Remembering Love


Remembering Love (from IMCW Spring Retreat) – The habit of self-judgment not only causes emotional pain, it creates a trance that obscures the purity and vastness of our Being. This talk explores how a wakeful and forgiving heart can heal and free us…

Tara Brach : Remembering Love (Retreat Talk).


The Most Dangerous Word in the World

noMark Waldman and Andrew Newberg, M.D. write:

If I were to put you into an fMRI scanner—a huge donut-shaped magnet that can take a video of the neural changes happening in your brain—and flash the word “NO” for less than one second, you’d see a sudden release of dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters. These chemicals immediately interrupt the normal functioning of your brain, impairing logic, reason, language processing, and communication.

In fact, just seeing a list of negative words for a few seconds will make a highly anxious or depressed person feel worse, and the more you ruminate on them, the more you can actually damage key structures that regulate your memory, feelings, and emotions.[1] You’ll disrupt your sleep, your appetite, and your ability to experience long-term happiness and satisfaction.

If you vocalize your negativity, or even slightly frown when you say “no,” more stress chemicals will be released, not only in your brain, but in the listener’s brain as well.[2] The listener will experience increased anxiety and irritability, thus undermining cooperation and trust. In fact, just hanging around negative people will make you more prejudiced toward others![3]

via 3. The Most Dangerous Word in the World | Psychology Today.

Today: A Unique Day

I love Australian Craig Harper’s perspective:

Today is Unique

You’ve never had this day before and you’ll never have it again. Sure, you’ve had days like it but you’ve never had this day; the one you’re in right now.

Naturally, you might think I’m being deep and philosophical when I say this but I’m not, I’m being literal. Practical. Of course, there’s a sense of familiarity and predictability about today but that feeling says nothing about the possibilities and potential of this day and everything about you because like every day, this one is not predetermined.

It’s you determined.

It might feel the same but it isn’t. It’s totally new. Original. Unique.

Of course you can choose, act, react, think and communicate just like you did yesterday (and most people will) – and therefore, you’ll probably create very similar outcomes – but again, that’s about you; not the day. Despite what you may have been taught, there are no (universal) good and bad days.

There are just days.

Now, before you try to prove me wrong (“but Craig, what about the woman who gets diagnosed with cancer?”), hit the pause button on your non-negotiable thinking for a moment and allow yourself to look through a different window. Is it possible that, as things happen (to you, around you), you label them based on your world view, beliefs, fears, standards, etc., you then react to those things, give those things meaning and finally, after all your labeling, assessing and processing, you somehow determine whether today is a good day or bad one?

That is, you create your own experience? Your own reality?

A Hypothetical

Your phone and wallet have been stolen while taking your early morning swim and, as a result, you’re having “the worst day ever”. You drive to work in a bad mood and you’re about to throw yourself a pity party when a colleague informs you that your boss has just been rushed to hospital after suffering a massive heart attack. In a matter of seconds you experience a major internal shift. Your enormous problem is now tiny. Insignificant. Your outlook changes completely and all of a sudden, your terrible day is now relatively fantastic (when compared with the day your boss is having). Well technically, the day is the same (of course) but in the middle of it, you are different. Well, to be more precise, your thinking is different which means your experience has changed.

Which means your day has changed.

The Manager vs The Managee

Is it possible that you’re living a reactive (wait and see what happens) type of existence rather than a proactive (I’ll determine the quality of my own day thanks) type of existence? Could today simultaneously be my ‘best day ever’ and your ‘total nightmare’? And finally, could it be that a good or bad day on Planet You is more about your personal interpretation of, and response to, certain (otherwise meaningless) happenings, events and outcomes, than the actual happenings, events and outcomes themselves?

Like yesterday, today is a blank canvas and like it or not, you’re going to paint something.

The question is, what will be hanging in your gallery tonight?

You can follow his blog here: Today: A Unique Day

9 Disturbing Side Effects of Soda

Just in case you missed this:

If you’ve been reading health magazines and websites for any length of time, you’ve read a litany of reasons why soda is bad for you. It’s nothing but sugar water. It’s devoid of any nutritional value. It leads to obesity and diabetes. But we’ve dug up nine other disturbing facts about what soda does to your body, besides packing on the pounds, that don’t get much attention in broader discussions about soda and its impact on your health.” Get more here: via facts about soda | 9 Disturbing Side Effects of Soda | Rodale News.

See Your Imperfect Self As Precious

Leslie Becker-PhelpsLeslie Becker-Phelps writes:

As a therapist, I am often faced with people who struggle with feeling essentially flawed in some way. They are quick to take responsibility for their errors or to blame themselves for problems with friends. And, they experience their struggles, mistakes, and imperfections as proof that they are lesser as a person.

As I listen to them, I know that when they look in the mirror, they do not see the value in them that I see. It is this negative self-perception that is the real source of their torture, not the daily issues that loom so large for them. Being overweight, shy, depressed, or socially awkward may cause them great pain; but I see this pain as a distress that requires caring – not condemnation. Making mistakes at work or becoming upset with your children is just part of life. After all, there’s a reason that “It’s only human” has come to be an expression. No one – and I mean no one – handles everything well all the time. And everyone – and, again, I mean everyone – has things they really struggle with.” Get more here: See Your Imperfect Self As Precious | Psychology Today.

Starting over again…

Melody Beattie writes:

Divorce. Breaking up. Moving. A new job. Getting sober. Stopping using or abusing drugs. Discovering we’re codependent, and redefining ourselves, our relationships (including our relationship with ourselves) and our behaviors. Finding out we have a chronic illness, and we need to center our lives around it. Empty nest syndrome (yes, it’s real).

We wake up in the morning and before we go to bed that night, our lives have been irrevocably changed. They’ll never be the same again.

Sometimes we lose it all (or almost all of it) all at once. A friend from many years back woke up one morning. That day, he discovered that his wife of 15 years had been cheating on him from day
one; that neither the son nor his daughter he thought belonged to him were his; and that day, his business went belly-up.

Some people may call it “reorganization.” Others name it a “new beginning.” Most of the time I hear it described like this: “Sigh. I’m starting all over. Again.”

I hate it, at least in the beginning. We’re walking in the dark and living in the mystery. We don’t have a clue about what’s next. Sometimes we may wonder if we’re dying – the transformation feels that profound. Usually the person isn’t dying – not in the physical sense. But the changes taking place can be so profound that the experience feels similar to a death.

Times it feels like our heart has been broken. If we tell people that, they may look at us like we’re overplaying the drama queen role, but recently Mayo Clinic identified “Broken Heart Syndrome” as a legitimate physical illness. A broken heart, which can be caused by the loss of a loved one or an overload of stress, shows itself with symptoms similar to those of a real heart attack. These symptoms may include heart pain that worsens with each heartbeat; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; and nausea or vomiting.

I went out to do errands. Around lunch-time, I decided to find someplace to eat. I had driven out of my usual neighborhoods and didn’t recognize the mall I pulled into, at least not at first. Then I saw it – the restaurant where we celebrated my son, Shane’s last birthday – the one two days before the date of his death.

The pain hit hard and fast – right in my chest. I felt paralyzed. My hands gripped the steering wheel. I couldn’t move them to rummage around in my purse and find my cell phone. Movement of any kind hurt too much. I couldn’t even roll down my window and yell, “Help.” I’d rate the pain as a ten on the pain scale from one to ten.

For just over one hour I sat in the same position, leaning forward, clutching the steering wheel, stopped in my tracks by this pain in my heart. Then slowly the debilitating pain began to subside. I
didn’t get out of the car; I went home instead. A week later I went to my doctor. (This was before the identification of Broken Heart Syndrome as an actual physical illness.) The doctors made me stay overnight.

The diagnosis? “It’s the strangest thing,” the doctors said. “For all purposes, it looks like you had a myocardial infarction (heart attack). But then, it also doesn’t appear as though you actually suffered from a heart attack. It left the doctors scratching their heads but I’d known from the minute – the second – the nurse at the Emergency Room asked me if I had someone I could call after Shane’s
accident that his death had broken my heart.

Don’t rely on self-diagnosis. If your heart hurts, get a checkup.

Then, when your body stabilizes – which it will – you can get on with the business of Starting Over Again (SOA). One idea that may be helpful: although it feels like you’re starting over again, is remembering you’re not really starting over. Life is a continuum. You’re either jolted or sliding into the next experience. You’re moving on.

Here are a few tips for those of you in that uncomfortable place of SOA when you thought the last time you started over would be the last, only to find yourself SOA.

  1. Let yourself grieve your loss or losses. You don’t need to be so stoic. Give yourself room to be human. What you’re going through may be extremely difficult and it may hurt. But you will get through it.
  2. Remind yourself that what you’re going through won’t last forever. If you have to leave post-it notes around the house, then do it. Remember other times you’ve started over, and how you got through those experiences? Draw on what you learned, including that you did survive that devastating time.
  3. Give yourself time to cocoon. No, you’re not isolating. You’re resting, giving your body a chance to adapt to this sudden change.
  4. Tell your story as often as you need to, and tell it to people who will listen and care. While some people may accuse us of obsessiveness, telling our story over and over is an important way we integrate the unthinkable into our life story.
  5. Set goals. In the beginning, start by writing a list of what you want or need to accomplish just that day. Take life in small chunks. After some time passes, begin writing goal lists that go further into the future. For now, while you’re in shock, a list for today is enough.
  6. Be kind to yourself. There may be days when all you accomplish is getting out of bed and taking a shower. Instead of focusing on how little you did, tell yourself you did great – because you did.
  7. Slowly, as new people and interests come into your life, be willing to say “yes” to opportunities. I never fail to be amazed at how either a person or an interest that I think is just a “time killer” slowly becomes a major part of my new life.
  8. If you need help, ask.
  9. If you need to cry or get angry, cry or get angry. You may even be furious with your Higher Power. That’s okay. You’ll work it out further down the road.
  10. Know there is no one right way to start over. We have tools, not rules. Now is the time to dig into your toolbox and use what you’ve been given: living in the present moment; prayer; meditation; exercise (when your body can handle it); detachment (which involves feeling all your emotions); and sometimes Acting As If. Know that if the emotions become too intense, you can shut them down for a while without going into denial. Something as simple as taking a shower, going into another room, or going to the grocery store can help you stop falling deeper into what may feel like a bottomless pit of pain.

Although I said there aren’t any rules, I lied. There are three: don’t let anyone hurt you; don’t hurt anyone else; and don’t hurt yourself.

You will get through this – I promise. It might not happen as quickly as you want it to or it may happen so quickly it surprises you. But one morning you’ll wake up and find yourself living in a new normal instead of waking up to a blast of pain from what you’ve lost. Instead, your new life will be there, fully formed. You’ll be living it.

You’ve done it. You started over again, whether you wanted to or not. Now the next time you need to start over, you’ll be more prepared.

From the Desk of Melody Beattie

Related articles

There is a way through everything

Melody Beattie writes:

There is a way through everything.

Action: Ask for guidance. Then wait patiently and calmly. Be open to the answer coming in many shapes and forms. A friend may call. You may get an idea. There is so much power in asking, because asking the question opens our heart to the answer. Don’t overlook the simple steps. There is a lot of power in simple solutions. Discover what feels right to you. Sometimes the silliest solution – a smile, a willing attitude  will move mountains.” via July 2 | Language of Letting Go.

Disappointed Someone? It’s Okay. Get Over It.

“When we are the one responsible behind disappointment, we find ourselves poked by both ends of a double-edged sword – on the one side wounded by disappointment in ourselves, and the other traumatized with guilt towards the party affected.

But like toothaches and awkward puberty, we have to accept the fact that we are all bound to the possibility of disappointment, be it by ourselves, family, friends or co-workers; or by circumstances beyond our control, such as bad timing or a chain of events that eventually domino-crumble down our path.

Disappointment is an essential part of our growth and self-discovery, and despite being uncomfortable and hurtful, teaches us to trust ourselves, recognize our strengths and weaknesses, and let go of our hold on perfection.

