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Archive for the ‘Mindfulness’ Category

yellow tennis ball…

In Animal Rescue, Life with dogs, Mindfulness, Pets on Monday, 10 June 2013 at 08:18

this is difficult for my skeptic mind to process, but i can’t really think of another explanation…

as i write this, i am simply dumbfounded.  i had been reading a lot about dog reincarnation, the various ways they might try and communicate to their people and reading if there is any merit  to dog reincarnation at all.  i kept reading that there would be a sign, a gut instinct, some kind of ‘pull’ you get, but most people also had some definitive sign, something that made them sure.  while, as i wrote before in my story of baloo and jude, there are so many signs that make me think jude is baloo.  i think one of the biggest for me was when i said baloo’s name in that funny and distinct way that he knew and would always respond to while all the puppies were sleeping and jude jumped up and then fell right back asleep while the others slept the whole time.  being that puppies at that age (4 days) cannot see or hear, i thought that was my most obvious sign and maybe the most obvious one i would get. but, i also knew that all the signs that made me feel as if jude and baloo were connected somehow (if not one in the same) were made by my interpretations.  some of the stories i read from others who believed in dog reincarnation and, in fact, had experienced this spoke of very distinctive signs.  but… baloo was never one for grand gestures.  still, all day yesterday after my research on dog reincarnation, i started wondering if i was wishing and hoping so much that i might be making more of it than it really was.  i also wished and wished for a sign.  a real sign.  something that would tell me that jude is THE ONE.  but…i was happy enough with my thinking this whole adventure had baloo’s hand (paw) in it and that if i believed it to be, no matter what, this experience was starting to heal a bit of my heart by just feeling him again.  i was just so grateful to have another chance, be it baloo or not, but another chance to ‘do it over’ and give jude all the love i gave baloo, but the beauty to be able to ‘know him’ from day one and have him never leave my side.

well, as i said, i am completely gobsmacked right now.  i came downstairs as i do every morning to bring martha her extra special breakfast (along with her extra special lunch and dinner and a bowl that is always full.  she needs to put on weight and i am sure trying to help her!), jude was lying on the spot i sit on whenever i am with the pups.  it’s a bunch of pillows right next to the baby pool.  “okay,” i thought, “that is interesting that she had him with her on the pillows, but maybe he needed some extra food or something.”  it was an odd coincidence to me, but since there have been so many of those, i didn’t make a huge deal out of it.  i kind of took it as a sign that maybe she was saying, “here’s YOUR baby” or just that it was what it was, jude was waiting for his other mama  so, i put him back, checked on everyone, gave martha her breakfast, and started to change the blankets in the pool.  i was just sitting down in my spot to get on the computer to post some “day 10” photos and there was a lump in the middle of the baby pool.  maybe i didn’t spread some of the blankets flat down.  i pressed on it and it was hard.  i had to pick the pool up to get to it.  not an easy thing to do when there are nine puppies sleeping in it!  as i write this part, i really don’t believe it myself, truly.  there are things i believe, but this was too much.  especially for me, the self-proclaimed skeptic who finds much to agree with in the writings of descartes and hume and their philosophical theory of skepticism.  although, none of us should live a life of radical skepticism…we’d go crazy.  check out pragmatism and dewey.  but, I digress.

under the pool, right in the middle, was a yellow tennis ball.  first, let me say that when baloo passed i got rid of all his balls.  no one else liked to fetch or even play with them and they reminded me of him.  funny thing is, he LOVED the ‘real’ tennis balls.  he would play with whatever ball was around (or any round object that could be a ball), but given the choice, he liked the ‘real’ ones and would choose those over the others.  about 4 months ago, i had been given some toys as a donation and there were a ton of balls.  these balls were made for dogs and came in all sorts of colors.  they were not the ‘real’ tennis balls, the bright yellow ones.  they are the only ones i had in my house.  trust me, i looked all over after baloo passed.  so, all i can say is that, to me, THIS is the sign i needed.  jude being right on ‘my’ spot this morning coupled with the bright yellow tennis ball hiding in the middle of the pool…i can’t find a reason to deny that baloo is here either in spirit or soul.

i do live behind some tennis courts, but they are so far away that, much to baloo’s dislike as he would hear all those balls being hit over and over and unable to get even one, they never make it over the fence.  i’m not going to completely deny that could happen but i was never lucky enough to find any in the yard for my baloo.  okay, so if that did happen for the first time in the ten years  i have lived in this house, then maybe martha brought it in to play with.  but…while i tend to be very pragmatic in my thinking, i can’t see any way she would have been able to lift the pool (with all her babies in there) and place the ball in the middle of the pool.  trust me, when i try to move the pool, it’s heavy to me, so that would surely be a feat for her to accomplish!  so, i am done looking for signs.  done trying to feel or see something that would convince me even more than the signs i was possibly interpreting to give support to the strong feelings i have about this whole situation.

in my mind, there is just no way this could be pure coincidence.  why would martha have moved only jude to ‘my’ spot so that he would be there this morning when i came in?  i am sure there could be a reason for that, but i do find it odd that she picked jude.  but…the ‘real’ tennis ball?!?!?!  there is just no way she could have done that.  it was in the middle of the pool with the babies in it.  not to mention the fact that i have tried to throw the ‘dog balls’ to her and she, like all my others, has no interest.  she won’t even bring it back to me.  i have NO idea how that ball even got there.  there are many of the brightly colored dog balls outside in my attempts to get her to fetch, but no yellow ones.  and, as i said, i got rid of all baloo’s balls.  not to mention the ball is brand new.  it still has that new smell.  and, even if the ball was from the courts, how it got to be under the baby pool that must weigh over 20 pounds with all the babies in it is an absolute mystery.  well, maybe not a mystery.  maybe it’s just baloo.

i am done looking for confirmation.  i would have still been convinced jude and baloo are joined, but as i said, some of the stories and articles i’ve read about dog reincarnation say there will be a moment when something happens that is a sign from the pet that passed.  something undeniable. i knew all the things that made me ‘think’ baloo’s spirit or soul was in jude, but the usually very pragmatic, rational, and always looking for ‘proof’ person in me admits to wondering if i was making more out of all these ‘signs’ and they might merely be conicidences.  as i said, had that been the case, i was fine with it as i do look at it as a second chance to be able to do it all over again and just let myself believe.

i sit here completely and utterly dumbfounded.  i belived, but the skeptic in me had a bit of doubt.  i have no more skepticism.  i will no longer look for ‘signs’ in jude or his behavior to support what i believe; i will no longer doubt.  whether baloo’s soul chose to enter jude or this is the one that baloo wants to be my special boy, i have no doubts.  this, coupled with everything else, tells me my baloo is with me.  either in spirit or in jude, but he is here.  i cannot express my thoughts clearly enough.  i am shocked, grateful, amazed, comforted, and have so many emotions right now.  and I also have my sign.  my heart is full and i look forward to watching jude grow and become the dog that he is becoming.  and, in true baloo fashion, knowing his mom as well as he does, on an almost visceral level, he has given me my sign that he knew i needed.  as if to tell me to stop with even that tiny shred of doubt and just accept it.  he knows how difficult that is for me to blindly believe, so i think he was telling me to just shut up and let it be.  accept what i believe.  and love this little guy with all my heart.

once again, baloo, i am amazed by you.

10 june 2013

for more about martha and the pups please go to:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/512790242114895/

it is an open group and anyone can join.

stop anxiety

In Anxiety, Mindfulness on Friday, 3 May 2013 at 06:02

Stop Anxiety In It’s Tracks

Michael S. Broader, Ph.D.

Believe it or not, fear can be a good thing. If our ancestors didn’t feel fear and react to it properly, they wouldn’t have protected themselves when they saw a dangerous predator coming after them, and we would not have survived. Thus, the survival mechanism of fear has thankfully survived, or the human species would not have. In our modern society, we rarely — but sometimes — need our fear responses to save our lives, such as when a dangerous person meaning harm is stalking us. Nevertheless, when this happens, we can fortunately use the fear response to fight or flee.

Physiologically, anxiety is identical to fear, resulting in symptoms that may include shortness of breath, sweating, blushing, muscle weakness or tension, butterflies in your stomach, or constriction of the throat and chest. Fear, however, is about something specific that usually makes it rational, appropriate, and helpful in many ways. Anxiety on the other hand, is not connected to any real danger or life-threatening event. Anxiety — as opposed to fear — generally stifles you from taking any action and sometimes causes you to avoid things you wish you could do. Oftentimes, anxiety provokes feelings of shame, while fear is rarely shameful, as it is a protective mechanism. Whether yours is minor worrying or more severe (such as feelings of panic or losing control), if you experience your anxiety as interfering with your ability to function in your daily life, it might be time to take some steps to get it under control. While you may not be able to control what’s happening with the people, places and things around you, you can absolutely learn to control yourreaction to an external event.

What specific things in your life trigger anxiety? Make a list of the things that trigger you on a regular basis. It can be helpful to write down events that occurred the past week that might have set off your anxious feelings. (My book Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential can be a good resource to help you recognize what makes you anxious in the big picture.) Using one item from your list, think about these questions to figure out what you’re telling yourself that may have created your anxiety and then to challenge your thinking. When this situation occurred, what thoughts were you having? What feelings or emotions did you experience? What were you telling yourself at the time? Were you in any real danger? What is the worst thing that could possibly happen to you as a result of the event. Finally, how likely is it that this worst thing will happen?

For example, if you felt anxious when your boss called you into his office, maybe you had the thought that you were going to be fired. It’s possible that you then felt nervous and helpless. Perhaps you told yourself “I won’t ever find another job and therefore I won’t be able to support myself or my family.” In this case, while being laid off might be extremely stressful, it’s not life threatening. If your mind tends to jump to the irrational worst-case scenario, like having to live on the street, this is your anxiety talking, since chances are it’s probably quite unlikely that would happen. Begin to practice writing these questions and answers down as you experience anxiety-provoking situations throughout your week, and/or try this exercise with other items on your list.

What can you tell yourself instead of those things that create and worsen your anxiety? What are some new ways to think about them? A good question to ask yourself is what is a more realistic, rational attitude I could substitute in this situation? For example, if you think you’re going to be fired, you can consider that your boss might have a question for you or even want to praise you for your work. And even if the worst scenario becomes reality, where’s the evidence that you can’t survive it? When you look at your list at a later point after the anxiety has subsided, ask yourself, what does my irrational side say and what does my rational side say? Can I choose to listen to my rational side instead?

Ask yourself what you’d advise someone else whom you cared about do with similar thoughts. If another person thought they’d be fired because they were called into a meeting or that if they were fired, it would be catastrophic, would you agree? If you’re able to think about it rationally for someone else, you can certainly do so for yourself. Another option is to say STOP to yourself aloud or silently when you begin to have worrisome thoughts. While this may seem silly, this simple technique can help shift your attention in the moment away from worrying.

Once you are aware of those things that trigger anxiety, it’s helpful to have a “to do” list on hand you for when you begin to worry. For example, when anxious feelings start, one simple strategy you can try is a deep breathing exercise. Imagine your legs are two giant air balloons. As you inhale, imagine your legs filling up with air. As you exhale, imagine all of the air leaving your body. Try this, breathing in to the count of five and out to the five as many times as necessary to feel the anxiety dissipate.

If you can’t seem to reduce your anxiety, ask yourself if there is purpose your anxiety is serving. Maybe your anxiety keeps you in a relationship or at a job that you’re afraid to leave. If so, face those issues head on, until you are operating according to your choices — not your anxiety!

As you try these various techniques, notice which ones work best for you. The more you practice a particular strategy, the easier it becomes to gain mastery over your anxiety. Feeling more relaxed something you can achieve. If your anxiety continues to affect your life negatively, I encourage you to seek professional help.

For more action steps to reduce your anxiety, download my complimentary audio programOvercoming Your Anxiety.

For more by Michael S. Broder, Ph.D., click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-s-broder-phd/anxiety-tips_b_3177592.html

a visual guide to happiness and others…love this!

