Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who I Am Makes A Difference

Acknowledgment says: You matter to me and I believe in you. It is a powerful and profoundly easy way to heal our society. It begins with our children, our families and then extends out to the people living and working with us in our community. Acknowledgment is easy to do, and to make a difference we must embrace opportunities life offers us to do so.


Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other . -- Carl Jung

Dr. Lisa Love Reflections.

A few weeks ago I mentioned research that shows that those who are happiest in life are that way because they have long lasting and loving relationships with others in their lives. That same research showed out of the many countries where the research took place, those living in the United States were second from the bottom (Russia was last) in reporting that they were generally very unhappy people. And, this "unhappy" news was coming from the supposedly most powerful country in the world. If Carl Jung and the research is correct, then it can only mean one thing -- here in the United States love is clearly not ruling.

Of course, there is great hope that the election of President Obama will change that. But, we know better. We won't learn to be a more loving people, and to be loved more in return, because of any person we elect. We will only learn to do this as we choose to be more loving people. But, that requires knowing much more clearly what real love is about.

As I wrote in my Beyond the Secret: Spiritual Power and the Law of Attraction book, few people really understand what love looks like. Too often it is confused with lust, desire, control, abuse, neediness, copedependency. Eek! The list could go on and on. Even the majority of our music, TV shows, movies, and books talk endlessly about people "falling in and out of love," "suffering and hurting over love," I could go on and on. Yet, none of this is love. None of it! Why? Because real love never hurts, it heals. Real love never ends, it continues. Real love is not something you fall into, it is something you grow into. And, real love is a choice. It is an active decision to learn to love, to act in love, and to choose the way of love no matter what in life.

To help you get more clear about this I invite you to learn about my new Teleclass starting in May (with free sample sessions in April) on Attracting Real Love. I also invite you to read an excellent book that I mentioned last week, THE LOVE DARE (and don't miss the movie Fireproof that goes with it). Because only as we learn what real love is, can we discover how to attract it into our lives something all of us in our heart or hearts are longing for.


Dr. Lisa Love

Monday, March 30, 2009

True Security by Cheryl Richardson

True Security
by Cheryl Richardson

"Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none." --Richard M. DeVos

While searching for a resource in past newsletters, I came across a topic I wrote about in 2000 that's worth repeating during this difficult economic time. It's about where real security comes from.

If you're like most people, you probably equate a sense of security with how much money you have. I know I did. In order to feel safe and protected, I focused on earning and saving money as a way to achieve peace of mind. As I did however, I discovered something strange. My feelings of security and peace didn't increase with my bank account. Regardless of how much money I earned (or saved), I never felt secure enough.

I've since learned that the key to creating security has to do with a whole lot more than the balance in your savings account. It has to do with the balances in other accounts as well. True security comes from having a reserve in all areas of your life - a reserve of community, love, self esteem, a connection to God, or health, in addition to financial reserves. Until you invest in these other areas, you'll always feel insecure, regardless of how much money you have.

Of course money is important - we all need it to live and to make the kinds of choices that maintain or improve the quality of our lives. But it's equally important to make deposits into other accounts as well. For example, consider the following questions:

1. Do you have a reserve of friends and/or family who are there for you in times of need?

2. Do you have a reserve of confidence and self esteem that allows you to stand up for yourself in the face of a challenge?

3. Do you have a reserve of courage that you can call upon when you need to take difficult actions?

4. Do you have a reserve of faith and a strong connection to a power greater than yourself for those times when you've done what you can and you need to surrender?

5. Do you have a reserve of physical energy that will allow you to do what it takes to succeed?

6. Do you have a reserve of colleagues or professional relationships that will support your career?

Just as you make regular deposits to your savings account, you'll want to start making regular deposits into these other accounts as well. As an example, those of you who are looking for work or feel concerned about the stability of your jobs, will benefit from networking - getting together with friends and colleagues to share resources, referrals, ideas, and suggestions. Career experts agree that this is still the single, most effective way to land great work. With that in mind, you quickly realize that investing in a professional network creates the kind of protection money can't buy.

When you view security from this perspective, it's easy to see that regular dates with your best friend are just as important as regular deposits into your IRA. Or building a reserve of self-esteem is even more important than putting money away for a new home.

It takes time and attention to build reserves in each of these areas and it's worth the investment. When you do, you not only make for a secure future, you create a secure present as well. And, when the present feels secure, you'll make much better choices for you and your family. So, how about it - ready to start making new deposits?

Take Action Challenge

Take a large sheet of paper and create several columns. At the top of each column list an "account category" such as love, community, confidence/self esteem, courage, emotional and physical health, etc.

Once you've completed these columns, write down your current assets in each of these areas. For example, under "community" you might list close friends and family members. Or under physical health, you might list those things you already do to take good care of your body.

Once you're clear about what you do have, notice what's missing. Then, pick one area that needs more attention and make a deposit this week :).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Abundance of a Sacred Fund

--posted by omtaratutare on Mar 29, 2009

Last year, I received a satchel of money on the front steps at my home. When that money arrived, I actually was out of town but my family called me and said that there was a lot of money left at the front door with a note. When, I returned home I was touched most by the note, which read, "Thank you for all you do for the world." As I have shared on helpothers.org, I immediately placed all of this money into my sacred fund which keeps coming back to me again and again. All of the work I do which bring gifts of monetary value immediately goes into a fund in my home. This has enabled me to grow the initial gift from the universe of $1000 and I have attracted and given back at least two to three times this. The abundance just keeps going out to the world and keeps coming back to me. The actual amount is irrelevant to me---it is more important for me to keep the cycle going.

Initially, I quickly distributed some to the funds to a local charity, passing it on to kids selling candy. I put $200 dollars under a sleeping homeless person's head; I bought a friend a necklace that she could not afford and gifted it to her anonymously; I paid for a group of ten do-gooders' dinner; I paid for a friend's ticket to Los Angeles; and I gifted some friends to enjoy some activities while we were on vacation. Then, a few weeks ago, my friend's boyfriend had an invitation to have dinner with an accomplished photographer and knew he would need at least $100 dollars to dine with him. He did not have the money but I knew it was important for him to go out with this photographer to connect and receive information and ideas from him. So, I gifted him the money asking him to pay-it-forward. The lesson for him was really about learning to receive because he did not want a hand out. After giving to him, I decided to pay attention at what was sent back to me and recognize the abundance in all shapes and sizes.

