Archive for July, 2010

31 jul

You Get To Be You. How Great Is That?

JayForte“You can be anybody you want to be,

You can love whomever you will

You can travel any country where your heart leads

And know I will love you still

You can live by yourself, you can gather friends around,

You can choose one special one

And the only measure of your words and your deeds

Will be the love you leave behind when you’re done.”

The chorus from “Everything Possible” by Fred Small

You can be anybody you want to be. This is not meant to be cliché or without the realism that life is difficult. But know that our greatest value in life is living authentically, connecting to others and bringing our personal best to the world. In other words, being who you really are – in the way you want to be. Life is about choices. Life is about inventing. So what do you want your life to be?

Studies continue to support that those who have gone from rags to (material) riches, or those who work constantly to achieve material possessions instead of life meaning, friendships and personal connections, are less content, satisfied and fulfilled in life. Stuff doesn’t make life. People make life. Events and connections make life. And the best way to be part of all this is to be fully present, authentic and living the life that you invent and choose.

Like most people, I spent much of my life living the way others thought was right for me. Not until I realized that the loudest voice I needed to listen to was my own. I had to develop the confidence and courage to understand and articulate who I was, what I wanted in life and what I was good at. And when I did, I started to make better decisions about me – for me.

It is up to me to determine who I am, who I love, how I want to live, what work I do, and where life should take me. Sure, input about life from others is important. But it is more important to use their input as a way to better understand your choices, but then make your own decisions. I no longer live based on traditions or threats. I constantly review my world, then choose what is right for me. I can be anybody I want to be.

Sometimes we make what we feel are the right choices, but they are not. That comes with being human. Sometimes the best life decisions come from the messes we first make. We learn as we go. We learn as we try things. We become more connected to who we are, what we believe and what we feel, as we encounter life. This helps us learn how to choose more wisely. This helps us invent our personal and customized lives – lives that are just right for each of us – not a “one-size-fits-all” life.Our voice must lead the customization.

So consider the following as you start each day to live your best life:

1. What am I good at and do I get to do it each day?
2. What do I love about life and do I add it to my life each day?
3. Who matters to me and do I have enough time with him/her each day?
4. Do I value what I think more than what others think?
5. Do I see life as a great adventure and that no matter what comes my way, I know I have what I need to make it extraordinary?

I believe life has the potential to be great. But you choose how great you want it to be.

I also believe that you get to be who you are. Actually, you must be who you are because someone or something greater than you thought you should be you. And if you discover all that you are (talents, passions and strengths) and use them each day, you will live your best life and bring your best to the world. You get to be you. How great is that?

By the way, listen to the song or read the entire set of lyrics of Everything Possible. You’ll be impressed.

Jay Forte is a motivational and business speaker, workplace and life coach. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. His new book, The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World is due out in September 2010. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on July 31st, 2010 in Career, Family, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , ,

30 jul

The Power of Getting Real

MikeRobbins96A few weeks ago my wife Michelle and I found out, surprisingly, that we were expecting our third child. Since this wasn’t something we’d planned, we were shocked, excited and a bit freaked out, all at the same time. We began telling lots of people about this big news and starting to imagine our life with another baby – which was both thrilling and overwhelming for us to contemplate.

Within just a few days of learning about the pregnancy, however, we had a miscarriage – something we’d never been through and weren’t quite prepared for. The range of emotions we experienced during that week, and in the weeks that followed, has been quite intense.

As jarring, painful, and somewhat surreal as it has been, Michelle and I both feel a deep sense of peace and gratitude – choosing to believe that this happened for a reason and doing our best to use this experience to deepen our own awareness and healing in life. While it has been difficult, it has also been a very rich time of growth and connection for us on many levels.

One of the most complicated aspects of this experience has been sharing it with others – which we have been somewhat forced to do given that we told a lot of people about the pregnancy. Many people don’t talk about their pregnancies until the second trimester, since the majority of miscarriages take place in those first three months. I understand, even more so now, why people keep this private – as talking about a miscarriage can be quite emotional and uncomfortable for everyone involved.

