Ben Breedlove – A portrait in Courage Part I

December 29, 2011 by  
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Learning To Change

July 2, 2011 by  
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Photo by Angie Rubin

The road between the intellect and the heart when it comes to changes is a long winding road full of stops and alternate routes.

Yes, the first step is realizing we should change from being A to being B.  Second step is believing we have already changed from A to B.  Third step is the challenge.  This is when a situation will occur to test us in our resolution to change.  The greater the change the greater the challenge.  This is when we doubt if we are going down the right path because we feel uncomfortable, uncertain, and insecure, and all hell seems to be breaking lose.  But here is where we need to dig deep and reconnect with the truth that got us to think and act in a different way in the first place.  Once we do that, we have our footing.

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Using Desire As Fuel To Life

February 16, 2011 by  
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Read the below post by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche on the Huffington Post today and wanted to share.

Although having a name that is difficult for most of us civilians to pronounce, the wisdom of his words are nothing but fully inclusive.

In his post Dzogchen discusses the nature of desire; the fuel for every human action.  We desire a good meal, relationship, comfort, pleasure, and all is good.  The difficulties only arise when those desires turn from fuel to obsession.  Wanting to have a better job to feel more engaged is one type of desire.  Wanting a better job just because we want to show how smart, how superior we are, is empty.

Dzogchen writes: “Our desire may be to help others, to create something of transcendent beauty, or to realize union with God. It may simply be to find a perfect love in our life.

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Learning To Take Responsibility For Our Life Choices

July 7, 2010 by  
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running man

Taking responsibility for our lives means being clear about what we want and don’t want.

Many of us prefer to leave life decisions to the world; we know a situation is going on, we know we need to take a stance but we don’t because it would mean standing up for who we are and what we believe in.   So we show up and hope life will make the decision for us, but when we allow for that to happen, we become victims of chaos and become powerless.

I believe the reason we leave some decisions to the gods is 1 – because we are afraid to make a wrong decision and then have to live with the fact it was us that made the choice 2 – we are afraid that we will seem harsh and 3 – that others may not like us as much because we can easily say “yes” or “no” 4 – we have to deal with the fact that others don’t take ownership for their choices and will so prefer to blame us for seeing things clearly.

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5 Intuitions About Love And Sex You Shouldn’t Ignore

July 5, 2010 by  
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Saw the below post today and thought would make a good companion to my yesterday’s blog post The Fine Line Between Loving With Our Entire Heart And Losing It.

In my post I discuss the choices we make as we enter any new relationship.  Should I jump in with my heart first or should I spare it? I concluded by saying, jump in with an open heart and live the moment as fully as possible.  BUT also know how much is our own imagination and needs at work, that it can be short or long lived, and will not solve all our emotional needs.  Intuition, as discussed below is a very important part of the equation as well.  Staying in touch with ourselves allows us to set limits.   Read on an share your thoughts.

by Judith Orloff MD

When we’re looking for love (or under its intoxicating influence), we often miss seeing extraordinary signs and messages that pop up in our daily life to give us clues as to whether we’re on the right track. However, if you can slow down enough to recognize and listen to your intuitive intelligence, it can reveal truth, warn you of danger, or help you understand people and relationship situations in new ways. From my book Emotional Freedom, here are five types of intuitive experiences you may encounter, and what they can teach you about your love relationships.

  1. Body signals
    Your body has many ways of getting your attention. It could be goosebumps when a date feels just right or says something about you that rings “true.” Or it might be your hair standing up on the back of your neck when a creep replies to your online dating profile.How to use it in romantic relationships
    Most commonly referred to as a “gut reaction,” your body’s response to the world around you is often instant — quicker, in fact, than your conscious thought. Next time you sense your body is trying to alert you to something, check in with it. Are your shoulders tense? Is there a knot in your stomach? Or do you feel energized and excited? When you learn to read your body signals, a whole new type of information will be available to you. What’s more, you may be able to avoid getting involved with destructive, unhealthy lovers, or be curious to pursue a really good guy who, at first blush, doesn’t seem to be your “type.” …Continued
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Sometimes It Takes Commitment

April 21, 2010 by  
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love-sick1My husband died five years after we met, but I think if he were alive we would have stayed together until we both looked like old prunes.

