with taking action from this place is that fear manifests fear. Another issue with this type of response is that we always find what we look for. When we position ourselves to defend, we are less likely to see other possibilities. And, when someone senses us defending even if they did not intend to cause harm they put up their defenses. We become locked in a battle that may have been avoided. We become locked in a battle we, in part, created.

So, what is the alternative? Here are five practical steps each of us can take to prepare ourselves to maintain our values, allow others to express themselves, and take steps to narrow the political divide.

  1. Honor how you feel. Before the big get together, allow the fear to move through you and cultivate an experience of love. Spend time getting back in touch with love. It is the only source energy that will create an outcome that reflects the values of equality, freedom, and true justice.

 

  1. Prepare by getting centered and cultivating compassion. When we move into crisis-thinking, we tend to stop doing the very things that nurture our capacity to have a deeper understanding of the human experience. Purposefully make time to continue these activities, which include self-care, having fun, and spending time with (likeminded) loved ones.

 

  1. Remember not to take it personally. Your father’s perspective is not about you. It is about him. His point-of-view is informed by his experiences and the way he knows to react to them. Even if you don’t get it, you can remember that he, like us all, is doing the best he can. And, you won’t sway anyone’s perspective by telling them they are wrong or ignorant. You will, however, make an impact by demonstrating values that create happiness, because wanting contentment is the one thing most of us have in common.

 

  1. Take a break when you need to. If you’re anything like me, you might need to get centered more than once. Use a simple short meditation or breathing exercise to keep your physiological responses in check.

 

  1. Exercise empathy, above all else. Empathy is a feeling. When we allow ourselves to feel what another might feel, we connect with them on the most fundamental level. It is not a judgment, as in, “Oh, they just don’t get it. That is so sad.” If you inquire within, you might find that any judgment you have about “them” actually causes suffering. Judgment blocks the source energy of love by creating separation.

This Thanksgiving and Holiday Season we have a great opportunity. We have the chance to demonstrate the values that lead to healing in us and the world. We have the chance to show others we might not otherwise be able to touch. Jesus said, “Love heals all wounds.” The Buddha said, “Love transforms suffering.” That is the source of our power to change the course of history, starting at home.

Emily J. Hooks is an author and founder of the Forgiveness Academy. Visit The Power of Forgiveness Kickstarter page to pre-order the book, meet the author, and learn more about the book that’s empowering the world with the personal healing practice of forgiveness.

 

 

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19 Nov

CONQUER CHANGE & WIN IN A NUTSHELL

Guest post by Ralph Masengill

Want to be very successful? Here is a simple secret few take advantage of in their personal or business life. You will be a true winner only if you are:

1. Willing to take a calculated risk and endorse positive change on a regular basis.
2. Learning how change affects our emotions and our feelings.

Let’s take a short journey together.
What we are talking about is understanding the risk of change. Why is it so important that we know about and understand change? We humans, and there are no exceptions, are constantly involved in change. Change never stops. It is always constantly going on in us and around us. The truly successful men and women of the world have a good understanding of change and how you can manipulate change to your advantage. You cannot stop it, but you can control most change. You can always control the emotions that change causes in all of us.

Are you in a personal or business rut? In a rut, you have no control where that rut will take you. You have lost your freedom to act. To not change is to lose control of your future. To be in a rut is losing your freedom to control your life, business or both. Laurence J. Peter states that “A rut is a grave with the ends knocked out.” He is talking about life without understanding the importance of the affects that change has on all humans.

Mark Twain put it his way “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.” Many good people refuse to accept the risk and uncertainty that change always brings with it. They stay in a self-imposed rut. They force themselves to live in a stagnant prison of their own making. They have part of it right. There can be some security in a prison. I would name that prison Opportunity Lost. When it comes to change we really only have two choices. One is to embrace change with gusto. The second is to stay in a rut by refusing to admit that all change is constant, live in denial and because they made a bad choice end up losing their freedom to act. The solution is to simply agree to devote time and effort to understanding change and how it makes us feel.

Someone said, “Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain”. I believe the happiest and most successful people do not necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have. Choose Change. It is the path to true happiness and business success.

You and I are always undergoing continuous change intended or not. The exciting truth is the more we know about change, both positive and negative change, the more we can profit from change. If you want a more enjoyable and profitable personal and business life, you must have a solid understanding of what change is and how it makes us and the people we deal with feel. In other words, understanding change and how it makes all people feel will put you in a winning position in your life and your business.

If that is true and it is, what is change and how does it affect all of us on a continuous basis? After 40 years of study and research here is my definition of change:

All men and women regard all change both good and bad change with a feeling of loss (examples would be remorse or that pit of the stomach feeling) and that feeling of loss always creates some form of anger, anxiety or fear.

Understanding how change works can change your life for the better and give you a solid advantage. That is a guarantee. Here are some amazing facts about continuous change.

1. Most of us will not change until the pain of not changing is greater than the pain of changing.
2. You and I often prefer the security of known misery, to the supposed misery of unfamiliar insecurity.
3. Change is consistent, intended or not.

Number one on the list above was true for me in a big way. Until I learned how to handle continuous change and the feelings change had on my personality nothing seemed to get better. I seemed to be stuck in a continuous rut. Understanding continuous change turned my humdrum life around. Understanding change is not hard but you must work at it on a regular basis. Understanding change can be the one thing that can put you in the winner’s circle often. It did just that for me.

What do others say about change?
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Andy Warhol

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” Carol Burnett

“Change your thoughts and you change your world”, Norman Vincent Peale

“Nothing endures but change.” Heraclitus (540BC – 480BC)

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending if you are willing to change.” Maria Robinson

On the Oprah Winfrey Show I heard an interview where Oprah was sharing with a guest about a dream she had where the children in her dream were asking her, “What can you teach me?” She said what she learned from that was, to look at every event in her life from that perspective. Then I realized as she was sharing, that is exactly what has made the difference in my own life in dealing with change. Now I welcome it knowing it leads to a greater understanding of my purpose on this planet. Dealing with both positive and negative change is a learning process that allows you and I to know what kind of emotions (feelings) continuous change will cause.

No one really likes dealing with change, no one. However we all like the results of positive change. We are never in pain because of change, only our resistance to change can cause us pain. Once you stop resisting what happens in your life and accept it the sooner you have the opportunity to feel less stress and set your business and your life up for even more success. For me it was one of those amazing “ah ha” moments where you are never the same after that. To truly be successful in any undertaking you must embrace positive change and the pain the resistance brings willingly and often.

We all take risk every day when we embrace positive change. Do we take a calculated risk or do we sometimes just roll the dice and just hope for the best? The former is not acting on opportunity; it is acting out of ignorance. I admit that in my younger days, I did more rolling of the dice than I want to talk about and I had to pay the price. I paid the price by losing time, money and happiness many times out of my own ignorance about change. One time I almost lost my business. All of us can and should learn from our mistakes. Mistakes can be a teacher. However, it is a very expensive and painful way to learn.

Charles Tremper puts it this way: “The first step in the calculated risk process is to acknowledge the reality of the risk. Denial is a common tactic that substitutes deliberate ignorance for thoughtful planning.” Executing a plan will involve change. Being willing to change is always a calculated risk that should be encouraged. For one thing it is where most business and personal success comes from in today’s world.

