Be in the Flow – Follow Your Path!

Posts tagged ‘847 913 3900’

How and Why to Forgive

How and Why to Forgive

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi

Forgiveness is something you can do whether the person you forgive is alive or not. Forgiveness is more about healing your heart than it is about the other person. And why should you forgive those who have harmed you? As Ann Landers often said, “hate is like an acid. It damages the vessel in which it is stored.” Below is a powerful story of forgiveness.

There are many stories of World War II Holocaust survivors who have been able to forgive their captors and tormentors. Here is one of those stories. It is the story of Corrie Ten Boom. Her family hid their Jewish neighbors in their home, were caught and sent to a concentration camp. She was the only survivor. After the war she traveled throughout Germany, giving talks on forgiveness. On one of those talks she came face-to-face with one of her cruel prison guards.

“I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

“ ‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me.

“ ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’

“And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

“For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’

“I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

“And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

“And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.“

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”.

 

Steps to Forgiveness

  1. Realize that the hatred you feel harms you and not your enemy. Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for it to kill your enemy.
  2. Stop being the victim. The best revenge is to live a successful and happy life. Surviving the harm caused by another person has made you stronger.
  3. Make a list of the strengths you have gained from the negative experience.
  4. Think about the kind and selfless people who have helped you in your time of need and what example they set for you.
  5. Give yourself time to heal. Nurture yourself.
  6. Writing down your negative experience may help – get it out of your head and onto paper.
  7. Stop telling your negative story. Negativity is depressing.
  8. Wish your enemy well. This creates cognitive dissonance and eventually it can neutralize your feelings about the other person.

 

Additional Resource

For additional information on the forgiveness process and the benefits to the forgiver check out the book “Forgiveness is a Choice – A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope” by Robert Enright.

 

If…

you found this article helpful

… share it with others

How to be ‘In the Zone’

How to be ‘In the Zone’

Being ‘in the zone’ is characterized by complete absorption in what one is doing. Other words for that state of complete absorption are ‘in the flow’, ‘being in the present’, ‘in the moment’, ‘on a roll’, ‘in the groove’, ‘on fire’, ‘in tune’, and ‘centered’.

I used to get in the zone when photographing events. One time I was photographing a kids’ soccer game and two boys collided in mid-air while going after the ball. A parent standing near me asked if I got that shot. I explained that often my finger works independent of my consciousness, so I might have gotten the shot. Sure enough when I reviewed the pictures that night, I got the shot perfectly as the two boys vied for the ball in mid-air. So I know how to be in the flow. But how do you get in the flow on purpose.

You hear about an athlete being in the zone. You also hear about a writer who talks about the words just pouring out of him and onto the page. So it can happen in athletics as well as in intellectual pursuits.

First of all, there is no flow in new activities. Flow happens when you’re not even trying, when you’re just doing it without consciously trying. That doesn’t happen until you’ve put in hundreds if not thousands of hours of practice. Flow kicks in when the subconscious takes over from the conscious mind. Other ways to get in the flow may be through meditation or through visualization.

I recently attended an educational session by two World champions of public speaking. They described the journey of public speaking as follows: in the beginning of your speaking career you are self-conscious and worried about your performance. Once you have some speaking engagements under your belt, you are no longer self-conscious and you worry about your message coming across. Lastly, when you have done quite a bit of public speaking you will enter a phase where you are in tune with your audience. You will have totally internalized your speech and it comes out with every idea in the right sequence and not memorized. Mark Twain called it “rehearsed spontaneity”. He would say, ‘It usually takes me three weeks to prepare a good spontaneous performance.’

So – how do you find this elusive flow? There are several things you can do.

  1. Find the right environment. May be if you are writing, you have a desk with flowers on it, or you have a favorite spot out in nature. If you are an athlete, you may do best on the ‘home court’ advantage. Your special space helps you get into the zone.
  2. Time of day. I once had a coaching client who could best give her complete focus to our sessions at 6 am. While that wasn’t my favorite time to work, it made such a big difference in her receptivity and ultimately her success that it was worth getting out of bed for.
  3. Music. There are many types of music that can help you get into the flow, music that tunes out distractions or helps while pursuing intellectual pursuits or while meditating. Experiment and see what works for you.
  4. Focus with intensity. In order to get into flow you have to be doing something you do well and love doing. You focus intensely and your subconscious takes over.
  5. Emotions. You can’t get into the flow when you’re anxious or afraid. On the other hand when you are passionate about something you have a greater chance of slipping into the zone.
  6. Mindfulness. It is a state of paying attention to the present. When you are mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance without judgment. Mindfulness means living in the moment.

