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

Imagine It Happening To Someone Else

This is from the Daily Stoic:

 

When something frustrating happens to you today—a flight gets cancelled, a pen breaks and spills on your shirt, you get jostled by the crowd, painfully, on the subway—and you feel that immediate, instinctive anger rising up, just stop.
Try this: Think about it happening to someone else. Imagine the thing that happened to you, happening to someone else. What you’ll notice then is that you don’t feel anger, you feel sympathy. I’m sorry that happened to you. It’s alright. No need to get upset.

When it happens to us, we feel wronged and aggravated. When it happens to someone else, we feel a desire to comfort or help. Yet are we not a person just like them? Do we not deserve sympathy and comfort ourselves?

Well…don’t wait for someone else to give it to you. Give it to yourself. Give it to yourself as a gift instead of anger. Remember Marcus’s quote from Euripides,

“Why should we feel anger at the world?
As if the world would notice.”
Anger is worthless. It only makes the world a worse place. It only makes the holder of it feel worse. Stop the cycle. Treat yourself how you’d treat someone else.

How to live and learn from great loss

Julia Samuel specializes in helping people cope when a loved one dies. Joanna Moorhead finds out how we can stop feeling awkward and uncertain about death – and why we should talk honestly about grief

Phil and Annette were on their way to the mortuary when Julia Samuel phoned. Their daughter Amber, aged four, had drowned in a swimming pool, and they were going to see her body. Not many people would have called them at that moment; not many people would have dared to encroach on such raw and traumatic grief. But Julia, a friend of a friend of the couple, is a psychotherapist who specializes in dealing with loss. She knows that, when people are in the throes of overwhelming grief, sharing the pain is the only thing that can make even the tiniest difference.

But being a grief professional does not endow special powers. When Phil answered the phone, Julia would have liked to be able to say something that would make it all better. But she knew nothing could do that, so she said the only thing she could. “I am terribly sorry to hear that your daughter, Amber, has died; I’m sorry that such a devastating thing has happened to you. How can I help?”

Twenty-five years as a grief psychotherapist has taught Julia a great deal about the human condition – because when you focus on grief you focus on life, and loss exposes everything that matters about a person and their strengths and weaknesses. When someone dies, it reveals the faultlines in the bereaved family, even the deepest, most hidden ones. If you know about loss, you know about family, and about love, survival, resilience and strength. If you know about loss, you know about life.

But there is a paradox at the center of loss, and it is this. Grief is the most intense pain there is, and we will do anything to avoid pain. So we run away from it; we run away from our own grief, and we run away from others’ grief.

And yet, says Julia, running away from it means we will never recover from it. Embracing it, moving through its agony, and allowing ourselves to just be while it washes over us, is the only way to survive it; because we have to feel the worst of it in order to let it change us, and then we can start to find out who we are going to be in the wake of it.

This is the message at the heart of Julia’s new book, Grief Works. “If you ignore grief and push it down, you can live and you can even function, but you will live a very narrow emotional life because you are using so much emotional energy to cope,” she says when we meet.

“Everything in your psyche will be squashed down, and that means small things can trigger a much bigger kind of effect. The fact is, you have to do the work of grieving. You have to let it run its course. Pain is the agent of change; pain is what allows you to change, it’s what enables you to reach a new reality.”

Her book traces the journeys of many of the bereaved people she has walked alongside; she describes how she has wept and mourned with them. “I let clients know that what they’re saying has an impact on me: I tell them when I feel shocked or sad or upset,” she says.

“I talk about our relationship: the relationship I have with them is in service of them. I say what I feel when I think it’s useful to share it.”

One of the many moving stories in her book is that of Bill and Sally, whose 13-year-old son, Matthew, died of a rare virus. Sally tells Julia that losing her son has made her, too, feel dead. She no longer has any expectations of life; she does not want to go on living. “I said quite plainly that, although she was giving up on herself, I refused to; I would fight for her. I held the whisper hidden somewhere within her that said, ‘I want to live’.”

Julia, in her 50s, a mother of four grownup children and a grandmother of four, is slight, vivacious and fun: time with her feels charged with life, and you can’t help feeling that must be helpful for those clients who, like Sally, have lost sight of the joy of being alive. Julia is as interested in asking questions as in answering them; and her questions to me surround something that I have experienced but she never has, which is a traumatic loss.

There are two sorts of loss, says Julia: expected loss and traumatic loss. And perhaps strangely, for one in her profession, her own losses have all been expected ones. Her father died, but he was 87 (“I was sad and I grieved, but it was not a traumatic loss”); her interest in bereavement sprang from her involvement with the charity Birthright, now Wellbeing of Women, which made her aware of the pain of losing a baby, although she wonders whether she was unconsciously influenced by the fact that her parents had lost three parents and three siblings by the time they were 25. “Everything seemed OK, but now when I think back I’m aware of some unresolved grief.”

Almost her only personal experience of a shocking, out-of-nowhere, loss was that of the figure whose death brought loss closer to millions, and perhaps even changed how the British deal with it: Julia was a close friend of Princess Diana, a connection that was echoed when she was asked by William and Kate to be a godmother to Prince George in 2013. That is, she says, a very joyful role – lots of fun, and the chance to enjoy the little boy as he grows up – but she doesn’t want to say much about it or about Diana, save that she agrees that her death did make a difference to the nation’s approach to grief.

So, too, she says, did other major shifts of history, especially the first and second world wars. “Our parents, the parents of people of my generation, were the generation that couldn’t afford to grieve. They were parented by survivors of the first world war: they simply had to survive, whereas we have the luxury of being able to deal with it differently.”