However, even though this has been an intense process for us and many of the people we’ve talked to about it (especially those who have gone through this personally), Michelle and I have been so grateful for the amazing love and support we’ve received. We’ve also been blown away by how many other people have experienced a miscarriage – some we knew about, but many we didn’t.

Even in the midst of this personal and emotional experience, I’ve also been fascinated by human phenomenon of authenticity at play. There is such power, freedom, and liberation available for us when we get real. And while I do believe that it’s important for each of us to make conscious choices about what we share and with whom, far too often I think we choose not to share certain thoughts, feelings, or experiences because we deem them to be “inappropriate” or “too much” for people to handle.

Sadly, in this process of withholding our true experiences and feelings, we miss out on opportunities to connect with people in an authentic way, get support, share love, wisdom, and empathy, and connect in a real way with everyone around us.

Carl Jung said, “We’re only as sick as our secrets.” And, Mother Teresa said, “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.” Then she said, “Be honest and transparent anyway.”

How We Can Get Real in a Vulnerable Way

One of the best ways to access a deeper sense of authenticity, vulnerability, and transparency is through a powerful exercise called “If you really knew me.” This exercise, which has had a profound impact on my own life and is something I’ve facilitated in various forms with many of the groups and individuals I’ve spoken to or coached over the years, gives people an opportunity to get real and vulnerable.

The exercise was taught to me by my friends and mentors, Rich and Yvonne Dutra-St. John, founders of an incredible organization called Challenge Day, which delivers life-altering, experiential, personal development workshops for teens, schools, and people of all ages. Challenge Day’s high school program is featured in the new MTV reality series which is actually called If You Really Knew Me.

How the exercise works is that each person in the group – usually a smallish group of anywhere from four to eight people (although it can be done one on one or with a larger group) – gets a minute or two of undivided attention from everyone else in the group and repeats this sentence, “If you really knew me, you’d know…” and then completes the sentence by sharing things that are real, vulnerable, and below the surface about themselves (thoughts, feelings, dreams, insecurities, opinions, experiences, passions, challenges, etc.).

There’s no pressure or expectation on each person to share anything they don’t want to share – just a challenge to step outside of their comfort zone, choose to trust the people in the group, and be more open, real, and vulnerable than they may normally be with others.

Whenever I either participate in or facilitate this exercise (as I just did earlier this week during a program I delivered), I’m always amazed by its power. People laugh, cry, get real, let go of things they’ve been holding onto, and truly connect with each other – heart to heart and in an authentic way.

What I always get from this exercise myself and hear people say in different ways is that even though we’re all unique, we’re way more alike than we are different. When we have the courage to get real with each other and speak our truth, it’s one of the most meaningful, rewarding, and connecting experiences we can have with other human beings.

Michelle and I have experienced the power and importance of getting real in these past few weeks. Even though we weren’t prepared for this, didn’t see it coming, and weren’t planning to share it with lots of people – it has been life-altering in so many ways and has taken a difficult, painful, and somewhat unexplainable situation, and turned it into something that is allowing us to grow, deepen, and experience more joy and gratitude in our lives.

When we get real (first with ourselves and then with others), even if it’s scary, uncomfortable, awkward, or intense, it has the potential to liberate us, impact those around us, and bring us all together in a beautiful and genuine way. We don’t have to go through whatever we’re going through in life alone – there is more love, support, and care around each of us than we usually realize and when we’re willing to be real about our experience, let people know what’s truly going on for us, and ask for help when we need it – it’s remarkable what happens!

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on July 30th, 2010 in Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Uncategorized | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

29 jul

5000 Synapses in the Width of a Hair

RickHansonHow much change in the brain makes a difference in the mind?

That’s the issue raised by a very interesting comment regarding my previous blog, “The Brain in a Bucket.”

