Monday, May 31, 2010

The Big Twelve of Life that Fate Brings You

Quotes for the Week:

"Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good while life and power are still yours."

Marcus Aurelius

“Destiny is, I think, nothing but a series of psychic knots that we tie with our some moment you must stop life and look into it. And as you go on dipping and rising in your inner Ganges, you undo the knots.”

Raja Rao The Serpent and the Rope


The Big Twelve of Life that Fate Brings You

Lynne Namka, Ed. D. © 2010

A quote stopped me in my tracks this week causing me to pause and reflect. Gregory David Roberts, author of the novel Shantaram, said,

“Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised and we can never know which one is which until we’ve loved them, left them or fought them.”

Shantaram is the author’s first book, an autobiographical novel about an Australian who escapes from prison and goes to Bombay, India where he becomes involved in the Indian Mafia of organized crime. Roberts is a philosopher and poet who writes from his heart while describing one of the most descriptively brutal and most loving books I’ve read. As a fugitive, the hero founds a free medical clinic in the cardboard shack slums of Bombay where he lives and falls in love with a mysterious woman. He’s always ready for a fight to the death and becomes involved in severe beatings, drugs, money laundering and passport smuggling of the black market. The beautiful generosity and loving connections of the Indian people living in poverty who open their hearts to friends and family are described along with the intense sights, smells and beauty of Mother India and its mix of many nationalities of people. It is a brutal, bloody book not for the faint of heart nor for the depressed, which tells of betrayal, damages of war and then the poetry of redemption, of love and forgiveness.

So back to the Robert’s quote, which is a doozy. Ponder on it and the twelve things that destiny, fate or your choices have brought to you in your life. Who are your three great teachers? Who are your three best friends? And your three enemies and three great loves? Stop and write these down before you read the rest of this.

Three great teachers:

Three good friends:

Three enemies:

Three great loves:

I would add the three greatest experiences that changed the way you think about and how you conduct your life.

And add a mistake or two that changed the course of your direction and what you learned.

Don’t be concerned if you can’t come up with the required number of three or if you have more than three for each category. The number isn’t important. Thinking about those who have had the biggest input to your psychological and spiritual development is the task here.

As I’ve had a quite complicated life, I had to divide my loves into three Heartbreaker loves and three Holy loves. The Heartbreakers were those people with whom I expended much mental and physical energy who gave me much pain along with the necessary life lessons I needed to learn to clear crucial karma. The three Holy loves are those people who are constant and true who gave me validation of me as a person and also joy.

When I asked the inner question of my Higher Self regarding my enemies, I was surprised by the answers of Self-Doubt, Neediness and Fear. Like the old comic strip character Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” My enemies have been internal not external and in the end, only shortcomings to be addressed.

And while you are at it, stop and reflect on those people with whom you have had positive input into their life. Who have you impacted so that their life was changed for the better? Have you give back as much as has been given to you? Can’t think of anyone? There is still time for you to reach out and make someone else’s world a better place. Play it forward.

Now back to you. Your fate is there waiting in the wings brought on mostly by your thoughts, unresolved psychological issues and the choices you make. Why unresolved issues? The great Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung said, “The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made consciousness, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner contradictions, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn in opposite haves.” What you don’t work out hits you smack dab in the face when you least expect it.

Ah yes, the opportunity to grow waits there and what is not worked out comes around again and again until you get it. Really get it. The evolutionary impulse towards growth is there pointing you towards integration. We call it the soul’s journey home.

Here’s another Roberts quote from the book:

“The cloak of the past is cut from patches of feeling, and rebus threads. Most of the time, the best we can do is wrap it around ourselves for comfort or drag it behind us as we struggle to go on. But everything has its cause and its meaning. Every life, every love, every action and feeling and thought has its reason and significance: its beginning, and the part it plays in the end. Sometimes, we do see. We see the past so clearly, and read the legend of its parts with such acuity, that every stitch of time reveals its purpose, and a kind of message is enfolded in it. Nothing in any life, no matter how well or poorly lived is wiser than failure or clearer than sorrow. And in the tiny, precious wisdom that they give to us, even those dread and hatred enemies, suffering and failure, have their reason and their right to be.”

