Archive for February, 2009

Hard Learned Lessons

February 26, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

We all have days from time to time when it feels like the world is against us or that the chaos we are experiencing will never end. One negative circumstance seems to lead to another. You may wonder, on a bad day, whether anything in your life will ever go right again. But a bad day, like any other day, can be a gift. Having a bad day can show you that it is time to slow down, change course, or lighten up. A bad day can help you glean wisdom you might otherwise have overlooked or discounted. Bad days can certainly cause you to experience uncomfortable feelings you would prefer to avoid, yet a bad day may also give you a potent means to learn about yourself.

You may consider a bad day to be one where you’ve missing an important meeting because your car stalled, the dryer broke, and you received a piece of very bad news earlier in the morning. Multiple misfortunes that take place one after the other can leave us feeling vulnerable and intensely cognizant of our fragility. But bad days can only have a long-term negative effect on us if we let them. It is better to ask yourself what you can learn from these kinds of days. The state of your bad day may be an indicator that you need to stay in and hibernate or let go of your growing negativity.

Bad days contribute to the people we become. Though we may feel discouraged and distressed on our bad days, a bad day can teach us patience and perseverance. It is important to remember that your attitude drives your destiny and that one negative experience does not have to be the beginning of an ongoing stroke of bad luck.  A bad day is memorable because it is one day among many good days – otherwise, we wouldn’t even bother to acknowledge it as a bad day. Know too, that everybody has bad days, you are not alone, the world is not against you. Tomorrow is guaranteed to be a brighter day.

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Embracing the Disinherited

February 24, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

In tribal cultures, the elderly play an important role. They are the keepers of the tribe’s memories and the holders of wisdom. As such, the elderly are honored and respected members of tribes. In many modern cultures, however, this is often not the case. Many elderly people say that they feel ignored, left out, and disrespected. This is a sad commentary on modernization, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change this situation by taking the time to examine our attitudes about the elderly and taking action.

Modern societies tend to be obsessed with the ideas of newness, youth, and progress. Scientific studies tell us how to do everything – from the way we should raise our kids to what we need to eat for breakfast. As a result, the wisdom that is passed down from older generations is often disregarded. Of course, grandparents and retired persons have more than information to offer the world. Their maturity and experience allows for a larger perspective of life, and we can learn a lot from talking to elderly people. It’s a shame that society doesn’t do more to allow our older population to continue to feel productive for the rest of their lives, but you can help to make change. Perhaps you could help facilitate a mentorship program that would allow children to be tutored by the elderly in retirement homes. The elderly make wonderful storytellers, and creating programs where they could share their real life experiences with others is another way to educate and inspire other generations.

Take stock of your relationships with the elderly population. Maybe you don’t really listen to them because you hold the belief that their time has passed and they are too old to understand what you are going through. You may even realize that you don’t have any relationships with older people. Try to understand why and how our cultural perception of the elderly influences the way you perceive them. Look around you and reach out to someone who is elderly – even if you are just saying hello and making small talk. Resolve to be more aware of the elderly. They are our mentors, wise folk, and the pioneers that came before us and paved the way for our future.

The Greater Cause

February 21, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

With all that takes place in our lives, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the fact that we’re part of something greater than ourselves—a collective consciousness, the Universe, a greater cause. Because of our tendency to forget this, we might make decisions in our lives that don’t reflect that responsibility that comes with this belonging. All too often, we focus just on the short-term, tangible gain to ourselves without worrying about its consequences. Other times, we may discard the greater cause because it seems like “hard work.” The challenge is to expand our minds so that we transcend the distinction between self and others, so we are aware of how our choices and actions can impact a greater cause.

Contributing to the greater cause doesn’t have to be all about self-sacrifice. For example, if you plant a tree in a community space, its shelter will cool and protect you as well as your neighbors.  Or, your reward might be in the form of the beauty that you now see in that space or the sincere smiles of appreciation from neighbors.  When you serve the greater cause you also serve your greater good. There is nothing that you cannot do for your highest good that will not benefit the good of all. For example, saying no to a relationship that isn’t right for you not only benefits you but serves the greater good of the other person that you are honoring with your honesty. Saying yes to your dream job not only fulfills you but also serves the people that will benefit from your enthusiasm and productivity.

