Nov 27 2017

Time to Reflect

Category: Choices,ControlPatricia @ 2:43 pm

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As the year begins to wind down, it is a good time to reflect on what has happened this year. Consider what your life looked like last January. And now consider how your life has changed since then. What is different? Where are you now? How did you get there? Is it where you want to be? If so, or if not, maybe there are some things you could still accomplish this year.

Your life experience is constantly in a state of flux and change. Nothing remains the same. And I will remind you…you are making the choices that are creating your life experience. You are directing your soul’s journey. Your actions and reactions to your life experience are based on your limited ego’s beliefs about the way things are.

What New Year’s resolutions did you make? Did you achieve these goals? Or did you decide to give up on them? How did you get derailed from your original mission? What changes did you make? Are you happy with the decisions you made?

Often we set goals that are not fueled by passion. If it is a goal that we think we “should” accomplish, we may not have the necessary drive to succeed. Or maybe our goal changes as we become more knowledgeable about what it is we are doing. Goals do not have to be set in stone. They can be more liquid and malleable. They can grow and change as you grow and change.

Now is a good time to consider what to do next. Ask yourself, “What are my new goals and dreams?” When you do this, consider a holistic view of your life. Consider Body, Mind and Spirit. Look at all of these areas of your life separately:

  • Physical Health and Energy. Nourishment. Exercise. Rest.
  • Home Environment. Creating a sacred space of safety and comfort.
  • Play. Pleasure. Passion. Sexuality. Creativity.
  • Confidence and Personal Power. Abundance. Career.
  • Love of Self. Love of Others. Inner Peace and Acceptance.
  • Communication and Expression of Thoughts, Ideas and Feelings. Sharing of Self.
  • Going within to gain intuitive knowledge. Use of imagination and intellect.
  • Connection with Spirit. Oneness with All. Following Your Path.

Is there anything left undone in any of these areas? Is there anything that you need/want to let go of? Any limitations or fears? Any resentment or disappointment? Do you need to forgive anyone…including yourself? What needs your attention? When you give attention to the things standing in your way, you are able to find a way to get around the obstacle. Letting go of the things you no longer need in your life makes way for new and better things to appear.

You can make a commitment to do just three things between now and the first of January. These three things can help you to become a better you to begin the new year. You can honor yourself and your goals by laying a solid foundation to create an environment for you to thrive. You can start right now. There is no need to wait for the calendar date to change. There will never be a time when it is not now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nov 08 2017

Mercy Mercy Me

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 3:46 pm

self-compassion.1

 

Are you a compassionate person? If a friend or even a stranger is suffering a crisis, do you extend your compassion? Do you offer to help? Are you a good listener? Do you treat others with loving kindness? We are often quick to help others get through a bad time. But sometimes, we can ignore or downplay the suffering. We can forget to be compassionate with our self. When you are suffering, do you give the same kindness to yourself? Do you offer love and understanding? Perhaps it’s time to treat yourself like you treat a good friend or loved one.

When you practice self-compassion, you become more mindful of your emotions. Especially the negative emotions. Rather than avoiding your pain, you can understand that you are not alone in your suffering. Everyone suffers. Difficult and painful emotions are part of our common humanity. You can not experience life without experiencing pain, disappointment or sadness. When you treat yourself with compassion, it is simply a matter of treating yourself with kindness. It’s a way of alleviating some of your suffering.

Research tells us that when we treat ourselves kindly, we feel more safe and less threatened. We experience a sense of well-being. When we have a sense of connection with others, we suffer less stress, anxiety and depression. We feel as if we belong. We can relax. When we feel safe, we are better able to enjoy life.

Our bodies respond to this feeling of safety. Emotional well-being is reflected in the health and wellness of the physical body. Your body functions better in a tension-free environment. On a basic physiological level, when we feel safe, we deactivate our fight-flight response because we don’t feel the need to defend ourselves.

The difficult moments of life are just a part of the human experience. And in those moments, we also deserve to experience the kind and loving actions we offer to others. The strength of self-compassion promotes self-love and acceptance. It acknowledges that you are doing the best you can do. It also reminds you that you are worthy of happiness.

When you are being judgmental and critical of yourself, you are not exercising self-compassion. You are hurting yourself. Consider if you would speak to a friend in the same judgmental way. Focus on what is right, rather than what is wrong. Look at yourself with loving eyes before you treat yourself harshly. Be more tolerant of yourself. Respect your feelings. You deserve it.

Tolerance. Patience. Understanding. Compassion. What the world needs now.

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Oct 31 2017

Contentment

Category: Choices,GratitudePatricia @ 12:27 pm

 

sofa

 

Are you content? Or are you unsatisfied with the way things are? Do you want more? Do you believe “the one with the most toys wins”? Sometimes when we are in a state of wanting more, we become oblivious to the good that is happening in our lives. We feel as if we are lacking something. We can get distracted by thinking about what we don’t have and then we forget about all that we do have.

Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is known to be the founder of Taoism.  His wisdom has served as guidance for centuries. One of the things he often wrote about was contentment. He referred to contentment as “the greatest treasure”. Being content is defined as a state of happiness and satisfaction; a place of peace and wellbeing.  Lao Tzu also advised to, “Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

Being content is being grateful for what is. It’s about being satisfied with what you have achieved…so far. Look around your home. Everything there is a fulfillment of your wishes. Yes, everything…even the old sofa. You may have wished for that sofa many years ago. And yes, now you may wish for a new one. But remember that the old sofa represents your wishes. It represents the fulfillment of your needs. Continue to feel the pleasure derived from this. That pleasure is gratitude for what is. That gratitude leads to contentment. If you are feeling unsatisfied with your sofa when it looks lumpy, consider that the lumps were created by the sofa’s service to your needs. It has held and supported you through many years. And then consider this: global statistics show that if you have a roof over your head covering that sofa, you are richer than 93% of the world’s population! Are you feeling content yet?

You may feel that you are lacking some things in your life. You may be. But, I’d like you to focus on what you are not lacking. You are a powerful being, capable of achieving whatever you believe you can achieve. You are worthy of success, love and happiness. Your life experience is a result of the choices you have made. Choices based on your beliefs about the way things are. Because you are a powerful being, you are capable of making new choices…better choices…choices which encourage your contentment and wellbeing.

Being unsatisfied is not always a bad thing. You won’t make progress if you don’t get unsatisfied from time to time. It is a necessary and temporary condition. Recognize that when you are not satisfied with the way things are, you have the power to change that. Those changes can result in your growth and contentment.

