Archive for October, 2009

Facing Problems

October 31, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

There are times when change—moving to a new city or a new home, or changing careers—is the right thing at the right time. But there are also times when the urge for change is really just a desire to run away from problems that need to be faced rather than avoided. These are the kinds of problems that recur in our lives. For example, issues with coworkers that seem to arise at every job we take, or repeatedly getting into unhealthy relationships.  A move might temporarily distract us, and even cure the problem for a time, simply by taking us out of the situation in which the problem fully manifested itself. However, the problem will eventually appear again in our new situation.

One way to make sure you aren’t running away from your problems is to notice whether you are moving towards something that is exciting in its own right, as opposed to something that is appealing only because it is not where you are now. For example, if you are leaving a city because you feel you can’t afford it, you could be reinforcing poverty consciousness, and you might find that you are unable to make ends meet in your new city as well. It would ultimately be less of an effort to stay where you are and look more deeply into your beliefs about money. You may discover that as you address these issues, you are able to make more money simply by changing your mindset. You may still decide to move, but it will be an act with a positive intention behind it and not an escape, which could make all the difference.

Any pain involved in facing our issues is well worth the effort in the end. When we face our problems instead of avoiding them, we free our energy and transform ourselves from people who run away into people who move enthusiastically forward.

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Uncharted Territory

October 30, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

When we are lost, we typically look at a map to figure out where we are and how to get to our chosen destination. This works well, assuming that there is a map of the territory in which we find ourselves, and assuming that we know our destination. However, this is not always the case. At this time in human history, we are all venturing into uncharted territory, whether we know it or not. And as individuals, we may find ourselves covering ground that our predecessors never even knew existed. When we look to them for guidance, they often come up short. Not knowing exactly where we are, we find ourselves unsure of which way to go, and eventually the uneasy feeling that we are lost presents itself.

The beauty of being lost is the same thing that makes it scary—it asks us to look within ourselves to find the way. If we have no map, we must go on instinct, relying on our inner compass to show us which way to go. This can be scary because so much seems to be riding on it. We fear we might go too far in the wrong direction, or become paralyzed and make no progress at all. And yet, this is the very challenge we need to develop our ability to trust ourselves. We are also learning to trust that the universe will support and guide us. We may believe this intellectually, but it is only through experience that it becomes knowledge of the heart. Learning to be okay with being lost and trusting that we will be guided, we begin our journey.

We can support ourselves by confirming that we don’t need to know exactly where we are going in order to take our first steps. We are learning to feel our own way, rather than following an established path, and in doing so we learn to trust ourselves. It is this trust that connects us to the universe and reminds us that no matter how lost we feel, and even as we journey, on the inner level we are already home.

Energy to Spare

October 29, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Every human life is defined, to some extent, by limits. No one person is capable of fulfilling every possibility. We are all born with unique aptitudes and sensitivities, and it is these qualities that largely determine the paths we will travel in life. What invigorates, excites, and inspires one individual may exhaust or overwhelm another. When we understand what we as individuals are capable of reasonably handling, we gradually learn to accept that we have control over our wellbeing. Yet determining where our limits lie can be difficult, as it is likely we have been told time and again that the discomfort, fatigue, and stress we felt while engaging in activities outside the range of our comfort zones was all in our heads. If you have never before given thought to the notion of personal limits, creating a list of those tasks and situations that leave you feeling drained can give you insight into your own.

You will know definitively that you are operating within your limits when you have the necessary energy and drive to address your personal and professional commitments. This is not to say you should not push yourself or work to extend the range of your capabilities. The wisdom you gain through dynamic self-examination will give you the tools you need to create an individual life strategy that allows you to achieve your goals without compromising yourself or your needs. The limits you honor by focusing your energy on what you can do rather than what you cannot do will not interfere with your ambitions unless you allow them to interfere. You can thrive within your limits, actively shape your circumstances, and avoid anguish by simply recognizing that certain aspects of life nourish you while others drain you, and doing your best to perceive the fine line between applying yourself diligently and overworking yourself.

You may be surprised to discover that your limits change over time. Your willingness to accept these limits as they reveal themselves to you can smooth your passage through life and give you the means to flourish.

Considering Others

October 28, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Every thought we think and every action we take has an effect on the world around us. To be aware of this is to be conscious of our impact on the people in our lives. Sometimes we just want to do what we want to do, but considering the full ramifications of our actions can be an important part of our spiritual growth and awareness. At first, being more conscious requires effort, but once we have made it a habit, it becomes second nature. The more we practice this awareness of others, the more we find ourselves in easy alignment with our integrity.