The next day, I was heading to Italy and upon my arrival, I had to jump on a train to Rome. I had this yoga bag filled with 3 mats and my flute, a hand carved Native American flute, I use it to bring people out of meditation. It has a very special place in my heart and was made with a lot of love. I had secured it to my luggage and left it parked by other bags on the train. Now, everyone has warned me of the thieves on the trains but I really do not like to feed into that negative energy. I always trust that which I am supposed to have with me will stay with me. After a wonderful talk with a young girl from China, we arrived in Rome, as I was leaving I noticed my bag had been moved and the yoga bag was no longer attached to the bag. My friends were relying on those mats for the next week during our yoga retreat. I knew I could do without and I realized that the universe had given me my wish: I had wished my load was going to be lighter while I traveled through Italy. I was actually already feeling too weighed down by that extra bag. I also knew that my flute which had to be the draw, not three used yoga mats, would soon find itself in someone's hands who would make beautiful melodies with it. As for the person that took the bag, he must have needed some money and I hoped they would make the money they needed by selling my stuff or better yet, start practicing yoga. Right there I noticed I had received the first gift of a lighter load which would help me shortly after departing the train.

As soon as I exited the hustling terminal, I was greeted by a bright-eyed cab driver. The cab driver told me that I would not be able to walk to the hostel where I was going to meet my friend. Acknowledging that the streets were filled with Italian chaos, I decided to trust and jumped into the taxi. I was very grateful as I quickly remembered how busy the streets of Rome are. Second gift--received a ride from a kind Italian man, he saved me a lot of potential frustration. Next, upon arrival at the hostel, Krista informed me that we were being moved across town back where I had come from to another hostel. I was really thankful I had one less thing to carry since we had to climb many flights of stairs. At the second hostel, they told us they were full. We were waiting with another gentleman who was experiencing the same situation as we were. He was given the last room but we decided to wait in hopes that something would turn up. After waiting for about 15 minutes the gentleman said, "We are going to move you across the street. I will help you with your bag." Third and fourth gifts, a room across the street and a man willing to lug my big bag for me. I was feeling very abundant and we were graciously put into a room with three other people. We quickly deposited our goods and headed out for dinner. Krista and I found this amazing Italian café and indulged in our first Italian meal together in Rome with a charming waiter at our service. He was so sweet to drive Krista and I back to our hostel that night. Fifth gift, free cab ride!

Finally, I must acknowledge the gifts kept coming during my entire trip in Italy, down to the universe creating enough space and time for me to leave my hotel in Rome at 8.20am to make a flight at 9.40 am at an airport that is a 40-50 minute drive outside the city. I even had to check my heavy bag and go through customs. They also should have charged me for my heavy bag but since I was late she said there was no time for me to pay. Sixth and Seventh gifts---made my flight and saved 50 Euro. All of these gifts do not have a specific value but if I put a value on any of them they would far exceed the 100 dollars I had given away. These gifts did not appear in an obvious manner. However, I recognized them every step of the way. When I returned from Italy, I received more money which has been added to my secret fund and I am ready to continue paying it forward. The saga continues as free economy continues to flourish in my little abode near the shore of Long Beach.

May you all continue to recognize how abundant the universe is and continue to PAY IT FORWARD!

posted on HelpOthers.org

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Daffodil Principle

The Daffodil Principle
by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come and see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. Going and coming took most of a day - and I honestly did not have a free day until the following week.

"I will come next Tuesday," I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove the length of Route 91, continued on I-215, and finally turned onto Route 18 and began to drive up the mountain highway. The tops of the mountains were sheathed in clouds, and I had gone only a few miles when the road was completely covered with a wet, gray blanket of fog. I slowed to a crawl, my heart pounding. The road becomes narrow and winding toward the top of the mountain.

As I executed the hazardous turns at a snail's pace, I was praying to reach the turnoff at Blue Jay that would signify I had arrived. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these darling children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly, "We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears - and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car. The mechanic just called, and they've finished repairing the engine," she answered.

"How far will we have to drive?" I asked cautiously.

"Just a few blocks,"Carolyn said cheerfully.

So we buckled up the children and went out to my car. "I'll drive," Carolyn offered. "I'm used to this." We got into the car, and she began driving.

In a few minutes I was aware that we were back on the Rim-of-the-World Road heading over the top of the mountain. "Where are we going?" I exclaimed, distressed to be back on the mountain road in the fog. "This isn't the way to the garage!"

"We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"Carolyn, I said sternly, trying to sound as if I was still the mother and in charge of the situation, "please turn around. There is nothing in the world that I want to see enough to drive on this road in this weather."

"It's all right, Mother," She replied with a knowing grin. "I know what I'm doing. I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

And so my sweet, darling daughter who had never given me a minute of difficulty in her whole life was suddenly in charge - and she was kidnapping me! I couldn't believe it. Like it or not, I was on the way to see some ridiculous daffodils - driving through the thick, gray silence of the mist-wrapped mountaintop at what I thought was risk to life and limb.

I muttered all the way. After about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road that branched down into an oak-filled hollow on the side of the mountain. The fog had lifted a little, but the sky was lowering, gray and heavy with clouds.

We parked in a small parking lot adjoining a little stone church. From our vantage point at the top of the mountain we could see beyond us, in the mist, the crests of the San Bernardino range like the dark, humped backs of a herd of elephants. Far below us the fog-shrouded valleys, hills, and flatlands stretched away to the desert.

On the far side of the church I saw a pine-needle-covered path, with towering evergreens and manzanita bushes and an inconspicuous, lettered sign "Daffodil Garden."

We each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path as it wound through the trees. The mountain sloped away from the side of the path in irregular dips, folds, and valleys, like a deeply creased skirt.

Live oaks, mountain laurel, shrubs, and bushes clustered in the folds, and in the gray, drizzling air, the green foliage looked dark and monochromatic. I shivered. Then we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight, unexpectedly and completely splendid. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes where it had run into every crevice and over every rise. Even in the mist-filled air, the mountainside was radiant, clothed in massive drifts and waterfalls of daffodils. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow.