Training your mind to intensely focus on a task is a key skill for excelling at anything. Being in the flow makes peak performance possible.

 

If…

you found this article helpful

… please share it with others

Fear of Public Speaking? No Problem

Fear of Public Speaking? No Problem

An estimated 75% of all people experience some degree of anxiety or nervousness when public speaking. Symptoms can be either physical or verbal. The physical symptoms can include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased perspiration, stiffening of neck and upper back muscles, and dry mouth. Physical symptoms have been found to be reduced with a category of medications called beta-blockers.

Verbal symptoms can include a tense voice, a quivering voice, and vocalized pauses such as ahs and ums, which tend to comfort anxious speakers. If untreated, public speaking anxiety can cause serious detrimental effects on people, as it may prevent them from accomplishing their career goals – whether it is having to make presentations at work or in college. So – what to do?

Help is available. There are numerous public speaking classes at local community colleges. There are public speaking courses held by Dale Carnegie Training. I feel that one of the best options is Toastmasters: http://www.toastmasters.org Toastmasters is a large organization that is organized into speaking clubs all over the world. Clubs often have around 20 members, and the members take turns giving short (5-7 minute) speeches and take on different roles to run the meeting. Each speaker has a chance to receive a short feedback session from another member of the club. The speeches are organized to practice various speaking skills. For example one speech may focus on how to organize your speech, whereas another speech project focuses on vocal variety. One speech focuses on gestures, while another focuses on using humor while speaking. After the first 10 speeches you receive recognition for your accomplishment. You will be surprised by how much you have learned and how much more at ease you are preparing a talk and speaking in front of a group.

To find a Toastmasters club near your home or your work go to http://reports.toastmasters.org/findaclub/

Enter your zip code and you’ll be surprised how many clubs exist in your area. If you can’t find a club that is convenient for you, you can contact your Toastmasters district and they can find someone who will help you start a club.

 

Next Steps

Find two or more Toastmasters clubs that fit your schedule. Contact them and go as a guest to one of their meetings. Some clubs are smaller and that gives you the opportunity to give more speeches more quickly and even step up to take on a leadership role. Other clubs are larger and you will speak less often but you will have the opportunity to learn from more senior members as they give their speeches and you will have more time to prepare each speech you give. Once you have visited the clubs, join the one you liked best and begin your Toastmasters journey.

By the way, there are also speech contests, district wide training and a conference. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn and grow.

 

If…

you found this article helpful

… please share it with others

How to Eat Healthy

How to eat healthy

The USDA periodically updates what healthy Americans should eat. USDA stands for United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA administers programs that provide services to farmers. So it is not some health and wellness or medical organization that tells us what we should eat, but instead an organization that supports farmers. In addition there is heavy involvement of lobbyists who support the various branches of agriculture and the food industry. So who won the lobbying wars?

 

USDA My Plate

USDA My Plate

Take a look at the “My Plate”. I’d say the dairy industry won this round’s top lobbying award. Dairy is protein, but instead of sharing nearly a quarter of the plate with fish, red meat, poultry, and legumes, Dairy gets its own section. And this is in spite of the many people who are lactose intolerant for whom dairy is not a healthy choice at all.

A similar controversy surrounded the previous food pyramid. For instance, the pyramid recommended two to three servings from the protein-rich group, but this was intended to be a maximum. The pyramid recommended two to four fruit servings, but this was intended to be the minimum. The previous food pyramid and the “My Plate” also say nothing about drinking water, which is important for good health.

