Archive for November, 2009

17 nov

Have a Great Thanksgiving

mike_robbinsWith Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about my own love/hate relationship to this great holiday. It can be a wonderful celebration of gratitude, appreciation, and family connection. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving also tends to be about feeling obligated to spend time with the people we’re “supposed” to, eating too much food and feeling guilty about it, and pretending to be grateful when we’re actually annoyed and stressed out.

What if we could make this Thanksgiving less stressful, more fun, and actually be able to enjoy ourselves, appreciate our family and friends (even the ones who drive us nuts), and focus on what we’re grateful for in a genuine way?

Here are some important tips you can use to make this year’s Thanksgiving one you truly enjoy and remember (in a good way):

1) Be you – Instead of trying to be who you think you “should” be with your family, friends, in-laws, or guests – just relax and be yourself! So often we put undue pressure on ourselves to be a certain way, impress people (even those we know well), or do or say the things we think others want us to. When we let go of trying to please everyone and we’re able to be true to ourselves, we create a genuine sense of freedom and peace. This also means that we think about what would be fun for us and our immediate family to do for Thanksgiving and communicate this to everyone else (in-laws, extended family, etc.), even if it may upset or disappoint some of the people involved.

2) Look for the good – Make a commitment to focus on the things you like and appreciate about your friends and family members, instead of obsessing about the things that annoy or upset you about them. We almost always find what we look for in others and in situations. When we let go of past resentments, we’re able to see people with new eyes. As the saying goes, “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Whatever we choose to do on Thanksgiving and whomever we choose to spend our holiday with, if we make a conscious decision to enjoy ourselves and to look for the good stuff in an authentic way, we dramatically increase our chances of having a positive and pleasurable experience.

3) Make it fun and easy – Do whatever you can for yourself and those around you to make the planning, food preparation, clean up, and the whole Thanksgiving experience as easy, fun, and stress-free as possible. This means we keep it light, share the responsibilities, ask others for help, and do the things that we enjoy doing – instead of burdening ourselves and feeling like a victim about it all. Too often we spend and waste our time and energy being uptight, doing things we don’t truly want to do, feeling resentful towards others, and creating a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration. Thanksgiving can be lots of fun, if we’re willing to go with the flow and make it easy on ourselves and for others.

4) Express your appreciation for others – One of best things we can do for other people (on Thanksgiving or at any time) is to let them know what we appreciate about them in a genuine way. Acknowledging others is a true “win-win,” as we always get to keep what we give away to others when we appreciate them (i.e. the good feelings are shared by us and those we acknowledge). There are many ways we can appreciate people on Thanksgiving:

- Write “I’m thankful for you” cards and give them out on Thanksgiving (or mail them beforehand)

- Pick someone at the dinner table to acknowledge, and then ask them to “pay it forward” and appreciate someone else in the group – go around until everyone has been appreciated

- Pull people aside on Thanksgiving (or give them a call) and let them know what you appreciate about them specifically and genuinely

5) Count your blessings – Remember that in the midst of all the commotion, stress, and activity of the holiday season, Thanksgiving really is a time for us to reflect on what we’re grateful for – in life, about others, and especially about ourselves. Take some time on Thanksgiving to focus on what you’re grateful for, the many blessings in your life, and the things you appreciate about yourself. A great way for us to remember and to celebrate the many blessings in our life, especially on Thanksgiving, is to take some time during our meal and allow each person at the table to talk about what they’re grateful for in a genuine, specific, and personal way.

This year, especially given all that has been going on in the world, the economy, and our personal lives, let’s challenge ourselves to make Thanksgiving more than just something we get through or even simply a nice holiday; let’s have it be a time of reflection, connection, and a celebration of the great fullness of life.

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

Posted by Mike Robbins on November 17th, 2009 in Family, General, Global/Social Change, Relationships, Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

17 nov

How to Survive the Holiday Season

Each holiday season arrives with its own joys and stresses. This year, many Americans are concerned (and rightfully so, given fears of recession and job and home losses) about how they’re going to get through it (and not just because of the usual familial pathos that accompanies such festivities.)

Feeling the economic burden, most people are trying to figure out how they’re going to manage travel, gifts and perhaps some very difficult conversations with children and loved ones. Now, more than ever, we need to be creative about finding holiday cheer. Instead of trying to keep it status quo, we’re giving you some new ideas on how to manage the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve so that you come out on top. It all comes down to the Three F’s: finances, family and food—and if we can add a fourth—fun! Yes, you can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year with a positive outlook and a little advance planning.

Finances

The one thing foremost on everyone’s minds this year: How are we going to afford things this holiday season? We can’t think of anything more stressful than budgeting for travel, gifts and all the unexpected expenses that crop up. That said, you can mitigate the damage by changing the way you think about giving. Try spending more time and less money on gifts this year.

1) Make gifts instead of buying gifts. D-I-Y is H-O-T! Put your creative brain to work and give a gift that really means something.

  • Knit scarves, sew pillows or make an article of clothing.
  • Get a journal and write out your family history, or all the things you love about someone. Fill it with words, sketches and photos.
  • Framed family photos, scrapbooks, hand-painted mugs or homemade cookies are always well received.
  • Go shabby chic (and eco-friendly) with flea-market finds—formality is out, frugality is in. Now more than ever, it truly is the thought that counts.

2) Recycle/reintroduce toys.
There’s no need to feel bad about recycling items with small children. Pick ones that have lingered at the bottom of a toy chest or under the bed. Wrapping paper goes a long way in making old new again! You can also introduce new toys throughout the year. At the next birthday, unwrap all the gifts but take a few aside to be used for the next holiday or a “just because” gift.

