Saturday, February 28, 2009

Louise L Hay - Loving Yourself

Achieving Your Dreams

The Miracle Minute
Achieving Your Dreams

Most of us enter adulthood with dreams of achieving financial freedom, a house in the country, a career we love, yearly vacations in Hawaii, a cabin on the beach, owning our own firm and perfect health. People achieving these things (high achievers) are crystal clear dreamers, yet very few dreamers become high achievers.

In terms of talent and golden opportunities, most people just sit on the sidelines. Occasionally they consider getting up and putting their life together, but they never seem to find the time. To appear busy they attend meetings, listen to guessers, find fault with others, re-revise the same basic plans they have been playing with for years and often have coffee with other low achievers.

As all high achievers have discovered, dreams and desires can be achieved when people are willing to pay the prices involved. How can you uncover the prices? By listening to the people who have already achieved the same types of dreams that you have.

If business success is what you desire, find people who have already succeeded in the same basic game and listen to them. And a painful trap that you want to avoid is following people who say they know, when they're really guessing.

If improved health is what you seek, ignore what the sick people say. If sick people had the right answers they would be healthy. Find people who have faced a painful illness and gotten better ... and now know how to remain healthy.

If peace of mind is your desire, find people who already have it. How will you know if they've truly got it? It won't be anything they say. It will be how they make you feel. Individuals at peace with themselves radiate peace.

The first half of my life I listened to "fake-it-till-you-make-it" and "appearances-are-everything" highly polished near-sighted guessers. Guess where that got me?

No matter what you want, the fastest ways to get there can be found by asking questions and following the advice of people who have already paid their dues to achieve their dreams. Life's basic math is the same for everyone.

One additional thing that I had to do was stop trying to put my life together "my way" so I could hear what the high achievers were trying to share. Once I saw what they meant and applied the principles involved I began to transform myself into a more effective human being. And one by one I began to achieve more of my dreams.

If I could do that, so can you.

Dick Warn
Copyright 2009 Richard S. Warn & Associates

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Thought Meter

"There are always flowers for those who
want to see them."
-Henri Matisse

While sitting in my sunroom this morning, I remembered a very interesting dream. Here in the States, the police have a mechanism for checking how fast people drive in busy neighborhoods by using something called a radar speed sign - a sign that flashes your speed as you drive by. In my dream, I was driving down a neighborhood street when I came upon one of these signs. However, as I drove toward it, the sign didn't flash my speed, it flashed my thoughts - the actual thoughts I was thinking in that very moment (anxious thoughts about being late for an appointment). I was so amazed by what I saw that I wondered if it was my imagination. So I turned around to drive by again. Sure enough, as I pulled up, the sign flashed my actual thoughts: "I can't believe what I'm seeing."

When I woke from the dream I laid in bed for a long time thinking about what life would be like if each of us had a flashing "thought meter" on our street. Just imagine. Each day, as we traveled to work or to and from errands, we'd be able to catch a glimpse of what we're thinking. As you consider this idea, what thoughts would you see on most days? Would a majority of them be positive, life-enhancing thoughts, or worrisome ones that steal your energy?

If you find yourself in the latter category, don't be alarmed. The truth is most people live with a majority of less-than-desirable thoughts running around in their heads. Rather than beat yourself up, better to slow down and focus on getting a better reading on the meter :). This plan begins with awareness.

Here's something to keep in mind: Awareness raises consciousness. Read that last line again because it's important. Just becoming aware of your typical thought patterns will actually stimulate a move toward emotional health and balance. That's because the moment you notice a negative thought, you then have the ability to shift to something more positive. And then the fun begins. When you focus your mind on something good, it creates a good feeling, and that good feeling fuels you to make better choices. Better choices in turn, give you a better life. Let's look at an example of what I mean.

Let's imagine, like so many people right now, that you're worried about paying your bills. Once you turn on your thought meter, you notice that your thoughts are focused on how little money you have. If you make a choice to shift these thoughts to a powerful affirmation like, "Abundance flows into my life every day in miraculous ways," and you keep returning to this thought, it automatically makes you feel empowered to change your circumstances. This feeling of being empowered - a life-affirming feeling - will lead you to find actions you can take right now to improve your situation. Then, once you identify an action and take it, you not only change the course of your life, you reinforce your positive thoughts and the cycle starts all over again.

So, the first step toward success is to turn on your thought meter. To that end, check out this week's Take Action Challenge for three ways to do just that.

Take Action Challenge Ready to monitor your thoughts? Here are three things you can do to create your own thought meter right now:

1. Set an alarm on your computer, your wristwatch, or a nearby clock for every 30 minutes, and when it goes off, notice what you're thinking.

2. Purchase a big sheet of colored stickers with fun images on them and place these stickers around your home and office. Then, each time you see one, stop and notice what you're thinking.

3. Place several check marks on your daily calendar (or in your PDA) at various times throughout the day and when you come upon one, stop and notice what you're thinking.

Get the idea? Once you become aware of any patterns related to your negative thoughts, develop a simple phrase that will start to counteract these unhelpful thinking patterns. Start with just one area of your life and watch what happens.

Monday, February 23, 2009

No Illusions, No Resistances

by Lao Tzu

10. Can you coax your mind from its wandering

and keep it to the original Oneness?

Can you let your body become

supple as a new born child’s?

Can you cleanse your inner vision

until you see nothing but the light?

Can you love people and lead them

without imposing your will?

Can you deal with the most vital matters

by letting events take their course?

Can you step back from your own mind

and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,

having without possessing,

acting with no expectations,

leading and not trying to control,

This is the supreme virtue.

63. Act without doing,

work without effort.

Think of the large as small,

and the few as many.

Confront the difficult

while it is still easy;

accomplish the great task

with a series of small acts.

The Master never reaches for the great:

thus she achieves greatness.

When she runs into a difficulty,

she stops and gives herself to it.

she doesn’t cling to her own comfort:

thus problems are no problem for her.

50. The Master gives himself up

to whatever the moment brings.

He knows that he is going to die,

and he has nothing left to hold on to;

No illusions in his mind,

no resistances in his body.

He doesn’t think about his actions;

they flow from the core of his being.

He holds nothing back from life;

therefore he is ready for death,

as a man is ready for sleep

after a good day’s work.

--Lao Tzu (Translated by Stephen Mitchell), From Tao Te Ching

Receive, Accept and Express

As you begin this day go within and feel the emerging presence of a power that is at one with the calling of your heart. Connect with that power from a mindset that is free from any thought of lack and limitation grounded in consciousness of infinite possibility. Know that whatever it s that you are seeking when you are open and willing to receive all good things will come your way and exactly what it is you are seeking will be seeking you. There will be a perfect harmony being played and you will hear it loud and clear. When you begin to accept the truth that everywhere you look an opportunity is presenting itself you begin to look at life with a new set of fresh eyes. Nothing will hold you back because everything is here to support you and is designed to give you all you need to express yourself in a confident and powerful way. The key to LIFE is to give yourself permission to RECEIVE, ACCEPT AND EXPRESS all the divine intelligence that is calling you to be more and more of who you are.

The thought of anything other than greatness and excellence is just a mere mirage of what is the real truth about who you are. Everything you are is excellence, magnificence, brilliance, genius, unconditional love and unlimited divine intelligence. The DNA of your being is one of perfection. There is nothing that needs to be fixed about you. Rather all YOU need to do is to awaken to these truths about who you are. When you do every day beginning with today will be one of glorious and spectacular accomplishments. Everything will be in alignment with the vision you have for yourself. Your purpose will be passionately expressed because you are willing to RECEIVE, ACCEPT AND EXPRESS the calling of your life through all the actions you take. You will make all the right choices and the world before you will open up into the divine garden of creativity and infinite imagination that is always present. YOU are ready to s tep into it and capture the perfect essence of who you are.

"What you are thinking right now will guide you towards your dream. Is it a positive expression of who you are? Make sure you make it one."

I AM willing to RECEIVE, ACCEPT AND EXPRESS my true calling
My LIFE is a perfect expression of divine intelligence
I see hear and feel the presence of my excellence and magnificence
I AM in the flow of life and LIFE flows through ME
I know all things are possible for I AM Infinite possibility
I step into the brilliance of all my creativity powerfully

It's your day...MAKE IT A GREAT ONE!

