How to Get a Piece of Peace in Your Life

Thursday, June 30, 2005

To Be Disconnected

Sometimes we actually need a hiatus from our lives and our worlds.

Sometimes we want to be in a vacuum, or bubble, or nothingness.

It can be helpful to step away from it all, especially when we are too involved in our own situations, or too emotional, or find that our thoughts continue to circle, with no conclusion.

How do you get disconnected temporarily?

- go for a hike in the woods, be with nature
- drive with no music, and preferably not a lot of traffic
- if you're on an airplane, gaze out the window at the world below
- bathe and soak with your ears just below the water
- be alone with earplugs, to only hear the soft static of muffled air
- meditate or visualize a peaceful place

Simply taking a few steps away can help you refocus and perhaps see things differently. Even 60 seconds can seem like a long time in your mind.

Give yourself a moment to disconnect from it all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Feeling Connected

We are mostly social beings...we tend to crave the touch. This is why we have handshakes, hugs, massages, cuddling, and many, many other forms of touch. Touch helps us to remember that we are alive. We rely on all of our sensations to feed the brain with the reality of our worlds. Touch has the power to heal, comfort, and strengthen. It tells us where the boundaries are, where we are, where everything else is. It grounds us.

Some people prefer less physical touching from other people. Some people only desire being touched by family and friends. Do not forget that the touch of an animal is just as powerful. And when all living creatures are inaccessible, touching plants, trees, and the earth have beneficial results as well. Many times we go into nature to feel more connected. Or we garden. Let your bare feet touch the grass, sand, or dirt, and allow the energy to flow in and out.

The only thing separating ourselves from everything else is our own skin. To balance that separation, we need to feel the closeness. Connections through touch are vital in our daily lives.

How connected do you feel and how do you feed that need?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Need for Expression

One of the inescapable and vital roles we play is a receiver. We a constantly taking life in, in multitudes of experiences.

We can only take in so much before it has to start coming out, one way or another.

We react, we process, we think, we feel.

If we do not utilize some form of expression, we allow all that we have absorbed to potentially manifest as negative thought pattersn or maladaptive behaviors.

We can only hold so much.

Even a sponge can only hold a certain capacity before it begins to leak and drip and push excess liquid around. It is no longer functional until it is squeezed out.

Let it out and let it go.

Sometimes we have to carry on with daily lives and full schedules, so we tuck the emotions away for another time. We need to remember to fully acknowledge them. The sooner we can do this (in terms of days, rather than years), the healthier we become.

While meditation, relaxation, and visualization are all excellent ways to calm and center yourself, there are times that we need more than this. These techniques actually assist in creating the time and space for expression to follow.

Some ways to express:

talk, outloud to yourself or anyone who will listen
cry, even if it's during a movie
scream, possibly into a pillow
draw, even if it's scribbling
paint, even with your fingers
sculpt, possibly with playdoh or silly putty
make things with your hands, to push the energy out
sing, perhaps loudly with a song
dance, and let the arms and legs move on their own
journal, where your stream-of-consciousness takes over
do anything strenuous, in which you exert a lot of physical energy
laugh to release physical tightness, emotional restraint, and allow the blood to circulate
breathe deeply and use your voice as your exhale, with "ahhh"

We convince ourselves that we can't do many of these things for fear of embarrassment or being judged, even by ourselves. But expressions are extremely necessary to allow the release and allow the feelings to be witnessed and validated, with no critique.

Try to express yourself in ways you usually resist. Let it go, let it happen unjudged.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Personal Entries

One new entry has been posted on Speaking Your Peace. Please take a moment to read it and respond if you are so moved to.


The way nature stays in harmony is by having balance. Sun, water, air, animals, plants, viruses...nature needs a certain proportion of all of it to maintain. Too much of any of these ingredients, and there's a possible dangerous shift.

The way a human stays in harmony is the same. We have sleep, food, shelter, sun, exercise, education, work, play, pain, laughter, community, family, introspection, and much more. Too much of anything can be unbalanced. Imbalance can be at the root of what isn't going well in our lives. Or imbalance can be the indicator of something deeper that needs to be examined.