3) Limit your list. Let’s be honest—how many people could do with a simple card? Pare down your gift list.
If you have a large family, scale back the amount of gifts or agree on doing a Secret Santa this year. It’ll probably relieve the pressure for lots of people. Remember that people don’t love you because of what you give. It’s OK to simply acknowledge their place in your life with a note of gratitude and best wishes for the season!

4) Manage your expenses. There are three things to say no to this year: Credit cards, parties you’d rather not attend and group gifting.

  • Pay for all your purchases in cash (if you plan exactly what you’re going to get and adhere to your list, this should be a cinch) to avoid exorbitant interest fees. If you don’t want to go to Aunt Betty’s Christmas Eve Eggnog Extravaganza, politely decline.
  • Avoid getting sucked in to the whole “everyone chip in $100” for the boss/office party/ building super scheme. Simply offer your regrets and say it’s not in your budget, but that you’d be happy to offer a card or other smaller token instead.
  • There’s no shame to sticking to a budget, and there’s no need to drill deeper into debt because you’re being pressured.
  • If you’ve been disappointed in the past over the commercialism that pervades the holiday season, this is the year to act against it. Have the holidays your way—without mountains of stuff and the bills that go with it!

5) Set expectations with family and friends. If you’re concerned about taking all the joy out of the season, relax. It’s OK to change the way you think about the holidays, as long as you bring everyone in on your thinking.

  • Experts agree that younger children can become fearful and insecure if they sense their parents are in financial trouble. The bottom line for the little ones (under 12) is just to know it’s all going to be OK.
  • If you have older children who want to help, explain to them the situation you find yourself in and what you’re doing to recover. If they want to help, suggest a way for them to pitch in, like getting a part time job or helping more around the house.
  • Chances are you’re not the only one feeling the financial pinch, so it shouldn’t be hard to have an honest conversation with friends and older family members about what’s going to be possible this year. [more]

Family

If everyone’s supposed to be brimming with cheer, why is mom crying at the stove and Uncle Pete hanging out down at the local bar? Probably because of all the baggage we carry into the holidays. This year, aim to create peace and harmony amongst loved ones.

Family is all about acceptance. Give yourself one goal—to love them as they are (yes, really!). If you must choose being right or being kind, choose kindness. If all else fails, create a sense of impenetrable harmony within. Keep your daily routines up during the busy season to give yourself stability. Ditto for exercise and rest—you’ll need both to stay sane!

1) Stay home. Given the choice between flight delays, crowded highways, sleeping on a pull-out couch vs. the comforts of home, we’ll take home any day! There’s never been a better time to stay put for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. You can plan a family visit for sometime next spring or summer, and stay home with your friends, significant other or the kids. It’ll be a low-key holiday full of your kind of fun, and best of all, it’ll be (relatively) stress free.

2) Take a time out. If you are able to travel and find yourself at a sibling’s throat or exhausted from all the back and forth, give yourself permission to have down time. Take a walk, take a nap, meditate or hit a yoga class (or do some poses on your own.)
It’s OK to say you need to unwind and recharge. If you take a break from being so “on” 24-7, you might just make it through the holiday emotionally unscathed.

3) Let it go. Have you ever noticed that you end up having the same argument or rehashing the same old stories over and over each year? All that does is open old wounds and create tension where there needn’t be any. This year, resolve to only make positive statements. If you do feel anger, frustration or negative thoughts rising, allow them to pass through without articulation. Breathe deeply, leave the room for a moment if needed. Be the peacekeeper, and get people involved in creating new memories that will make better stories for next year.

4) Go do something good. If you can’t see your family this year or are just hanging with friends, get out and make yourself useful! Volunteer to help prepare and serve holiday meals, have a canned food drive or visit someone who doesn’t have holiday visitors. Sharing these special days with others will make you more appreciative for the things you do have, even if it doesn’t feel like you have much right now.

5) Put the smack down on sadness. For many, the holidays are just another painful reminder of what’s not going right. While you can’t ignore the heartache that the holidays can bring, you can do something about it. Rather than writhing your way to the new year, find ways to change positively. Invent new traditions, spend the time you might have spent on someone else on yourself (exercising, renewing an old interest), open up to being more spiritual. Replace sadness with gratitude by focusing daily on three new things to be thankful for. You don’t have to push down or ignore your feelings, but you don’t need to wallow in them either. [more]

Food

A nibble here, a nosh there. Before you know it, the cupboard is empty (along with your wallet) and you’re breaking out the bigger pants. It happens every year, but this one can be different. Stay healthy this holiday season by staying mindful of both what you’re eating, and what you’re preparing.

1) Control the menu. If everyone is coming to your place for the holidays, ask people to bring one side dish or light dessert while you prepare the main course and perhaps a salad or healthy side dish. Not only does this save money and lighten the cooking load, it allows you to serve a hearty yet healthy feast. Even if someone brings a calorie-laden dish, you’ll still have plenty of options.

If you’re heading to a party, make your contribution wisely—bring a platter of fresh fruit or veggies or a pumpkin pie (lower in calories than any other pie on the holiday sideboard). That way, you’ll be assured of one good choice during the meal.

2) Go for a dessert plate. Just don’t load it up with cakes and cookies! A smaller dessert plate will keep your portions in check.

  • Get a good balance of protein and veggies, and keep refilling your water glass.
  • A glass or two of wine is heart-healthy, but any more than that and you’ll probably feel it in the morning.
  • A cookie or sliver of pie isn’t going to kill you, but remember to pace yourself—after 6 weeks of events, all those desserts that looked so good on the table aren’t going to look as great when you can’t get dressed on New Year’s Eve.

3) Take your time. If you arrive fashionably late, most of the food at a party will probably be gone from the table (note that this only works for cocktail and office parties, not seated dinners). If there’s still an abundance of offerings, make yourself a small plate and then find somewhere else to sit and eat it—standing and grazing at the buffet will make you eat twice as much.
Really try to savor and enjoy your treats, and stop when you’re full.