In General Psychology, Happiness, Mindfulness on Saturday, 30 March 2013 at 04:25

http://staroversky.com/visual-guide-to-happiness/?goback=%2Egde_58284_member_225378601

Consequential Growth

In Fitness/Health, General Psychology, Happiness, Mindfulness, Well-being on Thursday, 14 February 2013 at 11:12

Consequential Growth

By: Timothy J. Wachtel

Written for the Texas Association for Adult Development & Aging

I’m older now. A little more pale, a little more frail, but I got my wits. The ebbs and flows of life have taken their course and have strewn me all over the place. It didn’t seem fair then and it doesn’t seem fair now. What do I have to show for it? I still try to keep my head held high and I smile a lot. Boy, life sure has a way of serving up its fair share of bumps and bruises . . . kinda glad in a way.

*****************************************

Have you ever found yourself in this reflective space? Have you ever not found yourself in this place? I think that everyone can agree that any individual who reaches the midpoint of adulthood and beyond is never immune to the trials and tribulations of life. It comes with the travel package. There always tend to be those pinnacle times of life; the times where the emotions get bruised, the spirit gets suffocated, the isolation looms large, the mind runs wild, and the rug from underneath you is no longer there. These life events and novel experiences come in many forms, as you very well know. Divorce, death of a family member, religious conversion, relocation, job transfer, job loss, injury or disease, natural disasters, kids move out, spouse goes off to war, traumatic stress, conflict; the list seems forever endless.

Is there a silver lining to all of this? I believe the answer is emphatically YES! We oftentimes don’t realize the goodness in these types of life events while we’re a part of the process. And it is a process; these situations, events, and experiences have a necessary starting point and oftentimes tend to be phases or stages throughout the process. Some people reach the productive end to the process, while others don’t quite reach the same successful terminal point. Today, science is doing more than ever before to inform us of these types of processes. More and more research is demonstrating evidence of the fact that many of these types of inexplicable occurrences in life result in very positive outcomes.

Research has found that individuals going through “troubled waters” over the course of a significant period of their lives tend to develop a greater sense of altruism and resilience, many experience more satisfaction or well-being in their life, and still others are finally able to come to terms with the meaning of their life. Scientists and practitioners use a battery of different terms to identify some of these events, some of which include: critical life eventsposttraumatic growthstress-related growthspiritual emergencytransformational crisisposttraumatic positive adjustmentgrowth through adversity, and the positive outcomes of one’s battle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I recently came up with a term that I believe helps to encapsulate the upsides to many of the downsides of life. “Consequential Growth” is the term I use to describe the results of these processes. Consequential Growth seems to semantically emphasize the necessary consequences we oftentimes experience throughout the growth process. The term broadly identifies the “dark nights” and the cognitive, spiritual, and emotional hardships we face during these times of duress.

Many books have been written on the positive results of these types of experiences in one’s life. Notably, the individual and collective works of Calhoun, Tedeschi, and Joseph talk much to these processes; especially in terms of Posttraumatic Growth. Moreover, many naturalistic and experimental research studies have found conclusive evidence of consequential growth. They inform us that those who are able to grow through their perceived negative experiences oftentimes maintain a more positive orientation toward life, are generally more optimistic, and tap into healthy coping strategies to get through the hardship(s). These individuals often have strong social circles and are seen by others as stronger and wiser as a result of going throughthe consequential growth process, even though they never signed-up for the turbulence.

The aging process is indeed complex. Life situations can catapult us right off our comfortable life. This is the stuff of character, wisdom, virtue, transformation, transcendence, higher consciousness, emotional resiliency, generativity and care for your fellow human beings. I wish you well on your next tumble.

References:

Tedeschi, Richard G.; Lawrence G. Calhoun (1995). Trauma and Transformation: Growing in the Aftermath of Suffering. SAGE Publications, Inc.
Joseph, Stephen (2011). What Doesn’t Kill Us: The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth. Basic Books
Timothy “Tim” J. Wachtel

Executive Director

The Center for Optimal Adult Development

www.optimaladult.org

Retrieved from: http://www.optimaladult.org/index.cfm/knowledge-center/coad-news-notes/consequential-growth/

 

stressed is just “desserts” spelled backwards!

In Fitness/Health, Mindfulness, Well-being on Monday, 4 February 2013 at 12:14

ignore the drama. anger is deathly. practice gratitude. view with compassion. do unto others…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/04/stress-health-effects-cancer-immune-system_n_2599551.html?ir=healthy-living&utm_campaign=020413&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-healthy-living&utm_content=Title

the dalai lama on education…

In Buddhist Thoughts, Education, Education advocacy, Mindfulness on Saturday, 2 February 2013 at 08:52

“We have to think and see how we can fundamentally change our education system so that we can train people to develop warm-heartedness early on in order to create a healthier society. I don’t mean we need to change the whole system, just improve it. We need to encourage an understanding that inner peace comes from relying on human values like, love, compassion, tolerance and honesty, and that peace in the world relies on individuals finding inner peace.”~His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

puppy cam…

In Animal Rescue, Animal Welfare, Life with dogs, Meditation, Mindfulness, Pets, Well-being on Sunday, 27 January 2013 at 09:13

colleges now have “puppy rooms” during final so that students (and staff) can go in and spend time with puppies during what is a stressful time with finals and late nights studying.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/07/tech/social-media/apparently-this-matter-puppy-room/index.html  

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/college-offering-puppy-room-stressed-students-225038015.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/12/colleges-turn-to-dogs-to-help-finals-stress_n_1512156.html

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/04/166470837/puppies-may-help-students-ace-finals

just spending time with animals has been shown to lower blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety, heighten feelings of well-being…the research consistently supports the use of “animal assisted therapy” time and time again.  i can also speak from my own experiences with my very own pet therapist, linus, who has been working in the schools with me since he was a baby (this is his 11th year!).

linus, my pet therapist...

linus, my pet therapist…

while it would be great if all places of business, schools, colleges, etc. could have a puppy room (or a pet therapist/professional pet cuddler), two of my wonderful rescue friends have created “puppy cam.”  so far, there was puppy cam I, featuring liza and her puppies who all got adopted…then puppy cam II, with the two feist puppies, and now, puppy cam III where mia has JUST HAD PUPPIES starting at about 0100 this morning!!!  so, now we have new puppies to watch!  

so, in the same vein, i am posting the link to the angels among us puppycam so that, hopefully, you can watch when you are feeling stressed or just in need of watching the unconditional and instinctual love of a mom for her pups and watch the pups as they grow and develop. 

PUPPY CAM LINK: http://www.badferret.net/puppycam/

i hope you enjoy watching mia and her babies as much as we all do!  for more information, please visit http://www.angelsrescue.org or like our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/angelsrescue?fref=ts

for information regarding some of the many benefits of pet ownership, please see : http://wp.me/p2IpfL-2q

four questions to ask…

In Fitness/Health, Mindfulness, Well-being on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 at 07:56

http://www.johnclarkiii.com/Notable-Quotes-11-from-John-Clark-III.html

Human Needs, Buddhist Psychology and Mindfulness

In Buddhist Thoughts, General Psychology, Happiness, Mindfulness on Saturday, 19 January 2013 at 11:09

Human Needs, Buddhist Psychology and Mindfulness

Targeting mindfulness

Published on January 17, 2013 by Michael J. Formica, MS, MA, EdM in Enlightened Living

Buddhist psychology—and the Shankya yoga science from which it issues – describes seven psychological characteristics that inform our four life meta-categories (work, relationship, self and spirit) and also map directly to the various needs spectrums found in Western motivational psychology.

We can think of the life meta-categories of work, relationship, self and spirit as occurring in four quadrants. Within these quadrants are smaller categories, like job, love, sex, health, religion, etc., respectively. The way that each of us balances the four quadrants and their sub-categories creates a framework for our lives. To understand how and why we create that balance, we need to consider our underlying motivation.

Theories of human motivation abound. Most of us are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, as well as Freud’s less rigidly presented spectrum of human needs. William McDougall, William James and Henry Murray have all contributed to this conversation, as has, more recently, Steven Reiss. In addition, Martin Seligman’s positive psychology would appear to be informed by Jung’s focus onspiritual fulfillment and Frankl’s will to meaning.

Whichever school of thought we subscribe to—whether the implied collection of needs suggested by Freud, the rigorous research of Reiss or the historically derived and empirically demonstrated strengths and virtues cited by Seligman—it is clear that human needs can be identified and that identification, allowing for some difference in perspective and labeling, is fairly consistent over time.

Buddhist psychology identifies seven psychological characteristics: life, order, wisdom, love, power, imagination, understanding and will. These were initially described in the Abhidharma, as well as the Rig Veda, and are remarkably similar to those found in the Western narrative compiled centuries later. Some map directly to the various Western systems and some more indirectly, but the relationship is consistently clear and reasonable.

If one were intent on drawing a direct line between the human needs spectrum described by Buddhist psychology and a Western counterpart, Seligman’s positive psychology would likely be the best choice. This is not so much because of any coincidence in the labeling scheme, but more because of the coincident perspective. Western psychology tends to issue from a place of damage and illness. Seligman’s work in positive psychology has been a relatively antithetical response to that position. Buddhist psychology would similarly have us start from a place of wholeness and perfection.

So, now we get to the question of mindfulness. What makes mindfulness a challenge is that there is no real starting point for witness consciousness, or the objective observation of the ‘Self’ by the ‘self’. That’s mainly because the self, or ego, interferes with that process by way of our assumptions, expectations and ideas about the way the world works. Applied mindfulness can be even more of a challenge because, once we get the meta-awareness of witness consciousness going, we need somewhere to point it and very often we don’t know where that is, exactly. So, we may be all “aware” and stuff, but often nothing really changes.

Now, getting back to needs, if we can gain an understanding of our needs and then unravel the dissonance around those needs we then have somewhere to point our mindfulness. The Reiss Motivational Profile, the Meyers-Briggs and the Enneagram are examples of tools that can help us to do this because they force us into a state of pseudo-witness consciousness by asking us to be objective observers of ourselves without (too much) interference from the ego.

For example—and we’ll use the Reiss Profile here because it is fairly clear and easy to follow—let’s say you’re experiencing feelings of an ongoing, non-clinical, free-floating, generalized anxiety. In layman’s terms, you’re freaking out a bit for no discernible reason.

You take the Reiss profile and discover (these are simplistic interpretations) you are Low Order (not much for structure), High Tranquility (don’t like chaos) and Low Vengeance (non-confrontational). You’re anxiety may well be, in part, derived from the fact that people who operate with little structure—don’t pick up after themselves, don’t pay bills on time, are tardy for work or social events–naturally invite both chaos and confrontation—messy house, late fees, irate bosses, coworkers, clients and friends.

An unaddressed dissonance around disparate needs creates psychic tension, which here we have labeled anxiety. If we want to backtrack into the Buddhist perspective, we could also say this dissonance is creating a disturbance in the muladhara and atala chakras and the manamaya kosha. This works because Western needs spectrums map quite easily to both the chakra and kosha systems found in the yoga Vedanta. But, I digress…

Without a direct perspective on your needs bias, you would likely point your mindfulness at the symptom (the anxiety)—and that can get a bit murky on both sides of the equation. With a more concrete notion of the source of the symptom, mindfulness techniques can be targeted. And that’s how we can loop back to witness consciousness.

Witness consciousness examines the state of the ‘self’ from the perspective of the ‘Self’. If we consider an understanding of our basic needs as a snapshot of the state of the ‘self’, then we have in hand the objective distance we need to effectively apply mindfulness where it is needed, rather than simply being generally—and likely less effectively—mindful.

© 2013 Michael J. Formica, All Rights Reserved

Retrieved from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/enlightened-living/201301/human-needs-buddhist-psychology-and-mindfulness

 

13 parenting resolutions for 2013…

In Inspiration, Mindfulness, Parenting on Sunday, 6 January 2013 at 12:10

13 Parenting Resolutions for 2013

By Claire Marketos

http://www.inspiredparenting.co.za

As the New Year begins we naturally look forward to better times with our family, pledging to make changes to improve our life in some way. Our hopes and dreams for a better future motivates us to optimistically move forward, yet we soon find ourselves succumbing to old unwanted behaviours wondering why it is so difficult to make the changes we desire.

