All About Bliss

May 9, 2012 by  
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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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Get Rid Of Your “Should” List

April 24, 2012 by  
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Here’s my confession: “I have a terrible case of SHOULD syndrome”.  In my mind I should be kinder, wiser, fitter, successful, happier etc.  The truth is all these “shoulds” keep me from appreciating who I am and what I have accomplished in my life.  It also keeps me from opening my life up to possibilities that don’t fit my particular “shoulds”.

Now, I’ve known about my self-imposed noose for a long time and have been making strides to loosen its grip.

It all started when I realized the harshest and most demanding critic I had was my own self. While others were ready to pay compliments for the person that I am, I was not. So, I started by reminding myself I should extend the forgiveness and acceptance I had for others to my own self.  I followed that by realizing I always did the best I could and that is all that can be expected from any of us.

Once, I could accept the notion that I couldn’t and shouldn’t be perfect – after all none of us are – I started to relax on the shoulds.

Today, I have a better time accepting that I am as kind as I can be at this moment.  That I’m as fit as I can be with the time and energy I have. That I behave in the best way I can when something comes up.  If later that proves not to be the case then I simply tell myself that my behavior was the choice I could make based on how I felt and what I  knew at the time that it happened.

I still have a long way to go in freeing myself from the scrutiny I put my own self under, but I’m making strides and so can you if you too are a “should” sufferer.

Below is an interesting post by Christy Matta, M.A further discussing the should issue.

Please read on.

10 Beliefs That May Be Keeping You From the Life You Want

By Christy Matta, M.A.

We’re often kept from getting what we want in life by the demands we place on ourselves more so than by the demands of others. Pressure, hassles and tension often come when what we want to do conflicts with what we tell ourselves is “right.” We see a messy house and believe we “should” clean it, or we long to pursue a career we’re passionate about but tell ourselves “I can’t do that.” Continued…

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Are We Addicted To Struggle?

April 3, 2012 by  
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I really like the below post by Mike Robbins. I truly get it.

I have been addicted to struggle for most of my life. Somewhere somehow I became convinced that without struggle I would never get what I wanted. Be a job or a relationship.  Only hard work could bring success and if something came easily, I was immediately suspicious of it.  Thoughts like: “When is the other shoe going to fall?” or “I feel like I cheated because it happened to easily” came easily.

Pretty much I thought without struggle there is no success or happiness.  How wrong I was.  Getting what we want is not a consequence of struggle.  I’m not saying we don’t have to work hard for things, but what I mean is; there is no direct correlation between struggle and happiness. Or struggle and achievement.  In my erroneous thinking I had left out that life has its own rhythm.

Actually, if we stop trying to control life by muscleling for what we want, we might actually be surprised that sometimes 1 – things can happen nicely and easily without struggle and 2 – other doors we had not seen before are there open for us.

If we allow ourselves to relax and to believe we deserve contentment then life doesn’t have to be a never ending struggle.  We don’t have to suffer to appreciate goodness.

What is the most unfortunate is we become addicted to struggle and often don’t feel like we are making progress if we are not suffering.  How can I be advancing my life if I’m not staying up at night?

Changing this damaging mind-set takes time.  Drama is addictive.  Struggle is addictive.  We have to constantly remind ourselves to relax and appreciate the life we already have.  Then we have to embrace the concept that we don’t need to pay a price to succeed.  Success and contentment is already there for us to receive.  We don’t have to prove anything.  We already deserve it.

Please read on…

Are You Addicted to Struggle?

By Mike Robbins

During a session I had with my new coach last week it became clear to me that I’ve been addicted to struggle for much of my life. While I wasn’t super excited to admit this, it has actually been quite liberating to address my struggle addiction directly and to see how it impacts just about every aspect of my life and work. How about you? Are you addicted to (or at least very familiar with) struggling in your own life? Continued…

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Playing For Happiness

April 1, 2012 by  
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Elisha Goldstein, in the post below discusses the idea of playing as an important ingredient to happiness. I couldn’t agree more.

I’ve always liked to play.  I remember, as a kid once when I wanted a study session with a fellow student to be over, I pretended I was hearing voices from another realm.  Well, the session definitely ended, although the following day I had to endure all the other students looking at me as if I was strange.  It was fun, harmless and now a fond memory.

Playing gets our guards down and gives our overachieving brains a break.  When we play we let ourselves go without missions or expectations.  It is a release with no goals to be achieved.

As we grow older, we unfortunately equate playing with wasting time.  But, nothing could be further from the truth.  If we play we give our minds a chance to change its tune or perceive things in a different way.

I love to play mummy with my dogs or sit on a step and sing with them (don’t ask). Again, just silly stuff that reminds me I’m not the ever serious person.  After I’m done playing, I always have a feeling of being more alive and energized.

So, let yourself go and be silly.  Laugh loud and big.

