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3 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Live a Simpler and Lighter Life

Henrik Edberg | The Positivity Blog

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
Confucius

Today’s article is about a few mistakes I have made. About a few destructive habits that can make life quite messy and unhappy.

And it is about what you can do instead to replace those mistakes and habits with something better.

This article is all about uncovering simplicity if you find yourself having overcomplicated your life.

1. Stop overthinking things.

Few habits and mistakes are as common as getting stuck in overthinking. I used to do it all the time.

And it led to a lot of analysis paralysis, to little action being taken on what I deep down wanted and to so much time and energy wasted.

What to do instead:

Set short deadlines.

When you have all the time in the world to consider something then it that can often wind up in you spending a lot of time thinking about the situation at hand from every conceivable angle. I have found that learning to set short deadlines is really helpful for this, although it take a bit to practice.

So for small decisions like if should go and do the dishes or go and or work out I usually give myself 30 seconds or less to make a decision.

For somewhat larger decisions that in the past would have taken me days or weeks to think through I set a deadline for 30 minutes or for the end of the workday.

Say stop in situation where you know you cannot think straight.

I know that I am more vulnerable to negative thinking and overthinking things when I am hungry or when I am close to my bedtime.

And so I have learned to stay away from thinking about anything important during that time. And if such thoughts with a negative twist still pop up then I tell myself: No, no, we are not going to think about this now.

Because I know that I will be back to thinking clearly and optimistically again if I just get some food or sleep.

I highly recommend finding your own situation(s) when you are more vulnerable to overthinking or pessimism. And to catch yourself and redirect your thoughts at such times.

2. Stop making your daily work busier and more complicated than it needs to be.

It is very easy to get stuck in the same old rut at work or in school. To spend your hours there like you usually do and like most of the other people do too.

With a lot of time spent on busy work, procrastination and on being stressed on weekends or before a deadline coming up.

What to do instead:

Breathe and find what truly matters in the long run.

First, sit down and take a couple of deep breaths to relax and to focus your mind.

Then ask yourself: what is the most important thing I can do today?

Think about what would matter most in the long run when you ask yourself this question. Find just that one task.

Get started with that one task.

If you have trouble taking action and are slipping into procrastination then go smaller.

Tell yourself: I will work on this task for just 2 minutes.

Make getting started so easy on yourself that there is very little or no inner resistance in your mind.

Because if you just get started then it is in my experience pretty easy to keep going for a while longer and to make a real dent in the task or even completing it.

3. Stop overcomplicating your relationships.

The fun, excitement and joy in a relationship of any kind can often be greatly reduced by simple and common thought mistakes.

Two such mistakes I have made a lot in the past are to try to read minds and to go full in with creating drama.

What to do instead:

Ask.

Trying to mindread usually winds up in creating nightmare scenarios in your own mind. Because reading minds is pretty much impossible and so it is very easy to project your own worst fears onto what this person might be thinking.

So instead start cultivating a habit of being a bit more direct. Cultivate a habit of asking and more clearly communicating to better understand each other.

Question your own drama.

There can be a sort of pleasure or excitement in creating drama and making something bigger or more negative than it is.

In the short run and even more so in the long run it tends to be quite destructive though.

So start questioning your own drama.

Ask yourself:  Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?

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Be Your Best With Consistent Inconsistency

Steffany Barton | all things healing

In a rut. Stuck. Hit a wall. Plateau. Lost your groove.

We’ve all had moments when we feel stifled, out of sorts, psychically frumpy and physically lumpy. We want stability, but too often, the habits that seem to pacify imprison us with invisible walls of stagnation. Crippled by routine, our life force, our creativity and vitality, wane.

Rather than adhering to a rote routine, let your spirit thrive by practicing inconsistent consistency.

Being devoted, choosing to commit to self care proclaims to the Universe a willingness to honor the divine spark living in the heart and to recognize the presence of Love shining within. The desire to care for the body, the heart, and the spirit helps us align with our highest good in all areas of life. Rather than wishing or longing for the best, hoping the world will treat us right, taking inspired action on our own behalf allows miracles to unfold.

The consistent key to physical self care is joyful movement. Our bodies are designed to dance, jump, sway, float, kick and play. Every cell of our body vibrates; even subatomic particles waltz to a beat divine.

But forget the boot camp, the “no pain no gain” adage of yesteryear. Optimal physical self care is achieved when we move joyously, rhythmically, in sync with our spirit’s time. Skipping across the parking lot benefits the body more than a belabored walk taken out of guilt. A cha cha at the office yields higher returns than an arduous exercise routine. True physical self care is not really about the body; it is about allowing the amazing spirit of each of us to express through the body. We feel physically fit when can learn to celebrate a soul that yearns to move, expand, stretch, and play through a body.

So experiment. If curious about a certain class, if an exercise technique piques an interest, if the hottest trend in workouts offers an appeal, dive in!

I have given myself a personal standard when it comes to any novel physical self care routine: the rule of three. As I embark on a new adventure, I will choose to commit to three classes, exposures, or opportunities to experience a new approach to joyful movement and physical self care.

To illustrate, many years ago, I experienced a curiosity toward yoga. I tried a class at a local gym, and, honestly, I hated it. But, I refused to toss out the entire modality, so I gave another go at a yoga studio; it felt like a second first time, the contrast so immense. For my third sampling, I purchased a DVD by a noted teacher. So began an ongoing love affair with yoga. Now, although I would like to claim a daily practice; I cannot. I am inconsistent. But, I am consistent in filling in the gaps between yoga sessions with other self care options. Consistent and inconsistent. Heaven on Earth!

For emotional well being, committing to consistent self acceptance and non judgment when facing inconsistent feelings liberates the heart and frees the soul. When we accept our emotions, consistently, we empower ourselves to choose new thoughts, to take on different perspectives, and to view situations from a higher vantage point.

In truth, emotions are the heart’s interpretations of our thoughts. So if we feel badly, it’s because we’ve thought in a way that is out of alignment with our true nature. If we feel anxious, it’s because we think we’re in some way not enough. When we feel sadness, we have held thoughts that something outside of us completes us in some way.

To embrace consistently changing emotions, become aware through creativity. Paint, take photographs, make macaroni art. We need not all be Picasso to become artists; each of us came to masterfully express the perfect beauty of Spirit woven into the canvas of our soul. Journal, doodle, laugh, cry, dabble, blend, fuse. Consistently, choose emotional awareness and self acceptance. Feel great, think Love.

Spiritual self care provides a chance to grow daily in our recognition of Spirit’s ever present touch.
The consistent key to spiritual self care is daily meditation. Yes, daily meditation. Practiced in an inconsistent way!

Rather than blanking the mind, or ceasing all human like activity (fidgeting, adjusting, shifting, thinking, for example) meditation is a joyous and dynamic communion with spirit. Meditation is a daily homecoming, a welcomed returning to the blissful arms of Love. Listening to music that lifts the heart, looking at pictures of the majesty of nature, watching children laughing, washing the dishes, sitting under a tree, listening the the heart beat in time with love, taking a deep breath…all these are techniques for meditation.

Each and every day, at a time that best suits me, I give pause, close my eyes, open my heart, and call to my angels, “How can I feel Love today?”

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Welcome to the Finger-Wagging Olympics

 

 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar @kaj33  |  time.com |  April 28 2014

Moral outrage is exhausting. And dangerous. The whole country has gotten a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome from the newest popular sport of Extreme Finger Wagging. Not to mention the neck strain from Olympic tryouts for Morally Superior Head Shaking. All over the latest in a long line of rich white celebrities to come out of the racist closet. (Was it only a couple days ago that Cliven Bundy said blacks would be better off picking cotton as slaves? And only last June Paula Deen admitted using the “N” word?)

Yes, I’m angry, too, but not just about the sins of Donald Sterling. I’ve got a list. But let’s start with Sterling. I used to work for him, back in 2000 when I coached for the Clippers for three months. He was congenial, even inviting me to his daughter’s wedding. Nothing happened or was said to indicate he suffered from IPMS (Irritable Plantation Master Syndrome). Since then, a lot has been revealed about Sterling’s business practices:

2006: U.S. Dept. of Justice sued Sterling for housing discrimination. Allegedly, he said, “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.”

2009: He reportedly paid $2.73 million in a Justice Dept. suit alleging he discriminated against blacks, Hispanics, and families with children in his rentals. (He also had to pay an additional nearly $5 million in attorneys fees and costs due to his counsel’s “sometimes outrageous conduct.”)

2009: Clippers executive (and one of the greatest NBA players in history) sued for employment discrimination based on age and race.

And now the poor guy’s girlfriend (undoubtedly ex-girlfriend now) is on tape cajoling him into revealing his racism. Man, what a winding road she led him down to get all of that out. She was like a sexy nanny playing “pin the fried chicken on the Sambo.” She blindfolded him and spun him around until he was just blathering all sorts of incoherent racist sound bites that had the news media peeing themselves with glee.

They caught big game on a slow news day, so they put his head on a pike, dubbed him Lord of the Flies, and danced around him whooping.

I don’t blame them. I’m doing some whooping right now. Racists deserve to be paraded around the modern town square of the television screen so that the rest of us who believe in the American ideals of equality can be reminded that racism is still a disease that we haven’t yet licked.

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10 Lessons From Dalai Lama That Will Change Your Life

Robert Locke | Lifehack

It is not often that Oprah Winfrey is lost for words! Yet this was exactly what happened when she asked the Dalai Lama a very pertinent question, which is recounted in the book by Victor Chan entitled The Wisdom of Forgiveness.

She asked him, “Have you ever had to forgive yourself for something?” His Holiness replied, “My attitude towards mosquitoes is not very favorable, not very peaceful. Bed bugs also.”

Oprah was astounded that there was nothing else to be forgiven for in a life spanning 78 years.  Forgiveness and compassion for all living creatures are the two pillars of the Dalai Lama’s teachings. Let’s discover together how his teachings will change your life.

1. Be compassionate.

“The topic of compassion is not at all religious business; it is important to know it is human business, it is a question of human survival.”

Dalai Lama

Research now shows that when you are compassionate, you experience a similar feeling of pleasure as when you have sex, good food or a relaxing holiday. Basically, showing compassion is good for your health. Take compassionate action and get the “giver’s high.” Benefits are reduced stress, more regular heart beat and improved immune system.

You can show compassion by understanding the person’s feelings and emotions. That means talking to them and trying to share what they are going through. It is more demanding than a mere act of kindness. If you are compassionate, you are going to get emotionally involved. You also ask what help is needed. You could apply this to:

  • A friend who is ill
  • Someone who has lost their job
  • A relative who has been bereaved
  • Someone going through a separation
  • A homeless person

2.  Be kind and help others.

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

Dalai Lama

Being kind and generous costs little and the benefits you gain in happiness are considerable. That was the conclusion that Michael Norton and colleagues at the Harvard Business School came to, after doing some very interesting research. The volunteers who gave away some money were happier than those who had spent it on themselves.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Dalai Lama

3. Find happiness.

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”

Dalai Lama

In the rat race, the one thing you really want at the end of the day is the capacity to find happiness.

When he was interviewed about this, the Dalai Lama said that we are bombarded with messages about material possessions. There are very few messages about forgiving, being compassionate, patient, tolerant, and kind. You really have to give those values top priority in order to be happy.

“Happiness is not ready made—it comes from our own actions.”

Dalai Lama

4. Discover inner peace.

The Dalai Lama advises everybody to spend a little time alone each day. Time to reflect and chase away the negative thoughts such as anger, resentment, jealousy, and tiredness. Try to replace those with positive emotions such as optimism, gratitude, love, and peace. He rightly says that the truly calm mind is the source of happiness and good health.

5. Do not harm others.

“If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”

Dalai Lama

If you start telling lies, gossiping and spreading nasty rumors, bullying, and taking advantage of others, then the negative fallout from them will come back to haunt you. These are just a few of the actions that can harm others.

6. Nurture your friendships.

Friendships should never be undervalued. They need tender loving care because they can generate trust and affection. Real friendships will never depend on money or political clout.  It is a sad fact that neglected or stillborn friendships lead to loneliness. This is one of the risk factors which probably contributes to depression in our society.

7. Don’t let technology rule your life.

Did you know that the Dalai Lama has over 8 million followers on Twitter?  While he admires the advances in social media in helping us to communicate, he nevertheless warns against its overuse for the following reasons:

  • It can control your life—look at people in restaurants using their cell phones.
  • Who is in charge? You or the technology?
  • It is a poor substitute for real friendship.
  • It cannot help you to be compassionate.
  • Real human interaction will suffer.

“We are the controller of the technology. If we become a slave of technology, then that’s not good.”

Dalai Lama

 8. Don’t argue or fight; just negotiate.

“Non-violence means dialogue, using our language, the human language. Dialogue means compromise; respecting each other’s rights; in the spirit of reconciliation there is a real solution to conflict and disagreement. There is no hundred percent winner, no hundred percent loser—not that way but half-and-half. That is the practical way, the only way.”

Dalai Lama

Whether it is an international crisis or an argument with your partner or boss, the key to a peaceful, non-violent outcome is dialogue. In this way, you learn the art of compromise and negotiation. His Holiness recommends that you should never bring up the past but concentrate on what is causing the present problem.

9. Be gentle with the earth.

In order to survive, we have a duty to preserve this planet as best we can. Learning how to recycle, looking at ways to create alternative energy, and learning about the current issues are all ways that can help to delay the tipping point.

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How Humility, Courage, and Empathy Help Navigate The Creative Process

Source: TEDx Talks

In this short talk, Seung Chan Lim (Slim) shares two stories from research he conducted at the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University on what it means to “make something,” how it works as a creative process, and why it matters to our lives. The stories illustrate how humility and courage help artists develop their empathy in relation to the “others” they interact with in the creative process.




Donald Sterling’s NBA Racism Rant Leads To Call For Universal Human Dignity

Mike Adams | Naturalnews |27th April 2014

Donald-Sterling-and-V-StivianoLA Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been caught on tape engaged in a bizarre racism rant, according to media reports, where he pleads with his mixed-race girlfriend to stop bringing black people to basketball games, including the legendary Magic Johnson.

The internet has erupted in anger and disgust over the remarks, with Snoop Dogg pretty much summing up everybody’s feelings over the issue when he posted a video saying, “F— you … you racist piece of s—.”

To me, this extremely offensive, disturbing event can be flipped around into an opportunity to open up a discussion for the need for universal human dignity — a concept that means every human being of every age, race, sex, religion, gender preference and culture of origin is recognized as a conscious individual with inherent worth.

And if you look across the landscape of our modern society, the NBA isn’t the only place where people are being treated with a lack of human dignity… it’s uncomfortably common across agriculture, food, medicine, finance, education, media and of course in the military industrial complex, as described in this article.

Denouncing the dehumanization of valuable souls

The apparent racism of Donald Sterling is really a view that devalues human beings in the NBA because of their skin color. It’s a reflection of the same kind of dehumanizing viewpoints held, believe it or not, by the federal government itself in many cases such as:

• The dehumanizing of raw milk farmers and the government-led armed raids on raw milk operations.

• The dehumanizing of women, both black and white, who attempt to grow vegetable gardens in their own front yards and yet face arrest and criminal charges.

• The dehumanizing of parents who are forced into mandatory vaccinations of their children even when other disease prevention strategies are safer and more effective.

• The dehumanizing of African-American breast cancer patients who are exploited for medical profits while made to suffer from a disease which can be prevented with a simple, low-cost supplement known as vitamin D. (This fact is never told to black women by the medical establishment.)

• The exploitation of children by Apple Computer in Chinese labor camps where workers are essentially imprisoned to churn out high-profit electronics for the consuming public in America.

• The dehumanizing attacks against both gays and Christians — yes, BOTH are subjected to outrageous attacks from time to time — by those who practice intolerance. Today, being a Christian makes you subject to more ridicule and condemnation than being a “homosexual” in the 1990’s, as the term was commonly used then.

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Me and My Shadow: A Look at our Other Selves

Barbara Platek | all things healing

The ancient Greeks had a word for it: pharmakon. It meant “healing poison” and carried the startling idea that the personalities humans find repulsive or even harmful might actually carry the seeds of their own healing.

Many are familiar with this idea from fairy tales. So often it is the ugly toad who becomes the handsome prince or the loathsome damsel who provides assistance or even wisdom. Psychologically, one might hear this as referring to aspects of himself that seem—from a habitual point of view—objectionable or even shameful, but in reality, need loving attention to show their true worth.

Carl Jung called the aspect of finding life and renewal in the very places one is least likely to look the “shadow”. Simply put, the shadow is everything about one’s self that makes one uncomfortable. Whether one considers weaknesses, vanities, irritations, or fears, the shadow holds those qualities that have not been allowed to see the light of day.

As children people grew as plants toward the sun—instinctively turning their “best” face to meet the love and approval of those around them. Those qualities that did not attract the acceptance needed to grow and thrive—or worse were ridiculed or punished—were pushed away, forgot, or buried.

If a family or community prized rationality, for example, one may have learned to play down an emotional side in order to appear more in control. Similarly, if one grew up in a family where anger or aggression was not valued, that person may have developed a calm, pleasing personality in order to get by.

Whatever the case may be, everyone has a shadow—a repressed, neglected side of ourselves waiting to be transformed and welcomed into the fullness of a personality. Most would prefer not to know about these aspects of themselves that do not fit their ideal notions of who they should be. Yet often these very parts can bring new life, creativity, or even healing to our souls. Our shadow sides, Jung suggested, represent our undeveloped potentialities—those parts of our personalities that are still “becoming”. These qualities take on a negative cast only because they have been so thoroughly disowned.

One of the ways in which people can catch a glimpse of their shadow selves is in our dreams. As Jung believed, the dreaming mind is more interested in wholeness and growth than in maintaining a self image. Our dreams dig up buried truths and lay them at one’s feet, forcing the person to face their unresolved contradictions and to take responsibility for neglected talents, feelings, or desires. Nightly, the dreaming mind portrays these aspects in vivid language. The shadow appears in dreams disguised as the characters and situations a person most most fears and despises.

When a person wakes from a dream with a feeling of disgust or a desire to forget the whole thing, it is worth remembering that the dreaded image might actually be a pharmakon—a healing poison inviting the person into a broader view of who they are. The image seems offensive or scary precisely because it is foreign. Humans have come to believe that acknowledging a shadow quality will cost them the love and acceptance of those around them. Even more frightening, perhaps, is the sense of shame or self-loathing that such attributes can cause one to feel about himself.

Yet there is true wisdom in these lost sides of personalities. In this culture, for example, many women believe that being selfish is a bad thing. Instead, they strive to be compassionate and loving in their relationships. Often they give so much that there is little left for themselves. The appearance of a seemingly selfish or self-centered character in their dreams can actually be a prescription for positive change. A little self-care may be exactly what is needed. What appears as an ugly toad—a shadow trait–may be revealed as a handsome prince or princess when allowed to show its real value.

Another manner in which one may encounter the shadow side is through projection. Because the shadow traits have been rejected and pushed away by the conscious personality, they often carry a feeling of “other.” People are more likely to recognize these alien qualities in someone else. When one encounters individuals who live out something of these unacknowledged qualities, one may find oneself overly reactive.
If one finds onerselves intensely irritated, angered, repulsed or even envious of another it might be worthwhile to pause and ask how that person might be carrying something of one’s own neglected self.

In “eating our own shadow”, as poet Robert Bly phrased it, we expand and enrich our notions of who we are. We may also find ourselves humbled by our own flawed humanity as well as that of those around us.

It takes a great deal of courage to meet one’s own shadow—to drink the cup of pharmakon that might allow healing and wholeness in our lives. Work on one’s shadow material can offer more genuine self-acceptance, based on a more complete awareness of who a person is. It can allow a person to feel more free of the guilt and shame usually linked to negative feelings and actions.

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The Ecstasy of Surrender with Judith Orloff, M.D.

Dr. Judith Orloff talks about her remarkable new book (“The Ecstasy of Surrender”) and more with Anjula Ram of Conscious Life News.  Dr. Orloff’s book is subtitled: “12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life.”  She discusses some of the ways of surrendering and letting go with Anjula.  It’s an uplifting and highly informative interview.  Enjoy!

About “The Ecstasy of Surrender”

Are you longing for your life to be easier and more fun? Would you like to stop pushing, micromanaging, and forcing things so you can relax? What if you could enjoy what you have instead of always lusting for “more”? What if you could live in “the zone,” propelled by powerful currents toward the right people and opportunities? What if you could stop worrying about money and live with more emotional ease in the moment? If you answer “yes” to all these questions and desire lasting positive change, then prepare to experience the ecstasy of surrender.

The art of letting go, Dr. Judith Orloff explains, is the secret key to manifesting power and success in all areas of  life, including work, relationships, sexuality, radiant aging, and health and healing. In our superconnected world where emails and text messages constantly interrupt us, it’s easier to let go than you think. Once embraced, surrendering removes roadblocks and the exhaustion that comes from “trying too hard”—and it helps you achieve goals more effortlessly and brings ongoing happiness.

With her stunning gift for storytelling coupled with her unique, results-oriented approach to physical, emotional, and spiritual health—marrying neuroscience, psychiatry, intuitive medicine, energy techniques, and more—Judith provides a powerful, practical, and accessible map for anyone who is longing to be happier but who feels stuck, burned-out, tense, worried, or afraid to let go.




How to Be Happy: 11 Powerful Things Positive People Do Differently

Elena Ivanovska | Purpose Fairy

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

What makes people happy it is not some big mystery. Here I will present you few of the many lessons from the powerful positive people who know how to fulfill their soul with pleasure and extend smiles on their faces and on others.

1. The glass is always half-full

Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power. Positive people know that pessimism is an inexhaustible source of fears that trains the brain to always require potential difficulties in every possibility and to focus on obstacles instead of reaching the goals. They have crystal clear that they can’t see a rainbow if their eyes are always diving down.

Many judge this optimistic attitude as a fantasy, but make sure that positive people are actually quite practical and they have realistic grounded head.

2. Complaining is wasted time

What will you really achieve if you fill your everyday life with complaints? Positive people know that if they have the role of “victim of circumstances / life” is a waste of time and energy. That can only lead to negative and destructive thoughts, and there isn’t anything good in that.

3. Purpose is another piece of the puzzle

Many of the people ship through life with the thought “What’s yours will come to you.” Positive and purposeful people do not leave their lives in the hands of fate. They courageously take the initiative, driven by the conviction that it is always best to dance to the beat of their own music.

4. The key is in decisiveness

Positive people know how to outsmart the failure and use it as a trampoline to shoot up at the top. They rise above after every defeat, not forgetting the Japanese proverb “Fall seven times, get up eight.”

5. There is no pointing the finger at others

Yes, life is not fair at times and also the happiest people feel on their own skin bumps initiated or enhanced by someone else. But they don’t constantly point their finger toward others. They know how to get out of the vicious circle of blaming others so they can rethink their next step. Sometimes tend to blame themselves but only with the purpose to become a better person.

6. Positive people are lifelong learners

For the people who want positivity and success in life the opportunity to absorb knowledge does not end in school or college. They are lifelong learners and constantly work to upgrade their lives for better. They constantly have a passion for life and their mind is always thirsty for new experiences and information. Knowledge is a power which cannot be easily taken away and can only make you stronger.

7. Courtesy above all

Positive people are humble and know how to apologize and admit their mistake when it is needed. They don’t consider it as violation of pride, but for their own advantage.

They are sure in their abilities and the big potential that they posses, but not in an arrogant way. Maybe that’s why things are so easy to achieve for them.

8. Happiness is hiding in the little things

Positive people are guided by the saying ” little things make life worth living “. And while for others this seems absurd and funny, their happy faces are proof that these are not just empty words. Every moment is precious for them.

Imagine a sunset where the colors of the nature are mixed that it looks like a painting. While pessimists began to worry about tomorrow and mentally are going through the expected obligations, positive people enjoy the moment, the beauty that has blinded their eyes, and is grateful for the day and for the life. His thought is that every day wants to end with enchanting sunset.

9. Embrace change

“Everything is moving, everything changes.” Positive people are smart enough to know that change is the only constant thing in life and how quickly is accepted with positive thoughts, adaptation will seem less scary and difficult.

10. Laughter is the best medicine

Happiness recipe is not at all complex, and one of the key ingredients is of course the smile. The power of a smile is undeniable and can really change you a lot.

Laugh every day, no matter how difficult it may seem at times. Sense of humor is not a genetic predisposition with which we are born, it develops with a will and positive attitude. Positive people do not take jokes serious at their expense.

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Addicted to Approval: Reclaim Your Self-Esteem

Katherine Reseburg | Tiny Buddha

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

The past few years have been full of hard but necessary lessons I needed to learn about my relationships with others—their limits, boundaries, what healthy relationships are and are not.

I realized that the foundation for some of my relationships (the unhealthy ones) was my need for attention and approval. This, of course, was futile because we can only truly feel good about ourselves despite outside opinions.

Because I felt inadequate and overly self-critical due to a past full of put-downs and personal failures (real or perceived), I needed “proof” that I mattered and was worthy in the eyes of people who represented the very individuals from my past who had shamed me, abused me, ignored me, and devalued me.

Growing up, I was always the outlier and in a lot of ways I still am—the girl with the wild imagination and unpopular hobbies (art over sports, unique tastes over trends, time alone in introspection over socializing).

I was also the middle child who didn’t quite measure up to the overachieving big sister and gifted little brother—often ignored, humored, my “little” achievements dismissed.

While I was not mistreated or neglected in any major, obvious way, the lack of attention and validation culminated over time to make me feel like a general disappointment as a human being.

Even after many major accomplishments, I felt inadequate. I earned a master’s degree, married a wonderful man, quickly built an impressive career, made amazing friends, moved to my dream town and into a gorgeous home, but I still sought validation from others that I was worthy and wanted (and still occasionally do).

I recently realized that I was holding onto some people not because they were friends I needed (they were actually quite toxic and manipulative), but because they seemed to want or need me. They occasionally fed me a crumb of self-esteem—complimenting me, asking to spend time with me, and telling me how much they liked me.

These friendships were superficial and overall damaging to me because of all the times they made me feel just the opposite, because they were too busy or self-absorbed and I interpreted that as a negative reflection on me.

They reminded me of the people I’d failed to win over in my past. People I was still intent to gain approval from but never will. And I needed to let that expectation go.

I have ended or distanced myself from these relationships and I often feel heavy with sadness about no longer being close to them. But I know that the grief I feel has more to do with the loss of attention (“approval”) I got from them, not necessarily them.

It was selfish that I had held onto them for an (artificial) ego boost and out of a sense of duty, because a relationship had been established; that was unfair to them and unhealthy for me. I needed to be selfish in another way: focus inward and provide myself with that ego-boosting energy.

In approval-addiction friendships, both people seek validation and attention from each other instead of truly being there for one another, unselfishly. That’s a no-win situation.

I am now on a journey toward self-love and acceptance from within. I have developed four “mantras” I repeat to myself when I find myself drifting back into old relationship patterns, clinging to other people and things to gain feelings of self-worth.

Self-Love Mantras

1. No one else can prove your self-worth.

True friends can help boost it, but only temporarily. Authentic, lasting personal validation exists when youvalue and approve of you.

2. You are who you are, and that’s good enough.

You will have moments, even phases when you’ll doubt this, and that’s okay. Just remember: bad things are going to happen. Some people aren’t going to like you. But these are not a negative reflection of the awesome person you are.

3. Your friendship, time, and thoughtfulness are precious.

Invest these wisely and with integrity. You deserve it, as do your loved ones.

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Like Rumi In His Field

Ida LawrenceContributor

I’ve been shining some light into the darkness lately, and these thoughts might seem like seriousness in a world plagued with too much of that. We need happiness and a bright vision of a world where every human is self-governing from a conscious perspective. That world is coming, as the sun rises, and it’s for the coming of that world that I look into the darkness. Fear is such an enemy of growth, and darkness is not to be feared. So let’s shine some light on one darkness that people have pondered for a long, long time… sin.

We have the nature and the capacity to make choices; right and wrong, good and evil, sin and… what’s the opposite of sin? English doesn’t have a word for the opposite of sin. The best ‘opposite’ I can offer takes up seven words: something that brings merit to the doer. I guess it would follow that sin is something that brings demerit to the doer. But what is the ‘standard’ above which something is a merit and below which something is a demerit?

We have such vast differences as to what we believe are right and wrong choices. For one, leaving a beautiful flower attached to the plant is a merit. Cutting it and putting it in the vase is a demerit. For another, packaging ‘food-like’ chemicals and selling it as food is a merit. Letting your children go hungry because you quit your distasteful job is a demerit. For still others, installing economic sanctions that serve to kill half a million Iraqi children is a merit. The demerit in this case is a little hard to grasp… maybe ‘letting people be’ is the demerit?

It’s interesting to note that two different heads of the notorious ‘food for oil’ program that was killing these children, resigned from their job. Something in them couldn’t agree… bless their hearts. Yes, the ‘standard’ must be in the heart. But what a vast transdimensional ‘landscape within’ we travel in order to bring all the parts together into the center; to the settled heart where we can ‘feel’ a merit and a demerit. Unified Self… it is not just a concept, it is the key to self governance.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” Rumi

In traveling that ‘landscape within’ we navigate through a lot of conditioning about right and wrong. Be it religion and theology, various philosophies, political opinions, alternate versions of history, childhood parental discipline, the reactions of others to our actions, listening to ridicule and praise, feeling acceptance and rejection… the imprints of our experience exist in our subconscious mind. That mind is a living dimension, or multi-dimensions, not well lit, but definitely rich and potentially an ally… if and when we befriend it and see it as such.

And there are additional vital parts of ourselves to bring together, in order to meet Rumi in his field. Remember what the hippies used to call cosmic consciousness… well, today we accept that the super conscious mind, which metaphysicians tell us is vast, consisting of many living dimensions, is accessible in some small part through meditation. To get a grasp of what we are in totality, using fractal imagery, we can see ourselves as both the entire ocean in one drop, and, one drop in the entire ocean. It’s pretty stunning to realize that we, in reality, are at one with All: not separate from Source.

And then we have the ‘Now’… the present moment of awareness wherein we act. This awareness doesn’t remove us from battle, it actually places us in battle… essentially in battle with ignorance of ourselves. Know thyself: the information is in those multi-dimensions. Life is sacred… our life, all lives, and all living things… and as we wish to center in the heart, we look into the subconscious with love for the one who IS it: our Self.

What is it that separates us from love for Self? Some of us were conditioned to believe that the sin of Adam and Eve gave every human an automatic demerit… sinners upon conception or birth. That’s a setup for a life of striving for God’s love but never being it. For others the conditioning was a kinder but also a bit intellectual: there is no sin; only unskillful, unwholesome or ignorant action and the consequences of such action. This sets us on the path of development, with a lot of time dedicated to thinking. Still others are taught to believe there is no ‘original’ sin, but there is sin. It arises in the intentional transgression of divine law, related to the lower instinctive-intellectual nature. Complexity here… what is divine law?

With the thought, ‘what is divine law’ in mind, I combed through the theologies and found a ‘what is not divine law’ answer: covetousness. The statement said, “It is humans incapable of being gratified who will bring about the decay of life.” The quote was in a Hindu writing, although it appears that the major religions would all agree: covetousness is a bona fide demerit… old as the hills. Paradoxically, it seems that ‘what is not divine’ is the One Law dominating this current matrix. Remember the Rolling Stones singing ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’? Why not, I wonder. What’s going on that causes humans to continuously feel dissatisfied… to ‘want’ more?

We don’t see covetousness in nature. It does seem that wanting more is a craving of the ego. Stuart Wilde often talked about the ego’s tower as a structure we build. It provides the illusion of safety and control, and even immortality. He said, “Strangely, the journey to the authentic grown up is through the egocentric, frightened child. It’s the journey through the phony you to the spiritually mature being. There is a beauty in that.”

The inner child is but one aspect of the well populated subconscious realms, but it is an important one. Imagine every feeling, or emotion, or impression you’ve forgotten… there they are in your living subconscious. Imagine every person who strongly impacted the way you think and the decisions you make, with fear or love… there they are.

So the question arises, are we self governing through consciousness of all that we are? Loving all that we are, including what we consider the trauma, the hidden, the wrong: there is grace in that, and mercy, and forgiveness, and merit. Through this love, which is offered by our divinity… to ourselves… we can approach Rumi’s field… the heart space.

I’ve talked before about the inner polarities of masculine and feminine – truth and love – and their oneness and flow and exchange of energies. Earlier in this article we asked what is divine law. Is it not this flow?

When we contemplate the decisions and choices that human beings are asked to make in this world where the spiritual is ‘built in’, whether we know it or not, we asked for a standard above which something is a merit, and below which something is a demerit. Here is a standard that I heard someone say, once upon a time: “No, I would not do that to myself.” Of course one can feel the reverence for the divinity of Self in that statement.

Enjoyment of life: enjoyment of the beauty and sensuality of life and relationships; enjoyment of the tenderness and kindness of one’s own soul; enjoyment of the honesty and authenticity gained from dedication to spirit… this is the world out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing. There is a field, and we can meet there.

About the Author

cropped - IdaIda Lawrence is an author, blogger, copywriter and editor based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has contributed to and edited two books on racial justice and human rights, and numerous articles on human rights, self-empowerment and related subjects. Her latest book is entitled The Warrior’s Way to Heaven on Earth. Ida has also published a companion book of blog favorites from https://talk2momz.com/.




Ethical & Conscious Clothing and Ending Modern Day Slavery

sweatshopBy Trinity Bourne | Openhand

I can’t help but feel that there is something terribly wrong with our world when over 1,134 children, women and men fall to their death in a tragically unsafe building designed to churn out cheap clothing for people in the western world. But the question that really burns my heart, is “how many people need to die before people really start to do something about it?”

Tragedy of fashion

One year ago, on the 24th of April 2013 a year ago, the eight story Rana Plaza building collapsed causing the deaths of over 1,134 whilst injuring over twice as many again. It left a huge trail of tragedy and suffering. The factories within it were sorely over populated, insisting on cramped conditions to knock out cheap clothing for companies like Walmart, Primark, Benetton, Matalan and the Children’s Place. The upper floors had been built without a permit, ignoring just about every sensible safety precaution in the book.

It’s a heart wrenching disaster, destined to happen from the start, especially given that the building’s architect stresses that it was never designed for factory use and heavy machinery. Unfortunately such unsafe conditions seems to be common place in less developed countries. The day before the disaster, media reported a crack in the building. Whilst the shops and bank in the building were immediately closed, the factory garment workers were forced to work as usual. For most workers, their job is their life-blood and not going to work means they’d be fired, punished or not paid, which is tragically not an option for people who can barely scrape together enough to live as it is.

I watched this video. It interviews some of the brave survivors of the disaster including one woman who tried to cut her hand off in order to free herself from death!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y6_rulRbOw

Were all those deaths in vain?

You’d be forgiven for presuming that this sort of disaster would immediately invoke change. In some ways the cogs have started moving as the event has brought the issues of sweatshops to the forefront. In other ways progress is painfully slow and thwarted. Take for instance the brave stance by former workers who took to the streets six weeks after the disaster to protest about their appalling treatment. Instead of being listened to, the police opened fire on them and cleared the streets with tear gas. Reported in the Guardian newspaper here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/05/bangladesh-police-fire-garm…

This scene is echoed throughout countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia as workers are forced to work for a wage that barely allows them the basics of clean clothing, shelter and food to feed themselves and their families. I’ve read countless stories over the years where kids are also forced to work since there is no other way to survive. It’s not uncommon to hear that they are forced to work in inhumane, cramped conditions; inhaling toxins that have been banned in western factories; being forced to work insanely long hours without adequate breaks; being injured by unsafe practices.

Fashion and destruction of the environment

Most awakened people think of avoiding food that is laden with chemicals, yet many haven’t yet made the link between what we wear and destruction of the environment. It’s quite startling to realize what insane levels of pollution we might be contributing to because of what we wear. Check out this short video to see how Greenpeace is bringing the message forward for positive ‘detox your fashion’ change.

Leather, fur and other animal products

It’s often believed that leather, fur and other animal products used for clothing are a by-product of the meat industry (which in itself is worth questioning). Whilst this may at times be the case, most people are not aware of the life cycle that brings them leather and other such products. If you are in any doubt, then I would urge you to watch this short clip from the Earthlings documentary that shows us how leather finds its way to us.

Living wage should be enough to actually live on

There are organizations around the world campaigning for living wages. You might think that a minimum wage would be enough to live on but it’s often far from adequate. In Cambodia for instance, the minimum wage is $61 per month, where in fact, the minimum amount required to live from (to provide basic living costs) is US$238. People who challenge this system there are often punished, fired or even jailed. Watch this short animated video for more information on this:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

So what can we do right now to make a difference in our every day lives?

Buy pre-owned clothing
People often donate unwanted (but perfectly fine) clothing to their local charity/thrift stores. Most towns and cities also have a 2nd hand clothing shops. This is an excellent way to buy ethically by re-using and recycling unwanted goods.

Find ethical clothing companies
Most cities these days have at least somewhere that stocks organic, ethical or conscious clothing that has been produced in fair conditions by a company that values the environment, people and fair living wages. You might have to do a little searching to find these places, but it is really worth making the effort. You’ll more likely find them online. They are often more expensive that cheap high street brands, but remember the time and energy that is actually put into providing your garments. If you buy only that which you need, then you will probably find that you have more than enough.

High street
The one place in our world that is crawling with the neatly packaged karma of pain and suffering is the typical high street. Sweatshop labor is responsible for decking out most of the clothing shops we see. If you shop in high street chain stores, then you can still become a more conscious shopper and help instigate change. Do some investigating. Find out which stores stock fairly traded products. Write to them and demand that they address their ethics. Some stores are beginning to wake up and look at implementing ethical policies.

Ethical Consumer is a UK based magazine and has drawn up a rated list of high street clothing stores based on their ethics here: https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/clothing/clothesshops.aspx You might find other guides for your own country.

Fairtrade Clothing
Every time you buy something that doesn’t carry the fairtrade mark, you can probably assume that whatever you are wearing has been responsible for suffering somewhere down the line. Look for the fairtrade label (especially on the high street) when you buy anything. If it’s not there, then ask why not.

We can change things by making conscious choices.

Each of us has a choice. Every choice counts and sends a message to the world. So, what message are you going to share with the world?




Why the Awakening is a Relief for Some and a Struggle for Others

Jon RasmussenContributor

Humanity is in the process of waking up. Imagine the typical night’s sleep… You are either having a dream that can span from very realistic to bizarrely surreal, and from blissful to horrific, or just getting a good night’s rest without consciously aware of dreaming.  When you wake up from a blissful dream, there is a moment of disappointment.  When you wake up from a nightmare, there is great relief.  When you wake up from a dreamless night, perhaps a feeling of neutrality.  In any case, you always wake up one way or the other.

Some people take a while to wake up and get out of bed in the morning, hitting the snooze over and over, or walking around like a zombie until they’ve had their coffer and shower – or just plain grumpy.  Some people spring out of bed excited to get on with the day right away.  Some people look forward to the routine never changing, and some people look for any way to change the routine and experience something new and dramatic.  All of these ways are valid and equally valuable.  Now let’s take this analogy and translate it to the current state of Humanity at large and what seems to be happening in recent years.

Much of Humanity has been relatively asleep in regards to conscious awareness, and has been living a kind of dream that spans from blissful to horrific.  For example, those that have followed the modern norm and mastered and taken full advantage of the paradigm of the masculine warrior approach, and achieved a level of success as measured in that paradigm, are self-admittedly and generally happy.  Whereas those who have tried to follow the norm and have been left behind, abused, or stuck in perpetual enslavement of sorts often admit to being generally unhappy.  In either case, life has been one of being fully focused in the external world without looking with an objective and broad perspective at whether or not the whole paradigm is sustainable, or makes sense, or is truly what they want to experience.

Then there are those who are essentially so disassociated from the situation that they are having a kind of dreamless life, just going through the motions.  And there are those who have found a way to “transcend” the situation altogether, and they are more or less watching in a neutral stance, perhaps waiting for the real show to begin.

Finally there are some who have already consciously awakened, and they freely choose if, where, and how they participate in their own life and/or in the collective dream.  Most of that part of awakened humanity either worked fairly hard to get there, got there through an induced altered state, or are in a situation where they never went to sleep – like some or indigenous tribes or societies that remained well connected to nature and the feminine-based myths that are aligned with nature.

What has been happening over the last several years, is a process of waking up.  Some people don’t want to wake up and will resist and struggle to the very end, either hitting the snooze button over and over, or being grumpy or kicking and screaming – just trying to delay the inevitable.  Some people are excited and delighted to discover a whole new way of looking at their lives and world, seeing many things that were fuzzy before.  Others are simply coming back into their bodies and beginning to recognize and explore their own true desires.

Either way, everyone is waking up and their is no avoiding it.  There is no going back to sleep, no more snooze buttons, so we are all being forced to deal with it.

If this process is a struggle for some, it is because they want things to go back the way it was a few years or decades ago, the good dream they were having.  I don’t need to elaborate on that dream relative to the economic, social, and political paradigms that supported it; since if you are reading this, you probably are well aware of the issues around the lack of sustainability, inclusiveness, and functionality surrounding it.  I covered some of this in the vision section of my book Dreaming Your World Into Being, and there is much more out there in the mainstream about it now.

How the resistant one’s struggle unfolds and affects the world at large will depend entirely on how they choose to react to the new awakened paradigm.  The psychology of it is critical, just as is known in survival situations, where 90% is wanting to survive – psychological – and 10% is knowing how to find food, water, shelter, etc. – skills.  If those who are, or may yet be struggling with the new paradigm can be made to feel safe, supported, and find a new set of desires and skills to live, serve, and create with the rest of humanity and all of nature, then I believe the awakening will be more graceful than apocalyptic.  That is basically what my teachers, the Q’ero shamans, and I and many others are here to serve and support.

I think the miracle that many are praying for, hoping for, or looking for where everybody wakes up bright-eyed and bushy tailed and ready for the new fully-enlightened day is possible and would be great.  And, what I’m prepared to navigate, experience, and continue to serve within is something a bit more naturally messy.

I believe that eventually the difficult “morning” will pass and the new day will be a miraculous and great dream come true.  This may take a few years, but we can look forward to what the Q’ero shamans call a Millennium of Gold on the other side of this great awakening.

Jon RasmussenAbout Jon Rasmussen

Jon has over 35 years of experience in the fields of ancient and modern shamanism, healing, science, spirituality, and consciousness. He’s the author of the book Dreaming Your World Into Being, the CD’s Shamanic Journeys to Empower your Life and Practical Meditation for the Modern Lifestyle, as well as the DVD Let Success Find You. After several near death experiences at an early age, and extensive shamanic training and initiation, Jon leads a life of service for the healing of humanity primarily through the principle of the return of the powerful Feminine as spoken of in the prophecies of his Q’ero shaman lineage.  He travels extensively to conduct sessions, teach, and lead ceremony for individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations.  Learn more about Jon’s work at dreamingintobeing.com and connect with him on Facebook. You can book sessions with Jon in person or by phone and Skype by sending an email to jon@dreamingintobeing.com.




Rare ‘Zonkey’ (Zebra-Donkey) Born in Mexico; Two Baby Gorillas Born at Bronx Zoo

A zonkey, the offspring of a cross between a zebra and a donkey, named “Khumba” has been bord for the first time in Mexico on 21 April, as a zoo in the nothern state of Tamaulipas reports. He weighed 26 kilograms and measured 70 centimeters at birth. Khumba’s mother, a female zebra whose name is “Rayas”, lives among exotic animals in the zoo, while his father, an albino dwarf blue-eyed donkey, lives on a nearby farm.

The Bronx Zoo in New York has welcomed the birth of two baby gorillas, the first since 2006.




Don’t Know What To Do With Your Life? Here’s A Secret For You

Charlie | Collective Evolution

We live in an age where both humanity and planet earth are going through a lot of changes. If we look back roughly fifty years ago, we would have generally known our place and role in society. Women were housewives or secretaries, and men were the breadwinners, the heads of the family. We had guidelines reinforced by war-time propaganda and shows like “I Dream of Genie” and “Bewitched.” We had a rough idea of who we were, and what we were going to do with ourselves in the future.

In our modern day and age, we have no clear guidelines. We currently find ourselves changing from a Type Zero civilization to a Type One (see the video here), and one of the products of this change is the internet, a technology that allows us to be a constantly interconnected civilization. National borders are no longer barriers that stop us from communicating and progressing together. We are becoming global citizens.

This can be seen as a source of liberation, or intense confusion. The internet allows us to be exposed to a wider variety of voices, its wealth of information allows us to see that it is possible to live our lives differently. We now know going to school, to university, getting a ‘respectable’ job, getting married and getting a mortgage isn’t the only path we can take. We know there are people out there like Steven Spielberg and Bill Gates who lead particularly successful lives without university degrees, and established an inspiring legacy for all of us. We know that we can publish our own book on Amazon, we can build our own websites, we can manage our businesses wherever we have wifi, and we can find a special someone online who really shares all our interests, rather than selecting people at random in the darkness of bars and nightclubs.

So, in this age of constant and limitless opportunity offered to us by the internet, what exactly should we do with ourselves?

This is a difficult question, and it is this question that is responsible for the rising phenomena that is the Quarter-Life Crisis. The younger generations are breaking under the pressure previously felt by people in their 50s. The Mid-Life Crisis came on when you looked back on your life feeling you wasted half of it, and missed every opportunity you had to make something better of it. So you anxiously try to do something different, for fear of running out of time.

Twenty year olds nowadays feel the pressure from their family, friends, and society, to do something ‘worthwhile’ with their future. So they find solace in the only place they know they don’t have to fear external and unwanted expectations, they don’t have to change who they are to ‘fit in’. And that place is the internet. YouTube. Tumblr. Alternative websites like Collective Evolution. We are secretly hoping we somehow find a way out of all this mess. That somehow, somewhere, we will find a person, a video, a phrase, that triggers an idyllic revelation, and will tell us exactly what we have to do.

In this age of constant social, environmental and galactic change, it is not surprising we feel lost, stressed, insignificant, and somewhat detached from the world ‘out-there’. It’s a natural consequence of our evolution. The paradigms of the past are out-dated, they don’t fit in with how we feel inside. Someone else’s expectations of ourselves, although sometimes based on good intentions, can be a great source of stress.

What can you do?

There is one secret, that is not-so-secret, that will let us find the answer we are searching for. And it is inside each and every one of us. It is our intuition. Our inner voice. Our gut-feeling. Whatever you wish to label it. We all have it. If we tune into this voice, we will never go wrong. It will guide us exactly where we want to go, it will make sure you always go after what will make you safe, happy, loved and fulfilled.

The tricky bit is blocking out all the external voices, the external expectations that cause all the pressure. These voices can be very loud, very firm, and they surround us every day. Learn to recognise them with patience. Ask yourself: why am I doing this? Why am I thinking this? Why am I feeling this? Is this my voice? Or is this someone else’s voice? Analyse the causes and the consequences of every major decision you have made or are being faced with. Was it made out of love? Or was it made due to pressure? Did I tell myself to do this? Or did someone else tell me to do this? Is this what I want to do? Or is this what someone else thinks I should do?

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