Just say no

Okay, we may not be able to say “no” to everything in our lives that stresses out. We all have jobs, partners, family, ect. that can often feel like we are getting a lot of “no” slapped in our face. Sometimes, I have people dismiss this happiness quote below as impossible. I get the thinking and I’ll offer how about looking for just one YES you can say to yourself by saying “no” to some person or life situation that’s stressful when it presents itself to you. If you decide to do this, you will often be surprised by the opportunities that present themselves.

See how you feel when you say “no” to a person or situation. See how your energy changes. You can start small, maybe with a person you do not know at all or a situation you always say yes normally, especially if it has a bit of obligation to it. How about diving right in and telling that person that always calls you to complain or to dump their life on you, you do not have time to talk today?  Remember, your just practicing and you can say no today and choose differently tomorrow. Maybe you can work towards communicating to that person how the “dump” feels energetically to you. Maybe you just make the conversation 5 minutes shorter than normal. Again, your saying yes to yourself and keeping a bit more of your energy for you!

In my book, any step towards a YES for you and your improved happiness is a step in the right direction:

 

 

Changing habits

7  Reasons why most of us fail to change our habits:

1.     We are unconsciously programmed with a different habit

2.     Fear, fear, fear

3.     Our brain blocks it

4.     We take steps that are too big

5.     We get overwhelmed by feelings and thoughts

6.     We lack compassion with ourselves

7.     We rather choose to create excuses

 

I think number 4 is the place to start if your stuck in a rut or having a hard time adding a new habit to your life. Taking small steps that allows you to SLOWLY build new habits actually can help with a bunch of the other points on this list or others you may have on your personal list. Taking a small step is less scary, right? Taking a small step that is easy to complete builds some momentum and can build confidence in ourselves, right? We are less likely to get overwhelmed when we look at the end result of the new habit, say losing 30 pounds, compared to as it just a small simple step of not eating ice cream one day a week or walking around the block. The excuses are a bit “harder” to make when you make steps smaller. “All I have to do today is walk around the block….well, i can do that, it will only take 4 minutes”.

Is there a habit you want to do that you have been putting off? Is there one small thing towards that habit or goal that you can do right now no matter how small it is?

 

 

Releasing the Reigns

Read this from the “Daily OM” a while back and thought it was a good reminder to share. I am of the belief that people come to us, most of the time, for OUR lessons and not as randomly as we might think. Sometimes, I find I have to look pretty deep at why I’m running into somebody, especially when my “buttons” are being pushed! Do I need to learn greater compassion? Can I be less selfish? Or do would it be better to be more “selfish” and not spread my energy to thin? How about more allowance? Everyone has their own lessons (I feel whether they want or realize them or not) and they have the choice to be in any place they want to be with those lessons, even if it’s “unaware”……… Wow, what if I could have more allowance???? Less judgement!!!!!!!! Even saying that, I can feel a lightness, more freedom coming over me.

Now, that’s a nice place I will hang out more in……..

Let go so life can come in - abundance guy

If your tendency is to try and change other people, take some time to explore why you feel the need to do so.

Our perception of humanity as a whole is, to a large extent, dualistic. We paint people with a broad brush—some are like us, sharing our opinions and our attitudes, while others are different. Our commitment to values we have chosen to embrace is often so strong that we are easily convinced that our way is the right way. We may find ourselves frustrated by those who view the world from an alternate vantage point and make use of unusual strategies when coping with life’s challenges. However ardently we believe that these people would be happier and more satisfied following our lead, we should resist the temptation to try to change them. Every human being has been blessed with a unique nature that cannot be altered by outside forces. We are who we are at any one point in our lives for a reason, and no one person can say for certain what another should be like.

The reasons we try to change one another are numerous. Since we have learned over time to flourish in the richness of lives we have built, we may come to believe that we are qualified to speak on behalf of the greater source. The sum total of our knowledge will never compare to what we do not know, however, and our understanding of others’ lives will forever be limited. The potential we see in the people who are a part of our lives will never be precisely the same as our own, so we do these individuals a disservice when we make assumptions about their intentions, preferences, and goals. Our power lies in our ability to accept others for all their quirks and differences and to let go of the need to control every element of our existence. We can love people for who they are, embracing their uniqueness, or we can love them as human beings from afar.

Your ability to influence people may grow more sophisticated because others sense that you respect their right to be themselves, but you will likely spend more time gazing inward, into the one person you can change: yourself.

How do you pay your bills?

There is a lot of debt, as in people that owe money to someone else, in the world today. Of course, in the modern world, it’s pretty normal. We borrow from a bank to buy a car or house. We use a credit card to buy stuff. We receive services like TV, electric and water. The usual thing is that the lenders or providers of these things want to be paid back with money and often with some extra money for their trouble. So, here is a question. How do you feel when you pay back these lenders and providers?

