Monday, December 20, 2010

The Golden Rule

Treat others as you would like to be treated. It is a very simple concept, yet we as the human race manage to bungle it up royally. For me, I get confused when I see people, myself included, sometimes acting out of our own fears or saying things aloud (from our negative self-talk), without really thinking what the consequences of our interactions will be with others if we choose to focus on the negative, rather than the positive aspect of the situation. I get confused, because the easiest way for me to understand the golden rule is by saying to myself, "God is Love." I say this to myself, because it's a quick KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly) to remind me to flip from the negative fear-based emotion, to a positive love-based one. And, if I can flip whatever it is I am thinking, doing or saying to the positive--then I will be following the golden rule, and responding to any given situation from a place of love(that's also where acceptance, forgiveness, encouragement, and understanding live).

So why don't we automatically treat others like we want to be treated? The simple answer is we don't think. We aren't putting ourselves in the other person's shoes. And if it is too hard to make that leap to trying to see how another person might be viewing the situation..., then we probably aren't treating ourselves with love in the first place. When we treat others with unconditional love, accepting them for who they are without judgment, we give both ourselves and others respect and space to grow. If, for example, we say, “Happy Holidays!” and someone’s response is “bah-Humbug!” It is okay. For whatever reason, they are not having a good day. It is not about you. There is no reason to get upset. If this someone’s response would have been, “you too!” or “Have a great day too!” Then, great! If you give someone a present whether it is your time, knowledge, or an actual present, then it is not a present if you expect something back in return. If you give freely, then it is a present, because you are giving with no expectations. Rather than get upset at someone else’s MIS-behavior, why not just treat them nicely in return. Isn’t that how you’d want to be treated (with patience, understanding, forgiveness), if you were having a not too hot day?

My wish is for us to treat both ourselves better, and others too. Our life here is so short, and it is filled with so many hardships as it is, why not send love out into the world rather than anything else. I am making a commitment to myself on those days when I wake up to choose to share my love with the world, rather than anything else. In practical terms it means when my hubby asks me just as I wake up how I slept, instead of focusing on the hair sticking up every which way, the not enough sleep aspect, or the fact I’m NOT a morning person…I’m going to choose to focus on those great dreams I had instead…and say, “Great! And the day will be wonderful too!” Peace and joy during the last few days before we can relax with family and friends over the holidays! So enJOY today, and share with others how you'd like to be loved yourself!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Creating Balance to Achieve Joie de Vivre...Daily!

Creating balance in your life when it has become unbalanced is a lot like hopping back on a bicycle. Do you actually remember what balance feels like? Like hopping back on a bike, or trying something new for the first don't know until you've tried it. If you don't know if you've had balance, then why not try changing things up in your life if what you have been doing hasn't been working? Do you remember if you ever experienced balance before? How do you know when you've achieved "balance?"

I think life in itself is a fluid movement through time and space, it is an ongoing process and is never the same from one moment to the next. So even the question, how do you know when you've "achieved" balance can be somewhat misleading, until you recognize that achieving balance is largely left up to the interpreter. For me I gage this by when the momentary glimpses of that feeling "all is well in life" changes to an all out flowing stream of a sense of well-being both within myself (internal dialogue), and with all that is around me. What I mean by this is that the space I choose to put myself in--both with the people I interact with, and the actions I choose to do on a daily basis to bring my purpose in life
(which for me is helping others unlock their potential and experience joy in their life..., because they are attending to their higher calling in life) to fruition all synchronize together. The momentum builds from spurts and sputters to a constant state, and if you can get enough energy built with positive emotions, good intentions, and spot-on actions---you find yourself in a perfect state of balance, and the best way I can describe this is through the phrase: joie de vivre--the joy of living. To me this means that you are 100% totatlly in the present moment. We've all experienced this at different moments in our life. Think of that feeling of limitless possibilities when you've attended a birth, graduation, wedding, etc. I am not content for mere glimpses of joy. I challenge myself to make this a constant state--and for me it turns living life from a struggle of the mundane, and coping with the stresses in life to a journey with ups and downs...I turned my struggle into a journey when I became responsibile for what happens to me, and then decided resiliency is they only way to go when I'm beat down. Regrouping, bouncing back from the setbacks of the downs, and turning the frowns upside down is what has allowed me to let go of the fear of the unknown or hurts I've experienced to find peace, humility, and forgiveness. This in turn lets me acknowledge that I really do not know anything, this is all a learning experience, and I grow the most when I'm questing after balance and keeping joie de vivre as a constant state. When I forget this, I face slipping back into a struggle.

