Within “Spirituality Simplified” I included this passage because I felt it was a very important admonition:
“DO NOT SPEAK WHAT YOU DON’T WANT, because it is done when you speak it, every idle word. The laws of the universe do not sift through whether you mean what you say or intend it to happen. The creative process only puts it in motion.”
– Diandra, in “A New Day Is Dawning”
Now ponder on that for a moment…what it speaks to is that our words have POWER, much, much more than we realize. The concept of the “word made flesh” in biblical terms is related here as well.
SO, how often do you hear people speak about what they “don’t want” on a daily basis? The truth is, we are all guilty of it every single time we tell a “story” about something negative we are going through, or have been through, or speak in an anxious way about the future. Yes, every time we speak it we are building more and more energy around it and reinforcing it into our lives.
Some might say that we need to share feelings as opposed to stuffing them down. I get that, and, if one must “get it off their chest,” so to speak, how about this – do it ONE time with someone you trust who can hold the space of compassion, and who also can forget they ever heard it.
This as opposed to people broadcasting it all over Facebook and other social media sites and then having tens (or hundreds or thousands) of people adding even more energy to what they DON’T want!
This article was written by Jeff Maziarek
Click HERE to Learn more about Jeff’s work.
Most of us think about trauma as just about the worst thing that can happen to us. And for many, it is. Even if you’ve survived trauma, you still may be dealing with its physical and emotional aftermath, which perhaps includes emotional eating. How, then, can trauma ever have an upside?
In “How trauma can change lives—for the better,” Jim Rendon, author of Upside: The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth, says yes, indeed, it can (TIME 8/3/15, p. 29). Therapists and the general public have long been schooled in the notion that trauma is terrible and nothing more, he says, one that changes peoples’ lives for the worse and stays with them to death. Post-traumatic stress disorder, with its nightmares, hyper-vigilance and flashbacks, can be frightening to experience or live with in a loved one.
What, then, is science telling Rendon that makes him believe that trauma sometimes can be anything but a negative experience? He says that “an estimated 75% of people will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime” and that, while many report negative effects, down the road, others report positive changes—greater inner strength, increased intimacy, and a “reorientation” in life toward more fulfilling goals. In short, over time, the pain of trauma can help people “change for the better.” Rendon maintains that “Growth begins with healing from trauma.”
He also says that growth and transformative change are based on the premise that people seek and receive help. Sadly, many trauma survivors don’t recognize themselves as having been trauma victims and, therefore, forgo clinical treatment. They’re too scared of opening up old wounds or too ashamed of what happened to them, even when they were innocent victims. Moreover, when trauma occurs, their pre-trauma mental health determines how they’ll react to and heal from it.
I’ve seen people do exactly what Rendon says: survive trauma and go on to change their lives—and the lives of others—for the better because of it. This happens when: women and men who are raped go on to become sexual abuse counselors and victim advocates, parents of murdered children put their hearts into changing gun laws and increasing access to mental health counseling, and when people hurt by drunk drivers work to educate the public about drinking and driving. If you’re a trauma survivor, consider how both trauma and healing might change your life for the better. Then, even if you’re afraid, get the treatment you need.
This article was written by Karen R. Koenig
Click HERE to Learn more about Karen’s work.
The Calling and Vocation to care God’s people I would say started on the first Sunday of August 2013. Through this journey there have been times of struggle, growth and clarity of God’s purpose in and for my life. There is a reason that this season is in God's plan for my wife and I. Now at 60 years, I have had the honor to see much of this world, interact with people, through traveling in many geographic regions, cultures and communities of the United Sates and other countries. Through my Calling and experience as a son, husband, parent, student, photographer, therapist, educator, searcher and servant I have seen many changes to our homes, people, the church, schools, communities, society and governments. Some Good and Some just plain BAD for all.
My faith has been challenged throughout this life, More recently: one of our son’s at age 12 was diagnosed with Osteo Sarconoma (bone cancer) in Sept 2014 and he asked if I would leave Alaska to come to Portland OR, to help while he was going through treatment and surgery. My wife and I felt that I needed to be there so, she remained in Alaska while I went to be with him. He currently is in remission of cancer and will require monitoring for the rest of his life. (Our son resides with his biological mother in Gresham, OR) What do you tell your son when he ask’s, “Why is God allowing this to happen to me” and you have No answer.” What would you say?