So I’ve taken the liberty of posting the comment here (hoping that’s OK in blog etiquette; still learning as I go), and then responding. Here it is:

I was pondering your statement that long term meditators show a thickening in certain areas of the brain. As I understand it, the volume of the skull is fixed in adults. This would seem to require that if one part thickens, another part must be reduced. I am curious as to whether anyone has considered what the implications of a loss of volume in these other areas might be. I enjoyed your article, and look forward to more on the topic of neurology and meditation.

While the size of the skull is indeed fixed in adulthood, we can both lose gray matter volume due to the normal effects of aging and gain it through mental training of one kind or another. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on July 29th, 2010 in General, Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

28 jul

Coming Out of Survival: The Path

WaniManley“The Path”

Imagine there is such a thing called happiness and it’s not just a fleeting moments or isolated incidents.

Imagine Joy. Pure immense Joy.

Imagine living from a place of inspiration, not desperation and all the time.

Imagine knowing and understanding how Life really works and living it.

Imagine Life is just a game and can be mastered like any sport once you know the rules.

Imagine waking up one day and realizing that You yourself are Source, the Supreme Being; and that means You are running the show and the show is your Life.

Imagine hearing the sound of the Universe, of which, that You are.

Imagine knowing you are not the mind, you are not the body, but so much more.

Imagine knowing that you are boundless, measureless that which cannot be contained.

Imagine you are everything, everyone, all else in between, the seen and the unseen, the form and the formless.

Imagine you were never born because you are the Creator and you can never die because you are eternal.

Imagine that all power is within You.

Imagine You have the power to create anything you want in your Life and to uncreate anything you don’t want in your Life.

Imagine not seeking and wanting Love and approval from others and instead finding it within yourself.

Imagine living Life without any fear and seeing fear for what it is: an illusion.

Imagine knowing that nothing bad can ever happen to you.

Imagine loving others unconditionally because of who you are and what you’ve chosen to become.

Imagine living your ideal Life, but on steroids.

Imagine feeling that you are the ocean and so much more and these are not mere words or a metaphor.

Imagine knowing and feeling protected always because you are under Divine protection.

Imagine having all of your needs met without even asking and before asking.

Imagine a Life of abundance….crazy abundance.

Imagine doing random acts of extreme kindness to others without recognition or expectations.

Imagine having such extreme compassion for others because you know in reality, everyone is You.

Imagine not taking anything personally anyone says to You.

Imagine crying for no reason at all other then out of pure joy.

Imagine knowing that there is no Hell; that Heaven and Hell is just a state of existence in the mind.

Imagine dropping all issues of self-concern, guilt, feeling worthy and deserving of all the abundance Life has to offer.

Imagine realizing suffering is optional and you can end suffering at any moment you choose by being in a state of allowance and acceptance of what is.

Imagine understanding why things are the way the way they are in your Life.

Imagine undoing all ill-served patterning and fear-based conditioning from your Life.

Imagine not living in the past or in some imagined future, but living in the now, the only real moment.

Imagine being happy, right now, in this moment, in this Lifetime.

Imagine falling and being madly in Love with yourself.

Imagine knowing all the Love you seek outside of you is really inside of You.

Imagine all you have to do to know who you are is to be still.

Imagine all you have to do know God is to be still and then you find out God is just Love.

Imagine being healthy, vibrant, and free of illness, being at peace, calm and in tranquility.

Imagine knowing Truth, seeing reality and thus engaging the magic of Life.

Imagine the impossible immediately possible and all the time.

Imagine being positive all the time.

Imagine not caring what others think, say or feel about You.

Imagine your heart fluttering with Love and from this space is where You live.

Imagine openness, sweetness, softness and expansion. Possibilities.

Imagine living Life from the limitless and boundless spirit that You are.

Imagine feeling and knowing that that there’s nothing you can’t do, become, achieve or have.

Imagine having it all, doing it all and being it all.

Imagine being in a place of acceptance and allowance and thus flowing with Life.

Imagine living your Life’s purpose.

Imagine in Life, there are no rules. No limits.

Imagine knowing You control you your destiny, that at any moment You can change it and then actually doing it.

Imagine knowing that your energy determines your Life and to change your Life all You have to do is change your energy.

