Turn off and Tune In

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    is it me or what?  The times they be a changing.  In the last month we all have been over exposed to death, sadness, unrest and at times anarchy, via the internet, FB and various media oulets.  It is time to turn off and tune in!  Turn off the television set, go off-line, get away from the mindless chatter that keeps us away from being centred and positive.
All of this negativity is not good for one’s soul and as much as we want to watch this and stay current our bodies and minds need rest, rejuvenation and self- care.

The atrocities of the world will always be there the next day and the day after, we will not miss much.  Let’s get off the train of doom and into the light of some positive activities, maybe get up and move, do some stretching, read an uplifting book, walk the dog, take a nap, whatever your body and mind are desiring from us.  Hug someone you love, play in the snow, go to a yoga class, paint, write, sing, take a mental health day, sculpt, plan a day with family and friends but do something that takes you away from all the pain in the world.

7 Steps to Complete Inner Peace

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    7 Steps to Complete Inner Peace

  

     Inner peace is one of the most valuable assets that we can cultivate.  Nobody can give us inner peace, but our own thoughts can rob us of our inner peace.   We can experience inner peace right now, exactly where we are.   One does not need to travel to a sacred temple to find it.  The most important criteria is to value the importance of inner peace.   If we truly want inner peace, we will strive to make it a reality.

 These are some suggestions for bringing more peace into your mind.

  1. Limit your time reading negative material and watching the news.

     It is true, that we can try to detach from this negativity.  But, in practise, we will make our progress easier if we don’t spend several hours ruminating over the problems of the world.  Once I limited, if not completely removed myself from watching the news and reading the newspapers I found my energy levels and outlook on life became more positive.

    It has become too easy to automatically switch on the TV or surf the internet when we have a few free minutes.   Take the opportunity to be still and enjoy a relaxed state of mind free of conflict and responsibilities.  As a writer I find when I turn off the television and the internet my mind tends to become more aware and more creative.

 

 2. Control of Negative Thought Processes:

    It is our thoughts that determine our state of mind and body.   If we constantly cling to negative and destructive thoughts, inner peace will always remain at a distance.   Begin by turning these thoughts around.  If you feel you failed at something look at what you learned in that situation.  Train yourself to think,  “I did the best I could” and forgive yourself as well.  This requires practise. – We cannot attain mastery of our thoughts overnight. But, at the same time we always have to remember that we are able to decide which thoughts to follow and which to reject.  You are NOT a helpless victim to your thoughts.

 Somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”

 ―    Elizabeth Gilbert,    Eat, Pray, Love

 

3. Simplify Your Life & Home:

 

    Learn to say “No”.   We can feel that we never have enough time to fulfill all our tasks. Take time to simplify your life; there are many things that we can do without, quite often we add unnecessary responsibilities to our schedule.  Do the most significant tasks, one at a time, and enjoy doing them. To experience inner peace, it is essential to avoid cluttering our life with unnecessary activities and worries.  Organize our activities and appointments in daytimers, use a filing system to find important documents.  We also may want to purge ourselves of things, perhaps clothing and items that we no longer use.

     I have learned many ways to maximize my time, such as running a few errands together.  I balance household responsibilities and time I need to ensure I stay healthy – going for walks with the dog to prevent back pain and keep chronic pain at bay with my free-lance writing and my coursework as a student.  Yet, I am still able to spend time with loved ones and friends.

   The things I do not desire to do I do less of.  It all comes down to priorities and what really matters now.  Will it matter if the laundry gets done tonight or another day?  So what if the sink is full of dishes that will wait until tomorrow.

 

4. Spend time to cultivate inner peace.

   Most weekdays we spend 8 hours a day at a job, surely we can find time to spend 15 minutes to cultivate inner peace?  No matter how much money we have, it will never  bring us inner peace.  I am able to sneak in at least an hour a day to do things alone that allow me to maintain a state of peace in my busy life.  I enter my office ( sanctuary) and listen to music, burn incense and listen to my waterfall and the world falls away.

    One can get creative with this one, so maybe you can’t find ten minutes a day for inner peace at home.  Maybe our lunch break at work might be a place we can slip away for ten minutes to meditate.  Some friends I know take a little drive after work and sit at the park for 15 minutes to unwind and meditate while others demand 30 minutes when they get home from work to be left alone.