Whether you are financially tight or have more than enough, I think how you feel and think when you pay these people back can have a big impact on YOU. Your energy towards your financial abundance can be a part of or attracting more or repelling it. If you have plenty of money and your always cursing your bills, I’ll promise you your overall abundance will be limited in some way outside of your financial abundance. Same with if your financial abundance is not where you want it to be. Paying back you bills with a more positive attitude (remember, you received some stuff you bought) or at least a lighter way of thinking will really help that stress level that we all can get around bills. Make it a game if you can, celebrate paying off a bill. I often will advise people to make paying bills off a choice. You do not have to pay the electric bill if you do not want to, right?………Your house might be awfully dark at night if you keep choosing that. However, notice the subtle difference, in saying I’m going to choose to pay my electric bill this month and choose to eat at home an extra night (with the lights on) instead of eating out. You may think this is mind games or too simple, but I feel there is huge power in choice and feeling good about how you are feeling while paying your bills.

 

Here is another way at looking at debt from the book, “You can have it all” by Arnold Patent.

“You could think of your debt payment as a “gift” to the a person or a company that gave you something, you might find that repaying a debt is fun. When you give a birthday present to a friend, you feel good. Paying a debt can be similar. When it isn’t fun to pay a bill, it means you are withholding love. This awareness can lead you to increase your love for both yourself and for your creditors. As your love expands, so does your abundance.”

So, my next personal goal, love the IRS:)!!!!!!

Giving and receiving

I have been rereading parts of one of my favorite books, by Arnold Patient, called “You can have it all” and I loved some of his thoughts in his chapter on giving and receiving.

One concept he talks about is what “true” giving is. He offers that true giving follows these 3 criteria:

  1. The giver sincerely wishes for the recipient to have and to enjoy the gift.
  2. The gift is something the giver sincerely believes the receiver wishes to have.
  3. There are no ulterior motives or strings attached by the giver, and the recipient is free to do with the gift as she or he wishes.

This is so simple and at the same time we all can find a giving/receiving exchange we have been in that is missing a point or two. Any of you give something but expect a certain response from the receiver? That’s an ulterior motive, right? Expect NOTHING in return; not even a thank you? Wow, that might take some practice. How do you feel when you’re nice and let a car into your lane ahead of you and you don’t receive a wave or nod back? Do you give a compliment to someone you think is “cool” or “important” and it’s not quite genuine or you can find an ulterior motive why you gave it? Yes, there are lot’s of ways giving and receiving comes into everyday life, not just traditional gift giving.

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Any of you feel obligated to give a gift to a certain person or at a certain time? You aren’t sincerely giving, right? If you’re obligated, what is the energy of the gift like? Positive? Likely not and likely neutral at best. Some say that when the conditions above are not met, the giving and receiving energy in us is kinda “stuck” and not free. What do I mean free? Well, I view this as when I have a practice that meets the above criteria I am creating energy in the movement of giving and receiving. Mr. Patient says this energy is really love, when you get down to the core. I’d have to think about that a bit more, however sounds good to me right now. I believe, whatever the energy that is created will attract more of that same energy. If it’s positive, you attract more of that positive energy around giving and/or receiving gifts. Maybe you end up getting more gifts in some way. Money comes unexpectedly, a compliment comes or just a smile at the checkout isle. Again, no fair giving just to receive later. Ulterior motives, right?

How about this one? Anyone receive a gift and feel you have to keep or use it? Will you stick a gift from mom in the closet and bring it out for display when she comes over? I bet you see now that while your trying to be nice to mom and not hurt her feelings (or other stuff), that energy is NOT clean. Now, I’m not saying we say to mom, “mom that gift stinks” when she gives it to us. That to creates “negative” energy around receiving and, over time, a closet full of stuff you don’t use! A good practice is to always take “in” the gift as positive, no matter what you think of it.

Of course, most of us honestly know that all are gifts we give aren’t going to be perfect. That is, perfect, in the stuff we give. However, giving with positive intentions and that energy (love?) and the criteria above that gift of “energy” IS perfect and allows for more.

 

Don’t be beaten down by naysayers

From a book called, How many people does it take to make a difference? One!

….They call you a dreamer, a do-gooder or a romantic. every time you stand up for a good cause-large or small-someone will roll their eyes or tell you yo sit back down. Robert Kennedy used to say that 20% of the people are against everything all the time. It’s true. There will always be lots of people who can give you all the reasons why you can’t or won’t improve the world. It’s up to you to remind yourself of all the reasons you can and will. Optimism and pessimism are both choices. Notice that some of the most interesting and successful people have chosen to acquire the habit of talking about what they are for rather than what they are against. Be one.

“I realized that idealism is out of sync with cynicism of our age. Skepticism has come to be synonymous with sophistication, and glibness is mistaken for intelligence. In such an atmosphere, why bother aiming high? Far too many people don’t. I just want to reassure people to have courage to persevere, to keep following their hearts when others scoff. Don’t be beaten down by naysayers. Don’t let the odds scare you from even trying”

Schultz, Starbucks CEO

Minding my business

A friend sent this to me. I think it’s great. Best to stay in the only “business” we can truly control which is our business.

 

Marcus Aurelius’s joke was that no one ever came to grief “ignoring what goes on in other people’s souls.” He meant that if you want to reduce the amount of stress and drama in your life, mind your own business. Because every one of us wastes far too much time thinking about, commenting on, and gossiping over, the state of other people’s marriages, other people’s ethics, other people’s intentions, other people, period. As if what they do in their homes and in their heads is of our concern.

And it’s not just that all of this is intrusive and outside the “circle of control,” it’s that while we’re doing it, we’re not doing something else. That is, not focusing on what goes on in our own souls. “If you won’t keep track of what your own soul’s doing,” Marcus asks, “how can you not be unhappy?”

The key to happiness is minding your own business. That means getting your nose out of other people’s and sticking it where it belongs: On sniffing out your inconsistencies, where you can be better, and where you’re falling short. Starting today

Stuck in a cave

Thai Cave Rescue Highlights the Value of Teaching Children to Meditate

The coach of the rescued boys taught them techniques to stay calm, and any parent can use meditation to help their children deal with stress

Meditation techniques can help children manage stress.
Meditation techniques can help children manage stress. Photo: IStock

The miraculous rescue of the Thai soccer team this past week left many of us wondering: How did those 12 boys manage to stay so calm while trapped in a cave for over two weeks?

One answer is that their 25-year-old coach, a former Buddhist monk, reportedly taught the boys to meditate, to help slow their breathing and quiet their nerves. He credits the practice with helping them to ride out the long days of confinement and discomfort.

One particularly effective technique that they are likely to have tried is mindfulness meditation, a practice widely used in Thai Buddhism. Practitioners train their attention on the present moment, dispassionately observing their thoughts and feelings without judging or reacting to them.

“For the boys trapped in the cave, practicing mindfulness could have helped them stay calm in a very stressful situation, by keeping them focused on the present rather than fretting about the past or worrying about what might happen in the future,” says mindfulness researcher Kristen Lyons, an assistant professor of psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Dr. Lyons points to research on adults that suggests practicing mindfulness helps people to stay centered in moments of stress. It dampens our fight-or-flight response, so that we can respond to emotional situations constructively rather than reactively.

Our children may never know the terror of being stuck in a cave, but all of them will have moments of feeling trapped and threatened, whether it’s taking a math test or dealing with a bully on the playground, says Amy Saltzman, a holistic physician and mindfulness coach in Menlo Park, California. “With mindfulness, the intention is to have your feelings—whether it’s sadness, fear or anger—without those feelings having you,” says Dr. Saltzman.

Even toddlers can be taught how to be mindful. A good place to start is with a feelings meditation. Begin by lying down together and bringing the child’s attention to their breath. Place a small object on their stomach and have them notice how it goes up when they fully inhale and down when they fully exhale. Next, help them to label what they’re feeling, and ask them to notice where those feelings manifest in their body: Is there a warmth in their chest, a pain in their head or a tight feeling in their stomach? Explain that mindfulness is not about erasing those bad feelings but about acknowledging them, even befriending them, and then choosing how we respond.

Teenagers can start by downloading apps like Insight Timer, Headspace or Calm, which offer guided meditations. You can explain how mindfulness will help them respond to stressful situations in ways that will make their lives simpler and make them less likely to be buffeted by events. It will leave them with less of an emotional mess to clean up later, says Dr. Saltzman.

Even moments like putting on shoes, taking a shower or brushing teeth can serve as informal practice in mindfulness. For example, ask children to pay attention to how it feels when they squeeze the toothpaste tube, how the toothpaste tastes in their mouth and the sensation the bristles make on their teeth and gums.

Families can carve out small moments to be mindful together, says Dr. Lyons. At dinner, pay attention to those first few bites of your meal, or when you’re all walking to the car, notice how the sun feels on your skin.

Be aware of moments of distracted parenting, too. When you greet your children in the morning and before bed, practice being fully present for 15 minutes without distractions: no electronics, no cleaning up, no making a to-do list.

The more we incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives, the better it will serve us when we need it most. For some of us perhaps, it may also be a lifesaver someday.

You are what you think

Byron Katie’s work, what she calls “inquiry”, has been one of my favorite tools for questioning my thoughts or another way to look at it is questioning my beliefs. I really think her work and the general work of questioning your thoughts is priceless for greater freedom from our minds that think all sorts of crazy things. We certainly can’t control what we think, but we have the choice to believe them or not.  Some of her quotes below give a lit insight into her philosophy. Check out her u tube talks if your interested or go to http://thework.com.

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.”

“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.”

“Hurt feelings or discomfort of any kind cannot be caused by another person. No one outside me can hurt me. That’s not a possibility. It’s only when I believe a stressful thought that I get hurt. And I’m the one who’s hurting me by believing what I think. This is very good news, because it means that I don’t have to get someone else to stop hurting me. I’m the one who can stop hurting me. It’s within my power.

What we are doing with inquiry is meeting our thoughts with some simple understanding, finally. Pain, anger, and frustration will let us know when it’s time to inquire. We either believe what we think or we question it: there’s no other choice. Questioning our thoughts is the kinder way. Inquiry always leaves us as more loving human beings.”

Byron Katie, Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life