May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie
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Sunday, May 31, 2009
- Ram Dass
Three little words, but a world of wisdom. Behind that simple saying is both the call to live in the moment and also to live consciously.
Life cannot be lived fully or joyfully if our thoughts are focused on regretting the past, preoccupied with anticipating the future, or lost in the mind-fog of unconscious habitual behavior.
Consider reading Regrets, Resentments and the Path to Forgiveness
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Daily Affirmation: I choose to live a life of gratitude and joy, inspiring others to follow my example.
Friday, May 29, 2009
- Mary Anne Radmacher
Winter clings stubbornly to portions of the globe. Gardeners follow time honored practices in spite of what they see. In spite of unseasonable wind, snow and unexpected weather of all sorts – a gardener still plants. And tends what they have planted…believing that Spring will come.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Did you ever try to eliminate a harmful behavior, only to be unsuccessful? There is a long list of universal problem behaviors that people often try to change or eradicate using self-hypnosis. The most common are: Overeating and weight loss; stop smoking; quit chewing tobacco; stop nail biting; increasing self-confidence; overcoming insomnia and sleeping better; improving memory; and managing stress.
WHAT THE MIND CAUSES, THE MIND CAN CURE: The motivation for our behaviors starts in our thoughts. If you stop and think about it, all of these destructive behaviors are the consequence of negative thinking. In other words, you think and motivate yourself into all of these behaviors. Or at least you think yourself into feeling stressed, and that can result in these behaviors. And because you think and motivate yourself into these behaviors, you can think and motivate yourself out of them as well. In order to think and motivate yourself out of these negative behaviors, you will need to know the "Motivation Formula For Success."
DESIRE: You are perhaps reading this commentary because you want the motivation to make some personal changes. And that is fitting because the first element in the "Motivation Formula For Your Success" is that you must want or desire to change. If you have read this far, at least a little part of you wants a change.
BELIEF IS REQUIRED FOR MOTIVATION: Before anyone can change an unhelpful behavior, that person must be motivated to do so. Merely desiring a behavior to change is not sufficient.
Motivation comes from what we believe. If we believe that something very important to us will get better or "become enhanced" if we modify our behavior, then we will feel a high level of motivation. Conversely, if we believe that something very important to us will be placed in jeopardy if we don't alter our behavior, we will also experience motivation to change.
Some plain examples of these motivational beliefs could be:
If I take some weight off, then I'll be able to find a companion.
If I kick my smoking habit, then I'll be healthier.
If I improve my study habits, then I can graduate from college.
TECHNOLOGIES THAT CAN CREATE THE BELIEFS THAT LEAD TO MOTIVATION: Neuro-Linguistic Programming - which is commonly known as NLP, offers methods that can instantaneously generate the element of belief. You can discover more on this topic by reading the articles "How To Get Motivated To Exercise Using Hypnosis And NLP" and "Motivation Theory - How To Quit Smoking Using NLP And Hypnosis For Motivation." These articles are both available in my free hypnosis research library.
DECISION: The dictionary defines the word "Decision" as making up one's mind / a verdict or judgment. When you accept as true something that provides you with a powerful feeling of motivation to alter your behavior, you will feel bound to make a decision to alter a negative behavior. Decision is the key that unlocks the door to taking action.
ACTION: The dictionary definition of the word "Action" is an act or deed / to do or perform. Taking action means that rather than just thinking about making personal changes, you will actually take steps to bring about your desired changes.
SELF-TALK: One of the reasons that individuals fail to change or eliminate a negative behavior is because of what they say to themselves. Self-talk is vital because repeatedly it is part of what caused the negative behavior in the first place.
I'd like you to consider this for a moment: Let's say that you want to quit smoking. Possibly the first thing that you are likely to say or think to yourself is: "I'm not going to smoke any longer."
It is universal for people to tell themselves what they are not going to do. Unfortunately, when we tell ourselves what we are not going to do, we are actually compelling ourselves to do it!
SELF-TALK EXERCISE: Say the following to yourself: I can't see blue. I can't see polka dots . . . . . . .