Our thoughts are an important place to begin this practice because our thoughts are the seeds of our actions. It is not necessary or beneficial to obsessively monitor all our thoughts, but we can perhaps choose one thought or action per day and simply notice if we are in alignment with this experience of integrity. For example, we may find ourselves replaying a negative encounter with someone in our minds. We may think that this doesn’t affect the person about whom we are thinking, but the laws of energy tell us that it does. When we hold someone negatively in our minds, we risk trapping them in negativity. If we were this person, we might wish for forgiveness and release. We can offer this by simply letting go of the negative thought and replacing it with a wish for healing on that person’s behalf.

With regard to our actions, we may have something difficult to express to someone. Taking the time to consider how we would feel if we were in his or her shoes will enable us to communicate more sensitively than we would if we just expressed ourselves from our own perspective. When we modify our approach by taking someone else’s feelings into account, we bring benefit to that person and ourselves equally. The more we do this, the more we reaffirm our integrity and the integrity of our relationship to the world

Starting from Empty

October 27, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

We are all familiar with the metaphorical story of two people looking at the same glass and one perceiving it as half-full while the other sees it as half-empty. As much as we’ve heard this, it’s still a valuable exercise to really observe our minds and notice whether we are engaged in half-full or half-empty thinking. People will refer to themselves as being of one type or the other as if it was a permanent characteristic, but we are all capable of shifting into a half-full consciousness if we simply make the effort.

When we look at our lives with half-empty consciousness, we perceive a lack and think that the other half of what we want is missing. We are coming from a position of expectation and entitlement. On the other hand, when we look at our lives as half-full we perceive fullness. It is as if we recognize that our cup could be fully empty and so we are grateful for what we see as bounty—not something we expect or believe we are owed, but a gift. In half-full consciousness, we count our blessings. When we look at our lives we see all the elements that are in place and all the things we do have. This doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t seek more, but we seek from a place of fullness instead of from a place of lack. This fullness draws positive energy into our lives and often attracts more abundance.

If you would like to begin to make the shift into half-full consciousness, try imagining your life as an empty glass. This is your life without all the people you know, the work you do, your home, or your current state of physical wellbeing. This is just an empty, open space waiting to be filled. Once you have that feeling of openness in your mind, begin filling it with all the people, things, and places that make up your life. You may be surprised to find your glass overflowing.

In-Between Times

October 24, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

It could be argued that life is more about the time spent waiting for something to happen than it is about something happening. What this means is that the big events in our lives are preceded by many days and nights of dreaming, planning, organizing, and waiting. The times of waiting in between the big events actually constitute the majority of our lives. These in-between times are anything but uneventful. In fact, they are rich with possibility and filled with opportunities for reflection and preparation. Like a pregnant woman awaiting the birth of her child, we have a finite period of time in which to prepare internally and externally for the upcoming event that will define a new chapter in our lives.

When we find ourselves in an in-between time, we often can’t help but feel impatient for the impending event. We just want to get to the future and have the new baby, the new job, or the new house. And yet, there is a reason a pregnancy takes nine months to fulfill itself. Nature provides the expectant parents with this time so that they can prepare the nest. This preparation plays out on many levels. Materially, a space must be created in the home and resources must be set aside for the baby’s future; psychologically, a shift must occur in which the psyches of both parents agree to be responsible for a new life in the world; and emotionally, the heart must open wider to embrace and fulfill a new love.

Whenever you find yourself in such a time of waiting, you might want spend time exploring your material, psychological, and emotional readiness. For example, if you are preparing to move to a new city, you could make a list of things you’d like to do in the city you will be leaving behind, and go to your favorite places and spend time with old friends. This way, you will remain fully engaged in the present as you await your future, savoring the in-between time as a vital experience in itself.

Using fun to induce desirable behavior in people

October 23, 2009

An interesting social experiment captured on a 2-min youtube clip.

We believe that the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better is by making it fun to do. We call it The fun theory. Do you have an idea that uses fun to change behaviour? Enter now for the chance to win €2500.

10 Cancer-Fighting Foods

October 23, 2009

[ By Melissa Breyer]

1. Beans
Beans contain a number of phytochemicals, which have been shown to prevent or slow genetic damage to cells. While this makes beans beneficial for helping to reduce your risk of many types of cancer, specific research has suggested they are especially potent in preventing prostate cancer. As an added bonus, the high fiber content of beans has been connected with a lower risk of digestive cancers.

2. Berries
The two most widely studied cancer-fighting compounds in berries are ellagic acid (richest in strawberries and raspberries) and anthocyanosides (richest in blueberries). Ellagic acid is believed to help prevent skin, bladder, lung, and breast cancers, both by acting as an antioxidant and by slowing the reproduction of cancer cells. The anthocyanosides in blueberries are currently the most powerful antioxidants known to scientists and are beneficial in the prevention of all types of cancer.

3. Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale)
Cruciferous vegetables-like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale-are rich in a variety of compounds that have been shown to slow cancer growth and development in a number of laboratory studies. Other larger human studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables can help to reduce the risk of lung, stomach, colorectal, prostate, and bladder cancers.

4. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy-green vegetables-like romaine lettuce, mustard greens, chicory, and Swiss chard-are rich sources of antioxidants called carotenoids. These compounds scavenge dangerous free radicals from the body before they can promote cancer growth. The vegetables are also rich in folate, a vitamin shown to reduce the risk of lung and breast cancer.

5. Flaxseed
Flaxseed in the form of oil and meal contains phytoestrogens believed to reduce the risk of breast, skin, and lung cancer. Research on the potency of flaxseed as an anti-cancer food is still underway.

6. Garlic (including onions, scallions, leeks, and chives)
Garlic contains a number of compounds believed to slow or stop the growth of tumors. One such compound, diallyl disulfide, appears to be especially potent in protecting against skin, colon, and lung cancer, though it is not known exactly how it functions.

7. Grapes
Grapes and wine contain a chemical called resveratrol, which has been shown to be a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Resveratrol is thought to work by preventing cell damage before it begins. Red and purple grapes are the richest sources of resveratrol.

8. Green Tea (decaf)
Green tea is a rich source of a class of flavonoids known as catechins. Laboratory studies have shown that the catechins present in green tea are able to slow or prevent the development of cancer in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells.

9. Tomatoes
The anti-cancer compound in tomatoes, lycopene, has been shown to be especially potent in combating prostate cancer. This compound appears to be more easily absorbed if the tomatoes are eaten in cooked form-either as tomato sauce, paste, or juice. In addition to preventing prostate cancer, lycopene may also protect against breast, lung, stomach, and pancreatic cancer.

10. Whole Grains
Whole grains contain a variety of anti-cancer compounds, including fiber, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens. When eaten as part of a balanced diet, whole grains can help decrease the risk of developing most types of cancer.

An Experiment in Gratitude

October 23, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Sometimes we forget to take the time to recognize the richness that defines our lives. This may be because many of the messages we encounter as we go about our affairs prompt us to think about what we don’t have rather than all the abundance we do enjoy. Consequently, our gratitude exists in perpetual conflict with our desire for more, whether we crave time, convenience, wealth, or enlightenment. Yet understanding and truly appreciating our blessings can be as simple as walking a mile in another’s shoes for a short period of time. Because many of us lead comparatively insular lives, we may not comprehend the full scope of our prosperity that is relative to our sisters and brothers in humanity.

If you find taking an inventory of your life’s blessings difficult, consider the ease with which you nourish your body and mind, feed your family, move from place to place, and attend to tasks at hand. For a great number of people, activities you may take for granted, such as attaining an education, buying healthy food, commuting to work, or keeping a clean house, represent great challenges. To experience firsthand the complex tests others face as a matter of course in their daily lives, try living without the amenities you most often take for granted. This can be a great experiment to undertake with your entire family or a classroom.  Understanding working poverty can be as easy as endeavoring to buy nutritious foods with a budget of $100 for the week. If you own a car, relying on public transportation for even just a day can help you see the true value of the comfort and conveniences others do without. As you explore a life without things you may normally take for granted,ask yourself for how long you could endure.

The compassionate gratitude that floods your heart when you come to fully realize your abundance may awaken pangs of guilt in your heart. Be aware, however, that the purpose of such an experiment is to open your heart further in gratitude and compassion. This awareness can help you attain a deeper level of gratitude that will allow you to savor and, above all, appreciate your life with renewed grace.

Good Vibrations

October 22, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Feelings vibrate, just as all things in the universe do, at a particular frequency. Negative feelings like anger, guilt, and depression vibrate at low frequencies, while positive feelings like joy, appreciation, and passion vibrate at high frequencies. These high frequency vibrations make us feel good. This is why people and places that inspire and cultivate positive feelings have what we call good vibrations.

Good vibrations inspire health, happiness, and optimism. When we are tuned in to good vibrations, our bodies heal, our hearts open, and our minds shift toward the light. We see new possibilities and feel powerfully energized to follow our inner visions. At the same time, we feel relaxed and capable of manifesting these visions without giving in to stress or struggle. Good vibrations put us in a state of perfect receptivity so that we feel it is the energy flowing through us that accomplishes what needs to be done. We feel guided, supported, protected, and nourished within this joyful flow. We sometimes forget that we are allowed to feel this way all the time.

Lower frequency vibrations are not bad in a moral sense, but they are bad in the sense that they simply don’t feel good. Still, they have a purpose, which is to alert us to the fact that we are blocking out the higher frequency vibrations that we need to function well. They are a call for healing ourselves from within. The key to our healing lies in remembering that it is our birthright to feel good and that feeling good is the essence of our true nature. When we are receiving and sending out good vibrations, we are in the flow. When we are not, we can begin to raise our vibration by seeking out people, places, and situations that vibrate at a higher frequency. Whether we need to go on retreat or just call a friend who makes us laugh, seeking out those good vibrations and basking in them is a sacred and loving practice that returns us, time and again, to the joyful flow of the universe.

Following Your Present Emotions

October 21, 2009

[ From Care2, adapted from Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra. ]

Everything you think and feel reflects who you are. If you think and feel from a superficial level of awareness, that is who you are. To dive deeper into yourself and, hopefully, to get to that place where you are love, compassion, trust, and truth, you have to follow the path of your present responses.

Someone who feels unloved can still find love in its purest form, but he will have to work through the layers of resistance that block the feeling of pure love. Your present emotions reflect the present state of your nervous system with all its past imprints. Whenever you have an experience, these imprints enter into your response, which means that most of your reactions are echoes from the past. You do not really live in the present.

However, at least you are reacting in the present, and that is where the search for your true self begins. Your emotions are the most present-centered thing you have. An emotion is a thought linked to a sensation. The thought is usually about the past or the future, but the sensation is in the present.

Your mind quickly links sensations with thoughts, but when we were infants, our first experiences and emotions were much closer to physical sensations. To feel an emotion fully and completely, to experience it and then release it, is to be in the present, the only moment that never ages.

Stripped to the basics, emotions arouse only two sensations – pain and pleasure. We all want to avoid pain and pursue pleasure; therefore, all the complicated emotional states we find ourselves in are the result of not being able to obey those basic drives.

There is no purpose in suffering except as a guide to your truth. In and of itself, pain has no worth except as a signal pull you out of pain. Coming to the moment by putting your attention on the pain allows you to release the pain as soon as it occurs. This release occurs naturally – it is what the body wants to do – and attention is the healing power that triggers it.

Appreciating Suggestions

October 20, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

As children, our parents had dreams for us. They wanted us to do well in school, and to do whatever was necessary to reach our highest potential. Later in life, friends may try to set us up with their idea of the perfect partner or the perfect job. Spouses may have agendas for us, too. People close to us may have ideas about how we should live our lives, ideas that usually come from love and the desire for us to be happy. Other times, they come from a place of need within them—whether it is the parent who wants us to live out his or her dreams or the friend or spouse who wants us to play an already-defined role. Whatever the case, we can appreciate and consider those people’s input, but ultimately we must follow our own inner guidance.

There may come a time when all the suggestions can become overbearing. We may feel that the people we love don’t approve of our judgment, which can hurt our feelings. It can interfere with the choices we make for our lives by making us doubt ourselves, or filling a void with their wishes before we’ve had a chance to decide what we want. It can affect us energetically as well. We may have to deal with feelings of resistance or the need to shut ourselves off from them. But we can take some time to rid ourselves of any unnecessary doubts and go within to become clear on what we desire for ourselves.

We can tell our loved ones how much we appreciate their thoughts and ideas, but that we need to live our own lives and make our own decisions. We can explain that they need to let us learn from our own experiences rather than rob us of wonderful life lessons and the opportunity to fine-tune our own judgment. When they see that we are happy with our lives and the path we are taking to reach our goals, they can rest assured that all we need them to do is to share in our joy.

Doing Things Slowly

October 16, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

Life can often feel like it’s zipping by in fast forward. We feel obliged to accelerate our own speed along with it, until our productivity turns into frenzied accomplishment. We find ourselves cramming as much activity as possible into the shortest periods of time. We disregard our natural rhythms because it seems we have to just to keep up.  In truth, rushing never gets you anywhere but on to the next activity or goal. 

