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How to Thrive: A Resurrection of Reasons For Living

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Many if not most of us were taught from a very young age that life is very hard and unfair, a constant struggle and that as humans we really can’t trust one another or even ourselves for that matter. Furthermore, if this isn’t our experience, then we must be doing something wrong and we don’t deserve to be happy. And while we can hopefully entertain that this isn’t exactly the healthiest outlook to pass on, I don’t feel that we intend to necessarily cause harm by demonstrating this to our children. In fact, I feel most parents would say they’re trying to protect and prepare their kids.

But then again, where does this need to want to “prepare” them to struggle come from? Well, from OUR parents, right? And from theirs? And theirs? Well, where did this consciousness of lack and imperfection and fear truly begin? When did we begin to view life as something we need to survive rather than thrive in?

I remember as a child the moment I realized that adults were actually not these “all-knowing” beings that many of them appeared or claimed to be and even as a child I knew that I was onto a higher level of knowing beyond many of the adults around me, simply for the fact I had an inner understanding deep down that life actually wasn’t meant to be hard, that it was fair, and that it wasn’t meant to be such a struggle if you just learned how to trust and work with it (and yourself).

I somehow just knew that we, all of us, were meant for greater things than the daily small talk and stresses and that for those of us who had the courage to go for it; to go against what we were told how life should be, were the ones who were actually HAPPY.

Why? Because they were taking control over their own happiness; they made it an inside job. I didn’t know how to consciously structure this awareness at the time, but looking around at all these adults telling me what it takes to live a happy life (by acquiring more and more stuff and comparing yourself to others) and yet seeing for the most part how miserable they all were; well, I knew something was up. And unlike most people under the age of 10, I spent much of my time pondering things like this and trying to uncover this and other mysteries of the workings of life and the universe and what it means to be a (happy) human.

Needless to say…this made me a pretty strange kid.

Well, that and the fact I could see auras and energies! 😉 But seriously, I’m not saying that I was immune to establishing negative core beliefs about myself. I did form several, just like everyone else around me, and eventually, even my own inner knowing was tested and layered over with false perceptions of the world around me that I started to convince myself were real. Slowly but surely I too fell victim to core beliefs (or what I now call “shadows”) that had me believing I didn’t deserve love, peace, or happiness in my life, and for years I played out this drama to convince myself it was all true…

The biggest ones I personally took on were around self-esteem and having fear around being who I really am. I knew I was “different” and for a long time, I let the harsh words of other kids putting me down for the weird things I’d say crush my self-esteem and make me shrink so small like a turtle going deep into its shell. I learned to believe that my opinions were not important and that I had nothing of value to say.

Soon enough, this would manifest as different habits including mumbling when I spoke and a severe fear of public speaking. As a teen, I developed some serious resentment as I rebelled through poetry full of morbid angst and hatred for a world that could never understand me.

Do you see how dangerous believing the opinions of others are? And this is what we’ve done as children before we had a conscious choice as to whether or not to do so. Now, if anything isn’t fair in life, it would be that. As children we are literal sponges of words and emotions and unable to always coherently process them, we bury them deep with our psyches where they surface later in life in many different ways.

I’m sure some of you can relate. When you feel like no one understands you, you inevitably feel alone and tend to withdraw and I think this happens to so many of us for so many different reasons. Whether we are taught we aren’t good enough or too fat or told we’re stupid. Words and actions are so damaging and the truth is they stick with us well into adulthood. So, literally all of those issues you are still having and are yet to identify; the causes are literally rooted in your most early years of life. And this is how we always work with shadows to heal them…we go back to our childhood when it all started.

When we ask various people about their childhoods, we can get a number of varying responses ranging from quite positive to quite negative and even these ends of the spectrum have their own light and dark corners. With so many variables, saying that one had a “good” or “bad” childhood completely is rather difficult to do. And with good reason. We are multi-faceted beings and we are here to experience not just one end of the physical spectrum of reality, but everything in between. Each corner of space and time offers a great lesson if we are open to it. And perhaps the current paradigm of being in a cycle of “lack” and seeing life as a mere struggle we need to survive is our greatest lesson yet. Image result for thrive quotes

For at this end of the spectrum, we have lost sight of our divinity and greatness. We are seeing a place in our reality where Source or God doesn’t exist and this is merely impossible. We’ve convinced ourselves that there is even a chance that imperfection exists in the Universe as even that which appears imperfect just IS. Perhaps in the vibration of struggle, we learn to surrender. And perhaps in surrendering we find our true strength.

When we teach others, especially children that they must “earn” love, then we are convincing them they are anything less than divine creations, which is false information…we have lied to them. And children being children will know this on a soul level and receiving this conflicting information will cause an energetic disturbance they will not and cannot process, thus manifesting in harmful core beliefs about themselves they will carry into their adult lives. We all do this and have had this done to us. Hopefully not out of intention, but out of ignorance, and now with awareness, we all have the choice to take heed with our words, with children and all people; even ourselves.

To thrive in life, we are taught we must get the degrees and climb the corporate ladder to “success”. But then again, that depends on what your definition of success is, which is nowadays meaning many things to many different people. However, regardless of how you define success, one thing that remains abundantly clear that everyone wants is…well, abundance, and happiness. And we are finally agreeing on what it really takes to get there. It’s not “stuff”, well, not material stuff anyways. It’s the good stuff, going on within you. More specifically, what YOU think and what YOU think of YOU.

While hard work is an inevitable part of reaping the fruits of life’s abundance, life doesn’t have to always BE hard. If you’ve come from a particularly difficult upbringing, or from a very poor family, you might have trouble entertaining any other concept but “life is ALWAYS hard and ALWAYS a struggle” because that has ALWAYS been your experience growing up.

But even if you grew up in a very wealthy family, chances are still good that you may have been ingrained with core beliefs that put a damper on your sense of self-worth; which is really what determines how much or how little we truly allow ourselves to suffer in life. Or in other words, how hard we allow things to be before we finally say, “Enough is enough!” In the age where the American Dream has literally turned into a nightmare, it’s up to each and every one of us to wake up to our own creative power and start thriving in life!

tamaraTamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

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This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




Earthling Essentials: 3 Tips For Embracing Your Human-ness

Since I was a little girl, I always felt I didn’t belong here. Like I’d come to this little blue/green planet from the stars with my cosmic family for vacation or something and woke up only to forget where I come from and find that I’ve been left behind. To this day, I still look up to the stars and feel more at home than I ever did anywhere on Earth. I’ve always seemed to view the world through a different kind of lens; one that often got me in big trouble for asking too many questions and challenging the adults around me; one that also sometimes got me picked on in school for being “weird”.  Do you mean not all kids felt like adults were always either hiding something, feeding us kids fairy tales or didn’t know nearly as much as they claimed to know…and felt comfortable calling said adults out on these things? 🙂

Yes, I was that kid…the one who didn’t listen very well and was often disruptive in class. In this day and age, I most likely would’ve been diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin to curb my “rebel child” tendencies. And perhaps those traits my Mother has stated were my most difficult, but hold her favorite memories of me as a kid (getting kicked out of Sunday school for asking the nuns too many questions, for example) would never have had a chance to bloom.

rumiWhat I love about my Mother is she embraced ALL of me, ALL of the time. She always encouraged my weirdness, my creative spark, and no matter what interested me, if she saw it lit up a part of my soul she would support me 100% and I love her dearly for that. It always made being the “weird” kid a little bit easier in a world that didn’t seem to run the same way I did. And as I grew into a teenager, the angst that most teens feel was ever so present in me as well. However, rather than merely being ticked off at curfews and too much homework, I chose to focus on things that were “jacked up” in the world such as government corruption, secret societies, and how there is SO much more to life than what we are taught to believe.

My time alone was spent penning words of fury about how we are not taught to love ourselves and our differences but instead taught to conform and be like everyone else. How we are shown on TV what beauty looks like, what junk food is cool, what music is “in”, how to dress, how to talk, how to walk, how to breathe, how to EXIST!

It pissed me off so badly, and even more so that no one around me seems to care much at all. Here I was a 16-year-old girl with concerns about the Gulf War, Social Security, Income Tax, and the apparent psychological takeover of humanity, while my peers were worried about getting rides to the mall, football games, and how to convince their older brothers to buy them beer. And while I participated in the latter, my mind could not help but dwell concern on the former, and that only made me feel more…weird.

In an attempt to balance me, I would escape into music and nature as often as possible; often skipping school to go hiking in the Pennsylvania Mountains, and hitting up as many outdoor summer concerts that I could. The freedom I found in both nature and music is what set me free. It was the yin to my yang; the right-brain to my left-brain.  But I was still bitter. I still looked around at the world at large with judgment and confusion regarding the state of things; resenting how unconscious the collective seemed to be.

rules_humanAs I grew and learned of meditation, yoga, Buddhism, Reiki, and other spiritual teachings, practices, and modalities, I thought I had found the key to the door I’d been pounding on for years. Not only did it all create peace within me, but it allowed me to finally meet people that thought the way I did; people that wanted to talk about things besides the weather and had hopes and dreams on how to change the world into a more positive, conscious place. I dove into my spirituality with a vengeance and for the greater part of my 20’s I felt like I had learned so much about the world, how we got here, where we go when we die, what we’re doing here and why, the workings of the Universe, what I now call Source…you name it. If it was considered “spiritual” I had read about or studied it.