During that time of caring for my son, when I arrived and visited with my parents. I found that my parents had not been fully honest with me during phones calls and e-mails as to my dad’s health condition. My father and mother reside in Vancouver, WA. (Across the river from Portland, OR) My father is 83, a veteran who was in remission from multiple cancers, lived his life with severe Parkinson’s disease.) Due to his increased needs and symptoms he was experiencing, I became his caregiver as well, when not with my son. My father passed on in 2017. How do you divide myself and be a son, care-giver, father, husband etc..?
After 2004 my separation and ultimately Divorce from the younger Childers mother. 2 boys and 1 girl, at the time their ages were 3,2, and 11 months. Working 50 to 60 weeks, had weekly visitation with my children, sort of being a single dad part-time. Now some will say well that is not that bad. A little clarification. As I look back now, I ask “How did I do it” The answer then and now with Family and Friends. My oldest son (34) called me not long after the birth of his second daughter and asked me “Dad how did you do it, with Sean, Scott and Aleena. We had a great discussion after that about him and being a father.
This course I truly believe was started many years ago when my parents opened my eyes to wonders of our land, people, landmarks, inside/outside our borders. (Jeramiah 29 11-14) and now Romans 12v 12-22. My parents both served in the military and my father went on to become an officer. I also as an adult witness my parents coming to know the Lord as their LORD and Savior. I also witnessed the growth of my father in the Lord to be called as a Chaplain to the Elderly and had the Honor to Serve with Him.
Through this journey God has opened my Eyes and Heart to what service really is and that when his season arrives, we are to serve and be served, Disciple and Be Discipled to live in Christ and to share Christ with others. The gifts he has allowed me to share and serve for HIS glory is the calling and vocation he has provided.
“Your Heart (who you really are) is Known by the Path You Walk”
This article was written by Rev. Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN
Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden.
I Promise Myself…
to laugh as if nobody’s watching, and love as if I’ve never been hurt before.
to live as if I were to die tomorrow, and learn as if I were to live forever.
to let go of the heavy burden of my past. To turn my wounds into wisdom and my
difficulties into opportunities.
to love myself as much as I would like others to love me.
to die to the past every night, so that I can be born again each morning.
to never speak from a place of hate, jealousy, anger, or insecurity. And to always evaluate
my words before I let them leave my lips.
to forgive so that I can heal, and let go so that I can grow.
to learn from every experience and every interaction life sends my way.
to always look for the good in people. To treat everyone with love, kindness, compassion,
appreciation and never speak badly of anyone.
to allow life’s many challenges to make me better, not bitter.
to complain less, and live my life with an attitude of gratitude.
to create a sense of purpose and bring meaning into everyday life. No matter how many
times I fall or fail, I promise myself to never give up on myself or my dreams.
to let go of all the drama in my life, and only hold on to those things that bring me joy.
to live my life in a way that inspires others and strive to bring out the best in them.
to surround myself with people who make me hungry for life, touch my heart, and nurture
to think less and feel more. To judge less and trust more. To fear less and love more.
to walk away from everything that no longer serves me, grows me, or makes me happy.
to spend more time connecting with my authentic self, and less time chasing the love and
approval of those around me.
to show the world who I truly am and not consider what people might be thinking about me.
to transform my inner vision until I see nothing but light, my own and all those around me.
to let go of any bad habits I might be holding on to, and walk away from all those things
that hold me back in life.
to let go of all blame and take full responsibility for my own life.
to allow the world know me as I am, not as it thinks I should be.
to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving,
and empathetic of the weak.
to clothe myself with love and wear this love wherever I go.
to care more about being kind than I do about being right all the time.
to give more of my time to those who are special in my life, and show them how much they
really mean to me.
to trust my inner voice and intuition more than I trust the loud voice of those around me.
to expect less from others but more and more from myself.
to allow those I care for to be perfectly themselves without trying to twist them to fit my
own image. Loving them for who they are and not for what I want them to be.
This article was written by John Shearer
Click HERE to Learn more about John’s work.
Our personal relationships are an essential part of life. We are naturally wired to connect and collaborate with others.
Healthy relationships contain core essential elements including respect, appreciation, and freedom. In balanced relationships, each person contributes thoughts and feelings while remaining responsible for his or her own behavior.
