Attaining Personal Freedom

May 31, 2012 by  
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boy and the sky

Walking down the street yesterday, I was thinking about how hard it is to simply do what we want or think to be right without having any expectations.   The reason being is we are always concerned about how others will see us and/or we are living by societal “shoulds” we have adopted as our personal mantras along our life paths.

But, to find and act according to our own truths, means to have complete freedom and a much better chance for contentment.

This concept of personal freedom translates into our lives as: I’m going to live this moment to its fullest because I’m happy now.  What will take place tomorrow is not as important.  What other people are thinking or experiencing is also not as important.

This is not about acting out.  It is not about being selfish or hurting others – those would actually be results of a lack of a true relationship with the self.

Living truthfully and in the moment means to have an intimate relationship with the self where our feelings are not dependent on others to have the right to exist.   This state of being occurs when our egos are no longer so frail that we feel threatened or hurt by responses and reactions different from our own.

When we are constantly waiting to see how others feel or where the future will lead, we are never in our own present or in our own truths.  How we feel about something or someone is independent of how they feel about us or how things will turn out.

Having the courage to be means we have finally switched from living a life of reaction to living a life of action.  We act based on how we feel not on how others feel.

Imagine for a moment having the ability to honestly express yourself without expecting any specific response.  Wouldn’t that feel light?  Wouldn’t that feel like opening many doors?

I believe, living our truths, allows us to stop wasting time and energy on things we have no control over such as other people’s thoughts and feelings.

Start your journey by spending time with yourself.  Create a trusting relationship then ask yourself how you really feel and act accordingly.

 

 

 

 

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Managing Life’s Struggles

May 28, 2012 by  
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So, I’m in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  The people are beautiful and friendly and the beaches can be exotic or inviting – it all depends on your mood.  But, I’m really here to visit my aging parents.  Rio is the city of my birth.

Anyone, with older parents knows how difficult it is to see our loved ones struggle with things that used to be easy to do.  To witness their health wane.  In my case I also have to deal with the distance between Los Angeles – where I live – and Rio de Janeiro.

My visits are always full of mixed emotions; happiness in seeing them and stress for not being able to stop life’s unstoppable march.

By nature I am a caretaker.  When my late husband became ill, I spent the better part of two and a half years taking care of him.  I was by his side every minute of his journey.  My husband died at home by my side.  We slept in the same bed till his last night.

Through all my experiences of care taking, I have learned that we can only give if we take care of ourselves as well.  If we don’t fill up the well, it will eventually dry out.

Pain is part of the human experience.  There is no way around it.  Even if nothing tragic ever happens in your life – yes, there are a few of you out there – one day you will have an aging parent.   One day for sure you will have pain.

It is in these times of emotional stress that we need to remember to willfully seek beauty.  As sure as I am that we all deal with pain so am I that we can all have beauty.  It is all around us.  We just need to open ourselves up to it.

Beauty comforts inspires and fills up the well.

Diligently taking breaks to renew our emotional well allows us to go through the different pains life brings us from time to time.  It also allows us to give more.

If you are today going through a difficult time find the beauty in your world.  I know it can be difficult.  I know you can easily dismiss it by thinking “I have no time for this”.  But, you do.  And it is the only way you will be able to sooth yourself and others.   Go out with a friend.  Do something that is fulfilling to you.  Beauty is pain’s antidote.

 

 

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Putting Your Thoughts To Work To Change Your Life

May 25, 2012 by  
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Human Hearts

A couple of days ago, I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  As we caught up with each other’s life changes the name of a mutual friend came up.  Unbeknownst to me, this mutual friend had quit her job and moved in with her boyfriend who lived in another state.  My comment was: wow.   Not because I thought it was out of this world for someone to quit their job and move in with someone else, but because it seemed unexpected.

After I shared my thoughts with my friend, she said our mutual friend had a board.  “A board?”  I asked.   “Yes, I board where she pinned her greatest desires.

It turns out our mutual friend had a white board and on it she pinned clear messages to the universe.  Her messages were about being with this particular man.

Now, we have all heard about people pinning things all over their walls.  So, why am I writing about this?

There is something really powerful about paying attention and giving energy to what we want.

I’m not talking about repeating like a parrot – without real meaning –  I want to be happy, or rich, or successful.  And I’m not talking about saying time and time again “I’m beautiful” or some other affirmation which most of the time we say without really believing.  I’m talking about a specific want like: “I want X studio to buy my Y screenplay” and giving the thought the respect it needs.