4) Get a move on! Fight the urge to lie on the couch after a big dinner. Get everyone together and take a walk or get a game of football going out back. Too cold outside? A frantic game of Twister or a spirited game of Charades keeps the blood flowing. If all else fails, challenge someone to a push-up contest, or at least do the dishes and help out cleaning up. You’ll burn way more calories getting dishpan hands than you will watching “A Christmas Story” for the 20th time!

5) Decide ahead of time what you’ll have. Know what you’ll eat and when. Compromise by indulging in a glass or two of wine, but skip dessert. Figure out whether you’d rather enjoy the nice dinner, or snack all day at various parties.Your body can accept compromises if you’re prepared.

Finally, don’t forget to have a good time! The whole point of the holidays is to celebrate traditions, spend time with loved ones and give thanks for the year past (no matter how difficult things might be or might have been.) Making a change to your seasonal routine doesn’t mean giving up things—it means reprioritizing what’s truly important to you. It’s OK to change the way you celebrate and make new traditions! Enjoy the holidays and make the most of each day…you’ll treasure each one.

Want help adapting to change the whole year through? Sign up for Ariane’s Change Secrets emails—little nuggets of wit and wisdom delivered to your inbox daily.

Posted by First 30 Days on November 17th, 2009 in General | No comments Read related posts in

15 nov

Six Steps to Feel Sexy in Your Skin

SarahMariaWhen you look in the mirror, are you amazed by what you see?

Are you smitten with your sexy body?

Are you stunned by your own magnificence?

Or, do you look in the mirror and lament the size of your thighs?

Grimace at the wrinkles appearing around your eyes?

Agonize over that roll of belly fat that refuses to retreat, despite endless crunches and trips to the gym?

If you are like the vast majority of women, and a growing number of men, you answer “yes” to the latter questions far too often.

Statistics confirm that many people have a critical and harsh relationship with their bodies. They suffer from Negative Body Obsession, a condition marked by the near-constant and critical rumination about one’s physical appearance.

Whether you are a woman going through menopause, an adolescent in the midst of puberty, or a man slowly losing his once thick head of hair, it seems that no one is immune from these negative body thoughts.

Look at these startling numbers:

Between 1997 and 2007, cosmetic surgery increased by 457%.

By 2015, 17% of U.S. residents will receive cosmetic surgery, totaling 55 million procedures. That’s almost one procedure for every five Americans.

  • Approximately eight million Americans have an eating disorder.
  • One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia.
  • Two to three in 100 American women suffer from bulimia.
  • An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males.
  • Binge-eating disorder is thought to affect 2-5% of the general population.

One study found that one in ten teenage girls either binge eats or purges at least once a week. Binge eating among boys is 3%.

Fortunately, you can choose not to be a number. You can learn to feel great in and about your body, and you can begin without changing a single thing. You don’t have to invest in expensive plastic surgery, spend countless hours in the gym, or engage in extreme dieting.

You can actually use the power of your mind to change how you feel about your body so that you finally delight in your physical form. And you can do it right now.

Here are six simple steps to help you feel sexy in your skin:

1. Become aware of what you are thinking.

The first step is to become aware of the stories you are telling yourself about your body. Notice when you critique your body for being too much of this and not enough of that. You will discover that many of these thoughts are habitual, patterned responses that are not true reflections of reality. Explore the idea that you can start feeling beautiful immediately, in this moment, without changing a single thing.

2. Set an intention to change how you look at your body. Here are some examples:

When you grimace at your wrinkles in the mirror, set an intention to find beauty in your reflection.

When you want to suck in your stomach in a vain attempt to make it disappear, set an intention to appreciate the body that you have right now.

When you long to fit into a smaller clothing size, set an intention to unconditionally accept your body.

Make a conscious commitment to change the way you look at your body and yourself.

3. Take time to connect within.

Are you waiting at the bus stop on your way to work? Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, allowing yourself to focus on the present moment.

Are you in the shower, getting ready to start your day? Turn your attention to the feeling of warm water cascading against you, gently caressing your body, and allow yourself to relax.

Practicing this present-moment awareness will help refine your ability to identify and detach from the negative dialogue about your body.

4. Your Body is Your Best Friend.

Your human body is your truest ally. Collaborate with it to create optimum health.

Make healthy eating a priority.

Remember to exercise, and make it enjoyable. If the gym makes you cringe, opt instead for yoga, Pilates, dance, or good old walking.

In our harried and hurried world, take time to relax and rejuvenate.

Offer gratitude to your body and appreciation for its unwavering support and devotion.

5. Create Meaningful Moments.

Every day is filled with countless tasks and errands. Remember that you can imbue each moment with meaning. It can be as simple as smiling at everyone you meet, reacting with compassion and love instead of anger, or making sure to tell your friends and loved ones how much you care about them.

6. You were born beautiful.

Believing that you are unattractive is a learned habit. You can unlearn it and discover the Joy, Peace, and Love that are your natural states and birthrights.

So that’s it—Six Simple Steps to start feeling beautiful, right now, in this moment. You won’t have to go anywhere or do anything. There is nothing you can do, say, or buy that will make you any more perfect than you are in this very moment. Know this, and you will revel in your true beauty.

Sarah Maria is the author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life. The book outlines her five-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body and yourself. Click here to purchase your copy and begin to love your body today. To learn more about Sarah Maria and her work, you can visit her website at www.sarahmaria.com and www.breakfreebeauty.com.

Posted by Sarah Maria on November 15th, 2009 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in

13 nov

Six Tips to Feel Beautiful Today!

findingromace_womanrelaxingwithblueskyinbackgroundHow many times have you waited for something to change so that you could finally start feeling beautiful?

If you are like most women, the answer is “all the time.”

