wellbeing

HOW NOT TO GET FAT WITH FAT IN YOUR DIET

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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.
https://www.infinitygreens.com/

ALCOHOL — SANITY — REALITY

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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

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

THE KEYS TO BUILD TRUE PHYSICAL POWER – PART TWO

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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.
https://www.infinitygreens.com/

THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF SOLUTION FOCUSED CONVERSATIONS

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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. 

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

CONFIDENCE — GROWTH — DREAMS

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"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.

http://the-isei.com/home.aspx

HEALING, GROWTH AND RECOVERY

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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

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

PASSION — COURAGE — FREEDOM

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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.

https://elisarobyn.com/

THE ART OF MEDITATION

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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.

https://www.theloveandlightstore.com/

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENT WELLNESS — IGNITE

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ENGAGE

It is so easy so easily to slip back into the old person you have been. In the past 12 days I have shared 12 principles of Emotional Intelligence ways to identify things in all of us and myself that we can work on.  For me I could have easily trudged along on my well-trodden path of negative self-talk, comfortably overanalyzing, and well-worn pessimistic beliefs about myself. I sound almost human. Honestly, for all of us we can return to the old patterns so easily. It becomes a habit, if you will.

We already have the knowledge of how to do it, it is almost automatic, and it is comfortable because we used to use it. To not use those old habits and known self-destructive thoughts and behaviors takes dedicated work. As you do the dedicated work and are intentional about the change your making it becomes easier and you will end up not thinking about the changes and will just use them. The old, destructive habits are still in in you, yet you do not use them or even consider them as appropriate. It is the same as Recovery.

Ignite yourself, reread the past days writing, formulate your change plan and get to work. In those great words from Larry the Cable Guy: “Get Er Done”.

ACTIVATE

"What do I need?"

Lasting change in our lives will not be created and maintained, when we lack faith and belief in ourselves and our ignited mission. I truly believe that something has ignited inside of you. I bet that there is nothing else, worthy of your attention toward the change you need or want to make in you. So, what is it that need or want? Think honestly—what has really spoken to your heart and mind; what is whispering to you?

 

Free write these down and remember them as you move into the next phase. Free write means to write down everything that is in your heart and the edit it down.

 REFLECT

"How do I get there? "Now that we've been specific, it is time to develop the steps toward success. What are the steps you can take to get to these changes? What acts, done consistently over time, will lead you to your change? Write them down, put them somewhere visible, and do them. There are a few tips to successfully latching on to new habits, if you haven't already found your own ways of doing so. Attach them to a current habit (I will count my blessings while I brush my teeth). Create a daily affirmation list, Create a daily to-do list and smile big when you check it off! Be vulnerable with a friend, boyfriend, Husband or wife, tell them your goals and ask them to help keep you accountable, or listen to a podcast on the skill you are wanting to practice. I recommend “Fit for Joy” to boost your awareness of the skill. Set a concrete time for practicing.

Whatever ends up working for you, don't forget to reflect. Take time to measure your progress, whether it is with a journal, a therapist, a friend, or a spreadsheet. Ready, set, PRACTICE!

 

Have Fun With Your Health, Growth & Recovery. In other word Yourself.

  

Center for Healing, Growth & Recovery Ministries

Reverend Marc Baisden, MACP, CMHC, Min

All right reserved, 4/2019

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

SOUL AWAKEN — SENSUALITY — SELF-DISCOVERY

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 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.

https://elisarobyn.com/

A POWERFUL HABIT — GRATITUDE — INFINITE POTENTIAL

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The enlightened give thanks for that which most people take for granted.

As we are spiritually maturing - expressing gratitude and giving thanks is not simply something we do when something extraordinary happens, or a miracle occurs in our lives. We want to make thanksgiving and appreciation our way of life.

It is not merely the way we start our days through the morning routine. Nor how we end it with our evening routine. Gratitude becomes our life.

There is a beautiful expression; the enlightened give thanks for that which most people take for granted. Just for a brief moment, pause and contemplate how much you have to be grateful for at this moment.

Let’s give thanks for who we are. For where we are, and for where we are headed.


The enlightened give thanks fully knowing that God is forever for them and that everything is working for their good.

We have a powerful and beautiful body. A body that perpetually performs a significant number of actions and functions. Without us even having to be conscious of it.

We have financial abundance enough to have the device to read this article. There is love all around us. We all have intrinsic perfect health.

Each of us is a unique and perfect expression of God. There is infinite potential within all of us.

There is air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat. We have gifts, talents, and abilities to share. We are an awakening individual. In any given moment there is so much to give thanks for, to show appreciation for.

Gratitude is a high energetic vibration radiating more good into our lives.

As all is energy with different vibrational frequencies. Gratitude is a high vibration. It sends the vibrational message that all is good and well. That we are provided for and that we have all our needs are met. It says that all is working for our good.

As is law, whatever our predominant our feeling tone is, will radiate out from us and ultimately come to manifest in our lives. Being grateful keep us in a vibrational harmony to receive more and more good. It is the key that opens the doors to the storehouse of infinite good. Allowing good to increasingly flow into our lives.

The more grateful we are, the more will we be given to be thankful for. That is the law.

Now, expressing gratitude and giving thanks is not only a means to make ourselves open, available and receptive to more good to flow into our lives. It also is a great and beautiful way of enjoying greater health, both mental, emotional and physical.