 If all else fails listen to some  relaxing music in your car on your way to and from work.  This can be a great stress reliever as well..

 

5. Avoid Criticizing People:

    If we want inner peace, we need to be more accepting of others.  If we are indifferent to the feelings of others, then it is impossible to have inner peace for ourselves.  What we give out comes back.  If you offer a peaceful attitude to others you will find that this will be returned
tenfold.  Not everyone will return a peaceful attitude and those people that prefer not to, let them worry about it, that is their stuff.

 

6.  Let Go of Perfectionism:

 

We are not perfect nor is the world or anyone else.  Stop being so hard on yourself.  Nobody ever died from a messy living room.  It can be quite freeing to let go of having to do everything perfectly.  When we do this we also allow others to help us if we ask.

 

7.  One final point, stop worrying.  This serves no purpose; things are going to happen as they do.  We can convince ourselves we have all this control but we often don’t.

 

Peace

 

Namaste

 

 

 

 

REPOSTED FROM 2012.

Get Your Motor Running……. We’re About to Enter 2013

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I am amazed in just over one year 2,808 people have viewed my blog.  Thank you again, to all of you that stopped by over the last year and left a comment and subscribed to my blog.  I have grander plans for 2013 and with it I am eager to embark on another journey which is to attain employment. 
Those of you have followed me over the past year have known of my medical conditions and I will still remain a strong advocate for those suffering with Fibomyalgia and other chronically fatiguing conditions.  My posts will still contain herbal remedies to help those of us dealing with pain and fatigue which seem to be the common culprits.    There is hope for anyone suffering with chronic pain, we are all individuals and as such may require different approaches to pain management. 

This past year I tried art therapy, massage therapy and reiki as a means of controlling my pain and 2013 will not be any different.

  My book will continue to be written in my spare time while I am employed as having a steady income will allow me the financial ability to publish and market it myself.  I prefer to be an independent writer and keep the authenticity of my writing.  My herbology coursework will continue but a slower pace and that will allow me to enjoy so much more and learn more without being under tight deadlines.

 May your dreams and aspirations materialize in 2013, may you be blessed with love and kindness, but above all may you remain true to yourself and love with all your heart.

Namaste

Angi

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Photos: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/

Be Kind to Yourself by AHPenn (c) 2012

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Be kind to yourself as this is often a hectic time with family and perhaps some unresolved issues from the past.  Speak softly, meditate quietly, take a deep breath, whatever you need to do to stay calm.  Remember to proceed with love as some of us may not get a second chance to say I love you or see someone next time, this year.

Enjoy the holidays and love with all your heart.

Peace and blessings to all

🙂

Secrets to the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

You definately are what you think.  Your thoughts and actions will influence your future.  We live in times in which uncertainty has become the norm but does it have to be?

The 20th-century sociologist Robert K. Merton who is credited with coining the expression “self-fulfilling prophecy” and formalizing its structure and consequences. In his book Social Theory and Social Structure, Merton defines self-fulfilling prophecy in the following terms: e.g. when Roxanna falsely believes her marriage will fail, her fears of such failure actually cause the marriage to fail.

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come ‘true’. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.  (1)

If you think it, so it shall be.

From Shakespeare to The Secret, the idea that our thoughts and  perceptions shape our reality is recognized as a powerful truth.   As the Bard  wrote, “[T]here is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Many of us grew up in dysfunctional homes in which we might have been told we weren’t going to amount to anything.  That we were “stupid”. “useless”, etc.  Some of us grew up surrounded by family members that were abusing alcohol or drugs.  Lacking a healthy level of confidence or self worth, we believed what others said about us.  Does this have to be a belief we allow to control us or influence our future?  No, it does not serve any purpose other than to oppress us and keep us frozen in the same spot.  To risk or try for many becomes too difficult.  I choose not to be the person that they predict that I will be.  One can defy the odds and all the negative comments.  I could expound on research studies that have been conducted on this topic but I prefer to tell you of my own experience and of others that have overcome adversity.

Self fulfilling prophecy applies equally to our own expectations of ourselves. If we believe that the situation will lead to failure we might not try hard enough and fulfill that prediction. On the other hand, if we expect ourselves to do well in certain tasks, we will often rise to the occasion.

