Archive for April, 2011

Unblocking the Ally

April 29, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Anger can easily become our go-to emotion; to remedy, start noticing when and why you get angry.

Sometimes when we feel anger, it is coming from a deep place that demands acknowledgment and expression. At these times, it is important that we find healthy ways to honor our anger, remembering how dangerous it is to repress it. However, anger can also become a habit, our go-to emotion whenever things go wrong. Often this is because, for whatever reason, we feel more comfortable expressing anger than we do other emotions, like sadness. It can also be that getting angry gives us the impression that we’ve done something about our problem. In these cases, our habitual anger is inhibiting both our ability to express our other emotions and to take action in our lives.

If it’s true that anger is functioning this way in your life, the first thing you might want to try is to notice when you get angry. You might begin to see a pattern of some kind. For example, you could notice that it is always your first response or that it comes up a lot in one particular situation. If the pattern doesn’t become clear right away, you could try keeping a journal about when you get angry and see if you can find any underlying meaning. The good thing about keeping a journal is that you can explore your anger more deeply in it—from examining who in your family of origin expressed a lot of anger to how you feel when you encounter anger in others. This kind of awareness can be a formidable agent of transformation.

Anger can be a powerful ally, since it is filled with energy that we can harness and use to create change in the world. It is one of the most cathartic emotions, and it can also be a very effective cleanser of the emotional system. However, when it becomes a habit, it actually loses its power to transform and becomes an obstacle to growth. Identifying the role anger plays in your life and restoring it to its proper function can bring new energy and expansiveness to your emotional life.

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Aging Gracefully

April 26, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

As we cultivate our life, our beauty becomes as much about what we are creating and doing as it is about our appearance.

We tend to associate youth with beauty, but the truth is that beauty transcends every age.  Just as a deciduous tree is stunning in all its stages—from its full leafy green in the summer to its naked skeleton during winter and everything in between—human beings are beautiful throughout their life spans.

The early years of our lives tend to be about learning and experiencing as much as we possibly can. We move through the world like sponges, absorbing the ideas of other people and the world. Like a tree in spring, we are waking up to the world. In this youthful phase of life, our physical strength, youth, and beauty help open doors and attract attention. Gradually, we begin to use the information we have gathered to form ideas and opinions of our own. As we cultivate our philosophy about life, our beauty becomes as much about what we are saying, doing, and creating as it is about our appearance. Like a tree in summer, we become full, expressive, beautiful, and productive.

When the time comes for us to let go of the creations of our middle lives, we are like a tree in autumn dropping leaves, as we release our past attachments and preparing for a new phase of growth. The children move on, and careers shift or end. The lines on our faces, the stretch marks, and the grey hairs are beautiful testaments to the fullness of our experience. In the winter of our lives, we become stripped down to our essence like a tree. We may become more radiant than ever at this stage, because our inner light shines brighter through our eyes as time passes. Beauty at this age comes from the very core of our being—our essence. This essence is a reminder that there is nothing to fear in growing older and that there is a kind of beauty that comes only after one has spent many years on earth.

Spreading Your Light

April 21, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Everything we do or say has the potential to affect the whole; imagine how powerful that is.

As the pace and fullness of modern life serve to isolate us from one another, the contact we do share becomes vastly more significant. We unconsciously absorb each other’s energy, adopting the temperament of those with whom we share close quarters, and find ourselves changed after the briefest encounters. Everything we do or say has the potential to affect not only the individuals we live, work, and play with but also those we’ve just met. Though we may never know the impact we have had or the scope of our influence, accepting and understanding that our attitudes and choices will affect others can help us remember to conduct ourselves with grace at all times. When we seek always to be friendly, helpful, and responsive, we effortlessly create an atmosphere around ourselves that is both uplifting and inspiring.

Most people rarely give thought to the effect they have had or will have on others. When we take a few moments to contemplate how our individual modes of being affect the people we spend time with each day, we come one step closer to seeing ourselves through the eyes of others. By asking ourselves whether those we encounter walk away feeling appreciated, respected, and liked, we can heighten our awareness of the effect we ultimately have. Something as simple as a smile given freely can temporarily brighten a person’s entire world. Our value-driven conduct may inspire others to consider whether their own lives are reflective of their values. A word of advice can help others see life in an entirely new fashion. And small gestures of kindness can even prove to those embittered by the world that goodness still exists. By simply being ourselves, we influence other’s lives in both subtle and life-altering ways. 

To ensure that the effect we have is positive, we must strive to stay true to ourselves while realizing that it is the demeanor we project and not the quality of our wondrous inner landscapes that people see. Thus, as we interact with others, how we behave can be as important as who we are. If we project our passion for life, our warmth, and our tolerance in our facial features, voice, and choice of words, every person who enters our circle of influence will leave our presence feeling at peace with themselves and with us. You never know whose life you are affecting, big or small. Try to remember this as you go out into the world each day.

Appreciating Suggestions

April 20, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Other people may have their own agenda for our life; we can value their input but we don’t have to take it to heart.

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.