I'll bet your mind showed you the color blue, and then it showed you polka dots. That's because when we tell ourselves what we are not going to do, in order to make sense of it our mind must make a movie of us doing what it is that we would like to stop doing. And when we see ourselves engaging in a behavior, our mind compels us to create that behavior.
SUMMARY: In order to eliminate a negative behavior, we must first want or DESIRE to get rid of it. BELIEF is the factor that leads us to MOTIVATION. MOTIVATION is the drive that compels us to DECISION. DECISION is the means to ACTION. Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a tool that we can use to facilitate beliefs, motivation, decisions, and actions.
When we tell ourselves what we are not going to do, we make a mental image of ourselves in the behavior that we want to get rid of. And that mental movie gives us a compulsion to create the negative behavior. So if we want to abolish a negative behavior, rather than tell ourselves what we will not do, we must always tell ourselves what we will do.
To quit smoking say: "I can live without them."
To abort cravings for food that will make you fat or to stop chewing smokeless tobacco say: "I can live without it."
To reduce stress say: "I'm relaxed and calm, both mentally and physically."
To fall asleep more quickly say: "I fall asleep promptly, and sleep soundly and restfully throughout the night."
Alan B. Densky, CH is an NLP Practitioner and certified hypnotherapist. He operates the Neuro-VISION Self Hypnosis website.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow.”
- Mary Anne Radmacher
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain
It is curious - curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare
- Mark Twain
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
- Winston Churchill
The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.
- Rollo May
Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
- Raymond Lindquist
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Let today be a day to honor and respect the beliefs and lifestyles of your extended family, your friends, your neighbors, your fellow citizens, and all those around the world.
Also read: Meddling - 5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Offering Helpful Advice
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I am drawn to the wild edge of the ocean of my being
My curiosity unbound, I test the limits of the limitless and the boundaries of the timeless.
I walk the path - the way - the way of ways - to the end that is not an end.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Monday, May 25, 2009
- Mary Anne Radmacher
I recognize this in my writing process. A consistent writing structure opens the door to amazing insights. I recognize the truth of this in my daily habits. When I set my keys in the place I, with practice, always set my keys…I do not lose them. In many instances an ordered external structure can be an invitation for an extraordinarily unfettered, creative and unbounded inner structure.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
- Chinese proverb often quoted by Eleanor Roosevelt
Complaining only makes you miserable. Either plan and execute an effective response, or gracefully accept the circumstances you are called upon to bear.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
A Fox one day spied a beautiful bunch of ripe grapes hanging from a vine trained along the branches of a tree. The grapes seemed ready to burst with juice, and the Fox's mouth watered as he gazed longingly at them.
The bunch hung from a high branch, and the Fox had to jump for it. The first time he jumped he missed it by a long way. So he walked off a short distance and took a running leap at it, only to fall short once more. Again and again he tried, but in vain.
Now he sat down and looked at the grapes in disgust.
"What a fool I am," he said. "Here I am wearing myself out to get a bunch of sour grapes that are not worth gaping for."
And off he walked very, very scornfully.
There are many who pretend to despise and belittle that which is beyond their reach.
Friday, May 22, 2009
- Abraham Lincoln
While persistence and determination are important, planning, studying, and preparation are essential also.
Your reaction is likely to be, "But he did something bad. She wronged me. It's his fault. She made me angry." Hmmmm... Can someone really MAKE me angry? I don't think so. We get angry when someone acts in a way that conflicts with how we prefer that they behave - nothing more.
Should you accept your partner's behavior? If their actions are violent or threatening, certainly not. If you feel endangered or even just generally unhappy with your relationship, consider ending it. But in the context of a generally happy relationship, accepting your partner exactly as they are is a recipe for creating an even stronger and happier connection.
Consider being more acceptive of your partner's behaviors. It is unlikely that they are intentionally aggravating you. Almost always, they are just doing what they think they should do. Try setting aside your own rules for how they should behave, and adopt a live-and-let-live attitude. Your relationship will become stronger and happier if you do.
Read The #1 Secret of Great Relationships
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Forgiveness is essential to a great relationship. The longer you have lived together, the more important it is that you not accumulate resentments that tempt you to call upon them in times of disagreement. Make a vow to keep disagreements limited to the current issue. Avoid sentences that begin, "You always ..." or "You never ..." such as "You never remember my birthday." If something happened long ago, forgive and forget. Even if it happened yesterday, consider granting forgiveness for your own sake as well as your partner's. Forgiveness is especially a blessing upon the person doing the forgiving.
