There is a subtle yet vast difference between being content with who you are, knowing that there is so much more that you can be, and being dissatisfied with what you have and never being enough. The difference is in the balance of being aware of your strengths and weaknesses and being able to go beyond yourself with each milestone you reach – whether it be for the stars or a personal limitation, what are your motives? Is it ego-driven or for the highest good? A healthy ego will comprise a balance of courage, confidence and a benevolent desire to do good, with the satisfaction in accomplishing the end result. Contentment in the knowledge that you’ve arrived here and now, and there is so much more to go.
Archive for the ‘Balance’ Category
Diet and exercise – such a cliché; brings to mind such a struggle for weight-loss and the misery of having to avoid the foods you love, yet so important in maintaining health and well-being. You have to be motivated to exercise and wade through the sea of confusion of these new healthy and boring foods you’re supposed to eat! But wait – we’re told that exercising creates endorphins and other good neuro-transmitters, and learning about the properties of everyday whole foods in their natural state can promote all sorts of better health conditions.
So really, have we just been understanding the concept incorrectly, perversely and erroneously? How is it that in the past and I’m sure presently for so many people, most diets are a success for awhile and then became a total failure after? And now, whether because of a fad or just feeling fabulous, we have come to incorporate it much more smoothly into our lives. How is it we used to toil with having to expend a few calories, treading with feet of clay on the treadmill or the track? And now we enjoy the processes that allow us to feel good.
Yes, we have changed our outlook on this old cliché; we have redirected our attitude and learnt more about what our minds and bodies require. There are still many who regrettably, associate with this in the old way – and yes, it is a mental association. Many wait in dis-ease until symptoms manifest into diseases like diabetes, hypertension and various forms of heart disease, muscle atrophy and bone and joint difficulties before reluctantly having to make major life-style changes. But then, it is just that mental switch that needs turning on that will change everything.
So, I started thinking… diet in the way we generally understand it doesn’t really exist, and exercise isn’t really an arduous task of huffing and puffing without the pleasurable senses of delight and exhilaration. Healing your body by giving it what it requires (and often times having to painfully ask for) is really giving it the right foods in the right proportions, so it can do its job properly, and is well – our responsibility for having one. That also includes being able to have all the foods we love – just knowing when and how much to have. Participating in activity, getting our organs and muscles, our nervous systems, our endocrine and adrenal systems going—that helps our brains make good chemistry, and is well—how we keep happy and relevant to ourselves.
So now how about taking that old Diet & Exercise aversion syndrome and looking at it this way… Old Diet & Exercise = New Healing your Body & Making Good Chemistry = keeping you feeling Full-Filled! Have fun with it. Let your mind lead you through pleasant pathways and your body will follow. Cheers to your good health! A votre santé! Alla vostra salute! A tu salud! L’Chaim!
The Cosmic Page-Turner
What is it about unforeseen circumstances that seem to unapologetically pull the rug from under us, leaving us stunned and sometimes even paralyzed to even fathom that such events could even have the audacity to occur? Whether it is the loss of a job or status, having to give up a residence or relocate comfortable surroundings, the physical death of a loved one, or a life-changing illness – these are all life-altering events – many traumatic, that each of us have gone through in some form at some point in our lives, propelling us towards the “new normal”.
Inversely, there are countless happy life-changing events that occur daily that go unrecognized, the constant magical moments in our days that offer us the opportunity to exceed our expectations, stay fulfilled in a continuity of balance, weighing the positive and the negative within our life cycles. Yet so many choose to focus on what we perceive as the ‘bad’ and become miserably attached to and defined by – bad things that happen. As in everything, and sometimes we may only witness it later, there is also good within the bad, otherwise known as learning experiences.
“I never lose. Either I win or I learn.” – Nelson Mandela
I as one of many, who have experienced in my life what would be considered the incomprehensible, am surely able to turn around and look at the events that have transpired since, to see the path of my journey. While there are many paths from which we can choose, whether or not we believe there are choices, when we make the best decision in the given moment as a step towards the answer to “what is the Universe telling me?”; we seek to answer the burning questions, what are we supposed to be doing in this life we have been given? What are the messages we are sent? What part does each person play in our lives?
The truth is every significant event is an opportunity for growth. Every game-changer teaches us and propels us forward – if we choose to take it as such. Each time the incomprehensible – at least in that moment—happens, marks a new chapter we are to embark on in our lives. They are not just things that happen randomly. Yes, our actions are the cause and effect. Yes, oftentimes we ourselves seek the changes that become the catalyst for greater change in our lives, and as we breathe through it all, the highs and lows, the joyous and the more ominous ones, all the while curiously asking the question, what’s next… what do I do with this? The answer invariably presents itself. Sometimes not the one we thought, or were even hoping for, sometimes the appropriate one or the one that gives us further insight to what is right. Mixed in with a bit of our passions, and connected to each of our individuality, and linked to our core, we are given surprising guided direction and confirmation within appropriate timing.
In hindsight, when I think of how far the distances I have traveled at different phases of my life to embark on new chapters, uprooting, each time leaving behind loved ones, and welcoming new ones, where my life has taken me, the most amazing relationships I have made and unequivocally kept, the impact of each person—even the ones with whom I have lost touch, but never forgotten, the things I have learnt and grown from, my evolution—I would be hard pressed to say that each of these momentous life landmarks have not been the Cosmic hand turning the pages to new chapters.
So, when in the past swimming through the seas of the unexpected, attempting to clumsily adapt to our “new normal”, how about to now gracefully journey through the new chapters of our lives, periodically checking in with our cosmic partners and appropriately repositioning our internal life GPS? Embrace the page turners, boldly navigate your new new chapters – at the end of it all it will be a sensational story and really good reading on the way!
“Today I choose to be the grandest version of the greatest vision of who I am.” – Neal Donald Walsh
Today I saw on Facebook a video posting on what someone considered a sad state of humanity where an animated character marches through life using and destroying all of nature in his path as he leads a life of inconsiderate convenience, luxury and technology. The video, which I might add is very clever and creative, was captioned Humans Don’t Deserve Earth. So, it got me thinking as I frequently do about most things. This talented person who clearly took the time, effort and creativity to make this video while perceiving life on an unrealistic macro scale, obviously believes that all humans do this thing. That we go through life abusing all our natural resources, all of nature and have no compassion for anything within our ecosystem. Don’t we? Before we all get emotionally swept away in self-righteous indignation from a freeze-frame snapshot of one aspect of humanity perhaps it would be in good counsel to look at all aspects down to some of the finer details.
Firstly, I am annoyed. Yes, annoyed by small-mindedness, tunnelled vision, ignorance, and people who are offended. Is that somewhat of a paradox? Those who take the view of the video creator, how do they view our ecosystem? Our free will? Our individual feelings of accountability? Responsibility? Charity? Our sacrifices? How we interact within nature? At the top of the predatorial food chain, humans as homosapien apex predators have it a bit more complex in our overall abilities, capabilities and expectations than our fellow members below in the chain. In that we all have our roles to play to exist and to live. We all make sacrifices from the littlest member to the largest, from the ones that act purely on instinct to the ones that must make difficult decisions throughout the day. Cause and effect is how we live in our environment – one with nature or separate, one with humanity or separate. We cannot possibly simplistically equate lives within our system. We have beliefs and feelings and we act on them, sometimes – or we sacrifice our feelings for what we believe to be for the highest good, sometimes. We have principles. We battle between chaos and order, harmony and dissonance.
In Judaism, the Torah teaches in Genesis that the first thing the Creator had Adam do was to name every creature from every species on land, ocean and air. The names Adam gave to each creature in Hebrew till today, is the meaning of the essence of each being. Adam first had to have an understanding of each individual creature’s essence to accurately name it. What does that tell you of the essence of the human? The mental, spiritual and emotional faculties we were given above all else to resonate with nature. And yet… we must eat, we must hunt, we must clothe ourselves, we must have shelter, we must commune, we must interact, we must communicate, we must understand – and sometimes – because we may not always be able to achieve these things, we must fight, we must survive, we must advance, we must win in order to do so – and sometimes – we will lose, but we must also learn – all the time, every time. Even to love, respect and honor. Even amongst ourselves, we must be the better man – or woman, not only to be better than the other, but also better than we were yesterday, a moment ago. We make choices, we make sacrifices, we are human – for all intents and purposes. We evolve.
So, you think it’s a sad state that the proverbial human marches through life abusing and destroying everything?? Look again into the finer details. Gain a vaster perspective. It’s a bit more complex than what you once thought.
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!
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.
It saddens me when I hear people constantly complain. Why complain? If you were to ask the complainer this question, there will always be an answer; they will always justify it. They might attempt to camouflage it by reframing it as a vent, needing to use you as a sounding board, etc. But you on the receiving end know it’s a complaint, a rant, a tirade – normally fully of vitriol and venom. There’s a reason for the urban phrase of “burning another’s ears” as a slang for venting.
My suggestion is, if you don’t like the hand you’ve been dealt, then change it; if you can’t – then change you! Rise above it! You will see the situation change or at least your perspective of it and its effect on you. The more you mull and seethe over the negatives – the aggravation, the frustration, the more it eats away at you. And whom do you call when you do? Who do you think is the lucky recipient of your venom? Sadly, not the object of your complaint but most probably a loving member of your friends and family circle.
Before we pick our lucky recipient to help make us feel better, realize that this is someone who loves us. Is this really the gift we want to bestow on those that love us the most, the ones we feel most comfortable? What about their un-ease and discomfort of being on the receiving end? How do they feel about how their love is being reciprocated? How are we telling them that we appreciate them? Certainly not by sapping their energy and spirits.
While we have to be mindful of how we off-load to those who love us the most, realize that even when on the receiving end, our boundaries matter and would serve us best to be enforced. Even if it is your own detachment to the emotional toxicity as you listen compassionately. Remember to ask if advice is wanted. If someone is constantly complaining, especially about the same issues, they probably are not looking for solutions. Remember too, that constant complaining keeps us constant victims. Have you ever noticed that after the complaints, you rarely receive the news of how it all worked out? Have you ever received the ‘good news’ call about the issues having been resolved? And what do you normally do when you have been the one doing the venting?
On the other hand, if you ever feel like complaining, remember when you wake up and ask how you can bring joy to someone else’s life that day, complaining to them isn’t one of the ways! If we care for others then it would make sense to be mindful of how we treat them. Confiding and sharing with someone about a problem is not the same as a complaining tirade. What about their day? Maybe they’ve not shared with you their problems. Ask yourself, would you rather be someone that lifted their spirits, or be the one to add to their burden?
Share after you’ve at least detached from the heat of the moment, long enough to gain some perspective and resolution. Telling someone else our problems after we’ve become a little detached from the negative emotions is probably going to be more productive than just venting (even in the word ‘venting’, you can imagine steam emitting off your person in another’s direction).
So why complain? I can’t think of a justifiable reason, now can you?