 

Let’s look at food pyramids/eating guidelines from other cultures.

mediterranean food pyramidThe Mediterranean Diet Pyramid was created in conjunction with the World Health Organization. It, for example, relegates red meat into the ‘eat monthly’ category. It also shows the importance of drinking water and daily physical exercise. Note also that potatoes are grouped in with the grains/starches category, not under vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

2014MAY15 JapanesePyramid

The Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top also shows the importance of water and exercise. It shows grains as the most consumed food, and fruits and dairy the least consumed with 2 servings each.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014MAY15 EssensPyramideThe German Food Pyramid starts with lots of liquids; next are 5 portions of fruits and vegetables; then 5 portions of grains and potatoes; Milk and milk products daily; meat, sausage and eggs in moderation; fish regularly; high quality oils and fats; and avoid foods and drinks high in sugar and fats.

 

 

Clearly there are commonalities between the food guidelines, but there are also important differences. The Mediterranean and German food Pyramids are the only ones that point out to avoid sweets and other sugar-laden foods and drinks, whereas “My Plate” does not distinguish sugar-laden donuts and muffins from whole grain breads.

There are many other food pyramids and eating guidelines from other countries. There are also eating guidelines for specific dietary needs such as vegetarians, vegans and diabetics.

Among others I also found some humorous food pyramids. One German Food Pyramid consisted of Bratwurst, Pretzel, Beer, and eat all other foods sparingly!

Compare the eating guidelines to notice common themes and do your best to eat a healthy diet. Eat a variety of foods to get lots of nutrients and keep the portion sizes small, so as not to overeat.

 

If…

you enjoyed this article

… share it with others

 

Learn to develop and trust your intuition

Learn to develop and trust to your intuition

Once I was looking for a specific book. I was working downtown Chicago and wanted to pick up the book after work. I called a bookstore near my office. While they were checking their inventory on the computer, suddenly a vision popped into my head of a large bookshelf in the store with the book I was looking for in the top right corner. When the store clerk came back on the phone she said that they were out of the book. The vision of this bookshelf was so vivid, that I decided to stop by the bookstore anyways. I found the bookshelf and lo and behold the book was exactly where I had seen it in my vision.

Intuition doesn’t always come as a vision. It may come as a persistent or fleeting thought, a gut feel, goose bumps, or in a variety of other modalities. Learning to get in touch with this intuition is your first step.

So why bother with your intuition? Here are a couple of very successful people who have followed their intuition and what they have to say about it.

In the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson “Steve said that ‘intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.’ You can see that intuitive sense in Jobs’ incredible ability to foresee – and then design – what users will want next. The iPhone is a great example.

Steve Jobs’ personal intuition helped the company to reinvent itself across many different product lines. Isaacson named seven industries that Jobs revolutionized or re-imagined over his career: personal computers, animated movies, music, telephones, tablet computing, digital publishing and retail stores.”

2014MAY08 Einstein quoteAnother person who felt the importance of intuition is Albert Einstein. One of his famous quotes is, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Psychology Today states, “For Einstein, insight did not come from logic or mathematics. It came, as it does for artists, from intuition and inspiration. As he told one friend, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge.” Elaborating, he added, “All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge. I believe in intuition and inspiration…. At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason.””

The New Jersey Institute of Technology states “ In a study conducted by Professor John Mihalasky of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, it was found that CEOs who performed best in tests of intuition also tended to be the ones with the highest profit growth in a space of 5 years in their respective businesses.”

Next Steps

So how do we tap into this intuition and how do we distinguish it from experiences? One way is to enroll in the Silva Mind Control Training. http://www.silvaintuitionsystem.com/products I don’t get anything from recommending this link. I have taken the Silva training and have found it helpful.

In the meanwhile what else can you do?

Clear your mind: Focus on your breathing and allow your mind and body to relax more with each breath. You might even try counting down from 10 to 1 and allow yourself to relax more with each count. Once your mind is clearer, you can then access your intuition.

Meditate: Clearing your mind of repetitive thoughts and worries will make it easier to listen to your intuition. Find a meditative technique you are comfortable using and practice.

Listen to your gut: There’s a reason it’s called a “gut feeling”. Many times, a decision that you “know” is wrong makes you feel discomfort in your stomach area.

Keep an intuition journal: spend some time writing out the intuition that you have like “I have a feelings that…” or “My intuition tells me that…” If there are any sensations associated with your intuition, such as a vision, or physical discomfort, be sure to record it. Looking back in your journal, see how often you are right. As you learn more about how to recognize your intuition, and you see it leading you in the right direction, your confidence will grow and so will your intuitive power.

