Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are You Getting in the Way?

Anger and Hurt; another lonely place!

Being human can really be challenging, to say the least. We feel emotions with every breath we take, every move we make. Some emotions are so sweet that we never want to lose that feeling. Other emotions cause us so much anger and hurt that we are paralyzed with pain.

 Our minds use anger as a memory of a hurt that we have experienced. The memory is usually due to the fact that we neglected to express our hurt at the time for one reason or another. We tend to not show our anger or hurt because we do not want to cause a conflict or hurt another's feelings or ever admit those feelings. We also hang onto it because once we actually show we are angered, we are showing we are not perfect and that in fact we are human and can feel pain.

 But if we continue to push away our feelings to protect our perfect selves, we become less real and less connected to people in our lives, without even realizing how  far we are pushing them away.

 Protecting another person from our hurts or anger is only imprisoning ourselves, so that they will never be able to reach us. If we do this long enough we cannot find happiness anywhere. When we are questioned why we are upset, we can not even find the beginning to the hurt we have hidden. The longer we hide our hurts and anger the more confusing they become. Things get all tangled up and if we dare try to explain, we are totally speaking another language.

 Have you ever been hurt by someone and then they make it impossible for you to explain why you are angered? Those people can do a lot of damage, they are controllers. When you can identify that type of person, only then can you fight back and tell them, "please just shut up and listen". If you want to be unhappy then keep hanging onto that hurt. It will definitely drag your self-esteem to the bottom.

 Hurt is a pain of the moment and it is happening right now. Its reason is right there in front of you. You must deal with it or you will only hide it and end up alone in your prison of loneliness. The longer you hold back, the more angry you become with you, for not acting out. That's when guilt moves right on in and takes over, making you  want to get even with that person. Your negative thoughts are seeded now and nothing feels good. Is this a good thing? NOT!!!

 It is definitely not easy to risk being called oversensitive, or told that you are just causing a fight, or they just laugh you off like you are a child. You may even find that this person doesn`t really care about you. Better to find that out asap, don`t you think? 

 These FEELINGS of hurt and anger have a way of taking over our lives. Is it not better to let it out now than to live in an unhappy life of silence?  Tell someone how you feel, when you feel it, or you will only lock those FEELINGS up inside you and trust me, you will lose yourself.

You may even hurt the one you love, but honesty is the best way. I believe that with a true love you should be able to tell that person anything and yes even if you feel hurt or angered by them.

 Love conquers anger and hurt. It battles jealousy and helps lift you to a higher self-esteem!

 To be truly happy and not endure the prisons of negative emotions, we need to be heard. We need to be understood. We need to be forgiven. We also need to be loved and cared for.

Are You Chasing the Elusive Butterfly of Happiness?

For many people happiness is an elusive butterfly in the garden of life. Imagine a young child in the garden on a summer day. The child sees a beautiful butterfly flitting from flower to flower. With eyes of wonder the child wants to see it close up, touch it, and hold it in their hands. The child goes towards the flower that the butterfly is resting on, with arms out stretched, only to find as he just gets in reach, the butterfly moves to another flower. Undeterred the child follows the butterfly to the next flower, and then the next, but the butterfly always stays just out of reach.


As adults, happiness can seem just like that butterfly, always just out of reach. It becomes almost an obsession and the words “if only…” become an increasingly large part of our thoughts and vocabulary. If only I had more money I would be happy, if only I was in a great relationship I would be happy, if only I could have a different job……….and the list goes on. Even if we achieve one of our “if only “desires, the happiness we seek is still just out of our reach. The truth of the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” becomes our focus and perception. If this becomes our focus, we find that dissatisfaction and unhappiness increasingly keep growing in our life and experience.


The unhappiness within us can not be completely satisfied by external events or circumstances. To find happiness in life we must first be at peace with ourselves internally. External events and circumstances can bring us happiness in the moment, but they do not have a lasting effect on our inner self. Life experience brings a mixture of good and bad circumstances to everyone. To rely on life’s experiences for our source of happiness would mean living life in a constant emotional roller coaster ride.


Happiness comes from within. The inner contentment that survives the roller coaster ride of life has its roots deep within our being. The source of happiness comes from finding and embracing who we are as a person, and living a life of purpose. We need to find peace in every aspect of our life- the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. To discover acceptance, purpose and peace in all of these areas will give a sense of completion in life. If we neglect any one of these areas, we experience a sense of emptiness and feel something is missing. There is not a solid foundation for building happiness within, but we then, typically start to try to fill this incompleteness by looking for outside solutions. That is the point when we can fall into the ‘elusive butterfly’ syndrome, and experience such frustration.


