Archive for April, 2011

20 apr

What Your Body Tells You: Objective Feedback vs. Critical Condemnation

SarahMariaCan you tell the difference between the objective feedback your body offers versus the critical condemnation of your mind?

Your body’s objective feedback can help you make lifestyle choices that promote your health and well-being, whereas the critical condemnation of your mind creates nothing but suffering.

Our bodies are incredible messengers, powerful gifts on the journey through life. We can use the constant feedback that our bodies give us to help us make changes and adaptations to promote our health. If we listen to the criticism of our minds, however, it will sabotage us. The negative mental messages can eclipse the body’s natural intelligence and feedback, which will prevent us from making the healthy choices we want to make.

The mind opines, while the body illuminates. The mind makes you mistakenly believe that your body means something about who you are as a person, your self-worth and your value. It levels judgment and criticism. It makes you believe that you are somehow not good enough, that something is wrong with you and your body.

Here are some examples to elucidate the point:

Objective Feedback vs. Critical Condemnation

“I am holding weight in my abdomen – I can tell I have been under a lot of stress.”
versus “My stomach is flabby and disgusting – I am out of shape and need to do more sit-ups.”

“I haven’t been able to exercise recently and can tell that my legs are weak.”
versus “My cellulite is disgusting and I cringe when I look in the mirror.”

“I notice that when I eat sugar regularly it leads to weight gain and is addictive.”
versus “Why can’t I control myself? I am so weak.”

“I can tell that my arms are becoming weak – it would be good for me to increase my upper-body strength.”
versus “My arms are flabby, weak, and I don’t even want to look at them.”

“It has been too long without a haircut.”
versus “My hair is flat, dull, and disgusting.”

The key is to use your body for valuable, useful feedback, and to disregard the worthless messages of criticism that come from mental conditioning.

Critical condemnation is when you use your body and appearance to:

* Determine your self-worth

* Use it as a reflection of your “success” or “failure”

* Use it as a reflection of your “strength” or “weakness”

* Use it as a reflection of being “good” or “bad”

Here are three helpful steps to help you use your body’s messages for objective feedback, while dropping the mind’s critical condemnation:

1. Become increasingly aware of the difference between the body’s messages and the mind’s messages

2. Separate the “wheat” from the “chaff” – use the objective feedback and drop the self-judgment, criticism, and condemnation

3. Make lifestyle choices based on the feedback, not the condemnation

A key tool to help you learn to differentiate between your body’s messages and your mind’s messages is meditation.

A regular meditation practice is essential to help you break free from the critical mind-chatter that can sabotage your best intentions.

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 BreakFreeBeauty.com to learn more.

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Posted by Sarah Maria on April 20th, 2011 in Health | No comments Read related posts in , , ,

20 apr

You Have More Than This Requires

MikeRobbins96I had a powerful conversation recently with my good friend Theo. I was telling him about some of the intense challenges I’ve been facing and my underlying fear that I simply can’t handle all that is going on (and what I fear may unfold in the coming days, weeks, and months). Theo listened to me with empathy and compassion, and then said something simple, but profound. He said, “Mike, it’s important to remember that you have more than all of this requires.”

As I took a step back and allowed what he said to resonate with me, I was touched by a few specific things. First of all, I appreciated his acknowledgment and reminder. Second of all, it allowed me to take inventory of some of the adversity I’ve overcome in my life, and, in doing so, it reminded me that I am quite resilient. And, finally, over the next few hours and days after Theo and I had this conversation, I got to thinking more and more about the power of the human spirit.

In just about every situation and circumstance in life, we really do have more than is required to not only “deal” with what’s happening, but to thrive in the face of it. As the saying goes, “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.” And while I don’t believe that we have to necessarily suffer and struggle in order to grow and evolve in life, one of the best things we can do when dealing with adversity or challenge is to look for the gifts and find the gold in the situation as much as possible.

Think about how this plays out in your own life and how it has played out in your past. Often we have things happen that initially we don’t think we can handle – sometimes these are things we consider “bad” and sometimes they’re things we consider to be “good.” Feeling overwhelmed is feeling overwhelmed, regardless of what it is we’re feeling overwhelmed about.