Look to your failures and forgive yourself. Challenge your fears and dismiss the irrational ones. Most of them are illusions anyway. Learn from your mistakes. Thank those people, living or dead, who shaped and developed your psyche and hopeful outlook on the world. As you feel gratitude for those good influences given generously to you, reach out and engage in life and those current people around you. Celebrate those who truly love you and love them deeply in return. Go forward in your adventure toward your highest destiny.

Roberts ends his story with these words:

“…every human will has the power to transform its fate. I’d always thought that fate was unchangeable: fixed for every one of us at birth, and as constant as the circuit of the stars. But I suddenly realized that life is stranger and more beautiful than that. The truth is that, no matter what kind of game you find yourself in, no matter how good or bad the luck, you can change your life completely with a single thought or a single act of love….With love: the passionate search for a truth other than our own. With longing: the pure ineffable yearning to be saved. For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on. God help us. God forgive us. We live on.”

Peace and joy,


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Giving up the Miserable Practice of Needing to be Perfect and Expecting Others to Be

Giving up the Miserable Practice of Needing
to be Perfect and Expecting Others to Be

Lynne Namka, Ed. D. © 2010

Expecting yourself or others to be perfect is an unfortunate way of thinking that is absolutely crazy making! Perfectionists have unrealistic expectations of themselves or others. Putting these unrealistic expectations on others creates frustration, anger and sometimes depression if you turn them back on yourself.

Perfectionistic thinking often manifests as judgments and “shoulds.” When you hear yourself making a "should judgment," you can tell yourself, “That’s only my ego nagging me with a should!” Modify your unyielding, unrealistic expectations for others—those absolutist shoulds, absolutes, have tos, ought tos and musts and make them preferences and wishes instead. These ways of viewing the world definitely breaks into your peace of mind and happiness.

Often perfectionistic thinking is passed down as a family generational theme. Shame of not measuring up to the unrealistic standards of the parents is passed from generation to generation. Critical parental behavior produces shame-prone children who then criticize themselves and others. When a child’s essential needs for stability, attention, affection, approval and validation were shamed, any time later in life when a valid need comes up, he might drop back into these old feelings.

The child who lives with constant criticism learns to hide his vulnerable feelings and his failures when the parents have high expectations of behavior. He or she feels rejected if the parent humiliates and punishes him for crying. The child learns to reject all aspects of himself including the wonderful ones. The rejected child believes that he must be really bad or his parents would accept and love him. He can stop trying to succeed as he might fail and he can’t bear the uncomfortable feelings that accompany failure. To protect his already fragile self-esteem, he procrastinates or gives up before he starts.

Failure is a necessary part of learning. Learning to cope with failure is a positive social skill that is necessary for success! How we cope with being thwarted on a goal defines whether we become a loser or a learner. The moment of failure presents a Y in the road: in one direction blaming either self or others or the other, problem solving. Once when I goofed up in a big way my boss said, “Lynne, what do we do about this?” Failure presents the opportunity for learning, for change and increased self-esteem.

Perfectionistic thoughts are obsessive lies of the ego that do you in. They can be stopped dead in their tracks through self-talk and The Emotional Freedom Technique. Reprogram your mind to KNOW that errors are for learning! Stop and ponder these quotes from wise minds that reflect on the value of learning through failure and giving up old, perfectionistic beliefs:

“Failure is not the worst thing in the world; the very worst is not to try.”


“One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.”

John W. Gardner

“Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure.”

Edward Eggleston

“The way to succeed is to double your error rate.”

Thomas J. Watson

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

Truman Capote

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.”

Denis Waitley

“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.”

Robert Schuller

“Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”

Henry Van Dyke

“I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.”

Anne Lamott

“A diamond with a flaw is better than a common stone that is perfect.”

Chinese Proverb

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.”


“I am perfectly imperfect and I allow this perfect imperfection in myself. I do strive for a standard of excellence in my work. That is perfectly right for me.”

Lynne Namka

“We are completely perfect, but we need a minor adjustment.”

Suzuki Roshi

“Your life will have a kind of perfection, although you will not be a saint. The perfection will consist in this: You will be very weak and you will make many mistakes; you will be awkward, for you will be poor in spirit and hunger and thirst for justice. You will not be perfect, but you will love. This is the gate and the way. There is nothing greater than love. There is nothing more true that love; nothing more real. So let us hand our lives over to love and seal the bond of love.”