Healthy relationships are equitable; both people contribute equally — or at least balance out in the long run. Lack of balance in a relationship can show up as criticism, control, or neglect. Unhealthy relationships not only erode the mind and body, they create barriers and slow our spiritual growth.
In order for our relationships to remain healthy, here are five considerations:
Communication is consistent. Without clear communication, relationships wither. We are all unique individuals, and our perceptions, assumptions, and conclusions are also unique. Having differing opinions can be a good thing! Too much of the same routine can result in complacency and boredom. And communication isn’t just speaking; effective listening skills are imperative. Sometimes we learn the most about ourselves from each other.
Respect isn’t optional; it’s necessary. Unhealthy relationships are often a result of losing respect for one another. Respect comes from appreciating differences, considering perspectives, and honoring preferences. Once you lose respect for someone, the relationship starts to unravel. Over time, respect — like trust — can be earned by actions and words. Even if a relationship has become stagnant or distant, respect can still endure.
Healthy boundaries are clear. Creating healthy personal boundaries facilitates self-reliance and helps to develop nurturing, loving, and mature relationships. Having clear boundaries requires that we focus on ourselves and learn to communicate our preferences in healthy and respectful ways. Setting personal boundaries allows us to express our truth and beliefs to others with confidence and courage. Acknowledging and honoring the personal boundaries of others demonstrates respect and builds trust.
Growing together is as important as growing individually. We are all in a perpetual state of growth and expansion. When we grow individually, we expand our thoughts and beliefs by learning from ourselves. When we grow in relationships, we learn from each other. The contrast that our relationships bring may cause us to grow apart unless we make a commitment to recognize our differences as strengths. Growing together in relationship means being able to learn from each other, embrace differences, and choose to walk together on a common path.
Follow the love. Authentic love conquers all doubt, fear, shortcomings, feelings of inadequacy, and negativity. To be truly loved by someone is to be recognized and “seen” for all of the things we are — complete and whole — with all of our strengths and weaknesses; ups and downs; fabulousness and foibles. And it all begins with us. When we learn to love, accept, support, and appreciate ourselves, our relationships will always benefit.
This article was written by Michael Thomas Sunnarborg
Click HERE to Learn more about Michael’s work.
When I was growing up in Ireland and attending secondary school, I had to choose between the sciences and the humanities. At the tender age of 14, when I was clueless about who I really was and what I wanted, I had to make this life-defining choice. Consulting the career-guidance counsellor did not help, as he himself had clearly chosen the wrong career.
Those who wanted a more credible, secure career opted for the sciences, whereas those who wanted to follow their hearts or creative yearnings opted for the arts. We learn early in life that the world of science offers respectability, credibility and security, while the arts and humanities are considered to be less serious or worthy. You don’t often hear about starving engineers, but starving artists appear to be a worldwide phenomenon.
This separation of head from heart has created a fundamental rift between these two essential and complementary aspects of our selves. Without one, we lose perspective; without the other, we lose our humanity. With too much of one, we end up stuck in our heads, relying on logic to make things work; with too much of the other, we may become ungrounded or fail to stand up for ourselves when challenged.
Having just published a book (see https://www.emfoff.com/) that blends science and sentiments in a rather novel way, I was nonetheless surprised when several people told me how brave I was. Did I not worry about losing credibility by talking about consciousness and feelings? Wasn’t I afraid that real scientists would dismiss this kind of book as fluff, lacking scientific credibility? I never even thought about this. To me, science and humanity must come together as equal partners for our world to make sense—and for us to evolve in a positive direction. After all, many of the problems I was addressing in my book were the direct result of the split between head and heart, which is one of the key reasons we have abdicated control over our own lives, surrendering our sense of what’s right in deference to those who supposedly know better than we do.
Body Knows Best
Yet there is no greater authority than the human body—our own personal medium of evolution—and reclaiming our autonomy requires engaging not just our hearts and minds but also our spiritual selves. We must be fully human to be fully effective. We must engage our multi-dimensional selves if we want to have an impact that goes beyond conventional approaches. We must elevate our consciousness if we want to rise above the dysfunction of our world. And we must tell a new story about what’s possible and how powerful we really are.
While we might tend to give more credence to science than anything else, we also love stories. We immerse ourselves in stories, whether they’re our own personal accounts, the books we read, the movies we watch or the history we research. Stories are both an escape from current reality and a potential springboard to a brighter future. We can use them to perpetuate an old pattern or to create a vision of something fabulous.