Many successful people have something to say about risk taking. Winston Churchill said, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is the right direction.” Author and lecturer Earl Nightingale stated, “You can measure opportunity with the same yardstick that measures the risk involved. They go together.” I believe it is clear that all positive change requires calculated risk taking. Do your homework and success can be yours.

Is the opposite of risk, security? Some say it is. I believe those people are in error. Here is what Helen Keller had to say about security. “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Former President Eisenhower said, “One can find outright security only in a prison. In order to be absolutely secure you must give up your individual freedoms.” Dennis Waitley in one of this lectures said, “Life is inherently risky. To become the success you want to be there is only one big risk you should avoid at all cost. That is the risk of doing nothing.” I personally believe total security is a myth. Understanding how change makes all of us feel makes the task less stressful and more fulfilling.

Without calculated risk and positive change there would be no United States of America and no free enterprise system. Our free enterprise system is based on planned change that requires risk that then creates an opportunity that can lead to a solid reward. Risk and change are things we should get up with gladly every morning. In order to succeed beyond even our most daring dreams we must be willing to accept calculated risk and change as a way of life.
We have all seen or read about a business that does well in a certain market while their competitor offering the same product or service flounders. Ms. Wilcox with her short poem tells us why. She nails it in two sentences. Please take a moment right now and re-read her poem.

First make sure you know how the market “winds” are blowing and then and only then set your business “sails” accordingly using positive change and taking the calculated risk that is always part of the package. Do that correctly and you can, with assurance reach your destination of enhanced sales and profit and/or a better life. You can then taste sweet success.

The first step is to know the direction of the market “winds”. Get this wrong and all your other efforts do not matter. Over the years I have been amazed how little time and money many spend on effective market research. Hunches do have their place in the business “sea”, but this first step is not one of them. Solid accurate market research is the capstone of any good business arch. You must react to the market. You must change in order to win. Get the market “winds” right and make the correct changes and you will take home the profit trophy.

Change is something you must do on a regular basis if you want to be successful in life or business. Resistance to change has always been a part of the human psyche. We must work hard not to resist positive change even though it is not our nature. The solution is simple but not easy. Learn all you can about change and how it makes us all feel and be willing to take a calculated risk. Knowing what to expect when you need to change will help you be all that you want be in this world. Work hard to see positive change as a friend and do not resist this widely misunderstood process. Positive change is just that, a positive. Embrace it and you have a great opportunity to succeed in your personal and business life above your present goals and dreams. Understanding change is well worth the effort required.

About the Author

Ralph is an advisor, coach, marketing expert, business consultant and public relations strategist. Many words could be used to describe Ralph Masengill, but he prefers to be called “friend,” a title he fully expects to earn daily.
He and his wife Dianne live near the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. They have four grown children two dogs, Charlie and Beau along with one cat, Bandit. He enjoys wood working (He has a complete shop in his home), sailing, oil painting and working with his favorite charities.
Ralph@masengill.com
http://masengill.com or http://conquerchangeandwin.com
(423)585-0106

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10 Nov

17 Ways to Use Meditation for Anxiety Relief Right Now!

Guest post by Ram Dass

In the 21 century, meditation is making a resurgence as a practical tool for coping with life and nurturing personal growth. In fact, it has become very common to use meditation techniques for stress and anxiety relief-ever for banishing panic attacks.

The benefits of meditation for anxiety and stress include reducing physical discomfort, putting things into perspective to make better decision and coping with difficult situations.

Every individual has different reasons for meditating, from relieving job stress and reducing anxiety of all kind and minimizing physical pain to improving relationships and determining life’s direction. No matter what the stress or anxiety, meditation can provide immediate relief. Later, meditation can be used to get to the heart of anxious feelings and make deeper changes.

How to Meditate to Relieve Anxiety

  • If you already know the nature of you anxiety and stress, simply find it (or something similar) in this list of meditation tips for anxiety and focus your meditation practice in the recommended areas.
  • If you are new to meditation, begin by reading this article by Ram Dass to learn about different meditation techniques, such as insight meditation with breathing, meditating on gurus and mantras. You’ll find techniques and ideas throughout the Ram Dass website and elsewhere that can help you improve the effectiveness of your meditation for anxiety or any other reason, including using mala beads or meditation beads, meditating on a flame and other ways to focus as you practice. It’s easy to gain meditation skills you can use right away!
  • On the other hand, don’t worry if your experience doesn’t live up to your expectations of meditation. There are likely to be many good things going on that you can’t see immediately. Later, you can search for guided meditations and other advanced techniques that deepen your relief from anxiety as well as deeper knowing of yourself as you continue to practice.

01 Meditation To Calm Chaos

I’ve been living closer to the truth for a few months now. Over time, my daily meditations helped me regard what was happening in any moment with curiosity and kindness, without the mindless chatter and instant evaluation that used to whip me into a frenzy.

http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/meditation-find-calm-chaos

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Chaos demands our attention. It’s like a bratty child, jealous of our peace. Chaos will do everything in its power to suck you in and keep your stress level high. With meditation, you can use the quietness of your mind to surround and subdue chaos. Let it go easily somewhere else, while you apply your energy to reaching out into the universe for answers. Let the answers come to you as easily as you let chaos go.

Meditation advice for calming chaos:

  1. Chaos often causes physical stress, a common side effect of anxiety. As you meditate, breathe in to invite space into your entire body, then breathe out to release tension.
  2. Meditation techniques can be used to adopt an attitude of acceptance. No matter what happens, you can give yourself permission to be peaceful.
  3. Use meditation to visualize yourself floating above the conflict, where you have a match wider perspective.

02 MEDITATE TO MANAGE ANGER

By naming and recognizing the many faces of anger, we can stay present with it as it arises, keeping the heart open, breathing, watching emotions come up and pass through. Meditation is the best way to do this, as it creates the space to step back from the passion, breathe, and objectively see what is at the root of the feeling.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-and-deb-shapiro/meditation-and-anger_b_3170506.html

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anger is a difficult form of anxiety. We often become consumed with the accompanying stress and anguish because meditation stems from quietness, it allows you to take yourself away from anger’s usual stressful breeding ground, where you can examine the emotion honestly and safely apart from your day-to-day world. When you meditate for anxiety relief, your awareness is stronger than your anger.

Meditation advice for managing anger:

  1. During meditation, first try not to think too logically about the reasons you feel angry. You can figure that out later. For now, just breathe and observe your anger.
  2. Meditation relieves the anxiety of anger and puts it in perspective, but meditation won’t take away the causes of anger. Once meditation ends, you may need to take action to resolve the issues.
  3. Think of meditation as a safe place to be angry, where you can step away from the emotion and observe it to see what you can learn.