Becoming still, connecting with all the good that we have, expressing gratitude for it, releases endorphins and other feel-good hormones in our bodies. This allows our intrinsically perfect health to move through our bodies. Thus they may replenish and heal any sickness and illness within it.

As with all of learning, repetition is the key. In order to cultivate gratitude we need to time and time again, bring our attention to the good. Moment by moment by moment.

Building and strengthening our gratitude muscles is tough work, There are no shortcuts to it. We need to do it, and keep doing it until we have formed a habit out of doing it.

When being grateful has become a habit, it has become our way of life. Which will move us way up on the spiritual mountain we are here to ascend.

All is working for our good – personally and collectively

At all times there is something to be grateful for. Absolutely everything is working for our good. Sometimes it may be hard for the surface mind to perceive the good, but underneath the surface, all is truly working for our good. Personally as well as collectively.

God is forever for us, never against us. God is always guiding us along our path of growth and unfolding. This is so, whether we realize it or not. Every challenge is a blessing. Sometimes in disguise, sometimes in plain sight.

In any given moment there is so much to show appreciation for, to be grateful about. Who we are, where we are, the lessons we get to learn, the mission that has been given us. That all of our needs are met, the guidance, we receive. All the good and perfect things that are present in our lives.

Before we incarnated onto the planet, our soul made a plan for what lessons we needed to learn. These are the challenges we now face. Nothing comes into our experience uninvited, and so we might as well give thanks for it all.

Gratitude truly is a beautiful and powerful way of life.

This article was written by Daniel Roqueio

Click HERE to Learn more about his work.

https://www.theloveandlightstore.com/

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.

TRUST — CONNECTION — HAPPINESS

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Are you someone who builds trust or someone who tears it down?

The ability to build trust is a competency of high emotional intelligence. Being trustworthy means to be ethical when working with and relating to others. It means doing the right thing even when you know no one will find out. When you are a trust builder, others have confidence that your actions are consistent with your words and know that you have their best interest at heart -- not only your own. If you are a trust builder, you demonstrate respect for others’ experiences, understand the hurt that deceitfulness can cause, and bring more value to relationships than pain.

Those who are strong in this competency tend to share information about themselves and don't keep secrets. They treat others consistently and with respect, and maintain high standards of personal integrity. They maintain a lifestyle that they don't have to hide from others. When you hear them talk about something, you know that their actions will match up with their words, and you can count on them to deliver on their promises and commitments.

Those who aren't so strong in this competency aren't able to build open, candid, trusting relationships. They've most likely developed a reputation for lacking integrity, and often make promises that they do not keep. They will do what serves them best even if it means undermining another person to get what they want. They lie about little things, and lie about big things. If you ask them what their values are, you may get the 'deer in the headlights' look, as they often have troubles defining their standards in the name of being 'open-minded' or 'non-judgmental'. They tend to blame others for their mistakes and withhold information to keep them out of 'trouble.'

“Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.” --Seth Godin

It's impossible to lead without being able to build trust.  When others begin to doubt you, they will think twice about following you and question whether or not you are worth teaming up with. They will mistrust your ideas and direction, and worry that you may be putting YOUR best interests before their own.

It's true that it takes a long time to build trust but only an instant to destroy it.  One self-centered lie or act of deceit can ruin how others view you for days and months to come.

Why are some trust breakers? For many, the practice of deceit stems from deep-rooted fears…fear of being accepted, fear of being known, fear of punishment, fear of self, fear of being held to expectations, fear of letting others down, fear of being disliked, fear of being an disappointment...the list goes on and on. The thing is, we all have fears. We all want to be liked and accepted and valuable in others' eyes.  But the difference between trust builders and trust breakers is that the trust builders face their fears by understanding that honesty and authenticity are what bring about those results, where trust breakers think dishonesty will get them there. But a life of deceit won't bring about deep, meaningful relationships that we all desire.

“It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one.”  -- Zig Ziglar

Not sure if you're a trust builder or a trust breaker?

Look over these statements, and give yourself a score for each, using this scale: 1= Always, 2=Almost always 3=Occasionally 4=Almost never 5=Never

1.     I share my thoughts, feelings and decision-making rationale.

2.    I am able to establish trusting relationships.

3.    I am open to others' ideas and willing to be influenced by others.

4.    I treat people with respect.

5.    I am able to influence others as a result of talking with them.

6.    I have developed a reputation for integrity.

7.    I treat all people fairly.

8.    I say what I believe rather than what I think people want to hear.

9.    I strive to behave consistently with my expressed beliefs and values.

10.I practice what I preach.

11.I focus on solving problems rather than blaming or hiding.

12.I admit my mistakes.

13.I deliver on promises and commitments.

14.I ask others for their opinions.

15.I listen to people's thoughts, feelings, and concerns, and am able to feel empathy.

16.I solicit feedback about my performance.

17.I acknowledge the contributions and worth of others.

18.When there is a problem, I work directly with those involved to resolve it.

19.I treat people consistently.

20.I follow through on the things I commit to do, even if it's not convenient for me.

Now, add up your scores and see where you land, below:

1-20 - Your ability to build trust is high

21-40 - Your ability to build trust is moderately high

41-60 - Your ability to build trust is moderate

61-80 - Your ability to build trust has room for improvement

81-100 -  Your ability to build trust needs serious improvement

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” --Stephen R. Covey

If your ability to build trust needs some work, take heart. We are talking about behavior--what you do, not who you are. Behaviors can be changed. If you would like to shift from being a trust breaker to a trust builder, here are some developmental tips to try:

  • Team up with an emotional intelligence coach to help you set goals and hold you accountable as you begin this journey.