Is happiness an elusive butterfly for you? Spend some time in quiet reflection. Are you neglecting one of the four important parts of who you are and experiencing a sense of emptiness within? The more you discover, embrace and accept your uniqueness and purpose, the more you will experience the butterfly of happiness alighting on your shoulder.

Are You Getting in the Way?

Getting out of our busy mode and into our heart occasionally, I'm certain that many of us would find at least one moment during our day where we could pause, reflect on a situation, and see something that we can do to make a difference in someone else's life.

The pace of life and work has increased a lot and I daresay we don't give as much thought as we could to the circumstances of other people's lives. Sometimes, we're so caught up in our own struggle that we don't think we can even afford the time to "give" our time, suggestions, talents, to others. And yet, if we do, we are rewarded.

We are often times, throughout our lives, able to experience richness, synchronicity, and reward through small acts of generosity. This isn't even about money, although sometimes the rewards will impact our financial status as well. And yet, we fail too often when we are so self-absorbed or consumed by our own situation thinking we'd give up too much by helping.

So, this is just a gentle reminder for all of us to pay attention to at least one "little thing" that will make a difference for someone else. Try to make it for someone you don't know well or don't know at all; family and friends are too easy and natural.

Are You Worried? 4 Steps to Peace of Mind

A friend has this quotation on his office wall: "I know worry works because nothing I worry about ever happens."

I think I must believe that, because I worry a lot -- and about the most insignificant things. I worry about the big things, of course, like health, relationships, and finances. But I'm also liable to fret about anything and everything that finds its way into my consciousness.

Because I spend so much time on worry, I've decided to embrace it with a personal research project. Maybe you'd like to join me.

Here are two avenues I'm exploring:

1) I practice catching myself at it. "Hey, I'm worrying again." During a recent morning swim, I caught myself worrying 10 times during one lap! I'm not kidding. On rare days when I don't have anything to worry about, I find something. What I've learned is that worry is a mental habit. I can change habits; I've done it before. There's hope.

2) My second approach is to practice presence. By this I mean stopping my thoughts. In my workshops, I ring a bell to help participants practice centering. The quieter we are, the longer we hear the bell. There's a lovely moment when we all listen . . . until the ring is barely audible . . . then just a memory. I relish that moment of quiet before my thoughts re-engage. There is no future or past, just Now. No worrying thoughts -- no thoughts at all. It's a peaceful place, which is why I stretch the moment. I want to strengthen the connection to something greater than my worries.

3) When I told my good friend Rosie about my worry project, she told me about her approach, which is to do one of three things: decide to address the issue right then; if you can't do anything about it at the moment, give yourself a time to address it later; or decide that it is not important and let it go. In other words, act on it, file it or throw it away.

4) Finally, one of Rosie's favorite worry stoppers (and mine) is to sing. Connect with your self, your creativity, and the place where everything really is okay.

Awareness and acknowledgment are the keys to changing our habits. Morihei Ueshiba, who founded aikido and spoke of it as the Art of Peace, said we must "always practice the Art of Peace in a vibrant and joyful manner." Perhaps my research project on worry will help me to lighten up, smile, and live each day in such a way.

Are you worrying? Stop your thoughts for a moment. Listen to the sounds around you, pay attention, and be present to this key moment. And smile . . . for no reason. You may find that's the best reason of all.

Can You Say Yes To Happiness?  11 Practical Steps You Can Take To Make It Really Happen 
 Think about it ... every single thing we do is intended to make us happier. 

And yet sometimes we get diverted and do things that actually move us away from this goal.

We all have the potential for genuine happiness. There is no gene or DNA marker that determines who will be happy and who will not. We make choices throughout our lives, and the result of all these choices combined, determines our level of happiness. Make the right choices and happiness can be yours.

Here are just a sampling of some of the tactics we can employ in an 11-point roadmap to help guide us toward genuine happiness: 

1. Look For The Positive In Everything:  There is an old saying that nothing is inherently good or bad—what makes it one or the other, is merely your reaction to it. Find the positive and you will be happier. Those who soar against all odds, do so because they look at the positive that could come out of their situation, how ever bad it may seem to others.

2. Accentuate The Positive:  We all grow up with a “positivity imbalance”—the result of society’s norms and rules being based on restriction and punishment more than approval and reward.  From a young age we are taught what we must not do instead of what we may do. Even in day-to-day life, there is more negative influence that positive. Luckily you can work to improve the balance. Celebrate the positive and work to get more of it. When you achieve something, congratulate yourself! Look for things you find uplifting, that make you happy. Get more of that! At the same time, reduce your exposure to negative input, whether it is the daily news, or people you don’t feel good around. You know your buttons…make sure the positive ones are pushed more than the negative.