03 MEDITATE TO LET GO OF DRAMA

Don’t treat yourself so gingerly; you can let go of stuff. Sometimes it takes three breaths instead of two to do it, but you can do it. Be a little tougher and don’t cling to stuff. People go around carrying everybody’s stuff all of the time. I just pick it up and put it down. Pick it up and put it down.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

We have a bad habit of gathering up dramatic feelings and situations, clutching them to us as if they were prized possessions. We feel we are entitled to our ownership of this anxiety, and we believe we must hold onto it in order to keep ourselves emotionally safe. It takes a little courage, but meditation can help us see and nurture our internal strength, so we can separate ourselves from drama and achieve anxiety relief.

Meditation advice for letting go of drama:

  1. Visualization during meditation is a useful tool to define drama, understand it and let it go. Choose a tangible object to represent your anxiety. Imagine picking it up, then putting it down.
  2. Before you can let drama go, you may need to first understand why you so desperately want to cling onto it. If you can’t understand it, let it go anyway.
  3. Drama tends to be a bad habit. To break habits, You need to address the habitual patterns that created the habit in the first place.

04 MEDITATE TO SEE YOUR PATH

In order to see the path, you have to be very quiet and stop thinking.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, using meditation for anxiety and stress often hinges on finding quietness. If your anxiety is caused by not knowing which direction you should go, quietness can help you accept the answers, rather than forcing them to come. This also requires that you allow yourself to accept the path that appears to you naturally, rather than forcing your way onto a path out of fear and panic.

Meditation advice for seeing your path:

  1. As you meditate, visualize a path through a forest, down a mountain, along the beach, into a city – wherever you are comfortable – and allow your mind to lead you to the answers.
  2. Quietness is hard to achieve for many people. Don’t give up – you will do better with practice.
  3. Simply practice letting go of thoughts as they come to you, then returning to the focus of your meditation, whether it’s your breath, a flame, or a mantra.

05 MEDITATE TO IMPROVE HEALTH

Through Mindfulness-Based Stress Relief (MBSR), patients learn how to mobilize their inner resources for coping and healing – especially for dealing with symptoms of chronic illness, and symptoms that no longer respond to standard medical treatment. Mindfulness practice helps people promote their own health by reducing the effects of stress in mind and body.

http://meditationforhealth.com

The meditation/anxiety connection:

We’re learning more every day about the connection between the mind and body. Meditation harnesses the power of the mind to make healthy changes in the body. One of the first benefits of meditation is relaxation and comfort. This can be measured by traditional medical means, including blood pressure, heart rate, and a decrease in anxiety-related symptoms, such as headaches and muscle tension.

Meditation advice for improving health:

  1. Focus on specific physical ailments to realize the greatest effect of meditation for health.
  2. Visualize the parts of your body involved in your physical stress; imagine muscles relaxing, joints loosening and organs working better.
  3. Breathe healing energy into those areas of pain and discomfort.

06 MEDITATE TO FEEL THE NATURAL PACING OF LIFE

Let it be something that naturally falls away, rather than something you rip away.</div


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety can be caused by forcing life to happen against the natural flow. The harder we push, the more difficult life seems and the higher our anxiety and panic rise. It’s better to let go and let things happen naturally. Meditation brings anxiety relief by simply focusing on goals and allowing them to unfold.

Meditation advice for feeling the natural pacing of life:

1 Stop focusing on your effort to achieve something and instead simply create a vision of what you desire, then focus on that as you meditate.
2 When you think of your goal, imagine watching it and waiting to see what happens, instead of thinking about what you must do to force it to happen.
3 Give yourself permission to let problems and anxious feelings fall away naturally; look at them with indifference and spend your time mentally reinforcing the positive instead.

07 MEDITATE TO SEEK SIMPLICITY

There is as much joy in doing with less as there is in doing with more; it’s bizarre, and much cheaper! It also means you have to spend less time being worried about your economic situation, because you are spending less.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

The less you have in life, the less you have to worry about. However, achieving a simple life can be easier said than done. Meditation helps internalize the benefits of simplicity in life, and therefore makes it possible to not only desire simplicity but make it real. An immediate result of making a decision to focus on simplicity is anxiety relief, because you instantly have fewer problems you must address.

Meditation advice for seeking simplicity:

1. As you meditate, visualize life without the extras. What can you do without? Would you really miss those things, or would there be more room for joy as your possessions decrease?
2. Increase your meditation focus on intangibles, such as love, beauty and peace, instead of giving mental and spiritual power to possessions.
3. Give yourself permission to trade the joy of having for the joy of not having.

 

08 MEDITATE TO SEE YOUR PATH

The quiet appreciation of the total situation and its inherent possibilities steadily moves things toward resolution.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Focusing too narrowly on stressful problems can bog down the mind and heart and keep us from moving forward. The harder we try, the more muddled everything becomes and the more anxious we feel. The key to clarity is to slow down and think positively about the big picture. As you meditate on the big picture, you begin to see how things fit together – how you fit into the world. This brings peace and anxiety relief.

Meditation advice for seeking clarity:

 

1 Choose a mental picture that represents the complete situation you are facing; this image helps your mind retain its focus on the big picture, instead of getting lost in details.
2 Allow your subconscious to work on the situation without your participation; you will be surprised how much can be solved when you let fears work themselves out.
3 At the end of your meditation, focus your mind more concretely on any solutions or ideas that rise up and write them down to think about later.

09 MEDITATE TO LET THOUGHTS GO BY EASILY

Well, if I can’t stop thinking, maybe I can just let my thoughts go by without getting all caught up in them. Feel the breeze on your face or your neck? See how it’s going by? You’re not all hung up with it. You don’t have to see where each breeze goes. Make your thoughts like those breezes, those little breezes…just going by.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety rises as we wrestle with thoughts. The harder we think, the higher the anxiety. Especially if thoughts are negative or fearful, it can be difficult to let them go. They carry a compelling presence. The trick is to choose something else as the focus of your attention and imagine your anxious thoughts are light and airy. Acknowledge them as you would a light evening breeze, then let the breeze blow on by.

Meditation advice for letting thoughts go by easily:

1 Imagine you are simply a passerby, noticing your anxious thoughts as a part of the landscape, then moving your attention to another object that makes you feel better.
2 If you are unsure which thoughts are causing anxiety, begin your meditation, then take a mental inventory of all the people, places and things in your life – notice when the feeling of anxiety appears and let it go on the spot.
3 Some people add symbolic actions to meditation to help them identify thoughts and let them go. Try writing your fears onto pieces of paper, then burning them in the fireplace.

 

10 MEDITATE TO RELAX YOUR BODY

Scientific studies of Indian yoga masters demonstrate that meditation can, in fact, slow the heart rate, lower the blood pressure, reduce the breathing rate, diminish the body’s oxygen consumption, reduce blood adrenaline levels, and change skin temperature.
http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety and stress cause the body to tighten up, breath to quicken, and arteries to narrow. Nothing in our bodies works as well when we’re feeling anxious. Then, when we are not feeling well physically, we just keep feeling more anxiety. Meditation for anxiety breaks this vicious cycle by creating a state of mind in which the body naturally and easily lets go of all the tensions and anxieties blocking your ability to relax.

 

Meditation advice for relaxing your body:

1 Read about yoga and the ways it delivers us from contact with pain. One good resource is B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga.

2 Meditation can be used to relax the body and promote healing after major surgeries or traumatic physical events. Meditation is often an official part of recovery protocols.