  • Practice listening to others in a way that allows you to know what's on their minds and in their hearts.

  • Always deliver on your commitments.  No excuses. If you are one who tends to promise then cancel --stop making the promises in the first place. 

  • Be emotionally available to those around you -- share the things in your heart without stretching the truth to make yourself look good.

  • Never knowingly mislead or lie.  If you catch yourself doing it -- stop and admit the truth.  It's so very freeing and you'll find people respect you when you admit it in the moment.

  • Articulate your values to those around you and ask them if your actions match up.

  • Admit your mistakes without blame or shame.

  • Get in the habit of putting others' needs in front of your own.

  • Check to see if what you do in secret matches up to your public persona -- if not, in which arena are you not being true? Then ask yourself why.  Just being aware of the gap is a good start to changing behaviors.

  • Forgive yourself of past mistakes.  If you've spent a lifetime lying, it's never too late to come clean and make a fresh start.  

The next time you find yourself in a situation where you're not sure if you should be honest or not -- keep this in mind:  

“For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” -- Bo Bennett

Putting aside your patterns of lying, deceiving and hiding, and stepping into the brave new world of integrity will open up the doors of opportunity for stronger, healthier relationships. Yes, it's going to take some work and effort. It may feel uncomfortable to begin to let others truly know you. You may face rejection and at times, disappoint people. But though it's can be a difficult process to shift behaviors, it's worth it. Becoming someone others can trust will help you develop the connection, both at work and in your personal life, that you need and desire. 

This article was written by Amy Sargent.

Click HERE to Learn more about her work.

http://the-isei.com/home.aspx

PHYSICAL — EMOTIONAL — MENTAL and SPIRITUAL SKILLS


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Mindful of Breathing: Mindful breathing involves focused attention on breathing. Notice how you are breathing. Notice slower breathing and fuller breaths. Notice your belly rise and fall as you breathe in and out. When your mind drifts away from your breathing, and it will, simply notice what caught your attention and gently shift your attention back to your breathing. 


Mindful of Sounds: Following mindful breathing, focus your attention on sounds; soft sounds, loud sounds, nearby sounds, distant sounds. Notice your response to sounds. Notice if you are annoyed by a sound or judging a sound; then gently re-direct yourself to listening to sounds without judging. When your attention drifts away to a thought, notice what thoughts you were distracted by, and gently return your attention to sounds.


Meditation: The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to become more aware and accepting of internal processes; thoughts, feelings, urges, sensations, cravings, triggers, etc. Meditation is not intended for relaxation. People who are extremely anxious about internal processes or have difficulty sitting still may need to work up to a full session of 20 minutes, beginning with only 2-3 minutes at a time and working on other exercises more at first. The goal is 20 minutes of meditation two times a day. During meditation, if your mind drifts to thoughts about the past or worries about the future, gently re-direct your attention to the present moment. Mindfulness meditation is about staying in the present, not about achieving a heightened state of awareness or bliss (that’s transcendental meditation).


Mindful Eating: When eating mindfully, choose a place that is quiet and free of distractions. Before beginning to eat, look at the food. Notice what it looks like; its shape and size and color, and how it smells. Notice any internal sensations; salivation, hunger, urges before you taste the food. Now take a bite. Notice the taste, texture, and sensations in your mouth. Notice your chewing. Notice urges to swallow. Notice your swallowing. Notice your stomach as you swallow. Continue eating mindfully, noticing sensations in your stomach; feelings of hunger and fullness. Decide when you are finished eating based on when you are no longer hungry. Avoid eating while engaged in other activities, such as watching television, reading, or working. Notice feelings and thoughts associated with eating and urges to eat between meals.


Beginner’s Mind: Pick an object in the room that is familiar to you, then examine it with your beginner’s mind; that is, as if you have never seen the object before. Some people imagine they are an alien from another planet or an alien on another planet, seeing the object for the first time. Notice the shape, weight, texture and color of the object. Try to imagine what the object could be used for. As you continue to examine the object, do you notice anything about it that you may not have noticed before? When you put the object away, reflect on what you learned about the object that you didn’t already know. Consider what would happen if you approached other areas of your life with a beginner’s mind; people, places, objects, situations. How would these other areas of your life be the same or different if you approached them with beginner’s mind? What expectations do you now have that you would not have if you saw them for the first time?


Mindful of Thoughts: Once you are comfortable and have become mindful of your breathing, shift your attention to your thoughts. Become aware of whatever enters your mind. Remember that your purpose is simply to observe the thoughts that are in your mind without judging them. Observe thoughts as they come and go in and out of your awareness without trying to engage them, continue them, stop them or change them. Simply notice them. If you find yourself getting caught up in a thought, notice what caught your attention, then gently re-direct yourself to observing your thoughts. It is normal to get caught up in thoughts. When this happens, return to observing thoughts.