Think of famous actors and how much money they make. Who else gets paid big bucks for telling stories and prancing around pretending to be something they’re not? Okay, yes, politicians do, although they don’t get paid as much as movie stars and they’re meant to protect our interests rather than just providing entertainment.
Our love of stories, movies and fantasies is all about creativity and imagination. It has nothing to do with science. And science itself would be a lot less advanced if it weren’t for our capacity to dream and envisage phenomenal things, and to tap into universal intelligence for inspiration, healing and breakthroughs. Creativity, intuition and imagination are not just necessary counterparts to left-brain scientific thinking; they are often the midwives that enable a theory, idea or innovation to be born.
Even scientists fall in love. We all have hearts, although we might try to hide our true feelings in certain contexts, for fear of being considered weak or effeminate. Yet we now know that heartbreak, emotional disconnectedness and loneliness can cause heart attacks and very real, physical conditions, whereas heartfelt emotions are magnetic, connecting us to things about which we care passionately, when fuelled by positive intention and determination. The heart does not use logical analysis to make inspired choices. It operates on a higher plane, tapping into the infinite realm of universal intelligence and intuition.
If your heart is disconnected from your head, it’s a bit like revving your car when it’s stuck in neutral. There’s power there but it’s not engaged; there’s potential for forward movement, but no one is actually driving, steering or focusing in a particular direction. Lots of noise but no action. A waste of energy with no useful outcome.
Home is where the heart is, but the heart is also home. If we abandon it in favour of our heads, we may feel lost, disconnected or conflicted, experiencing mixed results in our endeavours. Reconnecting to our heart and allowing it to guide us is the only sure way to stay true to ourselves and to create a life we love.
To get reconnected, try to incorporate the following seven steps into your daily routine:
1. Slow down and switch off. Fast-paced living prevents us from connecting with our feelings, processing our emotions and integrating life’s experiences. Busyness, social media and constant online connectivity can be a great way to avoid feeling pain, loss, conflict etc. We need stillness so we can become aware of the important subtle messages from our hearts and bodies.
2. Practise meditating. Emptying the mind and taking a break from analysing or questioning our lives creates space for inspiration and answers, while giving our over-worked bodies and brains a rest.
3. Spend time in nature. Being in a natural environment—away from noise, machinery, traffic, phones, computers, work and people—is the most powerful way to ground ourselves and find peace. Nature is all about growth and life, and we could not exist without it. When we spend time in the forest, by the ocean or on a mountaintop, we revitalize our bodies and feed our spirits, often gaining a fresh perspective on things.
4. Nourish yourself. A healthy body promotes a clear mind and a happy heart. We must nourish our brain, soothe our nervous system and boost our immune system if we want to stay balanced. Wholesome, unprocessed foods, healthy oils (such as organic coconut, camelina, avocado and fish oils), iodine (to protect against manmade electromagnetic radiation), antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E), superfoods (such as chlorella, blueberries, cacao and goji berries) and lots of pure water all help to keep the heart and body healthy.
5. Work your body. Moving your body aerobically takes you out of your head and into your feelings. Kundalini yoga or other vigorous exercise stirs things up, releases tension and prompts our innate wisdom and deeper feelings to surface. The body holds all the clues and answers we need, and the heart is its most reliable messenger—our built-in wellness ambassador, best friend and advisor.
6. Write it out. Writing can be a great way of exploring your deeper feelings and thinking outside the box. Try writing non-stop for five minutes every day, with no fixed theme and no editing—just whatever comes to you. Our hearts and minds hold all the insights we could ever want and spontaneous writing can help us to access them.
7. Laugh and connect with loved ones. Everyone needs meaningful human connections for physical, emotional and mental health. Sometimes we may not even know what we feel or want until we talk to a friend or close relative. Relating to others helps us to relate to our deeper selves, and having love in our lives makes all the challenges worthwhile.
What works for you? What process, food or supplement has helped you stay emotionally connected and on track with your life?
This article was written by Olga Sheean
Click HERE to Learn more about Olga’s work.
This is such a difficult topic to write about. There is much to say and words just do not seem adequate. I have lost several loved ones to cancers of various sorts. It pains me to hear more and more about this malicious and vicious "C" word that wreaks havoc upon millions of people. Whether we are the individuals contending with it or having to watch a loved one walk through this dark valley, we all are touched by it sooner or later in one way or another.