-Paul Hoffman

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran

“The Prophet” by kahlil Gibran was originally published in 1923. It has since become a spiritual classic and for many years now a firm favourite of mine!

"The Prophet is told in the form of a story with the finest interlace of deeply inspirational poetry.

Almustafa approaches the dawning of the ultimate spiritual liberation. As an instrument for divine expression he turns a mirror back upon the journey of human life from birth until death, inviting acceptance of all things, deeming both joy and pain of equal merit during the journey back to the source. In fact if he were to feel pain, he would welcome it with open arms counting it a blessing and opportunity to realise that he is not that pain, he is infact beyond all of it.

Gibran masterfully uses words to signpost the way to that which is through and beyond all words or comprehension. With artful poetic symbology he articulates the silent, boundless, nameless gift of profound inner peace inherent within us all.

"And then a scholar said, Speak of Talking.

And he answered, saying:

You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;

And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.

And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.

For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.

There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.

The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape.

And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.

And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words.

In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.

When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.

Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;

For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered when the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no more."

-excerpt from a forum posted on holisticlocal

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Perils of Resistance Just for the Sake of Resisting

I talk with lots of people every week who are caught up in a “tug of war”.

They just don’t know how to stop fighting against and resisting good in their lives.

Now they say they want all those good things; love, money, health, happiness, but they really don’t.

What they really want is what they are getting, a tug of war.

Most of us learned as children to say no just because we could. Parents will remember the first 100 times their little one said “NO” to everything.

They resisted getting dressed, eating, following to the car, getting in and out of the car, on and on..

Little children do this as a way of understanding their power over themselves and their lives. Knowing how to say no and mean it is a good thing.. unless you just don’t learn to say yes.

There is “only a stream of well being”, says Abraham. This is all there is.

I get that most people are not experiencing it. What they are experiencing is lack and lots of it.

You don’t do it on purpose, you’re not really even aware of it.

Yet, you are still playing the game of tug of war, resisting abundance, loving relationships, health, wealth and happiness.


When you focus most of your attention on defending why something or someone is in your life.. you just ask for more of the same.

When you argue to be right rather than letting your desire for feeling good take priority, you are resisting.

We see this all around us, even in politics these days. Rather than working together to solve a problem we create, politicians and individuals would rather argue and prove themselves right.

Nothing is right about this. Arguing just to be arguing is problem creation, not problem solving.

We humans have a tendency to create lots of “problems” for ourselves so that we can get a better idea of what we really do want to interact with. These problems encourage us to reach higher, think differently and make exciting choices leading to exciting new “realities” to experience.

This is natural. What’s working against us is when you don’t know when or how to stop problem creating and get on to the solution creating.

Ask yourself what would happen if you just let go easily. How would you feel? What would be the reaction of others if you stopped arguing, stopped fighting and just chose joy?

The choice is really whether you would rather be happy or be right..

If you can stop resisting long enough to discover what would happen if you chose joy over being right, you would discover a whole new energy to create your life with.

Needing to be right is the ego trying to gain power. It reflects your insecurity and doubts about your self worth.

Being happy says that you are ok with you, you know how wonderful, powerful, creative and worthy you are.

What’s your choice?

-Donna Devane

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The second chance

The Sybilines, witches capable of foretelling the future, lived in ancient Rome. One fine day one of them appeared at Emperor Tiberius’ palace with nine books; she said that therein lay the future of the Empire, and asked for ten talents of gold for the texts. Tiberius found the price too high and refused to buy them.

The Sybiline left, burned three of the books and returned with the remaining six. "These cost ten talents of gold," she said. Tiberius laughed and told her to leave; how could she have the nerve to sell six books for the same price as nine?

The Sybiline burned another three books and went back to Tiberius with the only three remaining books: "They cost the same ten talents of gold." Intrigued, Tiberius ended up buying the three volumes and could only read a small part of the future.

I was telling this story to Monica, my agent and friend, while we drove to Portugal. When I finished, I realized that we were passing through Ciudad Rodrigo, on the Spanish border. There, four years before, I was offered a book, which I did not buy.

During my first author tour to promote my books in Europe, I had decided to have lunch in that town. Afterwards, I went to visit the cathedral, where I met a priest. “See how the afternoon sun makes everything more beautiful in here,” he said. I liked this comment, we talked a little, and he showed me around the altars, cloisters, and courtyards of the temple. In the end, he offered me a book he had written about the church; but I did not wish to buy it. After I left, I felt guilty; I am a writer, and was in Europe trying to sell my work – why not buy the priest’s book, out of solidarity? But then I completely forgot the episode. Until now.

I stopped the car; it was not by chance that I had remembered the story of the Sybiline books. We walked to the square in front of the church, where a woman was looking up at the sky.

- Good afternoon. – I’ve come to see a priest who wrote a book about this church.

- The priest, whose name was Stanislau, died a year ago – she answered.

I felt deeply saddened. Why had I not given Father Stanislau the same joy I felt whenever I saw someone with one of my books?

- He was one of the kindest men I have ever met – continued the woman.- He came from a humble family, but became a specialist in archeology; he helped my son obtain a college grant.

I told her what I was doing there.

- There’s no need to feel guilty, my son – she said. – Go and visit the cathedral again.

I thought this must be a sign, and did as she said. There was just one priest in the confession booth, awaiting the faithful, although there were none just then. I went over to him; the priest gestured for me to kneel down, but I interrupted him.

- I don’t want to make a confession. I just came to buy a book about this church, written by a man named Stanislau.

The priest’s eyes glinted. He came out of the confession booth and returned a few minutes later with a copy of the book.

- How marvelous of you to have come especially for that! – he said. – I am Father Stanislau’s brother, and this fills me with pride! He must be in heaven, content at seeing his work considered so important!

Among all the priests there, I happened to have run into Stanislau’s brother. I paid for the book, thanked him and he embraced me. Just as I was leaving, I heard his voice.

- See how the afternoon sun makes everything more beautiful in here! – he said.

They were the same words Father Stanislau had spoken to me four years earlier. In life, there is always a second chance.

-Paulo Coelho

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Believe God Wants You to Know

On this day of your life, My Friend, I believe God wants you to know...

....that love is the center and the core of everything,

and that Self is the place where all love must begin.

Those who love others grandly are those who love

themselves grandly. Those who have a high toleration

and acceptance of others are those who have a high

toleration and acceptance of themselves.

You cannot show another a part of you that you

cannot show yourself. Therefore, begin where all

growth, where all evolution, where all love must begin:

with the person in the mirror.

Will you not love yourself grandly today? For the

world's sake?

Love, Your Friend....

Neale Donald Walsch

The Awakened Heart

The Awakened Heart
Good Morning and Great Day...

The rhythm of your life is expressed through the connection you have with the calling of your heart. The art of creating the life you desire begins with listening to the masterpiece of magnificence that resides in your heart. THE AWAKENED HEART is one that dreams big and bold free from any thoughts of lack and limitation. You are given permission to express the desires that are seeking to emerge from your soul. To capture that which is the DNA of your beingness will always look like an opportunity of possibility when you think in the most positive of ways. This will guide you towards the actions you need to take to manifest those dreams you now see as becoming your reality. It is therefore so important to listen to the voice of your heat as you make the choices and take the actions needed that will bring you closer to the success you are seeking. It is in the listening that the answers will come.

The universe wants to give you everything you set an intention to have and only knows that when your determination is strong and your vision is clear. This is the signal that you send to the universe that you are ready to receive all the fruits and gifts of possibility that are ready to effortlessly come into your life. When you are ready to receive all you need to accomplish anything you set out to do then the floodgates of creativity open up and the dynamic ideas that are always flowing will organize themselves in perfect divine order. Your life will begin to look like everything you imagined it could with ease and grace. THE AWAKENED HEART holds the key to the freedom to be anything you want to be. You have the power right where you are to create the life you desire and there is nothing that can stop you except YOU. Be your biggest supporter and let go of anything that gets in the way of releasing the brilliance that you are.

"In every moment of everyday there is a voice that always says be strong be bold and most of all be YOU...Listen to it. It holds the answers to having a magnificent life."

I AM creating magnificence in all I do
I see my vision with perfect clarity
I open my heart to the calling of my soul
I reveal my true essence for all to see
The divine expression that is me
Today I walk in the positive possibility of infinite opportunity I get to be

It's your day...MAKE IT A GREAT ONE!

Paul Hoffman

Saturday, February 14, 2009


By Morrie Shechtman
Helping people move from this "love cures everything" pipe dream to a healthier relationship has gotten rave reviews from clients of the Shechtmans' and hate mail from other therapists who endorse this superficial type relationship. View here

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stuck in the Rut of Why

Life happens.

That’s the fact of things. Life happens bringing about circumstances in a constant flow.

Each situation is the result of your giving permission for those things to be in your life.

Many times people get stuck in the rut of, Why did this happen? Why is this happening to me?

Round and round you go with these thoughts, second guessing yourself or looking for someone else to place the blame on.

There is not blame. These things are in your life because you made choices that said you agreed with experiencing these situations.

That’s the why in a nutshell. You chose.

Now the important question is what will you do with it?

As long as you stay stuck in why you don’t move forward. It’s like being stuck in mud, spinning your wheels franticly making no progress at all.

When you move over to the what aspect, things begin taking shape in a new way.

What do I want from this situation?

What energy do I want to give this circumstance?

What insights do I wish to understand about my choices and beliefs?

Everything comes bearing a gift if you will look for it.

Every situation offers wisdom and clarity of purpose.

Whatever you find yourself experiencing right now has a flip side. Perhaps this flip side is exactly why you signed up for this “problem”.

While it isn’t set in stone that we experience hardship in order to understand our desire for ease and joy of living, most of us do it that way.

We create a circumstance that isn’t pleasant and become aware of what it is that we really are wanting to experience.

Problem is that most get hung up in the asking why over and over, giving all their energy to the present situation rather than turning their attention to what it is that they really do want.

Only asking why makes you feel powerless, asking what empowers you for change and creation.

Begin today asking what of yourself. What do you really want to experience?

What can you do to open yourself to change?

What can you do to move yourself closer in the direction of your goals?

-Donna DeVane

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Study of Splenda Reveals Shocking Information About Potential Harmful Effects

James Turner, the chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health, has expressed shock and outrage after reading a new report from scientists outlining the dangers of the artificial sweetener Splenda (sucralose).

In animals examined for the study, Splenda reduced the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50 percent, increased the pH level in the intestines, contributed to increases in body weight and affected P-glycoprotein (P-gp) levels in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected.

The P-gp effect could result in medications used in chemotherapy, AIDS treatment and treatments for heart conditions being shunted back into the intestines, rather than being absorbed by the body.

According to Turner, "The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."


Globe Newswire September 28, 2008

Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A 2008;71(21):1415-29

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

It’s very important to realize that Splenda (sucralose) is actually NOT sugar, despite its marketing slogan “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar”. Rather it’s a chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, and with detrimental health effects to match.

Splenda was approved by the FDA in 1998 as a tabletop sweetener and for use in products such as baked goods, nonalcoholic beverages, chewing gum, frozen dairy desserts, fruit juices, and gelatins. Sucralose is also permitted as a general-purpose sweetener for all processed foods.

The approval was given after the FDA supposedly reviewed more than 110 animal and human safety studies, but as you’ll soon find out, out of these 110 studies, only two were human studies, and the longest one was conducted for four days!

There’s overwhelming evidence that consuming artificial sweeteners will likely wreak havoc on your body. Previous news has centered mainly around artificial sweeteners’ ability to impair your appetite regulation and leading to weight gain.

For example, it’s been discovered that diet soda increases your risk of metabolic syndrome and, ultimately, heart disease.

However, the study mentioned above, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, found even further disturbing news besides weight gain. Splenda:reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent increases the pH level in your intestines, and affects a glycoprotein in your body that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you’re on certain medications. They also found unmistakable evidence that Splenda is absorbed by fat, contrary to previous claims.

It’s truly disturbing that Splenda can destroy up to 50 percent of your healthy intestinal bacteria, as these bacteria help maintain your body's overall balance of friendly versus unfriendly micro-organisms, and support your general health. Many people are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to choosing highly processed foods. This is why a high quality probiotic is one of the very few supplements I highly recommend for nearly everyone.

The Diet Fallacy

The belief that consuming artificially sweetened foods and drinks will help you to lose or maintain weight is a carefully orchestrated deception. So if you are still opting for diet choices for this reason, please understand that you have been sorely misled.

In reality, these diet foods and drinks can cause serious distortions in your biochemistry and ruin your body's ability to control calories. As a matter of fact, it’s been shown that diet soft drinks can double your risk of obesity!

Nearly a decade ago, studies were already revealing that artificial sweeteners can:

Stimulate your appetite
Increase carbohydrate cravings
Stimulate fat storage and weight gain

Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States still recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as an acceptable alternative to sugar.

Now, I am definitely not a fan of sugar, but if I had to choose between sugar and any artificial sweetener, I would choose sugar, hands down, without question. I strongly believe artificial sweeteners are even more dangerous to your health than an excess of sugar.

The Health Dangers of Splenda

According to James Turner, the chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health:

"This report followed accepted policies and procedures and the results make clear the potential for disturbing side effects from the ingestion of Splenda.

It is like putting a pesticide in your body. And this is at levels of intake erroneously approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

A person eating two slices of cake and drinking two cups of coffee containing Splenda would ingest enough sucralose to affect the P-glycoprotein, while consuming just seven little Splenda packages reduces good bacteria."

The web site lists a variety of consumer complaints from Splenda consumption, such as:

Gastrointestinal problems
Blurred vision
Allergic reactions
Blood sugar increases
Weight gain

My site also contains a long list of personal testimonials from readers who have suffered side effects from Splenda. In fact, we have more people on our site that have reported adverse reactions to Splenda than were formally studied in the research submitted for FDA approval!

The symptoms are so numerous I can’t include them all here, but the following are common symptoms, usually noticed within a 24-hour period following consumption of Splenda products:

Skin -- Redness, itching, swelling, blistering, weeping, crusting, rash, eruptions, or hives (itchy bumps or welts). These are the most common allergic symptoms that people have.
Lungs -- Wheezing, tightness, cough, or shortness of breath.
Head -- Swelling of the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, or throat; headaches and migraines (severe headaches).
Nose -- Stuffy nose, runny nose (clear, thin discharge), sneezing.
Eyes -- Red (bloodshot), itchy, swollen, or watery.
Stomach -- Bloating, gas, pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or bloody diarrhea.
Heart -- Palpitations or fluttering.
Joints -- Joint pains or aches.
Neurological -- Anxiety, dizziness, spaced-out sensation, depression.
Beware – You Could be Consuming Splenda Without Your Knowledge

You also need to be aware of the fact that although the bulk of Splenda is sold to processed food manufacturers and soft drink bottlers, it could turn up in your medicine as well, as nearly 10 percent of all sucralose is sold to drug companies.

Many times sucralose (Splenda) will not be listed in the drug information, so there simply is no way you would know you are consuming a potentially dangerous artificial sweetener. However, if you experience any of the symptoms above even though you’re avoiding Splenda and other artificial sweeteners, then it may be worth investigating the ingredients of any medications you’re taking as well.

Splenda Has NEVER Been Proven Safe for Human Consumption

As of 2006, only six human trials have been published on Splenda. Of these six trials, only two of the trials were completed and published before the FDA approved sucralose for human consumption, and the two published trials had a grand total of 36 total human subjects.

36 people sure doesn't sound like many, but wait, it gets worse: only 23 total were actually given sucralose for testing, and here is the real kicker -- The longest trial at this time had lasted only four days, and looked at sucralose in relation to tooth decay, not human tolerance.

Even more shocking, the absorption of Splenda into the human body was studied on a grand total of six men! Based on that one human study, the FDA allowed the findings to be generalized as being representative of the entire human population. Including women, children, the elderly, and those with any chronic illness -- none of whom were ever examined.

The FDA claims they reviewed over 100 studies conducted on Splenda. What they don't tell you is that most of the studies were on animals. And, those animal studies reveal plenty of problems, such as:

-- sign of anemia -- at levels above 1,500 mg/kg/day
Increased male infertility by interfering with sperm production and vitality, as well as brain lesions at higher doses

Enlarged and calcified kidneys (McNeil stated this is often seen with poorly absorbed substances and was of no toxicological significance. The FDA Final Rule agreed that these are findings that are common in aged female rats and are not significant.)

Spontaneous abortions in nearly half the rabbit population given sucralose, compared to zero aborted pregnancies in the control group

A 23 percent death rate in rabbits, compared to a 6 percent death rate in the control group.

Chemically, Splenda is More Similar to DDT Than Sugar

Yes. Splenda bears more chemical similarity to DDT than it does to sugar.

Sucralose is in fact a synthetic chemical that was originally cooked up in a laboratory. It does start off as a sugar molecule. Then, in a five-step patented process of making sucralose, three chlorine molecules are added to a sucrose (sugar) molecule. The chemical process to make sucralose alters the chemical composition of the sugar so much that it is somehow converted to a fructo-galactose molecule.

This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature, and therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. As a result of this "unique" biochemical make-up, McNeil Nutritionals makes its claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by the body, hence it has zero calories.

But, if you look at the research (which is primarily extrapolated form animal studies) you will see that in fact an average of 15 percent of sucralose IS absorbed into your digestive system, and according to this latest study, it is also absorbed into your fat cells.

Unfortunately, if you are healthy and your digestive system works well, you may be at HIGHER risk for breaking down this product in your stomach and intestines!

Your Healthiest Alternatives

If you have a craving for sweets, rather than trying to find "healthier" ways to continue indulging in them, it is in your best interest to learn ways to relieve your cravings.

The obvious one would be to stop eating any of the products to begin with. But sweets are powerfully addictive – sugar has even been shown to be more addictive than cocaine. Stevia is a preferable natural substitute, which can be used in making most dishes and drinks.

However, complete avoidance of sweets is often necessary to break your addictive cycle, as your hormones insulin and leptin likely play an important role in your cravings.

If you are unable to achieve abstinence from sweets, your emotional connection to cravings might be an important factor for you. One of the most profound methods I know of for diminishing the effects of food cravings is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is the psychological acupressure technique routinely used in my practice to help people reduce their cravings.

There is enough evidence showing the dangers of consuming artificial sweeteners to fill an entire book -- which is exactly why I wrote Sweet Deception. If you or your loved ones drink diet beverages or eat diet foods, this book will explain how you've been deceived about the truth behind artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose -- for greed, for profits ... and at the expense of your own health.

" Use the LOA to Clean Up Your “Friend’s List”

If you think the Law of Attraction is only about material things, then you may miss the best part. The greatest treasures of your life can be in the people that surround you far more than in the things that you possess.

Even if you have a large address book and can summon fifty people to a party in an hour, that doesn’t mean that you have the right people in your life. It just means that you have many people in your world.

Yet it’s possible to be lonely in a crowd.

Once you are practicing the Law of Attraction, you start to see your world differently. You also learn how to see yourself in a new light. As you become in tune with the world instead of battling against it, you discover the immense power of positive energy.

That’s where you start to hear what you never heard before in your circle of friends. Your home takes on the positive energy you invite into it so that you attract what nurtures your goals and desires.

Suddenly the sarcasm you used to laugh at begins to feel uncomfortable. You thought that friend was funny and edgy, but now you feel a conflict as his negative energy clashes with your positive energy.

Another friend calls regularly to dump her problems on you. You’ve patiently listened and offer advice but she makes the same bad judgments over and over. You even tried to introduce her to the Law of Attraction, but she has a dozen excuses as to why it won’t work for her.

Finally you see that she doesn’t want to change. You can feel badly for her, but you need to cancel your reservation at her pity parties. Her negative energy is draining your positive energy and neither of you benefits.

Those are just a few realizations you begin to have about people in your friend circle. Some will notice the difference in you and want to know how to find the peace, prosperity and maturity that you found in the Law of Attraction.

Others will feel like you left them behind and want you to go back to your old self (if you’ve ever dieted before, it’s like those friends who take you out to throw temptations at you to see if you’ll indulge in junk food so they can feel okay with how they’re eating).

Eventually you have to make a choice - turn your back on what you know is the truth or mix with the old, negative crowd. That’s when you have to prune your friends list. As harsh as this sounds, it really isn’t.

In nature, trees are pruned at key points in order to make the tree blossom and grow stronger branches. Without pruning, the branches grow wild, are poorly supported and threaten the health of the entire tree.

The same is true in your life. As you transform yourself to maximum positive energy, you just can’t go back to the old negative ways. You have to prune your connections to pessimistic, angry and parasitic people from your inner circle of friends.

You can be gracious to them in public without bringing their negative energy into your home or spending time with them. Instead, draw into your inner circle those people whose goals and desires are similar to yours.

If none of your current group of friends fits that definition, then you turn again to the Law of Attraction to bring the right people into your circle while drawing you into circles of those who practice what you believe.

-Richard Ingersoll

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Local restaurant owner speaks to students about "Rhino Living"

Dave Magrogran, owner of Kildare's and Doc Magrogan's, gave a motivational presentation titled "Rhino Living" on Tuesday evening, Jan. 27 in Sykes Theatre.

Magrogan is a young professional whose success was not simply handed to him. His accomplishments are a result of his perspective on life. He took his time in Sykes Theatre to teach West Chester University students his philosophy for success, and that philosophy is "rhino living."

From Magrogan's perspective, people are either rhinos or cows. The rhino knows how to survive in the world because it is single-minded and goes non-stop until it gets what it wants. There are differences in how a rhino lives its life and how a cow lives its life.

A cow is cautious, takes more than it gives, does the least amount of work possible, complains and blames others when there are problems.

A rhino gives all its got, ignores distractions, goes the extra mile, makes sacrifices for success, and accepts responsibility for whatever happens.

With rhinos, success is inevitable. Magrogan explained that there are four "laws of the jungle" that represent the way the real business world works. It is keeping these laws in mind that allow for rhinos to make it in the jungle of life. Magrogan's laws of the jungle are:

Law of Cause and Effect and Compensation- This means that people get what they deserve based on what they put out. If they do little, they get little. If they do a lot, they get a lot.

Law of Attraction- The meaning behind this law is that rhinos resonate with each other. Like attracts like. Positive and successful people will draw other positive and successful people to them.

Law of Persistence- The strong survive and the weak bail out when the going gets tough. Rhinos never give up and have personal initiative. Rhinos know that failure is a part of life and they do not let it get them down.

Law of Abundance- There is enough to go around for everyone. Rhinos do not need to stampede over other Rhinos to get what they want. How much a person values his/herself determines how much abundance comes its way.

After introducing students to the laws of the jungle, Magrogan explained that it is not enough to just know and understand these laws. For a rhino to truly be a rhino and to succeed in life, the person has to know how to engage in good goal setting. According to Magrogan, a goal is only an idea if a person does not commit to it. There are five steps to help a person commit to his/her goals:

Clear the Mental Clutter- A goal has to mean something to the person. He/she needs to focus on the chief aim and less on little goals.

Get Your Self Image on Board- whatever doubts or issues a person may have about his/her goals, he/she needs to forget about those issues and believe that the goal will be reached.

Write Your Goals Down- Writing down his/her goals gives a rhino something to charge towards. Writing down a goal also reactivates a person's subconscious memory of that goal. Read Your Goals Twice Daily- When a person reads his or her goals aloud with energy and enthusiasm, they seem much more achievable.

Persist and Adapt- It is only realistic to expect failure and to have setbacks. It is all about how a person chooses to adapt to those obstacles and whether he/she continues to charge forward.

Rhinos always charge toward their goals. Everyone has the capability of being a rhino, according to Magrogran.

People have control over their success and attitude and cannot allow other people or obstacles to bring them down. They need to eliminate the cows and surround themselves with rhinos.

Rhinos do not let things simply happen to them. Rather, they create the lives that they live and make their own success.

-Anna Moronski

Anna Moronski is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Bolder Vision

The Bolder Vision

Every day we are given the opportunity to choose a course and a path that is in harmony with the spirit of our being. We all have dreams and hopes. Wishes and wants that will lead us along pathways that are filled with infinite possibilities. The breadth and scope of our lives is so vast, encompassing such divine magnitude, that to think and live anything other than complete willingness and acceptance to the truth that we can have it all is totally unacceptable. We must give ourselves permission to rise above mediocrity and step into THE BOLDER VISION that lives within our soul. Playing small doesn't wear well on YOU!

The joy of co-creating a magnificent life filled with excellence, dynamic expression of your gift, total receptivity to the divine intelligence that supports you and the knowingness that the genius within YOU is seeking to emerge itself offers up a delicious smorgasbord of appetizing and tantalizing delights that make up your life. Every part of you plays a part in THE BOLDER VISION that you get to write as your life. The storyline of what you think you are can absolutely become who you are when you embrace the light of your being. The power you have to confidently step into the dream of your essence brings with it a presence that will be so infectious even you will glide along in your day in a vibration of awe and wonder amazed at just how special you are. Are you feeling it? I hope so...NOW go for it!

"To have a bold vision is to have a purpose that has meaning which will give rise to beliefs that will create the consciousness that will attract to you all you need to live the life of your dreams."

I know that within me there is a divine calling
I consciously acknowledge the flame of desire that fires my passions
I gratefully accept the invitation to be more of who I AM
I release and let go all limiting beliefs
The garden of my soul is a harvest of unlimited imagination
I open my heart to the awakened power in me

It's your day...MAKE IT A GREAT ONE!

-Paul Hoffman

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Financial Advice

"The only thing standing between you and positive change is you."

This past week I had a conversation with a friend who's dealing with the financial pressure so many are faced with during these tough economic times. She was frustrated by her inability to make progress with paying off her debt - a credit card with a 27% interest rate and mounting late fees. "Each time I make a payment, I'm hit with so much interest that I get set back again. I want to pay it off, but I can't get ahead and I'm afraid of what it's doing to my family's financial future."

After listening to her concerns, I made a suggestion based on what I'd learned in the past from working with tax clients (a former life :). I suggested that she call the credit card company, tell the truth about her financial struggle, and ask them to lower the interest rate. If, when she received a new rate, she didn't feel the discount was enough, I then wanted her to ask for a supervisor. I knew that division managers or supervisors are usually authorized to negotiate even better rates. The goal was to get the interest rate as low as possible.

One week later I received a call from her in tears. "I called the credit card company and told the truth. I explained that our family was struggling and that I needed help. I told them that, while I wanted to take responsibility for my debt, I couldn't afford the increased interest rate and was afraid of eventually having to file bankruptcy. I asked if they could help me out." And help her out they did. By the time my friend was through with the call, her interest rate had been reduced to 13% and some of her late fees and past interest amounts were eliminated as well. She was even waiting to hear if the rate reduction could be applied retroactively!

As a reader of this newsletter, my friend was so relieved (and surprised) by her experience, she asked me to share it with you. Whether you're dealing with financial stress, the need to find a new job, or the fear of having to move, her experience offers some valuable insight:

Face the truth.
Don't hide from your fear. If you're struggling, admit the truth to yourself and decide right now that you'll do something about it.

Speak up.
While there's a lot of shame attached to hardship, keeping it a secret only gives the shame more power. Tell someone you trust what's going on and ask him or her to help you get the guidance and support you need.

Swallow your pride.
My friend noticed that the moment she admitted to the woman from the credit card company that she was afraid and needed help, the customer care provider softened and went to bat for her. "Normally my shame would cause me to be harsh or a bit edgy," she admitted. "But I decided to let my guard down. Instead I was vulnerable and it made a huge difference. My willingness to expose my fear caused the woman to empathize with my situation."

Finally, don't stop at good - go for great. When we're in need it's easy to settle for a little help when a lot more is what's called for. Do what you can to muster the courage to be bold in asking for help. As my friend said, "This experience taught me that when you ask for something the worst that can happen is that you hear 'no.' My willingness to push for more, got me more and that's what my family needed." If you need help, I hope you'll use my friend's experience as a sign to reach out. Also, please use my radio show as a vehicle for free advice. Call me. I'm ready to do what I can to support you, too!

Take Action Challenge
This week, be brave and let someone know you need help. And, if you're doing well, be mindful of those around you who might need a little support yet may be too shy to ask. Once my friend shared her dilemma, I saw it as an invitation to offer my experience. Keep your eyes open for your own invitation.

-Cheryl Richardson

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Shadowy Figures of This Week

I hope this finds you well and thriving. There is always so much I want to share with you but so little time to actually sit down and send you my thoughts on all the Shadowy figures that show up in our daily news. But since we have been bombarded this week with the redemption tour of the former reverend Ted Haggard, I thought I would remind us all of how easy it is to fall from the top of the mountain and land on the icy hard ground below. And as Ted Haggard, two years into his fall from grace, goes from Oprah to Larry King, apologizing and asking for forgiveness while grappling publicly with his dark side, we simultaneously witness the defiant denial of now former governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich. Both men were driven to make a difference and serve the greater whole. But at the end of the day, they will not be remembered for all the good that they did but instead for the destruction that followed. Both men fell prey to the same hidden forces that drive any of us to commit unbelievable acts of self-sabotage and self-destruction. Both were trapped in the grip of their shadows.

We should all understand that our shadows are always lurking, and either we will deal with them or they will deal with us.

We've all heard the stories; they show up on the evening news, on the front page of newspapers, and as headlines in the weekly tabloids: the Olympic sports hero who falls from grace after being accused of injecting steroids; the TV evangelist who gets arrested for soliciting prostitutes; the schoolteacher who carries on an affair with one of her students; or the baseball star who gambles on his own games. These are the public demonstrations of good people who have gone astray, and they have become our national obsession.

While it's easy to point our fingers and gawk at these people, we must remember that they were once considered good, not common criminals, psychopaths, or sociopaths whose histories might predict their unscrupulous behavior. They are people like you and me, people who started out with big dreams for their future. But despite their best intentions, these so-called good people did some very bad things, most often without even understanding why.

The underbelly of the human psyche, what is often referred to as our dark side, is the origin of every act of self-sabotage. Every aspect of ourselves that we've denied, every thought and feeling that we've deemed unacceptable and wrong, eventually makes itself known in our lives. The impulses that we hid away 5, 10, 20 or even 50 years ago come up one day and destroy everything that is important to us.

Your self-destruction might not be big enough to hit the evening news. It may be something as small as picking a fight with your husband right before you are about to go out on a long-overdue date, or criticizing your child in front of her friends after spending months trying to build her trust. It might be procrastinating on updating your resume and missing a huge opportunity, or spending a night in front of the refrigerator after dieting for three months. Maybe it manifests itself as oversleeping and missing your best friend's bridal shower or calling your lover by the wrong name. Maybe it's making a smart-ass comment to yourself while thinking someone had already hung up the phone when actually they had not.

But all of these acts of self-destruction and self-sabotage, whether big or small, are warnings. They are reminders that when we reject, deny and suppress our dark urges and impulses, they will build up and erupt, destroying our lives. But if instead we acknowledge, accept and embrace our dark side, we finally cease to be our own worst enemy.

excerpt from Why Good People Bad Things:How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy

So we must remember that all public figures are here trying to support each of us in the evolution of our souls. They are here to mirror our own flaws, greatness and imperfections as well as our good and bad behaviors. Today, we can bless the likes of Ted Haggard and Rod Blagojevich as we allow them to serve once again by reminding all of us that if we don't deal with our unconscious emotional pain and denied impulses, they will deal with us.

With love and blessings,
Debbie Ford

Paulo Coelho

Friday, February 6, 2009

Enthusiasm ..

"Enthusiasm releases the drive to carry you over obstacles and adds significance to all you do."

Norman Vincent Peale

More Than Money: 'The Good Life' Parable

What are you going to do with your lucky lottery ticket? That's a question every MBA faces. A lot of time and money has been invested in you, and once you graduate you're supposed to cash that ticket in for as much money and status as you can. Your parents and peers expect it. And you may feel that there's really no other choice. You can't risk wasting that expensive education. It's the safe thing to do. Isn't it? Mark Albion doesn't think so. In "The Good Life", a movie by FreeRange Graphics, Mark takes you to a chance meeting between an MBA and a fisherman on a small island. As the MBA tries to teach the fisherman about business, the fisherman teaches him about life.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

New Free Relationship Tools and Videos from Tony and Sage Robbins

Dear Friend,

As we head into Valentine's week, I want to take a moment to let you know about what's coming soon here at Robbins Research International. We are in the process of improving our web programs - both to keep up with technology and to respond to the feedback we have received from you as our valued clients.

More on that soon, but in the meantime, I want to ensure you are still receiving the tools and strategies you need to take your life to the next level...whatever that looks like for you.

So let's tackle one of the most important areas of life and kick off our Valentine's week celebration!

Today, my relationship with my wife Sage is the most precious gift in my life. What I also want to share, however, is that is has been quite a journey to get to this place! Together we have grown immensely, experienced the deepest pain, and reveled in the greatest love we ever thought possible. This process is what we want to begin to share with you today.

I believe there is no greater source of pain or pleasure than our intimate relationships. At some level, we all know our ultimate happiness depends on our ability to find, connect with, and sustain our vision of true love. Yet, love, passion, romance and sex are also powerful forces that can rip apart our world or fill us with ecstasy and joy.

What makes a relationship truly extraordinary? How can you not only find, but sustain an extraordinary level of love and passion with that one special person you adore?

Come join us on our new Ultimate Relationship blog to find out - we'll be sending out some free content this week to celebrate and also responding to some of your most pressing questions in this area.

Also, click here to watch a video of us talking about our most embarrassing love moments:

It's only fair if we hear yours too, so be sure to leave your stories on our blog! :)

As always, continue to live with passion...and a lot of love,


P.S. Guys we don’t want to leave you hanging right before Valentine’s Day so here are 5 great places to take your girl!
1. Go Dancing This ritual allows close body contact as a lead-up to courtship and the flirtation in the process provides excitement and anticipation. Find a local dance class around your town and learn how to lead in a new dance style.
2. Take a cooking class together There’s something sensual about sharing time in a kitchen together - and ladies love a man that can cook! Take advantage of the opportunity to be in close space together, playing and sharing.
3. Laugh You can’t laugh and be angry at the same! Laughter connects us with our loved ones and increases energy. Take your girl to a local comedy show and be prepared to be silly!
4. Create a home spa Pamper your woman with a scented bath with lots of candles. Give her a loving massage with body oil and really take the time to tend to her needs.
5. Surprise your girl with a picnic Plan ahead and find a great spot, pack a delicious meal (don't forget the treats!), and throw a blanket in the car. The most romantic element of a picnic is the element of surprise-so show up at her place with a basket packed for two.

Note: Another excellent video Tony and Sage have developed:

The Three Gifts of Love

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment

We live in the age of distraction. Yet one of life's sharpest paradoxes is that your brightest future hinges on your ability to pay attention to the present.

A friend was walking in the desert when he found the telephone to God. The setting was Burning Man, an electronic arts and music festival for which 50,000 people descend on Black Rock City, Nevada, for eight days of "radical self-expression"—dancing, socializing, meditating, and debauchery.

A phone booth in the middle of the desert with a sign that said "Talk to God" was a surreal sight even at Burning Man. The idea was that you picked up the phone, and God—or someone claiming to be God—would be at the other end to ease your pain.

So when God came on the line asking how he could help, my friend was ready. "How can I live more in the moment?" he asked. Too often, he felt, the beautiful moments of his life were drowned out by a cacophony of self-consciousness and anxiety. What could he do to hush the buzzing of his mind?

"Breathe," replied a soothing male voice.

My friend flinched at the tired new-age mantra, then reminded himself to keep an open mind. When God talks, you listen.

"Whenever you feel anxious about your future or your past, just breathe," continued God. "Try it with me a few times right now. Breathe in… breathe out." And despite himself, my friend began to relax.

You Are Not Your Thoughts
Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what's past. "We're living in a world that contributes in a major way to mental fragmentation, disintegration, distraction, decoherence," says Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace. We're always doing something, and we allow little time to practice stillness and calm.

When we're at work, we fantasize about being on vacation; on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our desks. We dwell on intrusive memories of the past or fret about what may or may not happen in the future. We don't appreciate the living present because our "monkey minds," as Buddhists call them, vault from thought to thought like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.

Most of us don't undertake our thoughts in awareness. Rather, our thoughts control us. "Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall," writes Jon Kabat-Zinn, the biomedical scientist who introduced meditation into mainstream medicine. In order to feel more in control of our minds and our lives, to find the sense of balance that eludes us, we need to step out of this current, to pause, and, as Kabat-Zinn puts it, to "rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being."

We need to live more in the moment. Living in the moment—also called mindfulness—is a state of active, open, intentional attention on the present. When you become mindful, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them. Mindfulness involves being with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away. Instead of letting your life go by without living it, you awaken to experience.

Cultivating a nonjudgmental awareness of the present bestows a host of benefits. Mindfulness reduces stress, boosts immune functioning, reduces chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, and helps patients cope with cancer. By alleviating stress, spending a few minutes a day actively focusing on living in the moment reduces the risk of heart disease. Mindfulness may even slow the progression of HIV.

Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses. Anchoring awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression, binge eating, and attention problems. Mindful people can hear negative feedback without feeling threatened. They fight less with their romantic partners and are more accommodating and less defensive. As a result, mindful couples have more satisfying relationships.

Mindfulness is at the root of Buddhism, Taoism, and many Native-American traditions, not to mention yoga. It's why Thoreau went to Walden Pond; it's what Emerson and Whitman wrote about in their essays and poems.

"Everyone agrees it's important to live in the moment, but the problem is how," says Ellen Langer, a psychologist at Harvard and author of Mindlessness. "When people are not in the moment, they're not there to know that they're not there." Overriding the distraction reflex and awakening to the present takes intentionality and practice.

Living in the moment involves a profound paradox: You can't pursue it for its benefits. That's because the expectation of reward launches a future-oriented mindset, which subverts the entire process. Instead, you just have to trust that the rewards will come. There are many paths to mindfulness—and at the core of each is a paradox. Ironically, letting go of what you want is the only way to get it. Here are a few tricks to help you along.

1: To improve your performance, stop thinking about it (unselfconsciousness).
I've never felt comfortable on a dance floor. My movements feel awkward. I feel like people are judging me. I never know what to do with my arms. I want to let go, but I can't, because I know I look ridiculous.

"Loosen up, no one's watching you," people always say. "Everyone's too busy worrying about themselves." So how come they always make fun of my dancing the next day?

The dance world has a term for people like me: "absolute beginner." Which is why my dance teacher, Jessica Hayden, the owner of Shockra Studio in Manhattan, started at the beginning, sitting me down on a bench and having me tap my feet to the beat as Jay-Z thumped away in the background. We spent the rest of the class doing "isolations"—moving just our shoulders, ribs, or hips—to build "body awareness."

But even more important than body awareness, Hayden said, was present-moment awareness. "Be right here right now!" she'd say. "Just let go and let yourself be in the moment."

That's the first paradox of living in the moment: Thinking too hard about what you're doing actually makes you do worse. If you're in a situation that makes you anxious—giving a speech, introducing yourself to a stranger, dancing—focusing on your anxiety tends to heighten it. "When I say, 'be here with me now,' I mean don't zone out or get too in-your-head—instead, follow my energy, my movements," says Hayden. "Focus less on what's going on in your mind and more on what's going on in the room, less on your mental chatter and more on yourself as part of something." To be most myself, I needed to focus on things outside myself, like the music or the people around me.

Indeed, mindfulness blurs the line between self and other, explains Michael Kernis, a psychologist at the University of Georgia. "When people are mindful, they're more likely to experience themselves as part of humanity, as part of a greater universe." That's why highly mindful people such as Buddhist monks talk about being "one with everything."

By reducing self-consciousness, mindfulness allows you to witness the passing drama of feelings, social pressures, even of being esteemed or disparaged by others without taking their evaluations personally, explain Richard Ryan and K. W. Brown of the University of Rochester. When you focus on your immediate experience without attaching it to your self-esteem, unpleasant events like social rejection—or your so-called friends making fun of your dancing—seem less threatening.

Focusing on the present moment also forces you to stop overthinking. "Being present-minded takes away some of that self-evaluation and getting lost in your mind—and in the mind is where we make the evaluations that beat us up," says Stephen Schueller, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Instead of getting stuck in your head and worrying, you can let yourself go.

2: To avoid worrying about the future, focus on the present (savoring).
In her memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert writes about a friend who, whenever she sees a beautiful place, exclaims in a near panic, "It's so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!" "It takes all my persuasive powers," writes Gilbert, "to try to convince her that she is already here."

Often, we're so trapped in thoughts of the future or the past that we forget to experience, let alone enjoy, what's happening right now. We sip coffee and think, "This is not as good as what I had last week." We eat a cookie and think, "I hope I don't run out of cookies."

Instead, relish or luxuriate in whatever you're doing at the present moment—what psychologists call savoring. "This could be while you're eating a pastry, taking a shower, or basking in the sun. You could be savoring a success or savoring music," explains Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of California at Riverside and author of The How of Happiness. "Usually it involves your senses."

When subjects in a study took a few minutes each day to actively savor something they usually hurried through—eating a meal, drinking a cup of tea, walking to the bus—they began experiencing more joy, happiness, and other positive emotions, and fewer depressive symptoms, Schueller found.

Why does living in the moment make people happier—not just at the moment they're tasting molten chocolate pooling on their tongue, but lastingly? Because most negative thoughts concern the past or the future. As Mark Twain said, "I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." The hallmark of depression and anxiety is catastrophizing—worrying about something that hasn't happened yet and might not happen at all. Worry, by its very nature, means thinking about the future—and if you hoist yourself into awareness of the present moment, worrying melts away.

The flip side of worrying is ruminating, thinking bleakly about events in the past. And again, if you press your focus into the now, rumination ceases. Savoring forces you into the present, so you can't worry about things that aren't there.

3: If you want a future with your significant other, inhabit the present (breathe).
Living consciously with alert interest has a powerful effect on interpersonal life. Mindfulness actually inoculates people against aggressive impulses, say Whitney Heppner and Michael Kernis of the University of Georgia. In a study they conducted, each subject was told that other subjects were forming a group—and taking a vote on whether she could join. Five minutes later, the experimenter announced the results—either the subject had gotten the least number of votes and been rejected or she'd been accepted. Beforehand, half the subjects had undergone a mindfulness exercise in which each slowly ate a raisin, savoring its taste and texture and focusing on each sensation.

Later, in what they thought was a separate experiment, subjects had the opportunity to deliver a painful blast of noise to another person. Among subjects who hadn't eaten the raisin, those who were told they'd been rejected by the group became aggressive, inflicting long and painful sonic blasts without provocation. Stung by social rejection, they took it out on other people.

But among those who'd eaten the raisin first, it didn't matter whether they'd been ostracized or embraced. Either way, they were serene and unwilling to inflict pain on others—exactly like those who were given word of social acceptance.

How does being in the moment make you less aggressive? "Mindfulness decreases ego involvement," explains Kernis. "So people are less likely to link their self-esteem to events and more likely to take things at face value." Mindfulness also makes people feel more connected to other people—that empathic feeling of being "at one with the universe."

Mindfulness boosts your awareness of how you interpret and react to what's happening in your mind. It increases the gap between emotional impulse and action, allowing you to do what Buddhists call recognizing the spark before the flame. Focusing on the present reboots your mind so you can respond thoughtfully rather than automatically. Instead of lashing out in anger, backing down in fear, or mindlessly indulging a passing craving, you get the opportunity to say to yourself, "This is the emotion I'm feeling. How should I respond?"

Mindfulness increases self-control; since you're not getting thrown by threats to your self-esteem, you're better able to regulate your behavior. That's the other irony: Inhabiting your own mind more fully has a powerful effect on your interactions with others.

Of course, during a flare-up with your significant other it's rarely practical to duck out and savor a raisin. But there's a simple exercise you can do anywhere, anytime to induce mindfulness: Breathe. As it turns out, the advice my friend got in the desert was spot-on. There's no better way to bring yourself into the present moment than to focus on your breathing. Because you're placing your awareness on what's happening right now, you propel yourself powerfully into the present moment. For many, focusing on the breath is the preferred method of orienting themselves to the now—not because the breath has some magical property, but because it's always there with you.

4: To make the most of time, lose track of it (flow).
Perhaps the most complete way of living in the moment is the state of total absorption psychologists call flow. Flow occurs when you're so engrossed in a task that you lose track of everything else around you. Flow embodies an apparent paradox: How can you be living in the moment if you're not even aware of the moment? The depth of engagement absorbs you powerfully, keeping attention so focused that distractions cannot penetrate. You focus so intensely on what you're doing that you're unaware of the passage of time. Hours can pass without you noticing.

Flow is an elusive state. As with romance or sleep, you can't just will yourself into it—all you can do is set the stage, creating the optimal conditions for it to occur.

The first requirement for flow is to set a goal that's challenging but not unattainable—something you have to marshal your resources and stretch yourself to achieve. The task should be matched to your ability level—not so difficult that you'll feel stressed, but not so easy that you'll get bored. In flow, you're firing on all cylinders to rise to a challenge.

To set the stage for flow, goals need to be clearly defined so that you always know your next step. "It could be playing the next bar in a scroll of music, or finding the next foothold if you're a rock climber, or turning the page if you're reading a good novel," says Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the psychologist who first defined the concept of flow. "At the same time, you're kind of anticipating."

You also need to set up the task in such a way that you receive direct and immediate feedback; with your successes and failures apparent, you can seamlessly adjust your behavior. A climber on the mountain knows immediately if his foothold is secure; a pianist knows instantly when she's played the wrong note.

As your attentional focus narrows, self-consciousness evaporates. You feel as if your awareness merges with the action you're performing. You feel a sense of personal mastery over the situation, and the activity is so intrinsically rewarding that although the task is difficult, action feels effortless.

5: If something is bothering you, move toward it rather than away from it (acceptance).
We all have pain in our lives, whether it's the ex we still long for, the jackhammer snarling across the street, or the sudden wave of anxiety when we get up to give a speech. If we let them, such irritants can distract us from the enjoyment of life. Paradoxically, the obvious response—focusing on the problem in order to combat and overcome it—often makes it worse, argues Stephen Hayes, a psychologist at the University of Nevada.

The mind's natural tendency when faced with pain is to attempt to avoid it—by trying to resist unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and sensations. When we lose a love, for instance, we fight our feelings of heartbreak. As we get older, we work feverishly to recapture our youth. When we're sitting in the dentist's chair waiting for a painful root canal, we wish we were anywhere but there. But in many cases, negative feelings and situations can't be avoided—and resisting them only magnifies the pain.

The problem is we have not just primary emotions but also secondary ones—emotions about other emotions. We get stressed out and then think, "I wish I weren't so stressed out." The primary emotion is stress over your workload. The secondary emotion is feeling, "I hate being stressed."

It doesn't have to be this way. The solution is acceptance—letting the emotion be there. That is, being open to the way things are in each moment without trying to manipulate or change the experience—without judging it, clinging to it, or pushing it away. The present moment can only be as it is. Trying to change it only frustrates and exhausts you. Acceptance relieves you of this needless extra suffering.

Suppose you've just broken up with your girlfriend or boyfriend; you're heartbroken, overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and longing. You could try to fight these feelings, essentially saying, "I hate feeling this way; I need to make this feeling go away." But by focusing on the pain—being sad about being sad—you only prolong the sadness. You do yourself a favor by accepting your feelings, saying instead, "I've just had a breakup. Feelings of loss are normal and natural. It's OK for me to feel this way."

Acceptance of an unpleasant state doesn't mean you don't have goals for the future. It just means you accept that certain things are beyond your control. The sadness, stress, pain, or anger is there whether you like it or not. Better to embrace the feeling as it is.

Nor does acceptance mean you have to like what's happening. "Acceptance of the present moment has nothing to do with resignation," writes Kabat-Zinn. "Acceptance doesn't tell you what to do. What happens next, what you choose to do; that has to come out of your understanding of this moment."

If you feel anxiety, for instance, you can accept the feeling, label it as anxiety—then direct your attention to something else instead. You watch your thoughts, perceptions, and emotions flit through your mind without getting involved. Thoughts are just thoughts. You don't have to believe them and you don't have to do what they say. [Note from Glenda, using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a profound tool to collapse the anxiety.]

6: Know that you don't know (engagement).
You've probably had the experience of driving along a highway only to suddenly realize you have no memory or awareness of the previous 15 minutes. Maybe you even missed your exit. You just zoned out; you were somewhere else, and it's as if you've suddenly woken up at the wheel. Or maybe it happens when you're reading a book: "I know I just read that page, but I have no idea what it said."

These autopilot moments are what Harvard's Ellen Langer calls mindlessness—times when you're so lost in your thoughts that you aren't aware of your present experience. As a result, life passes you by without registering on you. The best way to avoid such blackouts, Langer says, is to develop the habit of always noticing new things in whatever situation you're in. That process creates engagement with the present moment and releases a cascade of other benefits. Noticing new things puts you emphatically in the here and now.

We become mindless, Langer explains, because once we think we know something, we stop paying attention to it. We go about our morning commute in a haze because we've trod the same route a hundred times before. But if we see the world with fresh eyes, we realize almost everything is different each time—the pattern of light on the buildings, the faces of the people, even the sensations and feelings we experience along the way. Noticing imbues each moment with a new, fresh quality. Some people have termed this "beginner's mind."

By acquiring the habit of noticing new things, says Langer, we recognize that the world is actually changing constantly. We really don't know how the espresso is going to taste or how the commute will be—or at least, we're not sure.

Orchestra musicians who are instructed to make their performance new in subtle ways not only enjoy themselves more but audiences actually prefer those performances. "When we're there at the moment, making it new, it leaves an imprint in the music we play, the things we write, the art we create, in everything we do," says Langer. "Once you recognize that you don't know the things you've always taken for granted, you set out of the house quite differently. It becomes an adventure in noticing—and the more you notice, the more you see." And the more excitement you feel.

Don't Just Do Something, Sit There
Living a consistently mindful life takes effort. But mindfulness itself is easy. "People set the goal of being mindful for the next 20 minutes or the next two weeks, then they think mindfulness is difficult because they have the wrong yardstick," says Jay Winner, a California-based family physician and author of Take the Stress out of Your Life. "The correct yardstick is just for this moment."

Mindfulness is the only intentional, systematic activity that is not about trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, explains Kabat-Zinn. It is simply a matter of realizing where you already are. A cartoon from The New Yorker sums it up: Two monks are sitting side by side, meditating. The younger one is giving the older one a quizzical look, to which the older one responds, "Nothing happens next. This is it."

You can become mindful at any moment just by paying attention to your immediate experience. You can do it right now. What's happening this instant? Think of yourself as an eternal witness, and just observe the moment. What do you see, hear, smell? It doesn't matter how it feels—pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad—you roll with it because it's what's present; you're not judging it. And if you notice your mind wandering, bring yourself back. Just say to yourself, "Now. Now. Now."

Here's the most fundamental paradox of all: Mindfulness isn't a goal, because goals are about the future, but you do have to set the intention of paying attention to what's happening at the present moment. As you read the words printed on this page, as your eyes distinguish the black squiggles on white paper, as you feel gravity anchoring you to the planet, wake up. Become aware of being alive. And breathe. As you draw your next breath, focus on the rise of your abdomen on the in-breath, the stream of heat through your nostrils on the out-breath. If you're aware of that feeling right now, as you're reading this, you're living in the moment. Nothing happens next. It's not a destination. This is it. You're already there.

By: Jay Dixit
Psychology Today Magazine, Nov/Dec 2008
Last Reviewed 31 Oct 2008
Article ID: 4696

Heaven and hell

A man, his horse and his dog were traveling down a road. When they were passing by a gigantic tree, a bolt of lightning struck and they all fell dead on the spot.

But the man did not realize that he had already left this world, so he went on walking with his two animals; sometimes the dead take time to understand their new condition...

The journey was very long, uphill, the sun was strong and they were covered in sweat and very thirsty. They were desperately in need of water. At a bend in the road they spotted a magnificent gateway, all in marble, which led to a square paved with blocks of gold and with a fountain in the center that spouted forth crystalline water.

The traveler went up to the man guarding the gate.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning,” answered the man.

“What is this beautiful place?”

“This is heaven.”

“How good to have reached heaven, we’re ever so thirsty.”

“You can come in and drink all you want.”

And the guard pointed to the fountain.

“My horse and my dog are thirsty too.”

“So sorry, but animals aren’t allowed in here.”

The man was very disappointed because his thirst was great, but he could not drink alone; he thanked the man and went on his way. After traveling a lot, they arrived exhausted at a farm whose entrance was marked with an old doorway that opened onto a tree-lined dirt road.

A man was lying down in the shadow of one of the trees, his head covered with a hat, perhaps asleep.

“Good morning,” said the traveler.

The man nodded his head.

“We are very thirsty - me, my horse and my dog.”

“There is a spring over in those stones,” said the man, pointing to the spot. “Drink as much as you like.”

The man, the horse and the dog went to the spring and quenched their thirst. Then the traveler went back to thank the man.

“By the way, what’s this place called?”


“Heaven? But the guard at the marble gate back there said that was heaven!”

“That’s not heaven, that’s hell.”

The traveler was puzzled.

“You’ve got to stop this! All this false information must cause enormous confusion!”

The man smiled:

“Not at all. As a matter of fact they do us a great favor. Because over there stay all those who are even capable of abandoning their best friends...”

- Paulo Coelho

Inspire Me Today

By Dr. Bernie Siegel

Love is a weapon and I prefer to kill with kindness and torment with tenderness.

When we do this our natural tendencies towards aggression are utilized in creative ways through work, sports, games and hobbies and not through destructive behavior. A child's brain wave pattern up to the age of six is like that of a hypnotized individual. So your messages can stay with them for a lifetime. If they are mottos to die by, and the child does not make a conscious effort to eliminate and abandon them, it does lead to their illness and early death. A study of Harvard students showed that of those who felt loved by their parents while attending college, only one fourth had suffered an illness by midlife, while almost one hundred percent of those who didn't feel loved had suffered a major illness by midlife. The addictions and self destructive behavior are not an accident.

To quote a woman who said her mother always belittled her efforts and only dressed her in dark clothes, "My mother's words were eating away at me and maybe gave me cancer." The cancer motivated her to be born again and redirect her life: re-parent herself, find self love and buy a red dress. So curses can became blessings as castles can be built out of the mud.

Centuries ago Maimonides wrote, "If people would take as good care of themselves as they do their animals they would suffer fewer illnesses." So get some pets and treat yourself and your children as you do your beloved pets with love, affection, trust, respect, consistency, discipline, exercise and a reverence for life. Those bits of advice actually come from veterinarians. So when in doubt WWLD; just ask yourself, What Would Lassie Do?

If your children have any questions just remember love is my answer. My Mom's answers were, "Do what will make you happy." "Troubles are God's redirections and something good will come of this." And my Dad's, "Material things are to make life easier and when you are happy you are a success." And if you want to live forever; love someone.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ben Stein's Last Column...

For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called "Monday Night At Morton's." (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.) Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.

Ben Stein's Last Column...
How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I "slug" it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is "eonlineFINAL," and it gives me a shiver to wjavascript:void(0)rite it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L.Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit , Iraq . He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad . He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad .

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.

But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York . I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.
By Ben Stein