Balancing Pleasure and Pain in Living a Conscious Life

Do you love living a conscious life?

A willing question maybe, but many fake their way through the answer to this question.

Religions, philosophies, and doctrines have all challenged us to embrace conscious life as energetic and engaged spirits in the hopes that we may live a happier life. Conscious life, however, is full of unhappiness, discomfort and suffering. Therefore, if we seek to fully embrace a conscious life, the embracing of negativity is mandatory for complete engagement. This reminds me of the Zen quote about fight the opposing Samurai enemy; “One must hug the enemy so that he can’t draw his sword.” Read more of this post

The Three Key Ways Yoga Enables Flexibility

Yoga stems from a long line of eastern philosophies and practices from stand a platform that believes that a disciplined student of yoga can reach a state of enlightenment though the cultivation of the human vehicle – body. Yoga is known for the strange and sometimes demanding poses that are endowed upon the practitioner. Most of the yoga poses we practice today focus on opening up the body versus the building of muscle. Read more of this post

Drink Up!

We live very unique lives. We have our own individual ways of doing things and the outcomes we want in that respect. Even though some of us think we have our lives under control, when we take a closer look there is chaos.

water stream

Drink More Water!

Read more of this post

Brain Files: Why Meditation Feels Sooo Good

The brain is a magical tool that enables us to access different parts of our psyche, different states of consciousness, and experience the world around us. In any given moment (waking) our brains are processing thousands and thousands of elements in our environment. This constant processing lends our brains to an immense amount of stress. But through meditation we can resolve this stress allowing for this processing to increase agility.

Your brain functions on four different wave frequencies, they are:

This means that we have several levels of functioning outside of the normal Beta state, which is how most people think of our brain as a whole. Furthermore, we can be conscious during each stage of these brain wave changes. This is done through meditational practice and sleep studies.

Buddhist monks have meditated for thousands of years, exploring these subtle realms of the brain. They’re extremely familiar with positive effect of meditation, including the way it works to instill the inner strength and insight needed for spiritual practices; meditation, or “sitting,” is to a Buddhist monk as to what prayer is to Christians, or even pre-game is to a football player. But instead of trying to self talk your way into a peaceful state of being, monks know the value of just letting things be as they are. This is the first key in achieving conscious awareness during one of these states. You must let your ego (sense of self) and other thoughts fade into silence. What happens next might surprise you.

Neuroscientists observing MRI scans have learned that with a meditation practice strength in the brain is achieved by reinforcing the connections between brain cells. In a recent 2012 study showed that people who meditate exhibit higher levels of gyrification — the “folding” of the cerebral cortex as a result of growth. The scientists suspect that gyrification is responsible for making the brain better at processing information, making decisions, forming memories, and improving attention. What this also does is confirm the argument regarding that meditation aids in the individuals ability to cope with stressors. Excitingly, science has now proven the validity of mediation in neuroplasticity.

When relating to the actual activity of brain wave function during meditation, study results have been linked to dramatic and positive changes in electrical brain activity, namely increased Theta and Alpha EEG activity, which is associated with wakeful and relaxed attention. These two states are most desired but the hardest to achieve due to our over-chattering of internal mental noise. In order to achieve levels of conscious Theta waves we must first learn how to navigate in silence. This doesn’t mean in the absence of noise, but rather that there is internal mental stillness. Once we have mastered in entry point and technique that helps us to achieve stillness, we can then venture in deeper to deeper Theta and Delta waves.

A very interesting  study from earlier this year showcased that meditators have a different expression of brain metabolites than healthy non-meditators, specifically those metabolites linked to anxiety and depression. This is very interesting considering how often we actually take time to sit in silence. The drug industry would be in trouble if we all starting sitting in silence for 30 minutes every morning – is it that simple?  Yes, it is that simple. As you sit in silence, your brain activity will start to calm. As it calms your level of operating brain wave will shift lower and lower, depending on your level of skill. And your level of shill is based on your ability to descend into stillness itself.

When you lower your brain waves via meditation you feel more relaxed and centered. This keeps us on track and refreshed. In fact, many have said that after a meditation session they feel as though they have slept for 8 hours. This is why meditation feels SOOO good! It’s because have let ourselves go into the vastness of stillness, allowing our brain to function on lower fluctuating wave frequencies, i.e. your brain relaxes.

Take time each day to try to reach the state of Alpha brain wave. You will know you have reached it when the wondering of your mind has ceased. Don’t try to force it, just let your thought be as they are. For the more you try to push them away the more they will solidify. Allow your thoughts to come and go, establishing a firm root in stillness. Look and “Listen” for silence. That will help your mind quiet. As they say, “seek and you will find…”

What is Your Ego?


All I can be is who I am right now; I can experience that and work with it. That’s all I can do. The rest is the dream of the ego. -Charlotte J. Beck

ego, self

 

 

What is your ego? I mean really, what is the bottom line to what your ego is? Amongst philosophy books this can be a very complicated questions, and an even more complicated answer. Many believe that your ego consists of memories, aspirations, and habits. In this article we will break down what you ego is and sum up what you can do combat it’s influence.
Simply stated the ego is a collection of habitually thought, thoughts. Meaning, your ego is constructed of thoughts that have been operating in your mind since you were a child. This is where our limiting beliefs, daily habits, and thoughts about everything stem from. We always relate back to this collection of thoughts to identify what we believe and how our lives should play out. Furthermore, we always claim these ideas to me “ours”. When, in actuality they are just a collection of gathered thoughts from friends, family, peers, and society. To come up with a strictly “original” idea takes deep contemplation and internal quiet. With all of the noise and distractions available to us, we find it hard to do this so we just go along with what is given to us. Choosing to go along with popular fashion, ideals, and religions. This means that when someone comes along with a challenging belief or idea they are scowled at as “outcasts” or even worse “weirdos!” . This is unfortunate due to the authentic nature of their thinking. We usually back up our stances with statements such as, “But everyone else thinks…” or “That not what they said…”, always referring back to, what psychologists call, “The Herd Mentality”.