I've lost three aunts to three different types of cancer. My father also went through a bout of cancer as well. Thanks be to God, he has recovered. My aunts did not fare so well. They all passed away. Two of them dealt with it for several years and the third succumbed rather quickly. Each of these dear ones, with the exception of my father went through extensive chemotherapy, radiation and conventional drugs. I began to wonder about this. He is the only one who did not undergo these "egregious" forms of therapy. And he is the only one still here with me. I have also watched as many friends and co-workers have undergone the same conventional treatments - all to no avail.
I am sick and tired of the loss column growing at insidious rates while the win column shrinks. What is the common denominator in the 'loss' column? Much to my amazement, it is the receiving of the aforementioned conventional treatments. Yes, dear reader - a grim reality, is it not? This may be difficult to come to terms with; especially because the FDA sanctions these "therapies".
Regardless of the grim statistics, most physicians (albeit many well-meaning) continue to prescribe these conventional treatments along with conventional drug therapies such as Tamoxifen given to women with breast cancer. However, more and more women are opting not to take this medication. “The list of side effects (some of them life-threatening) associated with taking Tamoxifen is lengthy. True, not everyone suffers from side effects, but we are discovering that some women don’t metabolize the drug very well. For those who have tried the drug and do suffer from side effects, these can be so life-altering and impactful to their quality of life they feel they are losing their minds.” (1)
If the side effects are not awful enough, then there are the lies women are told about taking Tamoxifen. Many physicians tell their patients that if they take Tamoxifen for a period of 5 years after their treatments it will give them as much as a 50% chance of living disease free. (This percentage varies amongst doctors and which studies they rely upon) (2) The horrible reality is that studies actually show this drug to be a catalyst for even more aggressive types of cancers such as liver and uterine cancer when taken for a prolonged period of time.(Researchers discovered in 1992 that Tamoxifen is a liver carcinogen in rats which led to the state of California proclaiming it to be a known carcinogen under legislation formerly known as Prop 65) It has also been linked to fatal blood clots and also interferes with many other functions in the body.(3)
And now, dear reader, here is the good news. Cancer is not a death sentence! There IS hope! Unbeknownst to millions of people, there are other amazing, wonderful life saving/giving treatments - alternative treatments - that have incredible success rates. The saddest, most heinous fact is that these alternative treatments are not to be found very easily within the United States because they are not 'legal'. So I would urge you to do your own research.
In my humble opinion, the perfect place for you to begin would be the very place that my journey to these amazing truths and HOPE began in 2015. This is when I found Ty and Charlene Bollinger. (The accredited information in this article is taken from their website.) In 2015 Ty and Charlene put together a 9 part documentary series called "The Truth about Cancer - A Global Quest". This incredibly brave couple opened up an entirely new world for me regarding cancer and its treatments. Just last month they did another 7 part series entitled "Eastern Medicine: Journey Through Asia". And then consider this . . . you can fight cancer right from your own kitchen! I would recommend a fabulous book called Cancer-Free with Food by Liana Werner-Gray. This is a step by step plan to fight disease, nourish the body and restore health. It includes 100+ recipes.
You won’t have to dig too deep to discover mind-boggling truths that will make you angry – righteously and justifiably so; especially if you or a loved one has suffered with cancer. Conventional wisdom has failed us for years. Isn't it about time we find out why?
Be encouraged! Cancer is not a death sentence! There is hope!
This article was written by Barbie White
Click HERE to Learn more about her work.
I discovered these words, torn and discarded from my 8 year old granddaughter’s notebook, in our trash bin after one of our son’s visits. My husband had lost his hearing aid. Were it not for his absent-minded toss and my fear of the financial consequence, I would certainly never have crawled headfirst into our stinky trash bin. The wisdom of my granddaughter’s lyrics, so innocently and faithfully written, might have been lost but for grandpa’s misplaced hearing aid. The irony is not lost on me. These words would have been forever silent, lost among the ruins of banana peels and broken boxes. Such is the perfection of life.
Don’t we all know, at some level, the wisdom and truth of my granddaughter’s words? A child can only know that one thing: you and me came true into the world. As children, we have no choice but to trust that instinct, ignorant of the world and armed only with innocence. The crux of the matter is that we must survive and so begins the surrender of that True Self. We watch, we adjust, we give ourselves over to a mentally fabricated “pretend-self” to persevere. As adults, it takes awareness and years to erase that kind of conditioning.