Slowing down allows you to not only savor your experiences, but also it allows you to fully focus your attention and energy on the task at hand. Moving at a slower place lets you get things done more efficiently, while rushing diminishes the quality of your work and your relationships.  Slowing down also lets you be more mindful, deliberate, and fully present. When we slow down, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves to our natural rhythms. We let go of the “fast forward” stress, and allow our bodies to remain centered and grounded. Slowing down is inherent to fully savoring anything in life.  Rushing to take a bath can feel like an uncomfortable dunk in hot water, while taking a slow hot bath can be luxuriant and relaxing. A student cramming for a test will often feel tired and unsure, whereas someone who really absorbs the information will be more confident and relaxed. Cooking, eating, reading, and writing can become pleasurable when done slowly. Slowing down lets you become more absorbed in whatever it is you are doing. The food you eat tastes better, and the stories you read become more alive.

Slowing down allows you to disconnect from the frenzied pace buzzing around you so you can begin moving at your own pace. The moments we choose to live in fast forward motion then become a conscious choice rather than an involuntary action.  Learning to slow down in our fast-moving world can take practice, but if you slow down long enough to try it, you may surprise yourself with how natural and organic living at this pace can be.

Growing Day by Day

October 15, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

At some point in our lives, many of us find ourselves overcome with the desire to become better people. While we are all uniquely capable of navigating this world, we may nonetheless feel driven to grow, expand, and change. This innate need for personal expansion can lead us down many paths as we develop within the context of our individual lives. Yet the initial steps that can put us on the road to evolution are not always clear. We understand that we want to be better but have no clear definition of “better.” To ease this often frustrating uncertainty, we can take small steps, keeping our own concept of growth in mind rather than allowing others to direct the course of our journey. And we should accept that change won’t happen overnight—we may not recognize the transformations taking place within us at first.

Becoming a better person in your own eyes is a whole-life project, and thus you should focus your step-by-step efforts on multiple areas of your existence. Since you likely know innately which qualities you consider good, growing as an individual is simply a matter of making an effort to do good whenever possible. Respect should be a key element of your efforts. When you acknowledge that all people are deserving of compassion, consideration, and dignity, you are naturally more apt to treat them in the manner you yourself wish to be treated. You will intuitively become a more active listener, universally helpful, and truthful. Going the extra mile in all you do can also facilitate evolution. Approaching your everyday duties with an upbeat attitude and positive expectations can help you make the world a brighter, more cheerful place. Finally, coming to terms with your values and then abiding by them will enable you to introduce a new degree of integrity and dignity into your life. 

As you endeavor to develop yourself further, you can take pride not only in your successes, but also in the fact that you are cultivating consciousness within yourself through your choices, actions, and behaviors. While you may never feel you have reached the pinnacles of awareness you hope to achieve, you can make the most of this creative process of transformation. Becoming a better person is your choice and is a natural progression in your journey of self-awareness.

Divergent Directions

October 14, 2009

[ From DailyOM ]

As much as most of us wish we could exist in harmony with the people we encounter throughout our lives, there will always be individuals we dislike. Some simply rub us the wrong way while others strike us as deliberately unaware. We may judge others as too mean or abrasive for us to interact with them comfortably. Yet no person should be deemed a villain because their beliefs, opinions, mannerisms, and mode of being are not compatible with your own. You need not embrace the rough traits they have chosen to embody. There may be times in which the best course of action involves distancing yourself from someone you dislike. But circumstances may require that you spend time in the company of individuals who awaken your aversion. In such cases, you can ease your discomfort by showing your foe loving compassion while examining your feelings carefully.

The reasons we dislike some individuals are often complex and, at first, indecipherable. Often, we are automatically averse to people who are different because they compel us to question our values, spirituality, culture, and ideologies, threatening to undermine our self-assurance. Realistically, however, those you dislike have no power to weaken your life’s foundations. In fact, your aversion to specific individuals may actually be your response to your fear that specific qualities you see in them also exist within you. Their presence may force you to face internal issues you would rather not confront. If you meet someone who inspired an intense, largely negative response in you, ask yourself why your reaction is so laden with powerful emotions. Remember that you control your feelings and, if necessary, you can minimize this individual’s impact on your well-being by choosing how you will respond to them.

Though you may not have an immediate breakthrough, your willingness to consider your dislike rationally can help you better understand the root of your feelings. Your aversion to certain individuals may not wane over time, yet the comprehension you gain through reflection can help you interact with them sympathetically, benevolently, and with a greater degree of kindness. There is nothing wrong with recognizing that you are incompatible with some people. You may never achieve a shared harmony with those you dislike, but you can nonetheless learn to modulate your reactions to these individuals and, ultimately, to coexist peacefully with them.