For me, I found that when I choose creating balance as a way to structure my life, then to do lists or memories from the past are not part of this picture. So, yes, you must cross off your to-dos, however, if you don't get everything in today, it's okay, re-asses, and make a plan to stay on track, and get it done the next day. You decide the only moment that matters is now, and that yes you absolutely need to create a picture of what you want your future to look like by identifying your short and long term goals, writing up a good 90 day plan in conjunction is even better, and someone that can hold you accountable to your richly imagined, specific action plan is imperative..., but you do all that so that you can cut loose and ENJOY the MOMENT! When you have a fluid plan in place, it means that you are anticipating change, are open to adapting as the moments present themselves to you, but you have a good idea of where it is you'd like to go. Having said that, when you have a vision, with goals, and a plan, and someone to hold you accountable to stick to your dreams...then you also unstick yourself from your past. In fact, when you are forward-looking you are acknowledging the only time you do have any influence over is the present moment, the past is over, and you're intentions can help influence where you want to go in the future, but the only control you really have is right now, and your ability to adapt, be resilient and work the situation to your advantage...

If you find yourself stuck in a rut of having similar "bad" feelings, which are attached to the thoughts and actions you find yourself choosing to take part in..., then one of the best ways to supercharge yourself out of the "yuck" is to focus on your vision, create some short and long term goals with detailed specifics of the action you need to take and what the desired result and outcome will be if you stick with your action-oriented goals...In other words, you choose to focus on your present moment, and where you want to go. In essence, you take over control of your life, and begin brainstorming ways you can change so that you may get to that point of joie de vivre. I have found in my own life I am able to stay in a constant state of joie de vivre when my vision, goals, and action plans are synchronized with my thoughts, feelings, and actions. I leave myself no room to get stuck in what may be holding me back from actualizing my dreams, and I don't get ahead of myself by wishing for a better future, because I choose to live that dream in the moment doing the things I need to do to be in congruence.

How? By marrying how I am feeling, with positive thoughts, and actions that are on my to-do list. Once you can get everything working in harmony, thoughts/feelings/actions and you've created the quality time you need to feel alive with friends, family, your purpose in life; you are nourishing your mind by keeping it stimulated by learning new things; you are feeding your body with live healthy food; you are tending your body by moving, dancing, exercising; and you are developing your soul/spiritual side through prayer, meditation, all comes together, and at least for me balance is achieved. It goes from momentary glimpses of joie de vivre (think momentuous celebratory occasions such as graduations, weddings, births...), to joie de vivre ALL the time! The catch after all that hard work to get everything in-line internally, and with your external to be consciously aware that a balanced state is always in motion, and can mean something different from one moment to the next. So, to answer the question, how do you know when you've achieved know when you relinquish perfection, when you are not in stagnation, and you embrace changing it up! When you have joy, there is no other room for any other emotion..., and as fleeting as it may be in the beginning, there is ALWAYS the possibility for a constant state. For most of us (me included, oh boy, me included) can view it as a constant struggle, or a challenge to inject zest into your life so all the moments--even the most painful--create a beautifully flowing mosaic that is your life, and you view it through the lens of unconditional lens and the humble awareness that we don't know it all.