I also learned so much about my own inner workings and my place in this world; where I was headed and what I wanted to be. But I was all the while denying my “human-ness” by repressing it within myself and judging it in others as well. Because even after all of this, I was still pissed off that people were seemingly satisfied with their 9-5 jobs and paying their taxes, and voting for the next talking head. I was convinced that the world would not change for the better until everyone just woke the hell up! Somewhere along the way, I thought to be “spiritual” I had to deny what it means to be human. But it’s often in losing ourselves that we find ourselves…

“The main thing in life is not to be afraid of being human.” -Aaron Carter

After 9-11 and even again after 2012, I began to notice the waves of people that were awakening to both personal and collective truths. More and more we’re beginning to question that something was not right in the world. A beautiful thing had been put into motion, and meanwhile, I was also awakening to something as well. This wave instilled a newfound connection to humanity within me. I had always had an innate sense of compassion for others, but this was different, this was DEEP. I was proud of the collective consciousness, to the point, it would often bring me to tears. And this eventually leads me to a profound truth that was vital to understand that what I had been denying for so many years was the key to my wholeness and to maintaining balance within myself. My re-connection to my human-ness, to the ability to appreciate the purpose of why we’re here was re-ignited and lit a spark within me that has only since grown stronger. As humans, we are here to learn and to grow, and what may look like ignorance, or like blurred lenses, or apathy is often just a necessary part of the growth process that each and every one of us goes through in our own way. And the beauty of life itself, the essence of creation lives through us in the experiences we have as we grow and learn. And what is even more beautiful is when we each discover that we’re all walking our paths and that it best suits us to focus on where we are headed rather than worrying about how far ahead or far behind others may be on their own paths.

“The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.” -George Orwell

So, you may have been expecting this article to be paragraphs of advice on how to embrace your human-ness, but I’ve chosen to disguise that advice within a story of my own awakening into my own embracing of my very own human-ness. But fret not; I still offer 3 vital tips for carrying out this very same deed for yourself…

  1. Love the journey. Above all, let your dreams be your guide, but never forget that it’s all about the journey. And it’s not necessarily about “making things happen” as it is about allowing them to come to the surface. We are all where we are meant to be, no matter where we are or how hard that might be to swallow. And it’s how we get to where we’re going, who we meet along the way, the lessons we learn, the advice we offer, etc. that make up our experiences. So, no matter how many mistakes we make, as long as we keep trying, and continue to move forward and participate, we are honoring our roles as co-creator beings. These experiences we create become our memories, which are forever etched in our hearts and they deserve your utmost attention. So, be in the here and “right now”. Nothing deserves your attention more than this very moment.
  2. Love Yourself. When you love who you are (ALL of you), your human-ness inevitably gets its due share. Being human is AWESOME! It’s not the Universe’s way of “dumbing us down” as I once thought. It’s the Universe’s way of honoring itself, by splintering its consciousness out into these amazing co-creator beings (that would be us humans) and granting them free will in order to bring consciousness back to itself via experiences here on Earth. How freaking COOL is that??? And when we create from a place of love, the world around us reflects that love back to us in unimaginable ways.
  3. Love All Others. When you realize that we are all part of the conscious collective, that we are all energy adding to it and therefore are all connected, it allows one to see that when we show kindness and compassion to others, we are showing that same kindness and compassion to ourselves as well. We reflect the world how we feel about ourselves, so if you follow #2, then #3 should be a breeze!

Perhaps love is what stirs the winds of change after all. And perhaps it is what always has.

Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Certified Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer, and a Conservative voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. 

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




8 Tips on How to Stop Caring What Other People Think of You

Sweet Like Chocolate by Cherie Roe Dirksen

“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” ~Lao Tzu

We’ve all feared — at some stage in our lives — what people think of us.  As ludicrous as it is to hand over your personal power in this way, it’s still a reality and something that is dealt with on a daily basis for most.

Here are 8 tips on how to get rid of caring about how you appear to others:

  1. Don’t Buy Into the Media Version of Happy/Beauty — The fear of imperfection and/or of not being accepted is, of course, an a-lister in the battle of caring what others think of you. But answer this:  Who gets to be the judge and jury on what is deemed beautiful or hideous — successful or stupid? A big contributor to our general feelings of insecurity are the tabloids/magazines/TV shows and movies. Spare a thought about who you give your power over to.  These various outlets that dictate what beauty and normal are seem to be pushing fake, in my opinion.  There are moments where true beauty can shine through these channels, but those flashes are few and far between.  To indulge in a cliché: True beauty and acceptance is in the eye of the beholder.  So anyone claiming to know what beauty or normal definitely is needs very close examining if they are not including every member of the human race.  Capisce!
  2. Love Yourself More — We need to look at ourselves and find the beauty inherent within us, and not always trying to weed out our perceived faults. When you treat yourself with loving kindness and nurture your self-esteem with positive thoughts, you will begin to shift into alignment with your higher self.  Because Ms. Aguilera was right, you are beautiful no matter what they say!  When you can out these undesirable contracts or agreements that you have fallen prey to (aka comparing yourself to models or to celebrity status), you can begin to repair them.  We have to discover why we felt the lack and how we are feeling now about the same issue (more about this in later points).  Intrinsically, we are all we ever need to be.  We make agreements that go against our very sense of self when we buy into all the external hullabaloo.  Be happy with the skin you’re in and the unique nature that you possess.
  3. Reassess Your Core Beliefs — When we were young we had no inhibitions and sang at the top of our voices, danced our hearts out (whether someone was looking or not) and thought we were princesses and superheroes. Then one day someone came along and made you feel less than what you felt about yourself. You may have paused to take it in – then you made a crucial decision. Either you agreed with what they said or you didn’t. That is why some of us can still dance freely and not be bothered whilst others cringe at the thought of dancing in public – this could be due to an earlier experience of being made to feel like you were ‘no good’ by someone who was only giving you their perspective at that given moment. We need to extract and acknowledge the agreement and overwrite it with a new, more self-serving belief.
  4. Be Mindful of Perspectives — Everyone (yes, even you!) has a preference based on their version of reality. When you are confronted, and possibly affronted, by one persons perspective you must realize that it is but one view in a sea of other possible outlooks.  There is going to be someone (or many) out there who just happens to love your form of expression.  If you happen to go back in time and mentally extract a scenario where your ego was wounded, you may find that this person could have been someone very dear to you — someone you trusted deeply.  In this case, it can make the hurt twice as potent.  However, we must consider that some things are said in the heat of the moment and not really meant by the offender, so we really need to dissect our reasons for making the agreement in the first place. This is not about playing the blame game, it’s about taking responsibility for how you feel NOW.
  5. Resign All Hopes of Universal Appeal — You need to know that you can never have universal appeal, I mean let’s get real here.  You or your talents may not be one person’s cup of tea but what about all the other people in the world who will resonate with your particular brand of uniqueness?  However, ultimately you need to please only you. When you do this then you are immediately accepted and no outside influence can make you feel anything other than what you know yourself to be.  Trying to please everyone will only get your knickers in a twist.  Please yourself in a way that harms none and you will open up a floodgate of happiness for just being you. Rather be loved for who you are and not someone else’s idea of perfection.
  6. Accept Compliments — Believe it or not, this can be a problem for some. We sometimes tend to disregard the ones who encourage us, leaving only space in our thoughts for the ones who hurt us. Why is this, I wonder?  Everyone has the urge to be liked and accepted for who they are. This is normal. But what we need to redefine is what is normal? Every soul is special and has equally unique attributes, abilities and ways of expressing themselves creatively. So on your road to not caring about what people think of you, don’t forget to truly look at the gift of a compliment when it is given.
  7. Name and Shame that Judge — When judgment rears its head (in your head), we must question the one doing the judging (yip — ourselves).   Tell that judge that you are in love with your differences.  Viva la difference!  Without freedom of expression this world would be an extraordinary dull globe.  Without the awesome diversity in hair colour, body shapes, talents, voices, tastes, etcetera we would be nothing more than a herd of sheep running around in a field day in and day out – baa-baa-boring!
  8. Get Shmoozy with Yourself — Know Thyself!  Only then will you begin to discover, on the deepest level, that which you truly are and all of what you have accomplished on your many sojourns.  Draw on the teeming wealth of talents you have (because everyone has a cache of things they can do and excel at — even if you haven’t discovered yours yet). When you do creatively express yourself (read more about how to get creative regardless of who you are HERE), there is nothing anyone can say or do to you that would ever hurt you.  You will be resolute as to who you are and nobody can take that away from you — unless you allow them to.

When you are truly walking the talk and ‘being the best you can be’ and you are doing this with all your integrity and hutspah — you have nothing to fear.  Strive to be and do the best you can in every moment and in every situation — you do this and there’ll be no room for doubt.

Words, gestures, deeds or energy that do not fit with your frequency or vibration will not be allowed to penetrate your field of self — it will be water off a ducks back because you know you are doing the best you can.  This is the path to becoming the master of your life and your reality.

Empowerment comes from fearing no-thing and facing every day with courage and love in your heart.  Leave what other people think of you at the door if it does not fit with your vision and don’t take anything personally!

 

Cherie-Roe-Dirksen_172x200Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author and multi-media artist from South Africa. To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com.

Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality.

You can also follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment).

Cherie posts a new article on CLN every Thursday.  To view her articles, click HERE.