By concentrating on a particular want, we are taking our lives seriously, and we are letting the universe know we really want a positive outcome.  Our want becomes empowered by our energy.  It is different attitude from wanting something and then just sitting back to see what happens.

There is amazing power in taking a stance.  Know what matters to you and make it happen.  Have a board.  Say it out loud.  Tell a friend.  Tell yourself.   And see it come true.

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Key To Successful Relationships: Being Present and Letting Go

May 22, 2012 by  
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Yesterday, I had a long talk with a close friend of mine.  He is in his 50s and his life is in disarray.  He lost his job a couple of months ago and hasn’t been able to figure out what to do next.  So, he decided to stay in the not knowing.    He told me he has spent his entire life chasing after things and being a go-getter.  Maybe this is the time to release and let life take the course that it needs.

Now, my friend doesn’t have a lot of financial pressure.  Not because he is well off, but because his daughter is grown up and he is now single.

I don’t know if what he is doing is wise or not, but he got me thinking about the concept of releasing control.

I have never blinked at charging ahead or inventing and then re-inventing myself.  But, what would it be like to sometimes step aside, breathe, and let life unfold? As I think about the question, I realize the answer lies in being present and letting go of expectations.  A wise attitude for a relationship.

So often, as we embark in a journey with someone else, we want to know for sure where it will lead us.  Is this a relationship that will have a “happily ever after” stamp on? Or is this a relationship that will end? Or even, is this a relationship that will end in disappointment?  Questions like; is this worth my time and effort quickly follow.

The truth is; nobody knows.  Being in a relationship means living in the moment and letting go of expectations.  Simply because relationships are always evolving because the two people involved are constantly changing.

A successful connection is based on the ability of the two people to live in the web and flow of their interactions.  So, rather than ask questions like “where this will go?” one should ask “am I happy now?”  As long as the answer is yes, then this is a relationship worth staying in.

While I don’t know about my friend’s current posture, I do know when it comes to relationships, letting life take its course is the only wise attitude. And if we are to be successful, we must learn to be present and let go of expectations.

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Finding The Answer Amidst Chaos

May 20, 2012 by  
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Photo By Angie Rubin

In times of uncertainty the only certainty is that which lies within.

When something is troubling me I ask myself: What’s the truth? That question comes from my belief that if I can quiet and journey within the correct answer is there waiting for me. The trouble lies in settling down enough so I can listen to the wise voice which exists in each one of us.

Emotions can turn still waters into giant waves where our only protection becomes our acquired wisdom.

Through solitude we build bridges between chaos and wisdom; bridges we can walk on when we need respite from the chaos.

It is also in solitude that we can replenish our strength and sense of self.  We are reminded of our independence and completeness. We are whole.

Our need to connect with others should not come from a point of weakness where we see the outside as salvation.  Our need to connect should come from strength – from a want to give and receive. We are whole.

So when my emotions take a strong hold of me, and I feel topsy turvy, I stop and seek the quiet where the answers to my questions await me.

It is easy when we are in the seesaw of emotions, to go from one thing to another.  There is the feeling that if we don’t do something, we are going to lose.  The truth is without a sense of calm – which comes from connecting with the self – we are just adrift in a huge emotional wave.

It takes discipline to stop.  We must tell ourselves to breathe, to connect with our internal life and to let go.  Breathing produces relaxation, connection with the self brings wisdom, letting go of expectations allows us to be in the moment.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or out of control – take charge.  Carve out time to spend in solitude then ask yourself “what’s the truth?’  The answer will always be the right one.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Power Of Giving And Receiving

May 17, 2012 by  
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Yesterday, I read something I had never thought about, but which it makes perfect sense: when we do something good for someone else we experience the feeling ourselves.  That is why giving is receiving.  Our brain, heart, soul, experience the doing and the result without discriminating who the ultimate receptor is.

Think about it: if a friend needs consoling over something that has happened in their life, as we embrace and love them, the love we give is also felt by us.  The act of consoling is felt by both parties.

If you give money to someone who is in need, as you think about how much that’s going to help that person and the gratitude that will bring,  you get to experience the excitement involved in the gesture.  Again, the satisfaction impacts both the giver and the receiver.