3. Practice Good Selfishness:  When we were young we were taught that putting our interests before those of others is wrong. This is particularly true for women, many of whom sacrifice their dreams and ambitions to help others achieve theirs. It is also common in the corporate world where the good of the company is considered more important than the good of the individual. It is good to help others, yet we should have boundaries to protect ourselves from being manipulated or abused by others. You are important, and if you don’t look after yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually, you cannot expect anyone else to do so.

4. Listen To Your Feelings:  All feelings are good. Every feeling occurs for a reason: it is delivering a message. Sometimes that message is pleasant, other times not. Our tendency is to distract ourselves from unpleasant feelings, often through smoking, drinking or drugs of one kind or another. When you feel bad, avoid distracting yourself, and identify the reason—there is some need not being met.

5. Give Of Yourself:  The more you give, the more you receive. There is probably no scientific study proving this to be so, but unconditional giving is hugely rewarding. It seems that the more of yourself you give, the greater the thrill and uplifting effect on your psyche. Help the needy. Give time if you can. Give anonymously, even if you lose the tax deduction!

6. Make It Happen:  You have the ability to make things happen using your mind. Top sports stars, and business people use it, and so can you. There are many ways of doing this; one of the common methods is to use visualization—getting a picture in your mind of whatever it is that you want to happen. It does not actually have to be a visual picture; it could be a feeling, a smell, a sound, or any combination of the senses. Imagine finding the perfect parking near the entrance as you arrive at the supermarket or mall … the sky is the limit, but persevere! We are not used to utilizing this tool, so it takes practice.

7. Accept The Things You Cannot Change:  We resist things we don’t like, and often expend a tremendous amount of energy on this resistance. Whilst this can be good, and has resulted in tremendous advances through history, we should work to understand those things we cannot change, and then move on. Rather use the saved energy on something more worthwhile and productive. This is not to say that you should complacently accept anything. If you truly desire change, you should work towards that change; but spending time worrying about something without actively working to change it is unproductive and damaging to your wellbeing.

8. Take Responsibility For Your Choices:  Everything that you do, or don’t do, is because of choices you make (or don’t make). It is easier and convenient to blame outside causes for things that go wrong in life, but your life is the sum of all the choices you make along the way—sometimes that choice it to let somebody else make a choice on your behalf. If you tend to blame other people or things, it may be scary to take responsibility for what happens in your life, but it is really quite liberating because instead of seeing yourself as an effect of outside forces, you realize you are the cause of everything good you achieve. Don’t abdicate responsibility for your life.

9. Schedule Regular “Self Time”:  Spend some time analyzing where you are in life, your strengths and weaknesses. How can you turn the latter into the former? Think about your views on everything from your job to global warming and the existence of aliens—then work out why you feel the way you do. Is your reasoning sound? The better you understand yourself, the better you understand the world.

10. Make Time To Meditate:  We spend almost all our time thinking of the past or planning for the future. We seldom spend time in the present. It has reached a point where, for most of us, it seems impossible to keep our focus on what is happening right now. Your meditation could be formal meditation or prayer, but it could be as simple as merely focusing on each breath as it goes in and out for five or ten minutes, dismissing past and future thoughts as they arise—and they will!

11. Remove Your Limitations:  When we fail, usually the reason is simply because we don’t believe we are able or worthy of whatever it is that we fail to achieve. Most often, this belief is actually false; the result of negative programming received since childhood. The truth is that most of us are able to do most of what we really want to do … you just have to believe. The best way to start is with small things, working your way up as you notice the limits dissolving.

The more successful you are at assimilating the concepts and processes described in these eleven points into your life, the more genuinely happy you will be, and the happiness will last!

Change your mind and the rest will follow!
 

Change has a very negative connotation for most people. On a deep emotional level we are creatures of comfort and we automatically seek out that which feels good in the moment. We long for comfort and this usually comes from that which we know; that which is familiar to us. Once we can comfortably deal with and "know" all the "unknowns" we can "relax" – because your nervous system and your mind is designed to find and attach a meaning(s) to everything and therefore something new is always a confrontation between that which is and that which will be in your mind.