“Minding the Mind” is the art of remembering our basic intuitive wisdom. It takes time to hear the deep inner astute voice that recognizes and embraces the Self we are meant to be. It takes time to de-condition the mind. It takes time to trust again.
Mental chatter is not the same thing as the brain processing information. Without the brain, our bodies would be lifeless. Without the mind, however, our lives would be fulfilling and purposeful. Perhaps baffling on the surface, the profundity of ignoring the mind is life changing. After six years of practicing this I am far closer to being myself than at any time in my 65 years on this planet. Finally comfortable in my own skin, my life is better. My family better for my continuing effort.
What I have discovered is that the mind does not know, it only harvests information. It can help me drive a car and remember how to turn on the coffee pot. It can help me spell and write stories that have meaning to me. It remembers (sometimes) where I put my keys and how to get to the store. But when it comes to decision making it is truly inept, a light switch on a fake wall, disconnected from its power source. My mind has gotten me into more predicaments, more trouble, than I care to remember but am inclined not to forget.
Our mental construct teachers us to hate, to fear, to object to anything that does not align with our false image of “right” or “wrong.” We build walls, real or imagined, and align with false narratives that keep us acceptable. We stay in relationships that abuse us, believe people who lie, and/or surrender our authority of “inner knowing” to another. In the most heinous of extremes, we vilify and tell lies about others who are descent, fly airplanes into buildings, or use automatic weapons to destroy life. All based upon mental decisions that choke the life out of humanity.
But there is hope. There is a way. There is a map. It begins with practicing one simple exercise that can change a person’s life forever. The secret?
Wait. Ask. Instinct. Trust.
Wait before making any decision or before taking an action. The world will not end if you take time to clearly know or sense whether something is true for you or not.
Ask a simple question, Is it true? Ninety-nine percent of mental chatter is false and sells lies and conspiracy theories, most often attached in some way to religious, political or social dogma.
Instinct. Trust yours. People who trust themselves are calm, confident, and assured. They make an impact. We cannot be like everyone else because we are not like anyone on the planet. We are magnificent in our own right and are enough. We are more than enough. We are Divinely created and perfectly Designed. Life knows where we live.
Trust that. Trust that your gifts will be discovered once you know what those gifts are. Your contributions are worthy when created from your uniqueness and will always find a home in those who are ready to receive them.
There are a lot of minds asking us to be like them.
There is no one like you.
I invite you to be you, wholly and completely, beautifully and correctly you. Within the cocoon the butterfly longs to take flight.
This article was written by Candace Conrad and inspired by Isabella Conradi and Reese Jessner.
Click HERE to Learn more about Candace’s work.
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.
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
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.
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.
The art of meditation is one of the most profound spiritual practices or techniques we can engage in. Through meditation, we anchor ourselves in the Holy Now which means that we step out of time and into the eternal. The eternal is that which is beyond time.
With this definition, we can be said to be meditating any time we step out of time, out of opinions, judgments or labeling. Whenever we are observing something without having to put a name onto it, we can be said to be meditating.
Even when we are formally meditating, we move in and out of actually meditating. We may be said to be meditating when we “are awake” and fully present. And we are preparing to meditate as we “fall asleep” and get caught up by trains of thought.
When we meditate, we allow ourselves to become still enough to realize that we are not our thoughts, not our bodies and not our emotions. But that we are the one experiencing these. We connect with the truth of our being. We know that we are spiritual beings having a human incarnation. Not merely having a human experience.
The Practice of Meditation
Now, there are different forms of meditation and infinite ways to practice meditation that we will not go into here. However, we are wise to find a meditation practice that best meets our needs and desires.
Whatever form we use to meditate, it is of great need that we do not just sit down without first stating the intention of our sitting. As a spiritual practice, the intention should always be to wake up. To come into a greater realization of that which is real. To have more profound insights that God is all and that we are all in and of God.
As we enter into formal meditation, we do so being alert an aware. Diving deep into the Holy Now, we enter into deep communion with God. We become increasingly open, available and receptive to catch intuitive hits and hunches.