May you feel as if the whole world belongs to you. Because it does.

 

 

 

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Oct 20 2017

Energy Efficient

Category: Choices,Self-Meditation & MindfulnessPatricia @ 5:01 pm

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Being physically active requires energy. When you run, swim or jump, your body uses up a lot of fuel moving about. You may not realize how much fuel you are consuming, but you do realize that you are expending energy. You get tired and you need rest. Thinking also requires a lot of energy. Planning for a delightful future takes a lot. Worrying about a dismal future takes a lot more. Using mind consciousness is very expensive. Even though your brain is only 2 percent of your body’s weight, it consumes 20 percent of your body’s energy!

So, how can you save on the energy you are using? Or wasting? You can economize that energy by choosing to practice the habit of mindfulness. You know, paying attention in the moment. Engaging your senses in the experience. Being aware. Focusing on the Now. When you are mindful, you exist in the present moment. This allows your mind consciousness to relax. You can let go of the energy of regretting the past. You can let go of the coulda-shoulda-woulda thoughts. When you relax into the moment, you can release thoughts that create worry about the future. You can stop wasting your time by predicting what you don’t want to happen. You can experience a release from anxiety or depression.

Thoughts are constantly running through our minds, and therefore, the vibrational energy is also constantly in motion. When you focus, you experience the now moment. If you think about the past, you’re thinking about it now. If you think about the future, you’re thinking about it now. Choose your thoughts. Choose carefully.

We often create by default because we are getting whatever we are thinking about now. And whatever it is we are giving our attention to – wanted or unwanted – is what we will receive. Whatever you are thinking about, you are attracting. And you are doing it right now. All the time. With every thought you think.

If you want to be more energy efficient, take charge of your life by taking charge of your thoughts. Allow the natural rhythm of your breath to create a peaceful sense of relaxation. Clear your mind of any mental or emotional clutter. Allow yourself unlimited freedom to create. Use your brain more effectively and efficiently and get the most benefit from all that energy you are consuming. You’ll get more bang for your buck!

 

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Sep 14 2017

Turning Mistakes Into Lessons

Category: Choices,Inspirational QuotesPatricia @ 12:03 pm

 

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We all make mistakes. It’s the way we learn. We try. We fail. We try again. Each time we do better because we know better. There is no need to regret your mistakes! Mistakes are not only tolerable, but are actually desirable. Einstein says, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

I’m sure that you can recall a time when you made a mistake… a mistake that taught you something. Even though it may have been unpleasant, you learned something from the mistake. I want you to begin to appreciate the fact that without having made mistakes like that, you would have never learned and progressed. We learn more from doing things wrong than from doing things right. Mistakes have consequences. Sometimes those consequences are immediate. Other times, the consequences may take years to surface.

Your imperfect mistakes have been perfect opportunities for a wealth of learnings; an indispensable foundation to build on. So don’t be mistaken about mistakes; the more unpleasant it is, the more beneficial the lesson will be. Paulo Coelho says, You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”

In order to turn your mistakes into lessons, it’s good to consider a few things. You need to consider the story you are telling yourself about the mistake. What role are you playing? Perpetrator? Victim? Hero?

 

This is what happened. Allow yourself to look at what occurred. Become an outside observer. Consider the factors leading up to the mistake. Consider what you believe happened. Consider the beliefs of others.


This is what I did.
Consider your actions and why you thought it was the right action at the time. Or maybe you knew it wasn’t the right action and you did it anyway. Consider why. Did you act consciously and mindfully? Did negative emotions affect your actions? Accept responsibility for your actions.


This has been the cost.
Consider the negative consequences of your actions. How were you affected? How were others affected? Was the cost too much to pay? Accept responsibility for the cost.


This is what I learned.
Consider your thoughts, beliefs and actions.  Understand why you did what you did. Look for the positive consequences of your new perspective. Accept yourself.


This is what I could do differently in the future.
Consider other choices you could have made. Consider the beliefs that led up to the choice that led to a mistake. Acknowledge your ability to respond in different ways and to make better choices in similar circumstances.

 

I’d like you to consider the benefit of having the courage to be imperfect. Human beings are not perfect. It really is all right to be human… and to make some mistakes…so that you can learn and grow. Make amazing mistakes, fantastic and interesting mistakes. Just do the best you can do.

 

 

 

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Aug 22 2017

Enjoying the Picnic – With or Without Ants

Category: Choices,ControlPatricia @ 8:35 am

 

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The warm, lazy days of summer offer an opportunity to spend more time outside in nature. We play more. Longer days also allow us to relax; to experience more of the sweetness of life. There is an abundance of color and growth in the natural world. We make a point of taking a vacation or a staycation. A common activity is to pack a picnic basket and enjoy a simple meal under the welcoming shade of a tree. We can enjoy the sounds of the birds and the wind rustling through the branches. We can stretch out and take a nap on the soft grass and feel the earth beneath our feet. We can engage in meditative thought in peaceful surroundings. We can also be annoyed. Even in the quiet beauty of nature, we can become distracted by negative thoughts.

Your thoughts can take the form of a mosquito buzzing in your ear, keeping you tuned into an unpleasant distraction or an unwelcome thought. Or your thoughts can seem like a line of ants marching across your picnic blanket, messing up your solitude and wreaking havoc on your plans. In either case, you can choose to observe the mosquito or the ants. You can swat at the mosquito and allow it to disturb you. Or you can ignore it. You can watch as the ants march off the other side of the blanket and disappear from sight. Or you can panic and rearrange everything on your blanket to avoid contact with them. In either case, you could focus on the annoying things. You could fuss over them. You could get angry with them. You could feel sad that they have ruined your picnic. You could even let them bite you!

But you have power over the annoying insects. You have power over the annoying thoughts. You decide. It’s your choice. It’s always your choice.

Are you making yourself suffer? Maybe you think the mosquito or the ant is what is making you unhappy…those things outside of you that are out to get you…to make you suffer. But it’s not the outside things that are making you suffer. It’s your reaction to the things. And you are in control of your reactions. You have the freedom to make a choice to react differently when the annoying things get to you.

When you focus on the negative, you suffer. When you react in a negative manner, you increase your suffering. Pay attention to your thoughts. Focus on the ones that make you happy. Relax and enjoy the picnic. Summer will be over soon. Everything in life is temporary. Don’t waste your time slapping at mosquitos or fretting over ants. Stay within your place of inner peace when outside things threaten to annoy you.