When you know you are serving a greater cause, there is little room for fear and doubt. You know that what you do will benefit others, so there is no way the universe is not going to support your efforts – even if sometimes it may not look that way. Serving the greater cause allows you to live from the space of your greatness. When you know that what you do can serve a greater cause, you are aware of your power and ability to influence and create change in this world.

Cultivating The Seed Within

February 20, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

In our noisy world, we often find ourselves longing for peace and searching to find it somewhere else. While it’s true that there are places we can visit where we can experience peace, such as sacred sites or buildings, we do not need to wait until we get to one of these places to feel at peace. Instead, we can learn to locate the seed of peace inside ourselves and cultivate it so that it grows into a reliable source of serenity that we can always access, no matter where we are.

We experience peace when we are in a state of mental calm and serenity. It might surprise you to notice how infrequently you allow yourself to be free from anxiety. Realizing this is the first step to inner peace. If you wait until all the details of your life are taken care of to allow yourself to experience peace, you will never feel peaceful because there is always something that your mind can grab onto to create anxiety. It is important to consciously set aside your worries and make time to cultivate inner peace.

Ideally, you could schedule time each day to meditate on peace and experience what it feels like to be calm and serene. It takes practice to learn how to let go of your worries, so give yourself some time. Inhale deeply, and feel your worries dissolve with every exhale. Remind yourself that soon enough you will be able to take care of everything you need to,  but right now you are taking a break.  As the clutter of your thoughts and concerns clear away, you will start to feel more serene. Allow yourself to move deeper into this state with each inhale. Realize that you have the power to free yourself from anxiety simply by deciding to do so. The more you practice feeling peaceful, the easier it will be for you to feel at peace.

The Power Of The Circle

February 18, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

There are many reasons for why a gathering of people in a circle is powerful. A circle is a shape that is found repeatedly throughout the natural world, and it is a symbol of perfection. We recreate this perfect shape when we join others to form a circle.  Being in a circle allows us experience each other as equals. Each person is the same distance apart from the next participant, and no one is seated higher than or stands apart from others in a circle.  From tribal circles to the mythical round table of King Arthur, the circle has been the shape adopted by gatherings throughout history.

The circle is acknowledged as an archetype of wholeness and integration, with the center of a circle universally understood to symbolize Spirit – the Source. When a group of people come together in a circle, they are united. This unity becomes even more powerful when each person reaches out to touch a neighbor and clasps hands. This physical connection unites thought and action, mind and body, and spirit and form in a circle. Because a circle has no beginning and no end, the agreement to connect in a circle allows energy to circulate from one person to the next, rather than being dissipated into the environment.

Like a candle used to light another candle, the connection with spirit that results when one person joins hands with another is greater than if each person were to stand alone. People who take part in a circle find that their power increases exponentially while with the group.  Like a drop of water rippling on the surface of a pond, the waves of energy produced in a circle radiate outward in circular motion.  While one person may act like a single beacon that emanates light, a circle of people is like a satellite dish that sends out energy. There is power in numbers, and when the commitment is made by many to face one another, clasp hands, and focus on one intention, their circle emanates ripples of energy that can change the world.

Thought for the week

February 17, 2009

 

The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.

—- William James, a Harvard Psychologist

 

 

We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.

— Anais Nin

 

 

For every failure, there is an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.

— Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

 

 

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.

— Martin Luther King, Jr

 

 

You can never learn less, you can only learn more. The reason I know so much is because I have made so many mistakes.

— Buchminster Fuller, mathematician and philosopher who never graduated from college but received 46 doctorates

 

 

Your outer circumstances are but reflections of your inner thoughts.

—- Various authors

 

 

Some men see things as they are and say why I dream of things that never were and say why not.

—- Robert F. Kennedy

 

Is Stress Hurting Your Heart? Quiz

February 16, 2009

 [ By Barbara Howard, contributing writer for Care2’s healthy and green living]

 

 Are you a victim of stress?