However, as we look back over the course of our lives, we can probably find many, many examples of times we were able to overcome challenges, deal with fear, rise above limiting beliefs, and deal with things we didn’t initially think we were capable of. Another great saying that I love is, “circumstances don’t define you, they reveal you.” Ain’t that the truth?

Here are a few things to think about and do so that you can remind yourself, especially when things get particularly difficult or scary in your life, that you do, in fact, have more than the circumstances or situations of your life require.

1) Remind yourself of all you’ve done, experienced, and overcome. Take some inventory of your life from the perspective of resilience. Think about all the times you’ve dealt with change, loss, newness, fear, pain, disappointment, failure, etc. – and been able to work through it. You’ve also probably had many experiences in life where wonderful things and exciting opportunities showed up for you and you were able to step up and take your experience of life to a whole new level. Even though we’re all unique, our stories are different, and we have varying personalities and life experiences, most of us have done, experienced, and overcome a lot in our lives up to this point, and by remembering this and acknowledging ourselves for it, we can create an even deeper and more authentic sense of self confidence.

2) Remember that you have a great deal of support and you can reach out for it. One of the things that can get in our way when life gets intense, is that we sometimes think we’re all alone. No one understands me. No one really cares about me. No one has time to support me. Regardless of our circumstances, relationship status, or family situation, just about everyone of us has some important and powerful people around us who we can lean on and who would be happy to help us – if we’re willing to ask for and, more importantly, receive their help. This one can be tricky for many of us, myself included, but when we remember that other people love being of service and our request for help is not a sign of weakness, but a clear indication of self care as well as a beautiful opportunity for people to serve, it can empower us to reach out and tap into the incredible amount of resource we have around us.

3) Focus on what you appreciate about yourself and your authentic power. Self appreciation and self love, as I write and speak about often, are the cornerstones of self confidence and authentic power. Having a fundamental belief in our own goodness, power, and beauty are essential to us living an empowered and inspired life. While it’s not always easy to do and can sometimes seem downright counter-intuitive, selfish, and arrogant, self appreciation is truly the “key to the kingdom” when it comes to personal empowerment and resiliency. Remembering that we are good enough just as we are and have all that we need within us and around us to deal with the stress, challenge, and uncertainty that is somewhat inherent to being human in today’s world, is essential to our well-being and overall fulfillment in life.

Regardless of what you’re dealing with in your life right now – however hard, easy, challenging, or wonderful things are – you truly have more than is required by any of the circumstances and situations of your life. And, the more we remember this and live from this perspective, the more freedom, power, and peace of mind we’ll experience.

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 April 20th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

13 apr

Coming Out of Survival 17: Wherever You Go, There You Are

WaniManleyWherever You Go, There You Are

Those who really know me know the following pure truths about me; I love to travel, I love to dance, and I love “GIM,” (pronounced “gem”) which stands for “Gorgeous Italian Men.” About a month ago, I met one of those GIM while out with friends on South Beach and recently spent a beautiful evening with him on the water watching the sunset in Miami Beach. This was our first date. This past weekend, he invited me to go with him to the Keys. Like a man after my own heart, he had taken care of all of the arrangements for the trip and even had the courtesy of checking in with me to see whether I was pleased with his choice of hotels. What’s more, he even suggested for us to rent a car instead of us driving my convertible; my kind o f man, my kind of style. Oh, yes!