Here is the problem. Most of us tend to live with the delusional belief that we somehow need to change in order to be beautiful. It usually sounds something like:

  • When I lose this extra weight, then I will be attractive.
  • If I can just get my abs a little more toned, then I can wear that bikini I love.
  • I feel so much better after I put on my make-up in the morning.
  • I looked much sexier before I had these wrinkles.
  • My hair looks drab and lifeless until I get it colored.

Unfortunately, we think these stories, these lies, that we have been taught are true. We believe that we somehow need to change who we are, how we look, and what we do in order to finally be sexy, attractive, and drop-dead gorgeous.

This is a lie – an erroneous, ubiquitous, and often painful lie. The truth of the matter is that you are inherently, unconditionally, and absolutely beautiful and loveable right now, without changing a single thing.

Fortunately, very fortunately, you can expose these lies and choose to live no longer under their spell.

Ready to get started? Here are six simple and sure-fired ways to help you feel beautiful today:

1.Become aware of what you are thinking.

Simply become aware of the stories you are telling yourself so that you are no longer reacting on auto-pilot. Through awareness alone, you can begin to transmute your reality and transform lies into truth. Actively acknowledge that there is no inherent truth in the belief that you need to change something about yourself in order to be attractive. Consider that you can start feeling beautiful immediately, in this moment, without changing a single thing.

2. Set an Intention to See Beauty

Setting an intention is simple: intend to create a different reality for yourself. Here are some examples:

I intend to experience my inherent beauty. Or I intend to see my beauty and perfection at all times. Or I intend to know I am inherently beautiful, lovable, and worthwhile.

Do you ever see your reflection in the mirror and grimace at your wrinkles, vowing to purchase the latest anti-wrinkle cream?

Set an intention to find your beauty in your reflection.

Or when you undress, do you ever suck in your stomach, berating yourself for not yet losing those five extra pounds?

Set an intention to appreciate the body that you have right now.

Do you ever go shopping for clothes and wish you were a size (or more) smaller?

Set an intention to unconditionally accept your body.

Hopefully you get the idea. Set an intention to see yourself through the eyes of beauty.

3. Take a “Meditation Moment”

Meditation is the mental equivalent of brushing your teeth. This means that it is an essential and indispensable daily activity designed to help rest and rejuvenate your body, cleanse your psyche, awaken your spirit, and help you live a life that you love.

Nourish yourself with instant meditation moments throughout the day.

Are you waiting at the bus stop on your way to work? Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, allowing yourself to connect within.

Are you making dinner for the family? Take 30 seconds and focus on the sounds, smells, and sensations in your environment, letting them nourish your senses.

Are you in the shower, getting ready to start your day?

Turn your attention to the feeling of warm water cascading against you, gently caressing your body, and allow yourself to relax.

These meditation moments can happen anywhere, anytime – 30 to 60 seconds of closing your eyes and connecting within can make all the difference in the world.

4. Your Body is Your Best Friend

Your human body is your truest ally. Befriend it and it will serve you tirelessly.

Treat it as you would a dear friend:

Feed your body with healthy food, taking the time to give it proper nourishment.

Remember to exercise, and make it enjoyable. If the gym makes you cringe, opt for yoga, Pilates, dance, or good old walking. Anything to get your body moving will do wonders.

Relaxation is key. In our harried and hurried world, it is essential that you remember to relax and rejuvenate.

Instead of critiquing your body for not being enough of this and for being too much of that, offer it gratitude and appreciation for it unwavering support and devotion.

5. Create Meaningful Moments

Every day is filled with countless tasks and errands: going to work, talking with friends, picking up the kids, supporting your significant other, washing dishes, going to the gym, visiting the supermarket, shopping – on and on it goes. Remember that you can imbue each moment with meaning. It can be as simple as smiling at everyone you meet, reacting with compassion and love instead of anger, or making sure to tell your friends and loved ones how much you care about them.

6. Your Smoking Hot, Inside Out

Remember, you were born beautiful. Believing that you are unattractive is a learned habit. You can unlearn it and discover the Joy, Peace, and Love that are your natural sate and birthright!

So that is it: Six Simple Steps. Six simple steps to start feeling beautiful, right now, in this moment. You don’t have to go anywhere or do anything to experience the Beauty that you already are. In fact, there is nothing you can do, say, or buy that will make you any more perfect, any more beautiful, or any more desirable than you are in this very moment. Simply know this, and you will revel in your true beauty.

Sarah Maria is the author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life. The book outlines her five-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body and yourself. Her work embraces the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, so that true and lasting healing can occur. Click here to purchase your copy and begin to love your body today. To learn more about Sarah Maria and her work, you can visit her at www.sarahmaria.com and www.breakfreebeauty.com.

Posted by Sarah Maria on November 13th, 2009 in Diet and Fitness | No comments Read related posts in

13 nov

Worry Never Works

mike_robbinsI was talking to a friend of mine last week and she said, “If worrying worked, I’d weigh 115 pounds and be a millionaire by now.” I laughed out loud – appreciating her humor and insight.

Worrying, which is something I’ve spent and wasted a lot of time and energy on throughout my life, never seems to work, does it? Worry is actually detrimental to our health, well-being, and our ability to manifest both the things and feelings we truly want in life. When we worry, we’re simply preparing to be upset in the future – assuming that something “bad” will happen.

I’ve recently become even more aware of my own obsession with worry and have realized for me, as is true for many of us, it has simply become a habituated and unconscious behavior. At some level, I find myself justifying my own worrying – thinking that it proves I really care, helps keep me focused, or allows me to stay on top of things in a responsible way. While this all makes sense, on a deeper level I’ve realized that worrying is just my erroneous attempt to control the uncontrollable – life.

Given that we all know, at least to some degree, that worrying doesn’t really work and actually makes things worse – why do we do it?

