23 minutes | Jul 14, 2017
Episode 86 Out-of-Control Obsessing
Episode 86 Out-Of-Control Obsessing: 5 Powerful Steps to Become an Effective Manage of Your Own Mind In this episode, I am going to give you 5 steps to stop the out-of-control obsessing that intrudes the mind on a daily basis. These effective steps put you back in control of your own mind and thus your own life. What is an obsession? An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind. A persistent, disturbing preoccupation. I know I have found myself in situations like this: I am in conversation with someone. They are talking about something, and I am engaged at first. Then some thought will cross my mind that stays and takes up residency. Now my mind is preoccupied. I am absorbed in thought and not hearing a word that is being said. Well, it doesn’t take long for that person to realize it usually. They lose motivation in the conversation and move on in their life. I then feel bad and usually try to reconnect with them. When someone says that they are obsessing about something, this doesn’t usually have a positive connotation. Usually they are looking for a way out, some relief from this persistent preoccupation. An obsession intrudes on your mind. It is almost as though you have no control over it. You find yourself back in thought about it without even knowing how you got there. What are we obsessing over in life? Negative situations – we replay them over and over again. Even though the situation is long gone, we keep it alive inside us for days, sometimes years. Money – How can I get more? How can I pay my bills? What if my money runs out? How can I afford to send my kids to college? How will I ever be able to retire? Money is a quick way to a high stress level. Time – Being too busy. How can I get everything done? This must all be done today (even though there may be no real reason for that other than you just want it over with). No one understands how much I have to get done. I can’t possibly add one more item to my schedule. What is an obsession really? An obsession is simply an addiction of the mind. Addictions are an escape from reality. They are things that make us feel better, no matter how temporary, about ourselves and our world. They quickly get out of control. If you are an addict, you lose the ability to manage whatever is the focus of your addiction. It has intruded and is extremely persistent. An obsession is mismanagement of the mind. Any obsession is a mismanagement of the mind and is destructive. It interferes with the process of creating a healthy and positive life. You must learn how to be a manager of your own mind. 5 Powerful Steps to Become an Effective Manage of Your Own Mind Within a company, what do managers do? The Wall Street Journal answered that question. Sets goals and decides what work needs to get done to meet those goals Organizes, divides the work into manageable chunks, selects an order, basically makes a plan of attack. Motivates and communicates, builds the team Measures, sets appropriate targets and yardsticks, analyzes and appraises Develops people, people are a company’s most important asset and a manager develops that asset. Apply these steps to your own mind Sets goals Do you have goals or are you just floating along in life? Without goals, we drift aimlessly. Setting goals takes courage. Once a goal is set, we will either succeed or fail. So there is risk involved. I never said this path would be easy. But I do promise that it will be rewarding. Goals come in a lot of different areas of life. Physically – losing weight, getting in shape, eating better….. Emotionally – showing more compassion, connecting with family better…. This first step is to set your goals and then decide what work needs to get done to meet those goals. What will it take to accomplish them? Organizes your steps So now you take those goals that might seem unreachable, and you make them more manageable. You make a plan of attack. You don’t have to be able to see the entire path yet. Just see what you need to do now. Motivates and communicates This is the most important step in my opinion. The manager can have the best plan in the world, but if the workers can’t stay motivated to get it done, then the plan is useless. Do you motivate yourself? Most people will answer that with a huge NO. We are all much too quick to talk negatively to ourselves. I’m not good. I can’t get anything done. What was I thinking when I made this goal and elaborate plan? This’ll never happen. If this is how you talk with yourself, you might as well stop now. You can’t win against that sort of talk. How does an effective manager motivate his people? He sees the positive things they do and recognizes and rewards them. An effective manager meets with his people and listens to them. He creates a positive work environment and respects his workers. So do you motivate yourself? Do you see the positive things you do and reward yourself with them? Those rewards can be anything from kind words to yourself to an evening out with a best friend. Communicate with yourself with positive and motivating words Measures, analyzes and appraises Set yourself appropriate targets and appraise your progress. Appraise means to set the value of something, to determine its quality. Appraise the value of the thoughts in your mind on a regular basis. The thoughts that are not helpful to you, discard them. Keep only the thoughts that move you in a positive and forward direction. Develops people Are you developing yourself? You are your greatest asset! Think about it. You can process millions of memories and thoughts everyday. Along with the adrenaline to fight a bear to save your child, you also have the gentleness to calm an upset baby. You can experience hundreds of emotions everyday and spend a lifetime learning, never feeling like you have run out of room. This is better than any computer money will ever buy. As you learn to better manage your mind, the results are huge! Focus on what you want in life Life brings us what we dwell on, like we are a magnet. If you are obsessing over negative situations, life will bring you more to dwell on. You see, the universe is quite logical. If you are spending all that time focused on negative situations, then life concludes that you must like having the negative situations to ponder and dwell on. So it will give you more of them. The opposite is also true. If you are obsessing on positive things and positive situations, then life will determine that this is what you want more of. You will find yourself experiencing more and more positive situations to dwell on. So be careful what you spend your time and energy thinking about. The universe is listening! The post Episode 86 Out-of-Control Obsessing appeared first on This Simple Moment.
21 minutes | Jul 3, 2017
Your Independence Day: 3 Priceless Freedoms We Too Quickly Sacrifice
Your Independence Day: 3 Priceless Freedoms We Too Quickly Sacrifice Are you free? Really free? Do you decide how you spend your time? Do you have freedom? Think about your last 24 hours. Did you spend it the way you would choose? Did you do the things you want to do? If you could choose how you would spend the next 24 hours, what would they look like? Creating a life on our own terms is not an easy thing to do. We have demands coming at us from every direction. We are surrounded by other people’s expectations and needs. In many ways, we are not free! We willingly sacrifice our own freedom every single day. Many times we aren’t even aware of it. We do it all by ourselves too. No one is forcing us. No one is twisting our arm. We just do it. Here are 3 priceless freedoms that we are much too quickly willing to sacrifice! Freedom from the past We drag along the past almost as though we have no choice, carrying it in our hearts and in our minds. We are experts at burying past pain inside so deeply that it can’t possibly escape. It remains there forever and weighs us down year after year. The past doesn’t exist anymore. You must let it go. No need to bring it along. All it does is weigh you down. You can find freedom from the past. It is more simple than you may think. Accept the past for whatever it was and live in the now. The past is gone. It will never return. Those experiences, thoughts, feelings, etc. are all gone. Yes you may remember them, but you are remembering them now. You are sitting here today remembering a past event. Keep the emotions and feelings you have now present during the process of remembering. Don’t let the old pains and hurts creep in. You don’t have to live the situation again every time you remember it. When you can stay present to now, then it is easier to accept that past for what it was, process it, and move forward. Don’t stay trapped by your past. Even good memories can bog you down. Don’t cling to memories that you want to freeze in time forever. Letting go of even the happy past When our boys were little, I heard other moms say: Don’t you just wish you could stop time and keep them little forever. Or I don’t ever want them to grow up. I heard grandmas saying: Oh, if I could just go back to when my kids were little. It was as if they were still trying to live in that past. As a young mother, the thought of watching my boys grow up was overwhelming. I cherished their young years and innocence, and I couldn’t imagine sending our firstborn to kindergarten. That will be impossible. So I tried to enjoy the time I had with them as much as I possibly could. I stayed present to them. When I was with them, I tried to be all the way with them. Amazingly, as the time came for our oldest to go to kindergarten, it was okay. I was ready, and so was he. Yes I cried, but they were just as much happy tears as they were sad. As each phase of life has come for them, we have embraced it. When they graduated from elementary school, when our oldest boarded a plane for France, when they went to high school, even when they started driving a car. Now our oldest is looking forward to college. What a huge step! WOW! Yes in a way time flies. But in a way it simply marches along, day by day. In not clinging to their past years, I have had more of me to spend along the way. More of me to be present with them through their childhood. Spending time with them was spending me time. Find your freedom from your past. Look at it and remember as you need and choose, but don’t live there. It doesn’t exist anymore. Freedom from the future Just like the past, the future doesn’t exist either. It is a figment of your imagination. Think about it. That future conversation you are dreading isn’t reality. You don’t know how it will happen or if it even will happen. But yet how much of your present energy are you willing to let it burn? Maybe you are stressing over a medical bill that you know is coming your way. Well, it isn’t here now, so be present to now. Filling your mind and heart with worry now only makes you suffer now, as well as those around you. You don’t know what will happen between now and when that bill arrives. Don’t sacrifice your present energy for that future worry. Let it go. It eats you up with worry and anxiety. Quit imagining things that don’t exist right now. I told you that I refused to spend my boys’ childhood clinging to the past. Another way that I refused to spend my time with our boys was in worrying about the future. Many parents spend their energy worrying about their child’s future: their future mate, future job, future college, etc. That steals just as much energy from your present as clinging to the past. The future will come when it is time. Let it. Trust it and relax. I’m not saying you can’t make plans. If you want to make a plan for saving money for college, that’s great. But these plans are happening here and now. Do what you can now and don’t worry about the rest. You don’t know what the future holds. What if now is all you get? A sobering and yet amazingly freeing thought hit me one day. The thought raced through my mind, “What if these years with the boys in their childhood are the only years I get with them?” I don’t know whether they are or not. What if they don’t survive into adulthood, what if I don’t survive into their adulthood? Do I really want to spend this precious time with them wrapped up in a past that is already gone or in a future that doesn’t exist? Absolutely not!! This time I have with them now is my time with them. There is no guarantee of the future. And honestly the future doesn’t matter. If I can’t be present to them now, I won’t ever be able to present to them. All I have is right now – but that is a most precious thing. In fact, it’s everything! Freedom from a life you did not choose Many people are living a life that they didn’t choose. We allow outside pressure as well as internal pressure guide our choices and actions. Does this ring true with you? Are you doing what you want to do? Do you spend your time and energy in a way that is your choice? At the beginning of the podcast, I asked you to think about your last 24 hours. Did you spend it the way you would choose, and did you do the things you want to do? If you could choose how you would spend the next 24 hours, what would they look like? Who do you think is choosing your life for you? You? Your parents? Your friends? Your boss? Your mate? Your church? Your beliefs of what you think the world wants of you? Are you doing what you do because it is expected of you? Maybe even because you think it’s what is expected of you, whether it really is or not? Because you thought that’s what everyone wanted you to do? Are you doing it to make someone else happy? We are limited by others at times in our life, but this is only part of the story. We are never more trapped than when we are limited by our own beliefs. Our Limiting Beliefs A belief that the world is against you is a prison. A belief that you are worthless and no good imprisons your heart and suspends you in mediocrity. A belief that everyone else has what you should have gotten locks you into jealousy and envy. A belief that everyone is judging you freezes you with fear and anxiety. A belief that you must respond to everyone’s needs and help save the world leaves you exhausted and insecure. A belief that you must protect your image at all times and always look perfect by appearance and action leads to panic attacks. A belief that you must feel good all the time traps you into chasing after empty indulgences. I’m not talking here about having the freedom to live a self-indulgent life, full of selfishness and empty pursuits. These are just as limiting, if not more so. I’m talking about the freedom to live a life that comes from deep within, a life that leaves a legacy of your choosing. You need to ask yourself – What drives you to get out of bed every morning? If you are doing it out of obligation or for the supposed happiness of other people, then getting out of bed each morning will begin to get more and more difficult. You need to ask yourself – Where is your vibrant passion for life? Where is your appreciation for life’s spark? What makes you genuinely happy? Nothing external can save you Quit waiting on someone or some kind of luck or opportunity. You must find peace within. You have to be the one to let go of these self-oppressing beliefs, as no one can do it for you. I have heard many people say that they are their own worst critic, and I understand that, as I have been there too. It stinks. I want to be my own best ally, my own best friend. Maybe we think that if we become that then we are being too easy on ourselves and won’t push ourselves. But don’t you want your best friends to be the best they can be. Don’t you encourage them and support them. Why wouldn’t you do that to yourself? Where have we learned to be so hard on ourselves? It just doesn’t make sense. Don’t let anyone else choose your life for you. I think that is what Jesus meant in Scripture when He said – He who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. He knew that you will not find happiness by living a life that someone else has chosen for you. Even people you love and care about. It’s okay. He is giving us permission to live our own lives. You can still love the your father and mother, son and daughter, but claim your own life. Make it yours and yours alone. The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard I am reading a fantastic book that I just purchased. Here are some thoughts from it. “This is the ultimate misery – living a life that is not our own.” “We relinquish our free will to a society of strangers that speaks not of liberty and courag
18 minutes | May 30, 2017
Episode 84 Smartphones: 5 Surprising Ways They are Just Like Your Own Mind
Episode 84 Smartphones: 5 Surprising Ways they are Just Like Your Own Mind Smartphones have become a force to be reckoned with in our world. They are everywhere – schools, homes, churches, places of work, grocery stores, gas stations, sports events…. You just might be blown away by the similarities between these phones and your own mind. You might find some of this to be offensive. I understand, but I encourage you to listen all the way through. Those of you who find it offensive are almost certainly the ones that need to hear this. Here are the 5 Surprising Ways that Smartphones are Just Like Your Own Mind I. Our smartphones and our mind are both with us 100% of the time Obviously our mind is with us all the time. The phone is quickly catching up. It goes with us to work, the store, a friend’s house, even to bed. In fact sometimes, I think we are looking at the phone to replace our own mental capabilities. Unfortunately this easily leads to intellectual laziness Hear this personal experience – I used to naturally memorize someone’s phone number when I heard it the very first time. I never used a phone book or speed dial, and I never needed it. I knew the phone numbers of all my students without even trying. That all changed when I started storing them in my phone. Now I don’t even know my own brother’s phone number, and I struggle to keep any numbers straight. Is that because I lost some mental ability? No. It was just naturally there and easy to keep because I had to dial the numbers in every time. Now that they are stored in the phone, I no longer dial them each time and my mind has succumbed to the laziness that follows. 2. The Smartphones and our mind can be a black hole of wasted time and energy The phone absorbs our time without our awareness. We easily get lost in games, social media, videos, texting, etc. It is a vortex that consumes hours and hours without you even knowing it The mind is no different. We can easily get lost in hours of replaying negative situations and worrying over future events. All these hours of replaying are hours of wasted energy. 3. Smartphones and our mind create a wall around us Anyone trying to connect with a person while they are on their phone experiences a wall. When the phone is in front of your face, your ears just don’t work the same. Spontaneity and genuineness are gone. When someone is lost in the thoughts of their mind, it is the same. They never hear you. They may smile and nod, but it is as though they aren’t even there. Again, spontaneity and genuineness are gone. 4. The Off Button for smartphones and our minds just seem to not work I have news for you – the off button does work!! Phones can be silenced or even better powered down all together. Your life won’t end. The world won’t stop rotating. It will be okay. Do you know how to turn your mind off? Many people say, “I can’t quiet my mind. I’ve tried, but I just can’t do it.” They think that to stop thinking is simply impossible. I assure you that not only is it possible, it is necessary. Everyone needs to give their mind and their phone some time off everyday. 5. Both the smartphones and the mind are incredibly powerful tools They both contain endless capabilities and unlimited potential. Your own smartphone is millions of times more powerful than all of NASA’s combined computing in 1969, the year we landed man on the moon The power of your mind blows that away though. It is the most powerful computer you will ever have, the most complex structure in the universe. Nothing can match its abilities, or even compete. Choose how you use your phone, and choose how you use your mind too. The post Episode 84 Smartphones: 5 Surprising Ways They are Just Like Your Own Mind appeared first on This Simple Moment.