By actively avoiding disappointment onto others, sometimes we set ourselves up for more failure and pain instead of less, or none at all.

We understand that like people, disappointment comes in many different shapes and sizes. While we don’t reproach the remorse that comes with our wrongdoing (hey, that’s a sign of empathy, right?), we’re definitely not down with the idea of indulging in continuous self-pity over a missed deadline or a forgotten detail.

So here are some tips you can apply in your personal or work life on how to overcome the emotional self-flagellation that comes with having disappointed someone.” Get more here: Disappointed Someone? It’s Okay. Get Over It..

Find a "Comfort Food" for your mind

Gretchen Rubin writes…

One common happiness question is: How do you give yourself a boost? If you’re feeling anxious, blue, angry, scared, what can you do to soothe yourself?

A few days ago, I posted 5 myths for fighting the blues. Okay, those don’t work very well. So what does?

One suggestion: find a “comfort food” for your mind. Know what you can do with your brain that will give yourself a comforting break from your worries, at least for a little while. By doing so, you’ll re-charge your battery, find it easier to stay calm and cheerful, find it easier to take action to remedy your situation—and you’ll sleep better. But this is easier said than done.

We all suffer from “negativity bias,” that is, we react to the bad more strongly and persistently than to the comparable good. (What do you remember better, a compliment or a criticism?) Research shows one consequence of negativity bias is that when people’s thoughts wander, they tend to begin to brood. Anxious or angry thoughts capture our attention more effectively than happier thoughts.

So if you’re feeling blue, look for ways to pull your mind away from your worries onto positive topics…

Source: The Happiness Project: Find a “Comfort Food” for Your Mind.

Go to the source if you’d like to read the rest of Gretchen’s post…

Is happiness the secret of success?

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Some people think if you are happy, you are blind to reality. But when we research it, happiness actually raises every single business and educational outcome for the brain. How did we miss this? Why do we have these societal misconceptions about happiness? Because we assumed you were average.

When we study people, scientists are often interested in what the average is. If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average.

Many people think happiness is genetic. That’s only half the story, because the average person does not fight their genes. When we stop studying the average and begin researching positive outliers — people who are above average for a positive dimension like optimism or intelligence — a wildly different picture emerges. Our daily decisions and habits have a huge impact upon both our levels of happiness and success.

via Is happiness the secret of success? –

An Analogy For People Who Have Been Hurt Deeply By Another

Something good from Karen Salmansohn that I wanted to share with you…

When someone has hurt you – deeply to your soul – it’s tempting to want to shut down and shut off – to give in and give up – to get bitter, resentful, depressed – and all before breakfast!
This soul-shutting-down tendency reminds me of those classic Zombie horror movies! You know how unconscious, soul-less Zombies walk around – thriving mostly in darkness – miserably taking bites out of happy, soulful people? One chomp – then – suddenly – these newly bitten innocent folks find themselves becoming Zombie-like in their behavior. They feel their souls shut down. They crave spending time in darkness. They want to bite others.
Likewise, if you’ve suffered from an emotional Zombie bite, it’s temping to wanna join the Zombie crowd – and shut off your soul – seek dark thoughts – chomp upon another. It’s especially tempting to want to chomp upon the Zombie chump who chomped upon you!
Basically, when you’ve been bitten by a Zombie, you can find yourself feeling the urge to become Zombie-like yourself. But you must resist! You must stay strong! You must keep your soul alive!

Source: A Funny But Helpful Analogy For People Who Have Been Hurt Deeply By Another | notsalmon

If you’re intrigued, go to the source. While you’re there follow Karen’s blog and continue getting this goodness in your life…

Hate takes pieces of your heart. Love creates peace in your heart.

POSTER-pieces of your heart

Hate takes pieces of your heart. Love creates peace in your heart. POSTER-pieces of your heart – notsalmon

Proverbs 23:7a

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”

Have you read the classic work on this topic? You can download James Allen’s classic book FREE from here

Say it Like it is

Image by Michelle Brea via Flickr

Acknowledge your pain. Then you can begin to identify the source of it, and in identifying, you can begin to heal. When we open ourselves to emotions, we don’t just get the good ones, like happiness or relief. Feelings are a package deal. We get the entire emotional range.