Eberhard Arnold

Peace and joy,


“Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. “

David M. Burns

[Lynne's website:]

The 100/0 Principle

An Excerpt from
The 100/0 Principle
by Al Ritter

What is the most effective way to create and sustain great relationships with others? It's The 100/0 Principle: You take full responsibility (the 100) for the relationship, expecting nothing (the 0) in return.

Implementing The 100/0 Principle is not natural for most of us. It takes real commitment to the relationship and a good dose of self-discipline to think, act and give 100 percent.

The 100/0 Principle applies to those people in your life where the relationships are too important to react automatically or judgmentally. Each of us must determine the relationships to which this principle should apply. For most of us, it applies to work associates, customers, suppliers, family and friends.

STEP 1 - Determine what you can do to make the relationship work...then do it. Demonstrate respect and kindness to the other person, whether he/she deserves it or not.

STEP 2 - Do not expect anything in return. Zero, zip, nada.

STEP 3 - Do not allow anything the other person says or does (no matter how annoying!) to affect you. In other words, don't take the bait.

STEP 4 - Be persistent with your graciousness and kindness. Often we give up too soon, especially when others don't respond in kind. Remember to expect nothing in return.

At times (usually few), the relationship can remain challenging, even toxic, despite your 100 percent commitment and self-discipline. When this occurs, you need to avoid being the "Knower" and shift to being the "Learner." Avoid Knower statements/ thoughts like "that won't work," "I'm right, you are wrong," "I know it and you don't," "I'll teach you," "that's just the way it is," "I need to tell you what I know," etc.

Instead use Learner statements/thoughts like "Let me find out what is going on and try to understand the situation," "I could be wrong," "I wonder if there is anything of value here," "I wonder if..." etc. In other words, as a Learner, be curious!

Principle Paradox

This may strike you as strange, but here's the paradox: When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well. Consequently, the 100/0 relationship quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100. When that occurs, true breakthroughs happen for the individuals involved, their teams, their organizations and their families.

The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

One day a few years ago I was driving and listening to the radio. Sometimes I listen to music when driving, but more often I check out the talk radio stations to see if there's anything of interest.

Well, on that day I tuned into the middle of a talk radio show and the guest was a physician who shared something I found absolutely incredible. As the days went by, the topic kept returning to my mind and I couldn't help ponder the fascinating information until I had to do a bit of my own research.

The radio guest was a doctor who specialized in heart transplants and research. He explained the discoveries of the research and offered specific real life examples to support it.

Heart to Heart

In brief, the researchers had followed the lives of many heart transplant patients. And even though the patients did not know who their donors were, they incredibly took on the personality traits and preferences of the donors. The findings were most often based on accounts from family members of the patients.

Here is just one example that was shared...

A man received a heart from a young black man who died. After the transplant, the patient suddenly developed a strong passion for classical music. His family couldn't understand what had happened as the man's life began to revolve completely around classical music. When asked his opinion about the kind of music young black men enjoy, the patient said he had always assumed it was rap music. But what the patient never knew was that the young man who gave him the heart was returning from his violin lessons when he was hit by a car and died. The donor's life had completely revolved around classical music.

According to the details of the call, it was obvious that this was a common occurrence. The doctor went into much detail about their findings.

I spent some time assimilating the information and waiting for insights of my own about this. So many thoughts were going through my mind...

It would appear that our heart is not just our bodily organ. I have learned and teach that the subconscious mind has a perfect memory of every cell in our body and can heal us. It is also a perfect record of everything we have ever heard, said, felt and experienced. This is common knowledge in psychological and metaphysical circles. In fact, in metaphysical terms, the subconscious mind is known as the "heart."

But the thought that the actual physical organ of our body - the heart - is also a living blueprint of our personalities that can transcend the body - is a striking revelation.

And then I thought...perhaps every living cell of our bodies contains our personalities. Could this mean that any transplanted organ would carry the personality traits of the donor to the recipient? Or is our physical heart truly the center of our most passionate, beloved desires, spiritual ideals and aspirations that it will carry with it wherever it goes, even if it leaves its original body?

And what if the donor is not a positive loving person with high aspirations - perhaps a criminal donor? Would those personality traits carry over to the recipient patient? Would the patient's own personality traits be able to buffer any negative potential?