Mindful of Emotions: Begin by getting comfortable and becoming mindful of breathing. Think of an event in the past in which you experienced a particular feeling that you want to get in touch with; happy, sad, glad, scared, upset, angry, proud, embarrassed, etc. Remember the situation and imagine you are in the situation now. What do you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch? Notice what thoughts, feelings and sensations come up as you remember the situation. Pay particular attention to your feelings. Is there one feeling or more than one? Notice any urges to hold onto or push away your feelings. Respond to these urges with understanding. Notice how your body responds to the feelings. Is there tension anywhere? Sweaty palms? Racing heartbeat? Urge to cry? Urge to run or hide? Urge to fix it or make it go away? Simply be aware of your emotions without judging or trying to get rid of them. Re-direct your attention to just observing your emotions. Notice any changes in your emotions during this exercise. Do they change or stay the same? Get stronger or weaker? Return to mindful breathing before ending this exercise, as it can be a difficult one. This exercise can be done with moderate, less intense feelings at first.


Mindful of Physical Sensations: Physical sensations can be urges, pain, tension, hunger and racing heart. Begin to focus on sensations involved in your body as your body contacts the surface you are sitting or laying on. Notice the parts of your body that are not in contact with the surface. Notice the sensation of air on skin or a sheet touching the skin. Notice the air temperature. Notice any body sensations: urges, cravings, hunger, pain, muscle tension, racing heart, stiffness, cramps, body temperature, etc. Notice any thoughts or judgments you are making about your physical sensations; then gently re-direct your attention to your body sensations. After 5-10 minutes, shift your attention back to the sensations you feel as your body contacts the surface of your chair or bed, then focus on breathing.


Mindfulness in All Activities: We can apply mindfulness to any activity at any time during the day. We can drive mindfully and do household chores mindfully; meaning we are keenly focused on what we are doing at the moment. We can practice mindfulness in the shower, during a walk, in a park, at work, during exercise, in a store, in the Dr’s office, in the waiting room, while dressing, while playing or drawing, etc. When we find feeling of guilt about the past or anxiety about the future creep in, or unwanted thoughts, memories or cravings, we gently re-direct our focus to the here and now.



This article was written by Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN

Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden.

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

INSTITUTIONALIZED MINDS AND CONFLICTED LIVING — PART TWO

         

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After the Kinkul has lived in its Kinkul Motel (Remember, Mommies and Daddies don’t know Kinkul Motel is the name for baby), for about two years, baby starts to act differently than before.  It happens when Mommy or Daddy, or someone standing near, shouts “No” to baby and sometimes slaps baby’s hands or bottom, when the Kinkul is driving baby to something Kinkul wants and which is something Mommy and Daddy don’t want baby to have.  The Kinkul doesn’t feel anything, but baby feels a lot of pain and baby doesn’t like pain one bit.  When baby feels pain it lets out a caterwauling cry all by itself.  You don’t like pain either do you?


Remember; Kinkul does not have a memory but now baby starts to develop one,  Baby remembers when it gets smacked for reaching for one thing and not another.  When Kinkul wants baby to reach for something, baby remembers getting smacked for, baby starts to act independently from the Kinkuls desire.  In a  way, the baby is telling the Kinkul “not now” and for some reason, Kinkul doesn’t bite baby because it didn’t get what it wanted when it wanted it.


Mommy and Daddy think they are training their baby to “behave.”  Doing what your Mommy and Daddy tell you to do when they tell you to do it is behaving.  What baby really learns is if you are bigger and stronger  than the other person and can use force against that person, you can get what you want when you want it.


Something else start to happen to baby and proves the last point is true.  Baby starts saying words and seem to understand the words Mommy and Daddy are saying.  Of course, the Kinkul doesn’t understand words.  Understanding words requires memory and a Kinkul doesn’t have a memory. But words are a powerful force that baby quickly learns to use to get what it and the Kinkul wants when they want it.


We notice the baby begins to want things the Kinkul never thinks about.  When baby plays with other babies and it wants something the other baby has, baby uses force to take it away from the playmate.  Mommy or Daddy blames baby for being selfish and shame baby for being selfish.  But baby doesn’t understand selfish.  Baby is just getting what it wants when it wants it.  Who cares if the other  kid is crying because it doesn’t get what it wants when it wants it.  Besides, baby is bigger and stronger that the other kid so baby is supposed to get what baby wants.


By the time baby gets to be five or six years old, baby can’t tell the difference between what the Kinkul wants and what baby wants.   Its O.K. to talk at home but not O.K. to talk in a place Mommy and Daddy call church.  Or it’s O.K. to spill your drink on the grass but not on the carpet.  Baby has learned it is good if baby does what Mommy and Daddy tell baby to do and bad when baby doesn’t.  Baby doesn’t know what is good or what is bad, except baby gets spanked for one and praised for the other.  Are you confused about what is good and what is bad?


It is hard to learn how to control the Kinkul.  It is especially hard  when Mommy and Daddy are not there to tell you.  But I believe the Kinkul lives with you all of your life.  It seems to me, the secret to a happy life is to learn when the Kinkul is controlling your acts to get what it wants when it wants it or whether you are acting in control of yourself.  Now that you know about your Kinkul, it is easy to see the Kinkul acting in other kids and people of all ages.  When I learned to tell the difference between my wants and the Kinkul’s wants, it became easier and easier to keep Kinkul from biting me by telling it “Not now!”  


When I could tell my acts were to get something I wanted, I was able to think about it and make sure that what I wanted was good for me, helpful to others, considerate of others, and that this was the right time for me to have it.  I’ve never been able to make friends with my Kinkul, but now, maybe it will be easier for you and me to be friends.