Imagine doing anything you want, whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want.

Imagine realizing there’s nothing wrong with you, nothing to fix, nothing to do, and nothing to be.

Imagine no more masks.

Imagine the Loves of your Life finally showing up in your Life at the very moment you Love yourself and simply because you Love yourself.

Imagine a Life without stress and without worries.

Imagine there are no mistakes in Life, only discoveries and you can never get it wrong.

Imagine a Life of service to others and therefore fulfillment.

Imagine living a divine Life and being in a state of pure Bliss.

Imagine being high of Life, intoxicated with Life, overdosing on Life.

Imagine being in the presence of a Being of pure Love and basking in the Love they radiate and inspire You with.

Imagine being in a state of immense gratitude all the time.

Imagine a living a Life to your highest calling.

Imagine waking up in the morning with a smile on your face and this is meditation.

Imagine the big mystery to God and Life is really just Love, pure Love.

That’s all there is to it. There is just Love. Pure Love.

You are That.

This is my Life.

This can be your Life.

And, this is The Path.

Wani Manly
Coming Out of Surival

Dedicated to my Beloved Guru Patrick Connor and Sat Guru His Holiness Sri Sir Svami Purna Maharaj

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Wani Manly on July 28th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 7 comments

28 jul

A Revolution of Tenderness

twitterJulie

The power of tenderness.

It is in your self-interest to find a way to be very tender. ~ Jenny Holzer

::

The tender skin of one touching the tender skin of another, causing an exquisite encounter, not possible in any other way.

The tender eyes that want nothing from the world, except to welcome and embrace all that generously spills into view.

The tender heart that loves simply for love’s sake, rather than for what one might get out of loving.

Some tender places of the heart can only be known in relationship, when one is willing to lay down arms, open the heart and wait, exposed.

I know the power of tenderness.

We all know the power of tenderness.

::

Revolution begins with changes in the individual. ~ Jenny Holzer

We already know, well, revolutions of domination, where ‘power over’ has all but brought the human race to death’s door.

We know the power of tenderness in intimate moments.

What if we were to realize that it is in our own self-interest to engage in a revolution of tenderness?

What if we were to realize that the power of tenderness is so much greater than the power of tyranny?

I, too, wonder how this might happen, how we shift from tyranny to tenderness.

Those that engage in domination and destruction stand in a perspective that sees tenderness as weakness, not strength.

But, I also know the only way to begin a revolution within is with a tender ‘yes’, a surrendered ‘yes’.

It begins with trusting that ultimately, the power of tenderness rather than the power of domination will be what saves us.


Which is the more powerful act?

Somewhere within each of us is a place that dominates and condemns – others and ourselves. This place is the most tender of places, because, it fears tenderness, yet longs to be showered with it. This place learned to dominate early. It learned to condemn and judge at an early age. When tenderness was what this place was longing for, instead it received judgment. Somewhere this place believes judgment and condemnation are the best way to be strong in an unsafe world; yet, if you check-in closely, what’s really going on is a longing to be touched with tender hands, to be seen, really seen, with tender eyes, and to be held and embraced by the most tender places of the heart. Hence, it is in your own self-interest to be tender.

We may fear being tender and loving will be seen as weak by those that continue to shower our beautiful world with hate, violence, oppression and greed. And as long as we see it as being weak, they will. When we know the strength of tenderness as a gift to ourselves, and when we see the powerful effects of the offering of tenderness to another, the perspective that ‘tenderness is weakness’ can begin to shift.

Try it. Feel the effects it has on you and others. Compare these to the moments when you judge and condemn others. Then, ask yourself, truly look to see, which is the more powerful act? Which way of being requires true vulnerability and fierce loyalty to love?

We’ve all judged and been judged. We’ve all condemned and been condemned We’ve all dominated and been dominated.We all know these experiences. What if we were to caress another’s ragged coat of life with the tender touch of one who knows these things intimately? This is the real revolution of tenderness that is poised to unfold.