You can approach it either way. Looking deeper and healing what's inside can slowly help alleviate what is out of balance. Or, being more balanced can help to alleviate some of what is deeper. Both can be working together at the same time to bring you closer to your optimal state of mind and body.

Find your balance. Find what brought you imbalance. Everyone is slightly different. When adjusting your lifestyle, make minor changes, to avoid going from one extreme to the other and not being satisfied with any of the results.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Selfish or Not?

Selfish = only thinking of one's self
Selfless = not thinking of one's self

We need one more word to be added to the dictionary:

Self-full = thinking for one's self

We are consistently taught that selfishness is not a valued trait. Yet, the ironic part is that if we are not selfish to some degree, we cannot truly function well for ourselves or for others. The internal system would come crashing down if we tried to be endlessly selfless.

Reteach yourself the mantra, "In order to love others, you must learn to love yourself."

Remember the protocol for being in an airplane and suddenly the oxygen supply is cut off. You are instructed to put the mask on your self first, and then help others who cannot do it for themselves. This protocol is good to apply to life.

Be self-full, and then, in turn, you can be selfless.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Controlling Your Mind

This comes from Daily Om, which is a wonderful source of daily wisdom. It supports a message I have had as a theme in some of my posts, and I thought it was worth repeating. This is backed by empirical evidence that it is the most successful method to changing chronic thought patterns and emotions that are not due to diagnosable mental or physical conditions.

Controlling Your Mind
Unwanted Thoughts

Negative thoughts exist for most of humanity. When they arise, they can spiral into a deluge of gloomy thoughts or even depression. There are times when it seems impossible to stop thinking of the world's ills or replaying every moment of a bad memory. It's like having a song stuck in your head, only more intense and emotionally draining. Unwanted thoughts that persist can distract you from your life. Luckily, there are ways to consciously release them and to trick your mind into refocusing its attention on more positive subjects.

When unwanted dark thoughts are swirling in your head, it can be difficult to concentrate on anything else. You need to take back your attention and to refocus it. Start by shouting out loud or inside your mind something jarring and to the point, such as "Stop!" or "That's enough!" Any word or phrase is fine, as long as it is momentarily shocking. Doing so may be enough, or you may want to try thought stopping. First, take a few deep breaths, relax, and picture a scene in which you feel comfortable, optimistic, and good about yourself. Note every detail, even if the setting isn't a real place. Next time unwanted thoughts occur, yell "Stop!" and then immediately begin imagining your scene, replacing the unwanted thought with something positive.

Never try to "think away" an unwanted thought because you will simply strengthen it. It can be helpful to share your unwanted thought with someone, thereby lessening your mind's preoccupation with it. If you're uncomfortable doing so, simply distract yourself when unwanted thoughts begin cycling. Recite the alphabet, tackle some chores, do a puzzle, exercise (which released hormones that may quell unwanted thoughts), or perform a conscious breathing meditation.

It's natural to experience negative thought patterns or even obsess over a memory, but there is no need to let it overwhelm you. It may be difficult at first to replace negative thoughts with positive ones or to concentrate on a puzzle when you can't let go of a thought. Techniques like thought stopping and using other forms of distraction to rid you of unwanted thoughts get easier and easier with time and it really does work.

You can visit the site at any time to register for your Daily Om messages to be e-mailed to you.

Friday, June 24, 2005

On Shame

We frequently speak of our sadness, anger, joy, guilt, anxiety, and even fear. But we rarely speak of our shame.

Shame is one of the first emotions we experience as infants. It is a healthy shame when we first realize that we are human, that we are not perfect, and that we depend on others for our survival. It is an unhealthy shame when it permeates through to how we view ourselves.

When you look in the mirror, and you look past appearances, do you like the person you see? Do you love the person you see?

Do you allow yourself to make mistakes? Do you give yourself a break?

Do you omit blame and criticism from your personal interactions?

Do you have healthy relationships with strong boundaries?

If the answer is not yes, there is a chance that you have an unhealthy level of shame, embedded in your psyche from your childhood years.

Shame is one of the emotions we felt as children, as we became more aware of who we were. The amount of shame depends on the appropriateness of the parenting and the level of love we felt. Shame is also one of the emotions that is rarely modeled for us. People are often even ashamed of having shame. We hide it, ignore it, and in doing so, we embody it, make it a part of us, and let it manifest in a variety of ways that are quite difficult to detect as shame-based.