This concept once again shows us the importance of self awareness. Being aware of our thoughts and attitudes towards certain people or situations allows us to examine the validity of those thoughts, and to adjust them appropriately to get the desired results. Mindfulness brings this unconscious mental habit into conscious awareness, thus providing an opportunity to change it.

In 2009, I embarked on an adventure which meant leaving my home and family to move to Vancouver Island.  My intention was to solidify a career utilizing my psychology degree and extensive work experience.   After several years trying to attain full-time employment in the helping professions and many interviews where I was told that I would be their 2nd choice, I knew I needed to change direction.  I wanted to try a new place; create an opportunity to succeed.   I kept my mind open to all the possibilities.  What I had in my favour was a place to stay and one job interview.  I did not see the obstacles, I saw the possibilities only. I did not allow any negative thoughts to enter my mind.  I did get the job I was interviewed for although part-time and on a casual basis I did succeed at what I set out to do.  I came home several months later as work began to slow down there but I still succeeded!  I did not fail at all.  Sometimes one has to move outside the box to succeed.

My adventure taught me many things about myself and life.  I was capable of working and living on my own, I enjoyed working at the company I was employed at and I felt strong, empowered and hopeful.  I could have gone the other way after so many job rejections and said they were right!  I won’t amount to anything or I will be a drunk like my Dad or whatever they said.  Frankly, I have learned to forget much of what they said..  And who are they to me anyway?  A friend of mine told me once ” Look at the character of the one who judges you, often they would benefit more by looking at themselves in a mirror.”

Another example is using positive thinking to control pain.  If I am angry or frustrated pain will manifest itself in my body in my most vulnerable spots.  My stomach will tighten and swell (IBS), my neck,shoulders and back will start to tense up and cause me discomfort.  Negative emotions/thoughts can be harmful to our bodies and minds.

Just because you were raised in a war zone does not mean one has to keep the war alive today.   I have a few friends that have seen some horrific things in their lives growing up in Africa or in war torn countries such as Bosnia and they are the most uplifting, kind and positive people I know.

Victor is better than victim!

Some tips to stay positive and focused in your life:

1.Let go of the old thinking patterns.  If you find you are doubting yourself immediately stop!  Tell yourself ” you can and will do it.”  Keep a notebook with some of the negative thoughts you are thinking and analyze where these thoughts originated.  This will allow you to review their origins and let them go once and for all.

2. Find seven or eight affirmations that you can repeat several times daily to keep you motivated.

3.  Associate with people that support your goals and dreams.

4. Eliminate exposure to people that have ridiculed you in the past.  One may have family or friends that are instilling those old negative patterns that will only make it harder for you to be the success you were meant to be.

 

REFERENCES:

1. Merton, Robert K (1968). Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Free Press. pp. 477. ISBN 978-0-02-921130-4. OCLC 253949.

About me:  I have two degrees: one in Psychology and the other in Journalism. I am a free-lance writer, animal lover, poet, blogger and a part-time herbalist student who lives in Alberta, Canada.

 

Unleash Your Authentic Self

What exactly is the authentic self?  Let’s begin with a definition of authenticity which has been described as Authenticity means being real and genuine when you communicate.  We can add trustworthy, loyal and sincere as areas that are part of our authentic selves. The truth should guide you on your path.

Michael Kernis and Brian Goldman defined authenticity as “the unimpeded operation of one’s true or core self in one’s daily enterprise. (1)

Writers tend to agree that authenticity is something to be pursued as a goal intrinsic to “the good life.” And yet it is often described as an intrinsically difficult state to achieve, due in part to social pressures to live inauthentically, and in part due to a person’s own character. It is also described as a revelatory state, where one perceives oneself, other people, and sometimes even things, in a radically new way. Some writers argue that authenticity also requires self-knowledge, and that it alters a person’s relationships with other people. Authenticity also carries with it its own set of moral obligations, which often exist regardless of race, gender and class. The notion of authenticity also fits into utopian ideology, which requires authenticity among its citizens to exist, or which claims that such a condition would remove physical and economic barriers to pursuing authenticity.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ―    C.G. Jung

To know ourself, our authentic self, is to embark on the greatest journey of all. Author, Hermann Hesse and psychologist, Carl Jung were pivotal influences in my own journey of discovery and both continue to be touchstones for my path in life.