On the other hand, in the giving and receiving world, it is important to play both roles.  Unfortunately, some of us have a hard time receiving, mostly because of low self-esteem.  We either think “I’m not worthy to receive” or we masquerade that by thinking: “I don’t need it.  I’m too great.”  Both thoughts are the two sides of the same coin because thinking we are too great for help is only covering up for I’m not good enough.

Now, truly receiving requires us to embrace our imperfections and our need of others.

Of course, we intellectually know that none of us can ever be perfect.  But, in the emotional reality realm, we often struggle with the acceptance of our mistakes and flaws.

It is in those times that we have to apply compassion towards ourselves and remember that ultimately our journey is about acquiring wisdom and that can only happen through trial and error.

Lastly, we are social beings.  It is through relationships that we experience life.  Giving and receiving is how we relate.

And as Buddha said…

If you knew what I know about the power of giving you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way – Buddha

 

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Learning To Change Our Response System

May 15, 2012 by  
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I’m a control freak.  Actually, to be exact, what I believe is that if I don’t do it, it won’t get done.  And so, when things matter to me my tendency is to stay obsessively on top of them.

Now, I know that doesn’t make way to harmonious relationships.  When I obsess I make others retreat.  So, where is the balance?  How can I get the response I need in order to not climb into the rat wheel while giving others space?

By being specific and requesting a response.  For example:  I’m in a business relationship with someone who is not very communicative.  I send emails and sometimes don’t hear back for four to five days.

On the first day without a response, I assume the other party is busy and I’ll hear back the following day.  When the next day comes and I don’t hear anything, I start to get aggravated.  By the third day I have already sent a follow up email and made a call. I also wake up in the middle of the night thinking of all the scenarios that could be going on – none of them very good.  In essence my neurosis starts to take over.

Having gone through this many times in my life I have learned to do two things: 1 – breathe deeply and not lash out and 2 – ask a question that demands an answer.

Sounds simple no?  Maybe, but it took me a long time to get here.

So, now when I send an email to someone who is not very good in communicating I ask them – in the body of the email – to let me know they have received the email sent.  What this does is psychologically force a response – and that is all I need.

Why am I talking about this? Well, I was thinking about addiction before.

Addiction doesn’t relate only to drugs or alcohol.  It also relates to behavior.

We’re beings of habit.  Once, we do something a certain way a pattern gets formed. To break the pattern we need to use our intellect – to recognize it – and our free will; to change it.

What things in your life are giving you grief? Is the ill feeling coming from your response to something rather than the situation itself?  If yes, you can change it by first recognizing the pattern than by re-educating your mind.

It won’t feel comfortable in the beginning because you will be fighting your habit or tendency.  So, remember to be kind to yourself and know you have the ability to change any response system you have built.  All you need is compassion and time.

 

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The Secret To A Successful Relationship

May 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

I don’t know if it was because my late husband Chris and I had been unhappily married before, but we never took each other for granted. Three months before Chris passed away – when so much has already been taken from him – he looked at me and said: “We are one of the happiest couples I have ever known.”  He was right; we were.

Chris and I accepted each other as we were.  Even when he wore the most atrocious shirts – to my taste at least – I’ve never said anything.  I didn’t because I accepted him. And when I was caught in my rat wheel, he stood by me patiently letting me know he was there.

We were each others best friends.  We supported one another on the path we chose for ourselves. There was never any talk of “you should be this way or you should do this.”  Our talks were more about how we could support each other in our life adventures.

We checked in with each other during the day and at night we had what I called “quality time.”

Quality time was when we turned the lights out and before going to sleep in the darkness we held each other and shared our feelings.  Whatever they were, we were there to listen.

We made a point – without making a point – to thank each other for little things we did.  We also paid compliments as often as possible. Not phony ones, but real ones that came from having slowed down enough to pay attention to one another.

Chris used to bring me flowers and I cooked special meals for him.  Without thinking about it, we were making sure we both knew how appreciated we were and how lucky we felt to be together. Sometimes we even blurted out: “I’ve never thought I could be this happy.”

I think that was the secret of our beautiful relationship.  Not just that we loved and appreciated each other, but that we let one another know.

Time goes by quickly and we never know what turns life will take. Why not let the people we love know how much we appreciate them? That is the secret to a successful relationship.

Please read on.