Any other time, I would have been packed and ready to go faster than a New York second, but this time, not so. I was hesitant and on the fence about going with a strong tilt towards not going. Sure, I barely know him, but when has that ever stopped me before. It wasn’t him. It was me. All me. I thought to myself, “What is wrong with me?” A trip? GIM?” Moments later and still with a tilt towards not going, I also said to myself, “Who is this emerging character and where did Wani go?” “Bring her back,” I said. Getting serious, I sat with my feelings a bit and inquired within why did I not want to go? Why did I not want to do what I absolutely loved to do, which is to travel? Sure, it wasn’t to Europe or to some far off exotic distant land as I typically liked to go but still, it was a trip and a trip with a wonderful GIM that I liked. I continued to sit with the hesitance and found deep uncomfortable feelings within me and being whisked away to the Keys in the arms of a GIM, I’d be running away from my those feelings of fears in my face at that moment. What as calling my attention were: feelings of fear around surrounding the breakdown of negotiations for the sale of my condo coupled with the fear of having to relocate and being ill prepared to do so wrapped up with guilt; fear and grief surrounding death as news of death of close friends’ family members were swarming, as well as my own with the homicide of my cousin’s two-year old and learning of the child abuse he’d suffer before death at the hands of my cousin’s boyfriend (which wasn’t the baby’s father); fears of having to defend against a possible Bar complaint brought on by a disgruntled and desperate shareholder of one of my clients, a publicly trading company; fears around money; and most notably fear of cancer as that week cancer was just swarming my inner and external space. There was also anxiety as to what’s next in my life, which is a seemingly directionless interplay between Eat Pray Love and The Alchemist.

I felt I needed to and did stay put and sit with those fears and feelings and that going to the Keys on a romantic getaway or anywhere else would not change a thing because wherever you go, you take your mind with you. These same fears and feelings would have traveled with me to the Keys and would be there with me, GIM or not. It didn’t matter. You cannot escape your feelings, no matter what you do, where you go, or whom you blame. There is no way around it. You take your mind with you, even to the afterlife. This explains why some people can take vacations to the most beautiful of places and still be utterly miserable, or why some people, myself included, purportedly fed up with where they are living relocate and find out that the grass is just as green on the other side and not greener.

To illustrate, In 2004 I moved to Miami from Chicago to work with a law firm and upon moving to Miami, I absolutely hated living here. You name it, I hated it. For years, I bitched and complained about it and hated living here so much that literally once a month, I was flying back to Chicago. The fact that I was working in a sweat shop under the auspices of a law firm only I wasn’t sewing clothes fourteen-hour days seven days a week played a huge part in my misery with a capital “M.” As the years went by, almost every complaint I had about Miami aside from my work-life when remedied, still had no effect on me and my feelings of lack, emptiness, and self-worth. Yet, I blamed it on the external and Miami was my prime suspect. Years later, I finally realized that it wasn’t Miami at all. It was me. Not only was it not Miami, but it never was. I didn’t like me; more profound, I didn’t love me. It was my own feelings of lack, of emptiness, and inadequacy that was causing my dissatisfaction of where I lived, and of course Miami played back to me a mirror image projection of my own thoughts and feelings inside of me. Once I got on the path of spiritual and personal growth and started to shift the non-loving feelings inside of me about me, everything else in my external life began to shift and move into harmony. Living in Miami wasn’t all that bad anymore. At the very least, it sure as hell beats the dreary long winters of Chicago. I started to recognize and appreciate the things that I did love about Miami as my love of self started to grow and expand. Now, Miami is not where I care to spend the rest of my life as I have an affinity for living in larger older cities and in Europe, I am happy and enjoy living here. Now when I do leave here it will not be because I am running away from something with the false hopes of towards greener pastures but because I’ve satiated my experience here and am looking to start, do, and experience something different, even radical.

So, the moral of this story is rather then run from your feelings and emotions just face them. Otherwise, they will chase and haunt you, and if left un-dealt with make you sick. Running away or trying to run away from your thoughts and feelings is analogous to a dog chasing its own tail. Pointless. Instead, learn to make friends with your feeling by allowing them to be as they are and just sit with them. What you will find if you do this is that your feelings, however, uncomfortable they may be, will empty out. All thoughts, feelings, and emotions are nothing more than energy wanting to leave the body. It is your attachment to those thoughts, feelings, and emotions that gives them any real or overwhelming power. To sit with your feelings, all you have to do is sit comfortably and breathe deeply and slowly from your belly and observe you feelings and emotions. Observe with neutral attention and be detached from your thoughts, feelings, and emotions but welcome them to come up. Refrain also from disapproval of yourself for having those feelings. Simply just breathe and observe. Nothing less, and nothing more. You will see that your feelings will empty out and all is well and always is. Now, back to my GIM and the Keys, we’ve rescheduled the trip for next weekend.