First of all, we’ve been trained to worry – by our parents, teachers, friends, family members, co-workers, the media, our culture, and more. From the time we were kids and to this day, we’re taught (directly and indirectly) that we’re supposed to worry about lots of things – crime, illness, money, our children, being taken advantage of, pollution, and so much more. While some may argue that there are many things we should be concerned and aware about, “worrying” about any of these things doesn’t make them better or help us address them in a specific way.

Second of all, we’re not usually encouraged or even all that good at acknowledging, addressing, and expressing our real emotions. Worry is often a suppressed form of fear, anger, shame, or other emotions we find difficult to deal with. Because worrying is much more socially acceptable than expressing our authentic fear (or anger, guilt, helplessness, shame, sadness, etc.), we tend to actively worry about things all the time. Our inability to express our real emotions, which is usually the source, is what keeps worry in place.

Finally, we worry that if we stop worrying, something really bad will happen. As ironic and odd as it may seem, we continue to worry somehow thinking we are protecting ourselves. In actuality when we worry we’re just setting ourselves up for more stress and fear.

Here are a few things you can do to let go of worry and live with a deeper sense of peace and freedom:

1) Notice what you worry about – Like most aspects of life and growth, the first step is authentic awareness. When we become conscious about our own habits, thoughts, and patterns as it relates to worrying, we can start to make some healthy choices and changes. As you notice your own tendency to worry, have compassion with yourself and see if you’re willing to let it go.

2) Identify and express your real emotions – The root cause of all worry is an emotion or set of emotions. If we can identify how we really feel (scared, angry, sad, ashamed, helpless, etc.) and we’re willing to express our emotions with passion and authenticity, we will move through the emotion and release its energy, thus transforming it and letting go of our worry.

3) Take conscious and courageous action – Worry often renders us inactive; stuck in a state of negative thinking or fear based reactions. Taking conscious and courageous actions in the face of our fear and worry can be one of the most empowering things for us to do. This is not about frantic, random, erroneous activity (just for the sake of doing something), this is about us taking deliberate action as a way of moving through our fear in a direct and confident way.

There’s nothing wrong with us for worrying – it is part of being human, especially in our world today. We don’t need to judge ourselves for it, but it is important for us to acknowledge our worry when it shows up, as it can be quite detrimental to our success, well-being, and fulfillment in life. When we remember that worrying never works and we’re willing to dive deeper into what is really going on within us, we can transform our worry and use it as a catalyst for positive change.

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

Posted by Mike Robbins on November 13th, 2009 in Family, Global/Social Change, Health, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

10 nov

11.11 “The Four Pillars”

November 11th, 2009

Transitioning into any Major Universal Shift is not always easy and or comfortable to your embodiment. As humans you are witnessing one of the “Greatest Shifts on  Earth,” says Ascended Master Kuthumi (world leader teacher and master).  He says that the “4 Pillars” are completely in line of our Universal Awakening to the Truest Experience that has ever been witnessed by the Human Species. “It is TRUTH”; he  speaks that the illusion of the space you call “time” here on Linear has no more sand in its Hour Glass. TIME as what you may know, has been completed.  With the Awakening occurring, many Humans still live in FEAR. When you are in this Linear, with FEAR, you can manifest a “ripple” effect for many more to become this panic, this despair, this challenge of wondering what is to come.  PLEASE help yourself  not to FEAR, for this is False Evidence Appearing Real. It is an Illusion. Eternal is the TRUTH, and this is the only space without time, that will truly bring Peace, Joy and Love.

The coming 11.11 (November 11th, 2009) is a “passage” into the Pillars of Eternal Light. The Four Pillars stand as Humility, Passion, Truth and Oneness. The Pillar of Humility is the experience to be liberated from the suffering of life and the  human mind’s ego. It is the emptiness and non-self, free from suffering and illusions, humbled. In this Pillar entrance, the light being has climbed the “Ladder of Rights to no more Rungs.” The Pillar of Passion is to be strong and have extravagant fondness, enthusiasm and a desire for anything that portends the positive of Nirvana, the “blissful” state of being, being set Free. Pillar of Truth; it is Knowledge, Wisdom and the Faith of your journey into Oneness, creating the I Am Presence, the ability to conceive the enlightenment through release of linear experiences; it is the Knowing rather than believing; it is the vibration of “feeling” from the sacred heart and its truest realization. The Pillar of Oneness is the Ultima, journey into the Infinite. It is an immeasurable space without calculated time, zero point, a gathering of collective celestial and majestic beauty. It is the Triumph of Color and Musical Vibration, Freedom, Peace, Joy and Home.

These Pillars are of the “Divine God Code” through Sacred Geometry. It is the symmetry of the Masculine and Feminine that is “weaved” through all living things; such the “Flower of Life,” we are God Light that holds the Sacredness to our Eternal. You  are the Pillar; you are infused and invoked with the “Divine God Code,” integrated with Source Intelligence, creating these 4 Pillars to Our Eternal Existence. On 11.11 @ 11:00 a.m., the Curtain (veil) is wide open. It is here when entered  (by choice), where we are infused and invoked with the Violet Light, the Tube of Truth that we have come to receive. In the “I Am Presence” we stand in Oneness.

We have completed calculated “Time” soon, and the Highest Christ Consciousness is the Whole Being, the blending and banding is Union ship of no more divide. We walk the “Stairway to Heaven” to enter the 4 Pillars, from a journey traveled of past, present and future. We are Now, the present, the “Presence of Oneness”. In this “eleven OUR” of being Awakened, there is no more “past”, no more “future.” It is the “present” from the Tree of Life that we sustain this Eternal gift. We are the “hallow” spine of this Tree. The Fruits are now ripe as the gathered Apples and Pears grow together as Oneness from this Eternal Tree. November, December and January of 2009 are symbolized as “Death, Ascend and Beginning.”