Repetition is the key to growth and unfolding
Repetition is the key to growth and unfolding. And so the more we practice anchoring ourselves in the Holy Now, the more we strengthen our presence muscles. The stronger they are, the easier it will be to remain present. Both in general and when challenging situations or circumstances arise.
In these challenging circumstances, being present is necessary if we want to make use of our ability to choose. To respond rather than react.
Also, if we lose our footing and fall back into time, it will be easier and quicker for us to regain our presence in the eternal once we become aware that we have fallen out of it.
We need to make it a habit to meditate every day in some form or shape. Even if it is just for a few minutes. We are all vibrational beings. As such all our thoughts feelings and actions carry energetic vibrations. All our choices send a vibrational message to the Universe which then corresponds to those vibrations guiding and assisting us accordingly.
By sending the message that we truly desire to take conscious part in the evolution of our soul – God will respond to that and assist us with every means available. This is how we grow and unfold.
Remain non-attached to the outcome of your meditation practice
Another important point with meditation is that we need to remain non-attached to the outcome of it. We have set our intention to meditate to have a closer encounter with God and eternity. However, it is crucial that we do not judge or deem our practice.
Sometimes as we meditate, we are able to maintain a high level of presence. Other time we may be pulled off into fantasy-land the minute we sit down. And we only wake up for brief moments during the entire session.
As with all spiritual practices, the art of meditating should not be performed in order to get something or to get somewhere. We are not here to make or force anything to happen. But we are here merely to allow something to happen in and through us.
We sit and meditate knowing that we are precisely where we are supposed to be and that all that happens is working together for our good.
There are so many benefits from meditation. So much to be grateful for. It is a blessed practice. The practice of non-action – which is really the basis of all action. Giving thanks for the meditation practice is a beautiful way to both start and end each session.
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.
The keys to building your physical power are so very important, and there being some real substance to them, they can’t be summarized in just one paragraph with a few bullet points. So give yourself the ten minutes it will take because these are essentials for your overall health and longevity. (Note: this is content that can be found in my book, “Infinity Health Manual“)
You only get one body in this life, so need I convince you of the value in what we’re going to talk about here? The reality is we’ve steered way off course in this modern day and age with what constitutes a truly powerful body. First, when I’m talking ‘power’, I’m talking about far more than just strong biceps, quads, and abs! Ha! It’s about a deeper strength that’s infused with an incomparable life-force that today is seldom experienced. The fact is, the majority of modern exercise is completely missing the big picture. I would like to explain why, and most importantly supply you with the essential keys to fix it; building your true physical power, that is.
Where we got off course
First, let’s consider that we humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, but it’s only been relatively recently in our history, with the development of agriculture, that we’ve settled ourselves into villages and, ultimately, cities. Before that, we were nomads, traveling by foot around the countryside in search of food and moving with the seasons. As a result, our bodies adapted to this kind of physical activity. Today, with our modern lifestyles, we’re far less active than we previously were. The bottom line is we do a heck of a lot of sitting, both at work and at home. The modern way of life is not what our bodies were adapted for. And today we see the effects: a commonality of obesity and a host of other issues like heart disease.
The Big Picture
As I’ve always focused on in my articles, our diets are vitally important for keeping our bodies strong. Eating healthy is an essential start, but putting fuel in is only half of it. You’ve gotta pump the handle!..and in just the right way.
Building a fit body through the right exercise does extraordinary things for many aspects of our overall health. Improved strength supports joints and bones and, especially, the spine. The spine, after all, is a pillar of the neurological “superhighway” through which the brain exchanges vital information with the rest of the body, and, in turn, is how the body takes care of the brain. Strong body and posture keep that superhighway healthy.
Other benefits? The obvious one is that exercise boosts our metabolism, thus reducing the amount of fat stored in the body. Leanness alone is worth the moderate effort it takes. Exercise also circulates nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to organs and every part of the body, essentially making everything stronger and more resistant to injury.
Furthermore, strengthening your body helps to eliminate everyday aches and pains. Your body heals faster. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Many people shy away from exercise because of aches and pains, and yet there’s no better way to avoid physical discomfort in the long-term than by strengthening the body! Exercise fortifies the parts of the body around those everyday aches and pains, creating an incubating environment for the healing of the weak areas. Building core strength can lessen back pain, for instance. The increased oxygen-rich blood flow reduces inflammation so the body’s restorative healing life-force can get in there to work its magic. Done properly (as we’ll discuss), exercise essentially becomes physical therapy. I never stopped being amazed when I would witness this at the Ashram Health Retreat where I worked as a trainer for many years. People would experience six days of intensive exercise and leave with their everyday aches and pains gone, or at least substantially reduced.
