I know this may be shocking, but eating fat does not necessarily make you fat. Furthermore, dropping fat from your diet doesn’t necessarily make you lose weight. In fact, it can even have the opposite effect! As many people know, there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. But since “fat” is too often regarded as a cause of our obesity problem, we don’t differentiate between the two in the way that is absolutely vital. All fat is inherently seen as bad by many of us.
But fat is essential to health! And the good news is for maintaining a healthy weight (and many other pluses) it’s only a matter of understanding how to get it right.
Like carbohydrates, fat is fuel. And many vitamins and minerals are fat soluble which means that fat is required as the catalyst to break these nutrients down for the body to absorb. If you’re on a low-fat diet for even just a couple weeks, you’re likely to feel some negative effects, ironically including weight-gain. And you can eat all the right nutrients, but if you don’t have the right amount of fat to act as the catalyst to absorb the nutrients, you can actually become deficient in them.
Fats are also needed for healthy joints and connective tissues. And here’s another plus: fats satisfy an appetite quickly to help prevent overeating. Ever sit down with a bag of low-fat chips and, before you know it, you’ve polished off the whole bag? You keep eating them because the body never feels satisfied. It’s the same with all “low-fat” foods like crackers, bread, cereal, pasta, and other starchy foods. It’s easy to overeat them. And then what does your body do with the overflow of the starchy calories? It stores them as…fat!
One-hundred calories of the healthy fats (what you might find in an avocado, for instance), tend to be more satisfying to the body than one-hundred calories of carbohydrates, like found in grains. Same amount of calories, much different level of satiation.
Finally, did you know that the human brain is eighty percent fat? Not only have we become a nation of people getting fatter with our low-fat diets, we’re potentially compromising our neurological health.
The answer is not to remove fat from your diet. The answer is to eat more healthy fats while avoiding the unhealthy ones. It’s the unhealthy fats that are responsible, to a large degree, for obesity and its attendant diseases. Heart disease and diabetes are on the rise and unhealthy fat is a big culprit.
Unhealthy fats are everywhere. A little history lesson: back in the 1980s, food manufacturers came out with cheap ways to cook things. Suddenly we were all eating foods cooked in inexpensive oils like corn, canola, or safflower oil. These are expeller-pressed oils that become rancid even before you buy them, and they are guaranteed to make the thyroid, which governs your metabolism, weaker. These oils are what you find in common snack foods, bread, cereal, and similar processed foods.
Even worse is hydrogenated vegetable oil. Hydrogenated vegetable oil is produced by heating vegetable oil to 700 degrees and then filtering hydrogen gas through it. The oil becomes unstable at such high temperatures, thus allowing the hydrogen atoms to bond with the oil. The oil then cools to become a solid at room temperature, like butter. The process has a dangerous side effect: free radicals. What are free radicals? These are unstable molecules that roam around the body chipping particles from cell walls, which then create more free radicals.
As you may know, eliminating free radicals is a vital role of antioxidants, found primarily in raw fruits and vegetables.
Most people consume too many unhealthy fats that contain these free radicals. And an excess amount of them can be costly to one’s health in several ways. The deteriorating nature of free radicals is among the primary causes of aging. And they can also be a cause of mutated cell growth and a weakened immune system making the body vulnerable to cancer.
Free radicals almost always suppress the body’s thyroid function and that, right there, is a big cause of obesity. You zap your thyroid and you zap your metabolism. Slow metabolism = weight gain.
To offset this, once oils like hydrogenated vegetable oil hit the market, we started reducing our intake of all fats. We started looking for low-fat alternatives and starving ourselves of the needed healthy fats and buying into the calorie-counting protocol as a discipline. That’s a recipe tailor-made for failure.
Fats come in two categories: saturated and unsaturated and it’s easy to tell the difference. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, unsaturated is liquid at room temperature. You need both. Yes, contrary to what you might have heard, you need even the saturated kind, as we’ll discuss.
Unsaturated fats can be found in avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and oils that are liquid at room temperature, like olive oil. All processed oils should be cold-pressed. Cold-pressing means what the name implies: the oil is extracted under cool temperatures, thus protecting the potential health-creating qualities of the oil. But these are oils you don’t want to cook with. Unsaturated fats break down when cooked. (This is why fried foods aren’t good for us even if they’re cooked in olive or similar quality oils.)
Since unsaturated oils like olive oil break down eventually, even at room temperature, no oil has a shelf life longer than a few months once it’s opened. After such time the oil will be rancid, although undetectable by smell.
The omega-3 essential fatty acids are worthy of extra attention. These are oils found in nuts and seeds like flax and chia, as well as fish. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider these fatty acids “essential,” they do have great nutritive value. Omega-3 oils can lower cholesterol and are also blood thinning which naturally can be good for many of us. But again, like all other unsaturated fats, heating these oils destroys the health-producing effects. This is part of why you don’t want to overcook fish. It’s also why roasted nuts and seeds—as opposed to raw—aren’t exactly healthy.
Flaxseed oil can be a good product, but the raw seed as a whole food is how you get those omega-3s as fresh as possible. With fish oil products, there is a lot of debate as to whether they truly retain any beneficial value since the processing involves heat and oxygen. The data pertaining to the fatty acids being preserved for the sake of a long shelf-life is weak, and I believe the whole fish to be the superior option.
If you want to cook with oil, then it’s important to use oils that are saturated fats which are more heat stable: butter or ghee (oil extracted from butter that is less likely to burn) or coconut oil for example. Ghee made from butter is completely heat stable making it perfect for any high-heat cooking. Ghee has been in the Ayurvedic diet of India for many years and is generally available at any natural food store. Coconut oil deserves special attention as well as a place in every kitchen pantry. In addition to being very heat stable, it has a healing effect on the thyroid. If you suspect that you’re overweight due in part to a suppressed thyroid, then try taking raw, cold pressed, organic coconut oil (not palm oil which is unhealthy). It may sound counterintuitive that a saturated fat such as coconut can help with weight loss, but it can. Try it for yourself. Take one tablespoon daily in a smoothie or melt it into warm foods.
Another benefit is that saturated fat like coconut lubricates the joints and bowels, helping them both to move a little better. Also the brain is made of saturated fat, making a supply of it important for the maintenance and regeneration of vital brain tissues.