If…

you enjoyed this article

… share it with others

The Art of Allowing – Letting Go of Resistance

The Art of Allowing

In martial arts and self-defense training we learn that the best way to succeed against a powerful opponent is to use their energy to our advantage. While fighting a bigger or stronger opponent is futile, learning to redirect their energy and hostility to their own detriment is bound to be more successful.

So we practice. One person charges at another. Instead of standing and fighting, we do what the bullfighters do so well. Stay in place as if prepared to fight, and then step out of the way at the last possible moment. At that moment apply the self-defense technique you are supposed to be practicing to redirect your opponent’s fighting energy to assist them in falling and rendering them harmless to you.

What if your opponent is your own internal resistance and you could allow instead of resist with everything in your life whenever you feel resistance?

Letting Go of Resistance

Someone told me that in the journey to self-healing and growth there is little pain if there is no resistance. When there is no resistance, things that need to get done become easy and nearly effortless. Activities go from being a chore to something you just do without a second thought. Let’s take a look an example.

This is something that used to be hard for you that you probably now do effortlessly: driving your car. Do you remember the first time you got behind the steering wheel? Did you clutch the steering wheel? Did you feel fear? Did you over-steer when making a turn? How about stopping and starting on an incline? Making a left turn into heavy traffic without a stoplight? How about pushing the accelerator too fast or the breaks too hard and having a jerky ride? May be when you drive an unfamiliar car, you go back to that jerky ride until you become accustomed to how that car responds.

Over time and many miles of driving, any fear and resistance fades away. Driving becomes so natural that you may get in the car in the morning, drive to work, park your car, and wonder how you got there. May be you were absorbed in your thoughts, listened to the radio or a CD, or had your morning coffee and chatted on the phone. Driving was just something you did – naturally. You avoided other cars, followed the speed limit, stopped at red lights, obeyed traffic signs, and took all the correct turns to get to your destination – all without effort.

It is possible to take something you now consider a chore or challenge and make it effortless. Simple but may be not easy.

Creating Awareness and Why This Matters:

Are you even aware of when you are resisting? Do you notice when your face scrunches up, when your shoulders tense, or that you are holding your breath? Noticing when you tense up is your first step to letting go of resistance. Then take some deep breaths, relax your shoulders, and pretend that you have a cool iron that gently irons away the lines on your face until the skin on your face is smooth and relaxed.

The other way to notice that you are resisting, is when a task feels like a chore rather than effortless and without any resistance. If you think that something is a bother, or too much trouble, then you are resisting. Do you eat your leftovers cold because it’s too much of a bother to heat them up? Do you have slip-on shoes because it’s not worth the hassle to tie your shoes? Do you use paper plates or eat food straight out of the box because you just don’t want to bother with dirty dishes? Do you leave your bed unmade because you are just going to get back in it tonight? What are the tasks that are left undone because you just don’t want to bother with them? Those are the tasks you are resisting. Any place you have a messy pile, you have resistance. It even shows in your face.

As you get older, the lines on your face tell your story. Do you have lots of laugh lines or do you have a permanently furrowed brow? When relaxed, do the corners of your mouth point upward, straight across, or sag downward?

The lines on your face tell you, just like the rest of your body, which facial muscles are toned because they are used, which ones are tight and overused, and which ones are underused or even atrophied. Any place you have regular tension, you will develop creases on your face.

But more importantly than the lines of your face, the resistance you feel on a regular basis adds to your stress levels. And we all know that many diseases have stress as a contributing factor.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life, figure out what you truly want in life, and help you let go of some stress, call me. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Repeating Patterns and How to Break Free

Repeating Patterns

How would you describe your family’s relationship with money?

At a workshop on “Creating Consciously” the speaker, Dr. Michael Ryce, offered this bit of wisdom. He said there are 4 steps to achieving an abundant life:

1. Never Enough
2. Day Late, $ Short
3. Just Enough
4. Abundance

Each one of these steps includes a cluster of behaviors and thought patterns which are often passed from one generation to the next.

Which one of these money relationships to you feel you are living now? Which one are your parents, grandparents and other family members living? This is not about how much someone has but how they feel about it. There are plenty of millionaires who don’t feel abundant but rather live in constant fear of losing their money and not having enough.