The Herd Mentality & Ego:

Defined: Herd mentality, describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items. Examples of the herd mentality include stock market trends, fashions in apparel, cars, taste in music, superstition, religion, home décor, etc. Social psychologists study the related topics of group intelligence, crowd wisdom, and decentralized decision making.

Let me give you an example: “Would you jump off a cliff if your friends did?”, our parents always used to say. We always say, “NO! Of course I wouldn’t!”, with resounding anger that they even asked the question. But here is the truth; the truth is that we have a 80% increased possibility to follow our friends off a bridge then if by ourselves. Why? Because when we make the resounding “NO!” rebuttal to our parents unsightly question we aren’t thinking about it in context of the actually situation. In the actual situation we would be in a different state of mind, altered by our friends’ influence on us. We are simply thinking about, well, dying if we were to jump off a cliff. In context our state would be very different. Friends, just like in herd mentality, are trusted individuals we deem worthy of sharing our time with. The more time we spend time with them the more trust and moral we build with those trusted individuals. As this happens, we bestow increasing value upon our friends’ opinion of reality, society, and us. This is where we fall short. At this juncture our friends now have the ability to manipulate us, and us them. This is done numerously, on varying levels, in every relationship. Why? Because of this evaluation of our counterparts’ opinion. This opinion isn’t good or bad, right or wrong. That isn’t the point. The point is that by entrusting value on another individual based on how must we know them isn’t solid enough evidence to do so. In business, this would be as if I invested money in a company I had great and trusting relationship with the owners of the business – ONLY! You wouldn’t do that. You want to know the products or services, inner mechanics, long term goals, and so forth. You want to know everything about where you are placing you money before you do so. With our ego, which is more valuable, we tend to just give it to the quickest sale – or – who will take it first.

Don’t Trust – Your Thoughts:
It’s okay to trust people once you’ve gotten to know them. But our thoughts, since we have discovered aren’t all our own, should never be trusted – nor ignored. The ideal that thoughts can be ignored for a peaceful mind is complete fallacy. Do not ignore your thoughts. As the samurai’s creed states:  “Hug your enemy so that he can’t grab is sword.” This simple principle should be applied to our thoughts in the same fashion. Embrace each and every thought that enters your head. The difference?: Don’t trust that it’s the correct thought. Thoughts come and go like the passing of clouds. I always tell fitness clients that they should wait one hour before they indulge in a food they are craving. Every time the craving passes. Why? Because they don’t REALLY want the craving, it’s psychologic. Thoughts should be handled in the same way. Wait, and see what happens in the next couple of moments before saying that word, tell off that coworker, or going through that drive through.

Rapid Thought:

One of the hardest things to understand and master is our rapid thoughts. These are the thoughts that come to us in times of stress or “knee-jerk” reaction moments. Someone says something and we rapidly fire back with a stream of phrases that could have been delivered differently and calmer. We know what these retaliation style comments are accomplishing: Hurt. Therefore, we need to become skillful in watching these thoughts come and go rather than letting them manifest in our reality.

Quick Tip: The more rabid the thought comes in to our mind, the more rabid it will leave.

The next time you have a knee-jerk reaction to a person or situation. Stop for a moment, or three breath-lengths, and look for other options to answering the demands of the situation. You will find it refreshing and empowering to know that you don’t have to hurt anyone anymore, shocking them with your calm focused response.

In Conclusion:

If you had to select original ideas over implanted ideas from others, which would you choose? Obviously most of you would like to have original thoughts creating the reality you want. In that case, I suggest you do the following:

  1. Every day, chant an internal mantra of ONE word, for at least 30 minutes. Pick a word that is positive in nature and that you can remember easily. This will help to quiet your inner monologue. 
  2. Meditation is key. This is something that is slammed over the head with a stick – I know. Nevertheless, spend time every day in silence. Silence renews the soul and cleanses the mind.
  3. Turn off influence. Look to turn off the radio, tv, etc. When some one says something, filter it through before you hold on to it. Then, remember that it was their thought on the matter and not yours.

If you follow these three simple steps every day, I promise you will start noticing new and ORIGINAL ideas randomly popping up in your mind. Some may sound crazy, but they might be just what you need.

Flow Smoothly with Daily Stressors

stress

Every day we encounter stressors in our lives; things that stress us out. We do our best to avoid these things. But is the the wrong approach? Instead of avoidance, we should attempt to find the root cause of our stress in a particular situation. We might be shocked to find out that the root cause is stemming from us. In this article we will discuss the types of things we encounter on a daily basis and ways of dealing with ourselves in those seemingly stressful situations.

 

Events & Situations:

This stressor usually starts at the very beginning of the day, when we find ourselves stuck in traffic. We know, the day before, that the traffic is going to be bad as it always is, but why don’t we leave earlier? Well, this would require getting up earlier. If we aren’t sleeping well or not getting to bed at a decent hour, this can present a problem – but fixable. This takes action on our part to leaving early. What if you miss all of the traffic and get to work way beyond your scheduled start time? Simple, take a book along and read in your car or a near by coffee shop to get your mind moving for a productive day. The events and situations that unexceptionally kick us in the face aren’t the problem, even though most view them as such. These situations are learning opportunities for us to grow as individuals. The key is in how we react to the situations that arise that matters most. Plan ahead the best you can and simply adjust to what comes your way. In martial arts, this is called “moving with your opponent”. Instead of offering up resistance, you learn to move with the situation in order to create flow – a flow you can control.