3 If you have trouble relaxing muscles, try first clenching them tightly as you breathe in, then releasing all the tension as you breathe out.

11 MEDITATE TO STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH

I have the sense that as your faith gets stronger, you keep needing less and less, and when your faith is flickering, you keep wanting more security. But as your faith gets stronger, you just keep letting it go and letting it go.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

What do you need to have faith in? Yourself? A power greater than yourself? Your circumstances? A future path? As faith grows, it fills voids and blasts away depression. As you experience fulfillment, as Ram Dass did when he spent a day with the his guru Neem Karoli Baba, your anxiety will wither away. Meditation techniques strengthen faith by making time and space to connect and open your heart.

 

Meditation advice for strengthening faith:

1 Familiarity strengthens faith, and time breeds familiarity. To grow your faith, dedicate regular amounts of time meditating specifically to nurture your faith.
2 Don’t push too hard to feel faith. Pushing only creates more anxiety and stress. Doubts and questions are a part of the process – simply open yourself to faith and let it grow.
3 If your desire to strengthen faith relates to a specific person, source or situation, maximize your results by meditating on a mental or physical symbol that represents the object of your faith.

12 MEDITATE TO CULTIVATE MINDFULNESS

The interesting thing about cultivating mindfulness in golf [as an example] is that what you are cultivating is a part of your mind that is noticing the rest of the game, the rest of life … is noticing everything else that’s going on … is noticing, ‘Now I’m speaking’. The ‘noticer’ is not the same as the ‘speaker’; they’re two different things. This has no judgment; it’s just noticing how it is.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Mindfulness means becoming aware of everything around you – the sights, sounds, smells and feel of where you are and people you’re with. Make no judgments. Simply allow yourself to see, hear, smell and feel. Mindfulness meditation provides perspective and breaks the cycle of worry and anxiety that happens when your focus is clamped down on narrow thoughts with no connection to the rest of the world.

Meditation advice for cultivating mindfulness:

1 Mindfulness is one of the best ways to use meditation for stress and anxiety relief. Think of it as giving yourself permission to slow down, connect and take a break from worry.

2 If you find it difficult to sustain attention as you meditate, try visualizing yourself from above. Watch yourself meditate and notice everything around you in the room.

3 Mindfulness inevitably expands your awareness of other people and enhances your relationships, which tends to relieve anxiety and stress.

13 MEDITATE TO RELEASE JUDGMENT

When you go out into the woods and you look at trees … some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. So I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

It’s hard not to judge. As humans, we almost can’t help ourselves. We instinctively know it’s not right to judge, so we end up judging ourselves! All of this judgment causes anxiety and unhappiness. You can use meditation to release the judgment and anxiety you feel, allow others to be who they are and let go of responsibility for them. Not having to judge is a big relief, and it frees us to focus on more peaceful things.

 

Meditation advice for releasing judgment:

1 As you meditate, briefly acknowledge every judgmental thought that comes into your mind, then simply release it and refocus on your meditation.
2 In your meditation, practice witnessing without judgement. The more you practice, the easier it will become to replace judgment with compassion.
3 Consider exploring karma yoga, which focuses your meditation on serving others rather than judging them, then offering your service as a devotion to achieve greater peacefulness.

14 MEDITATE TO ALLOW EMOTION

Getting lost in your emotional reactivity just digs a deeper karmic hole. So you cultivate a quietness in yourself that just watches these things coming and going and arising and passing away. And you learn not to act out your emotions, but just to appreciate and allow them.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Stress and anxiety are made of emotion. We feel this pain both physically and mentally. Sometimes we pull pain to us because it’s familiar. Other times, we strain as we push stress and anxiety away from us, but the harder we push, the more they grow. The secret is to embrace these emotions and others, such as depression, by focusing on those feelings, then learning from them and moving forward peacefully.

Meditation advice for allowing emotion:

1 Stress and anxiety often result in panic. If you are overwhelmed with panic, begin your meditation by simply observing your emotions without trying to figure anything out.
2 Sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what your emotions are. To better understand your emotion, first concentrate during meditation on the feeling without giving it a name.
3 When a strong emotion arises, take three breaths into the center of your chest (your spiritual heart) and allow the emotion to dissipate like a wave when it hits the shoreline.

15 MEDITATE TO REMOVE DEFENSE MECHANISMS

The nature of a defense mechanism is that most of it is underground and you’re not even conscious of it. It’s just acting on you, from a deep fear. To me, it’s a little bit like skimming soup when you meditate and get really quiet, and then, in the quietness, stuff starts to come up. If you’re quiet enough, you sort of skim it off the top as it comes up.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Everyone gets defensive. Our defense mechanisms sometimes keep us from being able to honestly face our fears and anxieties, which creates additional anxiety. Through meditation, we can more clearly see our defenses and skim them off, which immediately reduces our anxiety because we are then able to see our fears clearly, be more honest with ourselves and realize we are moving toward improvement.

Meditation advice for removing defense mechanisms:

1 After reaching a state of quiet through techniques of meditation for anxiety, mentally state your intention to identify and remove your personal defense mechanisms.
2 Once you have identified your defense mechanisms, practice letting them go and then returning to an awareness of your breath.
3 The next step is to work on the fears your defenses were masking.

16 MEDITATE TO HEAR THE SILENCE

My universe involves using silence and not waiting for something to happen, because the silence is what’s happening, because you and I come here seeking truth and the best I can understand it is that truth is not conceptual, that what you can think about isn’t the ultimate truth.


Ram Dass

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety and stress can be caused by a feeling that you should understand the truth about things in your life, along with the conflicting belief that you are not capable enough to really know the truth. Use the quietness of meditation to open yourself to a truth that doesn’t need to be put into words. You can reduce your anxiety right now by being okay with whatever part of truth you see in this moment of silence.

Meditation advice for hearing the silence:

1 It stands to reason that many truths about the universe go beyond the inadequate words of human beings. As you meditate, notice thoughts and feelings you can’t describe.
2 Rather than looking for answers, allow yourself to observe the ideas that come to you during your meditation for anxiety and wonder about them.
3 To further reduce your anxiety and stress, consciously let go of any expectations you have of yourself to understand the truth and explain it to others.

17 MEDITATE TO ACHIEVE A HIGHER STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.


Pema Chödrön

The meditation/anxiety connection:

Anxiety and stress are tiring. After a while, we just want anxiety – life in general – to loosen its grip and let us rest. When destructive feelings become extremely intense, many people just give up. But you don’t have to give up. Meditation is easy. You can find peace and transform your energy the very first day you try it. Then, as you continue to practice, you’ll learn to sink even more deeply into an anxiety-free state.

Meditation advice for achieving higher states of consciousness:

1 If you are interested in achieving higher states of consciousness, such as insight into your own true nature, you may want to seek a teacher who can help train you in deeper meditative practices.
2 Don’t try to do too much at once. Trying too hard will only cause more anxiety. Remember, the silence and quietness of meditation is where things really happen.
3 To deepen your ability to use meditation for anxiety relief, continue reading and learning. Practice meditation regularly and open yourself to possibilities!