The unknown is always something that your mind and your nervous system has to "unravel" afresh and this very process feels uncomfortable on many levels. When something becomes comfortable you get used to it as you remove all the "unknowns" and your automatic behaviour can take over again. Our nervous system works primarily by conditioning and by repetition we notice and assume patterns that are consistent. This system is really there to serve us in helping us being more efficient and to be able to do more, more efficiently. Your mind is designed to always look for the best way. Through repetition we learn certain orders and sequences in which things happen and we learn to recognize and respond according to these sequences. Every emotion you experience, for instance, is nothing but the result of a sequence of events and reactions triggered by your unconscious awareness that generates and creates the actual feeling which is nothing but a sensation in your nervous system.

To change anything you must first of all become aware of these patterns. You must become aware of what goes on under the surface of your conscious awareness. This is not difficult and everybody can do this. You need not understand everything about the human nervous system to use it. Simply be aware of the fact that there is a part of you that responds and acts "automatically" based on your past experiences and associations. The challenge is to go from one pattern, one that does not serve you, to one which does. You quite literally would have to change your mind in that you have to change the way you perceive yourself and your life. Doing things differently will feel uncomfortable at first, but you can rest assured that the "uncomfortable" will become "comfortable" as you start to form new associations and new patterns of association.

The process of making the "uncomfortable" comfortable or making the "unknown" known is the way we grow as human beings. What you are comfortable with represents your comfort zone which includes all the experiences that you can comfortably deal with. If you don't expand this "zone" then you simply won't expand yourself as a person. The need to grow and become more as a person, is a deep emotional need that all humans have. Without growth you simply won't be happy. All growth, although it feels uncomfortable in the moment always feels immensely fulfilling in the long term and it is this feeling that we all really crave for; the feeling that we call "good". You can do something that feels comfortable and "good" in the moment by staying with what you know, but true fulfilment comes from pushing beyond your comfort zone and creating a sense of pride in yourself. Growth means change and change involves risk and risk is the process of stepping from the known to the unknown.

The truth is that all of life is constantly in a process of change. Nothing ever stays the same. It is the nature of all of life, including you. Even if you do nothing life will still change. For you to progress, you have to decide to consciously initiate and create the change. You have to consciously put yourself in the uncomfortable place where you can grow and as you do this you progress. Progress is by choice while change is automatic. To be in control of your life you have to consciously choose to change and to keep changing yourself to become the person you want to be. 

All change starts with a change of mind. You have to start by changing your thoughts about want you want to change. In changing the way you think about something you immediately change your perception and consequently the way you feel about it. When you change the way you feel you change your behaviour and that is how you progress. Constantly trying to change behaviour will rarely create long term and lasting change. Change your mind and the rest will follow! If you don't change then you simply won't grow and if you don't grow you are not really living.
Choosing Happiness
Ever heard someone say,”…so-in-so is great, but I’m just not happy?” Or have you ever wondered why you just couldn’t seem to find happiness? Read on to learn how you can choose to be happy.

Happiness is something you have to “choose” to be. A person could have all the money in the world, and still be unable to acquire what it is they really want, and ultimately remain unhappy. A person could be surrounded by all their friends and loved ones, and still be lonely. And, a person could have to eat bugs to survive, in a cold, wet prison cell, and still be happy to eat those bugs, and happy to be alive.  This person has gratefully accepted their surroundings, and has found some good or greater meaning in it, making the experience more pleasurable. This person chose to be happy with what they had, by being mindful of the moment, recognizing the potential it may have.

Getting into the habit of being happy is easy. The first step is learning to appreciate your blessings, seeing the good or greater meaning of things. This requires that you become more aware of your five senses. How else could the smell of freshly baked cookies cheer up your woefully dreary day? How else could the faint sound of your sleeping child’s breathing ease you into your own peaceful resting state? We need to use our senses to become more aware of our surroundings, and accept them. It’s then that we can change our surroundings to become more pleasing to us. This could include some small, but significant changes, like placing candles by the bathtub, or buying a special lamp for your reading area.

Scientific research suggests that colors play an important role in one’s moods. Light green and orange seem to make people feel happier, whereas red makes them feel hungry. Many people have been hiring interior decorators as part of their strategy for feeling better, as interior decorators have studied colors, patterns, layouts, etc., and they use these factors to create a comfortable living area, tailor-fit to your needs. Just remember to research your interior designer, and be frugal. The positive effect that redesign brings, needn’t be boggled down by guilt from over-doing it. The idea is to do things that make you feel good. It won’t make you feel good if you overspend, or overindulge. But it will make you feel good if you shopped around, and you got the best deal, completely fitting all your needs.

Again, awareness is the key to happiness. After you have become aware of yourself and surroundings, you can choose to be appreciative and happy.
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