20 minutes | May 19, 2017
Episode 83 – 7 Easy Ways to Become Happier and Calmer
Episode 83 – 7 Easy Ways to Become Happier and Calmer How’s your life? Are you happy? Are you filled with stillness? Are you stressed and agitated? Is calmness a regular part of your life? In this episode, I will give you 7 easy ways to become happier and calmer. Imagine you are standing in a refreshing mountain stream. The cool water feels marvelous on your bare feet. You wade around in the water, feeling the smooth rocks under your feet. As you walk around, your feet are stirring up the water and the dirt on the bottom. This makes it very difficult to see the bottom of the stream. You know that this stream is filled with sparkling gorgeous rocks. So you cause your feet to be still. You patiently wait for the water to settle down. Now, as stillness comes, you can see the bottom more clearly. The beautiful rocks shimmer in the sunlight and clear water. They seem to light up and sparkle just for you. You would never be able to see and experience these beauties if you did not let the water be still and peaceful. Finding the Stillness Inside We are the stream. The sparkling rocks are the treasures deep inside our own hearts. These treasures are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, compassion, etc. The muddiness in life is our own agitation, our own busy-ness, and our own stress. Our water is often very stirred up and murky. We are churning with emotions, mental activity, schedules, stresses, places to be, things to do, etc. That murky water is hiding the very treasures inside of us that we seek, the soft spot where we find peace, love, and happiness. To find those treasures, the path is through stillness. How do we clear the water? So how do we clear the water? Just like in the stream – by being still. Stop moving, doing, thinking, analyzing, performing, organizing, hurrying, and fixing. Just be still. All the murkiness has to settle back to the bottom, just like it had to settle to the bottom of the stream. As it settles, the brilliant colors of your rocks once again sparkle in the sunlight from above. Be still and let your water clear. Be still and find peace. Be still so you can see God deep in your own heart. You are the water. The treasures lie under the surface, but so does the dirt. You get to choose whether you stir up the dirt or not. You get to choose if the sparkling rocks are visible or not. When you feel yourself getting all worked up, picture the murky water of the stream. Choose to not live your life that way. Choose to be still. How do you find stillness and be happy? Quit rushing Rushing is a terrible habit. I say habit purposefully. We get so used to driving in a rushed mindset that even when we aren’t in a hurry we find ourselves fussing at a slow driver or griping about missing another light. What’s the big hurry? Sitting at another traffic light is just a few more minutes of your life. Spend those minutes in a way that is pleasing. Listen to a song, look at the trees and birds, notice the people around you. Don’t sit there and stew, feeding your feeling of rushing. Leave your house earlier – I hate that feeling of rushing to get out the door or of frantically driving when I know I will be late. That is not a feeling I ever want to have. I would rather be somewhere 10 minutes early than have that feeling ever again. Just do it. There isn’t anything at your house that is so important that you can’t leave a few minutes earlier. You just have to make it a normal for you. Don’t cram so much into your schedule Lighten your schedule. I used to be of the mindset that each day I had to get as much stuff done as I possibly could. One day, I realized that I was driving myself crazy. Why? There is no rule that says I had to keep going at that pace. I started clearing out my list. Wow, what a difference it has made for me! I still find that I need to do it more. Prioritize your self-care This means good sleep, good nutrition and good exercise. These are the backbone of you. Self-care has many other aspects, but these 3 are the essentials. Make them a non-negotiable priority for you. Be present Find activities that encourage you to be in your present moment. Many people who find stillness in their life practice meditation, yoga, taichi, or other such mindful activities. Find what works for you. In the society we live in, it isn’t enough to just say you will be present. We have too many distractions from our present moment. You must be purposeful about it and practice it everyday. Teach your mind to be where you are right now. The mind likes to run off a lot. It will take you many places, except where you currently are. Help your mind and your body to be in the same place. Teach your mind to focus on only one thing – the current task at hand, whatever that is. Don’t take life so seriously Smile a lot, whether you feel like it or not. When the muscles in the face create a smile, it naturally feels good. It releases neuropeptides, stress-fighters. It fires off the neurotransmitters – dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. These not only relax your body, but also lower your heart rate and your blood pressure. Serotonin is a natural anti-depressant. Create a way to remind yourself to smile. Put a rock in your pocket and smile every time you feel it. Open up Share your emotions with others. There is power in sharing your emotions. Just getting things off your chest can make your entire world seem better. We seem so afraid to talk to others about our true feelings. Let go of the fear. What are we afraid of – their judgment? Maybe we think they need us to be strong so we are afraid of letting them down. Many times, when we open up and share our feelings, we learn that the other person has similar feelings and was afraid to share them too. You are not the only one who doesn’t share your feelings. Many many people don’t. So it is very likely you are sharing with someone who is also afraid of sharing. So not only are you helping yourself, you are helping them too. Now they will find the strength to open up too. Accept life Life is unpredictable. The best laid plans will go awry. Expect that. Make the plans anyways, but be ready to change at any moment. Spending energy resisting reality is a terrible waste of that energy. No matter how hard you resist, reality still exists. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you will be at peace. Your heart will be still, and you can create a positive path forward. The post Episode 83 – 7 Easy Ways to Become Happier and Calmer appeared first on This Simple Moment.
17 minutes | May 5, 2017
Episode 82 Let Go of the Inhibitions and Live
Episode 82 Let go of the Inhibitions and LIVE In this episode, I will explain how our own inhibitions get in our way and work against us. They make it almost impossible to create the type of life many of us desire. Let’s talk about how to get rid of them. For more reading, check out my blog post from 2014. Inhibitions – Massive Internal Roadblocks Our own inhibitions create massive internal road blocks. Sometimes it easy to grasp the reality of this by looking at physical examples. I’m going to give you two. Inhibitions in Taekwondo Free Sparring Free sparring is our practice of fighting skills. The guard is one’s defensive position. If your guard is all tense and tight, you aren’t going to block very well. When a student spars with a rigid guard, their blocks are slow and short. Intensely they are thinking, “Here comes a kick. I must block it.” Their thoughts are so powerful that it actually inhibits their movement. So the kick may be coming to the right side of their head. Their block may go to the right side of their head. But because of their rigidness, their muscles are not free to extend, and the block will often stop short of the desired target. Therefore, they still get hit. What got in the way? Their own tension and rigidity. In other words, their own defense got in the way of actually keeping them safe. When a student is SO afraid of getting hit, this creates an extreme amount of tension and rigidity. It almost guarantees that they will get hit. When a student learns to trust their own blocks, they begin to relax. They start trusting their own ability to protect themselves. Then the most amazing thing happens, that trust actually causes the abilities to strengthen. Their own faith makes them stronger. How does this work? When one’s guard relaxes, their muscles are freer to move. The reflexes are much faster when one is relaxed, and the muscles themselves move quicker. Another advantage is that the relaxes muscles reach a little further. The absence of tension allows them to extend to the end of their range. A relaxed guard is a much more effective guard. Now we have a more proficient guard, but that’s not all. Another wonderful result of a relaxed guard is the release of inhibitions. A student who is so afraid of getting hit will not move around much. They will not try using very many techniques and new techniques become extinct quickly. The techniques they do throw will come only one at a time. They will stay far away from their partner’s reach and often run in a big circle around them. Their own techniques will be rigid and short, never reaching the partner that they are not willing to approach. When they do kick, they are in an incredible hurry to return to their tense guarded position. So their leg flies out in an abrupt and ineffective front kick, returning with lightening speed to its perceived safe zone. On the contrary, a student who trusts their own guard lets go of the inhibitions. They are open to trying new techniques and combination of techniques. They are more willing to extend these techniques in an attempt to reach their targets. They are willing to get closer to their partner. All of this is necessary in order for their skills to improve. Students without inhibitions are willing to engage. Inhibitions in the Music World A music student who is tense and extremely guarded will experience some similar issues. Imagine a singer trying to perform with tension pulsing through their bodies. Their neck remains stiff and tight while they try to sing long, beautiful high notes. This is not a pleasant experience to them or their audience members. How about a pianist who is so tense on stage that their hands shake? Playing fast passages is impossible. Calm and gentle music is not obtainable. In their own attempt to protect themselves, they make their job a whole lot harder What are you protecting yourself from? What are they protecting themselves from? In the martial arts, clearly you are protecting yourself from potential physical injury. But what about in music? I don’t think many musicians are worried about physical injury on stage. No one is going to approach the stage and deliver a flying side kick or knifehand strike. The threat in the music world is what others will think of you. If I miss that high note coming up, people will think I am no good. If I forget my words, people will laugh at me and that will hurt. As a pianist, if I mess up, people will think poorly of me. It is all about what we perceive others to think of us. We are constantly on the guard to make sure they are only given the opportunities to have good thoughts about us. We try so hard to be perfect that we actually guarantee that we will fall far short. It is our own tension and rigidity that once again works against our ultimate desired outcome. How do we relax? So how do we relax? Same way – trust. As musicians though, what are we trusting? Our training so far. All those hours of practicing. The work we have done. If you can’t trust all the practicing, then why are you practicing? Now if you haven’t done the work, good luck on convincing yourself to trust that work. You can’t trust practice hours that you haven’t spent. See, your heart knows. But if you have done the work, you can learn to trust that. Then your guard will relax. The inhibitions will start to fall away. What happens then? A musical performance where you can feel more connected and more engaged. Your relaxed muscles give you more freedom. This freedom can be used for expression, imagination and engagement. All of which lead to powerful musical performances. In fact without them, performances are bland and boring. Inhibitions in Life If you are going thru life afraid of what everyone else thinks of you, afraid of “messing” up, afraid of getting hurt by others, then you are doing the same as these students. You are living with rigidity and tension, both of which are actually causing your problems. Remember in sparring, your own rigid defense causes you to get hit. Same in life. Imagine this scenario – John and Beth are on a first date. John is a nervous wreck. He wants so badly to be liked by Beth. He is terrified of saying the wrong thing or doing something she doesn’t like. So his guard is up. His defenses are rigid and tense. Have you ever been in this kind of situation? You know, when a person tries so hard to be liked that they ruin it all by themselves. You see, John’s rigidness causes his words to be tense and nervous. It almost guarantees that he will say the “wrong” thing. His conversation will be awkward. The harder he tries the worse it will get. Our own inhibitions get in the way all too often. Just let go of them. Do you really care that much what others think of you? Does it really matter in the grand scheme of life? And do you have any control of it anyways? The answer to all of this is no. It doesn’t really matter. The people who love you are still going to love you. The people that hate are still going to hate you. No matter what you do or say. No, you don’t have any actual control over what others think of you. So quit spending all that energy in that way. It is exhausting to worry over what others think of you. What if I do this? What if I say that? I shouldn’t have said it that way. Do they think I’m stupid? Did I hurt their feelings? Let your guard down and relax the tension in you. This will greatly improve not only your life, but also the lives of those around you. Quit taking Life so Seriously In order to let go of the inhibitions – quit taking life so seriously. People who are all wrapped up in what others think of them are some of the most serious people I have ever met. Everything matters. Every little word, every little look, every little action, everything. They analyze every little thing and draw major conclusions from them. Quit taking life so seriously. Smile a lot. Do something today that takes you out of your comfort zone. Something fun. Something that breaks your own inhibitions. Here are some examples – Give a total stranger $10 Swing on a public swingset, singing while you do Chat with 3 people you don’t know – people in the store, at the gas station, etc. Crank up some music and dance The post Episode 82 Let Go of the Inhibitions and Live appeared first on This Simple Moment.