People Say:

This is after you have arrived at work or you place of settlement. People will say the craziest things, mostly for reaction by other people. They tend to over-exaggerate, emphasis, and over-dramatize whatever story they are telling. Keep you mind on guard as this type of information will ultimately do nothing for you. If they emphasis gossip about something negative; listen, nod, smile, and kick it out of your mind. People will also tell you things that are contrary to what you believe, possibly offending you. When this happens remember that they can say anything without affecting you. The affecting only occurs when you let it affect you. Again, when something doesn’t resonate with you, causing you internal mental stress, kick it out refusing to feed into it.

Human Needs:
We all experience hunger, this is a primal human need. However, hunger has been made into a science by the big box corporations in order to prey on your senses. Meaning, you lack of nutrition via the standard diet is being taken advantage of by loads of salt, sugary foods, and high in carbohydrates. Monitor you anxiousness towards food and other human needs. In fact, science has proven that up to the first 30 minutes of hunger is actually thirst. Drink lots of water, then decided on lunch. This type of awareness goes for all human needs that may arise. Before you let the line at Dairy Queen stress you out, take a moment and evaluate whether you want greasy food or something that will keep you feeling light with energy.

 

The key to your adjustments to stressors in your daily activities isn’t strict self-discipline, but rather self-agility. Be present, allowing yourself to move and flow with the unfolding of events without becoming habitually reactionary. This will take practice but just like with a martial artist, practice leads the way to mastery.

Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life – Today!

Have you ever heard someone say, “This economy isn’t helping matters…” or “If only I had more money…” or even “My relationship would be better if…” ? If you, or anyone else you know has every said something similar to these phrases, maybe you have noticed something that is constant amongst all three. Do you know what it is? Don’t worry, I will tell you. The constant between all three of these statements is: Blaming something, or someone else for how our lives turn out.

You see, in general terms people are lazy. They’d rather sit all day long on the beach, being served the finest wines, with $2million in the bank. Now, lazy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unless, you are being lazy as a way to avoid something you know you should do. So therefore, is nothing wrong with this beach-side image. Most that have attained such success know that living that way for to long yields the same stagnant lifestyle as when without that luxury. Therefore, change and variety is good. Good for the soul, body, and mind. But what yields a successful person over a unsuccessful person? The key is in how a successful person takes responsibility for, not only their life, but their actions. This means, you’ll be able to be lazy but just in a responsible way.

There an ole’ quote about responsibility that goes like this: “You have not gone from childhood to grown up until you have taken 100% responsibility for your life.”

As children we are instructed to take control of what we do and learn to operate within the world. We are told that thing aren’t easy and we aren’t going to be able to control every situation that comes upon us. We are also told that some things “just happen” and we’re going to have to learn to deal with them. Although most of this information is good, it’s not all correct. Maybe we can’t control every situation, but we can take full 100% responsibility for every situation. And here is how:

Taking 100% responsibility is done via THREE KEY components:

1. Action Awareness: You MUCH, and I repeat, MUST become aware of the actions you are taking – every moment possible. When you do something you aren’t please with, ask yourself if this action contributed to your future success or the benefit of others. If it didn’t fit this criteria, then it needs to be changed for the equivalent beneficial action. Change: This is a skill that will strengthen with time. Embracing change for the better is a skill that will not only serve you in your personal life, but your entire life. Embrace not only change that happens to you but also the change that is needed to effectively change your life.

2. Environment Crafting: Set up your environment, whether it’s: business, home, etc. So that it’s conducive to a space that will yield you successful outcomes. Even your car! Take charge and responsibility for the environments you inhabit. This will show responsibility and people will take notice. The key to this is that you make sure you have everything in place that you think you might need in order to succeed in the next 5-10 years. Meaning, if you had to use this space only for the next 5-10 years, with continued growth in mind, how would it look? Who would you like to be in the environment with you? What types of systems would be set up to ensure congruency? What would your ultimate environment look like, feel like, smell like, be like? Once you have made this a reality in your mind, make it a reality in the physical form.

3. Unexpected Situations: This is the one that everyone gets caught up on. They say, “Well, I might be able to control my actions, thoughts, and environments, but I can’t control what happens to me!” In fact, this is the very concept that, usually, propels people back into the state of blaming. They say, “Well, that person hit my car so now I’m going to have a bad day.” or “That deal didn’t go through so now my boss is going to hate me.” or even better “It’s raining outside so that means its a gloomy day.” Yes, if it’s raining outside it will have a gloomy “feel” to it. With this component, it’s not so much about what happens to us as much as it is how we handle the situation. For instance, I noticed that during really rainy days I would get less accomplished versus when it was nice outside. I was completely puzzled. Nothing changed except the weather – or was it just the weather? You see, we tend to base our internal state on the external world. Therefore, every time it rained my internal state would change – thus rendering me less effective. This is something we can control, and I did by meditationally imagining a bright and sunny day and all the things I would do when it was sunny out. When situations arise that are out of our control, our responsibilities lie in three categories: 1. State of mind during the uncontrollable situation. 2. Our thought process during the situation. 3. Our plan of reaction to the situation. 

 

Take responsibility of your life today. Make it so everyone can say, “He/She is very organized and knows exactly what they want. They seem to have their faculties in order.” And, you do. You have the wherewithal to be present in every moment, making your life the way you want it to be.