Each different-colored variety (I learned later that there were more than thirty-five varieties of daffodils in the vast display) was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

In the center of this incredible and dazzling display of gold, a great cascade of purple grape hyacinth flowed down like a waterfall of blossoms framed in its own rock-lined basin, weaving through the brilliant daffodils. A charming path wound throughout the garden. There were several resting stations, paved with stone and furnished with Victorian wooden benches and great tubs of coral and carmine tulips. As though this were not magnificent enough, Mother Nature had to add her own grace note - above the daffodils, a bevy of western bluebirds flitted and darted, flashing their brilliance. These charming little birds are the color of sapphires with breasts of magenta red. As they dance in the air, their colors are truly like jewels above the blowing, glowing daffodils. The effect was spectacular.

It did not matter that the sun was not shining. The brilliance of the daffodils was like the glow of the brightest sunlit day. Words, wonderful as they are, simply cannot describe the incredible beauty of that flower-bedecked mountain top.

Five acres of flowers! (This too I discovered later when some of my questions were answered.) "But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn. I was overflowing with gratitude that she brought me - even against my will. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"Who?" I asked again, almost speechless with wonder, "And how, and why, and when?"

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house, my mind buzzing with questions. On the patio we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman, two hands, two feet, and very little brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

There it was.

The Daffodil Principle.

For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun - one bulb at a time - to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. One bulb at a time.

There was no other way to do it. One bulb at a time. No shortcuts - simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded.

Loving an achievement that grew so slowly and that bloomed for only three weeks of each year. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world.

This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principle of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time - often just one baby-step at a time - learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"Carolyn," I said that morning on the top of the mountain as we left the haven of daffodils, our minds and hearts still bathed and bemused by the splendors we had seen, "it's as though that remarkable woman has needle-pointed the earth! Decorated it. Just think of it, she planted every single bulb for more than thirty years. One bulb at a time! And that's the only way this garden could be created. Every individual bulb had to be planted. There was no way of short-circuiting that process. Five acres of blooms. That magnificent cascade of hyacinth! All, just one bulb at a time."

The thought of it filled my mind. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the implications of what I had seen. "It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My wise daughter put the car into gear and summed up the message of the day in her direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said with the same knowing smile she had worn for most of the morning. Oh, profound wisdom!

It is pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use tomorrow?"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Learning to live in the flow

Kamala Chambers Seattle Conscious Living Examiner

Think of your life as a river. What does it mean to be "in the flow?" How do you know when you are on the right track, making decisions that are in alignment with your purpose? It is the nature of a river to find the path of least resistance. The river doesn't sit around and becomes a couch potato, because then it would just be stagnant water.

When you are "in the flow," your actions follow an effortless path... a path where opportunity opens like those automatic doors at the supermarket. When we spend our time fighting the current, we invite struggle into our lives, creating lives of... struggle. Struggle can seem normal, when it's what you're used to, but we often struggle precisely when we go against ourselves. Most of us are not taught how to listen to our own inner wisdom and guidance. Instead, we are taught how to obey others, and follow rules.

How do we know when we are following inner guidance, and not just old programming? Inner wisdom speaks clearly. When I am making decisions, I go with what follows the "flow." I know a decision is right for me when it is easy. When it feels as though someone has just opened a door and said... "come on in!" These effortless openings let me know I am on the right track, at the right time. When I am met with resistance, I usually take it as a pretty good indicator that, perhaps, it's not the best choice for me. I feel like I have learned, and benefitted from, becoming more aware of when my inner resistance is keeping me from being in the flow of life.

I recently returned from a 10-day Vipassana Meditation Course. Every time I heard about it (friends had referred to it frequently) I resisted it. "I don't meditate. That's not really for me. I enjoy things like dance and movement as a way to find inner peace... not sitting still!" I resisted it completely. Then, after the third person told me about this course, I listened (I always pay attention to things when they come in threes.) The point is, the more I learned about the course, the less resistance there was for me to go... until, finally, my resistance was "broken down" so much that it suddenly became clear to me that the course was in alignment with my life right now. I was not necessarily looking forward to it, but everything that was happening in my life at that time made it easy for me to just go.

And I am so thankful that I did. It was the most beneficial 10-day period of my life. The results have been amazing, and I found something that I've been looking for, for a LONG time.

On your journey, you may experience inner resistances such as I did. I encourage you to look for, and pay attention to, the times in your life when circumstances flow together effortlessly. By doing so, I believe you will be able to find the path of least resistance and surf the flow!

An excerpt from The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale

An excerpt from The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale

George Bernard Shaw said, "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, they make them."

Well, it's pretty apparent, isn't it? And every person who discovered this believed (for a while) that he was the first one to work it out. We become what we think about.

Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn't know where he's going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety and worry - his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing... he becomes nothing.

How does it work? Why do we become what we think about? Well, I'll tell you how it works, as far as we know. To do this, I want to tell you about a situation that parallels the human mind.

Suppose a farmer has some land, and it's good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn't care. It's up to the farmer to make the decision.

We're comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn't care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn't care what you plant.

Now, let's say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand- one is a seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds-one corn, the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land...and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted.

As it's written in the Bible, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." Remember the land doesn't care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the two plants - one corn, one poison.

The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn't care what we plant...success...or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal...or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety and so on. But what we plant it must return to us.

You see, the human mind is the last great unexplored continent on earth. It contains riches beyond our wildest dreams. It will return anything we want to plant.

Mr. Positive's Motivation in a Minute

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Creative Mind

The Creative Mind
by Paul Hoffman

Creativity is always inviting you to discover more and more of who you really are. It is a powerful force that lies within all of us that gives us permission to have faith in the unseen, trust in the unknowing and a belief in the purpose we hold dear for ourselves. It is the messenger that says all things are possible. It is the friend that speaks to you in loving ways encouraging you to let go of any thought of lack and limitation always opening new pathways for you to glide in the flow of life and to appreciate all that you have. Creativity is the calling card to accomplishing whatever your hearts desire no matter what you may think the external circumstances look like. It is the power that lies within you that says yes to your dreams.

