By Tim Elliston
Our spirit is something we often link with a need to be religious, as Karen says in her video. We often ignore this part of us, feeling we simply are not spiritual. In truth we have probably become disconnected from ourselves and much of the world around us. We have forgotten the innocent wonder we once lived by when we were full of spirit and fun.
So instead of thinking about being spiritual try at being ‘spirit-full’ and reconnect with yourself and your life in a more honest, simple way.
Tip 1. Take any opportunity to become an observer. We live so much in our heads believing all the thoughts that tumble around in there. We become so involved in all the details and perceived imperfections, we rarely take time to observe what is going on around us. Pause for a few moments take a few deep breaths and just watch what is going on outside the window. It can surprise you to notice the colours, the smells, the sounds. To notice and actually experience a moment.
Tip 2. Disconnect. You are probably reading this on your mobile phone or tablet. As a technologist I love gadgets, but I know first-hand how being constantly plugged into the digital world can increase stress and keep us away from real life, people, nature, actual joyful experiences that will be remembered and relived over and over again. Turning off the gadgets early in the evening can really help us fall back into a more natural pattern of sleep and rest. Having a day where we leave the technology alone can be liberating, Ok, scary at first but checking our status or social network feeds is just another habit we have created. Switching off allows us time for meaningful interaction, even sun light and fresh air and activities to really talk about and share
Tip 3. Change the pace. For many we are on the go from the moment we wake to the time we fall into bed, always on the go, often multitasking. There are many ways to be active even when we are sitting down, our minds are active, problem solving and striving. We find ourselves just moving though our day and not really feeling or experiencing it. When having to get things done, simply focusing on one thing at a time, we are not over loading brains. When moving from one activity to another, take a moment to rest. Feel three deep conscious breaths. We focus so much on our work and other people, we forget ourselves. Do a hobby or sport remember those resolutions and lists take part in them and feel the reward to yourself for doing so. These activities tend to involve connecting with the senses. Painting, listening to music, playing an instrument, doing a gym workout, dancing, singing and many more activities all give us the chance to be with your senses.
Doing these 3 simple things daily can help us find some quiet moments from our thoughts and busy lives, to connect with ourselves and by doing so, with others too, in a meaningful and some might say spiritual way.
By Andi Evans
Yesterday the topic of responding to painful situations came up on my radio show. And I recognized the importance of asking myself the question, who is responding? If my ego is responding, the situation will likely escalate and end up in an uncomfortable place. If my heart is responding, I know I am standing up for love, and pointing myself in the direction of my truth.
By taking some time to breathe and stepping away from reacting to life, we allow our true self to shine and guide us. The outcomes to situations are more pleasant, and more truthful. We live in authenticity instead of a fabricated tug-of-war.
Asking myself who is reacting? who is responding? who is judging? helps me to remember who I am at my core, and live a more peaceful, love-filled life. When I ask love to guide me I am comforted and content. I am allowing life to flow through me. I also realize life is a lot easier when I let love show me the way. There are no tough questions. The answers are always right here for me. I just have to be willing to hear them.
By Craig Ruvere
The first thing many of us think of after someone has wronged or disrespected us is how to get even—how to hand out a dose of that person’s own medicine in an attempt to feel totally vindicated.
Most of us have thought about revenge at one point or another.
Maybe it’s a co-worker, a classmate, a family member, or even a boyfriend or girlfriend, but regardless of the relationship it’s often an instinctive reaction when someone attacks the deepest, most fragile part of ourselves
Does this really accomplish anything positive?
We might gain some personal, though temporary satisfaction, but it does little to ease the pain others have inflicted upon us.
I recently received an unexpected email. While the sender was certainly a surprise, the content of the message and its motivation were not.
The sender was my father, and in what has become my parents’ only way of communicating with me over the last few years, it was a familiar message filled with anger, blame, and defensiveness.
Though this wasn’t the first time my parents had defamed me in this way, it still saddened me for much of the next few days.
Children, especially adolescents, are known for “mouthing off” to their parents while growing up, but it’s hard to imagine this coming from someone who taught you that this was disrespectful.
My relationship with my parents has become difficult to maintain as a free-thinking adult.
I suppose some might say that we should always forgive family members for their faults, especially parents.
But regardless of the relation, at some point you grow tired of others not telling the entire truth; tired of having to defend yourself; tired of being referred to as the cause of someone else’s issues.
Growing up I had a great deal of respect for my parents. They provided for all of my worldly needs, taught me invaluable lessons and skills, and maintained a true sense of family and tradition within the walls of our home.
Yet something was missing for me, as I was burdened by an inner need to always seek my parents’ approval and acceptance, which rendered me incredibly insecure and anxious growing up.
Eventually, I became completely dependent on them for emotional stability and continual guidance. I didn’t love and trust myself enough to be the keeper of myself, so I allowed my parents to fill that role for me.