Let today be the day you do an emotional housecleaning of your relationship. Gather up all your old emotional baggage and put it out with the trash. Unlike your grandmother's wedding dress, your leftover emotions are of no value to anyone. Better yet, hold a fire ceremony, either alone or with your loved one. Write each past injury on a small slip of paper and release your attachment to that emotion as you feed the paper to the cleansing fire.
Read FORGIVENESS - the second Point of Simply An Inspired Life
- Mary Anne Radmacher
At the end of this day ask yourself what thing did you do that might merit acknowledgment, award or appreciation? Consider awarding yourself the recognition at that moment and sleep well, knowing that in the day you have offered your best effort.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
These quotes are from Anne Frank's diary, which she began writing on her 13th birthday:
I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.
I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
No one has ever become poor by giving.
Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.
Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Carl Jung quotes:
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.
Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.
The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.
The word "happiness" would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
We cannot change anything until we accept it.
Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Most unhappiness comes from resisting life. Occasionally, we have such a strong commitment to changing the world order that it is worth struggling against the flow of life. Perhaps you have a cause such as universal veganism - your life is committed to preventing even one more animal from being eaten by anyone. But most people don't have that kind of dedication to a cause, and even for those who do, there is much of daily life that is not related to any particular issue of principle. Nonetheless, we live our lives as if each minor happening were a matter of life and death.
Our favorite restaurant has run out of today's blackboard special. The bananas in the grocery store are all green. The drawbridge is stuck in the "up" position. We have demands of the world, these demands aren't met, and we become disappointed and angry. Is that just human nature? Yes and no. It is human nature to prefer the predictable, but this preference becomes highly exaggerated in some societies. Twenty First Century America, especially in dense urban areas, has become the epitome of expectations and demands, which inevitably result in disappointment and anger as the world fails to meet these expectations. Demanding that the world meet our expectations has become a bad habit that causes great unhappiness. But it doesn't have to be that way. We can break the bad habit of being unhappy.
Think of life being like a mighty river, such as the Mississippi or the Amazon. Sometimes the river floods, sometimes it quiets. Sometimes it cuts a new course, drowning some farmland and leaving some old river bottom high and dry. One could fight the river and curse its vicissitudes, or one could sail on the river, fish in the river, drink from the river, irrigate crops from the river, and live happily on the river. Fighting against life, like fighting against a mighty river is a pointless waste of energy and upset. Within the constraints life sets and within its vagaries, we still have immense freedom of action. We can fully express our commitments and live life to the fullest without fighting against it.
To go with the flow of life, without compromising your values:
1. Visualize life as a river, and the challenge of living as being a river pilot. Keep your eye far enough downstream that you can gently maneuver toward your goal using the force of the river to power your journey. Think of setting your course as the game that it is. Outthink life, but don't try to overpower it.
2. Remember that life is not serious. You already know the final score: Life-1, You-0. So just have fun on your run down the river.
3. Take time for yourself. Breathe deeply. Take a quiet walk. Spend time alone in a natural setting and soak up the stillness.
4. Clear your mind of everything you thought you knew. Be like a child in having no preconceptions of how life should turn out. Visualize pouring water into a cup. That's like life flowing into a young child. Now visualize trying to pour clear water into a cup filled with mud. That is like the flow of creation being resisted by expectations and demands one attempts to place upon life.
5. Be grateful for all of life. Be thankful you are alive. Not to be thankful for life is to be like a starving person who is gifted a steak and complains that it is tough.
6. Dance lightly with life. Dancing with life is like dancing with an elephant. She makes a jolly partner so long as you watch her moves, react quickly, and don't get stepped on.
Certainly there are times when a cause is worth fighting for - and the battle is winnable. But most times, battling against circumstances is unproductive and produces only suffering. Choose acceptance and serenity.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
- Reinhold Niebuhr (Serenity Prayer)
Sunday, May 17, 2009
- Mary Anne Radmacher
Responding to the inclination to speak the words, “I love you.” Acting with the best interest of another in mind. Sacrificing an immediate gratification for the comfort or ease of someone else. These are all actions expressing love. To behave courageously means to do that thing which causes fear. Fear of rejection is common among us. Expressing love, without reluctance or concern for how your expression will be received can be an act of courage.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Follow Your Dreams.