::

This is the first post in a series of three on tenderness, power and grace. All three posts are part of the Summer of Love Invitational, where the lovely Mahala Mazerov has invited bloggers to write about loving kindness.

::

Julie Daley is a coach, creativity catalyst and consultant. She works with women who ache to come home to themselves (to know themselves simply as they are, not in relation to any other) and want to live from the truth they discover when they do. Find out more at UnabashedlyFemale.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Julie Daley on July 28th, 2010 in Global/Social Change, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,

24 jul

How Will You Transform the World?

JayForteWise words from Woodrow Wilson: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

Live your best life. And in the process, your best transforms the world.

I believe we invent our world in each moment; our world is created by those who live in it at this exact moment. And, the quality of our invention is based on each of us knowing ourselves to be able to contribute our best.

We are born with our unique DNA – our unique combination of talents, strengths and passions. The more we know ourselves, the more we become acquainted with our gifts – those attributes unique to us. Our happiest and most successful lives are lives that use what we are good at and passionate about doing.

This uniqueness is critical. Because we are all so different, we constantly add color, texture, experience and impact to our world. The more we know ourselves, the more we live this great uniqueness and the more of it we bring to the world. Our world expands. Our world improves. This is how we create our world. This is how we transform our world.

I see that most people live only a fraction of their capabilities – either by choice or by being unaware; they know so little about themselves and their hardwired greatness. They either don’t know how to discover what they are good at and what they are passionate about, or choose not to make the effort. The result is they do not access their greatness zone – that place of their greatest happiness – and therefore, do not bring their best to the world. You can’t bring your greatness to the world if you don’t know what it is.

Grace was an educator in a large international distributor. She spent the time to understand herself and pushed hard to land a job as an educator – a job that played to her talents and passions. She was enthusiastically connected to her students and intellectually connected to her role. Grace’s classes frequently had a waiting list. She flourished in your job, which amplified her life. She knew her talents, passions and strengths and brought her best to her work; she inspired greatness from others. She raised the bar. She wasn’t a national celebrity but was indeed a celebrity to many people she taught. She changed their worlds.

Identify several famous people who have committed themselves to their craft or area. Their talents allow them to be great at what they do. Their passion allows them to connect in an exponential way. The combination is a world changer. Think about Michelangelo, Robert Frost, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Emeril Lagasse, Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln, Da Vinci, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Babe Ruth…the list goes on. They were good at what they did and passionate about doing it. And in the process they added great value to the world. They created a more significant world. They transformed the world.

Now,identify several non-celebrities around you who have committed themselves to their craft. It could be a partner, spouse, colleague, teacher, pastor, friend or anyone else. Those who play to their greatness expand the world for all of us.

People who play small don’t transform the world. People who don’t know their talents and passions, live a fraction of their potential and their gifted lives. Not only do they miss out, but they also shortchange the world; they don’t achieve their greatness and don’t share that greatness to recreate the world in an exceptional way – each day.

Answer the following to discover more about your hardwired greatness:

* What are you good at?

* What are you passionate about?

* What is success (happiness) for you?

These questions start your process to discover the combination of gifts you were born with. You start to see your passions, talents and strengths. Use these be your best, bring your best and live your best. Besides having an amazing personal and professional life, playing to your greatness will also transform the world.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. His new book, The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World is due out in September 2010. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on July 24th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , ,

24 jul

Effort Is not a Dirty Word – Five Big Pay-offs that Make it Worth Your While

RenitaKalhorn“Lose 10 pounds in 10 days — without diet or exercise!” “Win the lottery, live a life of ease!” “Click here to meet the man of your dreams!

Poof! Just like that, we’re rich, thin, in love and, presumably, happy. Except, we’re not.

And yet, each time we fall for – or are at least tempted by — the lure of the quick fix because we want to believe that we can have it all, instantly, without breaking a sweat.

Why We Avoid Effort
Just like Charlie Brown believing that, this time, Lucy will hold the football so he can kick it, you’d think we’d know better by now. So why are we so attached to the illusion of gliding through life, no effort required?

