Prism Thinking

My opinion about gay marriage is that this was never an equal rights or human dignity issue. It was always about the definition of marriage, that is, in the etymology of the word and concept.  In the social and humane sense , no one wants to deny equal rights to anyone.

The word marriage means the joining of two opposites; two polarities coming together, as in when you create anything.  Even with electrical currents or magnetic charges, it’s always a + with a -.  Never in the entire universe of physics will a + and + or a – and – be called marriage.  This is something that physicists, scientists and even techies will agree upon, even in rudimentary terms, that in any connection there is always a male and a female part.  That is the essence of the word “marriage”.  As far as equal rights, the victim-minded will always turn the issue into what it isn’t.  Call it something else, if you will. You can even call it gay marriage which differentiates it from marriage in the common usage of the word.

Is it?

Are people that dense to not know or be concerned about the specifics and distinguishing factors of what the argument is really about? “I’m for”; “I’m against”. What exactly are they for or against? What are the distinctions? There is a distinct difference between the concepts of “equal” and “same”.  Those two are not synonymous with each other. Even in geometry, proof sets illustrate that similar and equal are not identical. What can be given equal value may not be the same.  So while you are different in certain aspects and certain attributes, and you have fought all your life to show the rest of the world just how different you are, and to accept your difference, then why fight for the same?  You can have equal – no one will deny you that. But please understand that the concept will always be different, not the same. I can say in all surety that nobody wishes to prevent unions between loving partners in any case. It may not be accepted within certain circles, but that is choice.  The issue is with changing the definition of a condition that is based on cosmic laws, be it divine or scientific. It’s about semantics not civil or equal rights.

While the whole issue trending this nation is being referred to as Gay Marriage or Same-Sex Marriage, so why not call it “Gay Marriage License” on your certificate? That this controversy is already different in its intrinsic value is undeniable, just as your rights to civil liberties and the pursuit of happiness are.  And while we’re in the flow of this current, giving tribute to Mother’s Day being today, will some same-sex parent families never celebrate this day? And will some never celebrate Father’s Day? Or will they both, as it get cloudier in the mix? I can foresee the day when children of gay parents become activists for changing Mother’s and Father’s Day to Parent’s Day because that just wouldn’t be fair to a whole new set of victim-minded off-shoots of this issue.  (I can just see that coming, can’t you? It’s all part of prism-thinking and playing the movie all the way to the end!)

And in another facet of this gem of an issue, if heterosexual couples who choose not to enter the  sanctity of matrimonial unions, to just live together are not concerned with spousal rights as an issue of detriment, then why should any other group of people? Anyone who has ever made a choice on any life-changing issue has always done so with the understanding that some things may have to be forfeited, lost or abandoned.  In return there are things to be gained. This is how we weigh the odds and evens, the pros and the cons. And by the way, not everyone has to be in acceptance of every decision each and every one of us makes. This is what free will is. This is what freedom of choice is. This is what individual thought is.

So in closing, and in the spirit of this blog’s title, is it a plus or a minus – is it male or female, is it a gain or a loss, what do I get and what do I give up? Think about marriage and think of it in the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. See if you gain different perspectives of how the complexities may be simplified and how the simplicities are more complex than we are lead to believe.

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In the next week as we Jewish people everywhere prepare for the Passover holiday, it reminds us that it is not just a holiday of traditional ritual services.  Although regional traditions were handed down from generation to generation stemming from the Torah commandments, what we are constantly reminded is the primal message we received from the very Event that started this whole thing – which was the Exodus from Egypt and imposed slavery on our ancestors. And the message is one of perspective and of prism-thinking itself.

While we were given Divine instruction to hurry up and leave our enslaved existence of over 400 years as a people, along with whatever personal belongings we could gather within a very confined window of time, what we didn’t know at the time was that we were about to embark on a 40-year journey in the wilderness before we could get to where we were going. Metaphorically, does that seem to sound familiar?