 

We all go through life’s ups and downs, day after day. Daily stress is normal, to a point. We may not even be conscious of the stress we are under—some people actually become “numb” to it. But the dangers from stress are very real.

 

During ongoing stress or a “stress event,” your body becomes flooded with the stress hormones, adrenaline (leading to high blood pressure, burnout and adrenal gland depletion) and cortisol (leading to loss of bone mass, insomnia, ulcers, fat buildup in the middle and hips, and fat buildup in the arteries). Also released are catecholamines, which are neurotransmitters that deactivate the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is one reason why you may have trouble concentrating, making decisions, planning, etc.

 

All of this compromises your immune system, so it’s harder to fight off that bug that is going around the office or that the kids bring home. You age faster, too, which means wrinkles, aches and pains, fatigue and more. Your body’s glands, organs and systems become compromised and depleted.

 

Take the Stress/Heart Health Quiz:

 

Do you worry all the time about your job or finances?

Are you under a lot of stress on the job and/or at home?

Do you have trouble focusing or concentrating?

Are you often lonely, sad, depressed, or angry?

Are you short tempered and irritable?

Are you tired all the time?

Do you have chronic head, back and neck aches?

Do you have unexplained weight gain around the middle?

Do you often feel overwhelmed?

Do you frequently catch a cold?

Do you have high blood pressure?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing the symptoms and side-effects of stress.

 

Important: The symptoms and harmful side-effects of stress are cumulative, meaning they build up and get worse over time.

 

What kind of stress are you under?

 

• Environment: Your physical surroundings, air pollution, noise pollution, toxins, etc.
• Family: Relationships with family members, caring for parents, spouses, or children who are ill or have special needs, romantic relationships
• Work: Overwork, disharmony at work, unrealistic deadlines, etc.
• Social: Financial pressures, unemployment, lack of support, etc.
• Inner: Overuse of drugs or alcohol, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc.
• High-stress events: Loss of loved one, loss of job, moving, divorce, etc.

 

Fact: Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death, including coronary heart disease.

 

In his book, Heart Sense for Women, world-renowned cardiologist, Dr. Stephen Sinatra writes, “A high-stress lifestyle is considered a risk factor for heart disease. Often, a sudden high-stress event, like divorce, loss of job, serious illness, death of a loved one or other emotionally traumatic events, can be a trigger for a heart attack.”

 

 

 

A Peaceful World

February 14, 2009

  — Arthur Hubbard —

 

A peaceful world must weave itself from single peaceful souls

As mighty rivers gather strength from single drops of rain

Peace thrives on family harmony and common kindred goals

In harmony we find the end of hunger, fear and pain

 

Through empathy in business life, employer and employed

In harmony at place of work, prosperity is found

When tolerance of race and creed is openly enjoyed

Then health and wealth and joy and hope are destined to a bound

 

In harmony with all of life, one finds a lasting peace

Through unity with earth and sky, humanity finds grace

When we are on the road to peace, our hopes will never cease

In sparing air and soil and sea, we save the human race

 

While harmony of powers of powers- that-be must be a fervent goal

Yet, world peace builds from inner peace and gentleness of soul

Staying Grounded in a Big City or Busy World

February 14, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

1. Live simply and live deliberately. By choosing not to get caught up in the details of this fast-paced world, you are doing your part to slow down the . You will also discover that you have more time to enjoy being alive.

2. Stay in touch with yourself. Soul searching, meditation, and journaling are just a few of the many activities you can take part in to stay aware and learn as much as you can about your emotions, reactions, likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears. Having a solid sense of self gives you a firm foundation for living in this world.

3. Support or teach others as often as you can. This can help you form connections with people while also giving you an opportunity to make the world a better place.

4. Consciously choose what you will allow into your being. The media bombards us with visions of hate, war, and pain. Be judicious about what you read, watch, and listen to.

5. Acknowledge the beauty that resides around you. Whether you live in a sprawling metropolis or a stereotypical suburb, there are natural and man-made wonders just waiting to be discovered by you.