Okay, I know what you must be thinking. Saturated fat? Butter? Really? Sure, it might be eyebrow-raising, but trust me. The key with saturated fats is moderation. Too much saturated fat will raise your cholesterol (even cholesterol-free oil like coconut oil). But is a tablespoon a day of these oils going to raise your cholesterol? Most likely not.
A lot of questions that people seem to have about fats center on animal fats in particular. So let’s consider a few of these.
Meats. Meats such as beef and chicken should represent only a small part of one’s diet, if any part at all. These saturated fats can increase cholesterol and set a chain reaction towards heart disease and weight gain. The leaner (and less frequent) of these products the better.
Eggs. Bad for you, right? Actually, no. Eggs can be an excellent food. Sure, they’re high in cholesterol, but it’s not a cholesterol that raises yours. There is saturated fat in eggs, but only to the tune of less than one gram per egg.
Dairy. This is a tradeoff. For protein and fat, milk isn’t bad in moderation, but its main drawback is the presence of lactose (milk sugar) which is mucous-forming, making milk a little bit of a challenge for the body to digest. Yogurt’s a little better than milk in this regard because the friendly bacteria partially break down the lactose making it more digestible.
Note: stay away from pre-sweetened yogurt, which unfortunately represents ninety-percent of yogurts on the market. Most of them use processed sugar. Even the ones that brag about having real fruit still add extra sugar. Go with unsweetened yogurt, and then add the elite sweetener, such as honey or fruit. Raw, unpasteurized dairy is growing in popularity because the idea is that it’s less mucous-forming from maintaining the original enzymes which help digest the lactose.
If you do drink milk, it’s best to go with skim milk, right? Wrong. The whole low-fat dairy thing has been problematic. Two-percent and skim milk should just be called what they are: lactose concentrate. They’re hard to digest and a big part of why lactose sensitivity is becoming more common. Our bodies are rebelling. If you wish to have milk, then drink whole milk—just less of it. And you’ll drink less of it because it’ll satisfy much quicker than the milk sugar stuff.
Better still, make your own milk! If you have a high-powered blender (a fantastic investment), here’s an easy alternative for milk: blend raw hemp seeds with water. Voila! No straining necessary. Add in a sprinkle of coconut sugar and cinnamon. Homemade almond milk, while more labor intensive, is terrific, too. Boxed almond or soy or other nut milks in the store are less than ideal. Like all nuts and seeds, these are unsaturated oils that go rancid once heated and then packaged. Plus, these milks are often augmented with binders and thickeners to keep the water and oils from separating. Just more food processing that you don’t need.
Bottom line: integrate healthy fats into your diet with primarily plant foods. As you can probably guess I am quite partial to sprouted almonds and pumpkin seeds because of their awesome nutritive value. Other raw nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and brazil nuts are great too. I recommend steering clear of peanuts that have no nutritive value. Remember that the right fats can satisfy your appetite, thus helping to avoid overdoing carbs and sugars that everybody’s been doing due to the lack of satiation from the low-fat diet. (For ways to include healthy fats in your diet check out my recipes here, which in my humble opinion are extraordinary.
This article was written by Billy Merritt.
Click HERE to Learn more about his work.
A stronger realization of the evil in drinking hit me recently when I stumbled on some news on Facebook. No, I was not dipping into the Sacramental Wine. A father who had had a couple of bottles too many took hold of the steering wheel and drove himself, his wife and stepmother to the embrace of death. Luckily, thanks to a Good Samaritan who was close to the murder (or manslaughter) scene, his son was rescued from the sinking car.
A quick Google search will, however, lead us to countless other stories of a drunkards killing strangers, killing family and friends, or even himself. Why then do we choose to surrender our sanity — and even our humanity — to this liquefied femme fatale called alcohol?
Statistics, according to the Drug-Free World Foundation, establish that alcohol kills more teenagers than all other drugs combined, and is a factor in the three leading causes of death among young persons: accidents, homicides and suicides. Not only that; youth who drink are 7.5 times more likely to use other illegal drugs and are fifty times more likely to use cocaine.
It has also been shown that at least 40% of violent crimes occur under the influence of alcohol. What is more, alcoholic drinks are getting cheaper by the decade. They are becoming more and more affordable, so no one is left out from this global entrapment.
It is therefore not doubtful that alcohol has wrought great havoc not only on our quality of life, but the quantity of the living. Though thinking right — in other words, sanity — can have its downsides, and though not easily forgetting or repressing sour memories can draw us into melancholy, alcohol is no true escape route. It does not offer an exit from the premises of our problems. It only switches off the light for a moment.
The problems — though invincible — remain. It gives us temporary breaks from challenges such as poverty, unemployment, strained relationships and so on; and many a time, it leads to permanent damages.
Away from the figures, the writer has personally experienced how alcohol can often embitter an otherwise great marriage and relationship. (Usually) the father spends a great deal of his income buying it for himself and friends, and he spends most of what remains trying to clean up at the hospital: liver disease cancer, malnourishment, gastrointestinal problems, osteoporosis and so on. He also spends a great deal of his time arguing with his wife and beating his kids — all for silly or no reasons at all. He even borrows or steals from his wife to fuel this indulgence of his. And so, there is nothing left in his pocket for the upkeep of his family, nothing left in his time for keeping up with his family and nothing left in his head to realize this tragedy.
For the youth, though the character and plotline may differ, the story often heads for the same ending: misery. It is a vicious, almost never-ending, cycle wrapped in shame and anguish. If we shut our eyes to the place of peer pressure, then it is either pain leads you to the consumption of alcohol or the consumption of alcohol leads you to pain — or both.
You are facing problems with your studies, your secondary school mates have all graduated and are probably married, and your project supervisor is there making life hell for you. Or your girlfriend whom you love dearly just left you bitter for leaving for sweeter pastures. Or you flunked your final-year examinations, have to sit in classes with your juniors for a year. So you decide to seek solace in the flames of alcohol. Well, stop! Don’t.
Don’t submit your sanity to a bottle of fizzles or wood soaked liquid before it makes you a fizzle yourself. Don’t hand over the baton of your senses, even for a night, for that is your greatest weapon against life’s challenges. You do not win by running. You win through strategy and hard work — and a drunken man is not capable of both. Alcohol is a drug like all others. It has got a glittering package. It has got a sweet voice. It even looks great from the top.
But underneath all these is a quicksand of unending, yet limitless, misery. Trust me, it is not worth it. But don’t take my word for it; check the statistics. Look around you. See what you do not want to see and see the reality for yourself.