 

 

 

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Aug 08 2017

Vibrating Abundance

Category: Choices,Law of AttractionPatricia @ 8:36 am

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We all want abundance in our lives. Whether it is wealth, a loving relationship, or a thriving career…we want to experience the joy of having it all. Maybe you’ve tried to use the Law of Attraction, based on the immutable Law of Vibration. Perhaps you’ve written the affirmations, made the vision board and done the work. You are waiting for results, but you haven’t achieved success. It’s frustrating when your efforts at manifestation don’t happen. Maybe you’re missing something.  Take a moment to consider what it might be.

You must be patient. When things aren’t happening according to your time schedule, don’t let doubt stand in your way. When you are projecting a vibration of confidence and belief in your success, you are allowing all you desire to come to you. BUT…when seeds of doubt creep in, everything stops. The creative source of the universe responds to your confidence and your doubt! Imagine you were taking a road trip. You set your course believing that if you continue on the highway, you will arrive at your destination. You don’t doubt, stop or turn back. You follow your plan. Don’t annoy yourself by asking, “Am I there yet? Am I there yet?”

You must take action. You need to actively participate in the process of bringing about your desire. It’s important to make a plan, set realistic goals and follow through. You must hold yourself accountable. Lying around dreaming about how it feels to live your dream life is just not enough. Believe in your success and you will take action.

You must pay attention to your thoughts. You can never get rich by thinking about being poor. You can never get thin by thinking about being fat. It is far more powerful to be “for” something than to be “against” it. If you are thinking thoughts of lack, then that is what you are calling into existence. Instead of thinking about what you don’t want, think about what you do want. And when you are thinking…notice the emotion you are feeling. The emotion is the fuel. Good thoughts create motivation. Good thoughts create good results.

Your thoughts create your energetic vibration. You are like a broadcasting tower for a TV station, sending your thoughts out into the universe. Like attracts like. Your soulmate. Your employer. Your experiences. You attracted all of it. You can learn to control your mental vibration at will. You can choose your thoughts. You can attract what you want.

You must align with your goals. Wayne Dyer says, “Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”  When we are tuned into the vibration, we are in alignment with what we want. When you are taking the steps to achieve a goal, check in with yourself. Are you in alignment with it? Have you made progress? Does it feel good to continue? Don’t force yourself to continue, if you decide to take a different approach.

You must face the truth of what you have created in your life. And what you have not. Whether you are creating consciously or subconsciously, you are responsible for your creations. In the subtle field of energy, you attract what you are aligned with. Sometimes it’s difficult to accept that you “attracted” a bad relationship or unemployment or disease. Realize that what you put in, you get out. In order to achieve your goals, you must act with true integrity.

It is imperative that you control your thinking. You must focus on the positive and on what you want. This allows you to be in vibrational alignment with your goals. Your energetic signature or your emotional vibrational frequency is your magnetic force, attracting that with which you are aligned. Consider the “why” and the “what” of your goal. Trust that your vibrational force will attract the “how”, “who”, “where” and “when”.

It’s not that all the “bad” things will disappear. Things happen. Your life is affected by outside forces. Your perception of them can change. Your choices can change. Your actions can change. Your vibration can change. It’s a choice you make.

 

 

 

 

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Aug 01 2017

Behaving As If

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 10:30 am

ballerina

 

Do you have a role model? Perhaps you act as a role model for someone else? In some way, we are all role models to each other. Reflections. Good and bad illustrations of how to be. Since there is no reason to focus on a bad example, let’s focus on the good aspects of a role model. A good role model is always positive and confident in themselves and their abilities. A good role model is happy and grateful for their achievements, yet continues to strive for more. A role model serves as an example. Albert Einstein says, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.”

When you are confronted with a challenge in your own life, consider asking yourself, “What would my role model do?” Observe how they approach problems or situations which are similar to your own personal dilemmas. Find out how they achieved their goals and what they would do differently if they were starting over. Use their example. Heed their advice. Pay attention to the qualities of their presence and demeanor. Are they decisive? Calm? In control? Do they seek the advice of others? Are they confident in their abilities? Do they avoid mediocrity and make great efforts for excellence? Act as if you are the same. And you will become that.

Your thoughts, words and actions influence people every moment of the day. They also influence you! Choose to be positive in your approach to life. Walk your talk – be consistent with your words and your actions. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!”  That is also integrity. A good role model is honest and trustworthy even when no one is watching.

By demonstrating good behavior, you deliver a strong message to others every day. This message is delivered when you accept responsibility for your actions. It is also delivered when you hold others accountable for their bad behavior and speak up when you need to do so. You influence others. When you follow the Ethics of Reciprocity, which is also known as the Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12), you create a connection. Almost all organized religions, philosophical systems, and secular systems of morality include such an ethic. Eric Allenbaugh reminds us of this when he says, “You are in charge of your feelings, beliefs, and actions. And you teach others how to behave toward you. While you cannot change other people, you can influence them through your own behaviors and actions. By being a living role model of what you want to receive from others, you create more of what you want in your life.”  You also attract people of like character and integrity.

Listen to your conscience.  You know what to do. Everyone will benefit.

 

 

 

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Jul 19 2017

Potent Side Effects of Generosity

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 8:55 am

Andy.1

 

After 9 surgeries for a bad heart, Andy Mackie was prescribed more than 15 medications. The side effects were miserable. And the misery was costing at least $600 every month. Andy decided that he didn’t want to spend the remaining days of his life feeling miserable, so he decided to stop all his medications. The doctors said he would die within a year. They were wrong.

Andy loved music, so he decided to use the money he would have spent on his heart medicines to buy 300 harmonicas to give to children. He contacted the local schools and set up classes to teach the children how to play. Mackie said, “I tell them music is a gift, you give it away – you give it away and you get to keep it forever.”

And when he didn’t die the next month, he decided to do the same thing. He bought a few hundred more. And every month after that, Andy Mackie continued to buy harmonicas, give them to children and provide lessons. He forgot about dying. His efforts were recognized in 2005 at the Northwest Folklife Festival where he set the Guinness World Record for the largest harmonica band ever to perform in one place.

Thirteen years after he stopped his medications, Andy Mackie finally passed away at the age of 72. During those final years, he gave away 20,000 harmonicas, taught hundreds of children to play them, personally built 5500 strum sticks and created a foundation to continue his dream. He lived his life with joy.