In these three (3) months, it is highly recommended to give you the much needed Rest, for Death are Transformation, change and completeness. Death is a natural occurrence and mustn’t be feared. To “rest” the body, mind and spirit, is to cleanse the old to prepare for the new. Death is the Cycle of Life. All living has its changes of season. Stay strong and encourage thyself to this fullest surrender, embrace and be blessed with this Death, for endings always bring new beginnings.

Ascend is to Rise, lift the Vibrations to Oneness. The uplift to the Stairway, the journey not the destination, for it is the Infinite to Ascend; to be released from all restriction and waiting;  Aligned with the Divine God, never ending, Home and Peace. Beginning is the “new Birth” not “re-birth” of the Eternal Existence; to be realized no past and future only the Present. It is here where Oneness is without Form and the Birth of this Ascension from the Death has given us completeness and alignment of the God Within. It is now, when one begins to relinquish the attached, and begins to prepare for  the opening of the space within us that is beyond the cult of a patterned personality.

Many fear the word “death,” for they feel this is the end of the physical existence. Every day you release to a death, by letting go of something that you have patterned yourself to hold onto. All must end to create the beginning again. The Soul Contracts that have been re-cycled, re-birthed for eons of times, are no more.  These contracts are being completed now. It is time to ascend back home, the home that we desire of our truest form, “light.” Humans will witness greatness, love, joy, peace and happiness. The loss is over, we are leaving the pain. Smile and just be happy, for it is time to run to the playgrounds and be a kid again; no more work, living a life purpose to serve as you equally receive. Coming together as a whole family again, that trust, loves and shares stories of happiness. We have come to a space without any needs or wants, we are fully detached, we are removed from others responsibilities; and from this we can now assist ALL beings help themselves feel the same love and joy.

In this completion cycle of this experience, choices will be made. What we need to remember is that we already made the choice, the choice to stand together in  Oneness, beyond the drama of the final residue of the past and future, for it has come to the space of only the NOW, the presence, the Gift. Taking much needed time now is to rest; enjoy your time off, relax, play and love yourself;  For it is the human ego no more, for the Pillar of Humility is all that stands tall.

May all the blessings be filled to thy will of knowing; the Truth, and so it is.

Rev. Mary Martin
Mystic Illuminist
www.guidedhands.net

Posted by First 30 Days on November 10th, 2009 in New Directions | 1 comment

08 nov

Change—the New and the Old

happier_confidenceAll change involves a delicate combination of the new and the old. Change asks us to allow, accept, embrace and welcome the new. And change asks us to let go, grieve, release and find peace with what has changed. In that light I asked myself what specifically should we focus on and embrace and what can we support ourselves in letting go of.

5 things to focus on:

1. Get back in your body and out of your head. All the struggle and uncertainty we are living with right now, puts us in our heads, in anxiety for many hours of the day. We mistreat our bodies, feed them poorly, don’t give them a way to process emotions. We feel disconnected. We are split. We don’t feel anymore because we don’t feel ourselves first. We need to find anything, dancing, walking, jumping, bodywork, baths, breathwork, that us connect with our bodies again. So ask yourself some questions: Am I breathing deeply? Am I tight/sore? Ask your body how it’s feeling.

2. Allow yourself to be human, feel every emotion fully, including the ones you’ll do anything to avoid. We are all very attached to being perfect, in control. So we don’t get really sad. We don’t feel terror. We don’t express hurt or anger or disappointment or shame. However, the reality is that the emotion we most resist is ruling our lives. What is it for you? Once you realize the grip it has on you, it will start to release. If you are sad, feel totally sad. If you are filled with emptiness, feel that fully. It’s only on the other side of those feelings that you will find relief. It’s never in pretending they don’t exist or you have dealt with them.

3. Focus on you being happy. We should do what we want, really want. This the biggest gift we can give anyone, including our kids, spouse and friends. How easy it is for us to focus on anyone but ourselves? We do more for others guaranteed. It’s actually for a few reasons. We have forgotten what we even want, what would make us happy, and it’s actually much easier to help someone else rather than to start making changes in our own lives. We think we are selfish or will feel guilty if we do things we want. Everyone suffers when we are not happy. So start with remembering the little things that make you happier. Pick three and do them daily.

4. The world needs gentleness. We must start with ourselves. We should do everything with gentleness. In these times of change, we are all craving gentleness. From the guy on the bus, to the woman behind the counter, to our colleagues. Where do we find gentleness? Is there a new website, gentleness.com, where we can get our daily dose? Not necessarily. Start with yourself. You want to change your life, start with your inner dialogue, what you say when you look at yourself in the mirror. Next, treat every communication gently—every email, every phone call. It only takes a few more seconds to write or say something gentle. Create a safe space to land for yourself and then for others when they have any interaction with you.

5. Be completely OK with making mistakes and not being right. Ah, the high standards we have established, in every area of our lives. We have been so hurt by the incredibly high demands we set on ourselves. When we fail, when we try something and it doesn’t work the first time, it’s an attack on our identity. You’re the woman who gets everything done or the man who is only needed to provide. This attitude is what makes us not try something, not reach for a dream, not write that book, not try that class, not leave the bad relationship or destructive job. It’s OK to make mistakes, with honor. If you aren’t making mistakes, you are more concerned with looking good, fitting in, pretending, than you are with learning, living and growing.

Become an example for others. At all times, every choice you make shows you deciding whether to be an inspiration or a warning for someone else. Instead be a reference point. You matter for many more people than you think. To do this, become free of your own “stuff.” Start with the list below. You’ll see there the biggest things that get in the way and create your suffering.