Center for Healing, Growth, & Recovery Ministries
Reverend Marc Baisden, MACP, CMHC, Min. (C) 2019
Most of my life I've been a conflict-avoider, sweeping potential disagreements under the proverbial rug. But these days I seem to face contentions head-on, boxing gloves poised and ready. This is good, for the most part--running from conflict rarely solves anything. However, now that I'm not afraid to take on the hard conversations and can bring up the minors before they become majors, I realize I could use some fighting skills. It seems I'm doing it all wrong -- taking things personally, bringing up past issues that have nothing to do with the present, throwing in hurtful digs, albeit slight and 'hidden' (but not really). I shut down after I speak my peace and am closed-minded and judgmental when the other person expresses their side of things, wounding my dissentient and getting my own feelings hurt in the process.
So I write this article for me. And for any of you who struggle when it comes to conflict resolve.
We've developed bad habits
Of course, we don't make fighting a goal. In a perfect world, we'd tune into our emotions well before conflict arises and use these wise old friends to guide us as we manage our behavior, thwarting tensions before they erupt into battles. But then again, we're human, imperfect and immature and insensitive at times, so it's highly likely disagreements will evolve into fights. Most of us have picked up some poor habits, as early as childhood, and haven't learned there is a better way.
But before we look into acquiring some new fighting skills, let's determine first if your conflict management needs some work. Here are some things you don't want to choose to do when troubles arise:
Fail to listen to the other person's point of view with an open mind
Instead of seeking to find common ground, fight for your own way or ideas
Do most of the talking in disagreements
Feel extremely uncomfortable when conflict arises
Don't use tact when voicing your concerns, rather, you demean the other person and/or their ideas and/or use crass language to prove your point
Say things like "always", "never", and "everyone thinks this way..." (as if you know how everyone else in the world thinks or does things)
Bring up the past to prove your point of "Here we go again..."
Use put downs and demeaning words, saying things you know you'll regret later
View the other person as an adversary or foe because they don't agree with you
Think things like, "If only they would change, this could be resolved."
Quit and run away before the conflict is resolved
Use dishonesty to put an end to the conflict rather than being authentic with your feelings
View yourself as more superior, smarter, or 'a better person' because of how the other person is feeling/acting
Which of these best describes your boxing tactics?
It starts with Self-Awareness
Whether you choose one or all of the above when conflict hits, learning a new way of fighting can take some work. As with any behavior, we can make shifts in a new direction, but it's not always easy. But devoting effort to the development of conflict resolve skills will serve us well when the next battle comes along.
“Bravery is the choice to show up and listen to another person, be it a loved one or perceived foe, even when it is uncomfortable, painful, or the last thing you want to do.” ― Alaric Hutchinson
So where do we bad fighters start?
First of all, as with most things -- becoming self-aware is a good initial step. Take note of the poor habits you use when fighting, write them down, and take a hard look at them. Do they serve you well or do they usually escalate the conflict, or cause further avoidance? How do you feel when you act that way? How does it make the other person feel when you act that way? Most likely the things you're writing are not the most positive. It's OK. Recognizing the need to change often comes from acknowledging the hurt we are causing ourselves and others.
Managing our behavior
Now that you're ready to make some shifts, simply acknowledging bad behaviors is not enough. And just erasing them won't help either. As with the breaking of any old habit, it's beneficial to have a new toolkit at your disposal full of actions to replace ineffective behaviors. Here are a few to try:
Separate the person from the problem. Don't let yourself go down the path of "this person is bad, wrong, selfish, etc." because they have a differing opinion. Fight the desire to label them and instead, focus on the disagreement at hand.
Lay down preconceived ideas. It's easy to think you already have everything figured out before the conflict even begins. Be present and ask clarifying questions where needed so you're sure you understand their viewpoint, not your interpretation of their viewpoint.
Take a deep breath and slow down. An overload of feelings can cause an amygdala hijack. The amygdala is the part of the brain that processes our emotions. Because the emotional processing in our brain happens much more quickly than the rational side, if the amygdala perceives the situation is at a "fight or flight" level of danger, it will trigger a response that shuts down the rational side of our brains, causing us to say and do things we'll regret later. Trust me, this is something to avoid.
Listen to understand. Stop thinking about what you're going to say next and tune in to what they're saying, and not saying. Watch for body language (are they agitated, are they scared, etc.) and attempt to hear what they need/want in this situation, not just what is coming out of their mouth.
Before speaking, ask yourself, "Will this help or hurt the situation?" Sounds simple, but it's very effective! Choose your words carefully and be sure not to throw out insults or put-downs in the heat of the moment.
Remind yourself that their way may be a better way. Be curious. Have an open mind and think of the conversation as a way to brainstorm creative new ideas rather than taking offense because they don't agree with you.
“When we aren't curious in conversations we judge, tell, blame and even shame, often without even knowing it, which leads to conflict." -- Kristen Siggins
Don't attach judgments about their character because of their opinions. Again, separate out the issue from the person and fight the urge to jump to conclusions about their moral integrity just because you don't like what they're saying.
Be aware that the other person is experiencing his/her own set of emotions. There may be drivers going on that you're not aware of -- past hurts, disappointments, or struggles that the other person is dealing with. Offer some grace, in the moment, as you seek to understand the why behindhumi their actions or words.
Find a way to say something valuing about the other person. Even if you don't agree with them, making the other person feel valued for who they are, in the heat of an argument, can do wonders to diffusing anger and frustration levels. A great sentence starter is, "You know what I like about you?" then fill in the rest with a sincere, kind word.
"A soft answer turns away wrath." -- ancient proverb
Remember that the goal here is coming to a solution that works for both parties, not getting your own way. This may mean you have to reach a compromise where both of you give up a little to arrive at a peaceful outcome.
I know, easier said than done. If this list seems daunting, pick just one goal and focus on it for the next few weeks. Talk to a coach or counselor about the areas you struggle most with and seek an outside opinion on how you could begin to make some shifts. Then get out there and practice.
For those of you (us) who have done it all wrong, going back to that person and offering a sincere, "I'm sorry" can do wonders to soften pain of the blows you delivered. It takes humility and courage to admit our errors and ask forgiveness of the other person. They may reject you, scoff at you, or even attempt to continue the fight -- but these three magical words can do as much for your own angry heart as it can the other person.