What can we learn from Andy? I think he is a perfect example of thinking about what you want…instead of what you don’t want. Andy could have accepted the fate that his doctors decided. He could have chosen a life of misery and pain, waiting for death. Instead, he chose love instead of fear. He chose to think about what he loved. He chose to act on his thoughts. He recognized how his actions affected others. He was joyful in his work. His body continued to serve him because he believed in life more than he believed in death.

How can you use the lessons Andy taught? Look outside of yourself. How can others benefit from your generosity? What do you have to give? Consider that although generosity is an action that is done without an expected return, in that giving, you may also receive great benefits. What you put forth comes back to you.

It appears that Andy Mackie did not have a bad heart after all. His generosity came from a heart that was filled with the love of music and the spirit of giving. For Andy, giving that love to the children was the very best medicine of all.

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Jul 11 2017

Being You

Category: Belief,ChoicesPatricia @ 2:04 pm

1250 roses

 

You don’t have a choice. Everyone else is taken. You need to be you. But, what does that mean? To be authentically you, you need to be true to your own personality, spirit, or character. You need to be sincere in your words and actions. I think it means to be loving and accepting towards yourself as you discover who you are. Carl Jung says, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

By definition, Humanistic psychologists would say that authentic people are psychologically mature and fully functioning as human beings. When you are being you, you have a realistic perception of yourself and your place in the world. You are thoughtful and accepting of others as well as yourself. When you are being authentic, you are able to freely express your emotions. The real you understands what motivates you. You are able to laugh at yourself and learn from your mistakes. You understand what you want and what you don’t want.

When you’re not being you, you suffer. Your body suffers. Listen to your body. When you lie to yourself or others, your body may suffer from a churning stomach. You may notice a sore throat or a cough as you speak words that are not true for you. Also notice this…what is true tends to make you feel stronger.

Lying is never being you. Pretending, people-pleasing and performing are not okay. When you lie, you suffer. Your integrity suffers. Your authenticity suffers. Don’t lie. Most importantly, don’t lie to yourself.  Accept the ugly bits of yourself. Accept your emotions, including the difficult ones. Emotions are there to help you in the moment. Process them and move on. Don’t hide from yourself. If you don’t recognize and accept your flaws, how can you possibly grow?

Being you is not about being perfect. It’s not about being the ideal version of yourself. We are all in a state of learning and growth. If you’re still alive and breathing, you’re still learning how to be you. You’re not done yet. Remember, learning is often messy. We make mistakes. We do things wrong. When you reject parts of yourself, you’re hiding from you. You’re not being real.

When you are authentically you, you are capable of anything. You will find that you have within you everything you need to create the life you want. The life that is unique to you. You stay in your own truth; you focus on your own business.

Byron Katie teaches that there are only three kinds of business: Mine, Yours, and God’s. She writes:

“Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business…

Being mentally in your business keeps me from being present in my own…To think that I know what’s best for anyone else is to be out of my business. Even in the name of love, it is pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety, and fear. Do I know what’s right for me? That is my only business.”

Being you has nothing to do with anyone else. You are the only one responsible for you. If you’re trading your own authenticity, you may suffer. You may experience anxiety or depression. You may know addiction or anorexia. When you are not being you because you don’t feel that it’s safe to be authentic, you may suffer from resentment, blame or even rage. When you trade your authenticity to please others, you will know grief.

Begin now. Recognize your truth. Speak it. Live it. Be you. Know that you are the only one there is. So you are the only one who knows how to do it. You know it in your heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 23 2017

Dream A Little Dream

Category: Choices,MotivationPatricia @ 8:56 am

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In the magical state of creation (where you spend every moment of your life, whether you are aware of it or not), the economic exchange is affected by different rules. The dream state operates on another level. The only currency is energy. And the only price to be paid is with your imagination – your thought energy. You may not have cash flow, but you always have an unlimited supply of imagination. The state of creation does not follow the same order as the U.S. economy. There is plenty for everyone. You can have it all. Or you can choose to have nothing at all. It’s a choice we make based on the focus of our thoughts…what we think about; what we believe about what we think; how we feel about what we think.

So, considering you can afford the life of your dreams, what are you dreaming? Everyone has thoughts and dreams of a better life. No matter how good life is, it can always be better. Consider the thoughts which bring a smile to your face. Or the ones which make your belly tingle with excitement. And then think the thoughts which make your heart happy. These thoughts can make you feel like a million bucks! Or even more!

Take a moment out of your everyday life and give yourself a little dream time. You deserve it. You can afford it! And you really can’t afford not to do it! There are twenty-four hours in the day. Surely, your dreams are worth as little as a measly fifteen minutes!

Play a little game. A dreaming game. Begin by setting your intention. Make sure that your intention is set in a way that is best for all concerned. Then simply write out this sentence:

“Even though I don’t know how this will happen, I am grateful because it is now (fill in a date) and I am (enjoying, looking at, experiencing, earning, etc.) my (new salary of $xxx, new home, new car, vacation, etc.) and I feel _____________.”

When you consider this sentence, pay close attention to how the dream thought makes you feel. Emotions are very, very important in the state of creation. Emotions are the fuel which fire up and feed your dream. Thought creates emotion which creates action. When you play the dreaming game, make the fire bigger by thinking about different aspects of your success. For example, if you’re dreaming of a new car, fill in all the details. Make a list of the car’s features and why you like them. Think about the value of independence and mobility that a car offers. Consider how you will feel when you are driving this new car and the places you will go. Step outside of yourself, and see yourself having the experience of a new car. And then feel the gratitude for your ability to create this experience. As you fill in all the details, your imagination is free to dream big. Your dream creates passion.

When dreaming, you know that anything can happen. Even impossible things. You are now dreaming.

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Apr 10 2017

Feeling Under Pressure

Category: Choices,ControlPatricia @ 6:08 pm

lobster

 

Growth can be uncomfortable and stressful.  Change is difficult. A lobster doesn’t have a choice. He has to change. He literally outgrows his shell. He must act in order to survive. And that action literally puts his survival at risk. Imagine the stress! I wonder if a lobster finds it difficult to decide when it’s time to leave the past behind and create something new.

In order for a lobster to grow, it must periodically shed its hard shell. The act of escaping from the old shell is known as ecdysis. This word comes from the Greek, ekdysis, meaning “getting out”.  Since lobsters continue to grow throughout their lives, they spend much of their time either preparing for or recovering from getting out.