The reason I say this, is because Chris and I truly loved each other and were each, were each other’ best friend and most importantly made a commitment to invest in our relationship and to trust each other.

We both had been married before and knew how lucky we were to have found each other for a second chance.  We were aware that in the course of our lives we would meet other people and that sometimes we would get tired or upset at each other.  We knew that before committing to a relationship, so when we did, we knew we were going to deal with things as they came up and would always remember the love and friendship that had brought us together in the first place.

So although Chris is no longer here, in the five years we had together we got to experience an entire lifetime.  We also stuck together through it all.

There is nothing like truly sharing your heart and trust with someone else.  It changes you in many ways.  And if, like in my case, the relationship comes to an abrupt end, the love doesn’t;  it lives on.

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Celebrate Life

April 16, 2010 by  
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Today I received an email from my sister in law with an attachment from a pen pal of hers in Australia whose brother had passed away a couple of days ago from brain cancer.

As I read the attachment – a letter written by the spouse left behind – my heart ached.  It could have been written by me.  In the letter the wife writes about her husband’s indomitable spirit in the face of incredible pain and loss.  Even as he lay dying he wanted to try one more treatment.  That was my husband as well.  The day before he passed he dragged himself to a restaurant to have lunch with my nieces; just the three of them.

I’ve learned a lot of things from my husband: courage, strength, and love.  And I have also learned that life is really precious.  Even when he had lost his hair, his physical strength and in return was left with incredible pain, he wanted to live.  He wanted to live so much that he would take life even if he had to look gaunt and couldn’t do most of things his 6’, 200lbs frame once did.

I try to remember that when I want to complain or feel sorry for myself.  I have life and because of that I have the whole world.  Think about it.

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Year Of Giving – WCVJS3FKXD5K

April 11, 2010 by  
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heart in hands

heart in hands

I have just come across a blog site http://yearofgiving.wordpress.com/ where Reed Sandridge shares his giving experience.

Every day, Sandridge walks up to a stranger and gives away $10. So far, he’s handed out close to $1,200. He also interviews the recipients about their lives and posts their stories on the blog.

The Year of Giving started on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 3:30 pm after Reed lost his job at a nonprofit organization due to the economic climate.

December 15th is an important date for Reed; it is when his mother lost her long battle with heart disease in 2006.

He says his goal is not to change the lives of those with whom he comes in contact but it is to inspire others to pursue the ideals that the French philosopher Auguste Comte envisioned when he coined the term “altruism.”

Without love, what are we worth?  Eighty-nine cents!  Eighty-nine cents worth of chemicals walking around lonely.  ~M*A*S*H, Hawkeye

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The Impact Of Loneliness

March 30, 2010 by  
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March 30, 2010 in raw foods by Srinivasan Pillay – www.radishgreens.com

A recent study of 50-68 year old men and women in Chicago, found that being lonely at the beginning of the study correlated with increases in blood pressure two, three and four years later. People with higher levels at the onset of the study had greater increases in systolic blood pressure. This effect was not accounted for by age, gender, race or ethnicity, cardiovascular risk factors, medications, health conditions, and the effects of depressive symptoms, social support, perceived stress, and hostility (Hawkley, Thisted et al.). This study was remarkable because it was not a cross sectional study but instead, people were followed over time. In an earlier study of people examined all at one time, this association was also seen. Why would loneliness lead to your blood vessels being more resistant to blood flow, or your heart straining more to pump out blood?

While the answer to this is not known, a few things about lonely people are worth noting. Did you know that lonely people are rewarded more by things than by the faces of pleasant people? (Cacioppo, Norris et al. 2009) That means that when lonely people see happy people, their brains do not respond with relief. Instead, they turn off. Things, which are probably less threatening, are more rewarding. Furthermore, the brains of lonely people are also more sensitive to unpleasant people. If this is the case, it is conceivable that they suffer at both ends-the heart and the brain. The brain, being less responsive to pleasant things, does not spend much time quieting down the heart or relieving it. And the heart, needing more effort to pump blood to the brain, actually deprives the brain of the blood it needs to relieve itself with pleasant things. What a vicious cycle!

It is no wonder then, that we become nervous when we are lonely, for our bodies are telling us that something is going wrong. We may rationalize all we want about being self-sufficient or about being able to take care of ourselves, and that is true but it seems that denial of loneliness is not really helpful. Your brain and heart know anyway.