Time and time again we argued, we complained, we feared, we rebelled, all the while being told to just trust and have faith. Well yes, wouldn’t you know – some did and some didn’t! In the meantime, we journeyed, we grew, we were nourished, we won battles along the way and were provided all sorts of clues and messages and yes, blatantly affirmative laws, explicit instruction on how-to everything!

So why then did the Israelites take 40 years to get to their destination? And why did it coincide with an entire generation dying out before we were awarded entry into the land of Israel? Symbolically and physically, the land of Israel represented a new mindset, that of freedom, responsibility, accountability, growth and development, all the attributes that come with being your own person. One cannot enter this state without a synchronous mentality. One cannot maintain such a state with the lingering mentality of slavery and bondage.

Likewise as we prepare to clean our homes of the unleavened, we prepare to shift our perspectives and renew our mental states towards freedom. As we remove our physical environment of all “chametz” (literal translation: leavened; root word: to ferment/sour); we also seek to remove our minds of emotional and spiritual chametz.  During our 7-day exodus commemorative journey we endeavor to transcend from the restraints of whatever holds us in bondage.

This is something my husband Jeff and I have been working on for quite a while.  As we are developing the Freedom Thought Project™, through our coaching work of helping many overcome their limitations, we have come to realize that while we live in a so-called free society, many do not even fathom what it means to be free or what true freedom feels like.  And it all stems within the constraints of our own minds!  What are you a slave to? Fear? Anxiety? Financial problems? Addictions? Uncertainty?  A Cause? What is it you had started out with the intention of having a result of happiness and fulfillment, that has all of a sudden, left you feeling confused, powerless and hopeless?

Here are a few steps to help identify and guide you through your own journey towards true freedom.

The Path from Enslavement to Freedom!

Enslavement holds a lifestyle racked between fear and danger of being physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually hurt.  Even those who physically live within some form of bondage may be spiritually, emotionally and mentally free.  Leave behind the victim mentality of how you deserve a current lifestyle.  This moment is nothing more than a moment in time.  Anything may happen in the next moment when you conduct yourself with flexibility.

  1. Do you feel you are a slave to something? Whom or what do you believe is keeping you there?
  2. A slave mentality holds many characteristics of remaining a victim. Answer the following questions to identity if you are living in emotional or physical bondage:

a)      Do you often have recurring thoughts of despair or hopelessness?

b)      Do you often find yourself thinking the worst in situations?

c)       Do you tend to blame others?

d)      Do you habitually blame yourself for your lot in life?

e)      Do you normally tend to feel you have the ability and resources to change your situation?

f)       Do you find yourself feeling stuck focusing on what others have and what you may not?

  1. When you become aware of your experience, without the specific ‘drama’ or ‘story’ of what you are going through, pay specific attention to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of your experience.
  2. Notice how these recurring sensations begin.  Is it voices you hear, images you see or sensations you feel?  These are recurring patterns you may have created.

Voices 

a)      If these are recurring voices, are they that of your own or somebody else?

b)      Do they still say those things or are they from the past?

c)       Change them to something more pleasant.  Example: Whenever you hear these negative words, engage some of your favorite music that inspires you.

d)      In your mind, turn up the music, then turn down the voices.

Images

a)      Begin to collect images that best resonate your sensations of freedom .

b)      Clip them from magazines and create a wish or dream scrap-book.

c)       Recreate this scrap-book in your mind where you may never lose it and conjure them up when you need reminding

Sensations

a)      When you notice the feelings, get up and move!

b)      By going for a walk, a drive and by shifting your scenery and immediate environment, you will automatically shift your thoughts, images and feelings into something more useful.

Each or these steps will allow yourself to open a gap between your stuck thoughts of despair or victimhood.  Within this gap or thought-space, allow feelings of possibilities, hope and even joy.  The more you do this, the more these gaps will override your less useful thoughts that keep you stuck.

(Courtesy of Freedom Thought Project™)

So with that, I close with a wish to all of you: That may your journey to peace, happiness and fulfillment rise above the enslavement of hopelessness and despair; may you truly have freedom in your life and may you have the wisdom, courage and determination to know the difference!

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Happy Birthday to You!