Ecdysis is a complicated process. Preparation is required. A new exoskeleton is created beneath the old one. If any limbs have been lost, they begin to regenerate. The lobster’s body knows just what to do. It removes blood and causes appendages to dissolve. The shell opens allowing the lobster to withdraw its shriveled limbs from the old skeleton. The escape can take anywhere from several minutes to more than half an hour to complete. If the shedding is prolonged, it usually results in death because the lobster in the midst of ecdysis is entirely helpless and vulnerable, virtually unable to move. Once freed, the lobster remains secluded for several days while its shell hardens. Within the first five to seven years of its life, a lobster may shed its shell up to 25 times. It gets easier, however. Adult lobsters only shed about once every one or two years.

The lobster is uncomfortable with the ways things are. It feels itself under pressure. Its growth has created stress and the stress is building. The lobster knows what to do. It has to get out. It doesn’t fight the change. It doesn’t think about whether it is worthy of changing; or if it deserves to live a bigger life. It doesn’t evaluate whether it has all the facts or whether it knows how to make the change.

What can we learn from the lobster? Lobster is a symbol of solitude and regeneration; the need to shed the outer shell and to go within. Personal growth lies within our inner world. Lobsters continually transform themselves into something bigger, casting off what restricts them. They get out of their own way! And they do it without judgment or ego! Lobsters take a big risk, leaving themselves vulnerable and alone, stripped of all protection. They have faith in their ability to create a new version of themselves.

Lobster tells us to not let the opinions and restrictions of the outside world define you. Heed your own instincts. Trust yourself. Break free and continue to grow throughout your life. Seek solace in solitude and take that time to better understand yourself and your life’s mission. When you go within, you find your true happiness and fulfillment. And you come out bigger and better than you were before. All of life is change and growth is renewal.

 

 

 

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Apr 04 2017

Useful and Beautiful

Category: Choices,ControlPatricia @ 10:28 am

baggage.3

 

Spring cleaning. Life cleaning. We all have to do it. I make it a practice to sort through the drawers, closets and cupboards in my home; to let go of what is no longer needed.  Last year, I decided to look at everything with a common requirement. Everything I keep must be useful and/or beautiful. I’ve come to accept that what I deem to be beautiful may not be useful in a conventional way. However, my definition of useful has expanded. It’s my life, so I get to make the choices. (Same as you!) Art is useful for creating a pleasing environment; photographs serve as a memory aid and an emotional boost. The process is time consuming and sometimes emotionally draining but it’s necessary. We’ve all seen what can happen if we fail to do it… hoarding happens.

I know I’m not alone in this pursuit. I think many of us struggle with taking time to clean out the things that are no longer of value. It’s the reason why storage units were invented. It’s a relatively new concept of modern living for when people just have way too much stuff. They literally have outgrown their own homes. They have filled up every nook and cranny with stuff that they think they need. And now there is no more room for the stuff they do need. Rather than get rid of stuff, they move it to another space. And they pay rent on that space. Sometimes they never even return to get their stuff. It sits collecting dust, only to be sold at auction to pay for the cost of keeping it in storage. How do you experience the new, if the old is taking up space? How do you experience life’s present moment, if you are weighed down by the past? Christina Scalise, in her book, “Organize Your Life and More” says, “Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.”

Sometimes the old stuff is not even your own stuff. I have stuff from my mom and dad. They no longer have any use for worldly possessions. I hold on to the remnants. Yes, I’ve narrowed the remnants down to just a few boxes. But those boxes contain much more than just stuff. It is stuff that belonged to people I love. It’s different than ordinary stuff. Everything is like a limited edition.  Experts call it the “endowment effect”. An insignificant item may be endowed with an exaggerated value making it feel more important to you. Regardless of that effect, I will continue to apply my beautiful and useful rules so that I can let it go. Do you have that stuff in your life? Do you want to be responsible for other people’s stuff? Did your grown child leave behind stuff that is cluttering up your space? Is it taking up space you could use for your own stuff? When you hold on to other people’s stuff, you may have trouble setting boundaries or saying “no”. You are only responsible for your own stuff. Make it useful and beautiful.

Fung Shui experts agree that your living space is a reflection of your inner space…your subconscious mind. Your home is a container for your stuff. When you clear away the clutter in your living space, you can transform your entire existence. Personal transformation can occur when we let go of the things that no longer serve us. This can create balance and a place that nurtures serenity and inner peace. What you keep around you needs to change and grow, as you change and grow. Your home needs to reflect who you are…right now. When you discard the clutter, regard it as a sign of your progression in life. Acknowledge its purpose in your life. You may be surprised to note that many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. The dress made you feel fabulous at the party. The shoes have danced or hiked. The battered suitcase has taken you where you wanted to go. The chipped dishes have held many delicious meals. Be grateful for the experiences, process the past and let go. All that will remain are the things that you really treasure. Right now. Ownership of things does not bring happiness. Things help you to experience the journey. They remind you of the journey. They are not the journey. Life is not about having. Life is about being. May it be a useful and a beautiful life journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mar 23 2017

Choices For Your Future

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 8:16 am

crystal ball

 

Imagine being able to transport yourself to a time in the future. Ten years from now, where are you and what are you doing? What are you wearing? What is your home like? Who do you live with? What is your financial status? Are you healthy? Are you happy? What do you imagine your life will be like? How do you think the future happens? Is it all random or do you have any control?

When you consider the future, you will find that there are really three simple choices to decide upon.  You control your choices and you also control your actions. So, simply stated, you control your future.

You could continue to do the same thing as you are doing now…thinking the same thoughts; doing the same actions. Ten years may pass, but nothing but your physical body changes. You age. You have fewer options. You live in the same place. You work at the same career. You do the same leisure activities. If you are alone, you are still alone. If you are in a bad relationship, you are still in a bad relationship. You have the same amount of money. Over the next ten years, you will not grow at all. You will remain the same. Remaining the same is the most difficult to do. Outside circumstances influence inner choices and sometimes it is impossible not to grow. But really, why would you want to remain the same? How boring!!!

You could do less than what you are doing now…thinking negative thoughts; acting in a self-destructive manner. Many things may change ten years from now when you’re thinking about what you don’t want to happen. You may have lost your job; lost your home; lost a good relationship. And the worst that can happen is that you may have lost your health. Over the next ten years, you will experience a downward spiral, leading you to a life of depression and despair. Making bad choices and doing stupid things is very easy to do when you don’t pay attention. But, then, the consequences make life a lot more difficult.

You could do things differently than you do right now… focusing your positive thoughts on the experiences you want to have. Everything may change in ten years when you take control of your thoughts and your actions… starting now. You may become a happier, healthier, wiser version of yourself. Over the next ten years, you could experience a joyful and successful life. Doing things differently may seem difficult at first. But the results of achieving positive goals makes life worthwhile.

You get to decide. The Now you creates the Future you. How would you like your future to be? You really do have some control over how it all turns out. Imagine that. In the magical state of creation, the economic exchange is different than that of the U. S. Treasury. You may not have unlimited cash flow, but you do have unlimited imagination. You can choose to have it all. Or you can choose to have nothing at all. You can afford to have the life of your dreams. You know that when you dream, anything is possible. Dream on.

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Mar 16 2017

Versions of the Truth

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 9:03 am

lying

When was the last time you told a “white lie”? Who did you lie to? What would have happened if you had told the truth? We all tell lies. “White” lies and “black” lies.  A lie is an untrue statement made with the intention to deceive or create a false impression. It misleads you. On purpose. A “white” lie is considered to be a lie with “good” intentions. But it is still a lie. In the movie, “Something’s Gotta Give”, after catching the man she loves with another woman, the character is confronted by the man. He says, “I have never lied to you, I have always told you some version of the truth.” She replies, “The truth doesn’t have versions, okay?” Unfortunately, we all have our own unique version of reality and sometimes truth gets confusing.

As beings, we are always trying to look good both to ourselves and to the outside world. “It’s tied in with self-esteem,” says University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman. “We find that as soon as people feel that their self-esteem is threatened, they immediately begin to lie at higher levels”.  He goes on to say, “We’re trying not so much to impress other people but to maintain a view of ourselves that is consistent with the way they would like us to be”. We generally want to be agreeable and to make social situations easy. We want to avoid insulting others by disagreeing or speaking up.

Although many animals engage in deception and deliberately mislead another…only the human animal is wired to deceive ourselves as well as others. Feldman’s research shows that people are so engaged in managing how others perceive them that they are often unable to separate truth from fiction in their own minds. Is the perfectly posed and digitally enhanced selfie posted to social media a true representation of the self?

Both men and women lie but apparently they do it for different reasons. Men lie no more than women, but they tend to lie to make themselves look better. Perhaps suggesting their golf score was lower; the fish was bigger; the salary more impressive. Women are more likely to lie to make the other person feel better. Often praising or complimenting another’s outfit or decorating style; omitting a truth about a person’s weight or lovelife.  We all start lying at around age 4 to 5 when we gain an awareness of the use and power of our words.  We begin to lie to find out what we can manipulate. We test and test again. Eventually, we learn to use lying to get out of trouble or get something we want.

But lying can get us into trouble. When we lie, we can lose the things we want most. Lying can create problems with our relationships. It can destroy our financial security. It can erode trust. Friedrich Nietzsche says, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”‘

Sometimes we lie to control a response. We tell our side of a story. We leave out significant details. We rephrase the words we spoke. And then we tell this story to someone about an interaction with a friend or boss. The subtle changes we make may influence the person’s response and their attitude about the interaction. In the end, you can not believe the truth of their response because it is based on less than truthful details provided to them. You are getting advice based on misinformation. If you manipulate the outcome of the response, you are lying to yourself. And you are denying yourself of another person’s true opinions.

Sometimes we lie by omitting facts. Perhaps you forget to mention that you ran into an ex and had lunch. Or maybe you conceal an ongoing flirtation with a neighbor. And you may be lying to yourself when you’re frustrated that you aren’t losing weight and forget that you mindlessly consumed a bag of chips as an afternoon snack. Everyone has experienced a time when they leave out details, but sometimes those details really matter. Whether there is nothing to hide or something you are concealing, leaving out facts creates an opportunity for further deceptions.

Sometimes we lie by exaggeration. We exaggerate to preserve an image of ourselves. There is a fine line between highlighting your better qualities and completely inflating them. Insecurities lead to exaggeration when someone has a lack of self-esteem; a need for approval from others. If you don’t think you’re good enough, you have to exaggerate to make yourself feel better. You may exaggerate to your boss about your abilities or skill level. But a poor performance is a broken promise. Exaggerating makes you untrustworthy.

Sometimes we lie to protect ourselves. We listen to our inner critic, that committee of voices that tells us that we are a failure or disappointment; that it isn’t safe to tell the truth about how we feel or what we want. We may guard ourselves from being vulnerable or feeling foolish by downplaying our emotions. But when you waste your time defending yourself against false perceptions of who you are, you move further away from your goals and aspirations.

You can begin by being honest with yourself. Although there is an ever-present possibility of deceit in all human relationships, your relationship with your own self is most important. Get to know the inner critic. Your inner critic was installed by years of negative programming of your subconscious mind. Separate it from your now reality and stop listening to it. Be more honest and direct with the people in your life as you express yourself. Find kind and considerate ways to do that and be sensitive to the other person’s sense of reality. A true friend or loved one is someone you can openly communicate with; someone who can offer honest feedback to your concerns and ideas; and someone who would welcome the same honest feedback in return.  Really strong relationships are based on what people really are, not on what they pretend to be. Truth earns trust and respect.

Joseph Sugarman says, “Each time you are honest and conduct yourself with honesty, a success force will drive you toward greater success. Each time you lie, even with a little white lie, there are strong forces pushing you toward failure.” Jedi Master Obi Way Kenobi says, “May the Force be with you.”

 

 

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Feb 14 2017

LovingKindness

Category: Choices,Spiritual ExplorationPatricia @ 4:56 pm

Words-are-Energy-Love

 

Buddhism teaches us about LovingKindness through a practice called Metta, meaning unconditional, inclusive love; friendliness, empathy or kindness. Metta recognizes that all sentient beings (i.e., all beings that are capable of feeling) can feel good or feel bad; and that when given the choice, all will choose to feel good rather than bad. It does not depend on whether one “deserves” it or not. There are no expectations of reciprocity. The process is one of breaking down barriers and judgments that we feel toward ourselves, and then those that we feel toward others. Although this is a Buddhist practice, Metta is a practice which can help anyone to cultivate or develop a positive emotion…a good feeling in your heart.

To begin the practice, you must first focus on yourself. You must love and accept yourself first! It all begins with you. And you receive the benefits. You deserve LovingKindness towards yourself. Recognize your gifts and talents. Look at your skills and abilities. Remind yourself of the qualities of you. And as you do this, you will have feelings of strength and confidence. You love yourself for who you are. You acknowledge your mistakes and forgive yourself. And as you see yourself through loving eyes, say, “May I be well and happy.”