And of course, we can even conjure up a bit of Twilight Zone. If the donor's passion for a kind of music can transfer to the recipient, could the donor's passion for a particular person be transferred - if the patient were to meet that particular person? imagination was going wild. Except....except...


I did catch a movie on television shortly afterwards about a female heart transplant patient who had an irresistible attraction to the young daughter of a man whose wife had died. She was accused of stalking the young girl but could not stay away from her. Long story short, it turned out that the patient had received the heart of the father's wife - and therefore the young girl's mother. Oh well, it was only a movie. Except...except...

As I researched the subject, I found someone who had read a book by a woman who was one of the first heart and lung transplant recipients. The patient was a classical dancer, but after the transplant surgery, she immediately started craving beer and hotdogs and driving fast cars. She later discovered that her donor was a teenage boy who died in a motorcycle accident. She eventually was able to meet his family and everything that she now craved were things that were important to him. And this was a TRUE story!

A little more research and I found the book. Claire Sylvia's story was made into a feature film for television in 2002 titled Heart of a Stranger and starred Jane Seymour. (You can google Claire Sylvia to find more details)

This paragraph from the book jacket says it all:

This is a story that must be told and heard...a fascinating example of how cellular memory can outlive physical death. -- Deepok Chopra

You Gotta Have Heart

Now I ask you to think about this...

If a physical heart can travel to another human body and carry with it the passions, preferences, and desires of its former owner, what is the impact that your own heart has on you? What kind of influence does your heart have on your life experience, your circumstances and the manifestation of your desires?

In studying prosperity laws, we learn that our words and our thoughts create dominant ideas in our mind that become our circumstances. But if your words and thoughts are infused with feeling - specifically the feeling of the end result - you possess the greatest manifesting tool in the universe, indeed.

When we put real feeling into something we are doing, isn't it said that we "put our heart into it?"

We can say all the words and affirmations we want...we can even fool ourselves - and others - with our words and actions. But ultimately the greatest impact in our lives and in the results we gain from applying mental and spiritual laws will come from the "whisperings" of our heart. That's where the truth of the matter lies. It's in the whisperings of our heart - and the seat of our subconscious.

You can't fool your heart. It knows the truth about you.

But to me the most amazing thing in the world is that we can have a change of heart (of course I don't mean a transplant but that's equally amazing!)

What's in your heart right now? Could you use a change of heart?

Take heart

~ Marilyn

Visit the Feel Free to Prosper Website
Contact Marilyn

© Copyright 2010 Marilyn Jenett, Feel Free to Prosper
All rights reserved

Marilyn Jenett, an accomplished business owner in the corporate arena, founded the Feel Free to Prosper program to mentor and teach others to become aligned with Universal laws and accept their right to prosper. For more information, visit

Marilyn's book, Feel Free to Prosper: Two Weeks to Unexpected Income With the Simplest Prosperity Laws Available, is her first release.

Feel Free to Prosper, 1933 Manning Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA

Monday, May 24, 2010

Love money happiness - what everyone wants

You want to experience love, have money and be happy. You are not alone. These are desires common to mankind. We yearn to be loved, to feel special to someone, to have money to live well and to be happy. It’s normal to want these things. The question many people ask is how to find love, get enough money and be happy even until the love and money show up.

The easiest way to find love is to discover self love. Realize all your gifts and talents. This isn’t saying to be a snob, but to be aware of how caring you are. To show yourself respect and love that you would like to experience with another person. There was a study done a few years ago about what men found the most sexy about a woman. The winning answer was “a woman who knows she’s sexy”. The same is true for what women find attractive. How you feel about yourself is a signal you give out to other people. They respond to that self worth signal you send out. Sit down and be honest about what you think about yourself. What areas can you improve on? How you feel about yourself will result in who you attract into your life.

Money is another main topic of conversation. Everyone wants more of it. Money is energy, the energy of abundance that is all around. There is only abundance. There’s plenty of everything. You are the stream of consciousness that the energy of abundance moves through. Using your thoughts, feelings, knowing combined with action opens the windows and doors of your life allowing the easy flow of more money. Remember, abundance is the natural state of life itself, always seeking to expand and experience more of itself. By placing your attention on abundance of what you do want rather than paying attention to what you don’t want.. well.. you get the point. Where your energy goes.. creation soon follows. So pay attention, notice abundance. Be aware of how much abundance there is. Look around you right now. See the abundance of everything you could ever desire. Now realize that you are the channel that everything flows through.