Determination alone doesn’t seem to help when it comes to parenting, and despite our best efforts, we find ourselves at odds with our children. How then do we have the happy successful family we  dreamt of? The secret lies in how well we are able to meet the needs of our children. Here are 13 steps to start the connection.

  1. Wake up every day and decide on a small thing you can do to show your children that they are your top priority. You may want to tell them, send them an SMS, phone them during the day, or help them with something that is important to them.
  2. Set aside at least 10 minutes of one on one time with each of your children, where you make eye contact, and give them your undivided attention. Even with four children, this is less than an hour of your time each day.  Take their lead and engage in something fun they enjoy doing.
  3. Have at least one meal a day with your children where you all sit down together and chat. Share your day with your children, focusing on positive experiences, and how you overcame negativity during the day.
  4. Consciously listen to what your children are telling you, reflecting back what is important to them without criticising them. Know the names of their friends, teachers, favourite band, book, food and so on. Be excited about their dreams and hopes for the future, even if they are not the dreams you have for them.
  5. Notice what you do and say in front of your youngsters. It may be necessary to change the way you deal with anger for your children to behave differently.
  6.  Exchange Discipline for Discussion. When you are tempted to punish, find ways of discussing what happened and how changes can be made. Avoid taking sides, but rather mediate, encouraging your children to express their feelings and acknowledge the feelings of others.
  7.  Choose to be a “yes” rather than “no” parent. When you are tempted to say no, find a way to say yes.” Yes, I will take you to the movies this weekend but I can’t take you right now. Yes you may have that toy/ gadget. Place it on your Christmas/ birthday list. Help me work out a plan to save the money to buy you what you want. Yes, I will make a plan to watch one of your sport’s matches/ballet performance this week.”
  8. Decide to no longer act impulsively by smacking your children when you are angry, placing them in timeout or shouting at them. Remove yourself from the situation and calm down before discussing your feelings with your children. Every time you smack your children you change the connections in their brain, and consequently the potential of who they could be.
  9.  Play with your children every day. Laugh, make jokes, teach them a new board game. Let them see the fun, childish side of you.
  10. Teach them about life. Chat when driving in the car about morals and values. Show them how to problem solve, think creatively, and how perseverance in the face of failure leads to success.
  11. Help your child know who he is by defining the qualities that are his essence. Kind, caring, a good friend, helpful, diligent and so on. Knowing who he is protects him from bullies.
  12. Find ways to calm your home by rushing less, speaking quietly, and making time for relaxation, so your children know home is a safe place they can relax and destress.
  13. Hugging your children daily not only shows them that you love them but releases feel good hormones protecting them against illness, reducing stress and making them feel secure.

The greatest gift you have are your children. The greatest challenge you have in life is maintaining a positive connection with them. The greatest rewards you will experience in life is fulfilling relationships with wonderful adults whom you nurtured and who reflect your love.

Retrieved from: http://www.inspiredparenting.co.za/NewsCast.aspx?NID=102

you don’t have to bypass treats…tips for holiday eating

In Fitness/Health, Mindfulness on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 06:52

Holiday Eating: 17 Things To Consider When You’re Obsessing About Food And Weight

The Huffington Post  |  By Margaret Wheeler Johnson Posted: 12/17/2012 12:55 pm EST  |  Updated: 12/17/2012 5:02 pm EST

Every year I tell myself it will be fine, and every year it is not fine.

After over a decade of dealing with my eating issues, I’ve come to think of my relationship with food as my mind’s other track — the ticker tape of thoughts and anxieties that streams constantly at the edge of my life.

Did I eat too much? Too little? Am I hungry? How hungry? Should I eat now? Will I regret it if I don’t, or if I do? What if I gain weight endlessly? What if I’m just not equipped to feed myself? What kind of person can’t feed herself? If I were smarter/better/healthier/saner, I would be better at this…

Some days I can nearly tune it out, like news of unrest in a far-off country whose name and capital I used to know but now can barely recall. Sometimes I can almost pretend it doesn’t concern me. I can choose not to see it. I can go about my day.

Except now. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, I’m forced to tune in. Festive brownies and cookies and bark and nog are everywhere. There are enormous meals with relatives who leave me questioning all of my food and life choices. There is way too much booze. There are little black dresses and glittery miniskirts that do not look like I hoped they would, and there are multiple opportunities, also known as holiday parties, to feel sized up by everyone in the room. Oh, and it’ll all be on Instagram very, very soon.

This year, I haven’t pretended that it’s fine. Mainly because I had this piece to write, I decided to feel it and think about it and recognize the ways in which this still really sucks. At the same time, I mulled over the things I’ve learned in the years since I made it through the initial throes of an eating disorder, the ones I’ve spent physically healthy but still trying to figure out how to feel okay about eating. And I thought about the maddening divide between all that hard-won knowledge and actually putting it into practice.

This is not a list of things I know because I’ve figured this eating thing out — far from it. It’s a list of the things I know because of some rare moments of clarity that I remember because they felt different from everything else on the ticker tape.

17 Things To Think About When You’re Obsessing About Food And Weight

BEFORE YOU EAT

1. You aren’t what you eat. 
Physically and long-term, you are. But experts have also noted that overeating once — even really, really overeating — won’t make you gain weight instantly.

More important, how much you eat at a single meal has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you’re a good friend, daughter, mother, sister, aunt, thinker, worker, citizen or overall human. Nothing you consume will diminish how valuable you are in those areas that count so much more.

2. You’re not wrong to want what you want. 
It was an amazing moment when I realized that most healthy people like to eat and don’t feel bad about that. People who aren’t overweight and never will be like to eat. They want cupcakes just like overweight people want cupcakes. Goodness and wanting an enormous piece of chocolate cake aren’t mutually exclusive — despite thehundreds of millions of dollars spent annually to convince us that food and the people who eat it are virtuous or evil, clean or dirty, indulgent or guilt-free.

You’re not wrong or bad to want the cake. Who in their right mind wouldn’t?

3. Why you tend to eat more than your body wants.
And what puts you into overeating mode. Stressful conversation? A food that represents escape for you? Eating while you watch TV or read? Certain restaurants?

There are two reasons to think about this. For one, identifying your triggers can help you recognize when you’re vulnerable and protect yourself (more on that later). And the other reason is that thinking about what sets you off can tell you a lot about what you really want.

Geneen Roth, the author whose insights into emotional eating I find to be spot-on every time, wrote, “There is a whole universe to discover between ‘I’m feeling empty’ and turning to food to make it go away.”

Although I resist creating food rules for myself because they remind me of the deprivation of anorexia, when I’m having an especially hard time, I throw out anything that doesn’t have to be cooked before it’s consumed. If I have to cook it, I have to think about it and why I want it and what desire I might be trying to displace because fulfilling that other hunger or even acknowledging it feels too difficult or inconvenient or painful.

WHILE YOU’RE EATING

4. How amazing the food tastes. 
I am somehow stunned every Thanksgiving and Christmas by how good it all is. It makes sense — I’ve had a whole year to forget — but that means the flavors and textures amaze me every time. How good is cranberry sauce? It’s like jam, but earthier, drier and less sweet. And can we talk about mashed potatoes, which really are god’s gift, and stuffing — lord, I love stuffing — and the taste of real butter in food? What’s a life where you don’t let yourself taste real butter? Not any life I’m interested in.

5. When you stop tasting it. 
If you’re no longer into the flavor of what you’re eating, why are you still eating it? Waste isn’t ideal, but you may need to put off worrying about that until eating becomes less stressful. I’ve learned that if I’m not allowing myself to say no to what’s on my plate, that’s probably an expression of other things in my life I don’t feel like I can say no to. Saying no to food I don’t want right at that moment can help me begin to say no to the bigger things I need to refuse or contain.

6. It’s just food. 
Sure, holiday food is special, particularly if your family has its own recipes and traditions of preparing certain dishes together. And for anyone who struggles with food and weight issues, food is never — and may never be — “just food.” That said, remember that the traditional nature of holiday food means you’ve had it before and will have the opportunity to have it again. It’s much, much more important for you to feel good now, in the moment, and later in the day than it is for you to have a second or third helping you don’t really want. Remember that you’re more powerful than the food on your plate, and you matter more. Hear that? You are more powerful than the food on your plate. It’s just food.

7. If you’ve hit any of your triggers and how you can change the situation. 
Now that you know what your triggers are, consciously watch for them. When you hit one, do whatever it takes to keep it from leading to behavior that you know will make you feel terrible. I’ve found that focusing on one action helps. “All you have to do is leave the table,” I tell myself. Or, “All you have to do is throw it away.” I don’t think about how I might feel after I do it. I shut off the list of potential consequences (“What if I’m hungry later? What if the host is insulted? What if people wonder why I left or where I went?”).

Get up. Go to the bathroom. Make a phone call. Invent a work emergency. Do whatever it takes to get away from the food for at least a little while to remind yourself that you’re in control, that it’s just food and that you can take or, literally, leave it.

8. Whether you’re into the people you’re eating with.
If not, think about how you feel about the people you’re eating with. In a 2011Glamour essay on not drinking during the holidays, Sarah Hepola observed, “When you’re sober, you see with utter clarity which friends you feel comfortable around and which make you itch for an open bar.” Apply the same test to the role food plays in your friendships. If you have any friends you wouldn’t hang out with if food weren’t involved, they could be part of the problem.
AFTER YOU EAT

9. Shame doesn’t motivate.
You’ve already started doing the thing. You know what I’m talking about. You think you ate too much, so you spend the next 12 to 36 hours berating yourself for the undisciplined, disgusting, worthless, fat (etc. etc.) waste of genetic material you think you are. You begin to plan how you’ll make up for your “sins” — you’ll exercise for three hours every day, you’ll restrict your calories for the rest of the week, you’ll go on a cleanse.

When I spoke to Geneen Roth about this last year, she emphasized, “Shame, guilt, punishment, fear has never led anyone to change,” and yet people remain convinced that it will. In her books, Roth has always advised that the day after you overeat is the time when it is most important to be kind to yourself. “Recognize the inner critic or the judge … for what it is,” she urged. “It’s not your friend.”

10. Bingeing isn’t “for ladies.”
One of the mantras that hindered my recovery from the worst of my eating disorder was a tagline I came across in (I think) a yogurt ad. The page demanded of the female consumer, “Why are you still eating like a frat boy?” That would never be me, I vowed, and I put the same question to myself every time I reached for “frat boy” foods. Smart, sophisticated, ambitious, successful women didn’t eat pizza or onion rings, I told myself — it didn’t even occur to them to want those things. I extended this made-on-Madison-Avenue logic to cookies and cake, then bread, then carbs of any kind. Then I was careful not to “need” carrots or anything with fat in it, then breakfast, then lunch, then ever finishing a serving of anything.

Here’s the confusing thing: As much as women are encouraged to subsist on yogurt and aspartame, romantic comedies regularly show women sobbing into pints of ice cream. Ads encourage ladies to binge, too.

No wonder women have an especially f-ed up relationship with food (and there aresigns that men are catching up). But there’s another reason women are prone to emotional eating, which Caitlin Moran summarized brilliantly in her book “How to Be a Woman,” excerpted in the Wall Street Journal in June 2012:

by choosing food as your drug — sugar highs, or the deep, soporific calm of carbs — you can still make the packed lunches, do the school run, look after the baby, stop in on your parents and then stay up all night with an ill 5-year-old…

Overeating is the addiction of choice of “carers,” … It’s a way of screwing yourself up while still remaining fully functional, because you have to… slowly self-destructing in a way that doesn’t inconvenience anyone. And that is why it’s so often a woman’s addiction of choice.