Psychotherapist John Bradshaw wrote Healing the Shame That Binds You. One of the exercises in this book concentrates on healing the inner child. See if this shortened version does anything for you.

Take a moment to close your eyes and go back in time to your childhood when you may have felt shame, abandonement, or suffering. As the adult, take the child that is you by the hand, let your child know that he/she is loved, that you know him/her better than anyone else, and that you will never ever leave. Then, allow your child to shrink into the size of your hand and place your child in your heart. Keep your child safe there as you go to a peaceful place in nature and awaken your whole mind and heart to your world.

If this has any affect, you may want to check out the book for other exercises and insight into the many effects that shame can have on you.

If nothing else, write down some of the things you are most ashamed of. Writing it down separates this emotion from who you are. Throw away the paper when you are done if you wish. You can also visit Speaking Your Peace or PostSecret if you wish to release any shame anonymously yet publicly.

Then, tell yourself, "I love you and accept you unconditionally exactly as you are." Do this as often as you can.

Do not let shame hide within your beautiful self.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Quote on Courage

"Courage does not always roar.

Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,

"I will try again tomorrow."

Mary Anne Radmacher

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Living by Example

As much as we have free will and choice, we also find ourselves influenced by everyday occurrences in the world around us. We do not live in a vacuum. We can either be encouraged or discouraged by our environment and others around us. This affects our thoughts, words, and actions.

It is important to remember that it is still our choice to be affected by our surroundings.

Could you find yourself as a recipient and a participant of a long chain of negative reactions?

Could you be the initiator of a long chain of positive reactions in spite of the negativity you receive?

Could you instill hope, encouragement, growth, and inspiration?


You can choose to live by example even in the midst of the world's problems. You can be the one glimmer of hope that people around you see in their day. You can begin to change things simply by being true to yourself.

If you've never seen the movie or read the book
Pay it Forward, put it on your list of things to do.

Then see what is happening in the very real
Pay it Forward Movement ever since the book came out. It's amazing what people are capable of doing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


You are most likely seated as you are reading this. Take this moment to truly relax as you are in this resting position.

Allow your pelvis to sink in, without slouching, letting gravity pull your core down.

Allow your toes to wiggle loosely. Fingers, too.

Allow your shoulder blades to slide down your back.

Allow your neck and head to loosen and be free. Loosen your jaw, leaving a slight space between your upper and lower teeth.

Allow all the muscles in your face to loosen and relax.

Breathe deeply through your belly, and let the stomach soften.

Sometimes we hold our bodies so tightly, even while sitting or lying down, that we are seldom truly relaxing. Your body waits for the brain’s commands. Remember to tell all your body parts to relax at least once a day.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Finding Meaning

Psychotherapist Viktor Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, about his experiences in the concentration camp and the critical ability to find meaning in order to maintain sanity. The prison guards were able to strip away everything in his life except his thoughts. After these experiences, he developed “Logotherapy” which is based on choosing to find meaning in one’s life as an effective strategy for mental health.

To find meaning in life as the big picture, you must first find meaning in all the situations that happen in your life.

You have essentially two choices:

1) You can view each of your experiences as random, undpredictable, and uncontrollable, and automatically respond in a reactionary manner


2) You can view each of your experiences as an opportunity to gain meaning, wisdom, and insight, and choose the way in which you will respond

Rather than asking life, “What is the meaning of this?” Frankl challenges us to answer that very question that life is asking us.

How will you choose to view what life gives you today?

Sunday, June 19, 2005


When we have a genuine appreciation for things and people in our lives, we find more fulfillment in what we have and we focus less on what we do not have.

Take a few minutes to think of:

5 people you are grateful to have met and/or still have in your life

4 phrases you are grateful someone said to you

3 qualities you are grateful to possess

2 events you are grateful to have witnessed

1 thing you are grateful for today

Think of these gratitudes often and fondly.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Personal Entries

Two people have posted their thoughts on Speaking Your Peace. Please take a moment to read their entries and respond if you are so moved to.