I do not present the Kinkul as a fact.  Kinkul is just an allegory for the human condition that I have never heard described in any other term than Original Sin.  All of the grandchildren I’ve told these stories to identified completely with IWWIWWIWI.  Now when they are acting selfishly I tell them, “Looks like your Kinkul is biting you.”  They stop their behavior, they look at me and smile, and then we laugh with each other and they do not return to the selfish behavior-and I like that.


My Kinkul stories are presented here because I submit for your consideration that it is not the concept of Original Sin and the concomitant sin nature of humanity that causes people to have problems with social interaction; rather it is the unchallenged, initially rewarded, and culturally reinforced approval of IWWIWWIWI  and the presumption that is appropriate to use force to get it.


By eliminating the presumption that a child is evil because of the myth of Original Sin a child may be able to be raised without the parent’s righteously playing the blame and shame game. 


We know the blame and shame game produces guilt and low self-esteem in a child.  Maybe society could begin to help children transition from the selfish prompting force of wanting what they want when they want it which is as natural as its skin, to the controlling its compulsive body instincts in a mature manner without blame and shame.


This article was written by Lawrence McGrath.

Lawrence wrote the book: A Cry From The Heart: A Personal Essay

Click here to purchase his book on Amazon.

Mr. McGrath is an author, father and grandfather. A retired marine pilot, lawyer, college professor, college president, bank president, and consultant.

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF A POWERFUL IMMUNE SYSTEM


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This topic is so very important for your overall health and longevity. Diet, exercise, hydration, even sunshine and sleep—it’s all connected. And one of the great results of living a healthy way of life. Taken care of properly, your body is less likely to experience illness. By maximizing those things that strengthen the body and minimizing the things that weaken the body, naturally you’ll be able to enjoy life at your greatest potential.

 

I’m not claiming that you’ll never feel under the weather, but I can state with confidence that your odds will be lower as your body’s immune system becomes stronger. The body is commonly underestimated when it comes to both prevention of illness and healing. We live in a society where often the first recourse is to turn to modern science, to depend on pharmaceuticals to fix what’s ailing us. But a body well taken care of has an extraordinary ability to take care of itself. Life-force created via lifestyle heals and is the body’s preferred remedy.

 

It’s important make a note here about cancer. Cancer prevention (and healing) is primarily about strengthening the immune system. Vitamin C (one of the essential antioxidants), as we know, is an amazing immune-system booster, reputed to be the most effective anti-cancer agent there is. Naturally this is what Infinity-C, a blend of superior high-vitamin C superfoods, is all about. Vitamin D is also a huge part of your immune system. It’s quite ironic that the correct amount of sunshine for vitamin D has proven to help with cancer recovery. (Of course too much sun should be avoided to prevent the opposite effect. This topic I cover extensively in Infinity Health Manual.) Note: part of why there is often compromise of the immune system during the winter is because we get less sunshine. This is why having additional vitamin C, beginning this time of year, is important.

 

Another important topic to address here is that the most common disease (I don’t like to word ‘disease’. Anything is curable; even broken genes.) of our modern world, is autoimmune disease. (I talk about this topic quite a bit in Infinity Health Manual. Autoimmune disease affects at least twenty-five million people in the United States. That’s eight percent of our population. And it’s rapidly increasing. As you may know autoimmune disease is when the immune system turns on and attacks the body itself. Besides allergies (the most common case), some of the more well-known strains include type-1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, asthma, eczema, psoriasis, and celiac. The common denominator is attack on the body by the immune system. The most common effect on the attacked area of the body is inflammation, the swelling of tissues, making it unreachable for nutrient rich blood that is trying to come to the rescue.

 

Just forty years ago, autoimmune disease was virtually non-existent. Interestingly, in third-world countries, it’s still virtually non-existent. It exists almost exclusively in developed countries. So what’s going on? The simple fact is, it’s greatly correlated with diet and lifestyle. Yes, in some cases it’s genetic, but still, various things can be implemented to fix even genes. That, we will talk about soon.

 

Mostly it’s about adding vital nutrients that recover the intelligence of the immune system (the immune system works hand-in-hand with the neurological system) while cutting the toxic junk out. Believe it or not, adding a few things to your diet and removing a few others is what most often saves the day. Remember there are two powerhouse nutrients that are the most vital to the immune system: vitamin C and vitamin D. Some might think boosting the immune system would be the exact wrong thing to do in the case of autoimmune disease, given the fact that the immune system is already attacking itself. But what you’re really doing is restoring your body’s instinctive healing wisdom. The intelligence of the immune system is truly awesome, and it does a lot more than just fighting colds.

 

Naturally, to boost the body’s immune powers, it’s vital to cut out the junk, and to let the body heal itself. By now, you can guess what the food culprits are: processed sugar, low-grade animal protein, cheap oils, flour, and similar heavily processed food. Another huge “junk” factor is toxic chemicals. Toxic household items like cleaners and air-fresheners are proven to weaken the immune system significantly. Unquestionably, these can be causatives, at least to some degree, and over time the wear and tear of these pollutants weakens the immune system.

 

Another culprit: antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers were originally intended to take on the role of your immune system. In December of 2013, the FDA questioned soap companies to address the potential risks of using such products daily. The active antibacterial ingredient has been proven to be toxic, and ironically weakens the immune system. On top of this, there’s no evidence that antibacterial soap products are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. Finally, as of this writing, the FDA is working to ban these terrible soaps. Let’s allow the superior immune system to do its job!