Unless you live on an uninhabited, deserted island, where you have no contact with others, there will be conflicts on the road ahead. Coming prepared with healthy, helpful tactics will enable both of you to stay standing at the end of each round. Even better, as you work on your own conflict management skills, you may come to realize that it was never a fight at all, but a passionate interaction between two unique and worthy individuals, on the same team, working toward the same goal, each offering the gift of learning something new.
"We meet aliens every day who have something to give us. They come in the form of people with different opinions." -- William Shatner
This article was written by Amy Sargent.
Click HERE to Learn more about her work.
We don’t have to hike for hours every day. But even going a few miles at a sturdy pace two or three days per week can have a tremendous impact on your health.
You’re getting your heart rate up and lifting your body weight as you trek up and down hills, making hiking the perfect cardio and load-bearing activity, all in one. Plus, you’re exercising the largest muscles in your body— namely your gluteus muscles and quads in your legs—which therefore has the most effect on your metabolism. And you’re strengthening your core, too. When you’re hiking over uneven terrain, you’re also exercising your smaller, stabilizer muscles—lots of little muscles that all add up. There’s a lot you can cover by just walking up and down hills.
Popular ways that people try to replicate this kind of physical activity are in the gym via stationary bikes or treadmills. These are obviously much better alternatives than not exercising at all. But when doing only the same repetitive motion that’s offered by stationary bikes or treadmills, you can’t really get the same kind of workout provided by hiking and navigating hills. Essentially, all of those stabilizer muscles aren’t working so hard. And, you’re not getting outside which is always the place I prefer to do at least a portion of my exercise. Do you live somewhere flat? No worries.
A brisk walk, followed by doing a few sets of squats while holding a dumbbell to your chest, qualifies as an awesome workout.
As for load-bearing exercise, remember that the gluteus muscles and quads should be your highest priority for enhancing your metabolism and building your overall strength. The seldom-done squats and deadlifts are hands down the best gym exercises you can do because of the emphasis on these bigger muscles as well as your core strength. Deadlifts have an undeserved negative reputation (the name doesn’t help—better would be “life-force lifts” or “anti-death lifts”!) that comes from too many people doing them inappropriately, with too much weight and with the wrong form. Just like hiking, bending over or squatting to pick up heavy objects is an ancient exercise; thus our bodies are well adapted to do them. But don’t risk an injury. Do them right. Your best bet?
Work with the theme “less weight, more reps.” Also these lifting exercises don’t necessarily need to be committed to with a bar. Using dumbbells or kettle-bells is a great, low-risk way to get started. And why not work with a trainer? I do, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!
Remember to maintain stretching as a part of your physical activity. Maintaining elasticity of muscles is vital for a whole host of reasons, the most important of which is prevention of injury, inflammation, and those everyday aches and pains. It’s important for maintaining good posture, too. A full body stretch doesn’t need to take more than a few minutes. Actually, a common mistake can be over-stretching, which can make muscles weaker. Of course muscles can be re-strengthened, but why put your body through unnecessary stress? If you choose a yoga practice, the idea is to hold the stretching poses for only seconds. It’s the strengthening poses that can be held for longer. There is some reasoning however for holding the stretching poses longer, and it’s for the releasing of deeper tension. So in a sense there can be a benefit to this.
My suggestion if you do the longer stretching poses is to do them only on an occasional basis, especially if building strength is what you’re going for.
As mentioned, I highly recommend working with a fitness trainer. What you learned in PE class just isn’t going to cut it if a deeper power for the sake of your longevity and life-force is what you’re going for. And going to the gym on your own and doing the same routine day in and day out only does so much. It’s much more effective and time better spent to shake things up. The variety of fitness activities is endless, and changing up the exercises you’re doing on a regular basis will make you stronger faster. A trainer knows best how to do this, and it needn’t be time-consuming. With the right kind of intensive exercise, you can get a lot out of a single hour, or even less.
Believe me, I’ve seen the results firsthand through trainers I have worked with, and by my own experience as a trainer at the Ashram. I’ve witnessed incredible transformations in people of all body types and starting out at all different levels of fitness.
Find the trainer who believes in sticking with the free weights. Free weights have exponentially more impact than machines. Remember that core and lower-body exercises are the most important since, as we discussed above, they’re the biggest muscles. Men especially tend to get preoccupied with upper body workouts, partly because they’re easier overall since the upper body muscles are smaller relative to the muscles in the legs. It’s a matter of balance between lower and upper-body exercises, but placing more of an emphasis on lower-body is the way to go. And of course we’re not talking body-building here. Again, we’re talking about ‘power-building’.
Keep in mind you don’t have to work with a trainer every day. Why not start with just two days a week? Of course a good trainer will teach you how to work out on your own, too. I’m confident you’ll be very impressed with what you get out of it.
The other days of the week? Hike or go for power walks! I am very much a believer in fast-paced walking. Too easy for you? Try carrying three to ten pound dumbbells (or water bottles) and pump your arms like you mean it. Now we’re talking. Or maybe you’ve got other athletic pursuits—sports that you like to play. Being physically active should be enjoyable, something you look forward to. Yoga, soccer, pottery (well maybe something a little more strenuous), swimming, and biking—they’re all good. Need I share my opinion of the contact sports like football that invite injury and wear and tear on the body?
Get creative. Join a softball team. Take up tennis. Play ultimate frisbee. Dance! (This one is among my favorites.)
Exercise is certainly neck and neck with diet, in terms of importance for overall health. They’re both critical links in the chain of well-being. On the note of diet, I recommend a sturdy dose of easy-to-digest protein following your workout. Naturally, and for the sake of purity and potency, I’m a fan of my post-workout smoothie with Infinity Protein, which is a blend of organic hemp and brown rice protein infused with muscle-enhancing herbs. And of course the Infinity Protein Bars too, which are hands down, the best bars in terms of both pure ingredients and flavor. Remember that when we neglect our diets, we lose the energy and enthusiasm we need to be physically active. It becomes hard to exercise even if we want to. So create the right chemistry with your diet and then pump the handle with exercise, with the restorative nutrition to follow.
As a motivating factor, it’s always helpful to remember your physiological health is intimately connected with your mental health – that’s your peace and happiness. No question a strong body is one of the foundational elements for a strong mind, only to make us more fit to better navigate through the world of modern-day stressors and still maintain a general sense of wellbeing.
It’s the strong mind and body together that build true power, and there’s no moment like the precious present to jump onboard. I say we go for it.
Over the last seventeen years the Infinity Superfoods have become a powerful force, enhancing the lives of many thousands of people, and it is an honor to have you as part of the team.
This article was written by Billy Merritt.
Click HERE to Learn more about his work.
Principle 1: Master the courage to question reality.
No plan survives its collision with reality, and reality has a habit of shifting, at work and at home. Markets and economies change, requiring shifts in strategy. People change and forget to tell each other – colleagues, customers, spouses, friends. We are all changing all the time.
Not only do we neglect to share this with others, we are skilled at masking it even to ourselves.
Principle 2: Come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real.
While many fear “real”, it is the unreal conversations that should scare us to death. Unreal conversations are expensive, for the individual and the organization. No one has to change, but everyone has to have the conversation. When the conversation is real, the change occurs before the conversation is over. You will accomplish your goals in large part by making every conversation you have as real as possible.
Principle 3: Be here, prepared to be nowhere else.
Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can. Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.
Principle 4: Tackle your toughest challenge today.
Burnout doesn’t occur because we’re solving problems, it occurs because we’ve been trying to solve the same problem over and over. The problem named is the problem solved. Identify and then confront the real obstacles in your path. Stay current with the people important to your success and happiness. Travel light, agenda-free.
Principle 5: Obey your instincts.
Don’t just trust your instincts – obey them. Your radar screen works perfectly. It’s the operator who is in question. An intelligence agent is sending you messages every day, all day.
Tune in. Pay attention. Share these thoughts with others. What we label as illusion is the scent of something real coming close.
Principle 6: Take responsibility for your emotional wake.
For a leader, there is no trivial comment. Something you don’t remember saying may have had a devastating impact on someone who looked to you for guidance and approval. The conversation is not about the relationship; the conversation is the relationship. Learning to deliver the message without the load allows you to speak with clarity, conviction, and compassion.
Principle 7: Let silence do the heavy lifting.
When there is simply a whole lot of talking going on, conversations can be so empty of meaning they crackle. Memorable conversations include breathing space. Slow down the conversation, so that insight can occur in the space between words and you can discover what the conversation really wants and needs to be about.
This article was written by Rev. Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN
Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden.
Surrender to the evolutionary process running through you .
Walking the spiritual path is to continuously surrender to the next stage of our growth and unfolding. It is about allowing for older and smaller versions of ourselves to die and new grander and greater versions to emerge.
This means that we need to surrender to the will of God. For many individuals, the word surrender has a negative charge to it. For them, it means acquiescing or submitting to a God outside of themselves. A deity with human traits and characteristics.
This, of course, is not what God is. God, is not “out there,“ nor is God “in here.“ The Spirit of God is infinite.
God is all there is, no beginning nor end. There truly is no spot where God is not.
As Eckhart Tolle puts it, “God is the Alfa and the Omega.“ God is the beginning and the end, God is in everything. Everything is in God.
The will of God
A common question is what God’s will is. God’s will is for greater expression of all of Life - that all of life come into forever greater and grander expression of itself. In other words, that all of life continuously grow and unfold and expand.
God is in all of Life, in all of creation, is forever seeking to become more conscious of itself in and through all of Life. God is the evolutionary process that runs through the cosmos, always for greater life and expression.
This is what the will of the Spirit God is.
God is forever for us, never against us
And so, God is always for us, never ever against us. God cannot not be for us as being against us would go against the purpose of all existence. Against the will of God. And God cannot contradict itself.
As God is in all things, places, and beings – it means that everything is working for our good. Every single challenge, every single encounter, every single experience is Divinely designed to move us along our unique and perfect path of growth and unfolding.
God truly seeks to always guide and lead us, that we may become forever more yet never less than our true selves. This process of growth and unfolding is what are to surrender to.
Surrender is not the same as acquiescing
Surrendering means letting go and releasing resistance to growth and unfolding. It means releasing our need to control and manipulate, in order to have things the way we want them to be. Even though us humans are an intelligent species, our perspective is strictly limited.
Limited to that which we can perceive with our senses. Which means that whatever it is we may see, hear, feel, taste and smell, is infinitesimal in relation to that which we cannot perceive.
There is only Divine order in the cosmos. No chance, no luck, no coincidence, no happenstance. We may perceive things to happen out of chance and luck, but we always need to remind ourselves that nothing just happens to us, but everything happens just.
Nothing ever comes into our experience uninvited. It either comes because we want it or because we don’t want it.
Surrendering is about getting out of the way
And so surrendering is making a conscious choice to grow and unfold. It is about making the choice to get our little selves out of the way and let God have its sway with us.
It is about becoming willing to say Let Thy Will Be Done - come what may. And then do the inner work necessary to become open, available for that which is seeking to emerge in and through us, to emerge.
It is giving that greater and grander expression permission to come forth, with ease, grace, and dignity.
Surrendering may be asking for help
A practical way to surrender is to ask for help. In times or in circumstances where we feel we lack the strength or ability to do something that we know in our heart is the right thing to do. We may then surrender to that and ask God for help to do it through us.
As we ask for help, we get out of the way. We let go of control and give it over to the presence of God. As we do this, we access the infinite. We go beyond our limited human perception and perspective. Rather we rely on the loving mind of God to lead us to where we need to go.
Surrendering like this is entering into Heaven. Heaven may be described as ever-expanding good. It is a magical journey and a beautiful way to live. Let go and let God – it will bring you the very best of life.
Daniel Roquéo is a freelance writer and founder of The Love & Light Store. He helps individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses do what they may not have the time, inspiration or the skills to do for themselves. Bringing their passions to life through the written word.
"Knowing who you are is confidence. Confidence, not cockiness. Cockiness is knowing who you are and pushing it down everyone's throat." -- Mila Kunis
Do you know anyone who constantly tells you how great they are? Whether it's a blatant statement of bragging or a masked self-compliment, it's easy to recognize those who swagger. They are the ones who like to 'up' your story, who always have a better, bigger, or bolder experience than the one you shared.
They often are the loudest one in the room (though not all loud people are cocky--don't confuse that!), are able to speak over others, and are inclined to tell long, detailed stories, rarely pausing to read the expressions of those around them, assuming everyone is deeply fascinated with their tale. They interrupt. They have this uncanny way of steering every conversation back to them. When you speak, if you get the chance, you wonder if they are hearing anything you say.
There's something in them, some sort of inner need, that has to let you know that they are smart, successful, and superior. It's the kind of person we try to avoid at the office, at a party, or when we're out and about. And though they can appear to be quite confident, I think, deep down, their need to boast comes from a place of inferiority.
"Let another man praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips." -- ancient proverb
And then there are those who struggle with having any confidence at all. These people live a cowardly life, tending to avoid confrontations and have difficulty speaking their truth. They sometimes stumble over their words and/or don't speak loud enough for you to hear clearly. They lack confidence in their own judgment, hesitate to try new things, and avoid challenges like the plague. Because of this lack of trust in self, they question their own abilities and often feel powerless. Those who struggle with personal power tend to have difficulty setting appropriate boundaries and can be "yes" men/women.
Somewhere in between the two extremes lies the emotionally intelligent competency of personal power.
"Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions." -- Marianne Williamson
Personal power, that sense of self-confidence and an inner knowing that you can thrive through life's challenges, can sometimes be confused with cockiness, but it's not that at all.
Those who have personal power -- who are strong in this understanding of their strengths (and areas of growth) believe they can set the direction of their lives. They are not victims to the winds of change but sense when things need to shift and take action to make that happen. They have a calm inner conviction about who they are and their abilities. Those rich with this competency tend to know what they want and go after it, and can speak their truth and give voice to their values and convictions.
Though they are the ones that make things happen, those with strong personal power don't always have to do it brashly and loudly. One important aspect is that they can distinguish between the things they can control and the things that are out of their control, and can let go of the latter when needed. They are always learning and never propose to have it all figured out.
Listen for how they define self. You'll hear them speaking about qualities of the heart, not about what they do. Try asking at your next social gathering, "Tell me about yourself?" and listen for whether or not they tell you what they do or who they are.
Think of those you lead -- or those who lead you -- your colleagues, your teammates, your manager, the boss, your pastor, your significant other, or someone you just admire. Which of these three C's does he/she lean toward: cockiness, cowardice, or confidence? Which type of leader would you rather follow? Which would you rather work alongside? I daresay we all are most drawn to those with true confidence.
Even more importantly, can you discern when you are being cocky, cowardly, or confident? It's an awareness worth developing.
"There is a fine line between confidence and cocky. Confidence can bring you many things, but cockiness can make you lose many things." -- Azgraybebly Josland
Those who take the time to develop this competency of personal power unleash their ability to convey their ideas and solutions in an assured manner which gives others confidence in their ability to solve problems and achieve results. In other words, those that have personal power can lead, and lead well.
Most of us dance between the three, cockiness, cowardice, and confidence, depending on the day, our mood, and our behavioral self-control. In other words, we all have room to grow. Here are nine practical steps to begin moving toward true confidence/personal power:
Remember the glory days. Success breeds confidence, so take a moment to remember the things you've achieved in life so far. What are your success stories? Where have you excelled? When did you accomplish a goal you set out to reach and how did you go about accomplishing it? Remembering past successes -- even those you achieved as far back as childhood -- can help boost your levels of personal power when you begin to doubt your abilities.
It takes a village. Now think about who helped you accomplish those goals? Who believed in you or gave you the inspiration to keep going even when things got rough? Did anyone provide financial means which enabled you to succeed, or come alongside you as a friend or mentor to be there when you needed them? Reminding ourselves that our successes most always are a team effort can help us avoid the full-of-self syndrome. And leaning into friends as you accomplish goals can be a source of encouragement and help ensure success.
Identify the voices. I led a women's group once and we attempted to get to the root of our insecurities. In almost every case, as children, we had been told by someone that we couldn't -- or shouldn't -- and now, as adults, we still believed that lie. Think on the areas where you lack confidence and see if you can remember where you first heard that maybe you were no good at it. Identify who said it and when. Recognizing the source of negative thoughts can help put them in their place as you move toward a more positive outlook.
Stop the hurtful self-talk. Even if someone was hurtful with their words, it's most likely you who continues the negative self-talk. Notice when you say, "I can't" or start a sentence with "I'm only...", diminishing yourself. Try not to begin with "I'm sorry, but...". Learn to state your truth without apologies. Also listen if you tend to tag "isn't it?" at the end of a suggestion, or "right?" Those words are a way of seeking approval of others and teaches them to treat us as lacking power.
Build some fences. Setting boundaries and learning to say "no" can free us up to accomplish the things that are important to us. Being a yes man/woman actually limits us to doing only what others ask of us vs. moving in the direction that we want. You may need to spend some time reviewing your value and clarifying your goals to begin setting appropriate boundaries.
Lay down the remote. Determine which things in your life you have control over, and which areas you don't. Hint: you can never control others’ thoughts, behaviors, or actions. Trying to control what you can't will only lead to frustration. What you do have control over are your own thoughts, behaviors, and actions.
Dream a little dream. When we create something new, it appears first as a thought. Envision yourself as smart, competent, articulate, poised, admired...and humble. Use the prompt, "In a perfect world, I would ___" and fill in how it would look if you were teeming with personal power.
Shhh. In your next conversation, and those that follow, determine to listen more than you speak. Ask open-ended questions with the goal of learning more about the other person and the whys behind their thoughts and actions. If you tend to tell long-winded tales, shorten your stories and pause often to ask the other person to share as well.
Follow the leader. Find those in your life that exhibit true confidence and strive to emulate them. Watch how they interact with others -- in meetings and in one-on-one conversations. If possible, ask to meet with them for lunch and learn from them.
As with all change for the positive, it's easier if you work with a coach to help you stay on track. Consider engaging a social + emotional intelligence coach to walk alongside you. Shifting behaviors, especially habits we've been practicing for a long time, can take time and effort, but the benefits of moving away from cockiness and cowardice toward confidence will be rewarding.
"As is our confidence, so is our capacity." -- William Hazlitt
This article was written by Amy Sargent.
Click HERE to Learn more about her work.
HGR emerges from hope: The belief that recovery and joy is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future - that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them.
HGR is person- centered/driven: Self-determination and self-concepts are the foundations for HGR individuals as they define their own life goals and design their unique path(s).
HGR occurs via many pathways: Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds - including trauma experiences - that affects and can determine the pathway(s) to/in the Process of HGR.
HGR is holistic: HGR encompasses an individual's whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.
HGR is supported by peers and allies: Mutual support and mutual aid from people, small groups that the person builds. Including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in HGR and in the outcomes.
HGR is supported through relationship and social networks: An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person's ability to recover; who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change.