Story: Intergenerational Patterns, when someone takes what’s yours – against your will

They are widening the street in front of my house. They (the Department of Transportation) didn’t ask if I want to sell them a piece of my yard. They told me that they are going to take it. In all fairness, they have to pay for it, but other than that, I have very little say about what, when, and how it all happens.

During a recent conversation with my mother I mentioned what is happening with the road-widening project. Then my jaw dropped when she told me her story: Sometime after my birth and before age four, we lived next to a forest. During that time, and I was totally unaware of it until this recent conversation, the authorities decided that they needed to create a fire free zone between the forest and people’s houses. Instead of cutting down some trees on the edge of the forest, they took a piece of my parent’s land to create a strip of land with sand and gravel as a buffer strip. — What an incredible coincidence! I happen to live across the street from a Forest Preserve, and the road-widening project is happening on my side of the street.

Does that pattern go back further? I am not aware of any similar stories in my family going further back. But I do know that my grandparents and great-grandparents (living in Germany) lost their homes due to bombing during World War II. No one asked them if they wanted their homes turned into smoldering piles of rubble.

History repeats itself until the lessons are learned. I wonder if I had known about my parents’ experience, if I would have bought a different house eleven years ago. Awareness is certainly the first step. Apparently the locals all knew that this part of the road was eventually going to get widened. It never occurred to me to even ask questions about the road or to notice that it was already four lanes further north and further south of us.

Interestingly enough, that early childhood time in my life was associated with a whole lot of trauma: abuse, hunger and neglect. Just like the Pavlov’s dog experiment, I have unrelated emotions associated with someone taking a piece of land against my will. So now I get to go through that experience consciously and also heal the trauma that was unconsciously associated with that time and event.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

History repeats itself until the lessons are learned. Awareness is the first step to change.

People have repeating patterns in their families all the time. The most obvious are patterns like alcoholism, drugs, or abuse, even educational or financial achievement. Often the negative patterns are also associated with secrecy and cover up. It takes conscious effort and help from the outside to shift the patterns and break out of the repeating cycles.

Do you have repeating patterns you would like to shift? Are there things going on in your life that seem to keep repeating – over and over? May be you sometimes feel that “everyone is out to get you”? Are you in a repeating pattern with money that you’d like to shift?

Here are my suggestions for a different outcome to a repeating pattern:
1. Become aware of a repeating pattern that you don’t want in your life. Start small. Most new runners don’t choose a marathon for their first race. Start small.
2. Become very clear what is happening.
3. Figure out how you are contributing to the pattern. What’s the role you play to attract this to you?
4. Learn from the experts on how to do this differently.
5. Try something different.
6. If you feel resistant or defeated before even getting started, explore why you are stuck and how to get unstuck.
7. To overcome the WHY of being stuck, create a bigger WHY to change. Often an addict has to hit bottom before they can heal. The condition, in their mind, becomes worse than the required healing work and anticipated withdrawal symptoms.
8. Have a new way of dealing with the problem that was solved by your old pattern. For example, if you drank to relax after a stressful day, you will need another way of relaxing and reducing stress, which does not create a new undesirable pattern.

Resources:

The book, “Why is this happening to me … Again?” by Dr. Michael Ryce can be purchased or downloaded for free on his website http://www.WhyAgain.com
Dr. Ryce has also created a 20 minute guided meditation, “Wellness Through Stillness” which I have found very helpful.

Stress Release:
In the September 2011 teleconference call entitled “Uncovering hidden blocks” by Jack Canfield, he leads his audience through a couple of stress relief tools: EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, also called Tapping) and the Sedona Method. For more information go to http://www.askJackCanfield.com

The Sedona Method is a very effective way to permanently melt away your stress response to stressors in your life. For more information, go to http://www.sedona.com

N.E.T. Neuro Emotional Technique. A way to let go of and heal responses to emotional triggers and restore wellness. For more information and to find a practitioner in your area, go to http://www.netmindbody.com/for-patients/an-explanation-of-net

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life, figure out what you truly want in life, and help you clear the obstacles in your way, call me. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900 now.

%d bloggers like this: