What Autumn Teaches Us

Autumn's grand displayOnce the autumn harvest passes, nature goes through the process of housekeeping.  Making everything bare, it lets go of its abundant creation of spring and summer in a final grand display. As aging leaves fall to earth, they enrich the soil to promote next year’s new buds and new harvest. The end of the growing season marks a turning inward and a falling away of outer-direction energy.

This energy shift offers us, more than in any other season, the opportunity to learn more about ourselves. Autumn returns us to our essence, moves us to eliminate what we no longer need and reveals what is most precious in our lives. Autumn’s mission is to clear out the old and the negative.

Nature offers insights on our own cycles of creating and letting go. Trees in autumn don’t hold onto their leaves because they might need them next year. Yet how many of us hold onto what we’ve generated or collected—old magazines and clothes, decayed relationships, old or negative thinking—and defy a natural cycle?

How can we hope for a harvest next year unless we cut back the old and start fresh.

Lessons of Chinese Medicine

As a holistic body-mind approach, Chinese medicine believes that autumn holds the energy of the metal element. The emotion associated with this element is grief. Whenever we experience loss, separation and “letting go,” we naturally feel grief. Grief helps to cleanse us of what is no longer needed in our lives. When our internal metal energy is blocked or imbalanced, we may find it difficult to let go of grief—or be unable to express it.

The colon and lungs are the organs associated with the metal element. Their overall function is to take in, assimilate, utilize and eliminate what is unnecessary or toxic from our body, as well as from our mind and spirit. Yet the daily onslaught of “garbage” we ingest and assimilate in the form of negativity from the world can cause “constipation.”

In autumn, nature squeezes out the juices within life forms. In hibernation, energy is stored to handle the cold winter. Metal helps us to conserve energy, store necessary nourishment internally and pull together resources for creating and reaping the future harvests of our lives. With fewer hours of sunlight to energize us, we too must learn to contain and conserve our energy during the dark time of year.

Letting Go, Letting In

brisk fall airThere is more to this season than “letting go.” It is also a time to take in the pure and the new. The lung, the other metal organ, grants us the inspiration of fresh breath, as on a brisk fall day when you fill your lungs with clean, crisp, cool autumn air. In classical Chinese medicine, the Lung is described as “the receiver of the pure Chi from Heaven.”

Letting go can be a frightening prospect. But, just as the trees let go of the past year’s leaves and Nature has something new in store, the ending of one cycle gives rise to the next.

Nature abhors a vacuum. When we clear out the things that no longer work in life, or serve our higher purpose, we have the opportunity to invite harmonizing energy in the form of new people and opportunities to enter.

Begin by discarding stuff you no longer need or does not serve your higher self. Donate, sell, dump, or circulate what might be of value to others. As you let go of things, do a mental inventory of old hurts, habits, beliefs and assumptions that linger in your consciousness and use the breath to help you with the process of letting go.

gemstoneJust as metals give value to the earth (gold, minerals, crystals and gemstones), the metal element within us gives us our sense of self-worth. Each of us is a miracle of creation, more valuable and special than any object we could ever pursue. We each have a unique and priceless contribution to make.

Get in sync with the rhythms of autumn. Change your mental diet. Breathe in autumn’s energized and purified air. Exhale old negativity, impurities and pain from your body, mind and spirit. Contemplate who you are without these old identifications.

Create a new personal story with your authentic self as the heroine
and ride the effortless wave of the “new you” into the world.

Need help in clearing out the old? Let’s talk.

Doubt and Be Happy!

Live, Love, Doubt and be Happy? Really?  How is it possible to be happy with a doubting mind? Isn’t happiness synonymous with contentment? Perhaps for the moment. But we live in a world of constant change, and it is inevitable for doubts to arise, which can rob you of happiness–if you let them. Yet the paradox of “healthy doubt” can coexist with happiness, enabling us to live a life of harmony in ultimate freedom. Let’s explore how.

Beliefs and the mind

Our culture values certainty over doubt–no doubt about it! Uncertainty is for cowards. Yet, not long ago, the view that the stock and housing markets would only continue to rise seemed a certainty. What if a healthy dose of doubt had been heeded by business and government leaders? Think of the different trajectory our economy would be on right now.

Doubt is a mental state where being uncertain can create fear and anxiety. Doubt is expressed in questions like “Am I marrying the right person?”  or “Do I really trust him?”

More intrinsic doubts deeply affect our self-confidence, leading us to question “Can I do this?” and “Am I good enough?”. Doubting thoughts can zoom out of control, ultimately affecting our health and well-being. The result is a life poisoned by doubt.

Ego - all about meUnderneath all this doubt is the thinking mind. The ego is our self-image, based on our conditioning. It wants us to believe that we are the center of the universe whose happiness is dependent on outside circumstances and objects. Since life doesn’t revolve around us and we can’t always have what we think we need, doubt arises. Our ego is happy only as long as it feels in control and acts to maintain its powerful rule over our lives.

Power of doubt

Research has shown that our brains react almost instantaneously to statements that contradict our values and beliefs, causing us to stop listening, become angry, and start arguing. Yet research has also revealed that those injected with doubt can become stronger advocates for their own beliefs. Healthy doubting can produce increased tolerance, self-confidence and deepen intimacy in relationships.

An enthusiastic advocate may appear certain in their convictions. Yet, their advocacy may unknowingly seek to convince themselves as well as others. A peacebuilder can encourage opposing parties to find a common middle ground by acknowledging their doubts. When opponents acknowledge where each side may be vulnerable, they are likely to deepen their understanding of themselves and each other.

Shakespeare said, “Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.” Keeping the door open to doubt, probing uncertainty, and questioning everything are the very foundation of science. Think of Thomas Edison, who conducted over 10,000 experiments in order to invent the light bulb. At the core of his motivation was a love for invention. His unceasing doubting served as fuel to keep him going.

Doubt: A ParableMany things in life can never be fully understood. John Patrick Shanley, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning play, Doubt: a Parable, wrote in the introduction, “doubt requires more courage than conviction does…because conviction is a resting place,” while doubt “is infinite.” Certainty can be blinding, while doubt can reveal a deeper sense of our true nature.  

Unprocessed doubt can result in paralyzing fear. But using doubt to question yourself can strengthen your beliefs and free you from fear. Instead of hiding doubts about your beliefs, welcome discussions with others. 

Core of happiness

We are taught that happiness is dependent on circumstances and objects: a toy, a lover, a job, money. Yet joy and happiness are in fact our birthright. They are at the core of who we are. They’re always present, like the sun behind stormy clouds, though mostly hidden underneath our divided, thinking mind.

True joy, including desire, happiness and equanimity, is independent of objects, beliefs and circumstances. It doesn’t need the ego to find fulfillment. The fearful ego puts up red flags of doubt to help it remain in control. But doubt can’t rob you of happiness. Humor the ego, make it a friend, and take it along for the ride.

Richard Miller, PhD

Richard Miller

Richard Miller, PhD, founder of the Integrative Restoration Institute and yogic scholar, has written “Our desire for happiness is taking us away…. Each moment reveals the great Mystery that joy and happiness are already the case.” When we search for something outside ourselves to bring lasting happiness, we always miss the mark. When we tune in to the heart and examine what we care about, our purpose and heart’s deepest desires, we create the opportunity to engage our deeper passions.

Welcome doubt

So, don’t see self-doubt as a negative. It can be the door that opens us up to receiving messages that can enhance our lives. Invite doubt in for tea or coffee and have a doubt-filled inner dialogue. We don’t need to know things for certain. We can make peace with our doubt.

We have a choice. If you challenge beliefs that rule your life, you’ll be able to dip into the wellspring of your True Self where love resides. Let doubt—and your ego—be your powerful friend, not your controlling enemy.

Find happiness. Be love. Be your true self.

How do you handle doubt in your life?

Liminality: Navigating Life’s In-Between Spaces

We’ve all had this experience.

inbetween spaceThings are moving along in a natural progression. Life is good. Then something happens that turns your whole world upside down.  You may feel overwhelmed, confused, or you may feel euphoric. Perhaps you’re not sure how you feel. You’re in a state of liminality.

Navigating Liminality can be challenging and requires great courage.
It can also be a time of deep inner reflection.

Rites of Passage

DSCN1232The word liminality, originally coined by anthropologists, referred to various rites of life passage. The root is the Latin word, “limen,” meaning “threshold.” It’s the crossing over from one state to another, as in the space between wakefulness and sleep.

A change of place, social position or age can precipitate this condition. Liminality has three stages: 1) Leaving where you’ve been or experiencing a loss 2) Passing through an ambiguous stage 3) Emerging into a new realm with renewed resolve.

Life passages are often celebrated through formal rites or rituals.

In an indigenous culture, an adolescent moving into adulthood performs a vision quest to find himself and his intended spiritual and life direction.

In modern culture, ceremonies are performed for graduations, engagements and weddings. One’s entire life is recognized and honored at a funeral or memorial service.

Often these events are led by elders, shamans or clergy. They help guide us through these transitions, offering wise counsel and encouragement to pass through the liminal threshold for what lies ahead. Wise guides are not always present for our passages, though.

Navigating loss

Alice meets caterpiller

Alice meets caterpiller

“Who are YOU?” asked the Caterpillar. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I–I hardly know, sir, just at present –at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”

~Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Some life changes come about through an unexpected circumstance or catastrophe. There is little, if any, time to prepare. Whether experiencing a natural disaster or a personal loss, we can never know how we are going to feel or react. This can be the most challenging liminal state of all.

Losing a loved one, even when it is inevitable,
creates a void and can leave you feeling empty.

When my mother died, I felt like an orphan. As I dwelled in the liminal cave of healing, I began to rethink who I was and what was my purpose in the world. With the help of a strong support system, I emerged at the other end inspired and with a huge amount of creative inspiration and lust for life.

Loss of a relationship can be a blow to your self-esteem. Thoughts like, “what did I do wrong,”  “I’m not lossloveable”, “I’ll never find another”, appear and cloud your mind.

When this happened to me a few years ago, I made the decision not to take it personally, trust that it was for the best. Beating myself up or holding anger served no healthful purpose. I’d been through other losses and always bounced back. I needed to forge a new path. A surprising healing takes place over time for most of us, especially those with a strong support system.

Job transition

With job loss, however, the longer one is without a job, the more likely one’s liminal period can include anger, depression and loss of self-esteem. A plummeting sense of self-worth can paralyze.

Yet, this can be a real opportunity to reevaluate your life. Examine your gifts and talents and uncover your true passions. Discover how you want to live the next chapter of your life. I have led many people in transition through this process.

Transformation

A liminal period can be life-transforming – for better or worse. It may be short or long-lived, even permanent.

Sometimes people drop out of society. Some vow never to be in relationship again, living with anger, guilt and resentment. Some accept jobs at less pay or status. Others heal, seek new relationships, start businesses, and re-enter the social whirl in a new form.

This can be an opportunity to step back, to review your creative foundation and life purpose. A time to test your potential.

I move into liminality every time I begin to write these articles. I may think I know what I want to say. Then, through research, introspection and extemporaneous writing, new ideas emerge and flow onto the page.

Inner Work

Liminality can be the rich soil to grow creative ideas,
a new road to travel or even a new identity.

IntentionOur lives are constantly in flux. We’re absorbing new information, reflecting on the past, aspiring towards the future. Discomfort with transition can cloud our perspective. Anxiety and fear may try to divert us. Know it is just your fragile, threatened ego trying to block change.

Liminality can be taken into meditation where you can step back and reflect. Watch your mind, your thoughts and feelings. See problems as objects floating inside your head based on your perceptions, not who you really are.

Invite the ego to sit in your guesthouse of awareness, while you explore with openness the vast potentiality available to you. Explore the liminal space between thoughts, between breaths. This clears the pathway to commune with your Source where truth, peace and love reside, bringing you to a place of wholeness and enabling you to reenter the world anew.

“From the moment I fell down that rabbit hole I’ve been told where I must go and who I must be…….but this is my dream. I’ll decide where it goes from here.”Adventures of Alice in Wonderland

Welcome liminality to help you decide where that will be. ~ Namaste

Joy of Being in Movement

wordart nl

Rediscover the joy, freedom and spontaneity you were born with

Presented by Jacqui Neurauter
Sunday, June 17, 2012
10 am – 4:00 pm

~ A day of playful, free spirited movement ~

  • Let go and release the child within
  • Rediscover the Real You
  • Elevate your healing life force
  • Integrate and move with this force
  • Experience deep relaxation
  • Restore a natural state of wholeness, harmony and freedom
    that can flow into every aspect of your life.

    Let me be your guide:

    ~ Let me be your guide ~
    to living, moving and being more in sync with your true self.

    –Jacqui Neurauter

    Who is this for?:
    Anyone who wants to live with more joy and harmony in their lives. Come with the willingness to let go and allow the child within be your guide helping you rediscover the Real You.

    Location: Radiant Health, Hoffman Estates, IL –
    (Conveniently located near Barrington Road and I–90.)

    Cost: $75 for early registration by June 8/$85 after (PayPal, credit card or check. If you wish to pay by check please contact Jacqui below)
    to register
    Our workshop consists of:

    Music, guided imagery, props and guided movement provide the foundation for individual and group processes that include listening and feeling, movement and relaxation, introspection and self-inquiry, journaling and group sharing.

    We create a nurturing space of non-judgment inviting you to engage to your own capacity and interpretation in expressing your body, feelings, and expanding awareness.  A segment of deep relaxation will be included after lunch. Bring a light lunch.

    Facilitator: Jacqui Neurauter is a Holistic Coach and Integrative Restoration, iRest meditation instructor. She is on the adjunct faculty of Harper College and writes the Living in Synch column for Yoga Chicago, along with her own e-newsletter/blog. A former dancer with the Near East Heritage Dance Theatre for 20 years, she has led many movement based workshops over the years. Her passion is helping people to live, move and be in synch with their true self.

    For more information contact Jacqui at 847-359-6391
    Jacqui@HarmoniousPathways.com

    Registration is on Meetup.com

    to register

    (PayPal/ credit card – To pay by check contact Jacqui above)

    ~ Space is limited. Sign up early ~

    Uncover Your Motivating Passions

    In my last post,Your Passions: Pathway to the ‘Real You‘,” I shared how knowing and engaging your passions, with what and whom you truly love, helps to align you with your life purpose and what gives meaning to your life.  This generates a spark of aliveness that becomes a powerful motivating factor in your living a truly fulfilling life. Now I let’s explore how to uncover your passions.

    optimism-new-eyesProust said:The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

    Getting Started
    I like to help people start to uncover their passions by reflecting on their greatest achievements, what they are most proud of, and reviewing their strengths, talents, skills. This can provide fodder for opening your eyes to your true passions.

    People often say: “I really haven’t achieved anything important.”

    Please don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, reflect on what you feel good about or where, even in some small way, you made a difference. Your strengths, talents and skills are what you do naturally with ease or what gets you through challenging situations.

    We also look at what you treasure and love most in life and the people who have inspired you and why. Everyone can come up with a list of these. We don’t discount anything, even if it may seem incidental.

    We explore what you stand for. This can relate to family, friends, nature, cultural, civic, work, morals, beliefs, faith, etc. This is a brainstorming project, like an “archaeological dig” where everything can provide clues.

    We reflect on unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. We look at what you truly want for your life. This is not about material things. Rather, it’s your deepest heart’s desire, or how you want to live or be in your life.

    We shine a light on all of these things inside you. We can then sift and examine each part, like fragments of different aspects of yourself, and determine what fits and what may no longer serve you.

    We’re now ready for the next step.

    The Passion Test

    Here is where I draw from an inspiring little book called, The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose, by Janet Atwood and Chris Atwood. Take your FREE Personal Passion Test Profile Here.

    List 10-15 passions that would give you a life of joy, passion and fulfillment reviewing all the information we’ve compiled for clues. The heading of this page is: When my life is ideal, I am…. List each passion in short concise sentences each starting with words like: being, doing, having.

    Essentially you are writing these statements in the present tense as though you are already experiencing them. For example: being creative, or inspiring others…………Passions are not goals or what you want to achieve, rather how you want to live your life.

    Next you select your top five passions by comparing the first to the second, second to the third, etc. much like an eye exam. Once you have these listed you determine markers. A marker is actual evidence that you are indeed living that passion.

    People are often surprised when they have come to me to find a path to a better job or career path, we find that most of their passions appear to have nothing to do with work. This is okay, since we are looking at the whole of you.

    Once you define and refine your passions and start living them, the work or career piece falls into place quite naturally with often unexpected surprises.

    In a future article I will discuss how to engage your passions – how to match your unique gifts to your passions and overcome obstacles. In the meantime, you have plenty to keep you busy. This process is truly a gift you give yourself.