Knowing that all is possible brings a consciousness and a feeling tone of openness to receive the infinite creative download of life. The universe is here to support you in all your glory. There is no thing that can block or hinder the divine light of your being. That YOU are blessed beyond your wildest imagination is cause enough to create a willingness within you to break free and open yourself up to all the splendors and wonders that are available to you. Allowing yourself to be in a continual state of receptivity to what is emerging within you brings insights and wisdom that absolutely will guide you to your desired destination. Your brilliance, genius and excellence will be apparent to all as people look at you and want to have what you have...it's called magnificence. Your vibration is infectious. Release what you thought you could be today and be what you want to be.

"Take those moments in your day and allow yourself to appreciate who you are and what you are creating in the world as you serve the highest good of all."

I AM a perfect expression of creativity
My mind is ready, willing and available to receive magnificent insights
I walk in a field of pure potential
Knowing what I see is seeking me
I claim my destiny with loving grace
Today I will set my sights higher than ever before
I am bold, brilliant, and ready to have it all

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

Paul Hoffman's site: SuccessSongs.com

Finding Joy In Gridlock Traffic

by Karen Krakower Kaplan

Gratitude is the gentle recognition, rediscovery or "re-remembering" of the simple abundance around you.

It is to be a child again, in awe of a purple crayon.

It is sprinting from your car to the office and stopping your jangled thoughts just long enough to savor the sight of someone holding the elevator door for you, someone you do not even know.

Gratitude is noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary. And then taking the nanosecond to feel it.

But in this adrenaline-driven, multi-tasking frenzy we call Life, how do we have time to stop and smell the roses when we don't even have time to stop for gas?


1. Just stop.

To access a sense of wonder, every hour or so, just stop. Just for a moment. Take a breath, wherever you are, and step out of your raging river of thought and look around. Notice the photograph hanging in your cubicle that you put up months ago, but haven't noticed since. Look at each face and recall the one thing about them you couldn't live without. "Re-remember" why you hung the photo in the first place.

2. Freeze-frame it.
"Think about someone, something in your life you loved and freeze-frame the picture," says clinical psychologist Blair Justice, Ph.D., professor-emeritus of psychology at the UT School of Public Health at Houston . "The physical effect on the heart [when overlaid by the emotional heart of loving] is what's called cardiac-coherence."

Everything comes into balance when the physical heart and the emotional heart are, say, beating as one.

"A growing body of research supports the notion that rediscovering a sense of abundance by thinking about those people and things we love lowers the risks of coronary events," Justice offers.

3. Create a gratitude journal.
"The gratitude journal assigns us to look for and record the ordinary wonders that come across our paths," Justice explains.

It may take the form of a gratitude list:

an old friend called you today
your kids cleared the table without a fight
a co-worker walked you through a computer snag
At first you may find yourself listing the "at leasts"

at least my kids aren't starving
at least I have a roof over my head
at least I have two legs

Tapping into a sense of abundance doesn't mean that someone else must have it worse for you to feel better about your lot. Nor does it mean that you can't whine when you're stuck in gridlock traffic.

It simply means that since you are stuck in traffic, you might let your mind surrender to the idea of "found time" with yourself, instead of wasted time in traffic. Found time in a gratitude journal might read, "Someone let me into their lane in gridlock traffic. I waved a 'thank you.' They waved back. It felt good."

4. Replace the words 'at least' with 'even if'.
Feeling a sense of emotional wealth comes from a deep, abiding acknowledgement of the present moment. Let's face it: yesterday is gone. Tomorrow, or even tonight isn't here yet. All we have is right now.

In a gratitude journal you might write, " Even if I am stuck in traffic, I have a fabulous new CD, a half-tank of gas and a glorious sunset in my rearview mirror."

5. Change your lens.
Justice suggests that life can be viewed through a different lens, to gain a fresh perspective. First, try on the wide-angle lens: before you define a moment as bad, negative, hurtful, or simply boring, view the situation broadly, both literally and figuratively. Then flip it to the micro-lens to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, or "the sacred in the profane," says Justice.

Say you have an important meeting that you've just found out requires you to walk several buildings over because there's no parking. This is a surprise to you. Now you're crunched for time, not dressed for a hike, unsure how to get there on foot and worried how your laptop is going to make your bad back feel six blocks later..

Put on the macro lens: in the grand scheme

it doesn't really matter if you're five minutes late
the other attendees are walking, too
a comfortable amble will lower your heart rate before this big meeting
and this irritation will be lost to your memory by dinner tonight
and you'll know just how out of shape you've become
and this will be your wake-up call to start walking every day
Flip it to the micro lens: if you zoom up closely

the grounds to the building are stunning
there's a man feeding a squirrel right out of his hand
the sun on your face feels good
your shoes really were a steal, now that you think about it
You enter the meeting relaxed, refreshed and awake

6. The three questions
Justice practices a gentle daily examination. "At the end of the day, I ask myself three questions."

What has surprised me?
What has touched me?
What has inspired me?

He says that "hard-bitten folks have trouble finding beauty or seeing life anew in a daily way, and their arteries and immune system suffer for it." Answering these three questions inspires us to see the stuff of our days through fresh eyes.

Justice tells the story of a burned-out, jaded heart surgeon who attended a workshop on stress reduction. When asked these three questions, "he rolled his eyes, scoffed at the question and answered, 'Nothing, nothing, nothing, respectively.' "

Justice says that the surgeon was told that he was only seeing the human heart through the eyes of a surgeon, and it was time to see the heart through the eyes of a poet or an artist.

"When he returned to the group, he told how he had tried to change his eyes and for the first time in his career, a patient reached out and hugged him. The physician was floored, and forever changed," Justice recalls.

7. Connect your mind to your body
Studies show that journaling-recalling the day's events-both challenging ones and joyous ones, decreases physical symptoms of pain and illness, "and increases our sense of well being," Justice says.

Research also supports that the frequency of appreciation for the small things and the intensity with which we feel gratitude have an exponential growth potential. It creates a benevolent avalanche: the more often you tap into joy, the more joyous you'll feel, the deeper you'll feel it. The body's immune system and cardiovascular system then reap the benefits.

Sensing gratitude is the simplest possible gift we can give to ourselves that yields the highest possible return on our investment. "Letting ourselves feel that sense of wonder that surrounds us every single minute is what elevates our hearts beyond a mechanical pump and turns them into instruments of love and kindness."