As I evolved into an adult, found someone who loved me without conditions, and began to develop a deep appreciation for the person I was, I realized I no longer needed the family dynamic that I was so dependent on for so long.
My parents, however, had a difficult time understanding that I was no longer that insecure, anxious, easily manipulated little boy trying to find his place in the world. I was now an adult, ready to chart his own course.
We started arguing regularly, and many times rather than deal with the repercussions, I would just say I was sorry and return to how our relationship had always been.
This dynamic continued on for many years until one day I offered my opinion and perspective on a complex, delicate matter they were considering. I questioned their motivation and feared the possible outcome, and thought voicing my concern would be appreciated.
I was truly stunned by their reaction.
Letters, emails, character attacks—they even posted hateful comments on a newspaper’s website I contributed to frequently, dragging my name through the proverbial mud in an effort to convince people that I wasn’t the man I proclaimed to be.
I never expected something so heinous from my own parents. I was so taken aback, hurt and angry that my first thought was how to get back at them—to do a little mud-slinging of my own in an attempt at destroying their character, just as they had done to mine.
Then I stumbled upon the following quote, and suddenly everything I thought I understood changed.
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” ~Gandhi
How could I possibly be so naïve to believe that seeking revenge on my own parents would make my actions any better than theirs, let alone change the course of what had already been done?
My revenge would only keep the wound open longer, perpetuating my bitterness and squandering my time on something I couldn’t change. Though never easy, acceptance is key in putting the pain behind you and moving forward with your life.
I began to ask myself: Will I find any inner solace by propagating my anger? If I succeed at getting even, will it really change my reality? Does it make me the better person to do to them what they’ve done to me?
As difficult as it was, instead of arguing and trying to defend myself, I simply said nothing. No replies, no rebuttals, no communication, nothing to engage us in the kind of negative confrontations we were accustomed to.
I’ve learned that living without the drama that so many people thrive on is the only way to live a meaningful life.
I’m far from perfect and those feelings of retribution still creep up now and then, especially when I get an email or letter as I did the other day. But each time the thought pops into my head, I begin to realize something:
Regardless of how justified you might believe you are in seeking your revenge, it’s important to remember that life isn’t a game and simply getting even doesn’t mean you’ve won the battle; it just means you’ve lost your self-respect.
It’s taken me a while to accept that I probably will never see my parents again. Yes, there will be times when I miss the family unit I remember from when I was a little boy; but then I’m forced to remind myself that things will never be as they were again.
It saddens me that my parents are missing out on getting to know the man I truly am, instead of the insecure, anxious little boy they’re convinced still exists.
In truth, I would not be the person I am today without them—a person of character and integrity who’s managed to touch the lives of many, even theirs I’m sure.
In my heart I forgive them for everything that’s gone on, and the peace that provides me is much greater than the fleeting satisfaction of seeking revenge.
Though it might seem impossible, even the bad things that happen in life have a funny way of leading us to a better place. At least, they did for me.
By Karen Lang
Have you ever noticed, that when a room full of people are whingeing and complaining about life and someone says something positive, how that suddenly changes the entire mood of the room and makes everyone consider their next words.
Gratefulness is a gift. It can shift the most difficult moment or help overwhelming sadness come to a lighter place. Overtime, if you practice gratitude, you will find it is easy to see the good in every situation. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.
In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.
“Sometimes we complain without thinking much of it, but the frightening thing about complaining is that every time we do, a cloud descends over our heart, and our hope, appreciation and joy gradually wane”.
Why is it that we wait until we have lost before we are grateful for what we had? In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this situation I am in?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?” These are difficult questions to ask when you feel let down in life and yet, in becoming conscious of these questions we can shift our negative belief into a positive.
The first step is to become aware of how much you complain. Just for three days, make a conscious effort to see how many times you are not happy during the day. If you find it is more often than you were aware of, make a conscious effort to change your negative thoughts into grateful thoughts.
Have some perspective as well. Ask yourself, “Are you dying?” “Are your children dying?” and then reconsider how bad life is? We can learn a lot from the poorer countries, who always seem content even amongst the chaos of their environment. They grow up with so little and yet, are appreciative of the smallest blessing.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus
Life is a gift. The fact that people lose their loved ones everyday should awaken you to the fragility and preciousness of life. Every morning try letting the first words you say be”thankyou” and the last words you say before bed be “thankyou.”
Turn every situation into a gift of gratefulness and realise that even though some days are harder than others, everyday is another opportunity to start again.
“It is this sense of appreciation that elevates, enriches and expands the human spirit. A lack of gratitude is actually a sign of arrogance.” - Daiksu Ikeda
By Craig Ruvere
“Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the guru.”
“The teacher we need at every moment” – I don’t think I’ve ever thought about the journey of life in that way before, but looking back it makes total sense.
I’ve learned invaluable lessons through the challenges life’s handed me over the years.
And while they certainly were stressful and difficult to navigate at the time, I emerged with a greater sense of who I am, what I want and where I need to be in life.
And you know what? I’m not done learning – none of us are.
I suppose we all reach an age when our ego tells us there’s nothing left to learn in life. But “the teacher” is always there – imparting wisdom on a situation whether we want to accept it or not.
American Novelist and Poet Don Williams, Jr. once remarked that “The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
My journey has led me down many different pathways, but the classroom of life continues to educate me – and all of us. That is if we’re still willing to listen.
The post Life’s journey is a never ending classroom appeared first on The View from Here by Craig Ruvere.
By JoAnn Bayus
My mind is constantly running at full speed. I have found that practicing breathwork helps quiet my thoughts and relax my mind.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “Breathing exercises can reduce stress, improve mood, and help you feel energized.” Who wouldn’t want that?!?
We all engage in self-talk throughout the day. Unfortunately for many, much of that talk is focused on the negative. Taking some time in your day to focusing your attention on your breathing, instead of on your thoughts and the stress around you, can help control anxiety and elevate your mood.
Breath work has been shown to calm the central nervous system and make us less susceptible to health problems.
If you’re new to the practice of breathwork, I highly recommend the CD set Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing by Andrew Weil, M.D. It will take some time to reap the benefits but stick with it you’ll be happy you did.
By Karen Lang
How many of us were told as children, not to show our anger or tears? Where does all that anger go when it is suppressed over a long time? Unfortunately it doesn’t go away and if you were not taught how to let go of anger, it can be a time bomb just waiting to explode.
Of course anger is unleashed everywhere in society today. It’s almost a given right now to show your anger to anyone who is in your way. Road rage, Disgruntled employees, Students angry at teachers, Husbands, wives and children all fighting about who isn’t doing enough or that no-one feels listened too.
It never feels good to see someone get angry or lose control but the only reason people lose control is because they have ignored their feelings. When we don’t acknowledge and deal with the first signs of anger or rejection, we allow a build up of emotion.
People will forget what you said to them….but they will never forget how you made them feel. Carl W Buechner
We need to become aware of our feelings each day, we need to let go of our fear of being heard and become conscious of our thoughts towards ourselves and others.
How often do you share a story with someone about how you have been wronged by a family member or friend that was rude or angry at you. Instead of us saying something to the right person at the time, (which takes courage)…..we decide it’s easier to spread the negative story to friends, which in turn helps our anger grow, and feeds our victim-hood.
Anger blinds us and fatigues us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Although anger often gives us a feeling of power and allows us to intimidate others, when we give in to anger, we continue to foster the situations that feed that rage.
We discover we are constantly surrounded by unfriendly people, from the shop owner or work colleagues because anger unconsciously invites others to feed off our irritation and resentment.
Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader, are your own nature reflected in them. Rumi
Genuine power lies in the ability to practice peace when confronted by someone else’s fury. When we don’t engage in the drama of another person’s anger we can learn to see the pain in ourselves and others.
Don’t pretend that anger is not apart of our emotions, feel it and let it go. If we can practice stillness and peace each day, we will learn to see the emotional blockages we have created and allow change and freedom in our life.
Any time we feel those negative emotions come up, it’s a voice from deep within ourselves asking to be heard. Somewhere inside, there’s a being that is crying out for love and caring, because it’s feeling hurt, afraid, lonely, or is just simply in pain. That suffering being is you.
To create peace, you have to let go of your need to be right. If you believe you can’t experience peace until you have worked through your anger, you are wrong. We need to make peace a conscious choice each day and allow forgiveness and acceptance of ourselves and others inside our heart.
” Love knows no answer for it does not question.” -silent lotus
By Craig Ruvere
I’ve never rescued anyone from the scene of an accident, or stood on the frontlines of battle during wartime.
But then I began to wonder if acts of heroics were the only actions allowing someone to be classified as courageous?
After doing a little digging, I came across this statement by Mary Anne Radmacher, which pretty much answered my question perfectly.
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
While I’m in no way discrediting the selfless individuals out there who risk their own lives for the protection of others, I know how difficult it can be sometimes to look at another day with any kind of hope.
To gather your strength, put on a happy face and try to make today a better day.
And for all those individuals who understand exactly what I’m talking about, know that your determination to say “I’ll try again tomorrow” makes you some of the most courageous people in the world.
By Craig Ruvere
But change tends to get a bad reputation. Be it a relationship, a career or anything that involves making a long term commitment, change is not something we’re willing to adjust to, nor accept easily. We develop a sense of security in our lives, and sometimes we can’t always see the benefits altering our “comfort zone” could possibly bring.
The dictionary defines “change” as “to alter; to give up for something else; to change one’s intention.” This altering can lead to great things. And while the direct results are not always obvious, change can be just what you need – bringing your life to new heights that far surpass your current state of being.
But for many of us, we have trouble letting go of the past for something new. For some it’s holding on to the 1950 Chevy we first learned to drive; for others it’s the uneasy feeling of moving from the home where our family was raised. The truth is no matter how much our lives change and where they leads us, one thing can never be taken away – the memories that live in our hearts and minds.
Life is like an endless novel – each chapter representing another place and time in our lives, forever evolving. And all it takes to ignite the feelings of the past are the sweet smell of flowers on a spring day, the soft sound of music playing in the background or the feeling of an old woolen blanket upon our skin.
As we all get older, we start to realize how vital these memories truly can be. They keep us company on days when we’re lonely, keep us warm when we’re feeling cold, keep us happy when we’re feeling sad.
I’m sure we all have friends or family members that send countless emails designed to inspire and motivate – some even claiming riches or health if we pass them along to ten other people in the next five minutes. For the most part I tend to delete such messages before I ever read them. But recently my wife sent me an email with a request in the subject line stating “please read” so I figured how bad could it be.
I was pleasantly surprised to find this: “The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. We have the choice to live fully each and every day. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”
It takes courage and strength to fully embrace change, and so many times the results far outweigh the inconvenience. Change is something beyond our control, and no amount of worry or stress will have any effect on the final outcome.
No one is saying that change is easy, but it is a turning point in our lives. Change forces us to evaluate where our lives our going, giving us the opportunity to better not only ourselves, but the world around us. Change is unavoidable – but it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.
By Louise Jensen
In my early, dark days of first acquiring a disability I didn't feel I had an awful lot to be thankful for. It was like I had spent my whole life getting to the point where I had a thriving holistic therapy practice I loved, great friends provided an amazing social life, my beautiful dog who I would regularly take into the country for long walks and my adrenaline pumping exercise routine. Life was perfect. I had so much to be grateful for but then it was suddenly snatched away.
I was left with constant pain, immobility and three children I felt I couldn't care for properly. So what did I have to be grateful for right? Well I was alive yes. Some people may say that's enough but they are probably either a) people not dealing with chronic pain on a daily basis or b) those with a far more positive mindset than I had at that time.
I thought back to all the advice I had given to my therapy clients over the years on healing emotional pain and moving forward but even though I knew it worked from the positive feedback I received, I couldn't apply it to myself. The problem was I was very good at talking it but as I had always felt good about my life I had never actually had to put it into practice.
The previous ten years had been the best I had ever experienced and I was naturally appreciative of all I had. After my accident appreciativeness soon turned to hurt, to anger, self-pity and eventually self-loathing. I caused myself more pain by resisting the enforced lifestyle change and couldn’t see a purpose in anything. It was at this point I knew I had to make a change.
I looked at the handout sheets I had previously given to clients (practical tips for living a positive life) and loving writing, gratitude journaling seemed to be an obvious starting point.
That night I sat with my journal, intending to start with three things I was grateful for that day. Just three. Piece of cake right? After an hour I gently closed the cover on the tear stained, still blank first page and cried myself to sleep, mentally adding failure at journaling to all my other perceived shortcomings.
A couple of days later I decided to try again. Determinedly opening up the book I quickly wrote my children, my home and food to eat. Feeling a smug sense of satisfaction I replaced the pen lid. I was done right? Objective achieved.
The next day I opened the book and froze. What could I write? The three things from the day before were all I could think of. I couldn't repeat them and yet nothing else came to mind.
I laid the now incredibly crumpled but virtually blank book down again and rested my head against the window. I watched a Robin tentatively sitting on the garden fence anxiously watching all directions whilst trying to keep an eye on the bird seed my son had put on the feeding station before school. For half an hour this beautiful bird made several trips, came back with friends and triumphantly cleared all we had offered.
It dawned on me that while I had been watching I hadn't felt sorry for myself once. I had felt in awe of nature and how beautiful it can be. Excitedly I reached for my book again. I ripped out the first page and discarded it. Yes my children, home and food were things to be grateful for but I just put them for the sake of reaching my goal. I wasn't really feeling anything at the time I wrote them and I knew the exercise had been an empty one.
That little tiny bird, with its beautiful red breast had evoked a truly positive emotion and from that I started to become more and more aware and recognise these precious moments as they occurred, which they generally do if you watch for them, each day.
It hasn't been easy. It is now 5 years on and journaling has become an important part of my life and has really helped me change my mindset and move forward. There is joy everywhere but that can be overshadowed by pain if you allow it. When I have a bad day now I read back over my journal and I remember that life has so much to offer. I still such a lot to be grateful for. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones. I have a life and I love it.
If you want to start a gratitude journal I recommend the following: -
I would love to hear how you get on.