How to Become Psychologically Aligned

 

Associate-of-Arts-in-Psychology

What does it mean to be “aligned”? According to Webster’s Dictionary “aligned” is defined in the following way:

Verb
  1. Place or arrange (things) in a straight line.
  2. Put (things) into correct relative positions.

When we are talking about spiritual alignment we usually associated this with a sense of clarity or energy alignment. But what does it mean to be psychologically aligned? The deeper question; what are we aligned with?

Every day we go through the motions of our daily routines. Whether those routines are supportive of or goals or not play into how stressful our days are. For instance, most individuals much rather not work for someone else, and pursue ideals of their own. Therefore, work becomes a source of stress. When we are stress, our psychology becomes unaligned. This means that our deeply submerged subconscious is failing to line up with our thinking mind. We see this occur when our habits torment us, sending us into a tailspin of unwarranted actions. Our subconscious can have the oposite effect as well. Our thinking mind may want to do something good and wholesome, wherein our subconscious habits kick in to kill those actions. The way to psychologically aligning oneself is a traitorous, where many veer to steer clear of. In order to become psychologically aligned we need to follow the proceeding three steps:

  1. Awareness: We need to become intensely aware of our actions. For our actions are a direct result of our subconscious thinking. Through this awareness we will be able to tangibly monitor our internal operations. By watching what we do, honestly, we gain a new perspective on our current way of operating. We will be able to ask the fundamental question, “Do I want to live this way?”
  2. Strategy: Often we talk about the benefits solid beneficial strategy has on our standard of living. In this context strategy is a vital component to our alignment. Our goal should be to seek out a plan/map that enables us to establish better, more beneficial ways of doing things. Seek out the best, be stingy – this is your life we are talking about here.
  3. Repetition & Integration: This is the key to all subconscious change – inevitably life change. Repeating the new beneficial strategy over and over and over again. Don’t think as though this is “something new to try”. When you find a strategy that is beneficial to you in changing your life that resonates with what you want(thinking consciousness), this repetition will integrate into your daily actions(subconscious).   

Remember this one key component: Once you have made a solid change – meaning you don’t think of the change anymore – it has become integrated into your life – look for further improvement, but not same strategies. Write down this: “What got me here won’t get me there.” This will serve as a reminder to you when you have reached a point you are satisfied with. If you stop at that satisfactory point, you will “plateau”, become stagnant ceasing to grow. Growth is at the core of all human expression. Therefore, don’t be scared to take the risks necessary to go the extra mile. Become aware, plan a change, and repeat until you are unconscious, again, but this time to your benefit.

Heal Your Body Today: Mind Power

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” -M.Gandhi

Do you have a headache? Have you or someone you know ever been told that you have an illness? Science is now confirming the validity of the mind’s place in the healing process. Each year numerous more studies arise activating conclusions surrounding the use of the mind’s intrinsic power to heal and reorganize cells.

In most cases, this mind has been tested through using a placebos effective study. In a very interesting study from the University of Keele in the UK, scientists monitored 835 women to test the effectiveness of aspirin – the findings showed that having a brand name on the tablet made a great difference in how effective the aspirin was.

“The study used two types of aspirin tablets – one labelled with a well-known brand name and the other as ‘analgesic’. There were also two types of placebo tablets, labelled in the same way – either a well known brand name or as ‘analgesic.’ The women were separated into four groups so that they would receive only one type of the tablet. The results showed, amazingly, that the branded aspirin tablets worked better than the unbranded ones, yet it was the same drug! The branded placebos also reduced pain much more than unbranded ones, yet they were the same placebos.”

 Main stream medicine professionals will prescribe to medicines with side effects that rival the actual illness trying to be counteracted. This begs the question: Are there other options? Now, there is evidence to support a “YES” answer with the use of the mind. *Note: The mind is a powerful tool, but there also many other alternatives to medicines like, herbs, organic food, and alkaline rich water.

At this juncture, science is unable to ignore the power of the mind. This is due to the ever increasing acceptance of alternative healing methods amongst the science community. This has come about due to science recognition of the measurement alternative medicine and healing techniques. 

This is how it works…

Your brain cannot distinguish between a real event and a perceived event. In other words, your body responds to your mental stimuli the same way as physical stimuli. What this asserts that when you visualize something in your mind, you mind believes the image is just as real as the images in your external world. This give you immense ability to influence your physiology based on what you are thinking. If you can access these images, ensuring that they are positive and self reinforcing, not only a psychological benefit but philological.  By making your visualizations as realistic as possible with clear positive focus, you will achieve positive results. You are recreating yourself in your new experience of positive wellness by using you most important asset as being human – your mind. Create a new healthy reality today. Remember that the energy of your intentions is actually being processed as new information in body. This is the massive power of your mind.

 

MSN admitted recently: Studies by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser and Ronald Glaser at Ohio State University demonstrate how even minor psychological stress—that of newlyweds having their first fight or of students facing an exam—can compromise the immune system. The researchers found that a marital spat delays wound-healing and that the stress of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient leaves the caregiver more vulnerable to illness even years later.

Healing your body with you mind has become more than just new-age voodoo. Doctors and Universities are noticing the power of our mind’s ability to heal our body. We have discovered in past articles that our mind influence our body and our actions, this is why the control and change of bad habits is essential. Through bad habits we can ignite the compounding effect in where our physiological state can consist of a dismal state. We are now to the scientific location to understand that the mind control more than our actions, but wellness as well. Therefore, we need to take charge of our life, and ensure positive thoughts and visualizations that stimulate health and internal abundance.

Dr. Lissa Rankin: Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, TalksGoogle

A Life Stress Free – With Pets

Watch Your Stress Melt Away!

As pet owners, we are very lucky to have a pet by our side that waits on our every word. Pets, possibly unknowingly, are some of the most important beings in our lives. They comfort, protect, and keep us calm during stressful times. We come in, after a long day, falling apart from the day’s events. Who is there waiting to give us undivided attention? Our dear animal friend. All they want is animalsattention, in return for complete and total loyalty.

Our pets play a vital role in our level of stress management. Let’s face it, our world is filled with stress. Stress comes in many forms both large and small. Because it’s everywhere, it may seem hard to manage all of it. But spending time with our animal friends have been proven to aid in this department.  Here are some ways our pets helps us deal with stress:

  1. Comfort: Something warm, fuzzy, and personal to snuggle with.
  2. Someone to Talk Too: Pets will never say you’re wrong or that your opinion doesn’t matter. You can vent.
  3. Confide In: Pet’s wont tell anyone your wishes or secrets. This is like having your own personal confession Priest.
  4. Attention: Your animal friend will give you 100% attention if you ask of it.
  5. Love: Love is apparent when you see how your pet looks at you when you say their name up close.
  6. Loyalty: You pet will go anywhere you go, do anything you do, and would follow you to the moon if you asked it.

Scientifically speaking, it has been shown that spending time with animals can reduce stress greatly. Dr. Edward Creagan, M.D. writes in the MayoClinic’s online blog as to the validity of hormones that are released when humans interact with pets. We sites the following story with a patient:

 

Several months ago, I was asked to see a woman in her early 30s who had suffered a devastating accident that resulted in paralysis from the waist down and a life-threatening infection from a broken bone in the thigh. She underwent multiple surgeries and was started on a complicated medication schedule. Before she left the hospital she was instructed in the importance of keeping the wound clean and how to change the dressing, and reminded to strictly follow her medication schedule. The patient was bright and clearly understood the importance of these recommendations.

Over a number of months, however, the patient returned to the hospital frustrated and in a desperate situation from dehydration and pain. Once again, she was given careful instructions, which she said she understood.

When I later visited with the patient in the outpatient setting, I saw a miraculous transformation. Hope had replaced despair, and joy had replaced anger.  I asked her what had happened. She said, “I owe it all to Toto.”

Toto was a dog that my patient had rescued from the local pound. This dog, in turn, helped save its owner by giving her a reason to get out of the bed every morning. Toto needed to be fed and walked. Toto had to see the vet, and so on.

Toto brought something more as well. As scientists have discovered, animals have healing powers. When you stroke a cat or pet a dog, you experience a surge of healing hormones and chemicals that produce feelings of peace and serenity.

 

We all love spending time with animals but who knew it was so beneficial to our stress level management? Pets are more than pets. Pets are little beings that enter our lives to take things from us — our worldly distractions. They remind us of the joy of just being alive. They remind us that it’s the small things that matter — the belly rub, the ball, the savoring of a good meal. Animals are treasures leading us to deeper treasure, when we allow ourselves to be shown.

Book-End Your Days: How to Start Strong and Finish Successful

 

We live in fast time. Times of fast money, fast food, and people looking to move faster. When we rise in the morning we hit the ground running, attempting to beat the person living three feet from us next door. We run to the car, focused on getting to work to

spiritual+abundance

Strive to flourish.

make the fast sale. After that is complete, we wont the fast money that will buy us the fast car. There is nothing wrong with fast, but as a good friend of mine told me recently, “If you go through life fast, you’ll get to the finish line first.” Amongst all of this fast moving stuff, we seemingly find ourselves caught in a vortex of speed. Never taking the time to become centered and focused, running towards someone else’s dreams. Once we identify our dreams and goals, then only can we achieve what means most to us.

One day, I was presented with the saying, “Work smarter, not harder”. In not knowing what that meant, I searched for answer. I started to read every psychology, philosophy, time management, self development, spiritual book I could get my hands on — and I still do. When I came to the answer for me, I knew exactly how I didn’t want to do things any longer. Don’t misunderstand the message, things get hard sometimes which is a needed part of growth. However, I was doing a lot[before]and not getting a lot accomplished. You see, there are two types of doers in this world:

1. People that get many things done.

2. People that get many things accomplished. 

The distinction between the two might only seem within the changes of vocabulary words, only, until you experience the change for yourself.

People that get many things done are people that make many copies, clean their dest four times in a day, or pace the floor not knowing what to do. These people aren’t productive. They are getting many thing done, but not getting anything accomplished.

The individuals that get things accomplished are proactive, goal driven people that understand what they need to do that day in order to be successful. This would not involve doing anything of the first group of individuals. These individuals understand the power of clear goals for their day and how to get to the finish line.

What is the difference? The difference in how the second group of individuals view their day, month, and year. They book in their days; setting clear goals for the day, with day ending rituals that support their suggest.

How You Refer:

Refer to the beginning and end of your days as. “Starts and Finishes” . What this does is creates a solid “book-end” format for your mind to follow. This way you have a clean set of words that you use every day to describe how you begin and end your day. The use of this verbiage is probably the most important step.

Defining Goals:

Now, to fill in each book in you’ll have to define what your goals are for that day. If you’re not sure, define your goals for the year and then break them down into action that can be set each day. For instance, if you are looking to shed some weight, your goal might be to walk every day for 30 minutes. Under START, put: I Walk 30 Minutes. It’s very important to place your goals in present tense. Under FINISH you might put, I walked for 30 minutes and now need 3 glasses of water. What you are doing here is connecting your starts with your finishes to insure accountability. Always include a gratitude statement that showcases how thankful you are for achieving this greatness.