And this moment--it's a beautiful thing--and a beautiful celebration of the way we are, and our hope we all have that one day we may fulfill our potential...and that the easiest way to do this is to fulfill the potential we have moment by present moment. May you have happy travels! My dream is for you to feel the joy I am sending you, so that your burdens are lighter, and you are encouraged to fight with your whole being to never give up spreading the light within yourself to others. You can do it!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thinking About It vs. Doing It

Do you have a big "it" in life that you think about, dream about, talk about..., but you hesitate to really take the actions necessary to make the "it" a reality? After much research, planning, and thinking…I’ve decided to leap into a new path in life. Some people like blindly leaping into new aspects of their life. Some prefer to know a bit before they jump. And, some like to know everything there is to know and they either forget to jump or never get around to jumping. Since these are the three camps people fall into when faced with change—I made a choice first that I wanted to be informed (rather than leap blindly) and secondly, because I was embracing change I would make the information I gathered work towards my goal of change rather than face stagnation (and not leap at all). So I spent some time gathering information, checked in with whether the choice gave me feelings of happiness or dread in two scenarios: (1) if I made the change, and (2) if I didn’t make the change…I ascertained that making the change gives me feelings of joy and daring, and not making the change would leave me more forlorn than energized, so I went ahead and leapt. As my son says, “Oh me, oh my” it is scary, but more than that it feels more like an “oh yay, oh boy!” type of exhilaration. Is it the right time? I’m not sure, but I think so. Knowing my work ethic, character, and creativity—I’d say I’ll make it work and be successful as failure is not an option. (I do realize there will be setbacks, I expect and embrace them, but from these I will grow and adapt so I do not consider them to be failures.)

So how do you like to embrace change? How would you like to embrace the stresses that come along with new ground? How do you maintain that balance? Where do you really put your faith when you have to make these decisions?

All of these questions pertaining to finding your purpose in life fascinate me. While I was busy researching and getting my feet wet just to see if I really wanted the change I just called into my life I found myself at a tipping point from being informed to being bogged down with details and planning. I began navigating the scary waters of Doubt and Overwhelming, and before my head went under I remembered I had a life vest! Hallelujah! Ever heard of the brand Faith? It truly is a life saver. For I know deep down in my gut that when I choose to do things out of good intentions, then what follows is abundance. And in that dwelling place of abundance I am able to give more of myself out of the gratitude that I can and am able to do so. And I jumped.

I hope whatever changes in life you may be facing—whether they are big or small—this gives you en-COURAGE-ment to leap into a more abundant life. To see any setbacks as growing pains that may not be fun to go through, but once on the other side when you can view them in a more positive light, they will lead you to more joy. More jumps. And more opportunities to embrace life for what it is an ever-changing journey of ups and downs. It is all in how you choose to think and act. The only moment we truly have control over is the present. And, remember, if you’re stuck JUMP! And, if you're paralyzed with indecision...physically (no more metaphors here) stand up and jump until you fall down in a pile of giggles, and then do something to take that leap of faith so joy is ever present in your life. By the way, did you know the only time you can feel and hold on to joy is when you are living in the present moment?!

The Basic Ways We Change

There are three ways in which we can actively monitor ourselves so that we may change how we interact with our surroundings:

(1) Thoughts (cognitions)
(2) Feelings (emotions)
(3) Actions (behaviors)

When you are in traditional counseling sessions--the counselor uses a variety of theories that typically focus on one of these areas to help you make changes in your life. In the best case scenario the theory that the counselor is using is based on their training background/when they received their masters degree, as well as what the current trend is based upon research on the effectiveness of the theories in actual practice. However, we won't delve too deeply into theories and understanding methodology, because this site is educational and for you to understand more of how you work.

The activities that are posted and linked on this blog are to help give you immediate tools to begin actively reorganizing how you interact with your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

People that are aware that they can use their feelings and thoughts to influence their actions are able to control what happens to them. Novel idea? This is because they recognize that they can influence their outcomes based on identifying the emotions they are feeling, then choosing what thoughts they would like to focus on, and then putting it in to action.

Latest Research on the Impact of Marriage on Family Life

This week check out your skills on how much you know about how marriage impacts family life.

Learning Center & Blog Archive