In this era of self-sufficiency, single parents, one driver cars and an increasing reliance on superficial modes of connecting, we are jeopardizing our hearts and brains without knowing this. The tendency to act as though nothing is happening does not do much either.

So what should one do about loneliness?
Firstly, if you are lonely, instead of being ashamed, know and understand this deeply. Know too, that filling your life with events and people does not remove loneliness. One of the biggest causes of loneliness is not expressing yourself as fully as you can; not being the complete success that you can be. When people are in the zone, they are usually not lonely.

This is in part because being “in the zone” removes the observing self. Paradoxically, we are most alone when we are split into an observing and experiencing self — when a part of us provides a narrative about life. We are least lonely when the observing and experiencing self are one. This oneness is where we need to be operating from and this oneness is the place where loneliness cannot exist.

Whenever you find yourself having an internal observing narrative: “I am so stressed”, “I feel anxious”, “I can’t believe I did that” — recognize that this is the way of loneliness. The only way we can get our observing voices to stop talking, is to give our all to every moment in our lives; as challenging as that is, it is critical to removing loneliness.

My main message here: removing the observing voice from your head will make you feel much less lonely than having a hundred people in your life. Do this as a favor to your heart. Your brain will thank you.

References
Cacioppo, J. T., C. J. Norris, et al. (2009). “In the eye of the beholder: individual differences in perceived social isolation predict regional brain activation to social stimuli.” J Cogn Neurosci 21(1): 83-92.
Hawkley, L. C., R. A. Thisted, et al. “Loneliness predicts increased blood pressure: 5-year cross-lagged analyses in middle-aged and older adults.” Psychol Aging 25(1): 132-41.

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Through Grief Into Life

March 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

After my husband passed away I put his wedding ring on a chain and wore it around my neck.  Then I wondered when my own wedding ring should join his in the same chain.  Then one day his ring, my ring and the chain were placed in a velvet box in my closet.

Life goes on.

I miss intimacy.  Not just sex but lying in bed with someone and watching TV, having candle lit dinners, and falling asleep with another person’s arms around me.  I also miss having a man around the house doing things I can’t.  And I miss my husband.

The other day a friend came over and hung the house numbers – I had taken them down while having the house painted – which had been resting in a drawer for the last six months.  His presence in a way made me feel as if I was again one half of a couple and I realized how much I like that feeling.  I love sharing.  I specially like to share the good things I accomplish in work, the fun stuff I do or the nice things I hear from others.  When I’m blue I most often prefer solitude.

After my friend or as a girlfriend called him – borrowed husband – finished the house tasks, I cooked a meal and felt compelled to light candles.  I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t add that I also felt physically attracted to him.  While handing him tools our hands touched and I felt his skin to be soft and smooth.  I watched his arms flex as he worked and my heart skipped a beat.

Life goes on.

This was the first time since my husband passed away nineteen months ago that I felt attracted to anyone.  But it was not the first time I thought about the possibility of being intimate with someone else.  Last month I bought online two sets of sexy lingerie that have been living in a plastic bag in my drawer since their arrival.  They are laying low waiting for the right time to adorn my body.

Of course all these feelings are in my head and heart.  I don’t know how or when they will manifest as a reality but when I daydream my needs for giving and receiving love exist without a hitch.  Kisses and touches happen in a most harmonious way and the shock of being in a new man’s arms after years of being with my husband do not stop me from experiencing the moment.

Reality could be somewhat different.  Fear and guilt might populate my heart. Do my feelings mean I love Chris less than someone else who forever will keep their hearts shut?

No.

I know I will always love Chris and he will always be my husband.  But I also know I have in my heart the space for loving and receiving love from another man.

Life goes on.

I won’t rush anything.  I try my best to live one day at a time as life has shown me that plans often go astray in life’s rambunctious nature.

But I do know one day all the love I have in me will find a worthy recipient and then again on a Sunday I will again wake up late with my man and make him brunch.

I am part of a community of men and women whose scars run deep but whose hopes and love for life keep us all going.

Life goes on.  We love, laugh, and cry but above all else we must live with the hurt and the hope.  It is our gift to ourselves and the ones we have lost.

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