This article is posted at http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=3641a

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Where are you? "Stop rushing through life. Live it instead."

Where are you?
"Stop rushing through life. Live it instead."

by Cheryl Richardson

"We do less by the very quality of our being. We must be completely present for what we are doing, without sacrificing or rushing what's in front of us in order to get to 'more important' stuff later. No matter how mundane the activity, treat everything as important and take pleasure in it. At bottom, whatever we are doing right now is what we are engaged in and it deserves our full attention and appreciation."

I read this passage in a new book called, "Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less", by Marc Lesser. I had been sent the manuscript in the hopes of providing a testimonial but, at the time, I had too many books in the cue and couldn't commit. So, I put the manuscript on top of a pile in my office and forgot about it.

One day, when I was feeling particularly frenzied, I picked up the book and went into my sunroom to have a look. I was immediately taken by the simple, elegant writing style, the obvious wisdom in the author's experience, and the good, common sense advice.

The passage above held a clue as to why I was feeling so frenzied, and Marc's suggestion to "treat everything as important and take pleasure in it," made me stop and think about how I was operating in my life.

How often are you engaged in a task while focused on another activity that needs to get done at the very same time? I soon discovered that I was doing it constantly. I'd be folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher, for instance, while at the same time ruminating about the number of emails that still needed a reply. Or, I'd be answering emails, while feeling distracted by a writing deadline that had to be met in short order. I was perpetually rushing through my life rather than living it. And, the tension of doing one thing while focused on the need to do another, left me feeling exhausted and irritable. It's no wonder. I was missing out on my life.

After reading more about this concept in Marc's book, I immediately put his wisdom into action. When I was feeding my cat, Poupon, I listened with tenderness to his excited meows, felt the can in my hand, and heard the fork scrape against the bowl as I placed the food in its center. If I were writing at my desk, I felt the keys under my fingers, focused my attention on the page, and allowed myself to get lost in the words. No more "body in one place, mind in another." I was engaged in the practice of actually being present for my life. Pretty soon I did, in fact, find myself taking pleasure in the task at hand. And I actually got more done, felt energized, and became a whole lot better to be around :).

Marc's one, simple piece of advice has made a significant difference in the quality of life, and I invite you to give it a try this week. Follow the "Take Action Challenge," and get back to actually experiencing the joy of your life rather than rushing through it.

Take Action Challenge

This week, I encourage you to do two things:

1. Simply notice where your mind is while engaged in an activity. You might be reading emails, watching TV, listening to a friend, or working on a project at your desk. Are you present for the task at hand? Or are you thinking about something else that needs to get done? Just bring awareness to your behavior without judging it.

2. Next, gently bring your mind back to the present activity by saying something like:

"I choose to be fully engaged in this activity right now."

Then, use your senses to ground yourself in the present moment. What do you feel with your body? What do you hear or see? What can you taste or smell?

You'll know you're getting it when you feel yourself slowing down, relaxing, and breathing more deeply and fully. Then, wait for the moments of joy to come - the experience of realizing that this very moment is actually the best time of your life, regardless of what you're doing :).


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cultivate Positive Money Beliefs By Busting 10 Myths

Cultivate Positive Money Beliefs By Busting 10 Myths

by Evelyn

Positive money beliefs are much more empowering than negative ones. The sad thing is that when most of us think about money, we do not have positive thoughts about it. As much as we would like to be some enlightened Being who have transcended above all material attachments, we cannot not deal with the practical aspects of existence in the third dimensional world.

Let’s get real!! We still need to pay for our bills, feed our kids and ensure that we have the means to have a computer, right? For those who are bloggers in the personal development field, we can all say aye to working long hours on our sites but not seeing any returns for a good many months . Well, my post is a follow up discussion to my article on 101 Negative Money Beliefs some weeks ago. Let us examine the better side to thinking about money today.

The Meaning Of Money

Money, in itself, is neutral. You cannot bring your wealth with you, after you pass away. It is impermanent, like all other material possessions. (In case you are wondering, only spiritual wealth counts towards an evolvement of your soul for all eternity). Rather, it is the meaning that you apply to money that creates its significance.

Principles of Positive Money Beliefs

Having some basic principles of what money really is and represents can help lay the foundation of more empowered thinking. We can also choose to examine the fallacy of some of our thoughts. I hereby select 10 myths from my list of 101 negative money beliefs for discussion:

Positive Money Belief: Money is A Measure of My Positive Thoughts.
Myth to Bust: “Money only comes from hard work”, “There is a limit to how much I can earn”.

What is money? Money is a form of energy exchange. It stores value by our applied meanings. It is a measure of confidence - of how much you believe that having it can be used for your future purposes, of the value that you place on your own goods and services and of how much others are willing to do an exchange with you for. It can therefore be said to be a measure of your positive thoughts on worth.

The more confidence you have about yourself and self-worth, the more money you are likely to make and attract. For the same hour of work, person A makes $10 but person B can make ten times more because the latter is more confident, happy and easily attracts customers. Since anything is possible, there really is no limit to how much you can earn.

Positive Money Belief: Money Can Be Assigned To Good Use.
Myth to Bust: “Money is the Root of all Evils.”

Well, money does not drive you to do crazy things. Rather, you have to understand that it is the attachment or love of money that is the root of all evils. The root “evil” is craving. Craving is the seed of our egos, causing us to fight, compete or even kill, because we are unable to make peace with what we already have.

Positive Money Belief: Money is Loving Energy.
Myth to Bust: “Money is filthy or evil”.

Money is a medium that we can use to express love. It is not the only way. But it can be a useful one. Think about how the buying of gifts make you or someone else happy! Andrea Heas shared more thoughts on Money is Love in her post here.

Positive Money Belief: Poor or Rich People Can Be Just As Evil.
Myth to Bust: “Rich People are Evil”.

I can never understand the myth that rich people are evil. Are they really? Are you saying that poor people cannot be evil? I can only think of the many philanthropists out there (eg. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, etc) who have given their money for worthy causes. I have got many friends, who by local standards, will be considered rich. Believe me, they are no different. In fact, I found many to be just as kind-hearted, generous and responsible.

There are as many evil people in the rich as there are poor. The amount of material wealth that one has is no indication of his or her values whatsoever. Let us not judge a person prematurely and without reasonable basis.