The best things in life are free.
Attitude is everything.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Life is what you make of it.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Be the best that you can be.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
A life lived in fear is a life half lived.
Reach for the stars.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called Present.
When life gives you lemons, Make Lemonade.
Happiness is a state of mind.
It's always darkest before the dawn.
Change comes from within.
Smile! and the world will smile with you!
You Create Your Own Reality.
There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
This is the first day.... of the rest of your life.
Friday, May 15, 2009
The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.
"Let us agree," said the Sun, "that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak."
"Very well," growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.
With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler's body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.
Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders.
The Sun's rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.
Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.
Sometimes the biggest arguments occur over the smallest issues - a $4 latte or whether store coupons are worth the effort. Bickering over the details can be virtually eliminated by agreeing on some budgeting guidelines and responsibilities in advance. The challenge to establishing such a framework is that the conversation about setting the rules is likely to trigger argument about fundamental attitudes toward money. This is not all bad, however, in that the sooner underlying beliefs are revealed and discussed, the sooner real progress can be made toward understanding and acceptance.
To eliminate arguing over details:
1. Set up a monthly discretionary budget for each spouse which includes all personal expenses including individual meals and snacks, clothes, personal grooming, hobbies, and gifts. Agree that the other partner will have no cause to question purchases made with this money.
2. Choose one spouse to be responsible for each area of purchasing. For example, have one person do all the grocery shopping. Try reversing roles occasionally. Usually, it reduces friction to assign a duty to the spouse with the stronger beliefs about that area of finances. If someone is committed to coupon clipping, let them do the grocery shopping.
3. Whenever you find yourself having an argument about money, write down the specific issue, seek to understand the underlying disagreement in overall beliefs about money, and schedule a conversation to discuss that broad area. For example, if you find that you are arguing over whether to take out a home equity line of credit to remodel your kitchen, the fundamental beliefs at stake might include each spouse's attitude toward debt, beliefs about the home as an investment, levels of confidence in future income generation, degrees of risk aversion, and the fraction of available resources each spouse is willing to direct toward the home. While a discussion of whether to remodel the kitchen might become contentious and never reach resolution, each of the fundamental belief areas, taken separately, could be the subject of its own focused and less contentious conversation that is much more likely to reach mutual understanding and agreement or compromise.
To control arguing over fundamental attitudes toward money:
1. Establish a budget. For some couples, a very detailed and strict budget with many categories works best. For others, general guidelines with frequent special circumstances work better. Begin your discussion of creating a budget by agreeing on how flexible you choose for your budget to be. Then work on the categories and the monthly amounts.
2. Seek to understand your key beliefs about money, especially in those areas in which you hold differing beliefs. In such a discussion, attempt to focus on stating your own beliefs clearly and on understanding your partner's beliefs. Avoid saying anything negative about your partner's beliefs until you have written down a statement of both spouses' points of view. Then continue to refrain from being negative or argumentative.
3. Seek ways to honor your partner's beliefs without abandoning your own. If one of you believes, "If we've got the money, we should spend it," and the other cautions, "We need to put aside a large fund for a rainy day," it is going to take considerable restraint to avoid frequent conflict. In a situation such as that, your only hope for success lies in reaching a compromise at the fundamental level, and then considering each detail decision only in the light of the overall compromise agreement. For example, you believe you should save 10% of your income, your spouse believes in credit card debt, and you have reached a compromise agreement to neither save nor borrow. Now the question arises whether you can afford a vacation. To be true to your high-level compromise and to avoid argument, you must both consider the vacation question only in the context of the compromise budget, and not allow your feelings toward that budget to weigh in.
Especially if you have fundamentally differing views toward money, focus on your love for each other and on your desire to honor your partner whenever you feel your temper begin to rise. Look at the big picture, and ask whether this issue is simply a detail of a larger difference in attitude toward money, and whether that larger difference is amenable to compromise.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
We must become the change we wish to see in the world.