In self-analysis we stop looking outward and focus inward. In doing so, we begin to strip away the compressed layers of conventional attitudes we are taught as ‘reality’, or how we should be, and begin to think for ourself, as we are, with all variables in play and in doing so we come into our authentic self. We do this not in a narcissistic way, where we use the world and others to inflate and gratify an immature grandiose-self, but quite the opposite, in a whole, non-fragmented way where we are functioning on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We detach from the world, just as we detached from our birth mother when we were born, in order to find our true identity and thus embrace the person we are.

http://asheham.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/carl-jung-journey-to-self-discovery/

 

 

The Authentic self is who we truly are or are aiming to be.  Those that choose enlightenment and want to be better people do so but now we add the public self to the equation and everything changes.  The public self is what “society” expects us to behave like, how we act, talk and our opinions are greatly influenced by what we should do.  This is not necessarily a bad thing for if we did not follow laws and behave in a civilized manner there would be repercussions for our actions.

Many people present a persona on Facebook that is contrary to who they truly are, is this to follow some norm?  Is our authentic self truly what we are projecting to the world of social media?  Or are we inclined to be pretending to be someone else just to fit in?

 

 

 

The authentic self is the soul made visible. – Sarah Ban Breathnach

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Behaving authentically means acting in accord with one’s values, preferences, and needs  as opposed to acting merely to please others or to attain rewards or avoid  punishments through acting ‘falsely.’ . . . Authenticity is not reflected in a  compulsion to be one’s true self, but rather in the free expression of core  feelings, motives and inclinations. (2)

Don Miguel Ruiz shares centuries of Toltec wisdom in his book The Four Agreements.  To apply this wisdom, choose to create these profound agreements with yourself:

1.Be impeccable with your word. Carefully examine what you tell yourself, what you tell others, and when you decide to speak. Use your word consistently to express and strengthen your values. Don’t employ or overlook factual errors, fallacies or, distortions during communications. Express yourself authentically. Earn trust. Do what you say.

2.Don’t take anything personally. It’s not all about you. Reject the fallacy of personalization. Rely confidently on your own well-founded self-concept; it is the only evaluation of your worth that matters. Challenge and balance your first-person viewpoint.

3.Don’t make assumptions. Suspend judgment. Readily acknowledge what you don’t know and have the courage to ask questions. Carefully examine the evidence. Don’t attribute intent to others. Retain a healthy skepticism as you avoid cynicism. Develop, refine, and constantly apply your own well-founded theory of knowledge.

4.Always do your best. Do all you can while you recognize you can’t do it all. All you can do is all you can do. When you have truly done your best, there is no reason for shame. It’s ok to goof off if you do your best when it matters the most. Apply your time and effort toward your well-chosen and enduring goals.

If you are ready to explore and unleash your authentic self start with these three simple tasks and see where they take you.

1.  Sit in silence with yourself every day.

Living an authentic life means taking action from the inner confidence of intuition. Most people have no idea what their intuition feels like because they are so busy. We do not stop to listen to what we truly desire.  Our culture values productivity over peace and tranquility.   Cultivate and harness your voice of intuition.  it will always lead you to where you need to be.  You need to be able to actually hear it,  practice the art of silence every day — even if it’s only for 5- 10 minutes at a time.

2.  Be vulnerable. That’s Where The Real Power Lies.

If we want to live an authentic life, be more real, feel more alive, empowered, and fulfilled then we need to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is facing these emotions of shame, fear, guilt, frustration, and grief.  It’s only when we connect with our pain and move through it that we connect with the emotions of love, joy and happiness on the other side.

Have the courage to be still and feel what you feel, don’t run from it. Being vulnerable is real strength. It’s the ability to honour your boundaries. It means having the confidence to be the real you even if it’s not pleasant. Being vulnerable is the path to authenticity.

3. Fulfill Those Dreams.  Write out the steps you will need to take in order to live that dream and take your first “next step.” It won’t feel overwhelming if you focus on one step at a time.

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

References:

1. Wright, Karen (May 01, 2008). “Dare to be yourself”. Psychology Today.

2. Kernis, M. (2003). Toward a conceptualization of optimal  self-esteem. Psychological Inquiry, 14, 1-26.

NEXT BLOG IS ON MODERN HERBOLOGY

Strategies for Strengthening Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself as a person. Those with high self-esteem believe that they are adequate, strong and worthy of a good life, while those with low self-esteem feel inadequate and worthless. Low self-esteem can develop in childhood and continue throughout adulthood, causing great emotional pain. Therefore, it’s important to develop a healthy, positive sense of self.