On Anger

Anger is an emotion that frequently masks other deeper emotions. When we feel anger, we almost always have something else at the root: hurt, fear, even sadness.

Anger is also an emotion that we can frequently misplace. We may feel anger toward another person when we are truly most angry at ourselves. We may feel anger at a trivial situation when we truly are angry about something more significant in our lives. We may feel angry toward people in our present when we are truly angry toward people in our past.

Anger has a way of quickly flaring up and assigning itself a target. When you notice that you are angry, step away from the situation, put your hand on your chest, look down your arm, breathe deeply, and feel what emotion is underneath your hand. It is most likely the anger. Next, attempt to feel what lies underneath that. When you explore further, you may find the root of your emotions as well as other subjects for which you are having these emotions. For more details on this exercise, see
In the Center of You.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Cynic in Us

It's easy to do. We've been burned, we've had disappointments. Sometimes it's easier to just expect the worst and then we won't have high hopes. Yet, when we do this, we might self-sabotage a situation, or only look at situations with pessimistic eyes instead of seeing perhaps any value from the outcome. Then when the negative results come, we match it with the expectations we had, further cementing our belief in a negative world. We also continue to build the walls around our hearts and close ourselves off to anything positive.

It's a cycle and a habit. Both get stronger until we make the conscious decision to stop.

Beth Nickerson delivered a speech at an Arizona State University graduation with this message:

"One of my personal projects has been to try to reduce my cynicism by seeing the glass as half-full. If I later find out the glass is indeed half-empty after all, the worst result will have been I spent a few years being wrong but happy. That's a risk I'm willing to take. And the great thing is that whether the glass is half-full or half-empty, I can always get a refill."

How will you look at things today?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Time Spent Worrying (part two)

See the 6/2/2005 entry, Time Spent Worrying for reasons to stop worrying.

If the idea of not worrying is wonderful, but you have no idea of how to change that habit, or it seems easier said than done, perhaps this approach will work for a temporary step or as an alternative option:

1. Set aside a specific amount of time once a day. You can make it 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 60 minutes. Schedule whatever is feasible for you.

2. In that time frame, do nothing but worry. Spend all your mental energy focusing on just your problems, concerns, fears, or the future. Make it the best worrying you've ever done.

3. When your time is up, discipline yourself to stop worrying and move on with your day's tasks. After all, you have tomorrow scheduled to worry again.

Either this will give your mind the time it asks for to have your true worries, or this will help you see that it is draining and perhaps not worth the time you set aside for it.

Try this for at least 2-3 days to see how it affects you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Speaking Your Peace

There are times that we have things deep in our minds or deep in our past, and we don't realize how these thoughts actually affect our present day situations. We sometimes think that with more time, the effects automatically lessen, the wounds finally heal, and we can move on.

Sometimes we can't move on if we've never allowed these thoughts to be witnessed. Witnessing is many times the way to heal.

You can write a letter that is never sent. You can burn it or tear it up when you're done. Many of you already post the deepest things about you in your own blogs and have experienced what it is like for others to comment.

If there is something you have always wanted to post anonymously, or on a site specifically meant for this purpose, visit my other site,
Speaking Your Peace. Post a confession, a pain, a dreaded fear, or a secret. Make a formal request for the type of feedback you need. You are among peers, friends, and strangers who will offer you the best comfort, support, and advice. Healing happens in the company of others.

You can also visit PostSecret to mail in an anonymous secret on a postcard. However, at this site, there are no opportunities to receive feedback. It is worth visiting to see what others have done. Perhaps simply relating to someone else's secret will be healing enough.

Try either and see what happens.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Our fears keep us from



What are you most afraid of? What is it keeping you from? What would you like to do with the fear?
Your fear is as strong as your mind allows it to be. Your fear doesn't want to be laughed at because it wants to make you believe that is real, so it convinces you that people will be laughing at you. Let your fear be SHARED. Even anonymously if you wish.

Half of your fear will diminish the moment you share it in the open with someone to expose it for what it really is.

The other half will diminish only when you do one thing: the thing you fear.

If it is not something you can actually do or have any control over, then the fear will diminish the moment you accept it...with open arms. You can either live in fear, live with the fear, or live without the fear. Make your choice.