How to Use These Meditation for Anxiety Tips

There is no right or wrong way to practice anxiety meditation. To get the most from these meditation-for-anxiety tips, first select one of your favorite meditation techniques. Then, read through the list of tips. Note which tips speak to you-the ones that seem to connect with the anxiety and stress you are feeling. Next, choose one tip to focus on. Read the quote, summary and meditation advice. Take a few moments to internalize the information, then follow the advice as you begin your session. You will feel immediate relief from anxiety, even if you simply feel better because you are taking action. Finally, follow the same process for each tip that connects with your anxiety and stress. If you like, research online to find a specific guided meditation for anxiety relief, and focus on the same topics. You will no doubt have further work to do to achieve full anxiety relief, but meditation for anxiety can provide a great beginning!

www.ramdass.org

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06 Nov

Be Here Meow From Book Call of the Cats

Call of Cats_cvr_p.inddBy Andrew Bloomfield, author of Call of the Cats

 

Woody Allen once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” That certainly was my experience. Thinking I was destined for greatness in Hollywood I found my life purpose instead in caring for a colony of wild cats.

 

My life as a down-on-my-luck aspiring screenwriter in Hollywood seemed uncomfortably close to that of Joe Gillis, the failed screenwriter in the classic film Sunset Boulevard. I ended up homeless as did he, but instead of escaping into the arms of faded movie star Norma Desmond, I was welcomed by an old love and her sister who lived ten miles from downtown Los Angeles. In the security of their small bungalow I could finally catch my breath, and spent my precious time (unsure of when I might get kicked out!) pecking away on my laptop, trying to manufacture the visions and dreams and high-concept twenty-word pitches I prayed would interest mercurial studio executives, mercenary independent producers, and beautiful, narcissistic rising stars.

 

Though the setting stimulating creativity, I became distracted by the horrific sounds of predators decimating kittens from a large colony of feral cats that made their home out back. Our backyard was a mini-jungle, burgeoned from what perhaps began as a lush backyard into a micro Amazon forest, replete with nonindigenous fronds, old-growth trees and thick veils of ivy oozing white sap. Normal neighborhood sounds dissolved here, replaced with chirps, caws, screeches, and the constant rustling of critters that called it home, including the feral colony. Had monkeys one day appeared and begun swinging from branch to branch, or the occasional rhino passed by, I would have taken it in stride.

 

These cats were not strays—abandoned domesticated cats; these were wild animals—untamed and, for the most part, untamable. They displayed a myriad of colors, shapes, and sizes. They were stealthy and skittish, shadows at night, ghostlike flashes in the trees, peering under the high wooden fence that separated our yards. Occasionally I would spot a startled eye, a black nose, a wispy tail through the broken slats in the fence. The felines were as wary of human contact as any wild animal. Though most looked like domesticated house cats, they were unequivocally feral.

 

I came to learn that their predators, coyotes and raccoons, lived in the latticework of dried arroyos that ran down out of the San Gabriel Mountains. And they knew where to come for fresh meat. Newborn litters and young kittens were particularly vulnerable. Their numbers would grow and then diminish. We reasoned — albeit uneasily — that this was nature at work and none of our business. The cats had been there before the sisters moved in and would probably outlast them.

 

However, one day the colony sat in semi-circle around a dead kitten, holding my gaze, seemingly asking for my help. Feral cats do not approach humans, and they do not make eye contact. So I knew this was an important moment. It had all the familiar earmarks of the universe stepping in to supplant my personal plans. And I do believe in intervention when called.

 

So began the tumultuous saga of my relationship with this group of skittish, wild, and sometimes fierce felines. I began to name, nurse, feed, house, rescue, and neuter them. Sleep was a rare commodity; I rose from my bed countless times to fend off their attackers. I maxed out credit cards on vet bills, and emergency-room visits for myself when mauled by the very cats I was trying to help.

 

I made mistakes along the way certainly, and I’m sure feral cat caregivers will cringe when they read about certain choices and decisions I made in trying to keep the colony safe. But sometimes that’s how one learns. But trusting one’s intuition, jumping in and doing.

 

I had found my purpose. And it looked strangely different from how I imagined it might when I was younger —or for that matter even a week before moving into the house! While obviously not many will be called to care for feral cats, I do believe one key in discerning one’s true purpose is by simply doing the thing right in front of one’s face. The thing closest at hand.

 

Our civilization is skewed toward unease. An unease born of not looking like, having, or accomplishing whatever an advertiser deems indispensable at the time—or what the idol-of-the-day embodies. Thus many strive to look like, or be like, or have the things we’re told will bring us satisfaction. But what is lost in that search is authenticity. Authenticity is being true to oneself—being comfortable in our bodies and content with our skill sets. I’ve met parking garage attendants who take great pride in their work and are more fulfilled in their lives as a result, than some Fortune 50 CEOs.

 

By committing oneself to the task at hand one finds freedom. Even is that task may seem mundane or trivial. This is exemplified by a group of spiritual aspirants from ancient India called the 84 Mahasiddhas who lived over a thousand years ago. They became accomplished masters in a single lifetime, and attained high levels of mastery through their vocational pursuits. That was the medium through which they became perfected. And surprisingly many of them worked at very mundane jobs. Some were beggars, gamblers, prostitutes, rice thrashers, washer men, cow herders and even thieves. The deeper meaning of their life stories still has relevance today: that one’s job or calling in life contains the potentiality for perfect contentment and satisfaction.  No matter what the outer appearance.

 

Andrew Bloomfield is the author of Call of the Cats: What I Learned about Life and Love from a Feral Colony. After running his own bookstore in Seattle, Washington, where he hosted spiritual teachers from all over the world, he caught the film bug and moved to Hollywood. It was there he found his true calling — caring for a colony of feral cats. He lives in Southern California.

 

Based on the book Call of the Cats. Copyright © 2016 by Andrew Bloomfield. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.NewWorldLibrary.com

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21 Oct

Play, Autism, and The PLAY Project

coverBy Rick Solomon

 

Just today in the New York Times there was an opinion piece by Paul Tough entitled To Help Children, Coach Their Parents about research on young children who were at high risk for developmental and behavioral problems in Jamaica. What did they coach the parents to do? Promote more educational activities? Nope. Use techniques to help children improve their behavior? Guess again. Play more? Yes! Parents in one arm of the research study were coached to spend time enjoying being with their child in a fun and interactive way with long term positive impacts on I.Q., less aggressive behavior and better self control.

 

Recently, a colleague of mine, Erica Christakis PhD in her just published, best selling book called The Importance of Being Little called for a return to playfulness as the best way of helping the pre-school child educationally. She referenced our program, The PLAY Project’s Autism Early Intervention program, as an example of how play can help children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

 

Play and autism? Can children with autism learn to play with others? The brains of children with autism have disorganized, under-connected, neuronal networks. It’s like having a loose net of brain cells that let’s the complexity of the world fall through, that drives these children have repetitive, stereotyped, and obsessive interests—the opposite of play. It explains their lack of interest in socializing, even with their own parents! I can’t tell you how many parents have told me how sad it was not to be able to connect with their own child. When it comes to their developmental course, children with ASD are their own worst enemies—seeking isolation and sameness. They do not play well with others. The saving grace is something called ‘neuronal plasticity’ the ability of the brain to form better neuronal connections through experience. We just have to find our way to play’s neuronal structures within the brain of children with ASD.