Well, for one, changing the status quo means we have to leave the familiar comfort of inertia. We have to acknowledge that there is no quick fix and whatever we want to achieve is going to require time and energy.

Next, there’s the discomfort of uncertainty: the nature of effort requires that we persist without a guarantee of success or that we’ll even get the result we’re striving for. We might even, ugh, make mistakes. Not committing full effort provides a handy fall back: “Well, I could have done it if I had really been trying.”

Then there are those who believe in the power of talent — that you either have natural ability or you don’t and there’s not much point in making an effort if you’re not naturally gifted.

Finally, effort is not glamorous; typically, it involves the mundanity of repetition and attention to detail. And in our highly automated, consumerist culture, where the media depicts models looking vaguely bored and above it all, it’s simply not cool to look like you’re trying that hard.

Why Effort Is Worth It
Before you settle back into the couch with your remote though, let me point out a few things that make effort worthwhile.

Effort gives life meaning. In her book, Mindset: The Psychology of Success, psychologist Carol Dweck says: “Effort means you care about something, that something is important to you and you are willing to work for it. It would be an impoverished existence if you were not willing to value things and commit yourself to working toward them.” (For those of you wondering about the meaning of life, there it is.)

Effort forges connection. That’s what Boing Boing founder Mark Frauenfelder and his family thought. Suffering post dot-com bubble burnout, they set out to cut through the absurd chaos of materialistic modern life and find a path that was simple, direct, and clear. In his book Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World, Frauenfelder tells the story of keeping chickens in his own remote-controlled chicken coop, making a guitar out of a cigar box and keeping his own bees. The reward for their self-induced labors? Greater perceived value and lasting enjoyment.

Effort trumps talent. Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, once said: “I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures… I divide the world into the learners and non-learners.”

A growth mindset – the commitment to stretching beyond where you currently are — is, in fact, what matters more than natural ability, says Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code. It’s what drives desire and creates “the energy that fuels the engine of skill acquisition.”

Effort is essential for mastery. Despite our cultural bias toward instant gratification, there’s no way to reach a high level of excellence — in anything — without hours of effort. Want an exact number? In his latest book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell says that “10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again.”

Effort leads to flow. Although a state of flow is often associated with a feeling of effortlessness, initially it requires focused effort to get there. But, once in the flow, you can enjoy an activity for its own sake, without regard for any external rewards it might bring. Daniel Chambliss, author of Champions: The Making of Olympic Swimmers, notes: “The very features of the sport that the “C” swimmer finds unpleasant, the top-level swimmer enjoys. What others see as boring — swimming back and forth over a black line for two hours, say — they find peaceful, even meditative, often challenging, or therapeutic.”

Growth, mastery and meaning: Sounds to me like an excellent return on investment.

For more information on Peak Performance and Flow, visit Renita’s website, In the Flow Coaching.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Renita Kalhorn on July 24th, 2010 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

24 jul

Stop Apologizing for Who You Are

MikeRobbins96Apologizing can be a bit tricky for me. While I pride myself on being someone who is able to look within, take responsibility, and resolve conflicts directly – I also know that my own arrogance and insecurity cause me to sometimes stubbornly refuse to apologize or, often more damaging, over apologize, which can include apologizing for who I am.

Being able to take responsibility for our impact on others, acknowledge and own our mistakes and shortcomings, and restore trust and connection with the people around us (i.e. what authentic apologizing is all about) are essential aspects of living a fulfilled life and creating healthy relationships.

However, many of us devalue, disrespect, and do harm to ourselves and those around us, by apologizing for who we are in a shame-based way – which usually comes from a place of shame (feeling as though we’re not good enough or there’s something inherently wrong with us).

Apologizing authentically is about taking responsibility for our actions, our impact, or our results, as an adult. This is called remorse – wishing we hadn’t done or said something, and taking actions to address and rectify the situation within ourselves, with others, or both.

Apologizing for who we are is often about us thinking or saying some version of, “I’m bad, it’s my fault, or don’t hate me,” as if we’re a child looking for validation or approval. This is a specific example of how shame shows up in our lives. And, no matter how much we might “apologize,” when it comes from this insatiable, shame-based place, we’re never able to shake the feeling of something being wrong with who we are.