6. Nurture your ties to your tribe. If you don’t have one, create a community that you can belong to. Modern life can be isolating. When you have a tribe, you have a circle that you are a part of. Its members – loved ones, friends, or neighbors – can be a source of support, caring, guidance, and companionship.

7. See the larger picture. Remember that the way that you choose to live is not the only way to live. Widen your perspective by exploring other modes of being through research, travel, and discussion.

8. Embrace the challenges that life presents to you, and challenge yourself often. After a time, even the most exciting jobs or lifestyles can seem routine. Never stop assimilating new knowledge about whatever you are doing, and your life will never seem dull.

9. Move your body. In this busy world, it can be easy to live a sedentary life. Movement reacquaints us with our bodies and connects us to the earth in a visceral way. It also restores our vitality.

10. Make time for stillness, silence, and solitude. The world can be noisy, and we are subject to all kinds of noises nearly every waking hour. We are also often “on the go” and unable to relax. Being alone in a peaceful place and making time for quiet can help you stay in touch with yourself.

The Teacher

February 13, 2009

— Cardinal Spellman —

 

I took a piece of plastic clay,

And idly fashioned it one day,

And as my fingers pressed it still,

It moved and yielded to my will,

I came again when days were past;

The bit of clay was hard at last;

The form I gave it still it bore,

But I could change that form no more.

 

I took a piece a of living clay,

And gently formed it day by day;

And moulded it with power and art,

A young child’s soft and yielding heart;

I came again when years were gone;

It was a man I looked upon;

He still that early impress bore,

And I could change that form no more.

 

Balance

February 13, 2009

[ From DailyOM]

Like pieces of a puzzle, the many different aspects of your being come together to form the person that you are. You work and play, rest and expend energy, commune with your body and soul, exalt in joy, and feel sorrow. Balance is the state that you achieve when all of the aspects of your life and self are in harmony. Your life force flows in a state of equilibrium because nothing feels out of sync.  While balance is necessary to have a satisfying, energetic, and joyful life, only you can determine what balance means to you.

Achieving balance requires that you assess what is important to you. The many demands of modern life can push us to make choices that can put us off balance and have a detrimental effect on our habits, relationships, health, and career. In creating a balanced lifestyle, you must ascertain how much time and energy you are willing to devote to the different areas of your life. To do so, imagine that your life is a house made up of many rooms. Draw this house, give each part of your life its own room, and size each room according to the amount of importance you assign to that aspect of your life. You can include family, solitude, activities that benefit others, healthy eating, indulgences, exercise  and working on self. You may discover that certain elements of your life take up an inordinate amount of time, energy, or effort and leave you with few resources to nurture the other aspects of your life.  You may want to spend less time on these activities and more on the ones that  fulfill you.

A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures, as well as time to live well and in a gratifying way. With its many nuances, balance can be a difficult concept to integrate into your life. Living a balanced existence, however , can help you attain a greater sense of happiness, health, and fulfillment.

If Tomorrow Never Comes

February 12, 2009

[From an email]

 

If I knew it would be the last time

that I see you walk out the door,

I would give you a hug and kiss and

call you back for one more.

 

If I knew it would be the last time

I ‘d hear your voice lifted up in praise,

I would videotape each action and word,

so I could play them back day after day.

 

If I knew it would be the last time,

I could spare an extra minute or two to stop

and I say “ I love you,”

instead of assuming you would know I do.

 

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,

young or old alike,

and today may be the last chance

you get to hold your loved one tight.

 

So If you’re waiting for tomorrow,

why not do it today?

For if tomorrow never comes,

you’ll surely regret the day.

 

That you didn’t take that extra time for a smile, a hug,

or a kiss and you were too busy to grant someone,

what turned out to be their one last wish.

 

So hold your loved ones close today,

whisper in their ear,

tell them how much you love them

and that you’ll always hold them dear.

 

Take time to say “ I am sorry,”

“ please forgive me,”

“ Thank you “or “ It’s okay “

and if tomorrow never comes,

you ‘ll have no regrets about today.