    As my mentor, Richard Miller, often says, What you do for yourself you do for others. What you do for others you do for yourself.”

    Are you ready to start uncovering your motivating passions? Join one of my upcoming “What’s Next in Your Life” courses to get you started.

    Your Passions: Pathway to the “Real You”

    shakespeare

    To thine own self be true,” wrote Shakespeare. Yet, how many of us are living a life being true to ourselves?

    In fact, how many of us actually know what that means?

    We start out as youngsters with dreams, passions and aspirations that often become stifled by well-meaning family members, teachers, friends, limitations of resources, or our inability to find our true path. We complete our studies and training and then find ourselves in jobs, careers and situations that seem right at first, but later fall flat.

    We can always find a fork in road, though and an opportunity to re-align with the “Real You.” While there are many pathways to accomplish this, one is to uncover and engage your true passions.

    It’s never too late to re-generate that spark of aliveness we have when we engage with what and whom we truly love. Identifying your true passions aligns you with your life purpose and what gives meaning to your life.

    Inner fire

    Inner fire

    Passions get your inner fire burning and motivate you. They help you develop an inner compass that guides you to making better life choices. Following your passions is following your heart and connecting most profoundly with the Real You.

    In my work as a life coach I frequently engage with clients who may be good at what they do, but are not fully living their passions. Often, your relationships may be great but the job is unfulfilling – or vice versa. Sometimes neither is satisfying.

    For one of my clients, his family encouraged him to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a trial attorney. He became very good at his profession, but his compassionate caring nature was being stifled. For many years he had been taking time from work fulfilling his true passion by volunteering with communities and disadvantaged children both here and abroad. Finally at midlife and in a loving and supportive relationship, he started examining his life and passions. He decided to go back to school to train to become a special needs teacher and move to an area of the country that fed his spirit.

    But I have no passions!

    I commonly hear this from my clients and students: “I’m not passionate about anything.”
    For some people passion is too strong a word.

    Another way to view passion is to reflect on the things you care about – what you truly value and what provides meaning. When you feel in the zone, when you ask, “where did the time go?” you’re doing your passion.

    open arms - anewIt’s what gets you up in the morning
    – or would if you were living your passion.

    Your passions can be found in aspects of your work, projects you do, talents you engage, play, hanging out with friends or family, caring for others, being in nature, your faith or spirituality, volunteering…what brings you joy or inner peace.

    There are a myriad of potential passions inside waiting to become fully embodied. Your job is to identify the strongest ones and take steps towards bringing them fully to life.

    What’s inside the real you?

    We’ll explore this in our next issue.

    10 Steps to Heartfelt Goals!

    We all start each new year off with good intentions, yet studies show that while 50% of people are initially optimistic about their goals, only 12% actually fulfill them. If you’re part of the other 88% there is still time to transform those resolutions into reality. I’d like to share 10 steps based on current brain research to get you on the pathway to achieving what you truly want.

    The root of the word resolution, or resolve, originates with the Latin “resolvere,” which means to unfasten, loosen, release. In order to hold our goals firm and steadfast to their ultimate resolution, we also must remove the obstacles that prevent them from manifesting. Beyond the specific intention or goal is our “heartfelt desire, which motivates and fuels us to keep us moving toward the goal.

    1.  Prepare your mind:
    yawn11If you haven’t already done so, quickly write down the first 10 goals that pop into your mind. Once you’ve completed this process – tear it up. Really! This clears your mind of old ideas or beliefs tied to old behaviors. Then get up and stretch, shake your body and walk around the room. Finally, sit down and
    YAWN…..several times! This helps you to create a beginners mind allowing you to tune into your insight and intuition. Studies show these techniques provide the best way to calm an over active mind and heighten consciousness.

    Heart - love in action2. What is your heart’s deepest desire?
    Take time to open your heart to find what you truly care about and what matters to you. Continue questioning and see what words or phrases bubble up from the heart. Repeat them silently and aloud. Continue to do this for a week until you have it fully formulated with a heart-felt sense of what matters to you.

    3. Select goals
    Based on your deepest heart’s desire, ask yourself, “What are three deepest desires or goals that I can realistically achieve by the end of the year?” Not just what you desire, but what you know you have the wherewithal to fulfill. This is one of the most important questions you can ask as it changes the nature of your resolutions or goals based on a deeper purpose aligned with the real you.

    4. Make a commitment
    For each goal ask, “Am I 100 percent willing to commit to achieving this goal?” If there any doubts, simplify or modify it.

    5. Envision your resolutions or goals
    With your Heartfelt Desire in mind, examine each goal addressing:

    *  Good things that will happen as a result of the goal
    vision of a clear and positive outcome
    *  One or two obstacles that could get in the way.
    *  Counter strategies to address the obstacles to resolve them and release them.

    Record this on small cards as a visual commitment. Also, create a vision board filling a poster board with words and pictures representing the outcomes you envision. Display this strategically along with your vision cards. Allow yourself to really feel this outcome from a visceral sense. Keep your vision in its feeling alive in your consciousness by reflecting on it regularly.

    “We become what we think about all day long. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    vision board6. Share your vision or goal
    Tell many people about your goal – those you trust who have your best interests in mind. Then find an accountability partner who can help you stay the course and offer encouragement when you might falter.

    7. Write a detailed plan
    Include step-by-step tactics you will undertake with specific dates to reach each stage of the plan. Then share it with others and accountability partner and brainstorm to make it better.

    8. Keep a journal
    Begin each day recording three things you are grateful for. This sets up a positive attitude for the day. At the end of the day record three things you did well, and explain why. Make this your Gratitude and Accomplishment Journal – a great reflection tool to help you stay in harmony with the outcome you seek.

    positive mantra9. Increase your Positivity Ratio
    Research has shown that when you are able to counter each negative expression you have been using in your life with three positive ones, your life will change for the better. Five or ten positives will transform your life.

    10. Reward Yourself
    Plan a small “prize” for accomplishing any part of a goal at the end of each week. Don’t beat yourself up even if you did nothing. Crush pessimism and self-doubt quickly with positive words. Be kind to yourself. There’s always another week ahead. We often take steps backwards as we are moving forwards.

    Ultimately it doesn’t matter how long it takes to reach your goal.
    Keep your focus on your Heartfelt Desire.

    Be a Wise Investor: of Your Thoughts

    First of a series focusing on your thoughts, time and energy

    I read somewhere that our average lifespan consists of 30,000 days. The questions posed with this statistic were: how many days might remain for you, and how do you want to live those days. While it’s helpful to think about and plan your life, breaking down your lifespan into days instead of years provides an opportunity to become more conscious of how you are living. It offers a call to take responsibility for your thoughts, and how and where you want to invest your thoughts –day to day, moment to moment.

    scattered thoughts 2Thought investments

    Not only was I never taught how to invest money in my earlier years, neither was I taught how to invest wisely in my choice of thoughts (my parents hadn’t learned this either). Strange, since thinking is central to the education process.

    Thoughts are funny things. Without our doing anything they can pop into our head instantly, and jump around incessantly – like Mexican jumping beans. Imagine you’re planning the menu for a party for Uncle Henry’s 90th birthday party. Here’s how your thinking might unfold:

    Pasta would good – maybe lasagna…not sure about cheese…..I should cut back on fats – and sugar! I really need to lose weight….no self-discipline….maybe I can find some recipes on the internet….my back hurts… I really need a new computer chair…. can’t afford it now….when is the economy going to improve…I need a better job….my boss is always putting me down…..wish those politicians would get their act together…I’m cold…I miss summer….I’m not very creative….my cousin Sherry might have some recipes….I’m so envious of her….she’s always had it together….always positive……she never had to go through what I have….maybe yoga would help my back. . .I’ll ask Sherry for recipes.

    memories headThought triggers

    Anything can trigger a thought. Scents, sounds and body sensations can spark thoughts and memories of past experiences. We can be thrust back to reliving that experience at an emotional level whether positive or negative. When negative, over time, brain pathways form that repeatedly keep us stuck in negative thought patterns, thus preventing us from being fully alive and present.

    Think of what you are missing with negative thinking within the hours, minutes and moments of each passing day.

    Wouldn’t you suppose that starting with a mindset, for example, that the “cup is half empty” instead of “half full” could affect how you study, learn, experiment and create? If fear, doubt or self-judgment is present how can you make wise choices? Fortunately as a participant in the school of life and lots of study into the science of thought, I have generated a significant positive thought portfolio.

    Muja,,ad Ali

    Muhammad Ali

    Releasing triggers

    One solution to rewiring the brain’s thought patterns is to go on a negative thought diet and use affirmative words and phrases to wash your brain of negativity. This is what Mohamed Ali did to build his self-esteem when he proclaimed, “I am the greatest.” People with strong will-power can shed pounds of negativity with this process, while the rest of us lose merely ounces, fluctuating up and down at best.

    Invest wisely

    I suggest rather than push away the negativity, welcome it in, and see what you can learn from it.  Doing so removes its grip on you. Over time this has a cleansing affect that frees you to welcome in positive thoughts and affirmations: “I am good enough.” “I do have what it takes.” “Every day, more and more, I’m learning to live each moment.” This is true freedom. (Also see “Welcome Life’s Messengers)

    The next article will reveal surprising ideas on how we invest our time.

    Getting High on Life – Again

    In my last article, How to Get High on Your Life, I wrote about the “Givers High.” Performing acts of kindness elevates our sense of well-being and contributes to a longer, healthier, happier life. Let’s explore how some people discover ways to integrate this high into their lives.

    natural-antidepressants-2Natural anti-depressant
    Acts of giving take you outside yourself, beyond the troubles, pains and challenges of your life, and can pull you out of the doldrums of isolation and loneliness. The brain is a social organ wired for empathy. When engaged in helping others, we experience their joy and suffering as though it were our own. Yet the giving also produces a positive emotional high pushing away our negative emotions. The old adage, “When you’re feeling down, go out and help someone,” really works.Continue reading

    How to Get High on Your Life

    Will the economy ever return to providing the good times we once took for granted?  Greed and mismanagement have shown their ugly face and, as a result, millions in our nation are suffering. Those who can still afford the high life are a privileged elite.

    getting-highActually we can all live the high life – in a natural humanistic way – with the “Givers High.” The good news is that the means for experiencing this high, in terms of body-mind health, better relationships and spiritual well-being, is available to virtually everyone. Plenty of research studies support how performing acts of kindness contributes to a longer, healthier, happier life.

    Getting the “givers high” doesn’t require money, drugs, material possessions, or expensive entertainment. In fact, even if you’ve had to downsize, minimize and simplify, you can still enjoy a richly rewarding and meaningful life. This elevated state can be easily realized by showing concern for others, being a good empathetic friend, reaching out to help a neighbor, mentoring, or volunteering in our community.

    Change of heart
    |I sense that our society may very well be at a tipping point for positive change. Perhaps this is a time for cleansing and moving from a society enveloped in secrecy, power and greed, to one that recognizes the basic human values of truth, transparency, compassion and interdependence. We are, after all, social beings here on Earth to help one another.

    This change is evident in a new breed of humanitarian warriors. A remarkable journey is portrayed in Eric Greiten’s book, “The Heart and the Fist: the Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL.

    Before becoming a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Greiten volunteered in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Bolivia serving war-affected children. Integrating his studies and experience with deployments as a Navy SEAL fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, he learned that without courage, compassion falters, and without compassion, courage has no direction. Returning home, he started Mission Continues, an organization to help empower wounded and disabled veterans start new lives as citizen leaders here at home.

    Our wired nature
    Lots of research shows we are hard-wired to commit acts of kindness and generosity We are all natural born givers—it’s a primal urge. As early as a baby’s first birthday, she demonstrates the need and ability to empathize, connect, care and share. Her soothing and caring expressions melt our hearts, reigniting the joyful, caring child within us. Hanging out with babies can bring out the best in us.

    The Dalai Lama says that “our primary purpose is to help others.” He believes that a major paradigm shift of this millennium is from the belief that “parents raise children” to one in which “children raise parents.” There does seem to be a trend among younger people toward getting high by living more consciously, as vegans, protectors of the environment, doing good deeds and finding new ways to connect. Whatever negatives may exist with social networking, the younger generation is living with greater transparency and interconnectedness than previous generations.

    This natural givers instinct undeniably blossoms most clearly in the roles of parent, friend, mentor, worker, teammate, and creator.  Similar to the “runners high,” Greitin sees that, in the process of giving, the brain releases natural opiates, endorphins and calming hormones such as oxytocin.

    In our next article we explore more benefits to “getting high on giving,” and inspiration for giving of your best self.