Aligning Actions and Words

April 16, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Being all talk and no action is actually a form of self-sabotage; actions do speak louder than words.

Words carry a lot of weight in this world, from how we say them to what we say with them, but it is through our actions that we bring things into being. This is what we mean when we say to one another that actions speak louder than words. In many cases, what we say doesn’t necessarily line up with what we are doing, and it is here that it becomes clear that it’s easier to talk about doing something than it is to actually do something. At the same time, it’s easy to keep doing something that we don’t necessarily acknowledge ourselves doing verbally. It’s good for all of us to take a look every once and a while to make sure there is alignment between what we say and what we do.

For example, it’s easy to talk about our dreams, but it takes a lot more energy to take the many small steps that lead to bringing our dreams into reality. If all we ever do is talk about it, we begin to lose faith in ourselves because nothing changes on the external level. In this way, being all talk and no action is actually a form of self-sabotage. It’s also useful to examine our actions to see if, through them, we are following through on our words. For example, in expressing concern about the environment, we can look to make sure that we are taking the simple steps we can take to put that concern into action.

It’s always helpful to observe what we talk about and who we say we are, and then to observe what we actually do in the world. Sometimes we realize our actions haven’t caught up with what we are saying, and at other times we see that we might change our words in a way that it will more adequately reflect what we do in the world. Either way, the more we align our words and our deeds, the clearer we are in expressing our truth in the world, and the more powerful we are in bringing it into reality.

Cultivating Inner Clarity

April 8, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

If we can locate the stillness at the center of our hearts, we can find composure in almost any situation.

People who maintain their sense of calm when things around them are in a state of flux and confusion are always wonderful to be around. We feel calmer just being near them, as if they have activated our own sense of inner peace. From them we learn that we can be calm, even when everything around us is in turmoil, because we know that no matter what happens, this inner sense of calm will help us to function well. Often, times of confusion are the times that enable us to find that part of ourselves that knows how to cope, and how to be a light to others in the storm.

If we allow ourselves to be thrown off balance by every piece of disturbing news that comes our way, we may be relying too much on our emotions. On the other hand, our thoughts may also be unreliable at times like these, as they chatter on endlessly about what might happen next. If our feelings and thoughts activate one another in a hectic way, then we become caught up in the confusion that surrounds us. However, if we can locate the stillness at the center of our hearts, we can find composure in almost any situation. In addition, we provide a safe place for our friends and family, who are also prone to taking on the confusion of a world in flux.

It helps to remember that we don’t need to completely understand what’s happening right now, nor do we need to be able to predict the future. Most of us just want to find our way to being at peace with whatever happens, and we can find this peace inside. Cultivating our inner clarity with meditation, journaling, and reading words that inspire us, will lead us to that place inside us that’s already there, just waiting.

One Day at a Time

April 7, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Our lives are made of stepping stones, one experience after another in perfect and divine order.

The years of our life do not arrive all at once; they greet us day by day. With the descent of each setting sun, we are able to rest our heads and let the world take care of itself for a while. We may rest assured throughout the night, knowing that the dawn will bring with it a chance to meet our lives anew, donning fresh perspectives and dream-inspired hopes. The hours that follow, before we return to sleep once more, are for us to decide how we want to live and learn, laugh and grow. Our lives are sweeter and more manageable because we must experience them this way: one day at a time.

Imagine the future stretching out before you and try to notice if you feel any tension or overwhelm at the prospect of the journey still to come. Perhaps you have recently made a lifestyle change, like beginning a new diet or quitting smoking, and the idea of continuing this healthy new behavior for years seems daunting. Maybe you have started a new job or are newly married and can feel an undercurrent of anxiety about your ability to succeed. If you can shift your focus from what may happen years down the line and return it to the day that is before you right now, you may find a measure of calm and renewed confidence in your capabilities. You may also discover an inner faith that the future will take care of itself.

The way we show up for our lives today and tomorrow has an enormous affect on who we will be and what we will be experiencing years from now. If we can remain fully engaged in the day at hand, enjoying all it has to offer and putting our energy into making the most of it, we will find that we are perfectly ready and capable to handle any future when it arrives.

A Matter of Significance

April 6, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Sometimes we can feel as if we don’t matter in the world, but we all have something to offer.

It can be easy sometimes to buy into the illusion of our own insignificance. We may see large corporations or institutions, celebrities or successful people in our community, and compare ourselves to them, thinking that their fame or material power affirm how little our own lives amount to. But nothing could be further from the truth. Every single one of us matters—tremendously. Our very existence affects countless people in countless ways. And because we are each essentially a microcosm of the larger universe, our internal experiences affect the whole of life more than we could ever imagine. The world simply could not exist as it does now if you, or any one of us, were not in it.

Perhaps you are aware that on some level you believe your life does not matter. If this thought resonates within you, maybe it is time to explore why you feel this way. You may have formed self-rejecting or belittling beliefs as a child to keep yourself safe or to help you make sense of confusing situations. You may have felt unseen or unheard and decided that there was something wrong with you, rather than with the attention span of the people around you. Spend some time looking into where these feelings of insignificance first took root, and see what changes you might be able to make in your life and in your heart.