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.
An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.
God has no religion. Each one prays to God according to his own light.
Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
Everyone who wills can hear the inner voice. It is within everyone.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.
I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.
If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.
It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.
Man lives freely only by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him.
Nobody can hurt me without my permission.
Peace is its own reward.
The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.
There is more to life than increasing its speed.
Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.
Though we may know Him by a thousand names, He is one and the same to us all.
Conversations with God are very different from the usual nature of prayer. Prayers are commonly only in one direction - the one praying speaks and hopes God is listening. Prayers also tend to focus on asking for specific things or outcomes one wants, rather than seeking to better understand the mind of God.
Some of you already have daily chats with God. Some, like my Mother while she was among us, have a daily talk with Jesus. Others, are sure that the idea of a personal two-way conversation with God is poppycock. For those who have not yet experienced an intimate exchange of thoughts and feelings with God, let me offer a few suggestions for beginning the process.
1. Don't expect a blinding light on the road to Damascus. Don't expect a booming voice offering you stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed. For most of us, the voice of God is very subtle, and can only be heard when we pay attention and listen.
2. Believe. Because the voice of God is usually a quiet voice, the slightest degree of skepticism allows us to dismiss God's message as just a daydream or as the result of something we ate for breakfast.
3. For some, conversations with God occur spontaneously. For others, structure and intent work better. Try the following sequence and see if it helps:
... Exercise or take a quiet walk for at least half an hour to quiet your body.
... Stand or sit quietly while breathing deeply for five minutes to quiet your mind. If you know Qigong or Yoga, these are even more effective ways of quieting your body and mind.
... In total silence, sit with your back straight, your hands on your thighs with palms upward, and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your head slightly, close your eyes lightly, and raise your eyes. It is natural, and a sign that you are open to communication, if your eyelids begin to flutter.
... State your affirmation that you are in communication with God, and begin your conversation.
4. For some people, the voice of God expresses itself better in writing. Try holding a pen as you talk to God, and let His words flow onto your paper with as little thought as possible on your part.
Don't be discouraged if intimacy with God evades you at first. You are equally the child of God whether you are able to tune in to a personal dialog with God, or whether stress, worry, and fear interfere and create static on the line. Seek out others who do share intimate conversations with God and let them share with you the comfort they receive from direct communication.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
– Mary Anne Radmacher
When you give yourself over to a specific service, check in and determine if you are experiencing any reluctant or resentment. You govern your decisions. Any activity that we come to with joy, embracing it fully, is a more rewarding one.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Today is the bridge between acceptance and faith. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie
It is not our place to know the mind of God. God knows what is best in the long run - best for each of us individually, and best for humanity as a whole. This is often very difficult to accept when we see war and disease in the world and experience physical and emotional suffering in ourselves, our family, and our friends. I consider this belief in God's infinite power and ultimate wisdom to be the true test of faith.
Today is the bridge between the past, regarding which we unconditionally accept that everything has occurred according to God's plan, and a future where we place our unconditional trust in God's omnipotence and God's benevolent design for our lives.
A personal note: Usually I use the word Spirit rather than God, and avoid using a masculine pronoun, in an attempt to be more inclusive. While I made an exception today, please substitute Spirit, My Higher Power, Universe, the One, or whatever name creates comfort for you. There are seven billion names for Spirit, and I honor yours.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Consider the distinction between affluence and riches. Affluence is a state of mind. I can perceive affluence regardless of my external circumstances. The Universe responds favorably when I request affluence. I receive the feeling of having everything I need. Sometimes I actually receive earthly riches. Always, I receive a satisfied feeling with whatever the Universe deems is best for me. Whether I receive financial gain or not, I truly receive affluence.
Whenever you turn to the power of prayer or to the "Law of Attraction" or to the power of intention, consider making your request more general and less specific. Ask for health, inner peace, love, and affluence, rather than asking for fewer wrinkles, a trip to Hawaii, a hot date, or a new car.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Always question WHY you are doing something. Is it a free-will gift or an obligation? That which is done out of a feeling of obligation is unworkable as a substitute for a gift. Obligation creates a feeling of resentment on your part, and evokes resentment rather than gratitude on the part of the recipient.