See if you can slowly change the fear with one small step today.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Without Judgment

Imagine having a moment that is completely neutral. Imagine not attaching an opinion or an emotion to the moment. Simply be in it, be a part of it, be a witness to it.

The role of a witness is to observe and acknowledge occurrences without bias. Yet this role is difficult for many of us, since we naturally have our own past experiences, cultural nuances, perspectives, and emotions through which we perceive these occurrences.

Many of our life experiences evoke valid emotions, such as grief, loss, stress, and change. Emotions at these times are not meant to be minimized. However, the next time you are stopped in traffic, standing in a long line, or finding yourself having one of those days full of mishaps, simply witness this experience, and report it to memory with only the facts, as if you were an unbiased journalist. Omit the irritation, aggravation, frustration, anger, or anxiety. Record these experiences as being neutral.

The first time you try this, your emotions may still be triggered automatically. Yet for each time you catch yourself, you will find it easier and easier to turn that trigger off. Half the effort is spent on the awareness; the other half, on starting a new habit.

What would your day be like if you could eliminate the negative emotions from these daily experiences?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Moment of Joy

Close your eyes and picture one moment when you felt absolute joy. Breathe deeply and remember exactly where you were, if you were with people, what was immediately around you, the smells, sounds, tastes, how every detail looks, and exactly, EXACTLY how it felt to be in that moment.

The longer you can keep your eyes closed and be in that moment, the better.

Research has shown that when your mind pictures an object or an event, and you imagine your senses being stimulated or feel some emotions from what you have visualized, your mind records it as a real experience, as if you were actually there. It is not a watered-down replicate of an experience. You tap into the same emotions and have the same levels of brain activity as if it were really happening.

The next time you realize that it's been awhile since you've been truly happy, or if you're in the middle of chaos or at the end of a bad day, and you just need a place to escape, close your eyes and give yourself a moment of joy. You deserve it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Do One Thing

Your task list: it could be on a piece of paper, or it could be in your head. Either way, you probably have something, or many things, that are unfinished or incomplete. It could be something like finally going through that pile of mail. Or it could be something like finally contacting an old friend. No matter what it is, these things follow us around and haunt us, in some fashion, even when we've distracted ourselves with our daily lives and other things that are more of a priority or preference.

Today, do ONE task on that list. ONE.

If you have too many in your head, then your one task could be to write out the list. If one of your tasks is a multi-step process, then do ONE step of that one task.

You can make the one step as small as you want. It can be simply finding the phone number that you need, but not actually making the phone call yet. You want to slowly chip away at the things that seem overwhelming. Once you've completed one small item, you feel confident, capable, and motivated to do more.

If actively doing something is also too much, at least begin to picture yourself doing it. Visualization is a powerful motivator. That alone is one step closer.

You'll be lighter in the rest of your day. Just take one step today.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Desire and Dissatisfaction

Fashion swings. Technology improves. Everything changes.

We are raised in a world that constantly gives us more and therefore we want more. But do we believe that we need more?

It's habit-forming; we expect what the environment gives us. It shapes us.

Desire seems to be only temporarily quenched until the next desire comes, and if the next desire is not fed, we experience dissatisfaction. With desire and dissatisfaction present, we cannot experience contentment and peace.

Let's learn what it means to be satisfied to simply BE.

SARK writes in her inspiring, whimsical books:

"You have enough.
You do enough.
You are enough."

Can that, at times, be enough for us? Let's work toward enough being absolutely enough.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh

The famous Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, narrates this beautiful short clip. Click to watch "Being Peace".

These messages are worth watching, hearing, and remembering.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Follow Your Advice

Sometimes we will be talking with someone close to us, who needs our advice and comfort, or we will even be having a passing conversation with to an acquaintance or a stranger and, in doing so, we somehow give the most eloquent messages that we couldn't have scripted better. Not only that, these messages, while delivered to someone else, coincidentally seem to be for our own lives as well.

Many people believe that these messages come from other entities, or perhaps a shared consciousness. Others believe that the subconscious projects these messages onto others, when we actually need it for ourselves. Whether or not you hold these beliefs, you may want to adhere to your own gifts of wisdom for these reasons:

1. Others will be more likely to believe you and follow your advice. Your credibility will hold firm if you do not appear to be saying one thing and doing another.