The Perfect Paradox: Letting Go Is The Key That Opens The Door to Fulfillment

Fourty-one years ago today at 12:34 am I came cruising down the cosmic highway of incarnation in Phoenix, Arizona and was birthed into this world.  I imagine before this lifetime, in my ethereal form, I was super stoked to embark on my next adventure, and knowing myself I had most likely stocked my spiritual stockpile with as many consciousness cliff-notes that I could to best prepare me on my journey.  I picture myself in the Great Hall of Records mapping out my next blueprint filled with a good deal of beautiful moments will that take my breath away, mixed in with some heart-wrenching pain I might not be sure I can handle; and some moments of laughter, confusion, solitude, anxiety to top it off. The scope of experience containing all the ingredients that I felt were best suited to help my growth, expand me out and bring me even closer to love…to Source.

So, there I was…ready to go…”Let’s do this!” I can even envision doing some anti-gravity soul stretches in space, just before I shoot down the rabbit hole of incarnation; destination: Planet Earth. All is well, I’m floating, and it’s warm now. I am aware of new sensations again, the one thing that 3-D can offer that no other place in the Universe can…sensory perception in a material world. I start to focus more and more on these “feelings” and my surroundings…”Wait…what was I doing here again?” And then BAM! …the proverbial “pop of amnesia” that we all experience at birth which forces us to forget who we truly are. It blinds us to our full magnificence and pulls a veil over our newborn eyes. All clear details of the goals and the plans we had made beforehand fade away and we find ourselves literally helpless; now contained to this tiny fragile container that requires constant care and attention. And our vast expanse of consciousness is now so limited and we literally lose our sense of Self.

Welcome to life as a human BE-ing.

For the next 6 years or so, we will pretty much act as sponges soaking up the world around us. What we are told by our environment and the people around us about ourselves, we will subconsciously record and believe for the rest of our lives. And this fact is the underlying cause for most of our “issues” in life; most of what causes us discomfort or unhappiness with ourselves, others or our lives in general. And this is often why it is so hard to identify the root cause of these issues, because it stems from beliefs we did not initially agree to abide by. We simply recorded it as a factual truth, during a growth phase where our physiology can do nothing but take in information about the world around us. And it is scientifically proven that we really do not have a choice at that young of an age. If we are told we are unworthy at 4 years old, we will subconsciously believe it when we are 50, unless we have previously identified it as not being our own belief and have addressed and corrected the issue. However, unless we work extensively with a therapist, or even have the insight to take that route, we may lack the awareness that this has ever even happened to us, nor understand that it still can have such an impact in our lives so many years later.

This simple fact is one of the most empowering things a person can learn about themselves if they are facing continuous struggles in one or more areas of their life, and simply cannot seem to find the solution. Why? Because when we have the awareness of an existing belief that doesn’t actually belong to us, we are free to LET IT GO.

Unless we have super-conscious parents, that had super-conscious parents, that had super-conscious parents…then most likely there is a chain of insecurities, beliefs, false-realities (the stories we tell ourselves), perhaps even prejudices  that have been passed down from generation to generation. And until the chain is broken, until awareness is raised to a level where there is no more instilling of non-serving beliefs into the next generation (either consciously or subconsciously), then this cycle continues.

But the power to question where our beliefs truly come from is within each and every one of us and I find that the more I question my own beliefs, the stronger I become in knowing where the line is actually drawn; between beliefs I’ve formed from the own depth of my heart and those that stem from old recycled beliefs from others. This has helped me tremendously in my own personal growth and is something I often recommend to my Reiki clients.

If you have taken a serious look at a reoccurring issue and have really sat with it, giving yourself time to think it through to find an applicable solution, and yet still nothing comes, then chances are that it stems from a foreign belief. And either way, once we identify the source, we give ourselves the freedom to no longer suffer from its unrelenting grip.

Certain beliefs might lead us to hold so tightly to things that we push it away. In the energy of a need to control, others can feel repelled, not attracted. There is a great lesson here of the difference between coming from fear .vs coming from love in situations like that when dealing with a significant other, child, friend or even money or that new job you want. If we come at things with an unforgiving Kung-Fu grip, the Universe responds to your fear of losing it or not getting it, and most likely you will lose it or not get what you want. You must come from a place of love, from appreciation as if you already have what you want and are not separate from it. Then, you emanate the vibration that will call it into your reality with ease and grace.

“When you believe something is hard, the Universe demonstrates the difficulty. When you believe something is easy, the Universe demonstrates the ease.” – Abraham-Hicks

We may hold so tightly to a particular belief because it’s all we know, it’s familiar and it’s comforting. Yet, what this does is prevent us from seeing what the river of life has in store for you, which you’ve simply “dammed up” with your more stubborn beliefs. For instance, for years (20 to be exact) I thought that smoking cigarettes was “my vice”; my way to relax, the friend I always hung out with after dinner and right before I went to sleep. The friend I shared a glass of wine with, or always had to run to when I was nervous, sad, had to think something through or simply just had to 5 minutes to kill. I always found a way to justify the act because my beliefs allowed me to.

Now comes the fun part! I quit smoking today. And with that “release” I realized something great about why I had so much trouble ”letting it go” sooner in my life. I would tell myself stories like I simply enjoyed it and I deserved joy, dammit (how did I see joy in doing such harm to myself?), it relaxed me (even though I was and still am an avid meditator), and I wouldn’t be doing it forever (someday, I’ll stop…which translates into “someday I’ll love myself enough”). But I was a hypocrite and I knew it this whole time. And while I do forgive myself, and I have felt through and released the rollercoaster of emotions coming up through this process as well…I know that all we ever have is NOW, this moment. I am a Reiki Master; I help others heal and yet I couldn’t give myself the same love and attention? No more of that nonsense. I deserve better. Only this time…I actually BELIEVE IT!

In just the past few months, I’ve had a tremendous amount of insight into my life, my path and my own light. I’ve let go of SO much and with that have opened doors within myself where Self-Love has literally FLOODED my insides! This has caused a domino effect over the past few weeks where I’ve taken inner leaps and bounds that normally would’ve scared the crap out of me. And perhaps committing to quitting smoking cigarettes was the biggest leap of them all. But I finally jumped and what I landed on was a big fat pile of empowered freedom!

Let’s circle back and see how this how relates to our “proverbial amnesia pop“, upon our incarnation. One must consider that with all that planning our soul bodies do beforehand, it is not all in vain. It remains within us, hidden deep inside and comes out in waves through our creativity, intuition, talents and insight. But what is the reason we forget at all? Why go through all that trouble of making a game plan if we all must go in blind and “wing it”? I think the answer to life itself lies in that question. I have always felt in my heart, that we forget ONLY so we can live each day with a chance to remember who we are. Each day truly is another chance to awaken your greatness, to outgrow and shed these illusions; these beliefs attached to you since childhood. But it is only the brave; those willing to stop looking outside of themselves and instead turn inward that will ever catch a glimpse of their full magnificence (that which sparks our cosmic memory)…because that is the only place it resides. At least, that is where we must see it first, before we can ever see it in our outer world.

I’ve always understood the concept of “letting go of what no longer serves us”, but when you actually begin to apply it in your own life, magical things begin to happen. It causes a ripple effect in your actions where one is fed from another. You conquer one mountain and the adrenaline rush flows onto the next area of your life. Another part where fear lingers and you know you are again onto something else that needs to be looked at and healed. And when you actually SEE what needs to be let go of, and face that fear of stepping out of your comfort zone, you also see it is just a fear of being left feeling empty inside. But the perfect paradox is that when you finally do let go, keys turn, doors swing wide open and suddenly the Universe’s “abundance hose” you had all twisted up unwinds itself and begins to flow as it was meant to. You regain a connection to your true Self and all it knows and always knew before “the pop”. You begin to remember who you really are and why you are here. You once again know your magnificence and you are fulfilled.

 

TamaraRantTamara Rant is a Co-Editor of CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. Connect with Tamara on Facebook by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.




3 Ways to Master the Art of Congruent Living

To live a congruent life simply means to be living in space that you have consciously created for yourself. A space that serves a great purpose and acts as the foundation upon which you manifest excellence into your life. This is a space where you’ve taken delicate care to tend to, always making sure it’s neat and tidy and ever-expanding.

If you are sitting there asking yourself if you even have such a space, don’t worry you are not alone. In fact, most of us don’t consciously take the time to give ourselves one moment of relaxation at the end of a full day. Somewhere along the line, it’s as if a new software was installed in our psyches that told us life always had to be hard; and that if it wasn’t, then we were doing something wrong.

Often times, along with such core beliefs that have taken root deep within us, other beliefs that don’t always serve us start to form and grow as well. We might believe that only when we struggle do we deserve happiness; that it must always come with a price. Or even worse, that we are unworthy of happiness (or love) at all.

And perhaps that is the key to it all…which reminds me of every old 50’s romance tune…love is all you need, right? But is that enough? Well, yes…and no. See, love in and of itself is not out for itself. It just IS. And perhaps that is it’s greatest lesson to soak in from dancing on the edge of it’s madness to falling into it’s most frightening and dark depths of another human soul. But there must be consciousness behind the love for it to have meaning. Meaning, we as our awesome human selves, determine the level at which we can experience love, by the amount we are willing to give love, be vulnerable, and open to taking some indefinite leaps of faith. Love leads us to some intense and scary places sometimes, and yet collectively we continue to innately know that to have love in our lives, is to have peace in our hearts. And that, I believe is the first step to true happiness, or what I like to call, “congruent living”.