Please read on.

The Essential Ingredient You May Be Missing for Happiness

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Life is routine and routine is resistance to wonder.” As we get older this statement may seem to ring true more often, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

With children, research has shown that play has a significant impact on physical, cognitive, emotional, and social health. Why would it be different for us adults? How do we bring this mental health boosting attitude back into our lives? Continued…

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Living A Life Of Love

March 29, 2012 by  
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What a great article by Deepak Chopra (see below).

In it he discusses at length love as a state of being and not a feeling that we can fall into and out of.

I have many times written about taking a journey within as if we were courting someone we were interested in.  We take steps to get to know the person.  We listen to them and we plan to do things that will make them smile.  And so is the same as we journey within.  We get to know ourselves, we make time to listen to our hearts and we do things that bring us pleasure. And in the end we create a strong love bond with our own selves.

It is only from that place that we can truly love others.  Because when we love ourselves, we don’t need others to fill a void inside.  It is actually the contrary.  We need others so we can share that which we already have.  That is the nature of love; sharing.

If we don’t live in love then having someone come into our lives is a cause of happiness and of disaster.  Happiness when the person comes into our lives and disaster as they depart because with them they take away our feeling of wellness. Even as those feelings were always temporary as they were not created within.  If we lived in love we would become sad when a relationship ended, but never lose sight of ourselves or lose love in our lives.

Living in love turns the experience of life into a compassionate and exciting journey.

Please read on…

The 5-Step Path to a Life of Love

By Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra, co-founder of the Chopra Foundation and co-author of War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality, reveals how to create a life founded on the world’s most generous and joyful emotion.

Love has arrived at a strange crossroads. It seems very odd to say, “I want to be more loving. Is there a scientist who can help with that?” But in modern life, our notion of love has shifted. More and more we are told—in magazines, learned journals and media reports—that love can be broken down into medical explanations, that it is produced by reactions in the brain, both chemical and electrical…Continued

 

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Love And Relationship Myths

March 21, 2012 by  
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There is something amazing that happens when we stop looking for others to love us because we feel unloved or because we need someone to fill up a hole within. We actually become able to experience love. Not Hollywood love, not puppy love, but mature and profound love.

When we have spent time getting to know ourselves and have come to enjoy our own company, we are never alone.

When we discover that love comes in many ways and can be experienced in a daily basis, we are no longer starved.

When we find that we can have fun with friends, family or by ourselves, we no longer are dependent on the myth that happiness can only come from a partnership and we smile broadly.

When we finally realize we are complete as we are and don’t need another person to become whole then we are ready to be in love.

A successful relationship is one where two people come together to share their vision of a journey and support each other as they travel. Not as halves, but as two self-sufficient individuals leading complete lives.

Once we feel good about whom we are and the work we do, loving someone else is based on self and mutual respect.  Not a relationship out of need, but one born out of partnership.

Nurturing joyful love needs freedom to stretch and grow.  Needing someone else to feel complete acts as the exact opposite.  We become needy, desperate and most likely incapable of truly experiencing the wonder of love.

Sooner or later we all face our own nature, but if we have forged a relationship with the self we are never alone and always in love regardless of being in a partnership or not.

Please read on…

LOVE MYTHS

By Dawn Raffel

“Everybody has one soul mate.” “True lovers can read each other’s minds.” “All you need is love.” A psychotherapist who’s seen it all pokes holes in some of romance’s little fairy tales and explains why life is saner—and happier—without them.

If we could each pick a few songs to banish from our heads, Diana de Vegh would nominate all those soggy old refrains that say there’s one—and only one—true love for each of us: our better half, our shining knight, the person we’ll be lost without. That line of thought, says de Vegh, a therapist in private practice in New York, isn’t benignly corny—it’s harmful, feeding what she calls the myth of love scarcity…Continued

 

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I Live Alone And I Like It

March 7, 2012 by  
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Living alone gets a bad rap. Mostly because people equate being alone with lonely.  Nothing could be further from the truth as one can feel lonely in the middle of a crowd.  As well as, one can feel fulfilled by themselves. Loneliness relates not to the number of people surrounding us, but to the connections with the self.

I love living alone because I get to do what I want, how I want in the best company possible; that of my own self.  Now, by most people’s standards I’m a very social person.  I have many friends and an active work life. So, it is when I’m alone that I get to listen to how I’m truly feeling and bask in the simple easy things that I’ve learned give me a great sense of serenity.

I also have extensive experience in living with others.  Besides living with friends, I have also had two long term relationships where I shared a home. In the first, living together made me completely lonely, the second made me feel I had a home and belonged.

Maybe one day, I’ll get to share my home with someone again.  So, I enjoy my time on my own now and know if and when I share my life with someone else, I will make sure to never give up on the sacred time I have now come to enjoy so much; that with myself.

Please read on.