19 minutes | Apr 24, 2017
Episode 81 Hugging: Is It Only About Feeling Good?
Episode 81 Hugging: Is it only about feeling good? In this episode, we will focus on the many wonderful benefits of hugging. It’s a long list, so hang on. Everything from lowering your blood pressure and decreasing inflammation to calming the mind and encouraging healing. Let’s go! So how many of you are huggers? Do you like to hug or is it just plain torture for you? For some of us, hugs only happen at holidays when grandparents come to town. Yet for some of us, hugs are a regular part of our daily life. No Hugs are Created Equal Everyone is different. Hugging one person may feel warm and inviting. It’s as though positive energy passes from them to you. Just that simple hug all of a sudden makes your world happier and less stressful. It’s amazing how much brighter everything can look after a single hug. Some people, however, are like hugging a tree. You know, that person who just stands there, stiff as a board. Often times, they hold their breath. As soon as you start to hug them, you are sorry that you did. But it’s too late. Knowing that you have already committed to the hug, you feel obligated to press forward. Their arms may move around you, but they don’t embrace you or welcome you. It is as though you have invaded their territory. Making a quick retreat is your only path. Some people just can’t stand hugging. I don’t mean they don’t like it. I mean they would rather be greeted with a hand grenade and a box of scorpions. Why? What is it that they find so bad or so offensive about a hug? Is it an invasion of their personal territory? Is it insecurity about their ability to hug and connect? Is it an unwillingness to be vulnerable? If hugging just isn’t your thing, tell me why. I want to know. Research on Hugs Scientists have researched hugs. Of course they have. They have researched everything! Okay. Well…was this a waste of their time? Absolutely not! For me it was validation as to why I like hugging so much. Why other people don’t like hugging will always remain a mystery to me? Benefits of Hugging Lowers risk of heart disease Reduces stress Fights fatigue Boosts your immune system Fights infections Eases depression Decreases feelings of loneliness, sadness and anger Combats fear Increases self-esteem Diffuses tension Balances your nervous system Speeds up healing from sickness and disease Reduces inflammation and tension Reduces perception of pain Relaxes your muscles Reduces anxiety and worry Increases blood circulation Lowers blood pressure Calms the mind The list of the benefits of hugging is a long one. It goes on and on. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these. Hugs Help with Healing the Body They strengthen the immune system by stimulating the thymus gland, which is located directly behind the sternum. It regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free. A tight and firm hug, chest to chest, stimulates that thymus gland. Reduces pain by releasing endorphins which block pain pathways. Reduces inflammation by lessening the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol leads to inflammation in our body. Its constant release has drastic effects. We need to become more aware of this and find ways to cut back on this hormone in our bodies. In other words, stress reduction must become a priority for us. One way is to hug more! Hugs Heal Loneliness, Depression, and Anger It instantly boosts oxytocin levels, the “bonding hormone.” Oxytocin, released by your pituitary gland, is a naturally occurring hormone in your body with incredibly powerful, health-giving properties. It promotes attachment and bonding. Hugs Reduce anxiety and stress Hugging relaxes muscles, releases tension in the body, sends calming messages to the brain, increases circulation, reduces pain, lowers heart rate, and lowers blood pressure. The hormones that are released in the body after a hug aren’t just good for happy feelings — they can also help your physical health. When someone touches you, the sensation on your skin activates pressure receptors, which then send signals to the vagus nerve, an area of the brain that is responsible for (among many things) lowering blood pressure. The effects of a hug on your body are physical. It actually changes your body’s current state in positive ways. Creates happiness Increases the production of serotonin. Serotonin impacts every part of your body, from your emotions to your motor skills. Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer and the chemical that helps sleeping, eating, and digesting. A person experiences depression and loneliness when their serotonin levels are low. Serotonin also helps reduce depression, regulate anxiety, heal wounds, and maintain bone health. Seratonin pushes toxins out of your body. It is the thing responsible for nausea and diarrhea. You may think, Great? I don’t want that around. But this is how your body pushes out toxins that just don’t belong there. Without this, the toxins would remain. You know, sometimes you just feel better after you throw up. You have serotonin to thank for that. Hugging teaches us to let go and be present in the moment. It connects you with your own feelings, boosting your self-esteem. Improves Relationships Hugging teaches us how to give and receive. It shows how love flows both ways. It’s an investment in the relationship. Hugging encourages empathy and understanding, builds trust and sense of safety, makes you warm and fuzzy inside, helps you feel protected and loved, and increases feelings of commitment and intimacy. Hugs Travel Both Ways It doesn’t matter if you are the toucher or the touchee. Just as much benefit exists for the person doing the hugging as the one receiving the hug. Hugs cross a boundary that words cannot cross. A hug communicates a lot. Your feelings and emotions can be felt in your hug, much greater than words. But what’s so wrong about that? If you want to know how I feel, come here. Let me give you a hug. If you want me to know how you feel, let me give you a hug. Now we can understand each other. And with understanding, comes compassion. From an article in Collective Evolution “Hugging! We often hug each other when we are happy or when we see the person we love most. We often feel joy and happiness when hugging another person, and a hug can convey a lot about how we’re feeling and how we feel about each other. Each time we sincerely hug someone, we are actually conveying our love and joy for that person in a way that can never be explained through our words alone. We feel all our burdens ease away while we are in a hug, and those worries are replaced by increased feelings of happiness and trust.” Hugging? You ask why? To read more about the benefits of hugging, I am posting links to various resources. These include – US News, Huffington Post, Dr. Mercola and the Cleveland Clinic. Check them out. MindBodyGreen US News Huffington Post Dr. Mercola Collective Evolution Cleveland Clinic Don’t forget – open your arms and your heart will soon follow. Hug someone today! The post Episode 81 Hugging: Is It Only About Feeling Good? appeared first on This Simple Moment.
22 minutes | Apr 14, 2017
Episode 80 One Minute of Happiness: Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Mini-Vacation
If you want to be happy, then be happy! In this episode, I’m going to teach you a method for building happiness. It’s a simple approach and extremely effective. If you can be happy for one minute, you can be happy for a lifetime. But you have to want it! Do you really want to be happy? I mean, really want it. If you do, then go get it. I can hear you saying – but you don’t understand what I’m going through. You don’t know how much stress I am under. You don’t know how busy I am. No one understands. Oh, really! I assure you that no matter what you are going through in life, there are others who are going through worse. Look around you. Do you really believe that you are the only one who knows a stressed schedule or a frustrated life? Quit blaming your situations for your own lack of happiness. That is just an excuse and an escape from taking responsibility for your own life. If you want to find happiness, look inside your own heart. Nourish your own happiness You have to nourish your own love and your own happiness. NO ONE can do it for you!! They just can’t. They simply cannot penetrate into your heart and give you happiness. No situation is going to magically bring you happiness that you haven’t managed to find within yourself. It just won’t happen. You must go there yourself. Love, compassion, and happiness all come from within and they all come from the same place. They share roots. Those roots go deep. When you open your heart to true genuine love, you feel it inside in a very deep place. It is a feeling of deep joy and deep peace. When you allow yourself to go there, you feed those roots. As this root system gets fed, they grow stronger and deeper. While at first it may be hard to find that place, over time you will get much better at it. You will know when it lights up with energy. That feeling will come more and more often. Each time a little stronger than the time before. It will become familiar to you, nourishing to your soul. You will crave it. Each time you wander away, you will feel a strong pull to find your way back. I believe over time, it becomes your home, your sanctuary, your holy of holies. It is the place where you find God, your Creator. Where to start Start with one minute. Can you be happy and at peace for one minute? No matter what is going on in your life. For one minute, none of it matters. What’s the harm of letting it go for one minute? No harm. It won’t make it go away. It won’t show that you don’t care. It won’t make your world explode. Sometimes we hold on to all the worry and stress almost like it is a security blanket. Really? When my son was little, he had a security blanket when he slept. It was soft and comfy. Holding on to worry as a security blanket would be like giving him a concrete block to snuggle into. Can you just see a toddler trying to find comfort and calmness from a concrete block? As absurd as they may seem – it is exactly what we are doing when we hold on to the stress and worry like a security blanket. We seem almost afraid to let it go. So start with one minute. If one minute is too long, then start smaller. 30 seconds. 5 seconds, if you have to. Start somewhere. Getting started is the most important step. Make it part of your day now Do this often throughout your day. A minute here and a minute there. And then just watch how it affects you. It will start to creep into your life. One day you will notice that your stress level is surprisingly different. Your heart will feel happier, lighter and more at peace. Headaches will start to disappear. Sleep will improve. Often excessive weight will drop off. Relationships will improve. The world just looks brighter. Situations that in the past would have caused you to blow up don’t have quite so much power now. You’ve quit reacting and you’ve started living. You will treasure these breaks in your day. They will start lasting longer, allowing you to carry the happiness into the daily rhythm of your life. How much more effective would you be in life if you functioned from this place of peace and happiness? Wouldn’t you handle life’s problems better? Perhaps be more productive? Don’t start by trying to change who you are. Who you are is who you are. You are where you are because of the millions of events that have brought you to here. Trying to change that is a lot overwhelming and leads to more stress and anxiety. Reminders Simply offer yourself these one minute vacations from the stress. You deserve it! I think you can afford one minute, even as much as ten times a day. How about 20 or 30? Put little reminders around you to help you remember. I like to use things from nature – rocks, seashells, leaves. I have a rock on my desk that is shaped like a heart. It reminds me to settle my thoughts and allow my heart to have a little break. In my van, I have a seashell that is my reminder. It is a small spiral shell with tons of little holes on it. It reminds me that even with all the holes we have, we are still beautiful. It’s okay to be broken. It’s okay to be imperfect. The holes simply makes the happiness shine through even more. Put some reminders around you. When you see them throughout your day, stop what you are doing. Remember it only takes a minute. You can afford it! For one minute, let go of the stress and be happy. After all, if you can be happy for one minute, you can be happy for a lifetime! Other podcasts on happiness Happiness: Quit Faking It and Start Living It Happiness Part 2: Stop Faking It and Start Living It Happiness: Who’s Got Your Keys? The post Episode 80 One Minute of Happiness: Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Mini-Vacation appeared first on This Simple Moment.
17 minutes | Apr 5, 2017
Episode 79 Are you Preparing for Your Own Death? It’s Never Too Soon to Start!
Are you Preparing for Your Own Death? It’s Never Too Soon to Start! In this episode, I am going to tell you why and how you should be preparing for your own death right now. This isn’t morbid. It isn’t scary or sad. But rather it is extremely motivating and has the potential to make your life vibrant and powerful. I encourage you to listen with an open mind and an open heart. Lessons from People Who are in the Final Months of Their Life Have you ever known and interacted with someone who was near the end of their life? Or maybe you had a good friend who was with someone near the end of their life? I’m talking about people who know they are near death – elderly who have lived a long life, someone fighting a terminal illness. When you spend time with these people, what do they talk about? What do they value? Often, they value their relationships. They talk about the people in their lives, their family and their friends. They reflect on memories and times past. They just can’t seem to get enough of it. They want as much time as they can with their family members and dear friends. They cherish that time, like they are trying to memorize how it feels. Someone who is near their own death is often very present. They seem to just absorb every moment of their life to its max. They don’t want to miss anything. If Death is at Your Door So if you found out that you have only a few months left to live, what would change for you? How would you spend your time? Consider these options – Absorbed in social media Inhaling as many movies and shows as you can Conquering levels in your latest and greatest games Reading every novel you can get your hands on Sending out group text messages telling people you love them Calling everyone who is near and dear to you and enjoying the sound of their voice Getting together face-to-face with those you love Worrying over how the world will exist without you Spending time in nature Building your relationship with your God – whether it’s a brand new relationship or a life-long one How would you spend your final few months on this earth? And are these drastic changes for you or just a deeper version of your current life? You Are Dying I have news for you – YOU ARE DYING!! Every single day of your life is one day closer to the end of your life. I don’t say this to scare you or depress you. This isn’t bad news. But it is reality! I say it to jolt you into living! Make the Most of Now You see, I don’t want to be one of those people who get to the last few days and am trying desperately to make the most of it. I don’t want to be frantically trying to get in touch with people to tell them I love them. I want them to know that I love them now. I want to spend that time with them now. I want to memorize how they look, how they smell, how they sound and how they feel. I want to make the most of every single day. I don’t want to wait until the last few months of my life to try to live. I want to do it now! I mean – what is the point of living after all? Isn’t it to live? Perspective Change Someone who knows they are about to die takes on a very different perspective than the rest of us. Their perception of time just radically changed. All of a sudden the past just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. The future just got a whole lot less important. It’s their now that really matters. I want that perspective now. I’m not waiting anymore! You see, I’m dying! Just like you. We all are. From the moment of birth, each moment of our life brings us closer to the point of death. Exercise for Practice These are some sentences I wrote. I read them everyday to remind me to live now – I am eating in order to eat. I am talking with my friend in order to talk with my friend. I am showering in order to shower. I am walking in order to walk. I am mowing in order to mow. I am reading in order to read. I am loving in order to love. I am living in order to live. Two Ways to Mow the Lawn All of these have to do with our focus. In order to really be present to our lives, we need to practice being present. Taking mowing the lawn for example. You can mow the lawn in 2 different ways (maybe other variations too). You can mow it in order to hurry up and get it done, thinking how much you will enjoy a tall glass of lemonade after. Or you can mow the lawn in order to mow the lawn. Then when you are done, you can drink the lemonade in order to drink the lemonade. Only on one of these will you actually enjoy the lemonade. The second way. If you can’t be present while you mow the lawn, then chances are you can’t be present for the lemonade either. Here’s the scenario – you are hurrying to mow the lawn, eager to sit down in the shade and drink your lemonade. Then when you get done mowing, you think, “Whew! Finally!” What often follows is that while you are drinking the lemonade, your mind has moved on to what follows. It is hurrying to get to whatever is next. Before you know it, your lemonade is gone and you don’t even really remember drinking it. Here’s an alternative – While mowing, you stay present to the task at hand. You mow, knowing that you are caring for your yard, enjoying the fresh air and occasional breeze. No matter how many other responsibilities you may have in life, right this moment you have nowhere else to be. Because after all, if you had somewhere else to be, then that is where you would be. Now as you successfully finish mowing the lawn, you pour a fresh glass of lemonade and sit in the shade to enjoy. Learning how to be present to your life right now is for all your activities. It doesn’t matter whether that is mowing or drinking lemonade. If you can’t stay present with one activity, you won’t stay present with the other one either. Don’t Live in the Future You don’t know what the future holds. All you really have is right now. As you are raising children, you might be looking ahead to their future. You might be trying to mold children so they might grow up and be wonderful members of the world. And there is nothing wrong with that. That is a valuable cause, and every parent should desire this for their children. But we too easily get wrapped up in the future and forget one very important thing – enjoy your life right now. Consider the possibility that your child might die before adulthood. Don’t be afraid of that thought, you truly do not know what the future holds. But rather let that thought inspire you to make the most out of every moment you have right now. The post Episode 79 Are you Preparing for Your Own Death? It’s Never Too Soon to Start! appeared first on This Simple Moment.