Low self-esteem has been linked to depression and/or anxiety. If your emotions feel overpowering or out of control, one way to build self-esteem around this issue is to learn to manage your mood and gain control over your feelings. Some people are able to do this with the help of friends and family. Others need to work with a mental health professional to manage the problems that lie beneath the surface of low self-esteem.

Strategies for Strengthening Self-Esteem

Recognize how you’re attacking yourself. Identify what you may be doing to perpetuate your low self-esteem. For instance, you might find that you are surrounding yourself with toxic people who further lower your self-esteem. You may not be aware that others talk down to you. Some people don’t voice their needs/wants and let others speak for them.

Once you can recognize the ways you sabotage yourself, you can work through them. Take the initiative and start voicing your needs. If you’re finding you are too passive, learn ways to become more assertive.   Start small: Ask your partner to turn the television down, say no to an event you don’t want to attend or something that is being asked of you that you do not want to do.

Identify and challenge self-critical thoughts. Certain distorted thought patterns enable low self-esteem. A common distortion is personalizing things; one example is seeing yourself as more involved in negative events than you really are.  Maybe you take full responsibility for your spouse’s medical conditions, or for your boss’s anger.

Remember that you may be able to influence someone’s behavior but you certainly didn’t cause it nor are you necessarily responsible for it.

You also can learn to challenge other negative thoughts, such as: “I’m a loser,” or “I can’t do anything.”

Find out who you are. A healthy self-esteem also means having a quiet happiness about who you are, but first you need to know who that person is. Each individual must determine his/ her own values, principles, and moral standards and live by them

What do you value in life? What matters to you? Once you can pinpoint your values, you might even realize that the very things you beat yourself up about have nothing to do with your goals. One example is a man I know who berated himself for not earning a high enough salary and felt he was letting his family down. But when we explored his goals and dreams, he realized that helping others and spending time with his family were more important than earning a specific income.

A healthy self-esteem doesn’t mean thinking you’re flawless; it means knowing realistically what you need to work on and making the necessary changes.  If you’d like to be more social, you could join a social club, volunteer, or start a new hobby.  If you don’t like that people walk all over you, research material on establishing appropriate boundaries.

Learn what lights you up. People with low self-esteem often have a long can’t-do list. Start a what you can do list.

For instance, a friend of mine saw herself as a shy person but wanted to try stand-up comedy.  I encouraged her to join a local group of amateur female comedians.  She thoroughly enjoyed it and still attends on a monthly basis.  She tells me that this is the best thing she ever did and her self-esteem has soared.

Accept your imperfections. Think of your best friend, partner or kids. Why do you love them? Undoubtedly it has little to do with their flawless traits. We don’t wait to love others until they’re perfect.

“Love is a choice and a commitment that we make each day, despite our imperfections.

Take Good Care of Yourself

Another way you can build your self-esteem is to take very good care of yourself. You may take very good care of others and put your own personal care last. You may be so busy that you don’t take the time to do the things you need to do in order to stay healthy. You may feel so badly about yourself that you don’t bother to take good care of yourself anymore.

Practice healthy habits. It’s important to prepare your brain — maximizing the health, function and receptivity to new learning of neurons — before studying new skills. This includes feeding your body nutritious foods, participating in physical activities, getting enough sleep and treating medical or psychological conditions.  For example, if one has been shamed by physical abuse, it is  critical to heal the emotional wounds first before trying to get to a more positive place.

Some of the things you can do to take good care of yourself include:

•Eating three meals a day that are focused on healthy foods—fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grain foods and rich sources of protein like chicken and fish.

•Avoiding foods that contain large amounts of sugar, caffeine and food additives. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you may want to avoid it.

•Getting outside and exercising every day.

•Spending some time each day doing something you really enjoy.

•Spending time each day with people who make you feel good about yourself.

•Having regular check-ups with your health care providers.

Again, having a positive self-esteem isn’t selfish. It’s important for leading a fulfilling, healthy life, which in turn helps you help others.

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

~ Judy Garland

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net