I’ve experienced it firsthand myself. Years ago, I suffered from a variety of aches. Due to inflammation, I had plantar fasciitis in the arches of my feet, carpal tunnel in my wrists, and pain in my shoulders (thoracic outlet reduction). I went to a series of specialists, some of whom recommended various surgeries. At the time I was wearing braces on my wrists and doing virtually no exercise other than limping around my living room. Finally, a doctor said something startling. “You need to take those stupid things off your wrists and get to the gym!” I took his simple advice and worked with a professional trainer and my aches and pains all went away within a few months. I didn’t need surgery; I just needed to make my body stronger. The impact blew my mind. What a lesson!
Need more reasons to exercise? The data are overwhelming that exercise is a great stress-reducer—quite unlike anything else. Plus, it gives you a sense of achievement, helping to build your self-esteem. How’s that for true power? Not to mention that you’ll pick up some peace of mind just by getting outdoors for fresh air and sunshine, something tried and tested for millennia.
Most people who decide they’re not going to take the time to stay physically active through some kind of consistent exercise have no idea how powerful it can be reflected in the mind and body and what they are missing out on. They lack the comparative experience. But for those who engage in it, they know the benefits can be enormous. Bottom line? The value of exercise is in its ability to significantly enhance life-force, longevity, and happiness. Priceless, wouldn’t you say?
As many of us know, there are two general categories of exercise: aerobic, also known as “cardio,” and anaerobic which is generally load-bearing or the expenditure of energy in bursts, like sprints. You need to get the heart rate up with sustained aerobic activity, but you need to build muscle via anaerobic activity, too. By building muscle with load-bearing exercise, your body naturally burns more calories on a consistent basis. You’re building a bigger engine which requires more fuel! So the priority isn’t necessarily losing weight, it’s building power which produces a leaner body.
There’s one particular exercise that, for the money, is the most efficient in combining both cardio and load-bearing activity: hiking. After all, trekking up and down hills is just what our ancestors did. The distances we are capable of hiking are commonly underestimated. During the one-week program at the Ashram, we’d hike with the guests ten to fifteen miles a day for six days straight! And not everyone was always the most fit. But again, hiking this kind of mileage is what we are adapted to do.
….. to be continue on PART TWO….
This article was written by Billy Merritt.
Life sometimes shifts when we least expect it to. Do you ever feel like you are dancing to repeating rhythms and melodies, songs that haunt you and at times retreat into the dark? And then suddenly, without fuss you find yourself at that wondrous crossroads of wisdom and desire where spirit speaks to you.
A place so sensuous and seductive that you have no choice but to let your soul awaken and dance to a different beat?
Perhaps this is the gift of spring, the rebirth of our mojo, our “muchness” as the Mad Hatter said to Alice. As the days grow longer and the cold retreats we explore a world full of options and opportunities. We shake off the illusions and scars that never defined us and make choices based on desire and wisdom, an unbeatable combination. Winter warns us that the world is dangerous and cold, but spring invites us to dive into our desires with passion and laughter and a bit of grace.
Maybe it is the wind that blows through our now open windows, or the scent of wild flowers that distract us from our fears. All we know is that life is calling and we must answer.
The crossroads is a meeting place where the voice of the universe speaks to us, reminding us that we will never really lose our craving for life and the touch of wildness on our hearts. Wisdom and desire are intertwined, and promise to be our guides. This is where I have found myself, dancing at the crossroads with just enough fear to know that an adventure awaits.
Perhaps it is the trip I am planning, or perhaps it is love just beyond the bend in the path.
Or best of all, perhaps I am about to meet my own powerful self, a part of me I was afraid had frozen in the past. If I am truly lucky, it will be all of these and more.
Do you feel the adventure of life calling to you? It does not take much to respond. Open the door and put your feet on a trail or a beach, or perhaps a dance floor. Spread your arms and twirl in the sunshine, letting your hair tangle and swirl.
Stop guarding your heart and start embracing love.
Everything you desire is here, because you are standing where desire and wisdom, love and passion, clarity and sensuality meet.
This article was written by Elisa Robyn
Click HERE to Learn more about her work.