Next think of a good friend or a family member. Visualize them and think of their good qualities. Feel your love for them. Connect with them and say, “May they be well and happy.” As you experience this connection, notice how you feel in your heart.

Now think of a person that you don’t know well. You don’t particularly like or dislike them; you feel neutral. Visualize them and reflect on their humanity. Connect with them as another human being; someone who loves and is loved by others. A person with hopes and fears just like you. And say, “May they be well and happy.”

The next step may be difficult or challenging. That just means it will help you to grow to be better; stronger. Think of someone you actually dislike – an enemy or opponent. This is someone who may be creating problems for you, such as an ex-spouse or a difficult boss. It may be a political figure. Do not get caught up in negative feelings of anger or hatred because you are the one who will feel the ill effects in your heart. You will suffer. Instead, recognize their humanity. Think of them in a positive manner and even if it is very, very difficult, say, “May they be well and happy.” Remember, if they are well and happy, they will be more loving and kind. And everyone will benefit.

And lastly, think of yourself, the friend, the neutral person, and the enemy. Bring everyone together. Then further extend your feelings of love and acceptance. Say, “May they all be well and happy” to everyone in your neighborhood, your town, your country and on and on throughout the world. Sense waves of LovingKindness flowing from your heart to everyone, to all sentient beings everywhere, known and unknown. “May all be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering.”

“If I see you as different and I view you with suspicion, or at the best with cold neutrality, it is unlikely that I will feel kindly disposed toward you. If instead I look at you knowing we both belong to the human race, both have a similar nature, different experiences but the same roots and a common destiny, then it is probable I will feel openness, solidarity, empathy toward you. In another word, Kindness.” ~ Pierro Ferucci, author of The Power of Kindness

 

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Jan 30 2017

Negative Thoughts Can Create Positive Results

Category: Choices,MotivationPatricia @ 2:47 pm

tao

 

There is duality in the universe; light and darkness, heat and cold. This duality is reflected in our emotions. Like emotions, energy also comes in two forms: positive and negative. Each has its own distinct vibration. I often encourage my clients to focus on the positive aspects of their lives…to think of what they want. When we are thinking positive thoughts we feel positive feelings. We like that. When we are thinking negative thoughts we don’t like how we feel. We feel uncomfortable. But sometimes negative thoughts can bring positive results. Sometimes negative energy can create positive change.

If you want to get in shape, you can think about all the positive reasons to do that. You can think about how you’ll have more energy; your clothes will fit better; you’ll feel good about yourself. All those positive thoughts can motivate you to take the actions necessary to succeed. You can reinforce those thoughts by writing them down. When we write things down, it solidifies our commitment to our goal. We are more likely to be successful. When we give our subconscious mind visual reminders of our goals, it creates more reinforcement. Pictures and illustrations are guides for our goal-achieving machine. Both words and visual reminders add fuel to the fire. When you think about your success, you are motivated to take the steps to achieve it. You connect with the positive results and your belief that you can succeed.

Now, I’d like you to consider several reasons why you don’t want to be out of shape. You could think about the health consequences of high blood pressure or diabetes or heart disease or any other grim reality that can result from being out of shape. You could consider how you’re not able to enjoy physical activities; suffering from erectile dysfunction or sleep apnea. You could realize that your longevity is being affected; you could die sooner and miss out on precious time with loved ones. You could accept the negative consequences… or you can use your fear of these things to drive you to do something to prevent them from happening! Fear can be a powerful force for motivation. Fear helps you connect with your power to take control to avoid the negative consequences.

Using both positive and negative energy together can be the key to your success. The powerful momentum fueled by your positive thoughts and desires combined with the fear of negative consequences can create amazing results! When you are confronted by the thoughts of a future you do not want to experience, you are motivated to make the changes necessary so that it will not come to pass. Often we have to confront our worse fears before we are able to find the strength and willpower to do what is right for us. Embrace the darkness. Move into the light.

 

 

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Jan 19 2017

No Expiration Date. No Time Limit. No Other Life.

Category: Choices,Inspirational Quotes,MotivationPatricia @ 12:49 pm

grandma moses

 

Later in life, some of us experience regret about what we didn’t accomplish. We didn’t achieve what we wanted. We didn’t fulfill our true potential. We didn’t travel the world. We didn’t find our soul mate. We didn’t learn to play the piano. These “didn’ts” can cause pain. They can make us feel as if we had failed at life.

The ability to do new things and learn new skills does not expire. We can always improve and become better versions of ourselves. My dad passed away at the age of 93. One of the many things he taught me was that you could do anything you set your mind to do; you could learn anything. And there were no limits as to when you could begin. When he was 75, he decided to learn how to paint with oils. So he got an easel, some canvases and paints. And then he painted.  When he was 88, he invested in a computer so that he could learn about the internet. And then he explored the new world of cyberspace.

Almost without exception, some of the regret experienced later in life is a result of not “achieving” something. When one feels that they haven’t fulfilled their true potential, it can leave a painful mark. Self-discovery and improvement can happen at any time in life. The ability to improve oneself does not expire. It is a never-ending process.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another island. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” – Henry David Thoreau

There are many stories of people who began new careers at an advanced age. One such person is Anna Mary Robertson, known as Grandma Moses. She began her painting career at the age of 78 (I think maybe Dad was inspired by her) and painted until her passing at the age of 101.

There is also a lesser known woman who should be acknowledged: Doreetha Daniels. Doreetha, a multiple stroke victim with vision and hearing problems recently received her college degree from College of the Canyons in Santa Clara, California. Doreetha is 99 years old. She advised prospective students: “Don’t give up. Do it. Don’t let anybody discourage you. Say that, ‘I’m going to do it,’ and do it for yourself.”

One faculty member said: “Doreetha is a living testament to the saying ‘if there is a will, there is a way’…” Doreetha was motivated to go to college by two things. She was tired of her hobbies and wanted to expand her interests. And she was inspired by her grandchildren, who after starting families and careers, went back to school for graduate degrees.

Consider Thoreau’s words …“there is no other life but this.” Take the opportunity to live it to the fullest. Live until the very end. There is no limitation to what you can accomplish. There is no time limit to being actively engaged in life.