Happiness is another of the main three desires of all mankind. We enjoy feeling good. We like to feel connected to life and at peace with our surroundings. Taking note of all the beauty around you is one way to increase your happiness level. Picking conversations that uplift and inspire is another. Movies, books, and music are also wonderful mood elevators. Going for a long walk to commune with nature or sitting quietly watching the birds and listening to their songs will bring up your level of happiness and connection.

Often there are community activities that you can join to meet others and learn a new skill or hobby. Check your communities leisure center, they often have classes in yoga, martial arts, painting, dance, etc. These are a great way to meet new people and fling open the door to opportunity. The more involved you are in your life the more possibilities you discover.

Be open to your life. Live it fully. Grab each day and dance through it. You are the only one who has the power to hold you back or move you forward.. What’s stopping you? Ready Set GO!!!

Donna DeVane
Secret Design Creations

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why Do Pencils Have Erasers? Why Do Computers Have Delete and Backspace Keys?

Why Do Pencils Have Erasers?
Why Do Computers Have Delete and Backspace Keys?

One of my favorite anonymous quotes on perfectionism is “No one is perfect; that’s why pencils have erasers.” A recent review of the literature on perfectionism showed two distinct kinds. Normal perfectionism is a “sense of pleasure from painstaking effort and desire to excel while feeling free to be as less precise as the situation demands.” There is a standard of excellence without the neurotic excessive worrying.

Neurotic perfectionists spend a lot of time spinning their wheels and scolding themselves or others! They fall apart and sink into low self-esteem if they make a mistake. They hold the erroneous belief that perfectionism will automatically bring rewards but it only generates worry and grief.

Neurotic perfectionists usually have a higher list of shoulds that they try to impose on their partners and children. Perfectionism is learned behavior; people who had critical, perfectionistic parents learn to be judgmental themselves. They can become angry when their own needs are not met.

Neurotic perfectionistic beliefs have the highest of expectations that cannot be gained. People who are critical and controlling of others because of their unusually high standards have high anxiety and irritability within. They try to keep their nervous feelings down by trying to control the environment and the people in it. They harbor faulty beliefs that certain people are bad, stupid, evil, or do things wrong and it is their moral duty to correct them. They try to impose their values on others in order to keep their own nervous feelings at bay.

Critical statements start with the word “You” followed by an accusation and the insistence that someone else is doing something wrong. They are blame statements. They are all a form of the need for control which insists that “I get to tell you what to do.” Loss of connection and intimacy is always a by-product of the shoulds and demands of perfectionism.

My Critical Part has been Out Lately

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor,” said Anne Lamott. Here is an exercise to help you look at your patterns of judgment and criticism. Write out the answers to help identify your beliefs that make you a controlling person.

One area that I criticize my partner/friend/child is:

When I feel that my needs are not met in this area, the unhealthy ways that I cope are:

What can I do to release my irrational idea that my happiness depends on you changing?

I am willing to observe and examine my behaviors that I’m upset with in you such as:

I pay attention. I interrupt my critical thoughts and words by: (Observation, introspection and meditation, Thought stoppage, The Emotional Freedom Technique, Deep breathing, etc.)

I perceive that others have criticized me for:

Some of the criticism is just. I am willing to acknowledge that I:

I am willing to observe and examine these behaviors that are upsetting to others:

When you come to the fork in the road after an upsetting incident, you can go to blaming or to problem solving. So look to your beliefs and how they make you miserable or contented. The need to control another person’s actions can be understood, analyzed and channeled into higher-level responses which promote healthy interactions for all involved. The next time that you have an unrealistic expectation of someone and a subsequent angry outburst, ask yourself two questions. Am I just acting out of perfectionistic habit needs? Did my action celebrate life or harm life?

Remember, if you reach for the stars and beat yourself up for not getting them, you will end up clutching at air and being pretty darned depressed!

Challenge your negative thoughts and impractical and unworkable demands. Anytime you do something to calm yourself instead of running the turmoil created by your critical nature ego, you are doing affect regulation. Anytime you tell yourself something helpful, you are doing positive self-talk and Thought Stoppage, thus increasing self-esteem. Yeah! You are on the road to positive thinking and living. Author Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Working your mind works. It only works when you work it!

Peace and joy,

Lynne Namka, Ed. D. © 2010


Ideas taken from the research article, The destructiveness of perfectionism. Implications for the treatment of depression, by Prof. Sidney J. Blatt and The Perfectionist’s Script for Self-defeat (article) by David D. Burns.

My book, Good Bye Ouchies and Grouchies, Hello Happy Feelings: EFT for Kids of All Ages has a companion book. Teaching Emotional Intelligence to Children: Fifty Fun Activities for Parents, Teachers and Therapists gives lesson plans plus EFT tapping statements. Go to to order the set of both books at a discounted rate.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Develop Your Mental Strength - SAY NO!

Develop Your Mental Strength - SAY NO!
Gus Moonfoot

Mental strength is a quality that most people vaguely aspire to. Not many people think about what it is clearly, though. When we do think about it, we mistakenly think it is just 'will-power.' Mental strength, however, is so much more than forgoing a second chocolate brownie. Mental strength is what enables you to not just to make the difficult choices in life, but to see where the difficult choices lie in the first place. It is a quality that without which we go through life as helpless as a leaf upon a fast-moving stream. You don't want to be a helpless leaf, do you?

How do you develop mental strength? The good news is that we are surrounded by opportunities to do this twenty-four hours a day. Our modern, free society means that not only are we free to make our own decisions, but everyone else is free to bombard us with advertising, marketing, and social pressures as well. The techniques to influence our decisions are so sophisticated now we are often not even aware it is happening. Even a film shown without commercials will be full of subtle product placements that are nearly impossible to register. We are manipulated into spending, eating and consuming more than we want or need. The result, unsurprisingly, is that we are left mentally (as well as perhaps physically) weak and exhausted.

If you are normal, and you spend, eat and consume more than you want or need, here is the first step to recovery: abstain! Not from everything, of course. Start small. Choose one thing. It doesn't really matter what it is. For one person it might mean giving up sugar. For someone else it might mean only having the one slice of cake. Find something appropriate for you, something you would normally indulge in, and then resist. You will find this easiest, and perhaps derive the most benefit, if you chose something that you don't really enjoy much in the first place. You know, that sitcom that you watch that isn't funny, or that fried food you eat that really isn't very tasty. Our lives are full of luxuries we don't actually enjoy, but that we consume only because we are used to consuming them. These are the easiest, and most important things to stop right away!

How is abstaining going to increase your mental strength? Remember, this is more than just an exercise in will-power. This is you making a small, but important, stand against the constant barrage of instructions your brain receives to consume. Choosing to drink Coke over Pepsi is not an act of individualism - it is obeying one marketing message instead of another. Choosing to drink neither is you proving to yourself that you retain the ability to make your own decisions.

Here are some dos and don'ts: Don't abstain to lose weight! Do abstain to prove to yourself that you chose what and when to eat. Don't abstain to make a statement to the world about the excesses of capitalism, consumerism, materialism, etc. You can have those beliefs, but that's not what this is about. This is about making a statement to yourself for yourself. And while I'm on the subject, DON'T TELL ANYONE!! Once you tell someone else, whether you mean to or not, you involve them. You look for their approval, or feel their disapproval. You want them to support you or feel disappointed when they don't. Going down this road will dilute all of the benefit you could receive. Don't think of this as being secretive. This is just a private matter for you alone.

Here's what you will gain: a quiet satisfaction that in at least one small part of your life you are in total control. If developed further, you will find yourself in a much stronger position the next time life throws you one of its inevitable curve balls. Eventually you should be able to enter a dialogue with yourself (okay, technically this is a monologue, but you know what I mean) where you are actively choosing which influences, from which sources, you want to allow into your thoughts. Does that sound like a strange idea? It is not. It's just you being yourself, instead of what other people want you to be.

So go on! Try it! Give something up. In five minutes you can probably write a list of five things in your life you do out of habit, or because everyone else does, that you really don't enjoy that much. Chose one, and even if you only give it up for a day, you will feel more alive than you will have from a lifetime of needless consumption. What have you got to lose?

Gus Moonfoot
Posted from Gus Moonfoot's blog