HGR is culturally-based and influenced: Culture and cultural background in all diverse representations - including values, traditions, faith and beliefs. These are keys in determining a person's journey and unique pathway in HGR.
HGR is supported by addressing traumas: Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical, emotional, mental and spiritually) and trust in the self and others. This helpful to promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration to heal, grow and Recover. '
HGR involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility: Individuals, families, and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.
HGR is based on respect: Community, systems, societal acceptance and appreciation for people are crucial in achieving in the process and living a life with Joy.
This article was written by Rev. Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN
Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden
Passion frightens people. We are told to find our passion and pursue it, and simultaneously censured for being too passionate. The world sets out to tame and calm us while telling us to live our passion fully. I unfortunately learned over the years to hide my passion in most situations. Full out laughter might result in someone telling me I was being too loud or that people were looking at me. Crying meant I was just an over-emotional female. Spreading my arms in the night wind inevitably resulted in someone asking me what I was “on” since clearly that kind of passion requires drugs. A lover once told me while I was wrapped in his arms that I was getting carried away, which of course I thought was the point.
And then there is work, where I was told over and over “we can tell you are passionate” in a disapproving tone. This happened everywhere from fund-raising meetings, where one needs a bit of passion, to academic councils where I was bringing new innovative programs for approval. Of course this took place in an academic setting where we ask faculty to share their passion with students, and to fill students with passion for a discipline and lifelong learning.
Over and over again we are instructed to live our passion and then told to tone it down. What if we live our passion and fall completely in love, only to have our hearts broken? What if we find a career we are passionate about and then find after a few years that we have fallen out of love and need a new direction? What if we are passionate about our family and fight to protect them? Or what if we are passionate about an issue, form a non-profit and change the world? A life of passion is dangerous.
This mixed message has hounded and haunted me. Am I having too much fun, too much in love with being alive, or perhaps just too much in love? Why should I dispassionately discuss my passion? Who is allowed to be passionate? Or maybe the question is who is courageous enough to be passionate.
Clearly people on the TED stage are passionate, as are commencement speakers, singers, performers and some fund-raisers. I have loved my passionate teachers and students, as well as the one time I had a fearlessly passionate lover. When I feel truly alive passion fills me, overflowing and dripping from my heart like thick sweet honey. Finding and feeling passion is not the issue, the challenge is having the courage to live it, sharing my honey like wine with a parched world.
I have spent years learning to moderate my voice in meetings, to sound dispassionate about topics that actually demand passion. I have learned to walk calmly and with strength, never displaying joy in my step. It is only when I am alone or with close friends that I let my love of life show on my face and in my demeanor. Until recently.
Something cut through the boundaries and borders of control that I have built over the years, and much like candy dancing free from the restraints of a piñata, my passion has broken free. I do not know where the courage came from to truly show up. Perhaps Kris Kristofferson was right when he wrote “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” And perhaps finding freedom has made show off my passion. Perhaps it was the tango lessons that helped me shift my calm walk to a tango strut. Maybe I finally realized that my ability to laugh is a gift that positively changes the energy in a room. Or perhaps I just know that my meaning and purpose in life comes from being courageous enough to let my passion flow.
This article was written by Elisa Robyn
Click HERE to Learn more about her work.
Only when we are willing to truly explore these questions as a person, are we able to explore ourselves as beings.
It was during an episode of depression that I became aware of some major choices I had made in my life that were driven by fear.
I was infusing life into what I believe is lifeless: fear.
It makes sense to me that any thought or action that is driven by judgment and hate, for ourselves and for “others,” creates separation, and this separation isolates us from our true selves, which in turn keeps us from understanding what is real and what is not.
Perhaps, a life of “true” health and joy is paved by becoming aware of which thoughts and actions are driven by fear and which are driven by “Love.” And every inch of that pavement is infused with self-inquiry.
This practice might entail discernment combined with intuition, patience, and kindness. What a rich adventure life is within us! Self-discovery and self-exploration are so exciting to me, even if there is nowhere to go, and what is discovered can never be explained or fully understood.
However, what I ponder these days is whether it is true that we act and behave according to our fears or according to “Love”—at conscious or unconscious levels.
Is fear the opposite of “Love”?
If yes, then the place to stand is in between them.
As far as I can see, by trying to run from fear or trying to become “Love,” we can never “stand” anywhere. Our human experience is destined to be unstable—out of balance at all levels, mentally and physically—as long as we choose sides to “stand” on/by.
The magical antidote to unnecessary suffering might be the realization that it is not running from or becoming something that gets us “there,” but rather being “there” now, between the opposites.
I think this is called the non-dual state of mind. I am not sure how long, and how much of, our lives can be experienced in this state. Not through experience perhaps, as everything we experience has a dual nature attached to it, but through awareness—the subtle knowing, which cannot be known by consciousness.
It might be that subtle knowledge, at this very moment, simply is—and it’s all we have.
The past and the future are just memories. They can teach and motivate, but they are not real life. They are, perhaps, “necessary” illusions that serve as a guide depending on each person’s level of awareness.
It is in “being” here and now before becoming what our past or our future makes us to be that we meet life itself.
And so, it is by meeting life itself that we know “Love.”
I remember the beginning of my “raw” understanding of fear and “Love,” when I became open to new experiences that would expose my fears and help me to overcome them.
I began saying “yes” to thoughts that suggested and welcomed the new, the unknown to me.
And so, I said yes to everything that seemed to invite me to explore my hidden fears.
Boy, did this lead me to dangerous situations, one of which was when I quickly made the decision to spend a few months at a meditation retreat center in the “middle-of-nowhere” in France, where I was drugged.
From this experience, I became aware of which fears were not worth overcoming: The fear of living with strangers in a foreign country whose mission was to teach “others” to become “fearless.”
It is by replacing fear with “Love” awareness as a practice first, that we become fearless.
Those who are fearless are free to “Love” because “Love” is who we are: FREE. Free from the negative meaning given to our human experience.
The human experience includes everything that is possible to experience. The personal meaning we give to these experiences can be altered. The non-personal meaning for the human experience arises from awareness itself.
*** From Valeria’s new book: From Fear to “Love.”
The best way to practice “Loving” ourselves is through observance of our relationships with “others.”
Relationships might be the most precious and powerful avenue for the practice of locating where illusory fears hide.
The deeper and truer our relationships are, the deeper and truer we will become.
Relationships work as mirrors. They reflect the way we think about ourselves and/or serve as catalysts for great changes when we enter into a relationship where the other person represents the opposite of what we believe and value.
When we are in a state of self-inquiry, relationships can show us where our hidden fears are as well as the illusions of our beliefs about ourselves, “others,” and life.
Here are some practices that have removed some of my obstacles to “Love” and have revealed to me the beauty of “being it”:
- NOT LYING to anyone around me and telling my “truths” in a creative and kind way so “others” would listen.
- JUDGING LESS and understanding more. When people’s behavior hurts me, I ask: “Who is there to be hurt?” “Love” isn’t a person who reacts with anger, self-pity, or blame. “Love” simply is.
I then engage in the opposite practice that comes from compassion. I call it compassionate curiosity, which asks questions about the “other”: “How did they become hurt? Did I hurt them?”
- TAKING PEOPLE’S ACTIONS AND BEHAVIORS LESS PERSONALLY. This is a wonderful practice. It requires us getting out of our own heads and daring to explore “others.” This can make you a better “person” if coming from a “person’s” perspective is where you are.
The “Love” that I am exploring is the one without self-interest, without a conscious cause.
I am here and now and this is it. “Love” it or fear it.
*** From Valeria’s new book: From Fear to “Love.”
The word “Love” is in quotations throughout this work because the kind of love I speak of has no opposites. It is every-thing and it is no-thing at the same time.
“Love” is what stands between dark and light, bad and good, life and death. It is also what is beyond dark and light, bad and good, life and death. “Love” is always here and now. It cannot be found somewhere in the future or somewhere outside of you; “Love” is not a destination nor a time-bound realization.
Intellectually, it is easier to understand and describe fear because it is the realm of mind and body, whereas “Love” is the heart’s domain.
Know your heart and you will know “Love.”
I’ve always wanted to understand the connection between fear and “Love.” They have been part of my life, or so I thought, just as everyone thinks they have experienced them. Yet, exploring the dynamics of the kinds of love I had experienced, I discovered that fear had been very much connected to it.
My basic understanding through experiences that were under-examined was that “Love” was good and “fear” was bad.
It was easier to be good and to say, “I love you,” when I was afraid of being bad or not being accepted.
I wished to live in a state of “Love,” but I was unaware that my way of loving was another way of being afraid.
This kind of love couldn’t be real. This kind of love was fear in disguise.
Not surprisingly, this also happened the other way around – people around me were doing the same thing.
It was a dance to the music of fear playing in our own heads.
I now have a much better idea of what love is and where my fears hide.
My concepts for love, fear, and hate are:
- “LOVE” is all there is—as in, what our bodies, minds, and “souls” long for or wish to return to. Love is the force that brings us back to Being.
- FEAR is the absence of “Love” awareness—the illusion that drives deluded/unhealthy actions and petrified states. When “Love” awareness is present, there is understanding and compassion for the body and its survival mechanism.
- HATE, as well as all other forms of negative responses, is the presence of fear.
All concepts created by the mind for what you, me, love, fear, and life itself are, are exactly that: concepts. But these concepts matter for a human experience that manifests health, joy, peace, and—yes—lots of love!
I have not yet met anyone who has conceptualized love in a non-loving way.
My concepts for awareness, true self, and consciousness are:
- AWARENESS sees all things simply as they are. No opposites. No distinctions. No judgment. Awareness is a presence that can’t be described. We can be aware that we are conscious, but not conscious that we are aware.
- THE TRUE SELF, (also called the soul, the spirit, or the higher self) can distinguish thoughts, behaviors, and actions driven by “Love” and those driven by fear.
- CONSCIOUSNESS is that which chooses to act upon thoughts driven by “Love” rather than by fear. This is interesting.
Why are some of us able to make these choices, or make choosing to act upon “Love” a practice? Is it connected to our psychological patterns derived from past experiences? How “past” are these past experiences? Are they passed on to us from our ancestors, our current lifetime experiences, or past lives?
My desire to understand “Love” and fear is connected to the experience of “becoming aware,” which keeps bringing me back to this present moment. The more I rest in the now, the more I learn to accept and be grateful, and the more JOY I discover within myself.
Awareness, true self, and consciousness are just sophisticated ideas/concepts available to be used by the mind in an attempt to understand itself. When all concepts disappear, what remains is Being—the experience of experiencing.
Most of us can find joy in this very moment through important concepts such as acceptance and gratitude. This shows how relevant concepts and ideas are and how they can be used as methods for understanding who we are.
If together we can understand “Love” and fear the same way, the experience of “being” could easily turn into spiritual fun!
Becoming “Love” aware collectively translates into acceptance and gratitude for one another and, as a consequence, our joy multiplies.
If I am entertaining the mind’s powerful ability to create, I see no harm in giving wings to the idea of becoming “Love” aware and doing so with “others.”
This idea matters as far as our current human condition is concerned.
The experience of becoming “Love” aware together, and the shared joy created from it, is a gift to our well-being, to our workplace, our communities, cities, countries, and the whole world.
The more “Love” awareness is actualized, the more joy becomes the currency of life.
*** From Valeria’s new book: From Fear to “Love.”
The primary inspiration for writing the Fit for Joy book was the realization that—here and now—I was exactly where I was supposed to be in every way.
I realized that I was in perfect alignment with joy and always had been.
In other words, I understood that “Love” is our natural state of being and feeling “joy” is our natural state of living.
So, what had been holding me back from experiencing ‘liberated joy’ for almost forty years?
Fear and, more precisely, the fear attached to the story of my life - that was my guess back then, but I couldn’t understand it. Today, I know how “real” fear can seem to be when there is no understanding of “Love.”
Becoming “Love” aware (fearless to Love) is a complex wisdom concept that, when experienced, is the simplest thing you will ever come across because this wisdom (detached from concepts) has always been within you.
The mind can become anything: A field of thoughts driven by all kinds of fear, or a wonderful servant to “Love” awareness expressing life in so many unique ways.
We become who we THINK we are.
We ARE that, before thinking, before becoming.
With the influence of thoughts, we create “people” who are separated from “Love.”
To return to “Love” is to experience self-care, practice self-inquiry, and delve deeper into our relationships.
My wish is to continue exploring—along with “others”— this infinite complexity, simplicity, beauty, and mystery of life and “Love” within and through this body.
Joy is inseparable from the observance of the content of our conditioned mind and bodies. The mystery of it all is manifested into unconditional smiles.
*** From Valeria’s new book: From Fear to “Love.”