From years of studying the connection between the heart and the mind, as well as the principles of Quantum Mechanics, I can comfortably say that anyone, no matter the race, gender, creed, nationality, etc. has the capability to manifest peace within their own hearts. Even in the most dire of suffering, this noble act is not some mystic’s tale. In fact it is often within suffering itself that we are lead to the conscious awareness of the true amount of control we have over the quality of our lives; merely for the fact we have control over the quality of our thoughts…

Overall, there are 3 major pieces to living life congruently:

The first would be that the consciousness must be present that the power to bring peace to one’s heart resides within oneself. This can manifest in many different ways for many different people, but usually accompanies a major event of some kind ranging from a near-death drowning or car accident, or losing someone close to you. Getting a reminder that nothing is trivial and all we truly have is this moment is the quickest and shortest route to gaining this conscious awareness. But it doesn’t have to be that serious all the time. And by that I mean, if you learn to listen to the subtle messages of the Universe, it will gently whisper in your ear instead of taking a proverbial 2×4 to your head when you choose to ignore it. 🙂

Once you can find peace within your own heart, you have just taken the “For Sale” sign off of that space I mentioned earlier on. You’ve allowed yourself to make perhaps one of the greatest investments in your overall health because now you have a “go-to”. Some people get to their space through breathing exercises, or simply taking a moment to close their eyes and imagine their favorite vacation beach. And yet other people will think of loved ones, or anything that ignites a sense of inner joy, gratitude, connection to the Source of life. Basically we are by-passing the logical brain often lead by the ego that convinces of we aren’t worthy of stepping into these higher vibrational states of living.

The second way to master living a life of congruence would be to always be pushing yourself to step more and more into your greatness. Meaning, do more of what makes you feel alive, do what you’re good at and what you enjoy sharing with others. This is true giving of yourself and of your gifts and the more you do it, the greater you expand your space. Think of it like an interior upgrade or like putting an addition onto the house.

The third and final masterful activity would include welcoming not only the “good” stuff, but not avoiding the “bad”. To always see the lesson in the pain is true sight. To be able to view yourself and your life without judgment, but always with conscious movement towards embodying our most true selves, is absolute congruent living.

When you look at your life and see the balance amongst even what some might call “chaos”, is to have expanded your vision into the realm of “anything goes” when it comes to manifestation. Allowing yourself to be open to the opportunity for growth and expansion as your inner roots climb deep down into the dark, is what gives the fruits above the life-source to bloom and blossom. And as my mentor always says, “The deeper the roots, the sweeter the fruits.”

Have a most fruitful, congruent week everyone! <3

Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

Follow Tamara on FacebookTwitter and Google+

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




Which Values Make You Happy? It Might Depend on Where You Live

By Kira M. Newman | Greater Good Magazine

When a new psychology study comes out, its findings—gratitude makes people happy! meditating can boost your mood!—are often taken as the truth about humanity as a whole. But in recent years, researchers have pointed out that much of psychology research involves participants who are WEIRD: Western, Educated, and from Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic countries.

Why is that a problem? Because it could be the case that the insights we’re learning about how to live happy, meaningful lives privilege one group’s experiences—and they may not be as useful to people from other cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.

A new study surveyed people in five regions around the world to see if the factors that influenced their happiness might be different. The discrepancies that the researchers found to lend support to concerns that our current knowledge about well-being isn’t as universal as we might think.

“The implicit claim in previous research that ‘one size fits all’ is probably incorrect,” write Bruce Headey and his colleagues at the DIW Berlin research institute.

Values and happiness

The study was based on the World Values Survey, which surveyed hundreds of thousands of people around the world from 1999 to 2014. The researchers decided to focus on five regions:

  • Western countries, including the United States, Britain, Australia, Spain, and others;
  • Latin America;
  • Asian-Confucian countries: Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan;
  • Ex-communist countries: Russia and Eastern Europe; and
  • Communist countries: China and Vietnam.

People in each region reported on their values and priorities in life—the things that matter most to them. These included:

  • Traditional family values: The importance of family, as well as helping people who live nearby and caring for their needs.
  • Friendship and leisure values: The importance of friendship and leisure.
  • Materialistic values: Believing it’s important to be rich, successful, and recognized for your achievements.
  • Political values: The importance of politics.
  • Prosocial values: Believing it’s important to do something for the good of society and look after the environment.
  • Religious values: The importance of religion and God.

The researchers then compared how people rated the importance of these values to how satisfied they felt about their lives.

The results suggest that some values may be more universally important to well-being than others. In all five regions, people who highly valued family, friendship/leisure, and prosociality tended to be more satisfied with life. But the results for materialism, politics, and religion were more complicated.

People with stronger political values were more satisfied with life in communist countries, where “good citizens are supposed to be politically active” within the limits laid out by the state, explains Headey. This was also true to a lesser extent in the West. Meanwhile, in ex-communist Russia and Eastern Europe, people who cared more deeply about politics were less happy. This may be due to the “disillusionment with politics” in those countries, after the fall of communism.

People who placed more importance on religion tended to be happier in the West, Latin America, and the Asian-Confucian countries. But they were less satisfied with life if they were living in the communist and ex-communist regions. As the researchers speculate, this may be because communist governments tend to be hostile to religion, and people in ex-communist countries may still be suffering the long-term effects of that.

Materialism, a value that’s long been assumed to make us unhappy, actually went hand in hand with life satisfaction in Eastern Europe. It was only in the wealthier Western and Asian-Confucian countries where materialists tended to be less satisfied. In Latin America and the Communist countries, being materialistic didn’t seem to matter to life satisfaction.

Happiness and conformity

Why might some values be beneficial everywhere, whereas others only seem helpful in certain cultures?

The researchers suggest that people may be happier when their personal values align with the societal and governmental norms in their country. In other words, some values may benefit us not in and of themselves, but because they give us a sense of belonging and make it easier for us to navigate the world.

These findings also help make sense of a paradox in happiness research—the fact that some regions (like Latin America) are much happier than their gross domestic product (GDP) would predict, while others (like Eastern Europe) are much less happy.

Examining the values people hold could help explain these discrepancies. In Eastern Europe, for example, the researchers found that many people rated all the different values as relatively unimportant, a recipe for unhappiness. In Latin America, people’s strong family and religious ties seemed to bring them a great deal of satisfaction.

Though they aimed to be more inclusive, the researchers didn’t have access to surveys from sub-Saharan Africa or Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia—which means this picture of well-being is still incomplete. But it does point to a provocative idea: that the path to happiness isn’t the same everywhere, and what works for you may depend on the society and culture in which you live.

About the Author
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Kira M. Newman

Kira M. Newman is the managing editor of Greater Good. Her work has been published in outlets including the Washington PostMindful magazine, Social Media Monthly, and Tech.co, and she is the co-editor of The Gratitude ProjectFollow her on Twitter!




If You Want to Be Happy, Try to Make Someone Else Happy

By Jill Suttie | Greater Good Magazine

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he assured Americans of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This idea seems to lead many Americans to chase after new gadgets and hedonistic pleasures. But what if that approach is wrong? What if happiness comes from aiming to make others happy, instead of doing nice things for yourself?

That is exactly what a recent study found.

In the experiment, college students reported on their happiness and on their sense of autonomy, competence, and connection to others—all that researchers consider “basic psychological needs” for well-being. Then they were randomly tasked to do something to either make themselves happier, make another person happier, or socialize. (Assigning one group to socialize helped determine if seeking happiness for another had an effect above and beyond simply being in someone’s presence.)

Later that day, after doing their tasks, participants reported what they did, and then fill out their happiness and needs questionnaires again. Those who’d done something to make another person feel better were much happier themselves than participants in the other groups, and their greater happiness was tied to a stronger feeling of connection to that person.

This finding was not too surprising to lead researcher Milla Titova, who says that it fits in with prior research on happiness that found giving to others makes you happier than giving to yourself—and that pursuing happiness directly for yourself sometimes backfires.

“Making others happy is more meaningful for people than just socializing with them or doing something to improve our own happiness,” she says. “When we aim to make others happier, we feel connected to them—our relatedness needs are better met—which is important for us.”

In another part of the study, she and her colleague tried to rule out the possibility that making someone else happier makes you happier because of how emotions spread between people, which is known as the contagion effect. To do this, they repeated their experiment, but this time asked participants to identify the recipient of their kindness and to say how much happier that person appeared to be. Then, they contacted the recipient and measured their actual happiness levels.

The researchers found that a recipient’s happiness level did not seem to be related to the increased happiness of the person trying to make them happy, which suggests something beyond emotion contagion is going on. However, if the participant perceived that their efforts made a difference in another’s happiness, that made them happier.

“If we think another person is feeling pretty good, that’s enough for us to feel pretty good ourselves,” says Titova. “We’re just not always accurate about assessing other people’s feelings.”

She and her colleague also looked at how this effect might play out between strangers. People parked on a city street were approached by researchers and given two quarters for filling out surveys about their well-being. In some cases, they were simply given the quarters to keep or were given the quarters to feed their own meter before filling out the surveys. In other cases, they were told to feed another person’s meter, with some being asked to leave a note on the dashboard of the stranger’s car explaining what they’d done.

Afterward, the researchers compared the four groups’ happiness and how much their needs felt fulfilled. Those who’d put money in someone else’s meter were significantly happier than those who’d put money in their own meter or just kept the quarters. Leaving a note increased a person’s happiness even more.

Titova thinks this makes sense, given that making someone else happier makes us happier through increasing our relatedness to them. But it could also be that people like getting credit for a good deed, too—or that the note is actually another act of kindness, augmenting connection further.

Whatever the case, it appears that doing something kind for anyone is better for our happiness than getting something for ourselves.

“It doesn’t require you know the person you’re trying to make happy, nor does it require an actual physical interaction with that person,” she says. “It still works—even with a stranger.”

This is a preliminary study, mostly done with a limited population, and Titova cautions against applying the finding to other cultural contexts. This is wise, as studies have found not all happiness practices translate to other cultures.