5 things to let go of:

1. Let go of the feeling that you are “missing out.” We all feel that we are missing something in our lives. That if we make one decision, it may hurt our chance at something else. That we may have already taken the wrong path. We are missing out time with our folks, time with our kids, time in the gym and time doing nothing. Let go of this consistent nagging doubt that you should be spending your time doing something else, just in case that other thing is better or brings you a different outcome. Be present for yourself now. You are exactly where you are meant to be. Nothing is missing that won’t eventually come into your life. As one spiritual teacher said, you could sit on the side of the road for five years and your destiny will still find you. You aren’t missing out on anything.

2. Let go of the feeling that you are “behind, late with something that hasn’t happened yet.” We need to forget all those ETAs for the lover, the baby, the home or the perfect job. This feeling rules our life. Somehow, we, our parents, society snuck in and put these giant deadlines in our calendar without our permission! But, things never happen on the timeline we expect. Some things will come early, some things will be late according to our timetables. The energy we put into trying to speed things up is exhausting. Let it go. Focus on what has happened and see yourself with exactly what you want.

3. Let go of the feeling that “your life isn’t working.” It’s easy at this current time to start stacking all our problems and come to the giant conclusion that our lives aren’t working. We pick at ourselves at different parts of our lives. Maybe it’s our health or relationships and that becomes our black hole. Not only does it suck us in, it sucks in all the parts of our lives that are working. Soon enough we’re wondering why we’re impossibly miserable. But, really, our lives are exactly where we want them to be. Otherwise we would change them. If you want to change yours, then do so to have it work even better, not because your life is all wrong. And I promise you, there are times life will do the changing for you. We all get our fair share of the changes life throws at us. They are all for the better eventually.

4. Let go of the feeling that you aren’t “good enough.” Here is that impossibly high standard again that we set for ourselves. When we are most vulnerable is when we are our most attractive. No one wants a perfect partner or friend. Really. No one wants to work with someone who always gets it all right and all done. Give yourself permission to be human, show that to others and you then give permission to everyone around you to be that as well. Your kids need to see your humanity. Your spouse is craving to see your weaknesses, your vulnerability, so s/he can hold you with gentleness. Let others experience the human side of you, not the resume or the totally in-control person.

5. Let go of the feeling that someone else has more than you do. Power, money, love, happiness. Everyone has something we don’t think we have. So, remember this: Compare and despair. Comparison achieves absolutely nothing. What is that one thing you are always triggered by that someone else has? Put a name on it. What does it represent for you? Remember you are whole and complete without this. I promise you, you have things that others would do anything to have. And remember this, your worst day, your worst year is someone else’s biggest dream.

All of these feelings/triggers act like massive brakes in our lives. The only way to lift the brake is to release these feelings. Bring them out of your “blind spot” and become aware of them when one of these has you under its grip. Notice it, become the witness of what is ruling your life. Suffering is so much more familiar to most of us that the consistent feeling of being happy. The second your mind tries to pull you “back down in the basement,” just become aware of that and gently push the elevator button back up.

Take a moment to print out this list. Or to email it to someone. Or maybe re-read it and ask yourself which is the biggest one for you at this time.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on November 8th, 2009 in Ariane, Global/Social Change | 1 comment Read related posts in

06 nov

The Power of a Sincere Apology

Apologies happen—sometimes multiple times a day. We apologize when we unintentionally say something hurtful, when we make a mistake at work, or when we bump into somebody on the street. And then there are the bigger apologies—those we should have addressed months or years ago. Maybe we said something to alienate someone, perhaps we judged too quickly or did something we regret. Saying “I’m sorry” remains one of the hardest things to do. We justify our actions, we present half-apologies, we blame the one we’ve hurt, or we expect something in return. Yet a true apology can clear the air and potentially heal a relationship.

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Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on November 6th, 2009 in Ariane, Relationships | No comments Read related posts in

05 nov

Love Your Body, Love Your Life

mike_robbinsHow do you feel about your body? More specifically, how do you feel about your physical appearance?

For many of us, especially me, these are not easy or fun questions to answer. Most people I know have issues, concerns, or complaints about their body and about how they look. I often struggle, and have for much of my life, with a negative view and feeling about my own body – thinking it isn’t fit enough, obsessing about certain features and aspects of my appearance that I don’t like, and simply feeling flawed in various ways physically.

While this has ebbed and flowed for me throughout my life – based on certain stages, various injuries, and other factors and obsessions – for the most part, feeling bad about my body and appearance is something I’ve dealt with for a long time. I continue to struggle with body image issues, even though I pretend I’m “too evolved” to be concerned with such “superficial” insecurities and erroneously think that with all of the personal growth work I’ve done I should be past this by now.

There’s nothing wrong with us wanting to look our best, take care of ourselves, be fit, and more. However, when I tell the truth about it, so much of my own desire to be “healthy” and to take care of myself physically, has more to do with me not wanting to not get fat, look bad, or be viewed (by myself and others) as unhealthy, ugly, diminished, or flawed.

We live in a culture that is obsessed with “body beautiful.” Billions of dollars are spent each year by advertisers telling us we don’t look good enough and need improvement. In return, we spend billions of our own dollars collectively on various products which are supposed to reverse our aging process, re-grow our hair, smooth out our wrinkles, whiten our teeth, help us lose weight, make us look and feel better, and much more. I’ve spent my own money on these types of products, usually with a sense of embarrassment for doing so, as well as disappointment with the ultimate result (or lack thereof).

While all of this is not that easy for me to admit, especially given the work that I do, I know that I’m not alone and that this is a big issue for many of us. This isn’t something that only affects teens, celebrities, or women – it’s something that people of all ages, races, genders, backgrounds, professions, and more struggle with. Many of us, including us men, often don’t admit our body image issues, fearing the judgment of others as well as our own personal shame.

I’ve recently decided to address my own appearance issues directly. I feel ready to both deal with this honestly and heal it genuinely, although I find myself feeling scared, embarrassed, and vulnerable about it at the same time.

