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The Case for Humanity

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.Speck 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? One with natureAt 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, technologywe 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.

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Mind Fullness Series: Paths

Paths

Ultimately we must all go on our own paths.  While it may be lofty to sacrifice our dreams to appease others, be it our parents, friends or family, all we end up doing is robbing ourselves of what the universe has planned for our authentic selves. Be it out of fear, guilt or obligation, forfeiting our core purpose for that sake is the antithesis of love. Take the chance, pursue with passion and purpose – not on whims and momentary fancies, but with lasting intent.

 

Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility – Oprah Winfrey

Choose Freedom, Always

Flip Your Brain is finally back from an over 3-year hibernation! Mainly getting through the sudden untimely death of my husband Jeff Schoener, I had been thrust into a tumultuous rollercoaster of changes, upheavals, vulnerabilities, courage, turning points, personal growth, achievements and, throughout—the tremendous love and support of family and friends. Yes, I had to do some major brain-flipping constantly.

Many times, I would feel compelled to put thoughts and feelings to paper (or screen…), yet ultimately feeling directionless through a barrage of unsorted thoughts and emotions as if I were simultaneously running a myriad of programs in my brain that seemed unending, with loops that were never closing.

So now, what better time to get it started again in a new direction, than during my pre-Passover holiday cleaning.  Historically this period – until the end of the 8-day holiday is specifically a time to embark upon a spiritual and emotional cleansing within, in addition to the prescribed cleansing of unpermitted foods from our physical environment. Just as the ancient Israelites went from slavery in Egypt to become a free people in the land of Israel, albeit within a span of 40 years–so do we experience within the 8 days of this holiday, a newfound liberation through introspection from what had previously held us hostage.

While I myself have personally gone through a hell of a lot of letting-go, I find myself still having room to be freer, lighter, softer, stronger and with a greater capacity for so many things to live and strive for. I mean, don’t we all?  Sometimes writing or teaching helps us along in our own path to growth, so wanting to share this, from all I have benefited – this is a good time to ask, what enslaves you?

shacklesIt is important when taking stock of what we may feel a prisoner of, to know the distinctions between instinct and intuition. This is the difference between our gut feelings and energetic higher knowing. Sometimes these can be confused not only with each other, but also with learned behavioral patterns and beliefs that are running inside of us. It is important to know the difference so we can actually make the ascertainment of what may be a true warning sign and what is a learned program operating that may no longer serve us.

Oftentimes we allow bad or uneasy feelings to cycle through us over and over without having a way of letting go.  We think we have to live with them and just deal with them while letting other things distract us for the time being. The situation does not have to remain. Some would prefer the ongoing discomfort of the situation to the temporary discomfort of change, or fear of the unknown – and while I know that some of these may be uncomfortable to face, there is nothing quite like that delightful feeling of a heavy weight being lifted.

freedom

Unfortunately, there are many who would hold on to these negative issues than realize a life of freedom without them. One of the most profound things I had learned in my life was about secondary gain. What is secondary gain? It is a situation that is used for underlying benefits – usually not positive ones. For instance, you may know someone who would keep complaining about a problem, health issue or even a fear, but will constantly make excuses about trying out different options to resolve these. They deem that the temporary sympathy and attention they seek to receive is far more gratifying than being free of whatever it is keeping them stuck. It could even be their own ‘poor me’ internal thoughts that keep them there. However, being a martyr is not the best option while you are alive and have a life to live!

So with that, what if any, would you identify at this moment as incongruent to your happiness? What have you allowed to get in the way? What holds you hostage? A job? A personal loss? Grief? Your lifestyle? A relationship? The lack of one? Maybe it’s those feelings of frustration and desperation of feeling stuck – whether it is a phase in your life, a person or a fear, a behavior or emotion – know that it is temporary. What would you do if you knew what the outcome of this would be and how it would affect you? Well you can – and it’s not a psychic gift or magic…although the process can be infinitely magical in and of itself. So, allow yourself to play the movie out to the end – not only with playful creativity and a vivid imagination – give yourself the permission to play out the different scenarios with a full sensory experience. The visuals, the sounds, the feelings, the smells and even the tastes, if necessary. Make it crazy, make it funny, make it realistic, make it serious…you will know the actual from the made up of the ‘what could be’. Deep down, you know that you know… Which actually negates the whole ‘I don’t know’ part of the self-imposed paralytic cycle!

chain breaking

I must admit that I too have found myself unexpectedly spending a lot of time on a situation that at first fun, now seeming to take much of my thoughts, energy and sometimes even my emotional well-being. But through this cleaning of my house I decided on a cleansing of this thing which has surprisingly bothered me a great deal from time to time and let’s just say I would rather it not.  It is obvious that we can become a slave to our own heart and emotions and sometimes we just must put into perspective all that we have been through, grown from and become stronger with to be able to keep in perspective how we would rather feel than revert clumsily back to situations and patterns from which we had long evolved. When you know this, you can switch easily and comfortably back to a state of mental clarity, strength and resolve.

You have the freedom to learn and practice the skills to make these changes with ease, whether they are mental process skills or energy healing skills – or both, in order to rid yourself of the gnawing discomforts of what keeps us stuck and to replace them with the freedom for what you would rather have in your life. Make your way through your own unique journey from bondage to freedom, from plodding through with weighted shackles to dancing through delightful enlightenment.

Freedom

And what better time than NOW?

 

 

Exodus, Freedom and Transcending What Enslaves Us

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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Is the “Family Curse” Nothing More Than an Unhealthy Belief Pattern?

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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