Still, they do suggest that focusing on making others happy may be a key to happiness worth considering.

“It’s counterintuitive for some people, but if you’re not having the best day, you should think about doing something nice for your significant other or your roommates instead of concentrating on yourself,” she says. “That may not be what comes to mind naturally, but it’s probably more effective.”

About the Author
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Jill Suttie

Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good’s former book review editor and now serves as a staff writer and contributing editor for the magazine. She received her doctorate of psychology from the University of San Francisco in 1998 and was a psychologist in private practice before coming to Greater Good.




The Secret Ingredient to True Happiness

‘Love is what binds us, respect is what unites us. To have love and respect for all life forms guarantees you an excellent quality of life because you will be walking around in sheer reverence to all you come across. There will never be a dull or uninspired moment.’

You want to know what that tangy little secret ingredient is, right? You clicked on this article because you’re itching to find out if you own this substance — if it’s hiding in your pantry waiting to be shaken in to the soup of existence. You want that brilliant and fulfilling life, don’t you?

Well then, you may initially be disappointed to know that the secret is not going to be found in:

  • great looks (sorry…pouting for the next Instagram selfie just ain’t going to bring you lasting satisfaction),
  • money (money can’t buy you love — thanks Mr Lennon/McCartney for those words of wisdom),
  • stardom (celebrity is as celebrity does…you can have fame and be happy — if you possess the ingredient — but fame itself is barren without it),
  • recognition (it’s nice to be ‘noticed’ for your achievements but that still won’t fill the void).

While all the above attributes may bring temporary satisfaction, none of them will necessarily contribute to lasting joy.

That can only be found in one tasty ingredient.

But first let’s examine what could bring this entire planet into alignment (metaphysically speaking, that is).

What We Can Do NOW to Expedite Love in the World

In Lak’ech Ala K’in is a Mayan saying that simply translated means ‘I am another you‘ or ‘I am you, you are me.

This principle begs us to treat each other with appreciation — it asks us to see our sisters/brothers from other mothers as our own kin. It implores us to love all the children of the world as if they emerged from your own womb/seed. We need to rekindle the spark that respects everyone and everything’s right to life and a reverence for existence.

When you are able to love yourself (not to be mistaken with narcissism or selfishness), you naturally begin to love and respect others as well as every other form of life you encounter — including inanimate objects.

Huh?

Everything on this planet has a presence, from the rocks, plants and animals to the soil, worms and the very core of the earth itself.

Imagine a world where everyone had the exact same amount of love and respect for EVERY life form as they do for their own self (assuming that you have mastered the ability of self-love, that is).

 ‘Self-love is the source of all our other loves.’ — Pierre Corneille

Related article: Do You Feel Worthless? 2 Reasons Why You Need to Love YOU

But now we’re encroaching on the nitty-gritty…the ingredient!

Stocking Your Pantry With*Drumroll*…

The secret ingredient, self love.

‘Respect yourself and others will respect you.’ — Confucius

You can’t possibly expect other people to love you if you don’t love yourself. It may appear as if people love you but if you harbor resentment, self-hate or any kind of negative emotion towards yourself, you’re setting yourself up for huge pitfalls in all your other relationships.

I’ve heard people say that they can’t love themselves because of all their ‘imperfections’.

Just the word ‘imperfect’ states that I’m perfect.

You’ve got to learn to love all the ‘I’m Perfects’ in yourself. I’m not talking about empty affirmations, I’m talking about getting down deep and dirty and dusting out all the corners of your self. Ask yourself:

  1. What is it I don’t like about myself?
  2. Can I do anything about it?
  3. If yes, am I willing to change and start loving myself through the process?
  4. If not, can I learn to love the way I am instead of the way I think I ought to be?
  5. Is it society/family/friends/religion that prevents me from accepting myself?
  6. If none of the above existed would I feel happy with who I am?

‘Know Thyself.’ — Greek Proverb

You’ve got to mine yourself for these answers. Whatever you come up with, then ask yourself:

If this trait was in someone else (preferably someone you love — like your partner/child/favorite celebrity) would you still love them?

The answer, in my experience, is usually an emphatic ‘Yes!’. So, why don’t we give ourselves the same leeway?

Related article: Why Being Weird is Unusually Cool!

IMHO…Weird is Wonderful!

If you don’t love yourself for:

  • something you’ve done in the past then try to make amends for it and/or forgive yourself. If you find it difficult to forgive others then you may find that it’s because you are not forgiving yourself for something. If you find it easy to forgive others but not yourself, you need to question why you think you’re not worth it. Every single person is a creation of Source and, yes, that includes you! You need to embrace the inner divinity that is craving your love.
  • the way you look then try to remember that the most intriguing people are beautiful despite not having ‘model’ looks (beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in having moxy!). Sometimes what we consider hideous others consider unique and beguiling. Your personality and integrity is what is most attractive. Get the inside right and the outside will glow — even if you don’t look like J-Lo.
  • certain traits that you feel you can’t change. Remember that you can completely turn your life around if you think you can. If you feel you can’t change your actions or ways, you’re wrong. When you are aware of something within you that needs to be worked on, you can do or change anything! But remember to love yourself through the process.

Self love will change the world as we know it. Everything I’ve studied to date with regards to the human condition and self development has always led me back to self love. Without it we are lost. With it we are whole. With it, we can change the world.

I love you, you are worth it!

Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author/columnist/radio presenter, multi-media artist and musician from South Africa.

To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com. Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.

Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can follow Cherie on Facebook(The Art of Empowerment — for article updates). She has an official art Facebook page (Cherie Roe Dirksen – for new art updates). You can also check out her Facebook band page at Templeton Universe.

This article (The Secret Ingredient to True Happiness) was originally written for and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author Cherie Roe Dirksen and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




The Awesome Art of Open-Heart Observing

Image result for open heartAs it goes, the Universe is set up in such a way that when we need to keep our hearts open the most, it is during the most absolute difficult times to do so. Those times we may be struggling to find our self-worth or confidence because while we know how good appreciation and respect feel, we still rely on getting it from others to make us feel secure in ourselves.

Or it may be times we are triggered from an old wound and therefore have issues connecting with someone that reminds us of someone else who many have caused us pain in the past. Or perhaps they remind us of someone we’ve hurt and therefore we have in fact closed off our own heart to ourselves when it comes to forgiveness.

Whatever the case, we all know how shitty it feels to carry around those heavy emotions such as regret, guilt, anger, resentment, and feelings of lack, not being good enough and for some reason we have set ourselves to believe that while it’s justified to fly off the handle at someone else making us angry or causing us pain, we numb ourselves to the daily discord in our lives caused by our very own hand and how by allowing ourselves to reign over our own feelings, we are also allowing ourselves to be the observational gatekeepers of our own hearts.

In fact, while no one else can ever really make us actually feel anything, we humans have grown accustomed to being the mirrors we are as that is innately how we do relate to one another in our relationships and the world at large. However, beyond the works of Jung and our good old friend the Ego, we not only reflect back our unhealed wounds, our perceptions, our judgments, and our insecurities, but also on the positive front, the things we adore and admire in others.

A perfect example that often goes overlooked is when we envy another person. We often get caught up in the “negative” feelings of not being that person, or resenting them for having something or being a certain way we feel or believe we are not, but in truth of the highest order, it is not possible to even see something admirable in another, to even recognize it, unless it already exists within you! Read that again if you have to, but yes this is true!

You see, when we see another person acting a way that makes us feel jealous, it is simply triggering a part within ourselves that is itching to emerge! A dormant part of our being that would love to come out and play, if only we would give it the attention and time to grow that it deserves to come to the surface and flourish. Being jealous and resentful is simply the ego’s way of avoiding the work! It keeps us from changing and keeps us living small and in the same place in our lives where we are free to continue our same story; complaining about how much everyone else has and how much we lack. It gives us an outer focal point, rather than an insightful observation inward.

But if we just look again…if we just shift our perceptions and get out of our heads and back into our hearts, amazing things begin to happen, because when we look at the world and ourselves with an open heart we are seeing things now as they really are, not as we perceive them to be or wish them to be. And the more we do this consciously, the more we make the choice to stop letting our emotions and preconceived ideas rule us and keep our inner world illusions going, the more we tear down the holographic wall of our minds.

Observing the world, other people and ourselves (where we must first start this journey) with an open heart does not take away our power, but actually fills up our reserves and gives us a never-ending supply! Our heart produces the largest electrical field in the body and it’s because in our most minute levels of existence, in our most basic atomic form, we ARE energy and we are all constantly communicating with one another whether we are aware of it or not.

This is how we pick up on “vibes” or intuition and gut feelings. And when we learn to not ignore these feelings, our heart begins to naturally open as our trust in our very relationship with ourselves begins to build. This is how we develop a healthy self image and how we stop unconsciously reflecting the illusions we think we are to the world and begin consciously projecting the love we now know we are instead.

Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

Follow Tamara on FacebookTwitter and Google+

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




Persistent Resistance: Why the Things You Avoid Don’t Go Away

It’s all about the vibes, man…

We’ve all had that experience of coming up against something we don’t want to do or someone we don’t want to be around. And sometimes in the midst of it all, we begin to notice that the more we think about it or try to resist or push it away, the more it seems to be around and in our face. So…what’s up with that?

What is happening is actually physics at play. In other words, the energy moving around the situation or person and your beliefs and feelings around the entire thing is what will determine if it does in fact go away or continue to haunt you mercilessly. When we are in a place of wanting to avoid someone, for example, the energy that we are putting out is usually the fear of running into them, having to converse with them, explain something to them, etc. And it is because there is fear present, that you will continue to draw it towards you, rather than away from.

I recently wrote an article about fear and how to use it as a tool for success. It is cliché, yet so very true that the only way fears ever go away is by us facing them head-on. In this action, we are putting a new kind of energy into motion. Instead of the heavy, stifling vibe of acting from fear, when we come from a place of confidence, self-love, and trust, it’s a completely different vibe; one that empowers you to know you can count on yourself and that you control the nature of your reality, simply by shifting the energy around your beliefs.

Oh, that’s attractive…

Like magnets repel or attract depending on their polarity, we also are gifted with this ability if we know how to use it properly. When someone makes us uncomfortable, it is wise to not immediately follow and act upon the feeling, unless of course you feel threatened in any way. If it’s more of an overall annoyance for the person or they’ve done something you are not quite ready to forgive, etc. then the feelings of wanting to avoid the person should be first looked at and dug through, not immediately acted upon as that creates a container for fear-based, heavy draining energy. And in this type of energy, it’s quite hard for things to “escape” and settle on their own because it’s very binding and constricting. You may even physically feel like your body is incredibly tense and your mind uneasy when in this type of container.

Instead of creating a groundhog’s day of perpetual avoidance, try instead to look at the feelings instead of just feeling them. Let them speak to you as an equal, not like they are giving you orders to act upon. When we sit with our feelings, we create a neutral space for reflection and insight and often we begin to unravel clarity where there was confusion as our hearts begin to open.

We may begin to see the situation or person in a new light and finally be able to forgive them for past hurts. And if not, we may at least begin to forgive ourselves for carrying the pain for so long, and perhaps gift ourselves the freedom of surrendering the pain to the ethers and allowing it to become the lesson that lifts us, rather than the wound that keeps us down.

Your greatness is waiting to emerge…

Often times I find when something scares me, it’s actually a sign that is pulling me to become a better version of myself; to expand and grow so I can hold more abundance, love, and light in my life. And I find that when I resist these types of things, the Universe tends to bring me fewer opportunities. It’s as if I was saying, “I don’t believe in myself, so please allow me to keep living small where I feel safe.” And so the Universe responds as such, but only for so long. It will always continue to get you to your true center; to walk the path not created by fate, but the one you were destined to create for yourself.

When we are in a place of resistance that is fear-based, it will stick around because it’s merely asking to be looked at and explored. It will continue to weigh you down, make you feel uncomfortable, etc. until you do. If we continue to place blame on things outside of ourselves, then the Universe will continue to just give you things to complain about. But, what if we instead go inward and commit to being our own best friends? What if we all took the time to really get to know ourselves like we were meeting a new friend or lover, and give ourselves that same undivided attention?

This is moving towards your light…your authenticity and your Truth. In this energy, you will instead feel a pull, not a push and the more you surrender to it, the more you will open your heart to all of life’s experiences that come your way. If not because you’ve learned to trust the Universe responds to energy (not mere wishes), but because you’ve learned to trust yourself.

Have an amazing, irresistible weekend everyone! 🙂

 

tamaraTamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer, and a Conservative voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality.

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




Integral Integrity: What It is and Why You Want to be Living It Fully

11 Benefits Fueled From A Lifestyle Of Integrity. – Reina BeatyWhile we typically relate integrity to morality, I want to speak about integrity along the lines of living your truth or walking the path you were meant to walk. You see, we all came here to sing our own songs so to speak, and if we’re not doing that, if we’re not actively pursuing our purpose and exploring our gifts, talents, abilities, etc. then this creative energy that we are stuffing and suppressing will begin to manifest as sickness and disease and just give us more distractions in our lives. When we are living “out of integrity”, this will show up in our lives as discord and disharmony. This is not punishment by any means, but rather an invitation to look at the areas in your life where you can show up MORE.

Many of us were conditioned with beliefs handed down from our parents (who had it handed down from theirs and so on…) that we must follow a set path in life. For the most recent generations, it’s been immediately figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life, and it best not be based around what you enjoy, but rather what will bring home the largest paycheck. We must go right off to college, get married, have children, put away for retirement, work most of our lives for very little while making others very wealthy, only to have the very last few years of our lives to “enjoy as we wish”, when our health and minds are on their way out??? NO THANK YOU!

While I firmly believe you can live in integrity while having a 9-5 and live a full and happy life following the American Dream, what I’m getting at is if the beliefs that shaped your entire life are not originally your own, then you cannot truly say you are living YOUR truth. You must at some point in your life (and the Universe, God, Source whatever you prefer to call it has a funny way of getting us to look at things we must in order to expand and grow),  be willing to face your fears and sit down with your innermost shadows…those darkest corners of your mind and Soul. For it is here where your greatest light will emerge. Light is information, knowledge, wisdom, expansion, growth. You will know if you’ve done that by asking one simple question…”Am I happy NOW?”

While I do believe that we are initially born IN integrity, conditioning by society forms layers within our subconscious that help to develop our elusive, yet vital persona, the Ego. Last week I wrote entirely about our friend, the Ego, and how if used properly can be a vital tool to navigating your emotions and seeing where there is healing required in those deepest parts of you. While the Ego is our greatest mental trickster, once we learn its games, we can turn the tables and train it to work FOR us, rather than against us.

When we make commitments, whether they be to ourselves or to others, our Ego will often justify our excuses if when the time comes to honor the commitment, we “no longer feel like it”. When we break commitments, this energy takes us completely out of integrity because the resonance of our word (our essence, our energetic stamp) is diminished in value. If we make a habit of breaking commitments, we will eventually have energetically created a “Cry Wolf” scenario where people will just stop asking us to do anything at all. Meaning, if you continually talk about wanting to get out more, and get invites all the time that you commit to and break last minute; people WILL stop inviting you because they won’t take you seriously…about wanting to get out more because well, you make every excuse not to! 🙂

What I think can be even worse is breaking commitments to ourselves as this usually comes with a huge layer of guilt and a breach of our self-esteem. For those of you who are cereal self-sabotagers like I used to be, you know what I’m talking about! But when we learn to identify the Ego’s tricks, they are easier to not fall for. One key thing to pay attention to is this…whenever you are about to have a major breakthrough, your Ego will do whatever it can to distract you and prevent it from happening.

Think about that; are you acting out of character? Did well for a week and now you want to quit? That’s the ego telling you to give up (you’re not worth completing this goal!). It will fight to the death to avoid change, it is what it does and it does it masterfully!

So, just keep this in mind when you want to guilt-trip yourself after falling off your diet, etc. I’m not inviting you to be an enabler to yourself and not hold yourself accountable and responsible for your own actions, but to just be aware of your motivations and to be kind to yourself. You can correct course and come back to center without tearing yourself down and dragging yourself through the mud every single time, trust me. 😉

And as we develop good habits with the help of knowing how to work with our Egos, we begin to see how naturally we are living in integrity, because doing things that are good for ourselves and others feels amazing and are things in which we want to stay committed and follow through on. The rewards are so fulfilling that we are fueled in our hearts by the cycle of flow; give and receive…the balance necessary for living a life of integrity.

 

tamaraTamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer, and a Conservative voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality.

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.




What is the Paradox of Personal Power?

The Paradox Of Technology And 5 Ways To Avoid It - The latest Voice of  Customer and CX trends | Usabilla BlogAnyone who’s been doing it for a while knows that a key element in manifesting what you want is actually letting go of what you want.

Yep, you read that right. In order to have what you want, you just need to be willing to let it go. It’s a perfect paradox that life has set up and if we dig a little deeper this would be the step where after putting out your intentions, you then surrender any hold on how it needs to show up. Meaning, you can’t hold it in your mind in such a specific way that it closes you off from other opportunities the Universe is trying to bring it to you with. You miss what is often right in front of you because you are only expecting it to show you how you have it planned in your mind.

This is why you need to put it out there what you want, resonate with it…feel as it is yours, as it’s here with you, but don’t even consider a thought about how it got here. That is the Universe’s job and it is damn well good at it.

Now, a key of personal power is not often needed unless control over something else is intended. While the goal for the Spiritual Alchemist is to quiet (and learn from) the Ego Mind, expand from our traumas and trials, and be open to more abundance and joy in our lives. Everything in nature is cyclical, and our very own existence in nature is no different. Our own individual evolution through time and space is just as expansive as the tree rings of a great redwood. And this process of growth doesn’t need to be controlled but rather will flourish if left to its devices.

So, we might be mindful to look at it as we’re not necessarily shooting for fighting against darkness or fighting for light. That is key to remember; it’s about balancing both elements because both are equal in value and service to your soul’s growth in the lessons they offer. It is what you do with your experiences and lessons that determine your character and vibration and ultimately how large your energetic space in the world expands.

What is great about this is we have free will. It is always a choice. We can remain resentful of those that betrayed us before we had the conscious awareness to care for ourselves, whether that be our parents, teachers, even ourselves…, but if we can keep the focus on reclaiming that power back that was taken during that time, we allow ourselves the ability to continue our UP-ward spiral of expansion and we continue to flow with nature. We literally can FEEL when we are in this flow, and we can all admit that it feels pretty fucking amazing.

When we are connected to our soul purpose, our clear inner voice that is always trying to be heard under the clutter of other people’s beliefs, opinions, etc, that are stacked high in our subconscious minds, we have literally embodied “peace”. People who are happy all the time are faking it, I’m sorry. And people who are pissed off all the time are faking it too. Anytime you have to put conscious EFFORT into BEING a certain way, you are NOT being yourself, and this is why it doesn’t feel right deep down in your soul.