Positive Money Belief: Money is in Abundance.
Myth to Bust: “Money Does not Grow on Trees”, “Money is In Short Supply”, “It is Hard to Hold On To Money”.

We believe that money is in short supply when we fret over our future, save excessively, refuse to help a friend in need and have no faith that our needs will be well taken care by The Universe/God. Our constant worries over money are essentially thoughts based on scarcity. If we harbor thoughts like “money does not grow on trees”, “money is in short supply”, “it is hard to hold on to money”, we are not aligned to abundance.

If money is a form of energy exchange, the worst we can do is to hoard it. Money has to be allowed to flow freely. Its circulation keeps it growing. At a more macro level, think about the economy. Have nations prospered when each takes on protectionist policies? When money is centered on thoughts of fear, doubts and worry, negativity becomes more pervasive. Don’t forget that what we focus our thoughts on expands.

Positive Money Belief: Money is Spiritual.
Myth to Bust: “Spiritual people are not supposed to be rich” and “I choose to be spiritual than rich”.

You have this money myth if you are thinking that spiritual people should never charge for their services or that it is “evil” for spiritual people to be rich. You find that you are in a difficult position reconciling your thoughts on spirituality and money.

Well, money is a form of energy, just like anything else. It is not the end but a means to an end. Money can be put to good or bad use. It is how you use money that is of far more importance! Hence, by having a positive thought about wealth rather than a negative one, you can create a positive money belief that it is used for its highest good.

If money is part of abundance, then why should spiritual people be less “abundant” than doctors, lawyers and accountants? Let us take doctors as an example. Many became doctors, for instance, because they felt called to be in the healing profession. They go through years of study and at work, spend hours horning their craft. So it is that doctors tend to be generally financially wealthy. It is a “given” that we pay to see a doctor at no-less-than-cheap charges. In fact, few balk at having to foot high consultation fees the greater the reputation of a specialist doctor.

No one denies the good that spiritual people bring to the world. Yet, it is common thinking that spirituality and money “should not” mix. The reality is that spiritual development requires as much study and focus. Spiritual people also need money for their practical living needs. Pastors, for that matter, also have a family to feed.

It is a question of choice in belief. If the Universe/Source is infinite and abundant, then we need to believe that expressing our god-given talents or abilities in alignment to our soul purpose (and through our work) can help us be abundant in the physical world. In this respect, money is spiritual. More about thoughts being spiritual energy is discussed in my previous post on 10 Insights into the Power of Thoughts.


In conclusion, our struggles with money is really how we have been thinking about money. Having a physical existence requires us to deal with the practical aspects of living. Hence, we cannot not have thoughts about money. Since this is so, it is best to choose to have more positive and empowering thoughts about it.

Scarcity and the lack of money are thoughts based on fear. If we intend to reconnect with Source, then we would need to align ourselves in thoughts of love. Money is only a means to an end. Our focus is not about how to acquire more money but how we can serve humanity in the best possible way with it.
Repeated thoughts strengthened by emotion becomes belief. If we can have and feel wonderful every time we think about money, guess what is going to happen to us? We lose the inner sense of resistance towards it. We create the resonance for abundance, including money, in the field of energy around and about us.

Share Your Positive Money Beliefs

Do share your positive money beliefs. Your unique perspective may just help another person shift his thinking. Let us all work towards the conscious creation of abundance!

This post is located at: The Green Changemakers

A Certain Amount of Mess by Dick Warn

The Miracle Minute
A Certain Amount of Mess

Francis Ford Coppola, American cinematographer and director, said, "I bring to my life a certain amount of mess."

Who doesn't? Even when we think we're totally upbeat and positive, thoughts and feelings of a negative nature creep in.

Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and philosopher, said, "If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment."

Recently the local media made a big deal out of unemployment reaching 6.3%. Most people assume that is a bad thing because of the spin it is given, but is it really? Nothing is either good or bad until compared with something else. Is 6.3% unemployment bad when compared with other nations? We've got 93.7% of our people working.

Right now our nation is going through tremendous change. Change is scary. However, there is a difference between being concerned and being scared. Scared people tend to panic, run for cover, and expect others to make things better, whereas concerned people open their minds, look closely at what they are doing, and ask, "What can we do to make things better?"

In every extended economic downturn many firms go under. Yet, there are always a select few who rise up and become more successful than they were before. How can this be?

Rather than fight with change or wait for others to fix things, the select few look in the mirror and begin making changes within. They find ways to get more done in less time. They find ways to better serve their customers. They find ways to better serve the needs of their employees, their suppliers, and everyone else they deal with.

What separates the winners from the losers in an economic down turn is the winner's willingness to grow.

Dick Warn
Copyright 2009 Richard S. Warn & Associates

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Your wish is my command - now get off your butt!

Your wish is my command - now get off your butt!
Contributed by: Karen Kapusta on 3/17/2009

So have you been glued to CNN (constantly negative news) lately? Listening to all the gloom and doom? Not me. I don't like all that fearful thinking, finger-pointing, bend-over-here-it-comes-again approach to life.

Why is it that people are conditioned to think that change occurs from the outside? A kind of wait and see, stay-low-and-blame mentality. That when the economy improves, so will my business. That when I find a new mate, so will my relationships. If only I had a better/more ______, then I/everything would be different. Versus a mindset of when I become all that I can be, then I will create all the results I deserve.

You see, you've got to BE something different and DO something different to HAVE something different. You have to take ownership for all aspects of your life and take actions that produce the results you desire.

Last fall I had the opportunity to spend 2 loooong and intense days with the transformational thought leader James Arthur Ray. You most likely know him from the world-wide phenomenon, The Secret (he's the one talking about the Law of Attraction in terms of the genie - "your wish is my command"), his NY Times Bestseller Harmonic Wealth, plus his appearances on Oprah, The Today Show and Larry King Live. In this seminar called the Harmonic Wealth Weekend, James lectured us on the science of success. Boy, we all can use a success mentality now!

Here's a bit of what James Ray advises:

1. Set a clear and passionate intention of what you desire. There's a big difference between working towards what inspires you vs. doing something out of desperation or lack.

2. Focus your attention. Energy flows where attention goes. When you keep throwing logs on negative fires, they never go out.