Coming Out of Survival,

Wani

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Posted by Wani Manly on April 13th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments

01 apr

You Are Not Alone

MikeRobbinsNewSometimes I feel like I’m all alone. Even though my relationship with my wife Michelle is amazing, the love I feel for and from my girls is profound, and there are so many incredible people in my life (family, friends, and clients) – I still find that in my darkest moments, I feel like there’s no one who really gets me, knows what I’m going through, or even cares enough to truly have my back. Do you ever feel like this yourself?

I’m facing some pretty intense challenges in my life right now. Earlier this week, I was standing in the center of the circle at my men’s group and I allowed myself to really get vulnerable about what’s been going on and the underlying pain and fear I’ve been feeling. As I fell to the floor and sobbed uncontrollably, I realized that two of my deepest fears have been – “I can’t handle all of this myself,” and, “I’m all alone.”

As I allowed myself to both feel and express the intensity of these painful fears, two amazing things happened. First of all, I felt liberated (which is what almost always happens when we express ourselves vulnerably and authentically). Second of all, I felt the acceptance, support, and love of the men in my group in that moment, which reminded me (both mentally and, more important, emotionally and experientially) that I’m not, in fact, alone – there are so many incredible people in my life who do have my back.

We’re never truly alone, even when we feel that way. Most of us have important, loving, and caring people in our lives who are there to support us – if we’re willing to open up, ask for, and receive their help. And, regardless of how many people are around us, what our current relationship, family, or work situation may be, or any of the other external circumstances in our life – each of us has access to a higher power, whether we call it God, Spirit, Source, or anything else.

One of the deepest and most basic fears of being human is the fear of loneliness – no one to be with us, love us, accept us, support us, and take care of us if and when we need it. Although this fear seems very real and there’s nothing wrong with us for feeling it, the paradox is that we aren’t ever really alone – we’re surrounded by love and support all the time, from others and, of course, from God. The idea that we’re alone is simply a “story” we tell ourselves, especially when things get difficult, scary, or both.

Here are some things you can do to let go of this “story” of being alone when it shows up in your life:

1) Open Up Vulnerably – Acknowledging, owning, and sharing your deepest truth is one of the best ways to liberate yourself and connect with other people in an authentic way (hence, reminding you that you’re not alone). So often we think that if we really let others know how we feel, what we fear, and what’s truly going inside our head and our heart, they will judge us, reject us, or not understand us. In most cases, the exact opposite is true.

2) Ask For Help – As the saying goes, “the answer is always ‘no’ if you don’t ask.” When we have the courage and vulnerability to ask for the help and support we need, a few important things happen. First of all, we’re liberated from the pressure of trying to take care of everything ourselves. Second of all, we give other people the opportunity to contribute to us and be of service (which most people love to do). And finally, we’re able to tap into the energy, brilliance, and creativity of other human beings – which is almost always helpful and is also a good reminder that we have access to a great deal of love and support.

3) Allow Yourself To Be Supported – Being “supportable” is something many of us, myself included, struggle with. Even if we’re vulnerable enough to tell the truth about how we really feel and ask for the support we truly want, it takes a certain amount of maturity, self respect, and humility to allow other people to support us. Even if it’s scary and feels uncomfortable at first, practicing and expanding your capacity to receive the support of others is both generous (as it allows other people to make a difference) and wise (you don’t have to work so hard and struggle so much).

4) Have Faith - Faith is the belief in things not seen or proven. At some level, our ability to grow, expand, and evolve in life is directly related to our ability to live with a deep sense of faith – in ourselves, others, and a higher power. In our lowest moments, when it feels like we truly are alone and that things will never turn around, work out, or go the way we want them to in life, our faith is what can pull us through. Waiting for a “guarantee” or until we think we’re “ready” or “deserving” of support sets us up to fail and creates more fear and anxiety. Having faith in ourselves, others, life, and God is what can remind us, in an instant, that we’re not alone – because we’re not

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 April 1st, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments