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 ‘Lifestyle’ 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.
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
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?
It 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.
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!
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.
And what better time than NOW?
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?
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.
- Do you feel you are a slave to something? Whom or what do you believe is keeping you there?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
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!