This one belief in your own unimportance could be limiting you and impacting your life in enormous ways. When you shift your perceptions around your own ability to affect your life and impact the world, you may discover wonderful parts of yourself that you had long ago forgotten. There may even be exciting new parts that you never even knew existed. When you gain awareness of how much your life really does matter, new sources of energy can emerge and your sense of connection with the world is renewed.

Leaving the Earth a Better Place

April 5, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

From our first breath here to our very last, we will find infinite opportunities to influence our environment for the better.

We inherit this great planet from our parents and from the generations that came before. Then, in concert with the surrounding culture, our elders teach us how to care for the land and the sea, ourselves and each other. They model ways of being in relationship with every other expression of life on earth. But whether they act with care or carelessness, compassion or cruelty, generosity or greed, we have the ability to choose our own individual way of relating with the planet and her inhabitants. From our first breath here to our very last, we will find infinite opportunities to influence our environment for the better. We can decide now to act with intention in order to leave this amazing planet brighter and more beautiful than when we arrived.

If we enjoy environmental activism, we might feel moved to clean up beaches or to plant trees. But, we need not feel limited in our ability to contribute positively. There are many ways to leave a legacy of love. We might begin by radiating affirmative thoughts and feelings about how magnificent the earth truly is. We might create and tend a special garden, one that provides an abundance of food and herbs for ourselves and our loved ones. Or we might create a garden filled with sweet smelling flowers to uplift our hearts. We might even honor the earth simply by trying to be the best person we can be while we are here. Such good will can have a domino effect, inspiring others to contribute in their own way as well.

We spend our lifetimes being nourished and enlivened by the rain, sun, soil and wind. Our experience is blessed by other living beings, from plants to insects to birds and humans. We receive so much; giving back just naturally feels good. When we live our lives with intention of leaving this temporary home a better place for generations to come, we are perhaps leaving behind the best gift of all.

Being Your Own Voice of Reason

April 3, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

The meaning we assign to our experiences is a very powerful factor in determining the quality of our lives.

The meaning we assign to our experiences – whether pleasant or distressing – is a very powerful factor in determining the quality of our lives. What we imagine events to mean will color the way we feel about ourselves, about the people in our lives, and about the world at large. If we want to encourage a positive outlook, well-being, and a sense of self-confidence and even trust in the universe, we can begin by assigning more peaceful, loving meanings to what we experience.

Imagine, for example, that a friend fails to show up to a lunch date. You have choices as to what you will make this experience mean for you. You could allow being “stood up” to reinforce your feelings of unworthiness, you could begin to mentally attack your friend’s character, or you could assume that something big must have happened to cause them to miss the date — then, you might open yourself up to enjoying some relaxing time alone. If you were recently laid off and are having difficulty finding a new job, consider that you might have hidden gifts or passions that were untapped in your regular career that you are now available to explore. The universe might simply be moving you in a more fulfilling direction. If you have recently lost a loved one, gained weight, lost money, or gotten in a fight with your partner, see if you can infuse the experience with meaning that feels loving and empowering and opens a door for you to embrace life and the world a bit more.

When we begin to bring consciousness to what we are making things mean, we may be shocked at the messages we have been feeding ourselves all these years. Try taking the reigns and begin assigning a kinder meaning to the events in your life and you will likely find yourself on a much more pleasant ride.

Healing Your Sole

April 1, 2011

[ From DailyOM ]

Our feet contain thousands of nerve endings and almost seventy acupuncture points which can support all over health.

Our feet are home to literally thousands of nerve endings and almost seventy acupuncture points, which is why foot reflexology is so effective. By massaging and stimulating specific areas on the soles of our feet, we can provide general support for our entire body, improve sleep patterns, increase physical and mental wellbeing and also alleviate chronic conditions such as sinusitis and digestive upset. Although it is wonderful to work with an experienced foot reflexologist whenever possible, we can also develop a practice of treating ourselves to a self-reflexology treatment if we take some time for this purpose before we begin our day or in the evening to relax before going to bed.

There are a number of different ways to work the soles of your feet, including walking barefoot on river stones, rolling each foot over a golf or tennis ball, or just using your fingers and hands to massage your feet. When starting a reflexology session, it’s a good idea to begin with loosening up your ankles – rotate each foot clockwise then counterclockwise about ten times. You might also want to pinch the end of your toes, which can increase circulation and drainage in your sinuses and stimulate your pituitary and pineal glands. Then you can begin massaging the ball of your foot, the arch, and the heel. If you find that an area is tender, it may indicate some distress or dysfunction occurring in the corresponding area of the body.  You may want to explore what is going on with that organ or system.

Whether we are able to spend just a few minutes a day on this kind of self-care or a full half hour, our efforts are never wasted. By taking responsibility for our own health and taking time every day to connect with our body, we can not only assist our body in letting go of stress and dysfunction, but we can also continue to support an ongoing sense of wellness and vitality.