The more we notice that we’re apologizing for who we are, the more opportunity we have to look deeper – acknowledge, feel, and express our shame, and in the process begin to heal ourselves in a real way.

While we all have “issues,” “flaws,” and “challenges” in life – at the deepest level, there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of us. Most of us, myself included, spend and waste way too much time judging, criticizing, and being mean to ourselves.

Treating ourselves in this critical way never works – it doesn’t help us become better people, it doesn’t give us access to more love, power, or talent, it doesn’t make us more available for those around us who we want to support – it simply keeps us stuck in a negative story about who we think we are and what we think needs to be “fixed” about us so we can then live the life we truly want to live.

What if we stopped doing this to ourselves, stopped apologizing for who we are, and started honoring, valuing, and loving ourselves in an authentic way?

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on July 24th, 2010 in General, Relationships | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

21 jul

Your Center of Good

A few months ago I voluntarily ensconced myself in a darkened theater with screenwriters, producers and actors. We were there to listen to Robert McKee give his 4-Day “Story” Seminar (www.mckeestory.com). I’m a fan of Bob McKee’s, author of “Story”, a book that many in Hollyweird (his pet name for Hollywood) consider the bible on the art of story telling and screenwriting. His genius is in his ability to analyze what motivates people to act the way they do. So you can understand why I was thrilled to be there delving deeper into the nature of human behavior.

Two days into the Seminar, McKee said something that struck me. “All people operate from their “center of good”". In other words, we operate in ways that make total sense to us because we are always able to justify our actions. Each of us believes we are doing the right thing and want to identify with the positive. However, we’ve all made financial decisions we later regretted. Tagged, unworn clothes that have never graced a body hang in thousands of closets, hastily bought knick- knacks that clutter our homes end up in storage boxes, books with uncracked spines, even real estate sold too soon and from a place of fear… all reminders of our acts of impatience, insecurities and unmet needs.

If hindsight is 20/20 then our past can teach us why we made certain decisions when we did. The best time to grocery shop is not when you’re famished. Unrequited hunger of any emotional kind clouds judgment as one searches unsuccessfully for them through material things; things that aren’t designed to meet unmet needs like money, food and even satisfying relationships. Unmet needs leave you craving for more.

Find a quiet time to revisit a recent purchase made. Rewind and slow everything down as you travel back to a moment when you made a financial decision you later regretted.

*What mood or state of mind were you in?
*How did you justify your purchase at the time?
*What had you hoped it would do? Solve a problem, soothe your soul or bring you closer to someone, perhaps?
*Try and pinpoint at what point in your decision making you moved away from your inner wisdom. Were you by yourself or were you in a group, participating in a wave of collective thoughts?
*What’s the lesson learned? Next time you find yourself in a similar position, what can you do to stay in touch with your core?

The reason you do this now, when you are relaxed and in an “uncharged” state is so the next time (life will always bring another situation to teach you the same lesson until you are ready to learn it and move on) you find yourself in a more heated or pressured situation and sense your “center” shifting you will remember the inquiry process just described. That’s how we create change. Do this enough times and it eventually becomes less conscious. This is why I say that your relationship with money is a practice. Remember this expansive part of you so you can return to it when you need to slow down and create space between your impulses and action.

As well, it is crucial that you forgive your past financial trespasses. Let them go. Learn from them, but let them go. Beating yourself up if even in your mind is a violent act. Violence is born out fear, anger, frustration and insecurity… those emotions do not lead to peace or true prosperity.

Someone recently asked if the necessity to gage ourselves and the way we are with money ever goes away. I don’t think it does. As with any relationship, keeping it vibrant and healthy requires constant attention and nurturing. I love money as it serves as an alert body reflecting where our focus is.

When we open ourselves to our inner wisdom we empower ourselves by discovering innate resources that help us fulfill those parts of ourselves that are in need of attention. By dancing between our inner and outer worlds of being and money we maintain our balance.