This is also why deep down we give ourselves so much shit for it and sometimes lash out at others when we’re really just so ticked of at ourselves that we haven’t yet figured out that we’re not supposed to drown in the bad times or lose ourselves in the good times. Paradox Dictionary Definition" Art Board Print by Primly | Redbubble

We are meant to flow through them all, arms out, ready to grab life by the balls. Ready to experience all it has to offer in those experiences (yes good or bad), and when you can be conscious of that outside of the emotions that come with these experiences, you have discovered who YOU are in there. And the more you stay aware of this truth, the easier it becomes to not attach to emotions and moments and not be so reactive. It becomes more natural to, well…be natural. To be neutral; to be at peace.

And when you finally learn to find your inner peace, you become the most powerful being on this plane of existence, yet may find no desire to use said power in any said direction. Because there’s no more looking. No more need to look. Just acceptance of what IS. Pure “Is-ness”, if you will. And it is only as much as “it is” in how it supersedes its need to be.

I hope I didn’t lose you there, but again you have to be willing to lose it all to have it all. And I hope you all have the most peaceful (yet maybe a little paradoxical) weekend! 🙂

 

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

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This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.




Should Pediatricians Prescribe Kindness?

By Jill Suttie | Greater Good Magazine

When parents take their children to a pediatrician for a wellness check, they expect to get reports on their children’s healthy development—if they’re growing properly, eating and sleeping well, or in need of vaccines.

They probably don’t expect to get a prescription for kindness.

But at Senders Pediatrics, a private practice in Cleveland, Ohio, and one of the Greater Good Science Center’s 16 Parenting Initiative grantees, this is exactly what parents are getting. The clinic’s parent education coordinator, Joan Morgenstern, has developed a program to produce events, lessons, and tools promoting kindness. Based on evidence that practicing kindness and purpose benefits children, the program helps kids care for others and flourish themselves.

While the program is in its infancy, it’s a model that is popular with parents and kids and has helped the staff at Senders Pediatrics—particularly during this difficult time of COVID. Shelly Senders, the clinic’s founding pediatrician, hopes their focus on kindness and developing the “whole child” is a model that can be replicated more widely.

“My goal in all of this is to get the American Academy of Pediatrics to endorse the concept of teaching kindness in every pediatric practice,” he says.

How and why to encourage kids to help others

There are many reasons to encourage kids to be kind. For one, it helps build positive relationships, which are important for developmental growth and success in life. More broadly, kindness is a moral virtue that can lead to more trusting, cooperative societies. And picking up kindness as a value from a young age can have positive effects later in life.

When kids are kind, they are happier and less likely to have social or behavioral problems. Kids who do nice things for others may have a greater sense of agency and purpose, too—meaning, they see that their actions can have a positive impact in the world and feel more capable of changing things for the better.

Given the benefits to mental health, it’s not too surprising that kids who practice kindness could be physically healthier, too. At least one study found that adolescents randomly assigned to volunteer had significantly better cardiovascular function than those waiting to volunteer.

To launch Senders Pediatrics’s kindness program, Morgenstern organized a Community Kindness Day in 2019 that gathered hundreds of families at a local community center. Researcher Stephen Post presented data showing that kindness improves physical and mental health, and booths were set up where kids could showcase their philanthropic work in the community and inspire other kids to get involved and find purpose by doing good.

“We really focused on our Cleveland community that had already taken the initiative to get involved in community activism, social service, and serving others,” she said. “The fact that we were having kids lead was probably one of the most impactful parts of the program.”

According to Maurice Elias, a Rutgers University researcher who has been an advisor to Morgenstern and her program, the event was a success on multiple levels. It gave parents a reason to want to instill kindness in kids, legitimized the importance of social-emotional skills, and allowed kids to take charge.

“When kids engage in these kinds of public acts, it builds their skills, self-esteem, and confidence; it gives them an incentive to learn how to communicate better,” he says.

The many ways Senders Pediatrics encourages kindness

Morgenstern comes from an education background, where the virtues of encouraging children’s social and emotional growth have been understood for years. But to see this idea promoted in a pediatric clinic was novel for her.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be remarkable if doctors were spouting this message about social and emotional learning?’ Because doctors exude a sense of authority (for some people, at least), that means people will pay more attention to the message,” she says.

Her overall concept was to create opportunities for kids to acquire a habit of kindness that could be integrated into their lives, while also stressing the importance of health. After Kindness Day, she developed worksheets, activity cards, kits, monthly newsletters, and more—all aimed at promoting these important values while not stressing the busy pediatric staff.

Senders were particularly enthused about Morgenstern’s kindness cards, which had ideas for practicing kindness at nearly any age and could be handed out at good checks.

“You can start at age three, four, or five, and integrate kindness into your regular well-child care visit,” he says.

Unfortunately, some of Morgenstern’s ideas had to be jettisoned when COVID hit, including the second annual Kindness Day. But she got creative and sent out card-making materials around Valentine’s Day, encouraging kids to send valentines to people in the community who could use a boost—like first responders or elderly folks in nursing homes. In December, she asked kids to perform a good deed for someone else, providing kids with a “kindness kit” with more ideas of how to be kind.

According to Elias, these types of activities are successful because they expand a kid’s idea of how kindness matters more broadly in the world and introduce kids to the intrinsic rewards of being kind.

“Kids begin to understand that many people need kindness,” he says. “Once they start to think about these folks, and they do something kind and get a reply, that is incredibly reinforcing.”

Morgenstern wasn’t just interested in helping children, though. She also wanted to consider how parents were struggling during the pandemic. Many of them were having a hard time getting their kids to wear masks; so, Morgenstern began writing children’s books, such as one called The Task of the Mask, which made salient to kids the reasons why mask-wearing was an act of kindness.

“Something like this is of tremendous value to parents, because it deals with the issues that parents are experiencing,” says Elias. “It’s something that’s feasible that’s not going to take much time but is engaging to kids.”

Why Senders may be on to something

While it’s unclear how much Senders’ program can change the culture of a whole community, it has been well-received by parents whose kids have participated.

Garett shows off the kindness books for his Kindness Corner.

Garett shows off the kindness books for his Kindness Corner.

After attending Kindness Day, a seven-year-old patient at Senders Pediatrics, Garett, was encouraged to apply for a “B.E.E. Kind” grant the clinic designed, which paid for the creation of a “Kindness Corner” at his school. He and his mom, Shelly Hyland, purchased books on kindness, put Post-it notes in the school library where kids could leave kindness messages for each other, and created a snack cart for those who couldn’t afford school snacks.

“I was able to teach my son about writing grants to get money and materials needed to support ideas and causes that he is passionate about,” says Hyland. “He learned that he could make a difference with a simple idea even though he was only seven years old!”

Has it made a difference in her son’s life? Hyland thinks so.

“I believe focusing on kindness has allowed my child to read others’ emotions and have empathy,” she says. “His idea and execution of the Kindness Corner drew support from the school and community, all of which had a positive impact on others.”

Another parent, Chrishawndra Matthews, found that her son Derrick’s interest in building literacy among boys in his community was encouraged by participating in Kindness Day, where he staffed a booth. Not only was his work honored, but he was also able to get his message across to others. “He was talking about the importance of reading and sharing with children how they can become stronger readers,” says Matthews.

Derrick poses with Dr. Senders and his friend Tyshon

Derrick poses with Dr. Senders and his friend Tyshon

Matthews was particularly happy that Senders Pediatrics drew participants from the low-income neighborhood where she and her son live, recognizing that they are the experts in how to best help their community. And, she adds, it’s important for kindness initiatives to empower people who may feel disenfranchised.

“I loved that, with the Kindness Day, it wasn’t just about suburban folks; other communities were invited, and there was diversity,” says Matthews, founder of Literacy in the Hood, which provides books for underserved communities.

These individual stories are not only heartening but reflect how kindness can be contagious and good for all. Senders hope that their program will be studied by researchers to validate what they are seeing anecdotally.

Matthew Lee, a Harvard researcher who co-authored a study on the physical health benefits of being a volunteer (in adults) and directs research at the Human Flourishing Program, is interested in doing just that. He appreciates the Senders Pediatrics approach to whole-child wellness.

“When a child goes to see the doctor, it shouldn’t just be about taking your vital signs in a narrow, biophysical sense,” he says. “Doctors should talk about how kindness relates to overall health, which includes physical well-being, sure, but also your mental well-being and your full flourishing.”

Senders believe that their kindness initiative not only helps children develop moral character, it also makes them less afraid to go to the doctor—something that makes the staff’s job easier. Before COVID hit, the clinic had a jungle gym set up in their waiting room available for kids to play on, which created a happy, welcoming environment for children. Now, they have a kindness program, which does much the same thing.

“It started out as something small, but it has become an integral part of how we operate in our office,” says Senders. “It really has changed how we practice medicine.”

About the Author
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Jill Suttie

Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good’s former book review editor and now serves as a staff writer and contributing editor for the magazine. She received her doctorate of psychology from the University of San Francisco in 1998 and was a psychologist in private practice before coming to Greater Good.




World Happiness Report Shows How We Weathered the Pandemic

By Kira M. Newman | Greater Good Magazine

Throughout 2020, researchers called people across nearly 100 countries to ask how they were doing.

Results are being shared today in the 2021 World Happiness Report, which might seem like a misnomer given all the anxiety, grief, and general unhappiness that we experienced last year. But their survey told a surprising story, one of “almost astonishing resilience,” according to the report.