 

 

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Dec 27 2016

Emptying Out

Category: ChoicesPatricia @ 12:06 pm

glass-of-water

 

In her book, Footprints on the Path, Eileen Caddy says, “Life is full and overflowing with the new. But it is necessary to empty out the old to make room for the new to enter.”   It’s that time of year again. That New Year time. We all look to the future with hope and enthusiasm. Anything is possible next year. We reflect on what we have and what we don’t have. We want new experiences, new relationships, new material goods to come into our life. We dream.

In order for anything new to happen, we need to empty out the old stuff; the clutter we have collected and the emotions we continue to feel. Clutter is a state of confusion and disorder. Clutter in our outside world is just a reflection of the clutter within.

Everything that is old is not necessarily bad or useless. Consider a piece of antique furniture or a treasured friendship. But some old stuff has to go. Holding on to old, worn-out things that don’t function right doesn’t make sense. You deserve better. Things should be useful…or beautiful. Staying within relationships which create tension or anxiety brings more of the same. Let go. Not everyone is part of your destiny. Realize that some people belong in the past. They are part of your history. We must let go of what no longer serves our best interest now. Not only at this time of year, but on a regular basis. The philosopher Lao Tzu says, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

Your subconscious mind is the ultimate repository of the old. It has catalogued every circumstance and emotion you have experienced. It is not possible to empty out. But you can let go of the negative perceptions that you no longer want in your life. You can look upon your life experiences and choices with love, compassion and mercy for yourself. You can let go of false beliefs. When you let go of self-doubt, you become more confident. When you release fear, you become more loving. When you no longer judge yourself as unworthy, you become more successful. When you empty out the heavy burden of negativity, you become better, stronger, wiser.

When you empty out, you are not left with a glass that is half-filled. You are left with room to fill it with something new. And you can even let it overflow. You get to choose how you fill it and what it looks like, tastes like and feels like! And you don’t have to wait until the calendar changes and a New Year is declared. You can declare yourself as a New You whenever you want…as long as you have done the work of getting rid of the clutter that is holding you back…the clutter that says there is no time or no room or no place to go. Clutter can make you feel stuck or overwhelmed. It can weigh you down. It will never go away by itself. No one can take care of it for you. You decide what you want in life. And what you don’t. It’s up to you. As the powerful, creative being that you are, everything in life is really up to you.

May the year 2017 be a time of joy!

 

 

 

 

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Dec 21 2016

Season ForGiving

Category: Choices,Positive ThinkingPatricia @ 11:18 am

 

gift-1

 

We often speak of this time of year as a season of giving. We get caught up in purchasing the perfect present for our loved ones. We give more to charities. We feel as if we have an endless list of people we want to gift with something. We feel the need to recognize their presence in our life. Giving is a good thing. We enjoy it. It feels good. But there is something even better you can do at this time of year. Adopt a new tradition for the season: ForGiving.

Forgiveness is not simple. “It is much more agreeable to offend and later ask forgiveness than to be offended and grant forgiveness,” said the philosopher Freidrich Nietzsche.  It may be difficult to stop feeling angry or to stop blaming someone. It’s hard to let go. When you forgive someone, you give up the right to hurt that someone in retaliation for hurting you. Remember, forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves it. Forgiveness is not an act of weakness or submission; it is an act of love, mercy and grace. When we forgive others we gain control of our lives and let go of painful emotions.

There is an abundance of research being done on the science of forgiveness. It shows that forgiveness makes us happier. And research suggests that happy people are more likely to forgive others. It’s not surprising to note that forgiveness helps to sustain relationships. We are more likely to forgive those closest to us. Forgiveness can stop us from undermining feelings of trust and commitment and help us to repair a relationship. In marriages, it has been shown that spouses who are more forgiving are better at resolving conflicts in their marriage and build stronger, more satisfying relationships. Forgiveness boosts a feeling of being more connected to others and therefore, promotes kindness.

Forgiveness improves our health and strengthens our immune system. In the article, “The New Science of Forgiveness” by Everett Worthington Jr., at Virginia Commonwealth University, references a study at Hope College where people were asked  “to think about someone who had hurt, mistreated, or offended them. While they thought about this person and his or her past offense, the researcher monitored their blood pressure, heart rate, facial muscle tension, and sweat gland activity.”  It was found that when “people recalled a grudge, their physical arousal soared. Their blood pressure and heart rate increased, and they sweated more. Ruminating about their grudges was stressful, and subjects found the rumination unpleasant. It made them feel angry, sad, anxious, and less in control.” When asked to try to empathize or imagine forgiving their offenders, the participants showed no more stress reaction.

To ruminate on an old transgression is to practice unforgiveness. Thinking about it brings the negative emotions of the past into the present moment. Worthington goes on to state, “unforgiveness might compromise the immune system at many levels. For instance, our review suggests that unforgiveness might throw off the production of important hormones and even disrupt the way our cells fight off infections, bacteria, and other physical insults.”

Apparently, the physical benefits of forgiveness increase with age. According to a recent study led by Loren Toussaint, a psychologist at Luther College, a national survey of nearly 1,500 Americans was conducted. Participants were asked the degree to which each person practiced and experienced forgiveness and also reported on their physical and mental health. It was found that people over 45 years of age who had forgiven others “reported greater satisfaction with their lives and were less likely to report symptoms of psychological distress, such as feelings of nervousness, restlessness, and sadness.”

Forgiveness usually takes time as well as effort. But it is well worth that effort! Forgiving others is important. Forgiving yourself is essential. There are four key elements in the therapeutic process of self-forgiveness. These elements are responsibility, remorse, restoration and renewal. You must take responsibility for your actions as the first step towards genuine self-forgiveness. You must recognize what you have done and how you have hurt another individual or hurt yourself. When you accept responsibility, it is natural to feel remorse. These feelings can be processed and expressed. In order to make the necessary amends to the offended individual, the act of restoration is necessary. An apology or restitution is offered. And the final component of self-forgiveness is renewal. When you forgive yourself of your past actions, you are able to feel compassion for yourself and engage in behaviors that promote self-kindness now. You get to begin again.

During this season of giving, I encourage you to give yourself the ultimate gift of love. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Make that choice. Negative emotions of anger, disappointment, resentment, guilt, shame and remorse are toxic to your health and well-being. Offer an apology or accept one. Take a look at your emotions and let go of the ones that cause you pain. Forgiveness may not come naturally, but it is something that can be learned. Take a moment to see things from the other person’s perspective. Be kind to yourself. And above all, keep in mind that we are all doing the best we can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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