Pain and suffering are part of the experience of being alive. Things go wrong. Lovers leave us, parents and sometimes children die. We fall, we fail. Don’t hide from your pain.

Don’t bury it under a shell of drugs, alcohol, or shallow achievement. If you hurt, then hurt. Recognize what you’re going through. Then learn to tell it like it is.

God, help me acknowledge the pain in my life instead of trying to mask it with mood-altering substances or mindless busywork. Teach me to say what hurts. Show me what it is that I need to do to heal; then give me the strength to do that.

It’s Our Lesson

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Image via Wikipedia

When you learn your lessons, the pain goes away.
– Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,
The Wheel of Life

Sometimes, we wait and wait for a painful situation to end. When will he stop drinking? When will she call? When will this financial stuff get better? When will I know what to do next?

Life has its own timeline. As soon as we get the lesson, the pain neutralizes, then disappears.
And the lesson is always ours.

Examine your life. Are you waiting for someone or something outside of you to happen to make you feel better? Are you waiting for someone to learn his or her lesson for your pain to stop? If you are, try turning inward. See what the less on really is.

God, please show me what I’m supposed to be learning right now.

Five simple rules of happiness

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

The most underrated, yet most powerful tool, you can use…

Paul Gauguin: Eve - Don't Listen to the Liar (...
Image via Wikipedia

The most underrated skill in the world is listening.  So few people actually listen to each other deeply.  They’re too busy thinking about what they’re going to say next or how to get other people to listen to them.  They are self-centered when they should be people-centered.

What a loss.  Because there is so much to gain from using your ears for their intended purpose:  listening – not waiting for a pause to talk.  When you develop a listening ear, you gain insights into what makes people tick, what they need, and how to compel them to action.  You develop profound connections.  The most successful people in the world are all great listeners.  Their own voice is not their focus.  They’re so good at hearing, they don’t just listen to the words being said by others, they also grasp the meaning beneath those utterances.  They therefore understand what people want, and they build great companies, amazing nonprofits and terrific agencies based on that knowledge.

Some people listen at first, but then stop.  That’s not good either.  People cease listening when they think they know the answers they’re going to get—or when they think they have better answers.  This is dangerous.  We have to keep listening, because few people stay the same or lock into one thought forever.

I have been learning deep lessons in this area and Katya has a great perspective that I think is worthy of your attention. Follow the ‘via’ link if you want to expand your skillset…

Your Brand On Facebook: TMI?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Yesterday morning, I logged into Facebook (as I do each morning) and saw a post from my cousin’s wife that my cousin had suffered a major heart attack the night before and had open-heart surgery. Thankfully, he will be ok, but the shock of this happening to my cousin at such a young age was intense.

His father wasn’t too thrilled to learn this had been posted on Facebook before he had a chance to let family and friends know what was going on. He was fairly upset that another family member put it out on Facebook but concluded, due to her age, “That’s just this generation, I guess.”

We are living in a time where generations are divided about what constitutes too much information, or “TMI.” To younger generations, putting the word out about significant life events through social media is a quick way to keep friends and loved ones informed. It helps avoid the hassle of individual phone calls, text messages, or emails — and helps keep attention on the task at hand, in this case, helping care for my cousin.

Now that this situation is known, the family is less sensitive to using Facebook to stay on top of the situation. Why? First, because it’s not private anymore. Second, because the updates are relevant and important for those of us following his progress.

The question of brands over-sharing on Facebook is a bit different. The dynamics of what should and what shouldn’t be shared are very different. But there are similarities, too. Posts need to be relevant and they need to come at the right pace. Not surprisingly, there is a direct relationship between the two. The better the posts, the more often people will want to see them.

You can follow the ‘via’ link above to go to the source and read the rest of the article if you’d like to dig a little deeper…

Make your LinkedIn profile as effective as it can be…

…while avoiding common mistakes. I’ve collected some great resources for you here

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