Yes, we experienced more sadness, worry, and stress in 2020 than in previous years. However, on average, there was no change in our positive feelings or our satisfaction with life. While lockdowns, uncertainty, and loss hit our mental health hard last spring, there’s evidence to suggest that many people recovered over the course of the summer and fall.

The secret ingredient? Our trust in each other seems to have been crucial in weathering this crisis, both as individuals and as societies.

Bouncing back

The World Happiness Report ranks the happiest countries based on a simple question: on a scale of 0-10, with the best possible life for you as 10 and the worst one as 0, where do you stand?

As in years past, the Scandinavian countries ranked as the happiest in the world, with Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and Switzerland at the top in 2020. As economist Baron Richard Layard of the London School of Economics explained in a Greater Good interview conducted in the wake of the 2018 World Happiness Report:

We should learn from the Scandinavian countries, which are uniformly happier than, for example, the U.K. or the United States. There are important lessons to be learned: You don’t have to turn your back on economics, but it’s not the be-all end-all. Human relationships are extremely important and need to be given a great deal of attention—we shouldn’t sacrifice them in the name of economic efficiency. Neither should we sacrifice human relationships at work, give up our work-life balance, or drive our children crazy at their high schools.

The researchers also ask participants about their experiences the day before, including positive emotions (whether they smiled, laughed, or felt enjoyment) and negative ones (whether they felt worried, sad, or angry). While positive emotions didn’t change in 2020 compared to previous years, more people felt worried (42%, up from 38%) and sad (26%, up from 23%).

When researchers drilled down to look at surveys conducted over the course of 2020, some hopeful patterns emerged.

Around the beginning of lockdowns, when many of the first studies were done, the shock to our mental health was clear. We felt anxious, depressed, traumatized, and lonely. But studies that followed people over the summer and into the fall began to look more positive.

One U.K. study identified several different trajectories that people followed. Nearly 23% had poor mental health in April and September, continuing to struggle as the pandemic dragged on. These were more likely to be young people, women over 65, and people who lost work during the year. Another 21% struggled in April but improved significantly by September. And over 40% of people were able to cope with the pandemic relatively well at both times.

Similarly, a study in the United States saw overall improvements in people’s anxiety, depression, and stress across the middle of 2020. After peaking near the beginning of April, mental health problems gradually lessened overtime before stabilizing around July. Overall, the United States ranked 14th in happiness in the world, up from 18th in 2019, rating life overall as just over a 7 on a scale of 0-10.

Happiness is local

At an even more granular level, our emotions seem to shift day by day based on what’s happening in our local area.

For example, the report’s analysis of the social network Sina Weibo (similar to Twitter) found that on days with more new COVID-19 cases in China, Weibo users expressed lower happiness. This dip was less dramatic when stricter lockdown policies were in place, perhaps because people felt more protected or hopeful for the future. On days when more people recovered from COVID, users expressed more happiness online.

Researchers also used Google searches to investigate people’s moods in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. On days with more new COVID cases in the country, people’s searches were more negative, touching on topics like apathy and fear. Again, stricter lockdown policies seemed to offset fears about rising case counts. And when more COVID patients recovered that day, people’s searches weren’t as frantic.

What makes us this resilient, even if it feels like we’re not?

Across the world, people tend to believe their lives are going better when they have money, health, and someone to count on, and when they’re generous to others. More satisfied people feel free to make life decisions and confident in public institutions. These factors still mattered in 2020, but the pandemic seemed to shift their importance slightly. While income became less important to happiness, for example, being generous became more important.

We need trust in a crisis

In fact, the authors write, one of the reasons why we showed so much resilience may have been the trust that many people have in their communities. To gauge that trust, researchers ask people around the world whether they believe their lost wallet would be returned by a neighbor, stranger, or police officer. Answering yes to that question seems to be vital to well-being—even more so than being employed or having a high income.

This year, our sense of trust was deepened when we saw the young helping the old, people coming together online for support, and others creating care packages for health care workers. The authors write:

The pandemic has provided many chances to see the kindness of others. If seeing these kindnesses has been a pleasant surprise, then the resulting increase in perceived benevolence will help to offset the more widely recognized costs of uncertain income and employment, health risks, and disrupted social lives.

If this all sounds like too rosy a picture, it might be. Forced to conduct phone surveys, the World Happiness Report may not have reached the populations hit hardest by the pandemic—those in nursing homes and prisons; the homeless; the burned-out, working, homeschooling parents who have no time for a telephone call. And while we showed resilience as a globe, it was uneven. In many ways, the pandemic seems to have exacerbated existing inequalities in people’s health and well-being. And it’s not over yet.

Among its many disruptions to our lives, COVID has brought the topic of mental health to the fore. “Mental health has quickly risen high on policymakers’ and researchers’ agenda,” the report authors observe. Going forward, mental health will continue to be an important part of the conversations in our families, our communities, and our governments.

About the Author
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Kira M. Newman

Kira M. Newman is the managing editor of Greater Good. Her work has been published in outlets including the Washington PostMindful magazine, Social Media Monthly, and Tech.co, and she is the co-editor of The Gratitude ProjectFollow her on Twitter!




Break the Chains: How to No Longer Be a Prisoner of Your Past

I wanted to write this week about dreams and aspirations. Each of them gives you hope, something to look forward to and to plan. Dreams can help you align your gifts and talents with those things you absolutely love to do the most so that you can bring to fruition a living that you never have to consider to be “a job”. To me THAT is the definition of success.

With the realization of how vital they are to actually achieve goals, I also took in the understanding that you can’t always keep your dreams “out there” in front of you. You must bring them in close, into your heart, into your reality and beliefs, and most importantly you must welcome them into your NOW.

When we keep dreams as a proverbial carrot dangling in front of us, sure they may keep us moving, or they may just keep us daydreaming and growing ever resentful of those around us that took steps we haven’t yet. There’s a certain safety in always having our dreams out in the distance. It’s comforting to know we always have that goal to strive for and deep down it might terrify people to actually reach the horizon and achieve that goal, because then what do we do? Actually, enjoy our lives? 🙂

This is where the anxiety of the process stems from…straying from the present moment into a future of uncertainty or one that you have convinced yourself is full of impending doom or failure. Sadly, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy if we do not become aware of it.

Just as our perceptions of what the future holds are subconsciously tied to the faith we have in ourselves to make the choices needed to get us there, we need to consider how our perceptions of our past can act to limit or alter just how many steps we take or even attempt to take towards ever creating that future we dream of.

I often say that the stories we tell ourselves cause us the most suffering. It is not usually situations that are necessarily good or bad per se, but the stories we tell ourselves about them and the judgment we create in our minds. When we convince ourselves those things just ARE this way or that, not only are we limiting ourselves to having to now navigate within the constraints of a small box, but we are also putting ourselves in the equivalent position of getting into a car with no steering wheel.

We may not stop to consider how damaging or hindering our own thoughts about things, people, and events from our past can affect not only our present lives but our future as well. If we hold onto guilt, regret, anger, or shame for things we did or didn’t do; things others said or didn’t say, it is we who keep ourselves locked in a prison in our own minds. And oftentimes, if we just simply revisit these events we have tortured ourselves with for so long, we may see them in a completely different light.

Can we KNOW for sure that the way we perceived the events actually did happen the way we keep replaying them in our heads after all these years? Did the person really mean it the way we took it? Hanging onto these perceptions and stories; this is where depression can come from that feeds our insecurities and fill our minds with the “what-if’s” and “I should have done this or said that”. Our past is meant to be our teacher and while the lessons are often painful they are what add to your integrity and strength.

There are so many factors that allow us to justify our hanging onto things from our past like we are doing something to get back at the other person. Or that it’s benefiting us in some way not to let it go and move on. But what we don’t often realize is that forgiveness is never about the other person. Forgiveness is so YOU can have peace; it has nothing to do with them. And letting go and moving on doesn’t mean you are a sucker or had one done over on you. It means you simply respect and love yourself enough to cherish your own peace of mind. You are confident that you deserve to be happy and that nothing anyone has ever done or said to you is ever worth losing your smile.

This is not to suggest we all become unemotional robots; not in the least. To experience the full spectrum of emotion is human and is, in my opinion, a beautiful thing (yes even the sad or “negative” emotions). What I am saying is that all emotions serve their purpose and that is ALL they are there to do. To serve their purpose and be let go of. If we sit with emotions too long, they begin to consume us.

Happiness is NOT an emotion; it is a state of BEING. It cannot exist anywhere but inside you and cannot be found in another person or in a future time, yet that is where most of us are conditioned to look for it. Joy IS an emotion and like all others is fleeting and temporary and the trick is to learn to ride the wave of emotion that comes with life. Happiness isn’t some destination in the future that we need to strive to get to. It is a state of being that we either choose for ourselves or we don’t and regardless of what is ever going on, we always have that choice – no one can take that away from us.

If we are always thinking that happiness comes from or is taken away by others, guess where it will always be? Just out of reach. No wonder so many of us are so guarded, untrusting, or on edge! Yet, once we realize that happiness is there within us at all times, smoldering like embers in those unique gifts we haven’t yet gotten the courage to share with the world, we no longer see the world as a place we need to compare, compete or conquer.

I say the key to unlocking our self-inflicted prison is merely self-love. Once you learn to love yourself, the door appears. Once you get the courage to approach the door with the intention to explore what lies on the other side, you will then be anointed with the key. The funny thing is, the key was within your own heart the whole time.

We ARE our greatest dream. And the greatest day of your life will be the day you find out.

 

Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer, and a Conservative voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality.

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

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This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.