3. Direct the energy in your environment. Everything is comprised of energy. Like attracts like. Feed your mind with positive thoughts, people, activities, and personal growth. Time for a change of people you hang out with?

4. Shift your beliefs to serve you.
You are the by-product of other people's ways of thinking which can be limiting, unwanted and ineffective.

5. Grow or die. Be resourceful. Take action.

If you are ready for a change in your finances, relationships, mental, spiritual and physical well-being, and resonate with what I just said, then you can meet James Ray live here in Colorado. He will be here for two nights:

April 28, 2009 in Denver
April 29, 2009 in Colorado Springs

Go to www.createwealthevent.com to reserve your free seats. (They will fill up quickly as James is limiting the number of his live appearances.)
Starts promptly at 7:00pm. Doors open at 6:40pm.

The seminar is 2 hours long where James will present The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want, including Q and A and a free gift for all attendees.

Looking for change in your life? Your wish is my command. Register now at

And did I mention it's free?

Emotional independence

Emotional independence
by Paulo Coelho

“At the beginning of our life and again when we get old, we need the help and affection of others. Unfortunately, between these two periods of our life, when we are strong and able to look after ourselves, we don’t appreciate the value of affection and compassion. As our own life begins and ends with the need for affection, wouldn’t it be better if we gave compassion and love to others while we are strong and capable?”

The above words were said by the present Dalai Lama. Really, it is very curious to see that we are proud of our emotional independence. Evidently, it is not quite like that: we continue needing others our entire life, but it is a “shame” to show that, so we prefer to cry in hiding. And when someone asks us for help, that person is considered weak and incapable of controlling his feelings.

There is an unwritten rule saying that “the world is for the strong”, that “only the fittest survive.” If it were like that, human beings would never have existed, because they are part of a species that needs to be protected for a long period of time (specialists say that we are only capable of surviving on our own after nine years of age, whereas a giraffe takes only six to eight months, and a bee is already independent in less than five minutes).

We are in this world, I, for my part, continue – and will always continue – depending on others. I depend on my wife, my friends and my publishers. I depend even on my enemies, who help me to be always trained in the use of the sword.

Clearly, there are moments when this fire blows in another direction, but I always ask myself: where are the others? Have I isolated myself too much? Like any healthy person, I also need solitude and moments of reflection.

But I cannot get addicted to that.

Emotional independence leads to absolutely nowhere – except to a would-be fortress, whose only and useless objective is to impress others.

Emotional dependence, in its turn, is like a bonfire that we light.

In the beginning, relationships are difficult. In the same way that fire is necessary to put up with the disagreeable smoke – which makes breathing hard, and causes tears to pour down one’s face. However, once the fire is alight, the smoke disappears and the flames light up everything around us – spreading warmth, calm, and possibly making an ember pop out to burn us, but that is what makes a relationship interesting, isn’t that true?

I began this column quoting a Nobel Peace Prize winner about the importance of human relationships. I am ending with Professor Albert Schweitzer, physician and missionary, who received the same Nobel prize in 1952.

"All of us know a disease in Central Africa called sleeping sickness. What we need to know is that there is a similar disease that attacks the soul – and which is very dangerous, because it catches us without being noticed. When you notice the slightest sign of indifference and lack of enthusiasm for your similar, be on the alert!”

"The only way to take precautions against this disease is to understand that the soul suffers, and suffers a lot, when we make it live superficially. The soul likes things that are beautiful and profound”.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Phenomenon of Boredom

by MJ Ryan

The labeling of a huge part of human experience as boring is a relatively new phenomenon. The concept of boredom -- a sense of emptiness and a lack of stimulation -- didn't even exist until the nineteenth century. Before that, it was used only in the context of a person who spoke too long or rambled off the topic: "Oh, she's such a bore!" Now it is a state of being that is a fate worse than death.

Psychologists say that the problem we think is "out there" -- in the book, movie, job, relationship -- is actually in us. Boredom, they say, is created by an inability to delay gratification and a low tolerance for frustration, both of which have serious implications for our success in life and in love.

Any time we proclaim something boring, what we really are saying is that we don't have patience for it. Rather than looking at ourselves for the source of the problem -- and therefore the solution -- we look at whatever is provoking the feeling and label that the problem.

A lot of human experience can be considered boring. There are huge stretches of parenting, in relationships, in work, where "nothing" is happening, or at least nothing obvious. We can consider those moments boring and seek to alleviate that boredom with any distraction available. Or we can see such occasions as opportunities to tap into our patience and look more deeply.

Try it yourself. Go on a fast for a week in which you refuse to consider any experience boring. When your mind begins to use that label -- in traffic, say, or on hold -- challenge yourself to find something of interest in what is going on, either in yourself or the world around you. How does that change your experience?

With attention, nothing is boring, even the most routine tasks. If you tune in to how the warm soapy water feels as you wash the pots and pans, how does that change the experience for you? Or weeding the garden, how does it feel to bend and stretch in the sunlight? What *is* the name of that gray bird with the crested head that suddenly appeared? This level of experiencing life isn’t one that we tune in to, but it is one that can bear many riches of wonder at the very fact of being alive in this amazing world.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happiness Decision

Happiness Decision by Lionel Ketchian

This is well worth the time to view it.

There is a positive connection between health and happiness (now scientifically verified), as well as a negative correlation between health and unhappiness (à stressàdisease)

� Happiness doesn’t mean you won’t have problems, even major ones; we all have problems; life is all about problems.

� You are/can be separate from your problems. When you see the truth of this you can be happy even in the midst of these problems.

� Acceptance is the way out for those problems over which you have no control.

� This doesn’t mean you can’t work on improving life or getting rid of problems. Those who are happy, in fact, have more energy for working on the problems they can work to improve.

� You choose happiness moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. Whatever comes up you can ask yourself if it is worth losing your happiness for it…and will that help? It’s a present moment choice all the time in Being Happy in the Moment, moment by moment.

� When you are happy you make better decisions; you mind is clearer and more creative.

� Happy people are more fun to be with, more attractive to others, have better long term relationships, are healthier, and live longer.