24 minutes | Mar 28, 2017
Episode 78: 5 Effortless Secrets to Manifest Compassion
Episode 78 – 5 Effortless Secrets to Manifest Compassion Effortless – These steps are centered around removing effort from your life. We actually work very hard to make our own lives difficult. To find true compassion inside you requires that you quit working so hard against this. We are wired for compassion if we would just get out of the way. Secrets – All of these steps take place inside you. As you begin to make internal changes, people will wonder what happened. They may look for external reasons for the difference they see in you. But this is your secret. You can tell them or just let them wonder. Enjoy the newly found compassion. Manifest – means to become evident, apparent or obvious. Compassion already exists inside you. You don’t have to create it. It’s there. It simply is waiting for the right conditions in order to come forth, to manifest. Compassion – to suffer together. To feel another person’s suffering. Notice that the definitions don’t say anything about fixing other’s problems. It isn’t about that. Compassion simply states – I am here for you. It’s about helping to carry the burden. Nothing magic to say, nothing magic to do. Benefits of compassion – Scientific studies say that people who practice compassion produce 100% more the anti-aging hormone, DHEA and 23% less cortisol, the stress hormone. Compassion is one of the main tools for manifesting happiness, not only in those around us, but in ourselves as well. 5 Effortless Secrets for Manifesting Compassion I. Assume the best in others, not the worst When a driver cuts you off, many if not most people assume the worst. That the driver is rude and inconsiderate, selfish and snobbish. Imagine for a moment that you are a considerate and patient driver. For some of you that may be harder to imagine than others. Try hard. Now you just found out your spouse had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. The officer contacted you, asking you to come to the hospital. You jump in your car and speed toward the hospital. So wrapped up in your worry about your spouse, you accidentally cut a driver off as you try to make your exit. The driver assumes that you are an arrogant, selfish and rude individual. They lay on their horn, flash their lights at you and follow you to the hospital. In the parking lot, they continue yelling at your for your selfishness. Little do they know that your spouse is inside fighting for their life. They do not know that you are a very patient and calm driver. All they know is what happened right that instant, and they assumed the worst. To nurture compassion in you, start assuming the best in people. Imagine that there is a reason. Maybe it is something tragic in that person’s life or maybe they are just having a really bad day and are struggling with the stress of life. Regardless, give them the benefit of the doubt. 2. Don’t take everything as a personal attack I believe that a high percentage of other people’s words and actions have absolutely nothing to do with me. Guess what? That is true of you too. Even among your own friends and family, and even more so with strangers. That person in the grocery store who just annoyed you did not do it just to make your life miserable. They may have just nearly run you over with their cart, but their action had nothing to do with you personally. No it doesn’t make it okay, but it also isn’t okay for you to fly off the handle with anger. Things we are quick to take offense at – Drivers slowing down in front of us Drivers changing lanes into us Drivers this and drivers that – just plain drivers Slow cashier at a restaurant Rude clerk at the gas station So-called dirty look from a stranger The friend we want to talk to who needs to run because of other obligations A friend doesn’t return phone calls A family member tells us they don’t like our shirt They are allowed to not like your shirt. It is not a personal attack for someone to have a differing opinion. Like I said, their words and actions have to do with them and their perspectives, not you! 3. Focus on the commonalities The more individualistic we become, the more compassion goes out the window. Individualism separates us. It invites competition and judgment. I’m different than you leads to attitudes such as – I am better than you. My way is better than yours. You do it your way, and I’ll do it mine. You are on your own. Compassion on the other hand looks for the commonalities. We are all human beings. Even the most diverse of us has much in common. We need food, water and shelter. All of us have feelings and thoughts. We crave attention and love, want to avoid suffering, and have a drive towards happiness. A practice I once read in Zen Habits. They state that it came from an article in the Ode Magazine. Whether you meet up with friend or stranger, use this simple 5-step approach to connect with your commonalities. See how much it changes your perspective of them. Step 1: “Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in his/her life.” Step 2: “Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.” Step 3: “Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair.” Step 4: “Just like me, this person is seeking to fill his/her needs.” Step 5: “Just like me, this person is learning about life.” We all feel the same things. We all experience fear, regret, anxiety, happiness and so on. Others are no different than you and me. They are on a path too and doing the best they can at the time. 4. Nurture positive feelings When we become angry, how easy is it to hold on to that anger for awhile? It seems to just feel good to be angry. When you hang on to it, you are nurturing it and allowing it to grow. Whether you really want the anger to grow or not doesn’t matter. If you water it, it will grow. You water it by giving it your mindful attention and allowing the feelings to fester. Instead start nurturing feelings of compassion. A key element to compassion is the desire for the suffering of others to cease. A truly compassionate person desires this not only for family and friends but for complete strangers too. So how do we nurture these feelings? Maybe you don’t even have a glimpse of this desire. No worries. You can plant it and nurture it. It will grow!! Exercise for nurturing positive feelings Start by imagining that you are suffering in some way. Sickness, injury, broken relationship, financial worries, etc. Now how would you feel if there was one other person who truly desired that your suffering would end. This is a person with no hidden agendas. They have nothing to gain from helping you. They are simply compassionate. Imagine how that would make you feel. Feel the compassion from your very heart. Now bring to mind someone that you know, someone that is suffering. What if you were that other person who truly desired for their suffering to end? Maybe it isn’t a situation you can do anything about. That’s okay. That isn’t the point of this exercise. Compassion doesn’t mean you fix everything. Sometimes you can’t, for various reasons. And sometimes you simply shouldn’t. Compassion is about opening your heart for that person. You can look at them and say, “Dear friend, I am here for you.” It isn’t about fixing everything or removing all suffering. It is about opening our hearts, being genuine and truly present. 5. Practice compassion with yourself Be loving toward yourself. Talk nicely to yourself.All that practice we get at negative self-talk just leads us to be more negative with others. It is after all the language we are the most used to. What you practice is what you will do. Imagine this. You have never met yourself before. You are a stranger to yourself and you are meeting for the first time. How would you talk? What type of language would you use? Would you be polite? Would it be fake and shallow? Are you suspicious and guarded? Or are you comfortable and relaxed? Are you busy trying to make a good impression or secure to be who you are? As you get to know yourself, focus on being relaxed and accepting. Let your guard down. If you walk up to a complete stranger in a fighting stance with your hands in a guarded position, that person is going to react to that. They will feel threatened and defensive. The same is true even when your guarded position is internal. They may not know why they feel defensive, but they will feel it. It’s as though you walked in ready to fight. The same is true if you walk into a room full of friends or family. If you come in with your internal guard up, tense and ready to go, you will find yourself in conflict and no one will really know why. That guard can be felt even before a word is spoken. The best thing you can do for yourself is let your own guard down. Let your muscles relax, your heart, your mind. Quit fighting with yourself so much. You deserve a break. And be patient about it. Practice progress not perfection. You will slip some. Years and years of negativity won’t disappear overnight. But if you start practicing compassion with yourself, you will notice immediate changes about how you react in situations. Things that in the past would have made you fly off the handle just don’t seem to have the same power anymore. Life will begin to look very different. You will find yourself being more and more peaceful. If you’re not going to take care of your heart, who will? The post Episode 78: 5 Effortless Secrets to Manifest Compassion appeared first on This Simple Moment.
15 minutes | Mar 20, 2017
Episode 77 Taking Responsibility for Others: An Exhausting Way to Live
Taking Responsibility for Others: An Exhausting Way to Live How many people are you taking responsibility for in life? Children? Spouse? Parents? Friends? Co-workers? We are too often guilty of trying to take responsibility for others. You may think you don’t do this. If you are internally or externally justifying their behavior, then you are taking responsibility for it. If you are making excuses for their behavior, then you clearly don’t approve. Yet you are trying to make it okay to yourself and others. So you are taking responsibility for them. You feel it is your job to cover for them. Carrying this responsibility within us creates a whole lot of internal clutter. Let me tell you something, you are only responsible for one person – you. The Role of Parenthood As a parent, yes we are responsible to teach our children right from wrong, to teach them how to build character and to become a successful member of society. However you ultimately cannot control the actions and thoughts of your own children. Every parent sets up their own punishment and reward system for the sake of educating that child. But you can punish and reward all day long, but you still can’t choose for them. You can make their lives downright miserable in an attempt to modify their behavior, but they still get to choose. As they become adults, know that you did the best you could at the time. All sorts of good people have been raised in bad households and turned out loving, caring and respected adults. The opposite is also true. Kids have come from nearly ideal households and ended up in jail or in addictions. So simply do what you can and then let them be their own person. They are after all fully human themselves. A Closer Look What does it look like when you try to take responsibility for someone else’s behavior? Making excuses for them, justifying their behavior – I know they were a bit harsh in their words, but they’ve had a hard day. I know they should have called to check on you, but they get forgetful after a full day of work. They didn’t mean it. I know they aren’t exercising and taking care of their body, but they don’t have time in their schedule. Carrying the regret and shame that they should be feeling inside you – When their words sting someone, you feel this pit of shame. Often this leads to you trying to smooth it over for them. When their absence hurts someone, you feel regret. You try to make up for it to the person they hurt. When they can’t make taking care of themselves a priority, you try to persuade them to the point of feeling like a failure when they don’t change. Carrying the Extra Weight You are not responsible for anyone else’s actions, thoughts, or words. None of us needs that extra clutter and weight on our shoulders. I’m not saying don’t try to help them, encourage them or support them. Offer your guidance and advice when it is needed and when you feel they are open to it. But offer that guidance with humbleness and impartiality, giving them freedom to make their own decision. You are not responsible for that. They must carry the weight themselves. When you try to carry everyone else’s load on your shoulders, you have no strength left to carry your own load. You find yourself bogged down and internally overloaded. Your heart is worried over everyone else. Your mind is in constant motion trying to solve their problems. It is exhausting and never-ending. Until a person decides to take responsibility for themselves, their behaviors and actions will be constantly in need of correcting. You might fix today’s problem, but tomorrow’s are just around the corner. You will work incredibly hard and feel like you never make any progress. Face it – you are fighting a battle that just isn’t yours to fight. So let it go! Walk Away If they are just determined not to listen, then walk away. When they continue to use harsh words that shut others off, let them. When they hurt someone’s feelings by not being there for a friend, let them. When they choose to not take care of their own body and self, let them. You are simply not responsible for them. You don’t have to answer for their choices, no matter who they are. They will be held accountable for their own choices. Life will teach them the lessons they need to learn. When they find themselves with no friends around, they just might learn how much their words sting or their absences matter. When they end up with health issues because of their choices, they just might learn how important it is to take care of themselves. When they are ready to learn, they will learn. But until they are ready, people will never learn. I know that isn’t easy. People who take responsibility for who they are care about others too. You can’t stand to see people you love do things that are so painful to themselves and others. If only they saw it from my perspective. Don’t go there. Until they are ready to see it themselves, they will never see it from your perspective. This doesn’t mean you can’t tell them your perspective. You can! Be loving, kind and respectful because that is good for your own soul. They may receive it or they may completely reject it. Tell them and then let it go. Destroy the playback machine that we all have in our heads. Don’t play it back. Don’t argue with it in your mind. Simply move on. You will feel an insurge of positive energy that you can now pour into your own life. Enjoy it! The post Episode 77 Taking Responsibility for Others: An Exhausting Way to Live appeared first on This Simple Moment.
22 minutes | Mar 13, 2017
Episode 76 Filling up with Emptiness: 5 Nothing’s that will Transform Your Life
Filling up with emptiness: 5 nothing’s that will absolutely transform your life We spend so much of our life doing this and doing that, running here and there all the time. We seem to never be satisfied with where we are right now. But it is where we are right now that has the potential to bring the most satisfaction, the most happiness, to us. It is in emptiness that we can find fullness in life. Here are 5 nothing’s that will completely transform your life. Nothing to prove Think of the people you are trying most to impress. I know you have them. We all do. Teachers, friends, coaches, spouse. Why does it really matter? Chances are they aren’t even thinking of you near as much as you think they are. They are busy with their own lives, their own thoughts. We just aren’t as important as we think we are. We are the central character in our own mind. That’s normal. It is that way for all of us. But you are not the central character in someone else’s mind. They are their own central character. So don’t worry about it. You have nothing to prove to them. I have news for you – you aren’t perfect! You are going to say things that could be said better, and you are going to do things that could be done better. Get over it! As you learn to accept this about yourself, you will also learn to accept it in others. Guess what? They aren’t perfect either. When you find yourself judging them, remember that they are going to say things that could have been said better or do things that could have been done better. So what! Get over it! Empty yourself of the need to prove yourself. You have nothing to prove to them, and they have nothing to prove to you! Nothing to accomplish We spend so much energy in our lives trying to get somewhere. Where is it that we are trying to so hard to get? What is that all important goal we seem to be after? That perfect job That perfect marriage That perfect vacation That perfect family That perfect life These things don’t exist. If they are your goals, then your life is going to be terribly unsatisfying. You will keep trying and keep trying, but you will never reach a point where you feel satisfied or happy. The goal of life is living! You are doing that right now. Look at your life. You are doing it! Absorb that for a minute. Take a deep breath in. As you let it out, be extremely conscious of your life right now. See all the things you are doing, all the relationships you are in, all the thoughts you are having, all the feelings you are feeling. You are alive! That’s the goal of living. Once again, emptiness brings a connection with your life right now. No one to fix Too many people think that it is their job to fix the world. If you think that you need to fix even one other person, that shows that you think you have all the right answers for them. That you are smarter or wiser than them and know what is best for them. You don’t know everything that is going on for them. It’s not possible for you to know how they really feel or what they really think. I assure you that you don’t know their millions of memories that shape their life. And it simply isn’t your job to fix them! So don’t try! If you really care, then simply love them. Engage with them. Be present with them. They are on their own path in life. You might ask – what about my kids? And that’s a tough question. Parenting is the single most important task an adult can have in this world. You are raising a future husband or wife, father or mother, boss, employee, friend, neighbor, etc. I do think it is your job to teach them, to guide them and to help them grow into the best they can be. But your responsibility only goes so far. Ultimately you are not responsible to “fix” them. The word fix insinuates that something is broken. No matter where they are on their path, they are not broken. They are learning, experiencing, growing, processing and developing. Let them! Our lives can take so many different paths. Each one provides life lessons. Each one offers growth. There isn’t one single path that is the ultimate answer for someone. Each of us will walk down many paths throughout life. By allowing everyone to be on their own path, you no longer will feel that you have to fix everyone. Not only is it not your job, you can now focus on your own life and your own path. Nowhere to be You have nowhere to be except right where you are right now. If you are not where you are, then you are nowhere! I’m sure you have met people that just seem to not be there when you talk with them. You ask then a question, but they don’t even hear you because their mind is thinking about something they heard. Or you are trying to have a conversation with someone, and they keep checking their phone or looking something up on it. That is a very one-sided conversation! They may hear you, sort of, but all spontaneity is gone. Engage with where you are. You don’t need to be somewhere else. Those other things can wait. If they are important enough that they must be done now, then step aside and do them. Too often, we are wrapped up in our own mind. We replay things over and over in our mind and that is what checks us out of our current reality. A tough conversation in the morning can simply haunt us all day long. We replay what was said, and then start down the path of analyzing, justifying, accusing and so on. By the end of the day, we have played it hundreds of times. Stop the recording device! Destroy that replay button! You have nowhere else to be than where you are right now! No life to live but your own Don’t try to be someone that you aren’t. In the martial arts, I have found myself thinking, “I want to spar like that person.” Or “I want to do patterns like this person.” But I am not either of those people. I want only to spar like myself and to do patterns like myself. Yes I can learn from them and get ideas from them. But I then have to make them my own. If you are constantly comparing yourself to others, you are making your own life much more difficult than you need. You aren’t living their lives, and they aren’t living yours. Letting go of the comparing brings an emptiness that opens space for your own life. Live your own life. If other people don’t understand your choices, that’s okay. Like we already said, you don’t have anything to prove to anyone. You don’t have to answer to them. I’m not saying that your actions and behaviors don’t matter. They matter a lot. You may have to answer to your boss about your own job. But your life choices about making you a better person are only your choices to make. If you choose to go vegetarian, then do it. If you choose to build a friendship with this person or that person, then do it. If you choose to start a meditation practice or an exercise plan, then do it. Don’t try to live someone else’s life for them, and don’t let someone else try to live your life for you. If you want to find fullness in your life, start by emptying it. With emptiness at your core, you will experience a fullness like never before. Your life will feel lighter, and you will find yourself happier. Remember you have: Nothing to prove Nothing to accomplish No one to fix Nowhere to be No life to live but your own The post Episode 76 Filling up with Emptiness: 5 Nothing’s that will Transform Your Life appeared first on This Simple Moment.
23 minutes | Feb 24, 2017
Episode 74 Feelings Trump Thoughts
Episode 74 Feelings Trump Thoughts In this episode I am going to discuss what runs our individuals lives – our feelings or our thoughts. I will go on to explain how you are not a victim but rather an extremely active participant in your current life circumstances. What runs your life – how you feel or how you think? Many people have said things like – Change your perspective and you change your life. I’ve even said this myself. Check out the Blog post from Jan. 5, 2015 – How’s Your Magic Eye? http://www.thissimplemoment.com/hows-your-magic-eye/ In this post I talk about how those Magic Eye pictures work. You have to change your perspective in order to see the whole picture. You have to relax and quit trying so hard. While this can prove to be quite frustrating, it is certainly good advice for life too. And when that hidden picture suddenly comes into view, it is amazing! The feeling of seeing these shapes on a deeper level is overwhelming. All of a sudden you are seeing on another dimension. It is really rather spectacular! If you have never experienced it, I encourage you to try. Once you learn how to see them, it gets much easier and more and more pictures will come to life. But is it true that if you change your perspective you change your life? Is changing your perspective a change in thinking or a change in feeling? Feelings Lead the Way For people who believe that feelings lead to thoughts, which lead to behaviors, it goes like this – Feeling sad leads to sad thoughts which leads to sad behaviors, such as crying, isolating yourself, and feeling depressed. Feeling anger leads to angry thoughts which leads to angry behaviors, such as yelling, fussing, criticizing, and being grumpy. Feeling happy leads to happy thoughts which leads to happy behaviors, such as smiling, laughing, playing and enjoying life. Thoughts Lead the Way Some people believe that it’s the thoughts that lead to the feelings. Sad thoughts lead to a sad feeling and thus sad behaviors. Angry thoughts lead to an angry feeling and thus angry behaviors. Happy thoughts lead to a happy feeling and thus happy behaviors. Feelings trump thoughts We like to think we are such smart people. That we are thinkers and that we control our emotions. It makes us more sophisticated. But no matter how smart you are, how much knowledge you have, how sophisticated you are, your feelings trump your thoughts. Have you ever tried to talk yourself into liking someone that you just didn’t like? How did you do? You can say over and over again “I love you.” But if your feelings feel otherwise, the feelings win. We can cover them up with our words and actions. But you cannot convince your heart to love someone that you just don’t love. No one can control how they feel. Maybe you have dreams and visions in life. Your imagination runs wild with all that life has to offer you. But if your feelings are not on board, they will trip you up. They will undo your plans and get in your way. For example, if you carry feelings of insecurity and fear, these feelings will undermine your best laid dreams. Your own feeling of insecurity will cause you to not be successful in your endeavor. Your own feeling of unworthiness will cause you not to have that genuine and open relationship. Why does it matter? It matters a great deal. If you don’t like your behaviors, then you need to make some changes. But if you want to make changes then you must find the source of the problem. Think of it this way – Maybe you have a pinched nerve in your neck. This is causing pain to run down your arm and numbness in your fingers. The numbness and pain is causing you to not be able to write with that hand. So you go to the doctor. If the doctor decides that you need to go to a writing class to learn how to write again, you would think that doctor has lost his mind. Obviously that is not going to give you any long-term help, probably not short-term help either. If the doctor decides that your arm needs ice, Bengay and massage, are you any closer to being healthy? Maybe a little. These things will probably feel good and may even help the pain in your arm slightly. However, the benefit will be short-lived. Your healing cannot and will not be 100 percent. You will find yourself years later still treating that arm because the core problem remains unaddressed. This is how these painful experiences simply become a part of one’s life.Some days may be better than others, but it just never seems to go completely away. If the doctor goes to the source of the problem, the pinched nerve in the neck, treatment here will have a major impact. This healing will be significant and long-term. In order for you to regain your health, it is vital that you and your doctor are able to find the source of the problem. For someone wanting to get rid of angry behaviors- Treating the angry outbursts is like the above patient going to writing class. You are merely treating a symptom. Someone who throws and breaks the dishes – you can get unbreakable dishes. You might even try to convince them that you need the dishes. In agreement they might stop throwing them, but the anger remains. Treating the angry thoughts is a bit like treating the painful arm. Yes it might feel better. It might even help a bit. But like the pain, the anger will continue to creep in. Years will go by and you are still trying to get rid of the anger. It just never seems to go completely away. So maybe it is time to start treating the feelings themselves! Get to the core of the problem. Are we simply victims to our feelings? I said earlier that no one can control how they feel. But you aren’t victim to these seemingly random things called feelings either. See emotions as messengers Quit labeling feelings as good or bad. In and of themselves, feelings are harmless. When you label them, you then tend to hold on to the pleasant ones and resist or repress the not-so-pleasant ones. Instead treat them all the same. Your body is trying to communicate with you. It is sending you messengers. When its messenger comes knocking, you will feel a certain way in your body. Maybe a quicker heartbeat, sweaty palms, queazy stomach, heavy, or light as a feather. When the message has been delivered, in other words, brought to your attention, the messenger will go away. But if the messenger comes knocking and you refuse to listen, it will keep knocking. Emotions are rather persistent. You will discover that you are getting stressed or fearful over the same situations over and over when you fail to pay attention. When you consistently suppress or run away from these feelings, these messengers will start to wreak havoc on your body and mind. The emotions are simply trying to get your attention. Quit ignoring them. Answer their knock and start listening. Accept the messenger unconditionally and stay fully present with it. As you begin to acknowledge these emotions in you, call them by name – anger, guilt, worry, happiness, etc. Accept them fully and unconditionally. By unconditionally, I mean don’t judge yourself for feeling this way or that way. Remember you can’t control your feelings. You are simply receiving a messenger. Receive all of that guest. Sometimes it helps to describe the feeling. You might say something like, “I am worried, and it feels like my stomach is turning inside out.” Or I am angry and it feels like my mind will explode with energy. Acknowledge how the feeling feels. Take the attention off of the temptation to self-judge and self-bash. Now stay with your feeling. Don’t let it drag you down, but be curious about how it feels. What is it trying to tell you? If the message is clear, you will know quickly the path that you should take. Some messages are straightforward and simple. Sometimes the message is not so clear. This is because some emotions come with layers of history, baggage if you will. These take longer to reveal their true message. Be patient. As you have suppressed that feeling, more events and attempted messengers have climbed on top of it. The longer a feeling has been suppressed, the more fuzzy its message is. It may take a while to get down to the original message. But until this happens, the uneasy feelings of that message will continue to be experienced. This is because the original message has not yet been received. As I said, they are persistent little things. So do I think that feelings trump thoughts? Absolutely!! Thoughts come and go like clouds in the sky, but feelings stick around for a very long time. Conclusion I used to roll my eyes at all the talk out there about everyone having to deal with their childhood issues in their adulthood years. I used to laugh and scoff at that. But I have learned that I was wrong. All those unprocessed emotions from childhood do come back to haunt in later years. Now I know that they are simply messengers that are still knocking at my door. Maybe it’s time that I started listening? The post Episode 74 Feelings Trump Thoughts appeared first on This Simple Moment.