 

And another: antibiotics and some vaccines are now linked to reduced immunity! What an irony! The data are real. These culprits kill the bad bacteria while also killing the good bacteria we need in order to maintain a healthy immune system. Antibiotics may play a role when the situation is desperate and life threatening. Even still, after utilized, there needs to be some follow-up damage control with a healing diet and lifestyle. Most important is replacing the intestinal flora that gets killed with the use of antibiotics. This is the role of a probiotic supplement (which is why it’s an important part of the Infinity Greens formula).

 

There’s another very important topic we need to address when it comes to maintaining a healthy immune system: stress. Stress is essentially anything that puts strain on the mind or body. This includes many things such as lack of sleep, anxiety, poor diet, anger, sadness, and guilt—essentially anything that makes us feel less at ease. The reality is that this is all naturally part of life to a degree.

 

Stress releases hormones like cortisol that, short term, aren’t such a big deal, as the body knows how to remedy this. But on a regular basis they create as much wear and tear as junk food. And ultimately stress makes the mind and body weaker. Believe it or not, stress is actually proven to be the primary source of all illness. The first thing stress weakens is the immune system, the body’s capability of protecting and restoring itself.

 

The idea here is how we handle stress, like taking action to remove the common stressful circumstances that come up in daily life. Another vitally important part of reducing the effects of stress is exercise, and more than most people realize. Here’s why: stress produces adrenaline. Adrenaline unused leaves the body weaker and the mind irritable and more vulnerable to low moods. So the idea is to “exorcise” the adrenaline, booting it out of the body to leave everything stronger at the end, including your natural ability to cope with stress in the future. The big picture here is to live a life that reduces the stressors and incorporates restorative anti-stress elements such as a healthy diet, time in the outdoors, exercise, esteem-building activities, and spending time with joyous companions.

 

With regard to any malady, a truly healthy lifestyle cannot be emphasized enough. The potential healing powers of the body are awesome. Truly. All we need to do is nurture it with diet, exercise, pure water, fresh air, and sunshine. And positive thinking, too! (Shoot, what does that one have to be so hard sometimes! Remember you’re not alone. And it’s part of what friends are for.) The magnificent life-force this can yield is the body’s preferred preventative of illness and remedy too.

  

This article was written by Billy Merritt.

Click HERE to Learn more about his work.
https://www.infinitygreens.com/

LOVE EACH OTHER, AND ENJOY THE RIDE

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The world can be a very scary place.

Everything seems to change daily.

Uncertainty in every aspect of life surrounds us.

We are all faced with one tragedy after another. On any day you can read about plane crashes, politics, racism, opioids, politics, politics, politics—

NO MORE POLITICS PLEASE – but we do need to pay attention.

You may be wondering; how does this affect love?

The current divorce rate around 50 per cent.


Can you imagine the impact on the children?

On one hand, no wonder relationships are struggling, and the divorce rate is so high. We are living in a world of "me" time. Consumption is king.

We all need to take a deep breath and slow down. Life is moving too fast.

We need to get back to a day where we say “Hi” to our neighbors instead of fearing them.

On the other hand, it's not all bad: I'm happy, in fact, I'm individually optimistic, yet, globally pessimistic.

Can we change the course of things to come?

I don't know.

We've messed it up badly.


“I suggest in the future for those of you walking down the aisle could you please uncross your fingers and take your tongue out of your cheek.”


Just think about it for a moment. The family unit is in a state of crisis; the institution of marriage may be failing.

I suggest in the future for those of you walking down the aisle could you please uncross your fingers and take your tongue out of your cheek. You're only screwing up your kids and, in turn, our world.

If everyone meant, “till death do us part,” the divorce rate may only be 20-25 per cent resulting in:


  • At least a 50 per cent reduction in unwanted children, in turn resulting in:

  • A smaller global population, in turn resulting in:

  • Less consumption, in turn resulting in HOPE!


Wait a second, if that was the equation. I might not exist.


We have certainly left one messed up world for the next generation to try to fix. It's too bad that most of them come from broken homes. How are they going to fix the world, when they can't even fix themselves?


My radical suggestions:


  • Be aware of what is going on in "our" world.

  • Look at yourself first and the people in your life who matter and try to encourage, nurture and love.

  • TURN OFF THE NEWS.

  • Laugh, smile and cry from time to time. Have a blast. Treat others with kindness. Make your “moments” memorable. Don't have kids just for the sake of it - kids aren't puppies.

  • Avoid confrontations: life is too short.

  • And, most important, remember to hug each other.

  • If you do find yourself in a relationship that isn’t working, that’s okay, cherish the good parts, and move forward in a positive fashion.


We may not be able to fix the mess; however, we can have a blast during the ride.



This article was written by Lindsay Wincherauk.

Click HERE to Learn more about his work.

www.lindsaywincherauk.com


Finding Pleasure and Joy in the Combination of Contrasting Experiences

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No doubt about it, life can—and undoubtedly will—have its challenges. For a variety of reasons—some self-imposed, some not—there are bound to be times in your life when you experience some fairly undesirable situations.

In those circumstances, you may experience fear, sadness, disappointment, or anger. But believe it or not, underneath it all, there will also be . . . joy. Not joy in the typical sense of feeling elated in the moment, but the joy of your inner divine spirit. It's the kind of joy that embraces all of life and living . . . not just the peaceful parts.

Consider this: When you go to an amusement park, don’t you choose to go on the scary rides as well as the more pleasant ones? Why is that? Isn’t it because you feel fundamentally safe? And isn’t it the combination of those contrasting experiences that brings you pleasure—even joy?

So it is with your divine spirit. To your spirit, life is one big amusement park. And since your spirit is eternal and indestructible, it always feels safe enough to enjoy (to have joy in) the experience of life as a whole.

Are you experiencing some kind of stress or distress in your life right now? Then remember to take a moment to affirm who you truly are at the core of your being. In prayer and meditation, consciously connect with your inner divine essence—your eternal spirit—and get in touch with the unending joy that resides there. It’s the joy of just being alive and in the world. And it’s a joy that is there no matter what kind of ride you happen to be on.


This article was written by Steven Lane Taylor.

Click HERE to Learn more about his work.

WEBSITE: www.rowrowrow.com

THERE IS NO GOAL, ONLY PROGRESS

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What is the reason for being? The ultimate human question. The answer is, we don’t know. But I believe, as Steven Pinker said in his book ENLIGHTENMENT NOW, the goal of human effort is PROGRESS. He crafted his definition of progress, not from the words of great philosophers, not from religious text, rather from empirical facts. For it requires only the convictions that life is better than death, heath is better than sickness, abundance is better than want, freedom is better than coercion, happiness is better than suffering, and knowledge is better that superstition and ignorance. Any effort to advance any one of those elements for the benefit of mankind is progress. We don’t know why. There is no goal, only progress.

He then wrote the book that amply justified his conclusion that the people of the world are far better off today than at any time in history. The problem for the World is, we are not on the same page as to what the goal is, much less how to achieve it. Every concept is a belief. Every person has their own beliefs. These beliefs are conflicting. And we believe it is lawful for a person (or group of persons) to use force to impose their will on another. The problem you millennials are facing is: once you justify the use of force to impose your will on another, there is no logical reason not to use all of the force available to you until the enemy succumbs or is destroyed (or you are).

Such is the conundrum you millennials face, so, what do you do with your life while you have it? It’s a big world out there and you can’t solve all of the problems. You find what your good at, you find what you’re not good at, and then you find a niche to work in that calls on what you do good and does not call on what you do badly. Then work hard at it and leave the world better off than you found it. Hopefully, that’s progress.

It’s real murky out there. With everyone having a different opinion on what the goal of humanity is and it seems everyone is writing a book about it, I don’t know how you can figure out the answer. But that is what these messages are meant to do. I wasted most of my life trying to live according to Roman Catholic dogma. These messages are what I found out and I hope it saves you some time in not having to learn what I learned the hard way.

Let’s start with God. You have to believe in God, or not. You have choices to believe in the God of Theism, 2,800 verities; the God of Judaism, 3 major brands; and the God of Islam, I don’t know how many interpretations there are. Then there are the Eastern religions: Hindu, Buddha, American Indian, etc. I think you would benefit from reading Worlds Apart, by Geisler and Watkins. That will give you a big boost in understanding the different interpretations of God. But there is another source of confusion about God and that is dogma. Men have written about God and other men have deified their work. But dogma is to my spirit as an eggshell to the chick. I am birthed within it and could not grow without it, but if I do not break free…dogma will entomb my soul. Are you trapped in dogma?

Dogma is the personal belief of one or more persons about life after death presented as a fact of life for all persons. But the fact is, the answer to the questions of life after life, is that there is no factual answer, only belief…the singular, individual, and unique belief of each person. That is why one person’s belief is as good as another. That is why no one should be allowed to tell another person they have the REAL GOD and use force to impose it.

I know it’s a big world out there and our generation didn’t do what it might have, but it’s the world you will live in. Think of life a 100 years ago and life now. Make it better!

This article was written by Lawrence McGrath.

Originally titled: 1st Message for Millennials

Lawrence wrote the book: A Cry From The Heart: A Personal Essay

Click here to purchase his book on Amazon.

Mr. McGrath is an author, father and grandfather. A retired marine pilot, lawyer, college professor, college president, bank president, and consultant.

COMPASSION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF LOVE


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Love is the total giving of oneself without agenda; not asking for anything in return or holding anything back. Compassion, being one of the highest forms of love, is the understanding of lack of understanding in another being, as well as within ourselves. It allows for us to express loving kindness in the face of ignorance.


It has been said that the only problem we only ever have is ignorance. This is true. None of the harmful deeds us humans perform are born out of malice or ill will. They merely arise from a small and limited perspective of the true nature of reality.


Most individuals are trapped in the egoic illusion of lack and separation. The ego’s mantra is: I am not enough, and there is not enough. Caught in that misperception, an individual believes that the only way for them to be and have enough is to try to get it from the world. And so they move through life seeking worth and validation from the outside world. They live under the impression that they have to compete for it and to ultimately (hopefully) win it.


From this perspective, hurting or harming another individual, seems legitimate since life is a competition. Like the survival of the fittest if you will. This is the life in and with the ego.


Choice is a function of awareness


Now as we grow and unfold spiritually. As we mature. As we come into greater and greater insights, we realize that we live in a cosmos where there is only abundance and unity. There is only one Divine Whole. And nothing is ever separated from anything else.


As we realize this, we also begin to realize that when someone is in the grip of the ego, there is no need for blame or guilt. They are merely more or less temporarily unconscious.


From this higher perspective, we realize the futility of placing blame when someone does something we are triggered by. They are merely reacting that way because the lack they the understanding to act in any other way. They have merely gone unconscious, and we happen to be in the vicinity of them at that moment.


Much in the same way we don’t blame a small child for not yet having learned to read, ride a bike or not make a mess when eating. We realize that they are in the process of learning. In that process, they have only learned what they have learned in any given moment.


It is said that choice is a function of awareness. This means that in order to be able to make a choice - we need to be aware that we get to choose. If we are not aware that we have a choice then effectively cannot make that choice.


Compassion is the understanding of lack of understanding.


Compassion then, is the understanding of this. It is the understanding that when an individual reacts as oppose to responds, they do so merely because they are not aware of the options.

They are not aware that there is another way. That they can choose to respond to a situation or circumstance with love rather than fear, worry or doubt. Obviously the same goes for us.


The best response to any situation, any circumstance, any individual is that of love and compassion.


Choose love and compassion over fear, worry, and doubt.


And so, whenever we are faced with the ignorance or unconsciousness of another individual – we may gently remind ourselves that it has nothing to do with us. We need not ever take it personally. At this moment they are merely unconscious. And we just happened to be there to witness and experience it.


We may also remind ourselves that all is working for our good. As we encounter an unconscious individual, we get to practice being loving and compassionate. In other words, it is a great blessing in terms of growth and unfolding.


And so, rather than placing blame and guilt, playing out the victim card as to being the victim of another’s harmful actions - we may choose to pray for and bless them. We may choose to pray for their wellbeing, for their peace of mind. We may call forth the perfect and Divine health that resides within each being. We may choose to take on the perspective that they too are on a journey and that they too, in the process of waking up, of learning - are exactly where they need to be.


This is compassion. This is loving kindness in action. Praying, blessing and wishing someone well - even when what they did or did not do, may seem harmful and hurtful.


The Love of God dwells within each of us, we merely need to become aware of it and choose it.



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.

https://www.theloveandlightstore.com/

LEAVE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE THAN YOU FOUND IT

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Steven Hawkins, the Cambridge Scholar, died today. He is a wonderful example of a man who made the right choices and made them work. His mind was strong but his body weak. He suffered from a debilitating illness yet he continued to work. You see, you have to believe in yourself with the same conviction you have to believe in God. If you could ask Jeff Bezos, (Amazon), the Oracle of Omaha, (Warren Buffet), Bill Gates (Microsoft), and the many others who are billionaires what is the one thing they believed in when the moments of doubt had them stalled…they would tell you…they believed in themselves. They all had failures in their career. Think the Edsel, the Ford fiasco, think Zap Mail, the billion dollar FedEx failure, there are many many others that gave doubt to the men in charge. At every time, in everyman’s life, you have to go with your gut and you may be wrong. Think Custer, and his last stand. Studebaker, Packard, Stutz bearcat are examples.

Believe in yourself and you may be wrong. And that is how I think God operates. “Trust in Him with all your might, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths strait.” Not for your glory but for His. Don’t be afraid of failing to get what you intended from your effort. You know that because of your faithfulness in trusting Him, He got from your effort what He wanted for His purposes. God is in the bowling business, He knocks over a lot a pins with one ball.

Don’t let money deceive you. Business is the best game I’ve ever played, and money is just a way to keep score, but there are a lot of unhappy rich men. There are a lot of unhappy poor men. There are a great many things that contribute to happiness. We haven’t done much in adding to Aristotle’s definition that he made in his book Nicomacion Ethics. He said, “Happiness is the only human emotion that is complete in itself. There is nothing that can be added to it.” I’ve often considered that was the reason Thomas Jefferson (a well-read philosophy scholar) included it in the Declaration of Independence... “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

And what about the number one killer of finding your full potential…a girl/boy. The urge to merge is great and having babies is the millstone to hang around your neck. What I say for boys goes for girls. You work to provide food and shelter for your family, period. And debt. You borrow money for personal consumption items and you have sold your soul to the devil. Debt robs you of your freedom of choice. You can’t quit the job and go to school. Make the mortgage payments. And where will you live? Is this job in the place and under the conditions you want to live during your life? What I’m saying here is, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” You don’t get a chance to double back and do over. And time is in short supply.

It is said that without Ruth there would be no Billie Graham. Without Pierre Curie there would be no Madam Curie. Yes, there are those who find the soul mate to help them with their chosen field. And such a relationship is precious as diamonds. I wish I could tell you how to find such a relationship, but I can’t. It takes mutual respect, both as a person and as a professional. It takes a since of humor. It takes a large amount of humility, and compassion. It takes forgiveness and thoughtfulness. And most of all it takes love. A deep abiding gratitude for and appreciation of the object loved. And it must endure over time. The girl or boy you fell in love with at 18 is not the same person at 30, nor 40, nor 50, nor 60. You are floating down the steam of life…together. And it is a hard ride. Leave the World a better place than you found it.


This article was written by Lawrence McGrath.

Originally titled: 4th Message for Millennials

Lawrence wrote the book: A Cry From The Heart: A Personal Essay

Click here to purchase his book on Amazon.

Mr. McGrath is an author, father and grandfather. A retired marine pilot, lawyer, college professor, college president, bank president, and consultant.