Crafting:
Once you have defined and crafted the starts and finishes to your day, you will need to places these activities in time slots of your day to insure that they have space to happen. Allow for the maximum time you think they will take. As in the case of walking for 30mins, all you will need is 30mins. But for something like reading 100 pages in a book, you may need more time.

Release:
Now that you have this amazing strategy in place you can relax. You can release the worrisome thoughts of “I hope I get something done today”, because you wont — you will be getting something accomplished. You will be bettering yourself and the world around you by organizing your starts and stops of your day.

 

Nuance Notes:

  • Always prepare your book-ends the day previous to the next day, including a short one-sentence mission statement.
  • Make sure that you are incredibly clear as to how your goals will impact your life.
  • Make sure the book-ends are written not just in your head.
  • Contemplate on them as you fall asleep.
  • 10/10 successful people do this, and that’s the truth.
  • Consider this your pre-game prep.

Today is the day that you prepare for tomorrow. Not moving fast, not moving slow. But this is a way that you will be able to consciously move through life with a self guided plan for success. While others are rushing to get things done saying, “I have so much to do today.” You’ll be saying, “Look what I’ve accomplished!”

Don’t Worry, and This is How

 

Introduction: 

Do you think you’re a person that worries? Sometimes it’s the small things in life rather than the big things that can be stressful, stresstherefore causing worry in individuals. Perhaps you feel anxious about what has already happened that day at work, or you’re imagining what might go wrong in the future. You are not alone. Research has shown that women worry more often and more intensely than men do. They also tend to see more risks in a situation and as a result anxiety increases. (Kristen Lagatutta, University of California)

A Closer Look: 

When we look closer we find that we worry about what we care about. So maybe worry shouldn’t be completely eliminated from our lives, or can it? When we care about the safety of people we love, or the success or quality of what we are doing, or the viability of our business and livelihood, or anything else that is important to us, we feel worry concern for these things and people in our lives. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to completely get rid of worry, but rather understand it’s place in our lives.

I have heard performers–even those who have done it for many years–say that they haven’t figured out how to overcome stage fright (a component of worry) and don’t completely want to get rid of it. It gives them an edge that makes them better than if they were completely comfortable. Meaning, if they don’t care, they aren’t as good. I’ve known people who don’t seem to care about anything and don’t seem to worry or be concerned about anything. They’re usually the people who will tell you that they don’t care about life, that life is just a gravy train to be ridden. Well I certainly don’t want to be a person that doesn’t care about worry, but at the same time I don’t want to stress every second of every day. So for those of you who, that worry a bit; well, it might be healthy, and maybe you shouldn’t worry so much about worrying. Worrying won’t change anything, but maybe it helps us realize a little more what is important to us.

A Solution to Worrying: In Two Parts

Part I

Have you ever been in the midst of a test then to realize that you didn’t study for or a specific part of the test because you made the choice to do something else? This is our first solution to the element of worry. We need to do our home work and prepare our lives so that we have a lesser chance of failure. You see, we tend to worry strictly about failing in some aspect. The key here is to eliminate this fear by making sure we have our duck in a row. We can start the saving fund, do that research, and read up on that hiring boss. The problem isn’t with the resources, environment, or situation, the problem is with not taking action. We can start each day by setting up a plan to be effective, efficient, and strategic. This means we take pre-game steps in order to be as prepared as we can. This can be taken to far, as the individual should be caution as to how must analyzing is done here. Nevertheless, the key in this approach is setting yourself up for success with a positive outlook on your day. You will feel at ease, knowing you did everything within your power to prepare.

Part II

This section deals strictly with your mind and how you deal under stressful situation. After you have prepared the best you can, you now need to understand that things may change in an instant. This is when your “fight or flight” response will want to kick in. You job is to master how you deal with this response when changes occur. Your best response would be to take six large deep breaths in order to, first, center yourself. Then, after you are present and adjusted to the new situation (one you didn’t plan for) you can now make a solid sound decision based on your association with your goals, benefit of others, or direction in life. The key to this is centeredness. You must be completely centered in the midst of a stressful situation — the eye of the storm, if you will. When you are in this inner state, you will have a clear head and not one that is looking to fight or flee the scene. Rather, you will be dedicated to solving the problem at hand or making a strategic move towards a greater outcome.

 

Conclusion:

When you are worried next, ask yourself two question: 1. Am I prepared to the best of my abilities for this? and 2. If something were to change, how would I handle myself internally? Once you have completely centered yourself in your knowledge and applicability to a changed situation, you will develop confidence. Confidence that you did your homework and that you can handle any situation that comes your way.

And there you have it; worry is a great thing because when it does occur we can ask ourselves these questions, giving us insight into how we can better handle the situation (or one like it) better next time. Stay centered, and for your own sake — do your homework. 

 

Top 8 Benefits of Morning Meditation

 

We all get up in the morning. We all have our routines that we go through in order to “get our day started”. The problem that I’ve noticed recently is that lack of structure and thought into our waking, pre-day, rituals. We have been conditioned to believe that we spiritual intelligence brainneed to wake up, make coffee, eat (or not), read or listen to the news, and rush out the door hoping we miss the traffic. Let’s break this process down:

Waking Up: We usually wake up with “just” enough time to get ourselves presentable for what is required of us at our job. We tend to dread the morning, as it reminds us of the things we are required to do rather than the things we want to do. Therefore, we simply avoid waking up to another work day.