Helen Kim is the Founder of YourMoneyRelationship.com, a company devoted to helping people gain clarity around their relationship with money so they can make conscious financial decisions. Her programs help you loosen the grip of emotions and beliefs that interfere with your ability to allow financial freedom into your life. With her mindful approach, Helen gives you the opportunity to create a positive, dynamic and nurturing relationship with money and therefore, yourself.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Helen Kim on July 21st, 2010 in Finances | No comments

21 jul

Exploring Compassion

SarahMariaThis article is as the title suggests—an exploration. It is an inquiry. Last month’s article was about love. This month — compassion. According to great spiritual teachers, real love is actually much closer to compassion. This begs the question, what is compassion? What does it mean to be compassionate? What is compassionate action?

If you are reading my newsletter and following my work, chances are you want to help or be helped in some way. You may want to alleviate your own pain and suffering, and/or alleviate the pain and suffering of other people. You may want to help heal the environment, or make a difference in the world. Perhaps you consider yourself incredibly blessed and want to give back and share your good fortune. If you are reading this article, chances are you are someone who lives from the heart, guided very often by your feelings of wanting to help, wanting to make a difference. And these feelings can often seem like compassion. Isn’t helping others, being nice, being giving and generous, taking away pain whenever possible, living compassionately?

Consider the dictionary’s definition:

“A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”

This definition, in my opinion, is woefully inadequate. It is based on an inherently limited view of reality. It assumes that we, as human beings, are able to judge some else’s misfortune and act appropriately. It also implies that our feelings of wanting to alleviate the sufferings of others are, in and of themselves, compassionate. In my own experience, this is not always the case.

As you come to know your own heart more and more, you can begin to understand more deeply your own motivations. And you may discover that what you thought was a simple desire to help, what you thought was compassion, what you thought was love-in-action, has way more to do with your own wants and needs than with anything else. This is not to say that all feelings of so-called compassion are erroneous, but it does mean that exploring your own motivations, engaging in self-inquiry and exploration, can be useful.

Begin to ask yourself:

How much is my wanting to help an expression of my own wants, needs, and desires?
How much of my wanting to help is based on my own discomfort with other people’s pain?
How much do I identify myself as someone who wants to help make a difference in the world?

Now let me be clear. I am not by any means saying you should not care about other people. I am not in any way implying that it is best to be cold-hearted or indifferent. I am actually assuming that if you are reading this article, you are someone who has a good heart, who is aware of other people, and wants to be kind and generous, spreading love throughout their families and communities.

Which is why I am suggesting that you take your beautiful heart, and begin to understand it more deeply. Begin to explore yourself, your own motivations, more openly.

In order to know yourself, you must be open to the fact that what you think may always be wrong, or at least only a partial perspective. Always be willing for another layer to fall away, so that you may see something that was previously hidden from view.

It is only as you open yourself to this that you can begin to develop an understanding of true compassion, which, in my own exploration, is far from what most people think of when they think of compassion. For the more willing you are to know yourself, to see whatever there is to be seen, the greater your chance of letting life live you, of letting love purify your heart, so that you can be used in whatever way the universe deems fit.

As I have personally engaged in this inquiry, I have made some startling discoveries. Here are just a few of the things that have surprised me:

- Sometimes compassion doesn’t feel good.
- Sometimes being compassionate means doing nothing, even when someone else is in pain. In fact, doing nothing may often be the most compassionate choice.
- Any real compassion is impossible as long as your ego is dictating your behavior.
- True compassion is not about individual wants, desires, or needs in any way.

This month, let your life be an exploration into yourself, into your own heart. Be open to being surprised, and maybe even dismayed for a moment or two. Discover what motivates you, and be open to whatever is revealed.

Sarah Maria’s Bio:

Sarah Maria, author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life, outlines her 5-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body. Her work embraces the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, for true, lasting healing. Visit: sarahmaria.com and BreakFreeBeauty.com to learn more.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Sarah Maria on July 21st, 2010 in Global/Social Change, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in