In this process, I’ve come across a powerful new book called Love Your Body, Love Your Life, by an amazing woman named Sarah Maria. This book has had a profound impact on my own life already (and I just picked it up two weeks ago). Sarah Maria, a prominent body image expert and spiritual teacher, teaches us that we are not alone in our “Negative Body Obsession” (NBO). So many of us, especially in our culture, struggle with varying degrees of NBO which negatively impacts our lives, our work, our relationships, and how we feel about ourselves in a significant way.

In reading this book and practicing some of the techniques, however, I’m really starting to see and understand (in a real, not simply theoretical, way) that how we feel about our bodies has a lot to do with how we feel about ourselves and our lives. And, at the same time, NBO is not as much about how we feel about our bodies; it’s about how we feel about ourselves.

What if we could truly love, accept, and appreciate our bodies and how we look, right now? Imagine what life would be like without NBO? Sarah Maria calls it “befriending” our body. So often, we treat our body like an “enemy” we’re trying to beat, conquer, or at least keep at bay.

The key to all of this is not about losing more weight, finding the right workout program, getting the best products, or buying better clothes. It’s really about us making peace with our bodies, and on a deeper level making peace with ourselves. Loving our body can give us access to loving ourselves more deeply. And, paradoxically, how we can really begin to love our body and let go of NBO in a genuine way, is to practice loving ourselves authentically.

While there is no “quick fix” to all of this (as is the case for most important things in life), there are some things we can think about and practice as we enhance our capacity to love our bodies, ourselves, and our lives more genuinely.

1) Forgive – It’s essential for us to forgive ourselves and to also forgive our body. In many cases we have done, said, and thought really negative and damaging things to and about our body over the years. With a sense of healthy remorse and a deep sense of empathy, we can begin to forgive ourselves for how we have treated our body in the past. At the same time, we can practice forgiving our body for not being “perfect.”

2) Accept – Making peace with our body and appearance is an important step in our process to love and heal ourselves in a genuine way. What if we could accept, appreciate, and love our body as it is right now – whether or not we’re at our ideal weight (which most of us aren’t) and even if we don’t love every feature of our body (which most of us don’t). Acceptance leads to peace, peace leads to healing, and healing leads to love. Accepting our body and our appearance are fundamental aspects of loving ourselves and our lives.

3) Get Real – How we truly feel about our body and appearance is something that many of us aren’t comfortable thinking about or talking about with others in an honest, real, and vulnerable way. However, for us to shift how we feel about our body, our appearance, and our life in a genuine way, we have to be willing to address this at a deeper level than food, exercise, cosmetics, etc. Body image issues cut to the core of how we feel about ourselves as human beings. Our issues with our body often reflect the deeper issues we have with ourselves. When we’re willing to get real about this, like with anything else in life, we have an expanded capacity to learn, grow, and heal. Getting real about how we truly feel about our body also reminds us that we’re not alone in this, that there’s a lot of support around us, and that there’s nothing “wrong” with us for feeling this way – it’s part of being human.

As you think about and talk about your honest relationship to your body and your appearance, be kind to yourself. Many of us have a lifetime filled with negative thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about ourselves physically. And, as we’re able to forgive ourselves, accept ourselves, and get real about this, we give ourselves access to transforming our relationship to our body and our life in a profound and positive 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

Posted by Mike Robbins on November 5th, 2009 in Diet and Fitness, Health, Spirituality | No comments

04 nov

Thank and Appreciate Your Employees

startinganewbusiness_businessdealhandshakeouttoyouThanking and celebrating employees are critical components of successful managing in an intellectual-age economy. Appreciation and celebration activate emotions. And, strong positive emotions have been proven to inspire loyalty.

Today’s workplace relies on employee thinking, commitment and engagement for success; employees who are celebrated and regularly thanked for their contributions, consistently contribute more, out-perform others and are more loyal. Besides being the right thing to do personally, it’s also great for business.

Consider these four ways to thank and celebrate your employees throughout the year:

1. Take the time to talk to, and get to know, your employees. The most significant way to thank and celebrate your employees is to get to know them. Take them to lunch or schedule time to ask about their values, hobbies, and interests. Understand your employees. Use what you now know about them to build a customized skills-improvement performance plan. Spend time with, and become interested in, each of your employees. The one-on-one attention you invest in is a significant way to celebrate all your employees’ talents and contributions.

2. Ask employees what they think. The best way to feel appreciated is to be included – to feel that your perspectives matter. In today’s intellectual age, we need input from all of our employees; managers alone do not have all the answers. Including employees in company issues, challenges, and opportunities empowers them, engages them, and connects them to something important.

3. Say thank you, and mean it. Most managers actually do thank employees who do great work. Employees work for more than money. They work for the praise and acknowledgement of their managers. A sincere thank you, said at the time of a specific event that warrants the applause, is one of the most effective ways to appreciate employees. Remember the phrase, “What gets rewarded, gets repeated.” Start to say “thank you” or “I appreciate what you do” when it is deserved and it will inspire the behaviors to continue. Make it personal and sincere. Catch employees doing great things and respond. It empowers them, appreciates them, and celebrates their performance.

4. Spend a nickel to get a dollar. Employees are impressed with a small “thank you” gift or prize, when the prize is customized and personal. A $10 Starbucks card, certificate for a movie rental, coupon for a sandwich, or ice-cream award can be great ways to customize a thank you. Employees are not affected by the size of the gift, but by its appropriateness. A manager, who understands his team will know the right, small, and meaningful incentive for each employee. The small thank you gift—$10. The impact on the employee—priceless.

Say “thank you,” and celebrate the people who matter to you—at work AND at home.

Posted by Jay Forte on November 4th, 2009 in Career | No comments Read related posts in