 

It can be done. Children with autism—like all children—have so much potential!

 

After 25 years of working with children on the spectrum and 15 years of being the medical director of The PLAY Project, I can testify to the power of coaching parents to use the power of play. The PLAY Project is one of the few, proven national programs that uses play as a primary intervention for children with ASD. Through coaching parents in playful ways we not only help the adults connect socially with the child, but we help the child’s development and social interaction. Most important of all, through play we helped the child’s autism symptoms improve!

About the author
A leader in the field of autism, Richard Solomon, M.D., has more than 25 years of experience working with thousands of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. In one of the largest and most rigorous research studies in the U.S., The PLAY Project was shown to be evidence-based; parents can learn to improve their relationship with their child and children in the study showed significant improvement in several measures of development. He has worked with Mr. Rogers, T. Barry Brazelton, Stanley Greenspan and Ivar Lovaas. He is currently in private practice as a developmental and behavioral pediatrician in Ann Arbor, Mich.

You can read more about Dr. Solomon and his book in the press release here or visit the website for more information.

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10 Oct

Physical Activity and the Healthy Heart

img_0947By Jacqueline A. Eubany, MD, FACC FHRS

www.womenandheartdiseasebook.com

Physical activity is important for good heart health. It is beneficial in healthy individuals, people who are considered high risk for disease, and those who are currently living with chronic health conditions. From a heart standpoint, physical activity can lower your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol, decrease your blood sugar and therefore your risk for diabetes, and overall reduces your chances of dying from heart disease related illness.

What is physical activity that is relevant to heart health? Physical activity for the heart is activity that increases heart rate to a certain level, and maintains that level for enough time for the heart to develop stamina, good cardiac circulation, and improve cardiac muscle function.

How much physical activity does one need to obtain a healthy heart? According to the American College of Cardiology, people should engage in a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or a minimum of 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. Once the minimum level is attained, and one is comfortable exercising to this level, then one can slowly increase to a moderate aerobic activity level of 300 minutes a week, or increase to a vigorous aerobic activity level of 150 minutes a week. The length of time it takes between the start of your heart healthy exercise program and the accomplishment of your 300 minute per week moderate activity routine is left at your discretion and your physical activity level.

What are examples of physical activities that can be considered for one’s healthy heart routine? Moderate aerobic activities include things like brisk walking, dancing, and water aerobics, while vigorous aerobic activity include things like running, hiking uphill, and swimming laps. A good gauge of whether you are engaged in a moderate versus a vigorous physical activity is your ability to talk and/or sing while exercising. If you are able to talk comfortably, but not able to sing the words of your favorite song while you exercise, then you are more than likely engaged in moderate physical activity. Whereas, if you are barely able to utter 1-2 words while you exercise, then you are more than likely engaged in vigorous physical activity.

What should you consider before you begin your new physical activity habit? For those who are physically inactive, especially those with chronic medical conditions, it is very important to discuss exercise and your limitations with your physician prior to starting a workout regimen. Don’t be discouraged because you cannot exercise for 150 minutes a week. Remember, any amount of exercise is better than no physical activity. Start slow. Exercise for 5-10 minutes a day, and build up slowly over several weeks to 150 minutes a day. Set achievable goals each week and try to make them. If you do not achieve them, it is okay, just keep trying! If you stay focused and motivated, you will reach your goal! To quote Confucius, “It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop.”

In summary, physical activity is a key component to good heart health. It can lower your risk factors for heart disease, and decrease your risk of dying from heart disease related illness. Any physical activity is always better than NO physical activity, so you have to get out there and just move. The minimal goal for good heart health is 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity. Start TODAY! Start slow, and build up your stamina. Here is to good heart health. See you next time.

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07 Oct

Pamela Anne Glassman: An Angel to Remember

an-angel-to-remember-1By Joan E. Childs, LCSW

She was breathtakingly beautiful, brilliant and bewitching!  She was passionate, powerful and precocious.  Her power to heal transcended anyone’s imagination.  She was a goddess, a seductress, a sleuth, seeker of the truth and transformer.  Pamela was a magician and worked her magic on all the wounded souls who had the good fortune to be in her presence and professional care.  She was relentless to a fault, persistent, driven by internal forces that were challenging to temper.  She stood her ground no matter the consequences, drew the lightening to herself to exorcise her patients who had been ravaged during their childhood.  She was Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, Helen of Troy and Pami Annie Daisy, all rolled up in one sensational being.  She was a loving sister, a dedicated therapist, a compassionate friend, her Daddy’s little girl and my precious daughter.  We lost her to bipolar disorder and a dysfunctional sub-standard health system that today, still exists.

October 1 was her birthday.  She would have been 53 years old.  Our lives were changed forever on that fateful morning eighteen years ago, when her mental illness pushed her out the window of a 15 story building.  Pami would never have made that decision.  She loved life, her family, friends, colleagues and clients, who until today, have never forgotten her life force and the impact she made on their lives. Her mental illness won the battle for life.  It sentenced her to death. It invaded her brain like a midnight stalker that slowly, surreptitiously, and steadfastly eroded her thought processes to believe she had been chosen as a mediator between God and Lucifer.  She had been made to believe that the devil was going to take her soul and cried out for help that never came.  Instead, she fell through the cracks of a system that failed her and so many others with mental illness.

How could that have happened?  Why did she plunge fifteen stories to her death? What were the tortured thoughts that executed that decision?    I will never know.  I will never get closure.  This I have accepted.  I will never have the answer to those questions and more; this too I have accepted.  What I can never accept is the apathetic attitude our country has towards mental illness.   I made a choice never to be a victim.  I made a decision not to accept being just a survivor.  I chose to be a Phoenix, like the mythological bird that rises from the ashes to make a mission out of my loss; a loss that affected so many others and a loss that is pervasive in our country.  I want to eradicate the shame and stigma from mental illness.  I want to be a change agent for everyone who struggles with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.  I want to help families who have lost a loved one through suicide due to a mental disorder.  I want to help the families of veterans who lost their husbands, wives, fathers, sons, mothers and daughters.  Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day.  This is an epidemic and must be treated.  Post- traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness that can and often does, lead to suicide.

Pami’s life and death must have meaning.  Her work and unyielding devotion to her patients must be honored.  It calls for action.  It calls for conscious raising.  It calls for help.  No longer can we look blindly away from reality.  No longer can we ignore the 6 plus million people in this country who suffer from bipolar disorder.  No longer can we look away from the 40, 000 suicides a year.  No longer can we maintain denial when we know that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults from the ages of 18-25.  It is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.  There are more suicides than homicides.  How can we remain indifferent? Passive?  Disinterested?  It is only when we encounter a loved one who suffers from a mental illness do we become militant in our quest for help.

When the children of Sandy Hope Elementary were murdered by a madman, the parents became vigilant in their effort to raise the conscious awareness of gun control.  It was when Peter Craig Alderman, the 25 year old young man lost his life in the World Trade Center on 9/11 that his parents became advocates for change and created a foundation in honor of their son’s truncated life.  It was when John Walsh’s young son was abducted and murdered that he became a vigilante for finding predators.  We all chose to become a Phoenix.  We all chose to make our children’s lives matter.

I wrote this blog two days after Pam’s birthday.  I was reflecting on the impact she made on other’s that eighteen years later, when I announced her birthday on Facebook, more than one hundred responses were yielded, all of whom remembered who she was and what she did to make this world a better place.  It is way past midnight as I close this blog.  I was driven to post it before too much time passes since it was posted on Facebook.  She would have loved to have known the impression she made on others and the legacy she left to those who knew her well.

Happy Birthday Pami.  From all of us who were lucky to have known you.  May you rest in peace.

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05 Oct

Rejoicing Through the Tears, Brenda George

georgeBy Brenda George

Chapter Nine

Totally Isolated

That first weekend after the treatment was the hardest, as I had to be isolated from my family to ensure that they wouldn’t be exposed to the radiation. They each stayed with different relatives for two weeks. This was my weakest moment, and yet I had to stay completely alone. For about a week after the treatment, I noticed foods had a funny, almost-metallic taste. My mouth was also dry, so I had to drink a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and to help my kidneys remove the unused, radioactive iodine from my body. Eating sour candy like lemon drops helped. I started back on my thyroid medicine the following week and was allowed to eat a regular diet again. It took me a couple of weeks to get my appetite back. I started to regain my strength and appetite one day at a time. Every woman knows, especially if she is a mother, how important it is to have some time just for yourself. No matter how much we love our families, everyone needs a little space once in a while. It’s a mother’s deepest longing. Evenings can be especially hectic with small children not to mention downright insane with teenagers. From about 5:00 until about 9:00 p.m. is what I could almost painstakingly describe as the valley of the shadow of death. I won’t even talk about evenings with teenagers. They have such chaotic schedules, and their music; we won’t even go there. I can hear it now, even as I write, that pounding bass, in tune with every heartbeat. I’ll save that for another book. It can drive a sane person crazy and wreck their nerves for a week. Do you remember that commercial, “Calgon, take me away”? The one where the mom is taking a relaxing bubble bath as she is trying to escape her world for a little while? I admit that I’ve been guilty of yearning for that much-needed quiet time. I used to think, “If I could just watch a good movie without any noise and actually see the end of it, or read a good book straight through, or sleep as long as I want to”. I’m sure you understand what I mean. But after being isolated for two weeks, I completely changed my mind. Like the saying, “Been there, done that,” being alone was not nearly as glamorous as I thought it would be. There are only so many movies that I could watch, and only so many books that I could read. When I realized that, day after day, I was really alone, and no one would be walking through that door, it gave me plenty of time to contemplate that being alone was pretty lonely. Being alone began to take on a whole new meaning. I probably got carried away, because I even made my family take our dog away. One day when I was feeling sorry for myself, I was elated to realize that my granddaughter’s goldfish was still there. I remember saying to the fish, “Prince Charming, we’re in this together.” See, I told you I was lonely! I was so glad to see something else that was living and breathing. Sometimes, something as small as a goldfish can lift our spirits.

I was overly cautious about everything. I was afraid to even light a candle, and could just see the headlines in the newspaper, “Lady used as a bomb to test nuclear weapons following radiation treatment.” You’ve got to admit, we hear some pretty bizarre things on the news these days. Now that it’s behind me, I have to almost chuckle at my naiveté, but at the time, it was a real concern. I had never been sick a day in my life, so it was a learning process for me. Although I can usually find humor in almost any situation, this was one experience where I couldn’t. That was a time in my life that I will never forget. It was not only difficult for me, but for my entire family as well. I did a lot of soul-searching, praying, and learning to yield my life to God’s keeping. At that time, I didn’t know the results of the treatment or even if it had been successful or not. In the back of my mind, I went over and over all of the “what if’s. What if the treatment didn’t work? What if I need another one? What if all of my hair falls out? What if my family has to stay away longer? What if I’m too sick to take care of myself? And the final “what if”; What if I die? Those thoughts were never-ending. Two weeks before Christmas, when most people were out shopping, I was home alone, too sick to do anything about it. I cried a lot as I listened to some of my favorite Christmas songs like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “The Christmas Shoes,” because they only magnified my loneliness. I didn’t realize before how many Christmas songs were about being home with your loved ones. My mom was like a Christmas angel, filling in wherever she was needed. Brent took Travis to school on many snowy mornings. Mark kept working hard on his printing job, and his family helped as much as they could. My kids all tried cheering me up every chance they got.

We waved and blew kisses at one another from my front windows as they drove up and sat in front of our house for a little while, just to feel like they were home. They dropped off cards, pictures, and flowers. One card I’ll always remember played the song, “I Will Survive.” They even brought my favorite Starbucks drink, Strawberry Iced Frappacino. Savannah, my little granddaughter, was four years old at the time, and couldn’t understand why I was all alone and why they couldn’t come in. She thought everyone was mad at me. That took some careful explaining. The ladies from church brought one meal after another, and I received many calls from neighbors and countless gifts and cards from friends. I realized how God had carried me through the storm when it was next to impossible to go on by myself. The famous poem “Footprints” came alive for me with a deeper meaning, as I realized that God had carried me at this terribly low time in my life. The last few lines of the poem had the most meaning, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you.” I was now beginning to understand the depth of God’s love.

Keep and guard me as the pupil of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8

thus says the Lord: restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord; and your children shall return from the enemy’s land. and there is hope for your future, says the Lord. Jeremiah 31:16-17

 

Rejoicing Though the Tears

By Brenda George

 

The URL to my website:

rejoicingthrough.com

 

The Link to my blog:

http://brendageorge.authorsxpress.com/

 

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05 Oct

AstroNumerology

9781452522326_COVER.indd

By Jesse Kalsi

“Numbers are alive and are represented by planetary energy. They have a direct impact on our success, health, happiness and prosperity.”

 

There are several different kinds of numerology; each has its particular strengths. However, even the best system is worthless without clear and consistent interpretation relative to the issues at hand. With clarity, insight, and compassion Jesse has consulted with individuals regarding their personal and business lives.

 

I use the term “AstroNumerology” because I associate numbers with planets, which are astronomical bodies. AstroNumerology is not about adding numbers up; it is about looking at each individual number, since each represents a particular planet, and considering the totality of the number’s own “planetary system.” Each planet is further associated with different precious & semi-precious gems, colors, and the basic relationships of planets within the Solar System.

Adding a certain number to improve a vibration for a home or business (“patching”)* is like adding the energy of another planet to a home or business. Most homes or businesses are patched very specifically, based on the type of business or the date(s) of birth and names(s) of the person(s) living in the residence. In the Vedic tradition, numbers are also related to the four elements, which correspond to the cardinal points. Since I grew up in India, I was surrounded by Vedic traditions, including Vedic numerology. However, I use the following correspondences between numbers and planets:

  1. The Sun
  2. The Moon
  3. Jupiter
  4. Uranus
  5. Mercury
  6. Venus
  7. Neptune
  8. Saturn
  9. Mars

Many traditional Vedic numerologists just add numbers up until they achieve a single-digit result and work with the characteristics only of that number. A home address of 2733 would thus be 2+7+3+3 or 15, then 1+5, or 6. The Vedic numerologist would then consult on the characteristics of the number 6 with the client. However, AstroNumerology takes all the planetary energies present in an address into account. Using the same home address, we see that 2733 has the Moon, followed by Neptune, followed by two Jupiter’s. These planets move about each other in a Venus vibration. All five of these planets (remember, two Jupiter’s!) must be considered.

Let’s look at a well-known address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. Many traditional Vedic numerologist would add this up to a 7 (1+6+0+0) and consult with the client about the number 7 alone. In AstroNumerology, the number 1600 represents the Sun and Venus moving about each other in a Neptune vibration. The two zeroes amplify, for better or for worse, the energies represented by all three planets. The Sun and Venus together on a home address have a discordant energy. This combination also brings in confusion, deception, and miscommunication. One must be careful while close to a fire, whether in a fireplace or the kitchen, because accidents could easily happen near the flames.

If 1600 were a business address, it could be extremely profitable, depending on the kind of business. Food, music, and technology are three business’ which could flourish in such a number. Unfortunately, diplomacy and policy are not enterprises that flourish in this vibration, as many United States Presidents have discovered to their dismay. The number 1600 is also destructive of personal reputations and personal growth.

 

The Power Of Home Numbers

“Our old house was smaller, but much happier than this one. My husband’s job was more fulfilling and our children were joyful. We moved to this house, and…what happened?”

This question and others have been posed to Jesse Kalsi over the past two decades. His experiences in helping people improve the relationships under their roof are outlined in The Power of Home Numbers.

The Power of Home Numbers is a unique presentation of how your date of birth, home address, and name work (or don’t) in your favor. Moving to a “better” house can sometimes backfire in unexpected ways.

A favorable residential address can bring family peace, harmonious relationships, and long-lasting partnerships with good neighbors. An unfavorable residential address can have multiple negative effects: health consequences, financial stress, family disruption….

Drawing on Eastern and Western numerological traditions, Mr. Kalsi explains the energies of the numbers 1 through 9, discusses the significance of 0, and presents numbers as they appear in residential addresses. Each number signifies a specific planet, e.g., 6 represents Venus; thus, an address including a 6 involves the relationships of the resident(s) with Venus. This system, “AstroNumerology,” is used for business success by professional athletes, businesspeople, and celebrities in the media world.

The Power of Home Numbers analyzes combinations of birthdates and personal names, residential addresses, and their planetary energy so that the reader becomes aware of their inter-connection. Where an address is unfavorably aspected, Mr. Kalsi explains how he has used Number Patching™ to elevate the resonance of the address.

All analyses preserve the privacy of involved individuals; the only true names are in the chapters involving world affairs.

To understand why things are perhaps not working as well in your current home as they did in a previous dwelling, look to The Power of Home Numbers for enlightenment.

Business Naming

In addition to the home numbers being in tune with the occupants (the subject of my first book), it is extremely important that the business name vibrations be in sync with the owner’s name and the business address, based on the owner’s personal energy. In my experience, I have realized that these two vibrations – name and home – must vibrate positively for success and prosperity. Precious gems like blue sapphire, ruby, diamond, yellow sapphire, cat’s eye, pearl, amethyst, red coral, and emerald can also be used to bring good luck and more opportunities based on the owner’s personal energy.

Besides home numbers, name numbers, and the use of gems, bank account numbers to draw the energy of wealth, telephone numbers to bring positive information, and car registration numbers are some other examples that should be considered very carefully. Numbers correspond with colors, too: by knowing one’s basic numerology, the right colors can be used to enhance the well-being and draw the right spiritual energy.

It is also extremely important that the energy of homes be cleared on a regular basis. Many techniques, like burning sage, repainting the interior, removing old drapes, and dowsing, help in keeping the numbers vibrating positively.

 

Business Name Changes

The success of a business is greatly dependent on the business’s name with the right numerological vibration and a positive business address. Different kinds of businesses have different kinds of energy; for example, a food business works well with the Moon (#2) and Neptune (#7), real estate with Saturn (#8), and communications and the media with Mercury (#5). It is also extremely important that the business be born at an auspicious astrological time.

Numbers play a very important part in the buying and selling of real estate. Having been in the real estate business myself for 15 years, I have realized that certain numerologies always pull money while other numbers constantly drain cash and bring health challenges and other personal problems.

The name “Microsoft” has the energy of Jupiter, the largest planet, the energy of wealth and expansion; an excellent name that has brought Microsoft financial success and a huge global presence. The address (One Microsoft Way) and Bill Gates’ date of birth (October 28, 1955) work to the great advantage of Microsoft. There couldn’t be a better combination than the #1 and #4 coming together here: #4 and #1 act like a mirror image of each other. The Sun + Uranus are magical.

Apple, at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA, is represented by the mighty Sun (the #1 in the street address) and by Neptune (#7 represented in the name “Apple”), a very mysterious kind of planetary energy. The Sun and Neptune flow in harmony; they’re very compatible energies, and this is one of the many reasons Apple has become a global company. For additional Sun influence, one need only look to Steve Jobs’ date of birth-February 24, 1955-and see that it’s an additional Sun-influenced day. Two Suns working together bring the success Apple has experienced, in harmony with its name.

 

The Importance of Jersey Numbers in Sports

Over the years, I’ve observed that jersey numbers vibrate very powerfully for the players who wear them. These numbers need to be in sync with the players’ names and dates of birth for the player to maximize his potential for success.

In India, where cricket is a huge interest and players also wear player numbers, numerologists are consulted before a player is assigned a number. This is because the number must vibrate with the player’s personal energies. Even in individual sports (for example, tennis or golf), an athlete’s date of birth and publicly known name will vibrate either to help or hinder the athlete.

In June 2005, NFL running back Clinton Portis agreed to pay $18,000 to former Washington Redskins teammate Ifeanyi Ohalete to avoid a trial between the two players. When Portis had been traded to the Redskins by the Denver Broncos in 2004, he wanted jersey number 26, which he had worn for two seasons at Denver. However, Ohalete was already wearing 26 for the Redskins. After discussions, the two players agreed that Ohalete would give Portis the number 26 in exchange for $40,000 and would wear number 30 instead. Clearly, jersey numbers mean a lot to their wearers!

 

About the Author

Jesse Kalsi is a world-renowned numerologist. He specializes in residential, business, and sports numerology and provides valuable insight on the power of numbers and how they affect our lives. In his book, The Power of Home Numbers, he combines his Eastern upbringing with his Western experience to bring awareness and understanding of this phenomenon.

Over the past 20+ years, Jesse has consulted thousands of people and affected their lives positively. His clients include prominent business people and extremely successful communication and entertainment companies. Jesse Kalsi has appeared on many radio and television shows in the U.S., and his unique perspective on Numerology has amazed his audience. He lives in Northern California with his family.

More information is available at http://www.jessekalsi.com.

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