How Living Alone Can Be Good For You

By Laura Schocker

My whole life I’ve been told that teamwork is golden. The clichés say it all: Two heads are better than one. The more the merrier. There is no “I” in “team.” I grew up to view being in the company of others as the de facto ideal state. And for many years, it was true: my senior year of college, I lived with seven of my closest girlfriends in one house. Just as I predicted, it was one of the best years of my life. No matter what time of day or night there was always a friend to bounce an idea off of, a shoulder to cry on or a late-night snack buddy. It was domestic bliss for a 22-year-old...Continued

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The Difference Between Happiness And Contentment

March 1, 2012 by  
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Love the article posted below.  It discusses the difference between happiness and contentment in a very clever way.  The writer, Nancy Colier, uses the simulation game The Sims as an example of how the human spirit really works.

In the game, once the player has won X amount of points, he or she is awarded Permanent Happiness. In this state the avatar wins the right to constant happiness.  Nancy notes that most players after enjoying this new status for a while, get bored, kill their avatar and start anew.

I think this observation is quite brilliant.  It shows – in a psychological way – that which we say we seek is really not quite what we think.

Achieving constant happiness with the exclusion of all other human feelings takes the zing out of life.  I’m by no means saying we need to suffer and be unhappy to enjoy life.  What I’m saying is that happiness in real life comes and goes. It is the result of something we worked towards and then achieved.  The working towards is an important element and once the excitement of the achievement passes and other situations arrive, the happiness leaves.

Happiness is powerful because it is a result of effort.  Without it, happiness is thin.

On the other hand, what can be a constant is contentment or as Nancy calls it; well-being.  That is a state that is unrelated to the ups and downs of life because contentment is based on a relationship with the self.  How well we know ourselves, how much do we listen to our true voice.  In essence it’s about how we deal with the feelings we have and not about the outside aspect that have created them.

Opportunities, situations, doors that open and close are not within our complete control, but how we deal with the feelings they create are.  That is the difference between happiness and contentment and unhappiness and contentment.

Once understanding that our ground is contentment we must then nourish it by strengthening our relationship with the self.

Please read on.

Happily Ever After?

Nancy Colier

In the online simulation game The Sims, when an avatar accomplishes all of her lifetime aspirations, she achieves “Permanent Platinum” status, otherwise known as permanent happiness. Once “Platinum,” her mood bar cannot slip below a certain level, and her environment no longer impacts her happiness. She is frozen in happiness…Continued

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Courage Versus Self-Righteousness

February 27, 2012 by  
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Interesting post – pasted below – by Russell Bishop from today’s Huffington Post. In it Russell discusses the difference between courage and self-righteousness.

I must confess I know a thing or two about being self-righteous.  I have spent a lifetime standing on a soapbox telling others what is wrong with them and the world.  Now, there isn’t really anything wrong in sometimes pointing to others different ways of being and living.  What was wrong – at least with me – was the motivation.  I wasn’t being courageous in putting myself out there to point to the truth.  I was just being self-righteous.  I wanted others to know how smart and intuitive I was.  Because of that motivation, my actions weren’t deeply rooted and could be knocked out easily.  It also didn’t produce the satisfaction I was looking for.

Real courage is based on inner-knowledge and thus wise and deep.  Real courage is brave without having to call upon the whole world to see it is taking place.  Real courage happens because it must.

Noise due to self-righteousness is frail and is a reflection of an ego in need of pampering.  It might feel good for a minute or two, but it will soon crumble.

So, next time you feel motivated to speak-up or stand on a soapbox, ask yourself what your true motivation is.  Go deeper than the ego chatter to find out what the self really wants.  By doing that you will be in harmony and coherent with inner-self; a goal worth standing on a soapbox for.

Please read on.

Soul-Talk: Are You Courageous or Just Self-Righteous?

By Russell Bishop

What’s the difference between true courage and the sometimes foolish or insensitive dogged determination that runs roughshod over other people in the name of some sacrosanct goal?

True courage takes many forms, few of them characterized by bravado and none of them insensitive or unkind…Continued

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Filling The Emptiness With Serenity

January 22, 2012 by  
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The below post by Mark Nepo discusses three important ideas: 1 – our journey in rediscovering who we truly are, 2 – the acceptance of life as is and 3 – finding love and peace in the struggle.

Regardless of where we come from, the concept of being like everyone else and the acceptance of a formulaic idea of happiness get imbued into our psyche at a very early age. “You must be someone”, “You must have a bank account”, “You must own things” gets beat into us as the only way to live a life.  No space is left for originality and individuality.  And then we suffer because society’s concept of how to live a good life might be in direct opposition to our own ideas. I’m not saying having a bank account or owning things is a bad thing.  Every quality for a life chosen and every path taken is right when it is in accordance with one’s being.  And so recouping our own way becomes imperative to our journey.

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