Make Coffee: This is our stimulating time to “jump-start” our day so that we “feel human”. Honestly, if we need something outside ourselves to get us going in the morning, we need to reevaluate our lives. There is absolutely no reason why we would need a boost after we just rested for 6-10 hours. Let’s check out our diet and see if the things we are putting in our body are yielding the results we want. When we need a caffeine boost, this usually means that our diet is such that it is not supporting our body the way it should. Invest in vegetables, clean protein, and Essential Fatty Acids. I always start my day with 3-10 eggs, protein powder, one whole raw vegetable, tea, and 3 large glasses of water.

News: Reading news media can set up our day for failure without even realizing it. When we take time to pay attention to the current trends on our news feed, we absorb the negativity that is being transmitting through the media. Claims are that 85% of all news media is negatively driven, suggesting, and structured. The news media corporations know that by using “shock and awe” they can gain readers and sell more advertising. Instead, set yourself apart by listening or reading something uplifting in the morning. I personally listen to 15mins of something inspirational or motivational during my meditation period. This accounts for half of my 30minute meditation, the other half devoted to complete silence.

Meditation is the cap to the morning start. By doing this, you set yourself up for a mentally emotionally protected day, against the negativity that comes at us from all directions.

To further reinforce this concept, the following 8 components are benefits of morning meditation:

 #1: ELIMINATES ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Regular meditation increases levels of the neurotransmitters SEROTONIN and GABA which are mood stabilizers. Lowered levels of GABA have been associated with increased anxiety, tension and insomnia. Lowered levels of Serotonin are associated with depression. Increasing serotonin levels is one of the most significant meditation benefits in my opinion since so many people today use anti-depressants to influence Serotonin levels.

#2: IMPROVED AND LASTING SENSE OF WELL-BEING
One way to get a “natural high” is to increase the endorphins in the body. Many people have experienced this “high” from exercise. Meditation also increases endorphin levels in the body.

#3: QUIETS MIND CHATTER
When the brain enters a meditative state, one of the benefits of meditation is that the brain has actually “shifted gears” from a “busy mind of Beta frequency” down to a relaxed, calm state of Alpha, Theta or for deep meditation, Delta. Our bodies automatically respond to each brainwave frequency (of Beta, Alpha, Theta or Delta) and become nervous or anxious (in Beta) or calm and relaxed (in Alpha.) Easy meditation techniques such as brainwave meditation automatically put the brain into different states, thus directing the body to respond accordingly and produce appropriate chemicals.

#4: INCREASED EMOTIONAL MATURITY
Regular mediation not only quiets the mind and body, but also gives rise to increased self-awareness. This gives many people the opportunity to see themselves more objectively and to effectively make change.

#5 IMPROVES CONCENTRATION 
Because meditation allows you to get into a state of stability, you are able to improve on your concentration skills. Being able to easily focus and concentrate on something is a great advantage whether at work, at home or even when in stressful situations. With this kind of skill, you become more productive and most likely successful.

#6 DEVELOPS PATIENTS 
Daily meditation helps you become calm and have that positive disposition and this becomes really handy most especially during those instances where you are in a difficult situation. being patient is also another way of being free of stress because you do not easily get annoyed and you have a strong resistance against being angry and mad particularly on situations you have no control of.

#7 IMPROVES HEART HEALTH

 Improves cardiovascular health. When a person meditates, the body goes into a relaxed state which in turn lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. It also improves circulation and the steady breathing makes sure that your whole body receives oxygen. All of these improve cardiovascular health.

 

#8 INCREASES CREATIVITY 

Increases creativity. It was observed that people who come up with the brightest of ideas include meditation in their everyday routine. When a person meditates, it doesn’t actually mean that the mind stops working, but it actually makes the mind and spirit more active and more open. It then allows more inspiration which sparks creativity and bright ideas.

 

You have no time to waste in starting a-new! Take the next available 15 minutes and sit in complete silence concentrating on your breathing. You will be better, and the world because of it.

Are Your Ears Open or Shut?

 

If you are submersed in the self-development world you know how important building a new skill is. If you tend to over achieve, you currently have a list (mine topping 100) skills you wish to acquire within the next 5-10 years. This is because we strive to do better. No matter your position in life, growth is an important part of the human experience. Personal growth and development is communication skillssecond, only to spiritual growth. When we develop ourselves, we are constructing new and better ways to operate and play this game of life. This is not something narcissistic or selfish in fact, something quite the opposite. Self development and strategy creation, at it’s core, enables you to construct a life that is purpose driven, clearly charted, and geared towards positively influencing others. You see, when you dig deep you find that when you better yourself you impact the lives of others in a positive way. How? Because we strive to better our lives in positive ways. This causes a ripple effect that benefits all that we come into contact with. Some call it, The Midas Touch.

 

Communication & Embedded Communication Hints 

Communicating is a process of giving and taking.  The art of having a good conversation is rooted in a good listening skills – wait, great listening skills. In order to establish report and empathy for the other person, you have to understand exactly what they are saying. By listening to what they are speaking simply isn’t enough. We need to focus in on what they are implying based on the following list of conversational speak implications:

  1. Tone of voice on a single word or phrase 
  2. Tonal inflection during a story or analogy
  3. Where emphasis is placed
  4. Emotional implications
  5. The core root of the story that is told
  6. Facial expression when something is emphasized
  7. Body moments, especially: Shoulders, eye moments, and lack/heightened body control

These are just a few things to watch for when you are listening to someone. In most cases, individuals that you are listening to will drop “hidden” hints within their communication that we miss due to our lack of focus. In order to discover these hints, we need to slow down our inner thinking and focus in the moment as to what they are trying to communicate. For what they are trying to communicate can often differ from what they are saying — sometimes drastically.

So make this a game; listen intently the next time you are having a conversation with someone and try to decode what they are trying to communicate. Even if it is a brief encounter at a gas station or coffee shop, take that time to be completely present and focused honing in on the subtle, seemingly insignificant, suggestions that are embedded within their communication.

 

Silent Talking

Opening up to someone only happens if the other person is a good listener.  The listener needs to appear as though they are genuinely interested in what is being said. The best way to do this is to be, you guessed it, genuinely interested in what they have to say. If you follow the instructions above, you will start to notice that people will naturally open up to you. You will start to respond to their implications, not what they speaking auditorialy. You would say, “Oh, I see you are saying this and you mean that because of the emphasis placed on that emotional implication. Therefore, blah blah blah…” You would speak to them in context of where the conversation is, but taking the time to embed your own implications that coincide with their implications. Basically, you are speaking to them without words. If you are just waiting for the other person to stop so that you can speak your mind, you’re not a good listener, you’re certainly not a good communicator. In fact, what you are doing is implying that all you care about is your own opinion and not what they have to say. One final suggestion during this process: Allow for there to be a slight pause before you start to speak after they have finished their talking. This will allow the other person to notice your self control, allow time for you to collect a solid rebuttal, and suggest that you weren’t just waiting to talk and that you were intently listening to what they were saying.



think it aboutTips from an Expert

Here are some outstanding tips from author and speaker, Marilyn Ellis:

1. Attitude Adjustment: Be willing to change the way you think. Instead of considering a conversation to be a challenge to “persuade”, consider it a mutual journey. There are signs along the way and the postings will come naturally if you let them. Pay attention to the words that are used and don’t assume you understand their definition of a term. Words can be very personal and idiocentric and cultural and not mean what you think. Ask for clarity.

2. Noise Reduction: Quiet the noise in your head. Few of us actually listen with full participation. How many times have you simply waited for the other person to just stop talking so you could speak! Stop thinking and just listen, with full attention, no voices in your head. Notice the other persons body language, voice inflection, facial expressions as well as their word choices.

3. Reflect Back: When the other person has finished speaking, your reply should first and foremost be a ‘reflection” – that’s coach talk for repeating back to them what you thought you heard them say. It can be very surprising and humbling when you find out that you didn’t get what they just said. On the other hand, when you reach mutual agreement on what was actually said, everything changes.

4. Ego Removal: Let go of having to be right. There’s a business saying – “Do you want to fill your ego or your bank account?” The result is not that you are right, but that the problem for both parties is solved to mutual satisfaction. It might not be the solution you thought would be chosen, but it will be the solution that really works.

5. Make it a Win Win: Once the other person realizes that you actually heard what they said, they will most likely relax, share and trust you. That’s when true communication begins. That’s when the real conversations take place. That’s when problems get solutions and you have a chance to make your sale, prove your point and get what you want. When its a win win situation, there is potential for a deeper, more worthwhile and profitable relationship with your communication partner.

 
In Conclusion 
Listening skills helps you learn exactly what others are saying and aids you to approach them easier. By listening well, you can tackle the listening barriers and encourage effective communication through your own personal mediums of expression. So, remember to stop waiting to talk, pay detailed attention to others, and to leave a slight pause before speaking after them. Do you hear what I am saying?

Don’t Let Your Environment Control You!

Goal setting is one of the key strategies that will enhance your success in whatever you’re doing. When you set goals you are aligning thoughtyourself with the end resulting success. The numbers are in and only 8 out of 10 people set goals. Furthermore, only 9 out of 10 people set and KEEP goals for an extended period of time. If you already know what you want out of life and all you do is figure out what you have to do to get to that finish line. But what’s so silly about this is that goals are probably one of the easiest things to set up for your life. This is only two things you need in order for you goals to matter in your life. They are:

  1. Purpose for Each Goal > Rooted in deep emotional drive and association. 
  2. Clear, clean, concise goals > Your goals must be clear enough to create in internal image for your mind to follow.
  3. Massive Action Plan > Taking action sometimes isn’t enough. Taking massive action is the most important and yet most scary for most people.

There are many of great goals to achieve in your life, but there are some people who have never thought about goal setting. They haven’t even thought about the direction of their life. This is insane, and this behavior stops for you today. Going through life without a destination, plane, and flight plan, you will be flying blind for your entire life. Simply relying on the directions from other people, falling into a comfort zone.

In goal setting, we often see people set goals based on their current knowledge, environment  and what people say they can achieve. This  is such a tragedy  I can’t even express. There is absolutely nothing you can’t achieve if you follow the above three steps. What holds us back is how we view and reference our situations in life.

Two Way to Approach the Pre-Game to Goal Setting

There are two ways of thinking when you go to set goals, before you even put pen to paper.

  1. Changing the internal world (psyche) to match external world.  

VS.

2. Changing the external world to match the internal world.

 

The first is set up like this: The mental image changes to match influences that erect themselves in the individual’s point of view. This also takes little work on the part of the individual. The individual can simply go along with whatever the status quo is, operating on autopilot.

The second is set up like this: The individual requires the external world to change to the image perceived in the mind. This takes much more work, as the individual needs to consistently install the goal desired image. This approach takes contact care and strife. More diligence is needed, and the individual will be challenged at every turn.

 

Take control of your thoughts to today, and don’t let your environment control you by changing the way you think. Approach this type of “control” as a monitoring of your thoughts. Stress is not involved here. In fact, if you are stressed about “I must control each thought”, than this wont work for you. However, if you decide to watch each thought, then making a conscious decision as to whether to act or not, then you have found your strategy for achieving anything in your life that you want — even your most wildest dreams.

Partners Section:

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