21 minutes | Feb 17, 2017
Episode 73 – Three Essential Principles for Finding Peace
Three Essential Principles for Finding Peace We all say we want peace. Then we treat it like it’s some far off distant fantasy. We spend a lifetime searching for it, while all along it is right under our noses. Peace is within your reach right now. “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. ” Albert Einstein “Without being peace, we cannot do anything for peace. If we cannot smile, we cannot help other people smile.” Thich Nhat Hanh So how do you find peace? Here are 3 essential principles you must make a part of your life right now. Be purposeful about your peace It isn’t something you are born with or not. It is not hereditary or in your genes. It isn’t going to come by accident or happen chance. Nobody is going to gift wrap it for you and give it to you for your birthday. You must pursue it. The good news is that it is readily available to everyone who seeks it. Start by finding a relaxation technique that works for you. The kind of relaxation I’m talking about requires that the mind rest too. We can be awfully good at resting our body and still find ourselves drained of energy. We don’t seem to know how to rest our minds. Alcohol or drugs isn’t going to do this. Tv, the computer, your phone, not even music with words being sung. I’m not even talking about sleep. None of these let you rest your mind. Part of the reason for the confusion is that we consistently confuse peace for unconsciousness. People sometimes think that they find peace by having a few drinks and then being “relaxed.” Yes this can keep you from feeling your stress, fear, anger, worry, resentment or anxiety, but it is short-lived. The anguish and turmoil still remain because these are merely masking techniques. They numb you but don’t guide you toward inner peace. When the effects of the alcohol wear off, is peace more present in your life? No. You simply return to the turmoil of life until that next drink. This is no different than searching for peace through watching tv or playing a game on the computer. When the show goes off or the game ends, the strife is still there. It didn’t go anywhere, but rather just waited eagerly for your return. Peace doesn’t exist in being asleep either. People sometimes think they experience peace when they become very tired. Peace work requires a heightened sense of awareness not a desensitizing. Peace is found in the experience of heightened aliveness and being more conscious and present. It calls for an increased awareness of the thoughts and feelings that habitually run through you, not an obliviousness to them. When you seek peace in this way, the effects of your seeking are long-lasting. When you try to find peace through sleepiness, as when you try alcohol, your days don’t become more peaceful. Often simply waking up brings the stress of life crashing back down on your shoulders. So what does work? Long walks, instrumental music, slow interpretive dance to that music, yoga, meditation, belly breathing, working out, going for a swim, exercising. You have to find what works for you. If it doesn’t allow you to rest your mind, then try something different. When you consciously pursue inner peace through awareness and effort, you will discover that your days are becoming more peaceful. One day you will notice yourself in stressful situation that in the past would have caused you to explode with emotions and reactions. But instead of that reaction, you remain peaceful and approach the situation with a surprising calm, a peace that surpasses all understanding. Slow down Life is right in front of you right now and many of us are missing it. We run from activity to activity, thought to thought, zipping through our days. We collapse at the end of the day, turning to whatever we can for some relief from the chaos. If you truly want some peace in your life, then you must slow down. Get off the train and walk for awhile. What’s the big hurry anyways? I think some of our hurry lies in the belief that peace is acquired through some end result. If peace lies in some far off distant place, then we will hurry to get there because of our own desperation for peace. We might find ourself thinking: Peace lies in a good marriage, so I must hurry to find the right one. Peace lies in the right job, so I will keep looking until I find it. Peace lies in having the children raised, so let’s hurry up and get there. Peace comes with I teach my children self-control, so they better hurry up and get there. Fulfillment is not in achieving some specific goal. But rather it exists in the enjoyment of the process of pursuing that goal. Raising children is a process that takes years. Yes it will have many ups and downs, but that’s okay. The destination is not the goal, but rather the journey. If you are looking for some point in the future where you can finally start to live your life, I’ve got news for you. You are living your life right now. How’s it going? Can you say to yourself – “I am living my life right now, and I am enjoying it.” You might even say, “So this is what living feels like!” You might be thinking but I don’t even know how to slow down. Simple – walk slower, talk slower, eat slower, move from one activity to the next slower, drive slower, work slower. Be aware of this time that you are using more purposefully. Be conscious of it and in it. Don’t use it as a time to then be more distracted – NO. Rather use it as a time to pay closer attention to what you are doing. When you drive slower, notice your surroundings more. Look at life around you. What do you see? When you eat slower, notice your food more. Where did it come from? How does it taste? When you talk slower, notice your words more. How do they feel coming out of your mouth? How do they sound to the other person? When you walk slower, notice the world around you. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? How do you feel? In order to slow down, you might need to set limits. Limit the time you spend in certain activities, such as social media, email or gaming. Limit the amount of work you say yes to. Limit the number of friends you agree to help or visit. I’m not saying don’t have any, but rather be picky about how you spend your time. Spending your time is spending your life. It is the highest form of currency we have. Use it wisely! Accept and let go Negative things are certainly going to happen in life. People are going to leave your life through death, moving, change in careers, change in relationships. People are going to hurt you. Through insensitive and careless words, intentional and unintentional behavior, anger, jealousy, Life is going to bring pain – the loss of a job, the death or serious injury of a loved one, your own severe sickness or injury, natural disasters, war. These can leave permanent damage on your heart. To accept and to let go is not the same as to try to forget. These injuries aren’t going to go away, but rather they can heal and become simple scars. Too many times we try to push away the thoughts and feelings of situations that cause hurt. We may react with anger or denial. But both of these are an attempt to build a wall around us in order to not feel the hurt. Instead accept the hurt. Let the feelings and thoughts come in. It is through this that these feelings will lose some of their power. When you need to be sad, let yourself be sad. If you need to cry, let yourself cry. Anger is often just an attempt to cover up sadness. When you accept the sadness and let yourself feel it, then it will lose some of its strength. While the facts of what happened will remain in your head, the negative feelings are much less powerful or even gone. When you reach this point, then you can let go and move forward. Your focus can now be directed toward the present moment and something healthy and better. I don’t know anyone who could remain happy when their home burns to the ground or when a dear loved one dies. But peace is immune to the polarities of life. When you have peace inside you, these situations don’t leave you in absolute despair. You simply no longer experience the emotional extremes, but rather have an underlying sense of calm deep within you. With the thought of accepting and letting go, I want to focus on 2 specific ways in which we need to let go. Let go of the false hope of a pain-free life. A common misperception regarding peace and pain in life is that peacefulness occurs when life becomes pain-free. You will be waiting for peace for a long time. Pain is a part of life, and the growth it offers is enormous. It is in this growth that we become the people we are meant to be. Pain only brings long-lasting negativity when someone chooses not to grow from it. That is true sadness. I’m here to tell you that peace is available right here, right now. No matter what you are experiencing in life. Let yourself feel the pain of life. The negative feelings won’t last forever, I promise. Like compost, they will break apart and disintegrate. As they dissolve, the new life they feed will be more amazing than you ever imagined. Let go of the need to keep everything the same. Life changes. People change. That change is not a bad thing, but rather offers an amazing opportunity for growth. Yes change brings sadness and pain. Again, accept these feelings. Let yourself experience them. Then as the negativity burns out, embrace the new chapter of your life. The post Episode 73 – Three Essential Principles for Finding Peace appeared first on This Simple Moment.
21 minutes | Feb 10, 2017
Episode 72 Emotions: The Driving Force of Life
Episode 72 Emotions: The Driving Force of Life Emotions truly matter in life. Have you heard this phrase – “People will forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” The emotions under your interactions will drive relationships. This applies to animals, kids and adults. If you want your dog to come to you when you call him, then make it a positive experience for him when he comes – no matter how many times you had to call him! He will not forget how it makes him feel. What about kids? If you want good behavior in your kids, then you have to help them want to do those behaviors. That power lies in their feelings, not in external rewards. To get to a place of deep learning, lifetime changes and exponential growth, you have to look at their feelings. Children may not remember what you’ve taught them, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. When you look back on your school teachers, what do you remember? Do you remember the material, the lessons, the activities, the things you studied? Sure you might remember some. The special activities stand out, or the material that really connected with you, especially if it is in a field you still find yourself studying or exploring. But what do you really remember? The emotions that go with that teacher. When someone brings up a teacher’s name from your past, what leaps to mind? I loved that teacher. She were the best. I hated that teacher. She wasn’t fair. That teacher treated me like a real person. This teacher never really cared about any of us. You remember how they made you feel. People seldom remember exactly what you said or did, what they remember is how you made them feel. So how do we encourage positive emotions? Smile often – you will look and sound more positive and happy, making the other person feel better. You will find that it makes you feel better too. Listen wholeheartedly – Let go of distractions. Give them your whole attention. Let go of your need to always be right – Which is more important you being right or them feeling love? Stay connected – Reach out to them. When a friend or family member has tried to maintain a relationship with you, but never gets effort back, that hurts. They feel like you don’t want to have connection with them. Any words you may say to them are outweighed by these feelings. Touch them often – I’m not talking about intimate touch here. I am talking about a hug, a pat on the back, a comforting hand on the shoulder, a squeeze of the hand. Simple touch has an amazing power of communicating genuine love. It goes far deeper than words ever can. It isn’t about the words, it’s about the heart. The heart speaks a language of its own. Are you listening? Announcement – Join my mailing list today to receive your FREE copy of the I Am Worksheet. You are the “I am” who is experiencing life. There are many experiences that you are currently having, have had and will have, but they aren’t who you are. They don’t define you and don’t help people to know you. You are the part that is experiencing this life of yours. This simple worksheet will help you re-connect with who you truly are. I believe that if I put this worksheet in your hands, then you are much more likely to actually do it. So I am offering it to you completely FREE! Simply join my mailing list today. No soliciting and privacy 100% guaranteed!! The post Episode 72 Emotions: The Driving Force of Life appeared first on This Simple Moment.
31 minutes | Feb 3, 2017
Episode 71 Self-Control Part 2
Episode 71 – Part 2 of the Self-Control: A Unique Approach for Parent and Child. In last week’s episode, we took an in-depth look at self-control. What it is, what it looks like, why it is necessary. We even compared how children define self-control with how adults define it. I gave you the 3 main categories of self-control: movement control, impulse control and emotional control. We started dissecting each of these by looking at movement control. I gave you some ideas to help you teach your child how to control the movements of his body. In today’s episode we are going to wrap up this unit on self-control by taking a deeper look at impulse control and emotional control. Here is a sneak peak – Impulse control Impulse control takes self-control a bit further. As body awareness develops, the next step is to learn to stop and think BEFORE acting. Awareness of movements creates a small space between thoughts and actions, but only a very small space. Impulse control involves lengthening this space, creating room for one to decide if the action should take place or not. Self-correcting Impulse Control Sometimes lack of impulse control is self-correcting and no additional teaching is necessary. In this episode I give you some personal examples of this. Help with Impulse Control If your child is struggling with impulse control, please know that you are certainly not alone. Most kids have to learn to control their impulses. So how do we help them? One of the things I did with our boys was to make a Do and Don’t Do List. At the top of a piece of paper we wrote Do on one side and Don’t Do on the other. In a middle column, we wrote down a bunch of different actions. These included: Throw the rock at the house Give my mom a hug Interrupt my parents’ conversation Hit my sister with the stick Pick up my toys Yelling, “I hate you.” Be silly on the playground Then beside each of these, they had to place a check mark in the correct column, Do or Don’t Do. We kept this sheet on the refrigerator where they could see it often. We added things they had done from time to time and replaced it with a new sheet as needed. If your child is too young for reading and writing, no problem. Use pictures instead. In this episode, I give a few other ideas for helping a child gain more impulse control. I give you a few games that challenge their ability to control their impulses and to choose their actions despite those impulses. Emotional control The last category of self-control is emotional control. This involves the ability to manage one’s feelings. It generally takes more effort and more time. For many people the development of emotional control continues into adulthood. It goes through many phases as we grow and change in life. This category alone has been the subject of many books and lectures. I am not going to try to discuss all the angles and complexities of emotional control. Rather I focus on how to get a child started on the path of emotional development and set themselves up for a positive journey. We all know that life is going to put us in places and situations that are going to be upsetting. We are all going to experience negative feelings from time to time, feelings such as angry, sad, disappointed, afraid, anxious, embarrassed, ashamed, offended, ignored, lonely, defensive, and so on. For a more thorough list of negative emotion words, check out this site by Steve Hein. Signs that you may have a child who lacks emotional control include: Become easily frustrated and give up easily Unable to tolerate criticisms or corrections Find it difficult to calm down once upset Have trouble “keeping their cool” when someone upsets them On the other hand, kids who develop emotional control are able to stay on a positive track even when things become upsetting or unexpected. Since we all know that life will be upsetting and unexpected, this is clearly an important skill, worthy of our attention and focus. Help with Emotional Control How do we teach our children emotional control? Laura Markham, Ph.D. provides a list of 5 steps to help kids learn to control their emotions in Psychology Today. I elaborate on each of these in the podcast episode. Model healthy emotional self-control yourself. Prioritize a deep nurturing connection. Accept our child’s feelings. Guide behavior but resist the urge to punish. Help your child feel safe enough to feel his emotions, though you may need to limit his actions Emotions aren’t bad, they are a part of being human. Actually they are one of the main parts that connects us with the richness of being human. Emotions shouldn’t be avoided or stuffed down. This only makes them uglier in the long run. Emotions are beautiful, even the ugly ones. When you feel secure enough to experience your own emotions, they you can feel them more deeply. This is where the beauty lies. Then as you feel them more deeply, they will dissipate. Developing with Your Child One of the main lessons I have learned as a parent is that I am growing and developing right along with them. If you have ever taken a dog to obedience school, you know that the training is as much for the owner as it is for the dog. You aren’t teaching the dog new things. They already know how to sit and how to stay put. What you are learning is how to communicate with the dog. So dogs can’t go to obedience school alone. You can’t drop them off and expect them to come back trained. The training is just as much for the owner as for the dog. In the same vein, training a child is also training for the parents. You can’t just drop them off at a self-control school. You can’t explain everything and expect them to be good to go. You have to learn too. You have to be open to changing how you communicate with them. You have to try to understand things from their perspective. Parenting itself is a lesson in self-control. But what a great example for your child to learn from as they witness you developing self-control. While they may be trying to process their anger at their best friend, they have you as a role model when they see you process your own anger. Don’t be afraid or ashamed, but rather embrace this wonderful opportunity for growth for you both. The post Episode 71 Self-Control Part 2 appeared first on This Simple Moment.
23 minutes | Jan 27, 2017
Self-Control: A Unique Approach for Child and Parent
Episode 70 Self-Control: A Unique Approach for Parent and Child In this episode we take an in-depth look at self-control. What it is, what it looks like, why it is necessary, the 3 main categories of it and how to develop it in yourself or in a child. A parent teaching a child self-control will often find themselves developing right along with them. If you didn’t learn self-control as a child, it is never too late. Due to the length of this material, this is a 2-part episode. Quick Links from today’s episode article at Parenting Science – Research on the benefits of Self-control in children article from Pediatric OT – Occupational Therapist Loren Shlaes Loren Shlaes also has an old blog with some great information if you are interested in more. What is self-control? Kids’ answers Being able to make yourself not do something that you’re not supposed to when you want to do it Listening to directions Not interrupting the person who is talking Using your patience Controlling yourself from doing silly things when you have to be serious When someone tells you to do something that is bad and you don’t do it Listen to Mom and Dad when they say no Controlling your body Adults’ answers The ability to not do the wrong thing when most every fiber of your body wants to Ability to resist acting on one’s emotions Having the ability to stop yourself from doing something you really want to do but feel that it is unhealthy, immoral, unkind or generally bad for you or someone you care about Having the willpower and ability to maintain control of yourself entirely, including, but not limited to your behavior, thoughts, impulses, and emotions/feelings The ability to maintain control of your own actions, behavior, words and even thought processes, despite your circumstances, emotions and external influences Thinking before you act or speak and making sure it’s the right thing to do or say Discipline of personal behavior The ability to understand that how we act matters to those around us, and the ability to shape our behavior accordingly What really is self-control? Everyone defines self-control a bit differently. It depends on your upbringing, your experiences and your way of thinking. One person says it means to control all your actions, thoughts and emotions. Another person may say it isn’t possible to control your emotions, so self-control means not acting on them. To a parent, self-control often looks like – “Stand there, don’t move and be quiet.” Too many parents want what they consider a perfect child – always respectful, always still, always cooperative, always quiet. If this is what you really desire, then my advice is don’t have kids. If this is what you expect me to teach them, then don’t bring them to me. To a child, self-control often looks like – Be bored, don’t have fun, don’t be silly, don’t move, be serious, don’t smile. When they even try, it comes out like this – “I am sitting still, but my nose itches.” “I’m not moving. I’m just turning in circles.” ‘I am being quiet. I just want to ask you something.” We learn at such a young age not to trust our instincts, impulses and emotions. I can remember as a parent telling my young son that sometimes feelings are wrong. I had verbally corrected him, and he responded with tears on his cheek, “I feel like you don’t love me.” I remember explaining to him that sometimes feelings are wrong. This type of education certainly does not encourage us to listen to our inside world, our gut. What we really learn is to quit listening to our heart. We do it in the name of self-control. And then we find ourselves later in life wondering how we became so disconnected from our hearts. What if we teach our children self-control without separating them from their impulses, emotions and feelings? How in the world do we do that? Let’s start with the definition of self-control Perhaps a better way to define self-control is to be able to intercept our thoughts, feelings and impulses and quickly determine if now is an appropriate time to act upon them. In others words, the ability to not act based on our thoughts, feelings and emotions at the time if deemed inappropriate. This doesn’t mean that there is never an appropriate time, and that is the piece we need to make sure kids understand. When our oldest boy started kindergarten, I was concerned about his ability to sit still and focus in the classroom. His energy level was rather high, and sitting still was certainly not his favorite past time. After about a month of school, we had the parent/teacher conference. I was shocked and pleased when the teacher told me that he was extremely attentive at school and able to stay on the tasks at hand. Are you talking about my son?? The one who is constant motion, running here and there all day long. I went to bed exhausted every night just from watching him. I decided to ask him about it. “Son, how is that you are able to sit still at school?” “ Oh,” he said, “that’s easy. I put my energy in my energy box.” “Your energy box?” I responded. “Yes, everyone has an energy box. If I put my energy in there, it will stay for awhile. But when I get home, I have to let it out, so I open it up!” And off he ran. He had instinctively figured out self-control. Control yourself under the necessary circumstances, but then find the right time to go crazy. Self-control doesn’t mean don’t be silly. Rather it means learn to decide when it is appropriate to be silly and when it is not. Self-control doesn’t mean stand still. But rather to decide when you should stand still and when it isn’t necessary. Self-control doesn’t mean don’t talk. It means be aware of your surroundings and determine when talking is appropriate. Why is self-control necessary? Our actions and words clearly affect the lives of the people around us. It is easy to see that self-control is a necessary part of our social life. After all, if we hit our best friend every time we get mad at him, we might find it difficult to maintain friendships. If we acted on every impulsive thought we ever had, we would find ourselves in all sorts of trouble. If our words and actions don’t match the appropriate location and situation, the ramifications range from social rejection to time in jail. As parents, we desire that our children learn self-control. Recognizing the importance of self-control, we want our kids to get a head start on learning this trait. Researchers agree that it is a necessary characteristic for children to learn. Here is some of what they have to say: Over the long term, impulsive kids are more likely to become obese, more likely to smoke, and more likely to become dependent on alcohol or drugs. They are more likely to commit crimes and less likely to become wealthy (Moffit et al 2011). They may even suffer shorter life-spans (Kern et al 2009). Megan McClelland and her colleagues tracked over 300 preschoolers across the school year. They found that children with advanced self-regulation skills at the beginning of the school developed better academic skills over time (McClelland et al 2007). You can read more on this in this article at Parenting Science Having a child with self-control is not only for the purpose of the child having a successful life, but it also makes the life of the parent easier. Trips to the grocery store, post office and bank are calmer and more peaceful. Dinner at a public restaurant becomes possible, if not actually enjoyable. Adult conversations can last longer than 5 minutes without interruption. Much of life is easier when we and our loved ones learn the art of self-control. The 3 Categories of Self-Control Self control falls into 3 main categories – movement control, impulse control, and emotional control. Each of these is important and must be addressed separately. Movement control is the ability to control body movements.It allows kids the ability to regulate their physical actions and responses. Signs that a child is struggling with movement control are being overly active and restless, having trouble staying seated and quiet, having trouble simply being still. Kids can sometimes feel like a constant whirl of energy and motion. They just don’t seem to be able to stand still. When our kids line up at the beginning of a TKD class, they are supposed to stand still, their weight balanced between their two legs, and their hands securely placed behind their back. What is reality? Hands twitching with their belts and uniforms, legs bouncing, feet drawing circles on the floor, heads turned around backwards, and all of this to a somewhat synchronized sway that seems to subconsciously migrate down the entire line. When you call one of the twirling, twitching and swaying kids by name, it seems to jolt them back to reality. All of a sudden they become aware of their motions. Before this instant, they had no idea they were even moving. The energy that is pulsing through a child’s body has to go somewhere. It often comes out in an inability to be still. With a high energy child, you aren’t going to be able to stop this entirely, and I’m not sure that is the goal anyways. If I tried to stop all the twitching and wiggling, we would never get past the first task. Yes, I continuously remind them. But if a constantly twitching child shows that he can control it for even a few seconds, then that is progress.As they continue in their training, this few seconds quickly becomes a few minutes. Their self-control grows with them. But if I just stayed on them all the time at the beginning, everytime they twitched, they would have quit in frustration long ago. When you are correcting a child who did something wrong, it is not unusual for that child to wiggle and twitch. They often are not even aware they are doing it. Their inside feelings are nervousness and worry. It is
22 minutes | Jan 20, 2017
Episode 69 Mattering: 5 Essential Ways to Ensure that You Matter
Episode 69 Mattering: 5 Essential Ways to Ensure that You Matter Mattering may not be a real word, but the essence of it is vital in our human lives. Everyone wants to matter in life. But if we try to force it or fake it, we only ensure that we won’t matter in other people’s lives. No one needs more phony-ness, more pressure or more neediness. If you want to matter in life, it’s time to get genuine with yourself. I’m going to give you 5 essential ways to do this. How do you ensure that you matter? By mattering. Invest your time in really mattering in your world. You can’t fake it or force it. You can’t manufacture it. You just simply have to matter to your world. You might be asking – If I can’t force it, how am I supposed to make sure it happens. Glad you asked. Here are 5 absolutely vital lessons to put you on the path to mattering.81 Let go of the need for the approval of others. You have to allow mattering to happen. But as long as you are wrapped up in what others think of you, you will never be able to get there. If people can see that you are wrapped in needing the approval of others, then they know that you are too busy internally to be real with them. Your mind is occupied with thoughts such as, what do they think of me, am I sounding good, and they are so blessed to be hearing my words, I hope they know how lucky they are. People can sense when you are wrapped up in approval-seeking. Even if they don’t know it consciously, they will soon tire of trying to explain to you how they feel, knowing that you aren’t really listening. Seeking the approval of others bathes us in inhibitions. You know, that sickening feeling of – Oh no, I could never dance or sing in front of anyone. Why not?? Let go of the inhibitions. Remember if someone is judging you, it is because they are trapped in the world of seeking others’ approval for themselves. Our thoughts and actions toward others is a true reflection of who we are, not of who they are. When you let go of the enormous amount of space that approval-seeking takes in your mind, all of a sudden there is so much more room. It is in the space that true listening and connecting can happen. Be genuine. People need to see the real you. I mean the you that is deep inside, full of emotions such as fear and sadness as well as hope and excitement. If you have buried these feelings and lost touch with them, then you are not showing the world the genuine you. People need to see hopes and desires. They need to see insecurities and anxieties. In this, they have freedom. Freedom to feel their own fears and insecurities. Maybe even enough freedom to allow them to show or to be able to talk about them. If they sense a closedness about you, a false front, then they will not feel the safety needed to open up. They may not know why. They may not be able to verbalize why they feel this way, but they will not feel comfortable talking with you on internal issues. People who are true to themselves are more likely to be true to others. People who are false to themselves are more likely to be false to others. If you want to really matter in life, then learn to be genuine. It may be a little scary at first. It may feel vulnerable and overwhelming. Speak your mind. People hide their own thoughts for many reasons. One of the main ones is because they are afraid that they will be judged by the other person. This goes back to seeking the approval of others, which we already discussed. You are not doing anyone any favors by clamming up. I’m not saying you should be rude, start yelling at everyone and blame it on speaking your mind. The phrase is speaking your mind, not yelling it, cursing it or loudly defending it. Simply speak your mind. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Someone who is yelling at you how they feel or preaching at you about their beliefs is not just speaking their mind. They are persuading, defending, judging, converting. In order to speak your mind, you have to able to say what you feel without – Seeking their approval Wanting to convince them that you are right Trying to change them Keeping score Naming a winner and loser Launching all your words out with a catapult of emotion behind them Find that ability to say what is on your mind and in your heart without trying to change them in anyway. Not their opinion, their thoughts, their beliefs or their actions. Give them complete freedom to decide for themselves. People will greatly respect that, and it will speak much louder than any words you have to say. Build a solid self-esteem I don’t mean love yourself so much that you think you are better than everyone else and without fault of any sort. Better is put yourself on the same plane as everyone else. See your faults for what they are. You aren’t perfect and that’s okay. Who ever decided we were supposed to be?? That’s crazy-making. Learn to admit things such as I could have said that better. I probably shouldn’t have done that. My words came out harsher than I meant. I’m sorry Who would have ever thought that admitting your own faults is a step in building your own self-esteem? I’m here to tell you that it absolutely is! When you can admit your own faults and still accept yourself, you have taken a gigantic step. Now you are no longer threatened by your faults. You are not threatened by failure or weakness. You see, you will never get yourself fault-free. And as long as you try, you will never like who you are. There is so much freedom in being fault-accepting. It will open you up to a enormous world on self-loving, also known as genuine people-loving. Commit yourself to peace and love I mean really commit to it. Peace and love are readily available to you every moment of every day. They travel around inside us everywhere we go. But we get busy, distracted and forgetful. I’m reading a book that is new to me – Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh. Chapter one begins – “Every morning, when we wake up, we have 24 brand new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these 24 hours will bring peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others. Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it.” He goes on to ask that you please not wait until you finish reading this book to find peace. I want to add – Don’t wait until something good happens to you Don’t wait until you find that perfect relationship Don’t wait until you have that amazing job Don’t wait until you have a big enough bank account Don’t wait until you graduate, retire, get in shape, lose weight, and so on. How do you expect these things to bring peace to you when you can’t even find it right now? Peace only exists in one place – inside you, right now. Peace is available to you every moment of your life, no matter what the circumstances. It’s already there. You just have to get all the internal chatter out of the way. A quick review of the 5 essential ways to ensure that you matter – Let go of the need for the approval of others. Be genuine. Speak your mind. Build a solid self-esteem Commit yourself to peace and love How can you know that you matter in life? By mattering Announcement – Last week’s episode was titled Validation: The Need to Know that You Matter. In this episode, I discuss internal and external validation, their benefits and dangers, the effects they have on us in life and some ways to make the most of your need for validation. I presented an exercise for you to do to help you learn more who you are. I have created an “I am” worksheet for this exercise to make it easier for you. I believe that if you put it in your hands, you are much more likely to actually do the exercise. To get your FREE copy of this I am exercise, simply join my mailing list . As soon as you do, it will appear in your inbox. You can keep it to use anytime. Print as many copies as you want. The post Episode 69 Mattering: 5 Essential Ways to Ensure that You Matter appeared first on This Simple Moment.
26 minutes | Jan 13, 2017
Validation: The Need to Know that You Matter
Episode 68 Validation: The Need to Know that You Matter In this episode, I discuss internal and external validation, their benefits and dangers, the effects they have on us in life and some ways to make the most of your need for validation. Two different sparring classes with two very different outcomes taught me a very valuable lesson this week. I realized that I was seeking validation for my skills as a martial artist from external factors. I was basing it on how many times I kicked them in the head or how few times I got hit. This created a real problem for me. The danger of basing your self-judgment on external things is that external things change! Opponents come and go. Physical abilities will change. Flexibility will come and go. Quickness will come and go. You will have off days. Injuries will come, and age will come. There are a lot of factors outside of your control. Don’t turn to outside criteria for validation. So what is validation? To recognize, establish, or illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy To give official approval To establish the soundness, accuracy, or legitimacy, to confirm To accept, to prove that something is based on truth To express understanding and acceptance of a person’s internal experience We all need validation. We all need to know that we are worthy. We need to know that life we are living is legitimate and acceptable. You can’t escape the need for validation. Without it, then what’s the point? If you don’t believe that you are a legitimate part of this world, that can be a devastating belief. This can lead to things such as severe depression, feelings of desperation and hopelessness, severe lack of motivation and the onset of apathy. Perhaps some of you are living there. I encourage you to get some help, either explore on your own or seek out professional help. External validation When you determine your own value based on something outside of yourself, such as other people’s thoughts and opinions, physical abilities or external achievements such as winning or losing. Danger of external validation – People’s opinions are based on many elements that don’t even have anything to do with you. They are carrying their own criteria based on their own history in life and their own sub-conscious. They bring in their own life experiences that you know nothing about. Internal validation Recognizing for yourself your own self worth and value. Your self-esteem is no longer anchored in what others think of you or how you believe they think. It is when your sense of self comes from within, from your own foundation of beliefs and principals. You don’t need other people’s approval to feel good about who you are. You can simply be who you are and find validation in that. Quit judging your own feelings. Instead validate them. Accept how you are feeling. It is a part of your experience of being a human being. I Am Exercise When Jesus was asked who He was, one time He answered, I am. I want you to do this exercise. Start at least 10 sentences with the phrase I am. I will do this as an example for you – I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a teacher. I am a girl. I am human. I am happy right now. I am in good shape. I am working on this podcast. I am eager for the weekend. I am 44 years old. Now do you know who I am? No, these things don’t help you to know me. I am the I am who is experiencing these things. These are all experiences that I am currently having, but they aren’t who I am. They don’t help people to know me. The part of me that wants validation is the I am who is doing all the experiencing. No one else can really know who you are on that level. No one except you and God. Now re-write those sentences as follows I am experiencing being a wife. I am experiencing being a mother. I am experiencing being a teacher. I am experiencing being a girl. I am experiencing being a human. I am experiencing being happy right now. I am experiencing being in good shape. I am experiencing working on this podcast. I am experiencing being eager for the weekend. I am experiencing being 44 years old. You are the I am experiencing these things! Do this exercise often. It is particularly useful if you are having a rough day. Your statements might sound like this. I am angry. I am frustrated. I am tired of this. I am cranky. And so on. And the re-write is – I am experiencing being angry. I am experiencing being frustrated. I am experiencing being tired of this. I am experiencing being cranky. And so on. Then circle the I AM side of those sentences. This is the side that is you. The other side is simply experiences you are having right now, and that’s okay. Mattering The episode title is Validation: the need to know that you matter. So how do you know you matter? By mattering Decide what that means for you and just do it. Don’t waste your time making sure others see you as legitimate. In reality, that doesn’t even matter. You can’t possibly know what they really think anyways. So quit trying. Invest your time in really mattering in your world. We are going to continue this idea next week by looking into how you can really matter, what that means and how to make it a reality for you. Don’t miss this energizing episode. Spend this week accepting who you are. Use your I am sentences. And I will see you next week. The post Validation: The Need to Know that You Matter appeared first on This Simple Moment.
20 minutes | Jan 6, 2017
Escape the Mind: Falling below thought or rising above it
Episode 67 Escape the Mind: Falling below thought or rising above it The mind can hold us hostage with its non-stop thinking. It occupies our attention and disturbs our peacefulness. Can we do anything about it? Is there an escape? Yes there is! As I see it we have 3 states of consciousness in which to exist. We get to choose. States of consciousness Constant thinking This is when we are completely wrapped up in thought and listening to a constantly chattering mind. We are caught up in memories and anticipation, past and future. No space exists between our thoughts. In this state, we are overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, and worry. Our mind occupies itself with judging, analyzing, interpreting, evaluating, comparing, justifying, and explaining. It can seem like there is no escape. From morning to night, there is no break, no rest and no peace. It’s like having a relentless boss who is constantly giving us a job to do. That boss is standing over our shoulder talking and demanding the entire time. Another tool of the mind is to replay over and over. Situations that make us unhappy run like a never-ending nightmare inside us. The constant repeating often makes the situation worse than it really is and blows things out of proportion. Most people, either consciously or unconsciously, desire to escape this slave-driver, the mind. Escape lies in one of two directions – above or below. Escape by falling below thought This is when we turn to mind-numbing activities to escape our incessant mind. Activities such as: alcohol drugs gaming TV watching computers and electronics These activities may actually cause you to feel more peaceful and carefree, at least for a while, because you do seem to become less burdened with the mind. However it takes you to a state of unconsciousness. This state encourages your life to be trivial and meaningless, it promotes apathy and lifelessness. This state is energy draining and exhausting. These activities take quality out of life. Because quality requires attention, time, and engagement. Numbing the mind is not engaging in your life. Escape by rising above thought This is when you escape by quieting the mind yet staying awake and alert. Activities for this state include: meditation stillness prayer yoga taichi connection with nature When you arise above thought, you are putting space between thoughts. Rather than leading to unconsciousness, it increases consciousness. It is energy-enhancing, filling you with vigor and enthusiasm. Rising above thought requires stillness. Thinking about stillness only keeps you in the incessant thinking state. In A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle says, “Stillness has no form – that is why through thinking we cannot become aware of it.” To be still is to be without thought, to quiet the mind, while maintaining consciousness and awareness. When you are still and above thought – You are more deeply yourself. You are who you were before you took on the various roles you currently play in life. You are who you will be when those roles go away You are who you are beyond this temporal existence. Everyone fluctuates between these states. Sometimes we just get glimpses of a different state and other times we may choose to stay for awhile. For example, we might get a glimpse of the peacefulness of rising above thought when we see a breath-taking rainbow. Notice when you are caught in a moment such as this, the mind lets go of all the busy thoughts. There isn’t room for complete appreciation of beauty and stress and anxiety to co-exist. The engagement with beauty causes all the incessant thinking to pause. We may choose to stay for awhile, simply soaking it in. Too often we cut that pause way too short and quickly move right back to the incessant thinking. The more you choose to stay at the state above thought, the more integrated it will become with every aspect of your life. This is not usually a single event and everything changes, but rather a process. Each single event takes you a bit further into that state of consciousness. Each time you might find yourself choosing to stay there longer. Gradually it will become a regular part of your life and even become who you are. More connected with peace, with life, with who you are, with all of life around you. Quality The quality of your future lies in the quality of your now. If you can’t find quality in your life right now, you will never find it in the future. Quality and value do not lie somewhere in the future. That is a figment of your imagination. They lie only in this present moment now. If you are exercising, the quality of your body in the future depends on the quality of this exercise you are doing right now. If you are stretching, the quality of your body in the future depends on the quality of this stretch right now. If you are brushing your teeth, the quality of your teeth in the future depends on the quality of your brushing right now. If you are washing your hands, the quality of your health in the future depends on the quality of your hand washing right now. If you are eating, the quality of your body in the future depends on the quality of the food you are eating right now. If you are working, the quality of your abilities in the future depends on the quality of your effort now. If you are in a conversation, the quality of your relationship with that person in the future depends on the quality of your conversation right now. Quality requires presence. So put aside the distractions, quiet your mind and invest in you. There is no substitute. No other way to get there. You can’t blame your lack of quality on your job, your spouse, your health, your friends, and so on. If you want quality in your life, it requires an investment. That investment is you. The post Escape the Mind: Falling below thought or rising above it appeared first on This Simple Moment.
18 minutes | Dec 29, 2016
New Year’s Resolutions: Why do we even bother?
Episode 66: New Year’s Resolutions: Why do we even bother? We set them every year and every year watch them go quietly by the wayside. Why is that? Why are we so pulled to set the resolutions and yet unable to follow through with them? Let’s explore this Two kinds of resolutions To quit something negative Quit smoking Eating junk food Speeding Too much tv, computer, phone To start something positive Get in shape Meditate everyday Read Bible and go to church Exercise Reading Hobby Volunteering in the community Where did the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions begin? The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates all the way back to 153 B.C. January is named after Janus, a mythical god of early Rome. Janus had two faces — one looking forward, one looking backward. This allowed him to look back on the past and forward toward the future. On December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward into the old year and forward into the new year. This became a symbolic time for Romans to make resolutions for the new year and forgive enemies for troubles in the past. The Romans also believed Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the previous year. The Romans would give gifts and make promises, believing Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead. And thus the New Year‘s resolution was born! Why do we set New Year’s Resolutions? Clean start, fresh beginning, desire for change Unhappy with some aspect of our life Desire for self-improvement January 1 gives us a set start date, a target to fire up for Hope and belief in the ability to change An effort to reinvent oneself To motivate oneself According to the Statistic Brain.com 45% of the population usually make New Year’s resolutions, and only 8% of these are successful in achieving their results. Forbes agrees with that number of 8% as well. Why do they fail so often? We aren’t really ready to change our bad habits We set unrealistic goals and expectations – set them too high We have false expectations – if I lose weight, I will be happier. You begin losing weight and yet the rest of your life remains unhappy, so you give up. Change your way of thinking To change a behavior you must change your thinking. Habitual behavior comes from old, worn paths of thought and memories. You have to cut a new path through the forest. (link to blog post) You need new neural pathways from new thinking. How do we succeed with our resolutions? Be specific in your goals.If you want to get in better shape, then decide what that really looks like to you. Do you want to drop weight, increase endurance, increase flexibility and muscle mass?Set a specific goal – a target weight, the endurance to run for 2 miles or to make it all the way through a Taebo class or Zumba or whatever. Stretching – to be able to reach your toes with a straight leg stretch. Muscle building – to bench press 100 pounds, 200 pounds. Or whatever your specific goals are. Celebrate the small stepsThis is about a journey, not just the final destination. Be happy along the way.Compare this to a road trip. Have you ever travelled with someone who’s sole purpose it to arrive at the destination? Maybe you have a long journey across multiple states and they seem in such a hurry to get there. They cannot possibly have fun along the way. The journey has to be hard, frustrating and annoying. Why? They seem to think when I get there, then I can relax. What’s wrong with relaxing now?I have found that usually the people who travel frustrated and annoyed remain that way upon arriving as well. The baggage of a “tough” journey arrives with them and they often can’t put it down. Being relaxed along the journey does not take anything away from the joy of arriving. In fact, it makes the arrival more enjoyable. You arrive happy and energized, rather than exhausted and complaining. People treat life the same way. When I have this amount of money in my bank account, then I can relax. When I retire, then I will relax and enjoy life. In the meantime, life has to be serious and hard. It requires work and that means frustration and annoyance. WHY? Life is about the journey, not some magical destination. Don’t take it too seriouslyDon’t be the marathon runner who bolts out of the starting gate at a dead sprint and finds himself on the side of the road a fourth of the way into the race.Don’t start by going for the home run immediately. Be patient and persistent. My goal is to drop 50 pounds, so I have to take off 20 by the end of January. WHAT!! By the end of January, you will find yourself very frustrated and the resolution will go by the wayside.Take small steps – don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you aren’t taking things too seriously, when you do slip, you will better be able to get back up and keep going. Everyone slips, but not everyone can overlook this and stay on course. Don’t take it too seriously does not mean you aren’t committed or that you don’t care. You can be committed without treating it like it is the only thing in this whole world that matters. So don’t go to the other extreme of laughing it off and ignoring the resolution. It is okay to enjoy the journey. Focus on the presentWhat is one thing you can do right now for your resolution? Don’t worry about the past. If you slipped one day, it’s okay to laugh about the slip and now move forward. Don’t take it too seriously!Don’t worry about the future. Don’t look too hard at some ultimate goal. That can seem so far off and become a bit daunting. A goal that seems unreachable will discourage even the most committed traveler.Stay committed to your present moment. That is where your life is, so it is where you should be also. Check in on your inner world oftenAsk yourself – Am I aware of my present moment? Am I friends with it or an enemy to it? Are we getting along or am I fighting it?Knowing your relationship with your present moment is knowing your relationship with yourself, with your life, and with God. These are all the same.May 2017 be filled with peace and happiness for you and all your loved ones! Happy New Year! The post New Year’s Resolutions: Why do we even bother? appeared first on This Simple Moment.