Having said that, and despite the public outpouring of grief after Diana’s death, she doesn’t think most people are sufficiently aware of the impact a traumatic bereavement has, the ripples it leaves or how long they persist. As someone who experienced a traumatic loss at the age of nine, when my three-year-old sister was killed in a road accident, I have to agree with her analysis. It is 44 years since that death, and the shockwaves still reverberate in my family: everyone is different because of it, and the next generation has been touched by it in ways that are too subtle for them to fully understand.

How traumatic losses shape the future of a family is a subject of great interest to Julia; so, too is the way men and women deal with loss differently. Men, she says, tend to want to move on, to make plans, to focus on new horizons. Women, on the other hand, want to spend more time remembering the person who has died; they want to immerse themselves in the pain. But the fact is, she says, that each can learn from the other. “You have to do both things: you have to have time when you grieve, and time when you have a break from the grief. You can create circumstances where you grieve, and circumstances where you move on; so men and women can help one another. He can help her go for a walk to the park or to a gallery, and she can help him talk about how he feels and express some of his loss.”

The problems set in when one individual fails to understand the pattern of grief in the other; they think of them as selfish or that they don’t care enough, but it isn’t about that – it’s about different ways of coping. Grieving is an intensely individual and usually incredibly lonely experience, which can make it a particularly difficult time in a family, where a group of people will be going through something sparked by the same event, but is in each case very different.

The way to cope, says Julia, is to be open in communicating how you are feeling to others in your family. “The families that fare best are able to share their feelings openly. Death disrupts the complex and finely tuned balance in a family, so everything has to be reorganized – and being open helps with that process.”

At the beginning, and this is especially true of a traumatic loss, the grief is all-consuming: but over time, says Julia, you find you are starting to live again. The mistake some make, though, is believing they can go back to being the way they were.

“Some people say, ‘This isn’t going to change us.’ But that’s not how it is: and it’s when you recognize that bereavement is a life-shattering experience, and that you have to grieve and rebuild, that you can move on positively into a new phase of life.

“You don’t forget the person who’s gone; you can never do that, and you should not worry that you’re going to. But you fold them, and their loss, into the new person you become; and maybe that, in the end, is the greatest tribute any of us can make to anyone who has died.”

 

Eight ways that family and friends can help Listening. Be a friend who is prepared to give their time, to listen and to acknowledge the extent of your friend’s loss. Listening is the key. Bear witness, and allow your friend to be upset, to be confused and contradictory, or to say nothing at all. Every time they tell their story once more, or are allowed to say how important the person who has died was, the burden of carrying their pain on their own is incrementally a little lighter.

It’s not about you. Follow the mourner’s lead: they may not want to talk about their grief right now, or even with you. It is good to say something to acknowledge their loss, but then let them have the control they need (they had none over the death), to choose to talk or not. If they ask you to come and be with them, and want to talk openly to you, go. If they truly do not want you to visit, and do not want to deal with it at that particular time, don’t force it on them. Don’t confuse your need to speak or call or be in contact, with your friend’s need.

Acknowledgment. Death isn’t catching, but those who are bereaved might think so, judging by the fear they see in other people’s eyes. People are frightened about whether to come forward, about what to say, about saying the wrong thing – so, in the end, they say nothing. All of that comes from a belief that whatever you say should make things better, that you should have enough wisdom to make the pain more bearable. But you can’t. Nor do you need to. Being kind enough to dare to acknowledge them and their situation is good enough.

Offering to be there if they need you, suggesting that they should be the one to ring you, is probably asking too much of your friend at this time. It is better if you take the initiative and make contact, and then follow their lead: they may want to see or speak with you – or not. Often, people don’t make contact because they feel they don’t know the bereaved person well enough. If you are erring one way or the other, better to err on the side of making contact.

Practical help. Doing practical things is often what really makes a difference. Don’t say, “Let me know if I can help”; actually do something helpful. At the beginning of a bereavement, there may be a lot of people around, so bringing food may be the best thing you can do. Taking food around for longer than the initial crisis is rare, and therefore particularly appreciated.

Honesty. Be honest. Honesty is comforting and easy to deal with. There is a direct cleanness to honesty that cuts through much of the complex messiness of grief, and this can come as an enormous relief to people.

Also, be honest about what you actually can do rather than covering up because you feel guilty about what you can’t. Be specific: say, “I’m going to come round for half an hour” or “I’ll come on Tuesday”; don’t say, “I’ll come whenever you want, tell me, and I’ll be there”, and then find you can’t deliver on that offer.

Be sensitive. While being honest is important, so is being sensitive. Promiscuous honesty is not a good idea. Be aware of showing too openly that your life is trotting along happily, as that can feel like rubbing their nose in your happiness.

Be in it for the long haul. Try to remember to make contact and be supportive after everyone else has gone. Usually three months following the death, people get back to their lives, as they should. But it is by no means over for the person who is bereaved. Sending a text or popping by can be hugely supportive.

Writing. Letters, cards, texts or emails: it doesn’t matter what you write – all are extremely helpful. It is better, however, to say that you don’t want a reply, because some people simply can’t respond. And it is never too late to send them. It is a welcome surprise to receive a card much later, because it is when everyone else has forgotten and your friend is still grieving.

When you do write, try to make it personal and avoid tired cliches such as, “She’s had a good innings” or “Better to have loved and lost”, because they are trite and in some way diminish the personal importance of this very loved person who has died.

You don’t need to go into long explanations of why the person has died or theological explorations about death; just be loving and personal, warm and acknowledging.

Extracted from Grief Works by Julia Samuel

Quote

It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than it is to think your way into a new way of acting.

Founder habit of humanity