Give your time and efforts freely or not at all. When you are tempted to say, "Oh, if I have to, I'll skip my golf game and watch my daughter play soccer," don't do it. Either generate the heart-felt emotion to make the free-will gift, "I'd love to watch your game today, Sandy," or the honesty to decline the request gracefully. Martyrdom doesn't create happiness for any of the parties involved. An honest, "No" is preferable to a coerced "Yes."
Thursday, May 7, 2009
"Alcoholic" is one of those words that raises high emotions. We tend to think of an alcoholic as someone who is violent, dangerous, and self destructive. We may also visualize an alcoholic as being selfish and not caring about anyone but themself. Sometimes those stereotypes are appropriate, but often they aren't.
By definition, and alcoholic is someone addicted to consuming alcohol, but how they behave when intoxicated, and the extent of their addiction vary widely. In addition, the word alcoholic is often used as a condemnation of someone who drinks more than their spouse would prefer.
So when can a loving spouse reasonably remain with an alcoholic, and when is it time to leave?
With one huge difference, the criteria for deciding the future of your relationship are the same whether your spouse is alcoholic or not:
1. If your spouse is physically violent or threatens physical violence, you must leave now - today. This is true whether your partner is drinking or just angry. It doesn't matter if they promise they will never hurt you again. It doesn't even matter if they promise to get help for their addiction. Violence or threats are cause to leave right now and seek safety.
2. If you feel safe and you are happy in your relationship, you have no cause to leave. Even if your spouse drinks too much for their own good, and even if they are unwilling to address their addiction, accept them as they are, love them, and don't pester them with demands to change their behavior. Of course you stand ready to support a decision on their part to get help in defeating their addiction, but you can't live their life for them.
3. If you are seriously unhappy because of any aspect of your relationship, consider leaving your partner. Whether the cause of your suffering is your spouse's addiction, philandering, angry outbursts, demeaning attitude toward you, or any other cause, it is your responsibility to take care of yourself.
The one exception to the general rule of maximizing your own well-being occurs when your partner makes a voluntary commitment to treatment for addiction and continuously follows up on that commitment. As long as you feel safe and you continue to see commitment and improvement, hold on. If your partner's progress turns to frequent backsliding, end the battle and take care of yourself by getting out of the relationship if you are suffering.
If children are involved in your decision, understand that their best interest is not well served by living with an addictive or hostile parent. Read Don't Stay in a Broken Marriage For the Children
I am a unique expression of the universal fabric of creation.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Each of us shares a unity with Spirit and all life, and simultaneously each of us is an individual with free will. There is a duality to us as separate and as part of the whole.
Celebrate both your uniqueness and your connection with all that is.
During his training, a baseball player strives to make each swing better than the last. The repetition of a faulty swing would be worse than useless. It would ingrain bad habits. The same is true of emotional responses. If we allow ourselves to continue to have the same angry responses, we just entrench our anger habit. But if we strive - through consciousness, visualization, and coaching - to moderate our anger response over time, we can train ourselves to respond to events as we choose, without anger. You can't magically be free from anger tomorrow, but you can put yourself on a training program that will reduce the frequency and intensity of your anger response day by day, year by year.
My training advice for moderating the anger response is:
1. Consciously practice responding with a little less anger each time a situation provokes you.
2. Practice visualizing aggravating situations and rehearse the response you choose to make to such events.
3. Have patience. It took you years to get so angry. It may take years to reduce anger down to a minor twinge.
4. Understand that you can never completely eliminate the anger response. Minimizing anger requires lifelong conscious practice.
The preceding advice is intended for those who are quick to anger, and who display their anger outwardly. But what about people who don't appear to anger? Some people who don't show anger have trained themselves to moderate their anger response, but many others internalize their anger rather than expressing it. While withheld anger may save family and friends from having to endure an outburst, unexpressed anger is even more damaging to its owner than is anger that is verbalized and acted upon.
For those who suffer from repressed anger, there must be an intermediate stop along the path from anger to freedom. First the anger must be expressed. While I believe that most people can significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of their anger responses through the training steps above, overcoming repressed anger is usually not a do-it-yourself proposition. Professional counseling - often including the physical expression of anger in a controlled environment - can reveal and heal the childhood traumas which triggered the lifelong habit of repressing intense anger and hostility. Once a person has become able to express their anger, it becomes imperative to immediately begin moderating that response, with the goal of feeling no anger, either repressed or outward.
The view that there are benefits to anger has become common, but I believe that statements such as, "When anger is channeled and controlled, it can be a catalyst for much positive change," represent a distorted view toward the anger response. The argument goes that if we didn't get angry, we would become pushovers, but the assumption that we can have values and stand up for those values only by getting angry is faulty.
The other view toward anger, with which I totally concur is, "Anger is now known to be quite detrimental to us physically and psychologically." We don't need anger to be assertive any more than we need a stiff drink in order to stand up for our beliefs. As a example, if someone doesn't repay a loan to me, I can be assertive in demanding the repayment, or I can bring legal action to recover the money, at least as well if I am not angry. And more important, I will be far healthier, both physically and emotionally.
Anger is a destructive emotion that becomes instinctive over the years. Through conscious training, the anger response - whether in the form of outbursts or repressed - can be moderated over time, until it is virtually eliminated.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
The book of life is filled with incoherent riddles. Life’s true lessons are inscribed in a corner of the margin - Jonathan Lockwood Huie
The book of life is filled with incoherent riddles.
Life’s true lessons are inscribed in a corner of the margin.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Mary Anne Radmacher: Your informed, “no,” to a particular service allows another to offer their gifted and unreserved, “yes.”
Your informed, “no,” to a particular service allows another
to offer their gifted and unreserved, “yes.”
- Mary Anne Radmacher
Often it falls to a busy and talented person to learn of an opportunity for service. The opportunity is valid, and beneficial but it might be outside their passions, or interest. It is an important reminder I offer myself – just because I am capable of doing a thing is not the motivation for doing a thing. Passing on a viable opportunity for service may very well mean that the next person would be acting from their gifts and passion to embrace it with a resounding, “Yes.”
Monday, May 4, 2009
My joy is the golden sunset
giving thanks for another day.
Gratitude itself is a source of joy.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.
- John Muir
Sunday, May 3, 2009
sharpen your pencil as you create the story of your life.
- mary anne radmache
Ask today as you consider the many choices in your view – what is the highest and best use of your talents, skills and abilities? When you answer that, seize the opportunity to sharpen those qualities even more sharply by applying your focused effort.
How to get happy
- mary anne radmache
Jot a hand written note to a friend you've been out of touch from for awhile... and post it today. Maybe your friend's a little low, too, and could use a good word. While engaged in lifting someone else up, you also raise your own spirits.
Understand that being downsized, cut back, or just plain fired isn't likely to make you feel good. It creates fear - How will I pay the bills? How long will it take to find another job that pays as well? What about medical insurance? Depending on your previous level of self worth, losing your job can be a glancing blow to your self esteem or it can be emotionally devastating. Even if your family and friends are supportive, job loss strains family ties, and if you have a marriage or a relationship with a relative that is on the brink, being out of work can snap the connection.
In the moment, job loss generates feelings that range from someone having thrown a brick at you to perhaps having had a whole building fall on you. But how will the experience appear when you look back on it ten years from now? Remember how you felt when your first love ended? From the perspective of years later, you are probably either greatly relieved you aren't married to that person, or you look back upon what was then a major catastrophe as a minor setback. Remember the day your lemonade stand didn't have any customers? Recall the season you dropped what would have been the winning touchdown pass? Everything looks different as it recedes into our history.
Take a deep breath and imagine yourself ten years from now looking back at the time you got laid off. Visualize how you want your life to be then - your career - your income - your home - how you spend your time - how you interact with your friends and family - your self confidence and self esteem. Perhaps your visualization includes holding a salaried job, but you may dream of being self employed - owning your own company, being an artisan, or a consultant.
No one chooses to lose their job - we describe it differently when it's our choice. But if you have become unemployed against your will, take this opportunity to design your future:
1. Consider becoming self employed, or a consultant, or starting your own business.
2. Evaluate your hobbies and interests as potential income producing activities. If you love woodworking, think about becoming a custom cabinet maker. If you have a musical, artistic, or literary talent, consider turning professional or teaching your skill.
3. If you aren't sure that you want a career change, go ahead and send out resumes and ask everyone you know about finding a new job. Then, while you are waiting for responses, test out other directions. Pursue marketing your skill in those areas that truly interest you. Whether you have always wanted to start an on-line storefront, teach trumpet, or become a personal shopper, give it a try. By the time you get a job offer in your previous field, you may be relieved to go back, or you may have found confidence in your new career direction.
4. Volunteer your time. You'll feel better about yourself. It will improve your self esteem. You will meet interesting people and perhaps find a job through the networking opportunity. You can try out new skills and interests that have the potential to become full time income producing opportunities.
5. Use the time between jobs to enhance your outlook on life. While seminars and even books may not be in your budget at this time, there are vast on-line resources, as well as public libraries, to support your personal growth - enhance your self-esteem, find greater happiness, break addictive habits, manage stress, increase your physical and emotional wellness.
6. Begin healthful practices. Take a daily walk - preferably an early morning walk in complete silence. Learn Yoga, Qigong, or another discipline that quiets the mind and increases wellness through breathing, gentle stretching, and focus - adopt whichever one you choose as a daily practice. Use the forced change to improve your habits - stop smoking and reduce alcohol, rather than letting your cravings take advantage of you at this vulnerable time.
7. Spend time with your loved ones. A stressful job often leaves little time or emotional energy for friends and family. Commit to spending more time and higher quality time with your loved ones. If you feel depressed, consciously form a smile on your face and act upbeat until the happy feeling becomes genuine. Support your loved ones and gratefully accept their support.
8. Know you are never alone. Whatever your spiritual beliefs and practices, turn to them in this time of challenge, and know that goodness always pours forth - in its own time and manner. Have patience, and faith in your future.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Do real life people actually fall in love with the idea of being in love? Unfortunately, it is actually quite common. Someone wants desperately to have the husband or wife of their dreams. They visualize the vine-covered cottage with the white picket fence. They choose the colors for the nursery. They design all the aspects of their married life. So what happens when mister or miss "Right" offers a brief smile?
Just as in the comedies, a person who is in love with the idea of love sees prospective partners through the lens of idealism. The reaction is, "This must be the one. They are so perfect - the match of my dreams." Is that person they just met a perfect match? It's unlikely their friends think so. So what happened? That person with the cute smile was not much more than a mirror for the hopes and dreams of the one in love with love.
If the relationship proceeds in spite of the warnings of friends and family, a grand crash awaits later. The idealism and vision of a perfect marriage explodes into a firestorm as soon as it becomes clear that the prospective partner was far from matching the idealized image.
Might you be in love with love? Might you be dating someone who is more in love with the idea of love than in love with you? Consider these questions about yourself and the person you are dating.
Before you met, did you have a clear image of who you wanted to marry? Perhaps you knew that you wanted to find a partner who is loving, kind, responsible, likes kids, isn't possessive or domineering, doesn't smoke or do drugs, and holds compatible beliefs about religion. It is important to have established standards such as those on which to evaluate a prospective mate. However if your image of the person you want to marry is highly visual or sensual, you may be in love with the idea of love.
Does your image sound like, "My husband is going to be six feet, with black wavy hair, no hair on his chest, big hands. We're going to have three children, and my husband is going to be the little league coach and boy scout leader for the boys." Or, "I'm going to marry a petite blond with big firm breasts. My wife is always going to wear a dress, and she is never going to work after the kids are born." Those sorts of images don't provide any room to marry a real person. No one could ever live up to those fantasies, and a relationship based on such fixed images is bound to crash.
While the preceding paragraph presents an exaggerated picture of falling in love with love, just tone it down until it matches what you have observed in a few of your friends. Then ask whether either you or the person you are dating has any tendency toward being in love with a fixed image of how a partner should be.
Great relationships begin with two people who are each self confident and who come to each other with the openness to see and accept the other as a unique and wonderful person. If there is true love and an alignment of fundamental values, choose to join your life with your new partner and vow never to criticize their nature - the essence that makes them uniquely themselves.
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