The Secret to Extraordinary Love Every Day (And 6 Easy Ways to Make it Happen)

By Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW

In a word: appreciation. It sounds simple but its power is super-charged. The dual aspects of gratitude and recognition, both imbedded in the loving art of appreciation, are like sunshine and water to a plant..Continued

As modern couples, we are at extreme risk for taking each other for granted. We juggle career, family, home management, extended families, aging parents, and health concerns. It’s no wonder that our most intimate relationship gets lost in the day to day shuffle…Continued

 

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All About Bliss

May 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured

I was thinking of what to write today when I came across the below post on bliss.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines bliss as “complete happiness.”  While it is not a bad definition, in my mind, it misses out on the major ingredient; complete peace.

I remember two instances in my life where I have felt bliss. Neither one of the times resulting from anything extraordinary happening.

The first time was when I was about 30 years-old.  I was upstate New York with my first husband having dinner at my friend Billy’s home.  Billy was a furniture maker.  He actually went out to his 60 acres of land and chose the wood he would use to make his pieces.  He was not a hip or particularly educated man – I mention that because at the time those were values that mattered to me – but Billy was an exceptionally nice and genuine guy.

Anyway, Billy and his girlfriend had made dinner for us.  It was simple and served in the kitchen.  When we finished, I got up and went to sit in the living-room.  Actually, I sat on Krumpus’ couch.  Krumpus was a very smart dog and he only let two people sit in his couch – Billy and me.

The fire was roaring in the fireplace. No sounds were coming from the outside. As I sat in that couch I felt an amazing sensation of belonging, of being part of the universe.  For the moments it lasted, I felt integrated and at peace.  I didn’t have to do anything or be anybody. I just was.  I didn’t even need to be happy.  It seems to me, looking back at that moment, that happiness would have been a lesser feeling than what I felt.  Unfortunately, my bliss didn’t last long.  As quickly as it came it left me.

The second and last time I felt bliss was again upstate New York.  This time in a lake by myself.  The day was beautiful and I sat in the water at the edge of a lake.  Within seconds I was surrounded by small fish.  Again, that feeling of complete connectedness took over every cell of my body.

I have had many incredible moments and experiences in my life, but these two simple situations were the ones that gave me bliss. What I learn from them is that belonging, complete contentment, bliss, doesn’t have to come from standing in one’s head or doing cartwheels.  It can come from lying down on a coach by a fire or sitting in water watching the fish swim. Sometimes, we spend all of our time chasing after things that we believe will give us bliss, while all along passing up on simple opportunities that would give us the much sought after feeling.

Please read on.

What Is Bliss?

By Sean Meshorer

Shortly after I’d given my publisher my manuscript about bliss, I had coffee with a friend who asked me: What, exactly, is bliss?

I didn’t have an easy answer. It had taken an entire book to lay out what I’d learned from teaching a class series in Los Angeles, where I’d seen people of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, age ranges, and personalities improve their happiness and spiritual awareness. I’d spent 20 years studying advanced meditative practices and global religious histories — both as a spiritual teacher, minister, counselor, and on my own journey. But even writing several chapters about bliss and how to get it didn’t make it any easier to describe in a few words…Continued

 

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Let Go Of Expectations

May 4, 2012 by  
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“I mean, like most guys, you carry around this girl in your head, who is exactly who you want her to be. The person you think you will love the most. And every girl you are with gets measured against this girl in your head.”  ― Rachel Cohn, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

And because of that, you can never be happy. And you can never see the possibilities with all the girls you’ve been with.  That’s called expectation.

Expectation: The act of conducting oneself according to an imagined result.

When we imagine how things are going to turn out we start behaving in a certain way instead of responding to what is actually taking place. When we do that the discrepancy between our imagined outcome and our reality creates a fair amount of anxiety, frustration and ultimately disappointment.

It is difficult for us not to have expectations, especially from people or circumstances that are meaningful to us.  The reason is fairly simple; our imagination takes us where we want to go not where we are.

One of the negative side effects of expectations is the rigidity that it creates.  Once we imagine an outcome we become married to it. We lose our ability to see and feel situations as they are.

If we could push our expectations aside and live situations and relationships for what they are, we would certainly find a greater deal of satisfaction.

Holding on to created ideas stops us from finding the positive in our current situations.  Somehow we don’t see what it is.  We only see what it isn’t.

The only way I know to let go of expectations, is by living in the moment and seeing situations and people as they are while releasing what they are not.  By living in the moment – and letting day dreams pass us by – we give ourselves permission to embrace what it is thus enjoying the present.

 

 

 

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