“Happy” being the keyword here.  I think about many of the birthday jokes I’ve heard over the years and even decades…”another year older… another birthday…too many candles on the cake…” I even know of people who don’t want to be reminded about their birthday.  To those, it’s anything but a celebration. In fact, I recently conveyed some birthday greetings to someone I know for her husband’s birthday, to which was replied, “He says doesn’t want anymore birthdays!” Really? Then what’s the alternative?

So what if birthdays were also understood by each and every one of us as “Lifedays”?  Would we find a difference in celebrating that? I have found that the people most grateful for birthdays – another one, and yes, another one – are cancer survivors, or survivors of other life-threatening illnesses or circumstances. They know with every fiber of their being that birthdays are lifedays!

I of course realize that growing older and aging after mid-life is something to be reckoned with by most of us.  We may not feel it in our heads, but definitely our bodies have a way of reminding us otherwise. And even though we may say about age that, “it’s just a number”, well yes it is! It’s the number of years commemorating the time we’ve been here on this earth, making our marks and touching lives, as well has having our lives touched –  and we should celebrate that! So for these reasons, as far as birthdays are concerned, we greet each other with “many happy returns of the day” and “many more happy ones to come”. We Jewish people also have a birthday greeting that goes, “from now to 120+!” Not because these are mere traditional greetings, but because we know that our life and being another year older are to be rejoiced.

This also goes hand-in-hand with complaints about getting old. While I understand the hardships that many go through coming to terms with “things no longer working as well”, as well we hang on to our youth as we seek to avoid our own mortality. I often wonder how and why we pray for long lives, simultaneously not wanting to grow old.  I somehow don’t think we can have one without the other.  We can do our best in preserving our youthful mentality, appearance and overall attitude to life.  We can decide to be happy no matter what – and this of course, we now know will keep producing the happy brain chemistry, along with dopamine and endorphins, the neuro-transmitters that in turn keep us young. We can metaphorically have our cake and eat it too!

So here’s the thing: if we hope to have our prayers for longevity answered, then we must embrace our years and the prospect of future years. The thing is to keep filling the years with what fulfills us.  When we celebrate life, we can celebrate milestones, not just in our age-number, but in how we gauge what we’ve experienced, what we’ve learned and how far we’ve come since we arrived. So Happy Lifeday! Celebrate many more happy returns and l’chaim, to Life!

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with Jeff Schoener, the NLP Wordsmythe

While the medical PR community comes up with new disorders on a continuous basis, before we get sucked in to the new millennium’s version of hypochondria, remember this vital information given from an insider in the medical profession: These disorders are merely new names given for symptoms not yet deciphered by the medical community in order for pharmaceutical companies to sell their wares.  There are so many self-diagnosed disorders today that, much like the communities of wordsmiths, NLP and other brain language and belief experts, it would behoove us to make use of the etymology of language before we fall into the traps. Getting to the root of the language may actually also help us get to the root of our so-called disorders.

I would like to use as a newly common example, Body Dysmorphic Disorder.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, often for many hours a day.” Now, can you think of how this perceived disorder goes far beyond the physical? In fact it goes beyond how one sees themselves; it’s also what we tell ourselves – how we talk to ourselves, what we hear, how we feel.

Physical dysmorphia may not just be seeing ourselves in a warped view. How do we “see” ourselves?  In the physical – pretty, ugly, average, gorgeous, plain, nice but flawed? As a person – intelligent, stupid, kind, confident, shy, a success, a failure? How are we telling ourselves that we are these things? What and whose voices do we hear? Our own, a critical parent, sibling or other family member? Our old school-mates, friends, bullies, teachers? How do we feel when we do this? If it makes us feel crappy, why do we do this? Would you ever define yourself as a masochist? Most wouldn’t, yet if we break it down, sadly many of us are.

I still remember one of the very few Dr. Phil advice or techniques that I have ever agreed with. A guest on his show had issues with motivation, self-esteem and was constantly in bad relationships, come to find out her father was verbally abusive to her as a child. However her father had long been deceased, but she kept replaying his words in her head. Finally Dr. Phil said to her, “He’s been gone for many years and you are an adult woman; STOP continuing on his abuse for him!” Are we standing in our own way to well-being, success and the life we desire? Interestingly enough, I also remember many years ago, I found myself saying something negative about me, when my husband Jeff retorted to my surprise, “Hey! Nobody speaks to my wife that way! Not even you!” That woke me up and I began to pay closer attention to the conversations I was having with my Self!

When Jeff works with clients within this range of issues, he finds that,

“When perception and illusion are out of balance, attempting self control based upon internal perception leads individually to distress and depression cycles.  The more the individual attempts to either control the cycle or avoid the cycle the worse the symptoms seem to get.  Do not attempt to get a handle on this.  In many cases my clients are battling the emotions not the issues that begin the cycle.“

So what can we do consciously to become more aware of our unconscious self-talk and beliefs about ourselves, and what can we do to change that?

  • Regress in order to egress.  Taking note of what you do, see, hear or feel before you ‘see’ yourself in ‘that way’ will offer you greater insight into what this is truly about.
  • Pay attention.  Most of the processes that drive these behaviors and emotions begin just outside of your conscious awareness.  If you were to pay attention to how this cycle is triggered, the better chance you have of making it a thing of the past.
  • Have faith.  What occurs behind our eyes is far more important than what we think we see. Our eyes are designed to invert an image onto our retina.  There is a direct translation process that happens in our brain.  Seeing is not always believing, for many believing is seeing.
  • Stop the blame game.  If you or someone else caused this cycle, blaming will only serve to distract from the cycle and fed into the emotional drama that helps keep you stuck.
  • Be more forgiving and be kind to yourself.  The more anger, anxiety and frustration occur, the more one becomes locked into their emotional drama. This is not the source of the issue, only the result.
  • Gain perspective and release control.  By becoming more a friend to your Self, many of these issues become just a little less important.

Begin following these tips and you will start getting more accustomed to paying attention to the language used by you and by others. Using appropriate language and finding congruence between your mind, body and spirit becomes the basis of making better brain chemistry and resulting in making healthier decisions. It goes like this: The better things you tell yourself, the better your brain chemistry, the better decisions you make and the better things turn out – it’s a happier cycle! Doing the opposite will give you adverse results. So keep practicing, keep healthy and stay happy!

For your viewing pleasure…here’s a more direct and humorous approach!

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Have you ever heard someone make blanket statements about other people being judgmental while simultaneously insinuating their own judgmental attitude against “the Others” that aren’t like them?  In my experience these may be the very people who will tell you how wrong you are for being selfish, arrogant, stupid, greedy, rich, lazy, poor, unambitious, unloving, unspiritual and judgmental! All because you may not agree with their opinions or views.

I hear all too often from supposed non-judgmental people, “I’m spiritual, I don’t believe in organized religion like those religious nuts!” Or, “I care so much about people, not like those other kinds of people…”  While these are paradoxes, within the paradoxical labeling, lies the judgment. Frankly I don’t believe there is such a thing as being completely without judgment. If you have an opinion, you’re forming a judgment; if you have a strong opinion you may want to be careful about how you allow others to form theirs as well.

If I were to practice being non-judgmental, it would be to freely hear and understand all perspectives, in the hopes of learning something new so that I could form my own. Arguing would only lead to animosity and enforce the need to be right. I’d rather be educated and pay it forward. Folks can learn according their own merits and circumstances and are entitled to their views, whether or not I agree, I can at least respect.

So what of the self-proclaimed non-judgmental who are also usually the self-proclaimed spiritual, because for some reason these two go hand-in-hand.  There are those who are so uncannily threatened by opposing opinions, they become outright violent and abusive.  This of course, is a contradiction to their self-described character. Perhaps because they want to change the world to their perceived utopia and “the Others” get in the way. Perhaps it’s because they’re so non-judgmental that they want everyone to be so. Either way, it negates the commonly-accepted very quality of a non-judgment, doesn’t it?

Then there are those on the opposite end of the spectrum. They say “live and let live”, often turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to all kinds of, what “the Others” consider atrocities, injustice and sometimes even tragedies. But even that isn’t all conclusive, because by doing nothing, they form a judgment by default. Sure they can say live and let live on a global level and stay obliviously unaffected, but can they on a personal level?

So how do we all perceive of ourselves, and how do others on the outside perceive us? How do we perceive of others? Are we being fair in our assessment? Do we give others the personal right to express their opinions? And if we don’t share the same views, should we argue our point? Should we just shake our heads righteously and say, “Those poor things, not as enlightened as I am; not at my level; one day they will learn…” I’ve heard those sentiments quite often, but I can always tell the facial expression saying, “I’m not saying anything, but you’re wrong.”

I think the bottom line is we all have opinions, and it doesn’t matter what people say about being non-judgmental, I’ve found there is always underlying judgment somewhere in differences of views. Even when there is a visceral discord in the exchange of opinions, there will be judgment in the unspoken.  What we can do is to at least stay non-judgmental for the duration of the time it takes for us to form our own opinion. Whether something serves us or not, or whether it serves humanity or not, we can debate, we can stay on separate sides, we can change our minds about things, we can stay open. Above all we can gain perspective and we never stop learning.

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I’ve often heard folks talk about habitual events, occurrences and other strange phenomena that run within families as a “family curse”.  From infertility to financial predicaments there are those who believe they are in the state they are because it runs in the family.  There is deep rooted belief that the “sins of the father” are attributed to a kind of family karma that now plagues the descendants as generational curses.  Parents and other family members even share in great detail about why certain things within their family are the way they are, and what can be expected in the future with great vindication.  While it is apparent that events may seem a certain way, do they stem from something supernaturally inexplicable, or are they self-fulfilling prophesies? What if these were merely beliefs that were held so strongly, they were passed down to generations as inevitable truths?

Depending upon the belief or “curse”, statements such as “…money doesn’t grow on trees; our family has always struggled” and “all her husbands died untimely deaths, she must be jinxed” to “cancer or heart disease is hereditary in our family” can have strong holds and powerful effects on those being handed this legacy.  Do we really grow up believing the doom and gloom inevitability and then fulfill them? What about inspirational stories we read and hear about someone rising above and against all odds and changed the path of their supposed destiny? That is a belief too. There is actually something to be said about polarity responders who are in the habit of reversing suggestions that seem forced upon them– “Our family is destined for mediocrity??? Not ME! I’ll show THEM!

When someone puts a suggestion into the mind of a youngster, they do grow up believing it.  People stuck in a negative belief will make decisions that are desperate and fear-based.  And while the repercussions of these decisions may seem random, adopting behaviors of our role-models merely continue the pattern, thus “running it within the family”.  When a child is told with equal conviction, “you can be anything you want” they usually grow up fulfilling their dreams.  There is this lovely lady who apparently is constantly winning prizes and lotteries and she believes she is extremely lucky.  Why is this? When she was a child she was constantly told what a lucky little girl she was because her parents were Holocaust survivors. So then good fortune also runs in families as “blessings” from healthy beliefs handed down in patterns – the antithesis of the “curse’.

So then, understanding this, why live our lives around the negative and damaging beliefs? Knowing that we not only change the odds through our actions, that we also can change them through personal belief and intention, breaking a destructive pattern could be as easy as believing that some ritual performed has broken a long-time curse.  Believing that things have now changed, we begin thinking and doing things differently because we believe the outcomes can now be to our favor. Very different from, “what’s the point? It’s only going to be the same anyway!” Changing a belief from negative to positive may be a bit more challenging without certain validation, but it can be done, usually with readiness, willingness and unequivocal intent.

When we begin to look at a situation or series of events which originally happened with someone other than ourselves and realize that we are not them and that we don’t have to adopt the same patterns, mentalities and attitudes we can begin to focus on who we are and what will make us happy, and then how to go about getting there.  Having a wish list doesn’t have to be mere fantasy that we believe we can never really achieve, it could be a to-do list for our goals in bringing about our true desires when we believe we can do them. We don’t have to feel like we’re bound to someone else’s version about how their lives took shape.  Each of us is a blank canvas just waiting for us to create the life we want.

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Lattitude = Attitude?

After quite a hiatus from blogging, with traveling overseas and reorganizing, I’m pleased to be back with more perspectives and thoughts about social cultures, mentalities and attitudes.  Spending time in one of my favorite countries and cultures, Australia always seems to offer a delightful take on everyday life. “How ya going?” and “G’day, mate” may seem typical Downunder colloquialisms to us living Up-and-over, but it really is a part of the everyday greeting in their everyday mindsets. Even as a majority Christian country, the quite common conversation closing of “Bless you” is heartwarming to anyone of any religious belief or practice.

While Jeff and I were there for a family wedding, we were also fortunate enough for Jeff to be invited as a guest speaker on stress relief and coping skills for a Caregiver Support group, or Carer support as they call it.  As my sister had been my mother’s carer while my mother was alive, she had become quite a fan of our Caregiver Relief Kit audio program and of course turned out to be a great spokesperson for its benefits to her Carer Support friends. Quite happily, this product had become popular locally to her, which also lead to these speaking engagements that we were both so honored to be a part.

So maybe it has to do with the general Aussie fairdinkum disposition, maybe the polarity of the region makes them respond differently, maybe they’re well-fed with 5 daily meals (the addition of morning tea and afternoon tea, both involving a required intake of cakes, biscuits and pasties!); or perhaps altogether another reason, it is refreshing to observe a very different audience interaction than what we had become accustomed to for our American caregiver support networks. With a willingness to play along with the light-hearted mental exercises and asking poignant questions relevant to their particular circumstances, it was gratifying to see an audience with a “how can I make this work for me” attitude. In this we understand that the value of what we teach lies within the value that the recipient places upon themselves, regardless of whether it is given for free, or whether for a nominal fee or even greater. What is even more gratifying to us, the provider of the information is to witness first-hand, appreciation for a new learning versus the “throw-away” mentality of those who deem a gift of service as “let me see if your information is worth anything, but first let me see how much free stuff I can really get and then I’ll decide if I even want it.” A sad and jaded state, but valuable education nonetheless, for those of us who provide transformational teaching models.

This now brings me to a related point that I have noticed in a lot of self-help information floating around. While many of the information available is highly helpful, it’s not the actual informational content that got me thinking, but rather the reader or receiver comments, now widely public, following the content is what I am most interested. Most recently something that I had read had to do with practical tips for living and 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. Good info and much that I agree with however, cursory at best. While the content of the article dealt with 30 things not to do, it also went ahead to name what normally happens when we do them. Many identify with the scenarios following those actions. For many of us who are used to introspection and making changes and adjustments, replacing useless habits and patterns with better, more useful ones is easier done than those who internalize and say, “yes I do that and that’s exactly what happens; so how do I change it?” In this case telling us what not to do is easier said than done.

The responses following the online article were just that. Great info… it’s exactly what I needed to hear… everyone should read this… that is so true… Hardly any on, how do I do otherwise? What can I do to change this? So as in standard talk therapy, where identifying the issue and how and when it was created occupies so much of its mass, those engaged in successful change-work know that identifying and stopping do not work without replacing the old pattern with something better, more useful, more fulfilling; otherwise filling the new void with yet another unhealthy, yet rationalized pattern will happen quicker than we know.

So then, are most of us just comfortable with the knowing, but yet uncomfortable with the changing? Do we not want to do the work involved to actually create something better? Do we want to take the responsibility or do we just want to talk about it and commiserate with others on similar issues? Do we just feel better for the moment before going back comfortably into our uncomfortable patterns?  Maybe it’s personal attitude, maybe it’s cultural traits, maybe it’s regional mentality, the reality is change does not always have to be uncomfortable, and if we have the right change and coping tools it can be one of the most fulfilling rides of our lives!

Featured: The Caregiver Relief Kit©

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