2. If you do as you say, and find that the method doesn't actually work, perhaps you will gain a better understanding of other people's situations and will adjust what you advise. Or if your method does work, perhaps you can report your own success as an inspiration.

3. You know what is truly good advice for all to follow, including yourself. Make yourself a priority with self-care and self-discipline.

Watch your words the next time you come up with an amazing message. While you may initially dismiss it as irrelevant to your own life, look a little deeper to see if there's anything there for you.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Methods of Meditation

One way to ground yourself, lower your stress, and connect your mind to your body is by meditating. Meditation can be done in several different ways. Each individual may find one way that works better than the others.

1) Sitting meditation, clearing the mind: In this meditation you sit quietly, generally with legs crossed. You clear the mind of every thought, in an attempt to think of absolutely nothing. If a thought or many thoughts come through, simply acknowledge them and continue to clear the mind. Many people find that concentrating on very deep breathing (into the belly) or saying one word (such as "Om") drawn out for a long tone can help to clear the mind. Also, if you have music, running water, birds, or other natural sounds, you can take notice of those sounds around you, as if you were simply a space to receive the outside world.

here for a traditional sitting meditation.

2) Sitting meditation, with an intention: In this meditation, you sit quietly, legs crossed, and concentrate on one thought. This thought may be for healing the world, or healing a particular person, or simply something that you wish for your life or a loved one. You can also visualize symbolically (such as a bright light surrounding someone) or literally (such as what you want the future to look like). Repeat these thoughts and visions with deep breaths.

here for a healing meditation.

3) Walking meditation: This can be done indoors, outdoors, barefoot, with shoes...whatever is most comfortable for you. Walk at a slower pace, with intention on each step. Notice how your foot either gently touches the ground, or rolls from heel to toe. Be in tune with your movements and nothing else. This meditation works especially well for people who need more kinesthetic stimuli.

here for a walking meditation.

4) Eating meditation: This is especially good for those who eat at their desks at work, or who have limited time to get a real break in the middle of the day. In this meditation, you take the time to notice what you are doing, how the food goes from the plate to your mouth, the sensations, the tastes. Every bite is taken very deliberately. Surprisingly, even though you will eat more slowly, the time will pass more slowly as well. This is because you are in the moment rather than thinking of something else while eating.

here for an eating meditation.

5) Guided meditation: This has specific direction and instruction and gives the mind something to do. It works particularly well if you have someone read one to you while you have your eyes closed. Stephen Levine's book, "Guided Meditations, Explorations and Healings" is excellently written and quite extensive with specific types of guided meditations for many situations.

Click here for a sample of Stephen Levine's meditations on grief.

Click here for a guided meditation to read to yourself while focusing on peaceful imagery on the website.

For more ideas, see my entries on 5/20/2005, Practicing Mindfullness or 5/29/2005, Living in the Moment. These both explain how to be aware of only the present, which is also a form of meditation.

No matter what your style or preference is, the benefits remain the same. While you may feel as though nothing is happening, try it a few times and see if your days seem different in any way. The more you practice, the easier it becomes, and the better you will feel.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Truth About You

The bad news: we believe all the negative things we hear about ourselves. Whether we think we believe it or not, our brains register and file those comments and they go on permanent record.

The good news: we also record all the positive things we receive. Therefore, today, you will read the following five statements and you will believe them...someday.

1. You have inherent MERIT and VALUE that is not based on anything or measured by anyone.

2. You CONTRIBUTE more than you realize to your world and those around you.

3. You have the POWER to change the way you live your the very least, the way you receive and perceive your life.

4. You DESERVE love, joy, happiness, success, fulfillment, contentment, and peace.

5. You ARE worth all of it.

Read this and deeply breathe in the truth about you. Come back to this as often as you wish. If you want to arm yourself with even more positivity, write your own list of personal positive comments and put it somewhere where you will read it at least once a day. Notice how it slowly sinks in and changes how you feel about yourself. Do it. You're worth it.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Power of Thought

Your thoughts manifest in many ways.

Your thoughts can become words which either initiate your action or the actions of others. Your thoughts can also shape your perception of your experiences. Two people can have the exact same experience and a completely different perception of it. In addition, through the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy, you will receive the results that you expected in your thoughts.

There is also the belief that actual energy and power exists in thought. Many people send out thoughts to make events happen. We pray, we wish for good luck, we attempt to help ourselves and others through our mental concentration.
Falun Gong practitioners utilize an exercise of "sending righteous thoughts" in order to eliminate injustice. Yoga practitioners or people who meditate practice a specific meditation on healing the world. It is also a strong belief in many cultures that practicing in groups is much more powerful.

Many times we say, "What can I possibly do to solve the world's problems?" Try to send out thoughts through one of these methods. You will spend minutes for something that could spread peace around the world, and at the very least, bring a little more peace to your world.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

On Grief and Loss

Do you have something or someone over which you feel you have not fully grieved?

Have you experienced a loss over which you still feel pain?

So many times we rush through grief to get on with our lives. Grief is one of those things, that, if unattended, or interrupted, becomes warped into our daily lives and hides in subtle behaviors, physical conditions, or other complex issues.

Write a letter to your loved one, to the painful event, or even to yourself. Dedicate some real time to address these fresh or old feelings. You cannot shorten the task by having a passing thought or a light conversation. The full ritual of writing it out gives the grief the validity it begs for. Burn the letter afterward if you are moved to. Or share it with others. Make it an entry on your personal blog and see what happens. Do these things to help you move toward peace. Do it as often as you need.

"The only way out is through." Honor your grief and loss.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Our Sense of Control

Over what do we have control?

We have some control over our worlds and our lives. We make decisions that affect us every day. We desire control because it gives us the feeling of predictability and safety. Yet many of us experience pain and frustration when we find that we feel as though we have very little control. While we understand that we cannot control natural events such as earthquakes, tornados, and the seasons, we tend to forget that we also have very little control over what other people do. Sometimes we spend a significant amount of time and energy attempting to influence or change people; we then link our emotions directly to how others think, speak, or act.

Ultimately you have control over one thing: your thoughts. And your thoughts--not other people or events--control your feelings. You can choose to think positively or negatively or neutrally about any situation. Your thoughts will then shape your emotions about that situation. When you feel as though you have lost control over everything, remember that you have control over you, your reaction, your feelings, and your perspective.

Let go of the things and the people over which you have no control. Perhaps that will lessen some suffering and bring you a step closer to your own peace.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Time Spent Worrying

This quote comes from an anonymous source, "Worrying is praying for what you don't want."

We have approximately 16-20 waking hours. Our mental energy could be spent on organizing, problem-solving, healing, day-dreaming, bemusing, focusing, relaxing, reminiscing, and any number of other things. How much of our precious time do we wish to spend on worrying? How does worrying benefit our lives?

Do you find it difficult to stop worrying? It can be hard to undo the years of practice. Try to stop the thoughts the moment they begin. At the very least, acknowledge the worrying and then try to divert your attention elsewhere. Or, in addition to worrying, give yourself the added task of problem-solving. If you find that there isn't anything you can do, then this might be an indicator that your worrying is not productive.

Once you begin to stop your thoughts, it becomes easier and easier to break the habit of worrying. New patterns can develop with this first step today.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Breathe, Breathe, Breathe

Babies truly know how to breathe deeply. Somehow, when we gain the ability to use our brains for many tasks, we manage to turn off the natural ability to breathe. Many of us are shallow breathers or hold our breath throughout the day.

Deep breathing happens when you allow your belly to expand, letting the diaphragm drop which forces the lungs to fill. Full exhaling happens when you push your belly in, as if your navel were to meet your spine. Then the belly naturally pushes out and the diaphragm drops again and deep breathing repeats. It is essential to inhale in order to fully oxygenate your body and also to exhale in order fully release the toxins.

One other vital piece of information: when you hold your breath, you are telling your body that you are in a stressful situation. This is the "fight or flight" mode of survival. The moment you hold your breath, you have a window of 17 seconds to begin breathing again or else your brain will release adrenalin into your body which will last for an hour. The adrenalin keeps you feeling anxious or stressed.

Try to pay attention to your breathing and your mood. Do you hold your breath? Are you a shallow breather? Or do you breath like a baby?