Cycle Of Life

February 12, 2009

As we walk through the world, the people we encounter appear so different from one another. We see babies, old men, pregnant women, and teenaged boys. We know couples on the verge of marriage and lonely widows. We interact with toddlers and the terminally ill. As different as each person seems, they are all living the human experience. They are just at different places in the cycle that begins with birth and ends with death. Every phase of the cycle of life has its gifts and its challenges. Each stage is temporary and ultimately gives way to a new phase. This ephemeral quality makes each phase precious, because it will never last.

One of the wonderful qualities possessed by babies and young children is that they are unaware that a cycle of life even exists. They simply are present to wherever they happen to be right now, and they don’t give much thought to the past or future.  Being around them reminds us of the joy that comes from living fully in the moment. On the opposite end of life’s cycle are our elderly role models. They are a reminder that each phase of life should be treasured. Time does pass, and we all change and grow older.

Being aware of the cycle of life and our place in it makes us wiser. As we develop a true appreciation for the phase we are in, we can savor it more. A new mother going through a difficult time with her infant can more easily embrace her challenges because she knows that her child will grow up, and she will long for this time again.  Difficult and challenging periods are inevitable, but – like everything that is a part of the cycle of life – they are temporary. When we are fully engaged with life, we get to savor and grow from each phase, and we are ready for the next one when it arrives. Fully embracing wherever you are in the cycle of life is the very essence to happiness.

Sweetening A Sour Apple

February 11, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Because life requires that we interact with different personalities, it is not uncommon for us to encounter a situation where there is one person whose behavior may negatively impact the experiences of others. Someone who is loud and crass can interrupt the serenity of those who come together to practice peace. A disruptive worker can cause rules to be imposed that affect their colleagues’ professional lives. A team member who is pessimistic or highly critical may destroy the morale of their fellow members. And one “bad apple” in your personal life can be a potent distraction that makes it difficult to focus on the blessings you’ve been given and the people who love you.

There may always be people in your life who take it upon themselves to create disruption, foster chaos, stamp out hope, and act as if they are above reproach – even when, in doing so, they put a blight on their own experiences. But you don’t need to allow their negativity and callousness to sour your good mood. Often, our first impulse upon coming head-to-head with a bad apple is to express our anger and frustration in no uncertain terms. However, bad apples only have the power to turn our lives sour if we let them. 

If you can exercise patience and choose not to respond to their words or actions, you will significantly limit the effect they are able to have on you and your environment. You can also attempt to encourage a bad apple to change their behavior by letting your good behavior stand as an example. If your bad apple is simply hoping to attract notice, they may come to realize that receiving positive attention is much more satisfying than making a negative impression. While you may be tempted to simply disassociate yourself entirely from a bad apple, consider why they might be inclined to cause disturbances. Understanding their motivation can help you see that bad apples are not necessarily bad people. Though bad apples are a fact of life, minimizing the impact you allow them to have upon you is empowering because you are not letting anyone else affect the quality of your experiences. You may discover that buried at the very heart of a bad apple is a seed of goodness.

Kid’s View On Science

February 10, 2009

– When they broke open molecules, they found they were only stuffed with atoms. But when they broke open atoms, they found them stuffed with explosions.

– When people run around and around in circles we say they are crazy. When planets do it we say they are orbiting.

– While the earth seems to be knowingly keeping its distance from the sun, it is really only centrificating.

– Most books now say our sun is a star. But it still knows how to change back into a sun in the daytime.

– A vibration is a motion that cannot make up its mind which way it wants to go.

– Many dead animals of the past changed to fossils, others preferred to be oil.

– Vacuums are nothings. We only mention them to let them know we know they’re there.

– Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun. But I have never been able to make out the numbers.

– We say the cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for a lot of things people forget to put the top on.

– I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it, and that is the important thing.

– Rain is saved up in cloud banks.

– Cyanide is so poisonous that one drop of it on a dog’s tongue will kill the strongest man.

– Thunder is a rich source of loudness.