Excerpt from Aymee Coget, "How to Be Happy No Matter What"

SPREAD THE JOY by Dr. Lisa Love

The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.-- Audre Lorde

Dr. Lisa Love Coaching Tip

The other night I was home with my son and received a video link from a Facebook friend in Greece. The images of Greece combined with the music got my heart happy and the next thing you know I was singing and dancing all over my home. I new fan of Twitter, I "tweeted" about all the fun I was having to friends there and the next thing I knew I was in the middle of an international party spreading the joy all around. I even had people from other states in the United States call me on the phone. The laughter, the networking, the sheer fun and silliness of it all kept amping up the joy in my life. In turn I amped it up with the people around me and went to bed on a super high of giggles and smiles.

As I woke up the next morning I thought to myself, "Instead of telling people around the globe in this economic crisis to go shopping, maybe we should tell everyone to go dancing instead." A vision of people all around the world dealing with the economic crisis not by saying, "Oh my, how will I handle this all?" but by indulging in one big joy fest of singing, dancing, laughing, and smiling flooded my imagination. I could even see YouTube videos being shared of people just sharing the major joy fest they were having. None of it costs a thing to indulge in, yet far more than shopping I am certain such a thing would do way more to help out the economy than anything else we could think of. Can't you see it? A world wide laugh fest? No one able to supress our spirits because we decide instead to raise them up to a whole new vibration regardless? Couldn't be better. So get out your dance shoes. Tune up your instruments. Looses up your vocal chords. Get playing and spread the joy! It's infectious! And, it's one virus worth spreading right now.

Dr. Lisa Lisa

Friday, March 6, 2009

And the Award Goes to...

Does the idea of standing in front of a mirror and appreciating your positive qualities feel uncomfortable and stupid? It did to me-which was a sign that I really needed to try it.

I first learned this mirror exercise in 1990, when I took a week-long course from my mentor, Jack Canfield, on self-esteem. Jack assigned the exercise as homework every night, saying, "Make sure you do this behind a closed door so nobody walks by and thinks you're crazy." Each night my roommate and I took turns going into the bathroom, shutting the door, and whispering sweet nothings to our reflections: "You're kind." "You're loyal." "You have a loving heart."

The first night, I felt like a California New Age woo-woo nutcase, but soon I experienced a rush of sadness; I was such an expert at judging myself-why was it so hard to say nice things?

With practice, it gradually became easier to list reasons to love myself: "You're smart." "You go out of your way to help others." And so on. But the real power of this exercise came when I learned to express appreciation for myself for no reason-to look myself in the eye and simply love who I was, unconditionally.

If you're like most people, consciously recognizing the positive about yourself may feel conceited. After all, we're raised not to "toot our own horns." So we end up not giving ourselves credit or acknowledgment or even worse, beating ourselves up, which shuts down our hearts, contracts our energy, and decreases our happiness levels.

Doing the research for my book Happy for No Reason, I interviewed scores of scientists along with one hundred unconditionally happy people (I call them the Happy 100). One of the things I discovered is that truly happy people have a compassionate, encouraging, and validating att­­­­itude toward themselves. This isn't arrogance or self-centeredness; it's an appreciation and acceptance of who they are.

Learning to see the positive about yourself starts by changing your brain's habit of focusing on your negative experiences and instead inclining your mind toward joy.

So today, begin registering your happy experiences more deeply-- consciously look for them. You can make it a game you play with yourself. Have the intention to notice everything good that happens to you: anything you see, feel, taste, hear or smell that brings you joy, a "win" you experience, a breakthrough, an a-ha, or an expression of your creativity-the list goes on and on.

This intention triggers the reticular activating system (RAS), a group of cells at the base of your brain stem responsible for sorting through the massive amounts of incoming information and bringing anything important to your attention. Have you ever bought a car and then suddenly starting noticing the same make of car everywhere? It's the RAS at work. Now you can use it to be happier. When you decide to look for the positive, your RAS makes sure that's what you see.

Adelle, one of the Happy 100, told me about a unique method she has for registering the positive. As she goes about her day, she gives away awards in her mind: the best-behaved dog award, the most colorful landscape design at a fast food drive-through award, the most courteous driver award. This keeps her alert to the beauty and positivity that is all around her. Charmed by this idea, I tried it myself. I liked it so much, I've been giving out these "Happiness Oscars," as I call them, ever since.

Once you notice something positive, take a moment to savor it consciously. Take the good experience in deeply and feel it; make it more than just a mental observation. If possible, spend around 30 seconds, soaking up the happiness you feel. If you want to accelerate your progress, take time every day to write down a few of your wins, breakthroughs, and things you appreciate about others-and about yourself.

You'll know you've really mastered this when you can give yourself an Academy Award-for outstanding achievement in true happiness!

Marci Shimoff

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

This World is Perfect

This World is Perfect
by Swami Vivekananda

Is it not a blasphemy to say that the world needs our help? We cannot deny that there is much misery in it; to go out and help others is, therefore, the best thing we can do, although in the long run, we shall find that helping others is only helping ourselves. […]

Life is good or evil according to the state of mind in which we look at it, it is neither by itself. Fire, by itself, is neither good nor evil. When it keeps us warm we say, "How beautiful is fire!" When it burns our fingers, we blame it. Still, in itself it is neither good nor bad. According as we use it, it produces in us the feeling of good or bad; so also is this world. It is perfect. By perfection is meant that it is perfectly fitted to meet its ends. We may all be perfectly sure that it will go on beautifully well without us, and we need not bother our heads wishing to help it.

Yet we must do good; the desire to do good is the highest motive power we have, if we know all the time that it is a privilege to help others. […]

[And] one must first know how to work without attachment, then one will not be a fanatic. When we know that this world is like a dog's curly tail and will never get straightened, we shall not become fanatics. If there were no fanaticism in the world, it would make much more progress than it does now. It is a mistake to think that fanaticism can make for the progress of mankind. On the contrary, it is a retarding element creating hatred and anger, and causing people to fight each other, and making them unsympathetic. We think that whatever we do or possess is the best in the world, and what we do not do or possess is of no value. So, always remember the instance of the curly tail of the dog whenever you have a tendency to become a fanatic. You need not worry or make yourself sleepless about the world; it will go on without you. When you have avoided fanaticism, then alone will you work well. It is the level-headed man, the calm man, of good judgment and cool nerves, of great sympathy and love, who does good work and so does good to himself.

--Swami Vivekananda, From "The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda," Vol. 1