So the next time you overeat or have a full-on binge, think about the following:

A) It wasn’t heroin.
B) There’s stuff in your life you’re having trouble coping with. That stuff probably deserves your attention. You, in the meantime, deserve compassion.
C) There is actually no rule condemning women to starve or binge, just lots of unhelpful suggestions that we should. Work toward being a woman who doesn’t obey the insanity.

11. How big you are. 
Bear with me. “Big” is an adjective most of us learn early on is something you never, ever want to be called. It’s the opposite of being contained and in control. And in a culture that only puts very, very thin women on screens and in ads, big equals un-special, unworthy of attention, unseen.

After a lot of years of thinking about how much being “big” scared me, I realized the thing I feared the most wasn’t my own physical size, it was the huge, seeping, unnamed emptiness that no one sees. That was the mass I was really trying to shrink or fill through various eating behaviors. I think of it as a black hole located somewhere in my stomach/chest region, the center of my body. It’s freezing, ugly, abandoned, condemned, and for a long time I believed that emptiness would always be my starting point, where I was from.

But then on an ordinary afternoon when I was wondering for the nth time how I’ve let that emptiness motivate so much of my behavior throughout my life, a different explanation occurred to me. What if the cavity inside could be a place, not an emptiness? What if it was light and inhabitable? What if all along the space I’d been trying to fill and not feel was somewhere I wanted to live? And what if that space inside made me bigger than this war I’ve waged against myself as long as I remember, with food always my weapon of choice?

The moment didn’t last. Of course it didn’t. The impulse to fill that place, to cancel it out, returned. But now I know that it isn’t vacant and doesn’t need to be fixed, and I’m curious about what else is there. And that is huge.

12. The small space. 
If you don’t like thinking about any part of yourself as even metaphorically big, here’s something small you can explore. I’m not a fan of appropriating another faith’s scripture for secular Western self-coddling, but a Catholic nun originally pointed me to this quote from the Hindu Upanishads, so that boundary’s already been crossed. Here it is:

In the centre of … our own body, there is a small shrine …, and within can be found a small space. We should find who dwells there, and we should want to know him.

No matter how much you ate, the small space remains, undamaged, and so does the person inside. She is — you are — still there, and we should want to know her.

THE REST OF THE TIME (WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE FOOD IN FRONT OF YOU AND AREN’T STARVING OR STUFFED)

13. How you would feel if no one, including you, could see your body.
Here’s one of the simplest, most illuminating exercises I know: One weekend day, don’t wear makeup or do anything to your hair. Wear the most comfortable clothes you own, which may involve some very ratty sweats. Go through a whole day like that and notice that how you look in no way inhibits your ability to operate in the world. I do this a couple of times a month and feel better about everything listed above every time I do.

14. The fact that you do have a body and how amazing that is. 
For long periods of my life, I didn’t want a body. I remember wishing in my teens that I could just live as a brain floating around. I resented the maintenance a female body required. I didn’t mind so much the plucking and shaving and blow-drying and makeup — some of that was fun. I resented not being able to eat what I wanted — the women I grew up around dieted constantly, so I thought it was required of adult female humans. I resented that my body wasn’t good enough as it was. I resented that, through no fault of my own, my postpubescent body required serious management.

Years later, I’ve finally started thinking about my body in terms of what it can do. I learned, for instance, that exercise can be not about a countdown on the elliptical machine but about health and technique and spending more time outside. To my great astonishment, the body I punished for years can run five miles. If a calorie counter were involved, I’m not sure I ever would have discovered that.

15. If you want to lose weight, why.
Is it because you’re not a healthy weight (per your doctor)? Or is it because you look in the mirror and think, “I’m disgusting,” because you fantasize about slicing off parts of your body (which has never done anything to you except bear witness to your actions). If the latter, you don’t need to lose weight, you need to get angry at whatever made you feel like you deserve to be treated that way. No one does. And per #9, talking to yourself like that isn’t going to change your eating.

16. Pretending your issues aren’t your issues won’t make them go away. 
At some point in an episode of obsessing about how much I’ve eaten and how much I’m going to eat and worrying that food will always, always control my life, that I will never escape the ticker tape, I get so fed up that I swing to the opposite extreme. “I’ll just shut it off,” I tell myself. “Why don’t I just wing it? Everyone else manages to feed themselves,” I think, then add, in near-demented contradiction of all eating experiences in my life up to this point, “How hard can it be?”

Let me save us all a lot of trouble by reporting that much like shame, this has not ever, once, resolved anything for me.

17. This is hard. 
Eating sanely — I can’t say normally because emotional and intellectualized eating seem to be the norm in American culture — is an incredibly ambitious proposition. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full: so much easier said than done.

How sanely you eat is relative, but when I’m berating myself for the fact that I’m still struggling to do that, I try to think about how far I’ve come. One reason eating in December is especially hard for me has nothing to do with sparkly miniskirts and everything to do with the fact that 12 years ago at this time of year I weighed 30 pounds fewer than I do now. I was 18 and looked 11, I was freezing all the time because I had so little body fat and sometimes I brushed my teeth multiple times a day because toothpaste almost felt like food. I remember one night sitting curled up, gaunt and silent, against my mother at my university’s holiday service — she had come to take me home and put me in a hospital — and recognizing that the way I was living wouldn’t sustain me but being unable to imagine any other way of being. I remember the point when, surrounded by the music and warmth, I thought very clearly that it would be so much easier if that moment were my last.

The truth is that it would have been easier — for me, though not my family. If I’ve learned anything in the aftermath of an eating disorder, it’s that the day-to-day business of feeding and inhabiting an adult female body is harder than starving it ever was.

Twelve years later, there are still times when I eat until I’m ill in order not to feel, and there are times when I look in the mirror and think, “Look what you’ve let yourself become.” So far the best thing I know to do about all of that is remind myself that I stuck around for the hard part, that I would have missed so much if I hadn’t and that I’m doing the best I can.

Retrived from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/holiday-eating-what-to-think-when-you-obsess_n_2315545.html?ir=women&utm_campaign=121712&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-women&utm_content=Photo

Make Room for Negative Emotions

In Inspiration, Mindfulness on Saturday, 24 November 2012 at 07:23

Make Room for Negative Emotions (Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them)

It is generally agreed upon and taught to everyone since we are little that we should develop the “good” feelings in us and work on minimizing the “bad” ones. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. We are so used to this that we go through life taking it for granted. We genuinely try to be “better” people, to overcome fear and pain and be braver, to overcome irritation and be non-judgmental, to disregard tiredness and occasional apathy and push on, never quit, to overcome feeling depressed or disappointed and to always think positively. Nonetheless, we still experience the “bad” emotions and feel guilty for it.

But I believe that negative emotions are a natural part of us, and in moderation, they are necessary.

However nice it is to be positive and think positive, we will not be able to exist without negative emotions, because they signal something is wrong, make us aware of the surroundings and thusprotect us.

For example, fear is a form of our survival instinct. To have no healthy fear is not wise and can bring our demise. Pain lets us know when we are in a dangerous situation. People who have a very high pain threshold (for example, with severe Diabetes) can step on glass without noticing and end up with infected wounds, or have a heart attack without feeling the chest pain and not seek medical help. Tiredness signals we need to rest and replenish our energy so that we don’t drop, and so on.

Negative emotions spur us on. When we do not like the present circumstances, it makes us work toward something better, something more acceptable, something more comfortable.  If we are not satisfied, it may help us become better and more successful. Oftentimes, growth and progress occur not in spite of unpleasant experiences but because of them.

Negative emotions are evidence of our sound mental health. We may dream about the perfect life, but in the real world the good and the bad mixed in together. And we have to react adequately. That means to accentuate the positive and to notice the negative, and adjust our behavior accordingly.

The trick is to be balanced, to match the negative reaction to the scale of the adverse event. We should distinguish between real tragedies and nuisances in our lives.

When we go through a life altering experience such as a divorce, onset of a serious disease, loss of loved ones, etc., it is normal to go through the stages of grieve[1] that include denial, anger, rage, envy, sadness, depression, regret, fear, detachment, and more.

If we get a traffic ticket or a bad grade in school, a lot of the above emotional responses would be an exaggeration that can throw us out of balance.

In his book How to Lose Control and Gain Emotional Freedom, Jerry D. Duvinsky, PhD writes that we are conditioned to think that emotions such as grief, anger, despair, helplessness, or loneliness are inherently bad, evil, dangerous, or wrong, so we feel the need to control them, suppress them, or disregard them. Granted, they are uncomfortable, powerful, and at times rather inconvenient. But our attempts to avoid them may produce deeper problems and lead to more suffering.

Negative emotions are intrinsic and indivisible part of us that helps us adjust, survive and improve ourselves. Instead of spending much effort to suppress them, we should recognize that unpleasant emotions are just symptoms of something else happening. Otherwise, we may give into them and behave in a destructive way. For example, quitting a job because of giving into feeling not appreciated by colleagues who did not invite you to an office party, or cheating on spouse because of giving into feeling angry with him for not putting the toilet seat up.

Instead, we should accept that life is not supposed to be perfect or easy. We will waste a lot of our vital energy wishing to never get hurt, scared, or disappointed. Rather, we should be glad that we have the ability to distinguish the good from the bad in our lives. We should acknowledge full range of our emotions as our faithful messengers of our environment, without labeling them “bad” or otherwise, and learn to recognize and deal with their cause, instead of focusing on the emotion itself.  For example, it is not the pain that is our problem, but the nail we stepped on. We can suppress the pain by taking pills, but we would be much better off removing the nail. Instead of being overwhelmed by an emotion, we should resolve its cause.  So if we get a bad grade in school, we should not mope around and feel stupid, but study to get a better one on the next test.

Negative emotions are a necessary part of us. So if we try to ignore them and smile despite anything, then firstly, our life can be endangered, secondly, we cannot react to circumstances adequately and wisely, and thirdly, we can develop personality disorders. If we ever will reach the mental state when we think only positive thoughts and smile all the time, it is possible we’ve gone crazy. So make room for some negative emotions in your head. And as always, remember that everything is good in moderation.


[1]The Kübler-Ross model (a.k.a., “the five stages of grief“), which hypothesizes that when a person is faced with a life altering or a life threatening event, he/she will experience a series of emotional “stages”: denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and, acceptance.

Retrieved from: http://olgarythm.blogspot.com/2012/11/make-room-for-negative-emotions-cant_23.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Olgarythm+%28OLGArythm%29

extend your life!

In Happiness, Mindfulness, Well-being on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 at 12:34

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-11-positive-mental-health-boosts-lifespan.html

find your grit…

In Fitness/Health, Happiness, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Well-being on Thursday, 15 November 2012 at 16:55

http://positivepsychologynews.com/news/renee-jain/2012110824569

The disastrous behaviour of the memory

In Fitness/Health, Mindfulness, Well-being on Tuesday, 6 November 2012 at 16:32

The disastrous behaviour of the memory (Click the photo to enlarge).

and i bet you thought this was another neuro article…

What to knit your life with?

In Happiness, Mindfulness, Well-being on Monday, 5 November 2012 at 07:22

What to knit your life with?.

teach happy!

In Education, Fitness/Health, Mindfulness, Pedagogy, Well-being on Saturday, 3 November 2012 at 11:57

Why We Need to Add Happiness to the School Curriculum

By: OLGArythm

http://olgarythm.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-we-need-to-add-happiness-to-school.html

Young people graduate from school equipped to solve mathematical equations, arrange chemical experiments, and write essays. But often they graduate to the adult life not equipped with skills that will help them deal with everyday struggles, emotions, and difficulties. They are not equipped to be happy individuals.

Happiness is arguably the ultimate meaning of our life. Is there anything we want more for our kids than to be happy? If given a choice, would a parent prefer that her child knows capital cities of all countries or knows how to be a happy person? The ultimate purpose of the traditional academic education is to instill children with knowledge needed for for their future careers. But it does not teach kids the good attitude to deal with the many future personal experiences that make up our life. Inner well-being and peace are as crucial and necessary as the academic skills. It does not make sense to pay no attention to the development of happiness skills.

In 2011, United Kingdom published a report that confirms that lots of kids face serious emotional problems by the time they graduate school. Based on UK statistics, which probably does not differ too much from the situation in the USA, by the time an average class of 30 young people reach their 16th birthdays:

  • 10 of them will have witnessed their parents separate
  • 3 will have suffered from mental health problems
  • 8 will have experienced severe physical violence, sexual abuse or neglect
  • 3 will be living in a step family
  • 1 will have experienced the death of a parent
  • 7 will report having been bullied.

Relate (a leading provider of counseling, therapy, and education in UK)  cites research evidence which shows that emotional and mental health problems developed in childhood and adolescence go on to affect adults later in life. The resulting problems with poor emotional adjustment and general feelings of unhappiness are bad enough. But that is not all the consequences our kids are facing. Unhappiness and emotional imbalance can cause young people to do badly in exams or drop out of education altogether, with consequent damage to their long-term employment prospects and health. For more on the report, see http://www.optimus-education.com/can-schools-promote-happiness.

I agree with Relate’s specialist that schools are the best places to reach young people, and early intervention is effective. But I believe that the most effective solution is prevention. Adding the subject of happiness to school curriculum can help children better deal with their issues, and develop coping mechanisms for the future.

Usually, the kids get emotional guidance and character building from interacting with families and friends. As parents, we always try our hardest to raise good people: continuously pass our wisdom to our kids, indoctrinate our values to them, tell them what is good and what is bad, teach them manners, help them with the choice of profession and life partner (if they let us). But do we teach them how to be happy, joyful, grateful, peaceful? Do we live our lives with contentment and moderation, leading our children by example? Parents are people too, and not all of us are happy ourselves. Unfortunately, we do not always have the time, the vision or the skills to instill the basics of happiness into our children. So both the adults and the kids go about the pursuit of happiness by the trial and error method.

There are more and more politicians, organizations and individuals who believe that happiness skills can be learned and should be included in traditional educations. On his Facebook page, the Dalai Lama says that education is the proper way to promote compassion, piece of mind and tolerance in society, which bring a sense of confidence and reduce stress and anxiety (https://www.facebook.com/DalaiLama) . England requested that schools and colleges promote wellbeing to students (http://www.optimus-education.com/can-schools-promote-happiness). The US army uses classes developed by the “Authentic Happiness” program at the University of Pennsylvania to increase resilience levels of the troops (http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/newsletter.aspx?id=1552).

School is the place where our kids grow up, and where they are formed as individuals as much as they are at home. The school system has the infrastructure for influencing entire generations, letting out better adjusted and happier people. Unfortunately, schools spend most of their efforts on achieving high test results and good rankings. There is little emphasis on personal or emotional development. I believe happiness skills are among some of the most important skills a person possesses. To me it is obvious that the school system must help develop happiness skills as much as literacy skills in all children. I would like to see USA schools and schools all over the world to add happiness lessons to their curricula and deliver it to every kid. It will make for better adults and for better societies, and ultimately, for better world.

To see this happen, I plan to open an organization to raise public support, develop happiness curriculum and promote it to schools and departments of education in the US and possibly, worldwide.

If you think this idea is important and worthwhile, and you would like to help, please contact me. I am looking for anyone who can contribute their skills, knowledge, and advice in the fields of not-for-profit organizations, school curricula, marketing, public relations, legal aspects and more!

Retrieved from: http://olgarythm.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-we-need-to-add-happiness-to-school.html

what are you grateful for? practice gratitude.

In Alternative Health, Fitness/Health, Mindfulness on Friday, 2 November 2012 at 06:25

The Year In Gratitude: Introducing the virtual Gratitude Visit

By DANIEL TOMASULO, PH.D.

“You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” — Paulo Coelho

Each year is a transition.  We let go of relationships, connections to places, jobs and ways of being.  But this opens us to new people, new associations and different ways of relating.  Through death or circumstance or choice we move away from those we loved, or cared for, or knew: The unknown, the surprise, the unexpected takes their place.  This is life.

Too often the losses weigh us down with a centrifugal sadness that keeps us pinned to the passing.  Our energy is invested in the mourning, often for longer than what may be healthy or helpful.

But the loss we experience is directly proportional to the joy and love and engagement we’ve had.  We feel the pain because we knew the joy.  So the grieving must honor the connection as well.

The research on gratitude keeps demonstrating how powerful a positive intervention of having gratitude in our lives can be.  To acknowledge someone for being in your life is one of the most dynamic ways to increase your well-being and the well-being of others.  This exercise works best if you write it down, and even better if you can deliver a letter of gratitude to the person involved.  Here’s how it works.

Think of a person who has been a positive person in your life, but with whom you are no longer involved.  Write out a letter of gratitude for the positive features of your relationship.

If it is possible and appropriate, meaning that it would not cause harm, embarrassment or upset to the other person, find them.  Track them down and read them the letter.  This is the famous gratitude visit exercise researched by Martin Seligman, the positive psychology researcher.

If they are unavailable or have died, read the letter out loud to an empty chair.  Let them know how much you appreciate who they are (were) and the joy and gratitude you have for them being (or have been) in your life.

Now for the interesting part: Reverse roles. Sit in the empty chair and become them for the role play. As them, respond to the letter that was just read to you.

Finally, come back into your own chair and say the final things you wish to say.  Notice how you feel.  Yes, they may no longer be in your life, but honoring the joys they brought you can help them if they are available, and you feel better if it is done through an empty chair.  I call this second method the Virtual Gratitude Visit (VGV).

There may be others you would like to share your gratitude with.  New research has show that gratitude toward God is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to evoke feelings of well-being.  With a VGV you may want to express your gratitude toward God.  Yes, it is okay to reverse roles and become him, but don’t forget to come back to your own chair.  Otherwise you are going to find a lot of prayer requests in your email inbox.

Last but not least, as we transition into the New Year, perform a VGV toward the people we haven’t met.  When I think back to last January and the people I said goodbye to over the year, literally several dozen new people came into my life who have filled me with unexpected joy and hope and wonderment.  Gratitude can be used to open us up to the future.  Try a VGV with a person you haven’t met yet but know you are scheduled to meet, or to the unknown, unexpected encounters you are bound to have. You may even want to express your gratitude toward a future self, the person you are becoming over the next year.

Finally, when the dust from the VGVs settles down, take a moment and review the year. Notice your breath.  Just like people and events in our life, our breath is drawn in and released.  We don’t hold on or just breathe out: we take in and let go.  What we are left with is the stuff of life.

We began with the words of the brilliant Brazilian lyricist and novelist, Paulo Coelho.  I don’t think anyone could say it more clearly than him, so it seems fitting to end with his thoughts as well. “When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.” 

References

Rosmarin, D.H., Pirutinsky, S., Cohen. A., Galler, Y., & Krumrei, E.J. (2011). Grateful to God or just plain grateful? A study of religious and non-religious gratitude. Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(5), 389-396.

Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410.

Tomasulo, D. (2011). Can God and Gratitude Help Your Mental Health?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 27, 2011, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives /2011/12/11/can-god-and-gratitude-help-your-mental-health/

Retrieved from: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/01/03/the-year-in-gratitude-introducing-the-virtual-gratitude-visit/

Gratitude Research Delivered: Diagnosis, Part Two

By DANIEL TOMASULO, PH.D.

Jen Cunningham Butler uses a highly proactive and inspiring approach in dealing with the anniversary of her cancer diagnosis. At once it was corrective and intuitive; courageous and simple; heartfelt and effective.  Jen prepares for the day by honoring her health and recovery. She actively demonstrates her gratitude toward the physicians, nurses  and support staff involved in her treatment. Her story is detailed in Part One.

Part One chronicles Butler’s ongoing effort to demonstrate gratitude to all those who helped during her treatment.  These are simple acts of gratitude such as writing notes, bringing a tray of goodies into the treatment center, and even lollipops to the parking attendants.

Although these offerings of gratitude are modest, these actions undid the anxiety of recalling the day, while activating a positive sense of self and affecting others.  Instead of anxiety and depression, she was able to instill joy, feelings of well-being, and hope — because some of the goodies were delivered personally to women currently undergoing radiation.

We could leave this as a beautiful example of a human interest story, knowing that the tale alone will inspire others to approach their diagnosis day, divorce day, or whatever their “D” Day is in a different manner.  But there is something more to this story that intrigued me.

What Jen had done intuitively was to follow some foundational research in gratitude.  In fact, the cornerstone of what she did is an exact representation of one of the original positive interventions offered by Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association and the man introduced at conferences now as the “Father of Positive Psychology.”

In a seminal 2005 article, Seligman and his colleagues (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005) reported on studies with five positive interventions.  One of these they simply called the gratitude visit.  The Internet-based study engaged participants to write a letter of gratitude to someone who had been particularly kind to them in the past, but who had never been properly thanked.  Then the participants had to deliver the letter personally.

Sound familiar?

What made this study so unique in the field of positive psychology was that it was a randomized control study. The gold standard of research designs, it randomly assigns participants to the condition(s) being studied, one of which is a placebo.  The placebo condition for this experiment was to ask participants to write about their early memories every night for a week. These folks were then compared to people delivering the gratitude visit.  Those participants were given a week to write and deliver a letter of gratitude as described above.

The researchers used results from 411 participants and measured them on two scales, the Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression Scale (CES-D), and the Steen Happiness Index (SHI).

The results?  One week after the study, people taking part in the gratitude visit were happier and less depressed, and this lasted for one month after they had completed the visit.  Of the five interventions studied, those taking part in the gratitude visit demonstrated the greatest positive change.

There are two interesting features of this study.  First, it demonstrates that a gratitude visit isn’t merely an act of kindness, it is a proven method of improving well-being by increasing happiness and reducing symptoms of depression.  Second, a six-month followup of all participants found that those who continued their particular exercise on their own continued to experience long-term benefits.

Jen thinks about her gratitude visits all year long.  Her benefits are ongoing.

Thank you, Jen, for giving us inspiration and encouragement with your ongoing examples of turning lemons into lemon trees.  For the rest of us there is only one question left: Who are we going to write our gratitude letter to?

For more information and another gratitude intervention check here.

References

Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410.

Tomasulo, D. (2012). The Year in Gratitude: Introducing the Virtual Gratitude VisitPsych Central. Retrieved on October 28, 2012, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/01/03/the-year-in-gratitude-introducing-the-virtual-gratitude-visit/

Retrieved from: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/01/gratitude-research-delivered-diagnosis-day-part-two/

 

STOP…and be happy!

In Fitness/Health, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Well-being on Saturday, 20 October 2012 at 07:50

Be Happier: Ten Things to Stop Doing Right Now

Jeff Haden

Sometimes the route to happiness depends more on what you don’t do.

Happiness–in your business life and your personal life–is often a matter of subtraction, not addition.

Consider, for example, what happens when you stop doing the following 10 things:

1. Blaming.

People make mistakes. Employees don’t meet your expectations. Vendors don’t deliver on time.

So you blame them for your problems.

But you’re also to blame. Maybe you didn’t provide enough training. Maybe you didn’t build in enough of a buffer. Maybe you asked too much, too soon.

Taking responsibility when things go wrong instead of blaming others isn’t masochistic, it’s empowering–because then you focus on doing things better or smarter next time.

And when you get better or smarter, you also get happier.

2. Impressing.

No one likes you for your clothes, your car, your possessions, your title, or your accomplishments. Those are all “things.” People may like your things–but that doesn’t mean they like you.

Sure, superficially they might seem to, but superficial is also insubstantial, and a relationship that is not based on substance is not a real relationship.

Genuine relationships make you happier, and you’ll only form genuine relationships when you stop trying to impress and start trying to just be yourself.

3. Clinging.

When you’re afraid or insecure, you hold on tightly to what you know, even if what you know isn’t particularly good for you.

An absence of fear or insecurity isn’t happiness: It’s just an absence of fear or insecurity.

Holding on to what you think you need won’t make you happier; letting go so you can reach for and try to earn what you want will.

Even if you don’t succeed in earning what you want, the act of trying alone will make you feel better about yourself.

4. Interrupting.

Interrupting isn’t just rude. When you interrupt someone, what you’re really saying is, “I’m not listening to you so I can understand what you’re saying; I’m listening to you so I can decide what I want to say.”

Want people to like you? Listen to what they say. Focus on what they say. Ask questions to make sure you understand what they say.

They’ll love you for it–and you’ll love how that makes you feel.

5. Whining.

Your words have power, especially over you. Whining about your problems makes you feel worse, not better.

If something is wrong, don’t waste time complaining. Put that effort into making the situation better. Unless you want to whine about it forever, eventually you’ll have to do that. So why waste time? Fix it now.

Don’t talk about what’s wrong. Talk about how you’ll make things better, even if that conversation is only with yourself.

And do the same with your friends or colleagues. Don’t just be the shoulder they cry on.

Friends don’t let friends whine–friends help friends make their lives better.

6. Controlling.

Yeah, you’re the boss. Yeah, you’re the titan of industry. Yeah, you’re the small tail that wags a huge dog.

Still, the only thing you really control is you. If you find yourself trying hard to control other people, you’ve decided that you, your goals, your dreams, or even just your opinions are more important than theirs.

Plus, control is short term at best, because it often requires force, or fear, or authority, or some form of pressure–none of those let you feel good about yourself.

Find people who want to go where you’re going. They’ll work harder, have more fun, and create better business and personal relationships.

And all of you will be happier.

7. Criticizing.

Yeah, you’re more educated. Yeah, you’re more experienced. Yeah, you’ve been around more blocks and climbed more mountains and slayed more dragons.

That doesn’t make you smarter, or better, or more insightful.

That just makes you you: unique, matchless, one of a kind, but in the end, just you.

Just like everyone else–including your employees.

Everyone is different: not better, not worse, just different. Appreciate the differences instead of the shortcomings and you’ll see people–and yourself–in a better light.

8. Preaching.

Criticizing has a brother. His name is Preaching. They share the same father: Judging.

The higher you rise and the more you accomplish, the more likely you are to think you know everything–and to tell people everything you think you know.

When you speak with more finality than foundation, people may hear you but they don’t listen. Few things are sadder and leave you feeling less happy.

9. Dwelling.

The past is valuable. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the mistakes of others.

Then let it go.

Easier said than done? It depends on your focus. When something bad happens to you, see that as a chance to learn something you didn’t know. When another person makes a mistake, see that as an opportunity to be kind, forgiving, and understanding.

The past is just training; it doesn’t define you. Think about what went wrong, but only in terms of how you will make sure that, next time, you and the people around you will know how to make sure it goes right.

10. Fearing.

We’re all afraid: of what might or might not happen, of what we can’t change, or what we won’t be able to do, or how other people might perceive us.

So it’s easier to hesitate, to wait for the right moment, to decide we need to think a little longer or do some more research or explore a few more alternatives.

Meanwhile days, weeks, months, and even years pass us by.

And so do our dreams.

Don’t let your fears hold you back. Whatever you’ve been planning, whatever you’ve imagined, whatever you’ve dreamed of, get started on it today.

If you want to start a business, take the first step. If you want to change careers, take the first step. If you want to expand or enter a new market or offer new products or services, take the first step.

Put your fears aside and get started. Do something. Do anything.

Otherwise, today is gone. Once tomorrow comes, today is lost forever.

Today is the most precious asset you own–and is the one thing you should truly fear wasting.

Retrieved from: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/how-to-be-happier-work-10-things-stop-doing.html

The Hill and the Concrete Stairs

In Inspiration, Mindfulness, Well-being on Friday, 19 October 2012 at 06:57

The Hill and the Concrete Stairs

Posted by: Anoop Alex

I climbed up the stairs. Well, I have been climbing for a long time now. Still, the top was not seen. I was tired, moody and desperate. They call it the stairs to success and happiness. I read many books, articles and listened to great people talking about life and its intricacies. I was inspired, and really wanted to reach those heights they talked about. I wanted to realize my dreams, be happy and then fulfil myself. No time to rest, there was much more to go…

The sky was grey, the clouds were limping over the stairs as if they were old and impaired. I looked back at my shadow; it was long and reached many steps down. I wondered, “Is there really a topmost step? What happens when I reach there? Will I be really happy? Enlightened, shall I be?!”

No time for distractive thoughts, I lifted my legs as high as I could and consumed more of my strength and agility up the stairs. Still nothing in reach, I sat down and for once I looked around. That was the first time I looked somewhere else other than up and down.

Life unfurled around me. There were people, funny, nice, rude and all sorts; all of them around everywhere, but far from me. I did not care, for all I wanted to look was at me in the mirror on the topmost step, where I can be seen happy and successful.

As I rushed ahead, I became tired and frustrated. I was forced to sit down once more. I was so angry at all those who inspired me to become great and known. I wanted to despise all those who tried to motivate people. What do they give all those glowing quotes for? I sat in desperation; hopeless and sad. The night fell, and I did not know when my eyes closed.

The morning light knocked my eyes open; I could still see all those around me. I was not amused or astonished to see that they were not climbing. Well, everyone is not ambitious! For a second, their shadows caught my eyes; much shorter than mine! They looked joyous and in high spirits!

The next moment, I took a decision. Risky, but at least it should turn out adventurous!

For the first time, I took a step aside the stair. The moist clouds helped me down. The environment changed, so different from the concrete stairs! The ground felt less solid and rigid.  My feet were on soil, green and fertile. I started walking towards the house afar, feeling affluent and comfortable with every step I took.

The house looked familiar. The door was old and plain but had a soothing impression on me. I smiled and knocked on the door.

My parents were surprised but happy to see me. They have become old. Their loving eyes appraised me and I was in a warm embrace, one after another. My wife’s graceful eyes prayed silently how much she missed me. My kids’ cheers were genuine music to me.

My life so far had been very busy, and after a long time I got time for free. My breathing was slow and calm. The air I breathed in was soothing and replenishing. The food, homely and the moments were splendid.

My parents were very happy to see me, and half-heartedly let me go for a stroll. Not often I realized how patient and lovely my woman could be, she reminded me with a soft kiss. My children grew up fast I thought; they too understood me well and left me for a walk alone!

I walked, round and around the land. There were no specific lanes or roads. Far ahead, the vastness of the plain led me to a small hill. The hill was a favourite spot for me in childhood; my friends and I used to raid the area for different amusements then.

I was not ready for another climb up, but this time there was nothing impending. I felt light and the hill-top was awaiting me. The blue sky spread vast, as esteemed as always, and misted the horizon. Clouds, fair and white giggled tenderly at my coming.

The hilltop gave a wonderful panoramic view of the hemisphere. The breeze atop was refreshing and brushed past me gently. I closed my eyes for a while and all those lovely moments of life rushed in; my life in vista. The memories were sweet and I missed all my friends, teachers, neighbours, relatives and… myself. The bitter turned sweet, what I used to perceive hard became soft and comfortable, the anxious and worried times made me smile and the heaviness was lifted away. I accepted all that was left behind, the happy moments, those embarrassing incidents, irritating comments, fleeting love, hurtful breakups, sad and upsetting thoughts, the shame and pain. I no longer resisted. I accepted who I was. I forgave all those who hurt me. I cherished those memories where I felt nice, happy, confident and proud. I felt my body becoming relaxed, my heart was beating smooth and I breathed easily.

It was noon when I opened my eyes. I looked down. The rock where I stood bore no shadow on it! Once I was amazed, then I understood! The sun was just above me and I was enlightened. Realizing what I had missed, I felt happy and content in claiming what was mine – my own self.

Far in the horizon the concrete stairs were visible and I could see someone climbing up. More than the person, I could see a long shadow. The stairs were leading farther from the sun!

Striding down the hill, my legs carried me faster and further. The flowers smiled, the grass swayed at my go as if they were dancing and my feet were well welcomed by the mud. The stretch ahead was to home, I ran faster, gaining more and more upon myself and it was real. I was once again myself and the leap I took kept me happy and content.

Retrieved from: http://mindmattersindia.com/the-hill-and-the-concrete-stairs/

autism and asanas…new information

In Autism Spectrum Disorders, Fitness/Health, Meditation, Mindfulness on Saturday, 13 October 2012 at 09:50

Yoga Helps Children With Autism Remain Calm, Improves Social Bonding

BY AMBER MOORE

New York University researchers say that daily yoga can boost social bonding and focus in children who have been diagnosed with autism.

The intervention program, “Get Ready to Learn,” (GRTL) uses yoga and breathing techniques to calm children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. The program has five steps that are done for 17 minutes each day. According to NYU researcher Kristie Koenig, this program can lower the levels of aggression, social withdrawal and anxiety in children with ASD.

“We found that teachers’ ratings of students who participated in the daily yoga routine showed improved behavior compared with teachers’ ratings of students who did not. Our aim in this research was to examine the effectiveness of an occupational therapy yoga intervention,” said Koenig, assistant professor of occupational therapy at NYU.

Currently, there is no cure for autism. However, studies suggest that certain intervention programs may help improve a child’s development. Interventions are most efficient when started early, before age 3.

Another study published last year in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine had also said that movement-based therapy including yoga and dance can help treat some behavioral problems associated with autism.

“Children with Autism often exhibit characteristics of ‘fight-or-flight’ response. They are in a constant state of stress and struggle with staying calm, trying to concentrate, communicating clearly, or even controlling their movements,” said Anne Buckley-Reen occupational therapist and yoga instructor.

The present study was published in The American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
Retrieved from:  http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/12640/20121011/yoga-helps-children-autism-remain-calm-improves.htm#5Uri5TY1f6SU5fUp.99

40 things to say before you die

In Meditation, Mindfulness, Well-being on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 at 06:27

40 Things To Say Before You Die

Before you’re sprawled on your deathbed, there are some things you really have to say. They’re not complicated. They’re not poetry.

They’re just short sentences with big meaning.

I hope they get you talking.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessicahagy/2012/10/04/40-things-to-say-before-you-die/

Dalai Lama on education…

In Education, Mindfulness, Pedagogy on Monday, 8 October 2012 at 07:30

“Education is the proper way to promote compassion and tolerance in society. Compassion and peace of mind bring a sense of confidence that reduce stress and anxiety, whereas anger and hatred come from frustration and undermine our sense of trust. Because of ignorance, many of our problems are our own creation. Education, however, is the instrument that increases our ability to employ our own intelligence.”~HH 14 Dalai Lama

the bar just got set very, very high…it’s all about ACTION!

In Inspiration, Mindfulness on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 at 17:35

what an amazing example of a man.  he didn’t wait for reports to be written or the government to act, he acted.  he took initiative.  not to mention all his OTHER accomplishments.  i am humbled completely…

L.A.’s richest man ups the ante in fight against cancer

Published October 03, 2012

Reuters

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/10/03/la-richest-man-ups-ante-in-fight-against-cancer/?test=latestnews#ixzz28H2MY1RW

As owner of 5 percent of the Los Angeles Lakers, Patrick Soon-Shiong could walk into the locker room of the storied basketball franchise any time for a chat with stars like Kobe Bryant. But the richest man in Los Angeles chooses to sit with the rest of his team’s fans.

“He’s not one of those owners who wants to be seen everywhere. He’s just one of the fans,” said Bryant. The NBA star gives his owner a hug before every game for luck “and maybe some of the success” of the slender Los Angles surgeon who built a fortune exceeding $7 billion as a biotechnology entrepreneur.

For all Soon-Shiong’s success, the South African émigré and son of a Chinese herbal doctor remains relatively unknown in Los Angeles, a city that thrives on status and celebrity.

That’s likely to change soon.

In recent weeks, he emerged as a likely bidder for fellow billionaire Philip Anschutz’s sports and entertainment unit AEG, owner of 100 venues worldwide and sports teams like the Los Angeles Kings hockey franchise and the L.A. Galaxy soccer team, not to mention a 20 percent stake in the Lakers.

And on Wednesday in Washington DC, Soon-Shiong and his L.A.-based NantHealth will unveil a joint venture with Verizon, Intel, Blue Shield of California and others to create a nationwide system for doctors to share DNA and other data on cancer patients. It will enable doctors to do genetic analysis of a patient’s tumor in less than a minute — a job that now can take from eight to 10 weeks.

“This is something the federal government should have done, but we waited and waited for them,” Soon-Shiong told Reuters in an interview.

“It’s unconscionable that cancer patients get the wrong diagnosis 30 percent of the time and that it takes so long to treat them with appropriate drugs for their cancer.”

Soon-Shiong emigrated to the United States more than three decades ago with his wife Michele Chan, an actress who had a starring role in 80’s CBS show “Danger Bay” and guest roles on ” MacGyver.” Since then, he has methodically climbed the ladder of success by adroitly mixing science and business.

He created drugs to fight diabetes and breast cancer and then sold the companies that produced them for a combined $8.6 billion.

In the four years since selling those companies, he quietly spent more than $400 million of his own money to build a national fiber optic network that would link cancer clinics throughout the country — the groundwork for the health superhighway.

High spending, low profile

Soon-Shiong’s philanthropy was in evidence at his West Los Angeles office. The new superhighway was illustrated on a flow chart in a conference room where staffers edited a video of it on a nearby TV set.

In the lobby was a model of the campus surrounding the Saint John’s Health Center, to which he has given $135 million to build a biotech research center and sports medicine clinic.

“There are few Patrick Soon-Shiongs in this world,” said retired General Wesley Clark, who has served with him on non-profit boards. “A brilliant doctor, a great businessman and someone who is very patriotic. He understands what it means to give back to his country.”

Elsewhere, Los Angeles bears the mark of Soon-Shiong’s largesse and his fixation on healthcare. He and his wife operate the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation, which last year endowed a chair at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering to support research in engineering and medicine.

In 2009, after watching TV footage of a woman dying on the emergency room floor because doctors didn’t notice her, he guaranteed $100 million to underwrite efforts to reopen Martin Luther King Hospital. The hospital, which has since reopened, serves the city’s low-income population.

The coming months may mark the public convergence of his private passions: health, sports, philanthropy and his adopted city.

He wants to buy AEG in large part because he plans to build a $1.2 billion football stadium to return pro football to the nation’s second largest city.

A diehard basketball fan, Soon-Shiong is not particularly keen on football. But he said owning a National Football League team would give him a platform to promote wellness by having players mentor younger fans on exercise and healthy eating, and sharing training and medical techniques with local doctors.

Until recently, Soon-Shiong kept a low profile. He and his wife did not want their name in a press release when they first donated $23 million to Saint John’s in 2007 to build a biomedical facility, recalled medical center president Lou Lazatin.

“Finally, they agreed when I told them it would help my marketing,” Lazatin said.

Surgical eye for detail

Soon-Shiong’s business career started in the early 1980s with the help of the National Aeronautics and Spac e Administration, which gave him $2 million for stem cell research that could one day help treat injuries during space travel.

At the time, he was a surgeon at a hospital affiliated with the University of California, Los Angeles. With the money, he opened a small lab near a veteran’s hospital, where he developed treatments to reduce diabetes in pancreatic transplant patients and a cancer-fighting drug that doubled the response rate for the treatment of breast cancer.

His climb was not without bumps. In 1999, his brother Terrence filed a complex suit claiming Patrick Soon-Shiong neglected work on a diabetes drug being developed by a startup in which Terrence had invested. But an arbitrator found in Patrick Soon-Shiong’s favor, and he declined to answer questions about the matter.

By 2008, Patrick Soon-Shiong controlled 82 percent of APP Pharmaceuticals, the company he started to develop injectable drugs to treat cancer and other illnesses. Soon-Shiong sold the company for $5.6 billion to Germany’s Fresenuis Kabi Pharmaceuticals, netting him $4.6 billion.

In 2010, he sold Abraxis BioScience, which he had spun off from APP in 2007, to pharmaceutical company Celgene Corp. for $2.9 billion. His 82 percent stake was worth $2.4 billion.

Soon-Shiong paid Celgene $135 million for NantWorks, where he had begun the work of creating his planned high-tech health delivery network. He also bought or provided seed money to small technology companies to aid in that effort.

He paid $20 million to buy a controlling interest in KeyOn Communications, which provides wireless broadband service for rural markets, and another $10 million to a stake in Raptor Networks Technology, which makes switching equipment for high speed networks.

“He watches every detail. I get emails from him at 2:30 in the morning, said Stephen Berman, CEO of toy maker JAAKS Pacific, which is licensing technology from one of Soon-Shiong’s companies to make interactive toys.

He gives more than just money, says songwriter Burt Bacharach, whose son went to private school with Soon-Shiong’s daughter. Soon-Shiong showed up unannounced at Cedars Sinai Hospital one day, says Bacharach, to help doctors find the right combination of drugs to treat the musician’s son, who had a persistent staph infection.

For L.A.’s richest man, that patient visit was a brief return to the role of physician that he insists he one day will resume.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/10/03/la-richest-man-ups-ante-in-fight-against-cancer/?test=latestnews#ixzz28H2GmBuy

The effect of hate…~be love~.

In Inspiration, Mindfulness, Well-being on Monday, 1 October 2012 at 08:22

The Effect of Hate on Children

Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C.

 “I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Webster’s Dictionary (2012) defines hate as an “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.  It is an extreme dislike or antipathy (and in most cases, there is) an object of hatred.”

Children who are exposed to hate are prone to a world of disorder, conflict, turmoil, strife, and an array of injustices.  Hate is the catalyst for human depravity and personal decay.  The typical foundations of hate begin in adolescence, they begin to blossom in the early life of a child.  Hate is rarely founded and always based on an indifference between peoples.

DEFINING HATE CRIMES

The National Association of Social Workers definition is:  “Hate violence crimes are those directed against persons, families, groups, or organizations because of their racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual identities or their sexual orientation or condition of disability.” (Barnes & Ephross, 2012, Online)

Hate knows no friend; it breaches the wellbeing of both the hated and the hater. Children who are taught to hate, whether implied or through an act of projection, are forced to live lives in constant opposition.   Hate stifles their ability to fully live a life engulfed with love and security.  Hate not only permanently skews their cognitive perceptions of the world, but it causes personal distress leaving a stain on one’s ideological viewpoints of that world.  Fortunately, while the senseless act of hate can have a permanent effect upon the emotional welfare of the individual; those who hate, or are being groomed to hate, can experience lifelong reprieve from the shackles of hate.

HATE’S ROTTING EFFECT

Hate’s effect can be passed down through the generations of a family, a community, or a civilization.  It is hate that acts as rust on the human mind and spirit.  Hate slowly causes an oxidation on the natural process of love, peace, and acceptance from within a person.  It is hate that transforms the natural order of the human condition, causing an internal and external strife within the very fabric of humanity.

Hate has caused wars and created rumors of wars; it has pitted children against children and adult against adult; it is hate that allows for teachers to bully their students and student’s to bully one-another.  Hate is often confused with pride, while genuinely positive pride, is “the consciousness of one’s own dignity,” (Webster’s Dictionary, 2012), as well as, having a source of intense approval for one’s achievements and personal successes.  Hate has no relationship to pride.

While hate is the decayer, love and acceptance are the cure.  Hate cannot know the light of the world, rather hate itself is an opponent of darkness.  What does darkness symbolize?  Darkness is the unknowing, the instigator of our greatest fears, the promoter of our worse nightmares, and the master of human dysfunction.   Darkness emphasizes our insecurities, our worries, our negative contemplations, and in general, anything contrary to our positive nature.  Hate in itself cannot force the hand of humankind, rather it entices the worst of the human condition to become the prominent player in one’s overall life.

OVERCOMING HATE

Overcoming any negative emotion or thought pattern takes deliberate effort.  Children who are either taught or influenced to hate have a greater chance of changing their ideological viewpoints, than someone who has reached adulthood.  Sadly, adults who have hate as the foundation of their personal character; are all too often imprisoned by their hate.  Hate is the ultimate virus, infecting the very essence of the person.  However, hate is not a totalitarian regime, and fortunately because of human resiliency, hate can be overcome.  Overcoming hate starts with the individual.  Through a deliberate and conscious effort on the part of the individual, hate can be eliminated from the mind and very conscious of that individual.

The Steps to Overcoming Hate 

  1. Unconditional Acceptance:  Accept as though you were the recipient.  Do not place acceptance in a fish bowl, otherwise you are always limiting the amount with which you offer your hand.
  2. Unconditional Forgiveness:  When you forgive, forgive.  Do not shelter hateful thoughts, otherwise you have not allowed your unconscious and conscious minds to be free of the negative event or person.
  3. Unconditional Love:  Unconditional love knows no rights or wrongs.  Unconditional love says, I will love you beyond all words, deeds, actions, or reactions.  It is the sort of love that a father or mother should have for their child.  This sort of love is not offered up only in the good times, but excels to be exhibited in the bad times.
  4. Review your thought patterns.  How do you perceive the world around you?  What are the guidelines with which you judge your corner of the world?  Are you hyper critical of others?  Do you wear your emotional sleeve on your shoulder?  Do you see yourself as better than or superior to others?  If so, reevaluate your thought patterns, and consciously make an effort to eliminate them from your mindset.  Be a good steward of your thoughts, and helpful steward of your children’s thoughts.
  5. Move Forward: Do not be combative with the negative event or person, rather consciously drive your virtual mind down an opposite path of positivity.  Therefore, intentionally seeking positive messages, images, and solutions for your life.
  6. Be Diverse:   Be a model of diversity; teach your children through your verbal and nonverbal messages to be diverse.  Allow them to see you positively interact with others of cultural and gender diversities.  Do not limit your friendships, your acquaintances, or your associates to one cultural paradigm.
  7. Challenge Negative Thought Patterns:  Be willing to consciously and unconsciously challenge thoughts that are skewed or indifferent to others.  Question, the whybehind your biases or subtle discriminatory thoughts.
  8. Correct Negative Thoughts in Your Children:  If you become privy of a negative thought that your children may hold; be diligent to help your children to review their negative or hateful thoughts, replacing them with a more positive ideological viewpoint.
  9. Be a Proponent of Positivity:  Everyone deserves a right to live in a positively influential environment.
  10. Offering an Environment of Safety and Care:  The environment with which care and safety are provided should make a profound difference.

When there is hate, a child’s right of safety and care is breached.  Schools should intentionally and purposefully foster an environment of safety and care.  When a school avoids advocating for its children, it extinguishes their individual rights.  It is vital to recognize that “All students are harmed by being in a school environment where discriminatory behavior is allowed, not just those students who are singled out for such harassment and victimization.”  (Wieland, 2007, p. 241)  Children should always be provided an environment of unconditional love, acceptance, and approval.  Remember, what occurs in one’s childhood is often indicative of things to come.   If we avoid addressing messages of hate in childhood, then there is little deterrence for children from amplifying the same messages of hate in their adulthood.

Helping your children to recognize the verbal and nonverbal messages is critical for combating the hate.  Be certain to teach your children to recognize the key features ofhateful and violent messages; whether they are communicated verbally or nonverbally; casted disparagingly through stereotypes, stigmas, guilt, or shame; it is essential to know and recognize when other’s are offering us platters of hate.

“What are some general ways that hate speech can be used in the offline (or online) world? Sample responses:

  • Calling people names based on their race, religion, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or any other type of group that is disenfranchised in our society
  • Saying things about people that are based on social identity stereotypes.”  (Common Sense Media, 2012, Online)

Children who are not taught to recognize the clutches of hate, will often fall prey unto such messages.  As parents and teachers, we are obligated to gird up the loins of our children to protect them from the possibility of harm.  Moreover, it is equally important for children not only be taught to protect themselves, but to play a critical in offering positive lessons unto their classmates.  If so, such children will prove advocates not only for themselves, but for the lives of everyone they encounter.

We must be hyper-vigilant when training our children.  As parents and teachers, we should keep a watchful eye out for danger and difficult times.  It should be expected that teachers and parents use due diligence to protect their children.

Author:   Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C.

REFERENCES

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, D.C.: Author

Barnes, A. & Ephross, P. H. (2012) The impact of hate violence on victims, Emotional and behavioral responses to attacks.  Retrieved September 22, 2012 fromhttp://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/events/911/barnes.asp

Common Sense Media (2012) Lesson: Breaking down hate speech. Retrieved September 22, 2012 fromhttp://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/breaking-down-hate-speech-11-12

Wieland, J. (2007) Peer-on-Peer hate crime and hate-motivated incidents involving children in California’s public schools:  Contemporary issues in prevalence, response and prevention.  UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy 11(2), 235-269

Retrieved from: http://www.ccpa-accp.ca/blog/?p=2454

exemplary…

In Inspiration, Mindfulness on Saturday, 29 September 2012 at 16:34

i am completely humbled.

http://shine.yahoo.com/women-who-shine/sikh-woman-balpreet-kaur-turns-cyber-bullying-incident-203500244.html

“My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body… by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can.”~Balreet Kaur

 

Is it a Pretty Ugly World?

In Inspiration, Mindfulness on Thursday, 27 September 2012 at 12:05

Is it a Pretty Ugly World?.

be happy, do nothing…

In Fitness/Health, Inspiration, Mindfulness on Thursday, 27 September 2012 at 11:42

To be Mentally Sound, DO NOTHING! Says Psychologist!

Practically the whole planet is on the move to find ways to maintain a sound psychological health. This can prove to be counter-productive according to a psychologist. In a recent report, Jamie Gruman says the key to a great mental well-being is to actually do nothing at all.

“Health: Social Psychologist Proposes Science of Positive Thinking”

Canadian social psychologist Jamie Gruman is proposing a new way of achieving nirvana: Do nothing.

Instead, live in the moment and embrace the “serene and contented acceptance of life as it is, with no ambitions of acquisition, accomplishment or progress toward goals,” said Gruman, co-founder of the newly created Canadian Positive Psychology Association, a network of scholars and academics studying human well-being and happiness.

Psychology has long focused on our inner torment: understanding why people get depressed or anxious, and how to alleviate it. The emphasis has been on “disorders,” “deficits,” “neuroses” and the need for “therapy.”

Positive psychology emphasizes strengths more than illness. It focuses on happiness, well-being, resilience, empathy, gratitude and forgiveness — how to “flourish” as a human. One idea, said Frank Farley, an Edmonton native and a past president of the American Psychological Association who studies heroism and personality, is that maybe it can inoculate people against mental distress.

More than a decade after its founding, the field is undergoing something of a revival. The neuroscience behind it is advancing. Researchers are finding links between positive emotions and a longer, healthier life span.

At the same time, the notion of a healthy national psyche is being embraced more openly by economists, politicians and political scientists around the globe, including in Canada, where, for example, Green Party leader Elizabeth May recently introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons meant to develop a set of indicators to measure “the real health and well-being of people.” A United Nations expert panel earlier this year called for nations around the globe to track the happiness of their people, arguing that economic wealth doesn’t equal psychological health.

Except for those living below the poverty line, “the correlation between money and happiness is almost non-existent,” said Gruman, an associate professor of organizational behaviour at the University of Guelph.

“We’re trying to find out what makes people happy,” Gruman said, “because we’ve learned it isn’t money.”

Science is searching for prescriptions for happiness at a time when North American adults increasingly are being medicated with anti-depressants.

According to new figures released exclusively to Postmedia News by market research firm IMS Brogan, Canadian pharmacists dispensed 40.2 million prescriptions worth $1.7 billion for anti-depressants in 2011 — a 7.5 per cent increase over 2010.

Over the last five years, the use of anti-depressants has increased on a per-person basis in every province except Prince Edward Island. Of the 40.2 million prescriptions dispensed across the nation last year, Quebec had the largest share (14.2 million) followed by Ontario (13.8 million) and B.C. (4.1 million).

In all, Canadians made 7.9 million visits to a doctor for symptoms of depression in 2011, according to IMS Brogan.

Gruman said positive-psych isn’t the Pollyannaish, “lollipops-and-rainbows” approach to living that some critics dismiss it as.

“It’s about living the best possible life. I don’t think that only understanding pathology and misery leads us to knowing how to live the best possible life we can.”

Humans have an innate tendency to focus on the negative, he said, and there’s an evolutionary reason for that.

“When you’re feeling good, that’s the body’s signal that everything is hunky-dory. When you’re feeling upset or anxious or scared, that’s your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. So it’s evolutionarily adaptive for us to be drawn to the negative — it helps us survive.

“When there’s a sabre-toothed tiger running after you, it’s healthy to be scared. You’re going to run away and you’re going to live.”

A healthy dose of pessimism is appropriate at times, he said, adding that life “necessarily requires admitting the negative and recognizing the negative and respecting the negative.”

“But it also involves trying to understand, when you’re not dying of cancer, when you’re not suffering your heart attack, when you’re not suffering depression, when you have a positive moment, how do you make the most of those moments?”

Dr. Adam Anderson is Canada Research Chair in Affective Neuroscience at the University of Toronto. Anderson said a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex is activated in response to positive emotions. “You find it in jazz musicians improvising,” he said.

If that is the brain’s “positivity muscle,” can we cultivate it? In randomized, controlled trials, his team has found that mindfulness meditation alters the brain; it changes the activity in the prefrontal cortex.

“Some people are lucky and have the right genes, we think, to be able to live the good life. And, if you don’t, you have to exercise in some way to try to boost that,” Anderson said.

Some equate the good life with constantly seeking the next pleasure, which Anderson said is like an addiction. “That’s like saying a cocaine addict has a really good model for living the good life because they’re trying to maximize the number of pleasures they have.”

Thinking positive is easy when you know how. Gordon McInnis shares useful advice on how to have a positive mindset.

Anderson said it’s not about seeking out or wanting things, “but to explore. To be creative, to play.”

The function of happiness isn’t to be happy, said Anderson, who isn’t a positive psychologist but who will be a featured speaker at the Canadian Positive Psychology Association’s inaugural conference this month in Toronto. “It’s evolution’s way of saying, go out and discover new things. Go play, go explore.”

Not everyone is enthused by the rush to “positivity.” All of us struggle with a tension “between our own dark feelings and the grating call of the bright, shiny, happy world,” said Eric Wilson, author of Against Happiness. Self-help books can further guilt us into thinking, “I’m not happy enough.”

But Anderson said the word “happy” seems “so loaded and confused.”

Our economy is built on selling happiness through consumption, he argued — and that increasing depression could, paradoxically, be a fallout of seeking happiness.

“If you go out seeking happiness and you don’t find it — you desire something, you assume that’s going to make you happy, you get it and you’re not happier, or you’re happier for a little bit of time, ultimately, that will make you depressed,” he said.”

This news came from Vancouversun.com.

When you think about it, people indeed have the tendency to be very busy on things to the point that it becomes unhealthy. Slowing down to smell the roses, although a cliché, should be put to practice especially in a world that moves so fast that it leaves everyone behind scrambling and stressed out to keep up.

Please make sure everybody you know in Twitter and Facebook knows this information by sharing this article with them. Also, to make sure you get updates about psychology, remember to leave some comments and subscribe. Thanks and stay positive!

Retrieved from: http://psychologyonlinecourses.net/to-be-mentally-sound-do-nothing-says-psychologist/

 

an interesting look at adhd…

In ADHD, ADHD Adult, ADHD child/adolescent, ADHD stimulant treatment, Mindfulness on Thursday, 27 September 2012 at 04:06

Of ADHD and Lord Ganesha (A Tale of the Differently-Headed)

By ZOË KESSLER, BA, B.ED.

I was a happy little thing as a child. Then, I started feeling like a freak. People called me names. I didn’t know why.

Sometimes, they‘d push me, or punch me. Once, I ended up face down in gravel in the schoolyard.

I looked into the mirror to see if I was bleeding. Tears streamed down my eyes, clouding my vision. Finally, my tears dried. That’s when I saw it.

My eyes opened wide. I jumped back in shock. My head was so very strange. I didn’t look anything like any of my friends.

No wonder they didn’t like me. No wonder they all made fun of me. No wonder they wouldn’t let me play games with them, instead calling me names as I walked away.

“Freak!”

“Weirdo!”

“Loser!”

I was grotesque.

I ran home crying. Mom! Mom!

But mom couldn’t do anything. Reluctantly, she told me that this was my head and I would have to live with it.

No! I cried, running out of the house. I ran and ran and ran. I couldn’t believe it. Why would my mom lie to me? Of course we could fix my head. Of course we could. She just didn’t know how, so she was lying to me.

I ran to my school’s library. I sat tucked away in a corner where no one could find me. Mom was right! I would have this head for ever and ever. It was true: no one could save me. I hung my head.

My teardrops formed dark circles and spread on the page. The wet paper bubbled, each drop coming alive, the words rising up to mock me. I cried and cried. I would always have this head.

Always.

344/365. Deva Shree Ganesha.Creative Commons License photo credit: Anant N S (www.thelensor.tumblr.com)

This is the story of many with ADHD. This is also what vividly came to my imagination as I meditated on Lord Ganesha, the Hindu elephant God, one of Hinduism’s major deities.

There are several versions of Lord Ganesha’s story, but he’s generally accepted as the son of Shiva and Parvati, themselves Hindu deities. Still a babe, Lord Ganesha suffers a terrible tragedy: through a misunderstanding, his head is lopped off by dad.

Mom Parvati is of course grief-stricken, so dad thinks fast and replaces the babe’s head with that of a young elephant.

And the little trooper turns it all around, conquering adversity to become Lord Ganesha, inspiring millions of followers. Metaphorically speaking, his many qualities can also inspire those of us with ADHD.

Symbols as sources of inspiration

The symbolism of Lord Ganesha is singularly relevant to those of us with ADHD. For example, his large ears remind us to listen; his small eyes, to focus and concentrate; and his tiny mouth, to speak less.

Lord Ganesha rose above his misfortunes, becoming revered as the Remover of Obstacles. You think you’ve got challenges? Think about what Lord Ganesha had to overcome with his strange, unusual head.

Now think about what you’ve had to overcome with your unusual head. Lord Ganesha can inspire us to keep fighting to overcome our own obstacles, which, let’s face it, are as small as mice when compared to having the head of an elephant.

Count your blessings.

Annual celebration

As India celebrates its annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival in honor of Lord Ganesha (September 19 – 29, 2012), I’m offering gratitude for Lord Ganesha as a source of inspiration and insight in my daily meditations.

What inspires you?

I’d like to invite you to contemplate your own sources of strength and inspiration. Look closely: you might find more than initially meets the eye. I began to pray to Lord Ganesha to remove obstacles, and found myself relating to having a very different head.

When you look deeply into the face of the Divine, you too may find yourself reflected back.

Namaste.

Retrieved from: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2012/09/of-adhd-and-lord-ganesha-a-tale-of-the-differently-headed/

how to look lovely

In Inspiration, Mindfulness, Well-being on Thursday, 20 September 2012 at 05:58

The Cost of Disatisfaction at Work

In Mindfulness, Well-being on Monday, 17 September 2012 at 07:36

Happy Employees Are Critical For An Organization’s Success, Study Shows 

ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2009)

 One’s happiness might seem like a personal subject, but a Kansas State University researcher says employers should be concerned about the well-being of their employees because it could be the underlying factor to success.

 Thomas Wright, Jon Wefald Leadership Chair in Business Administration and professor of management at K-State, has found that when employees have high levels of psychological well-being and job satisfaction, they perform better and are less likely to leave their job — making happiness a valuable tool for maximizing organizational outcomes.

“The benefits of a psychologically well work force are quite consequential to employers, especially so in our highly troubled economic environment,” Wright said. “Simply put, psychologically well employees are better performers. Since higher employee performance is inextricably tied to an organization’s bottom line, employee well-being can play a key role in establishing a competitive advantage.”

Happiness is a broad and subjective word, but a person’s well-being includes the presence of positive emotions, like joy and interest, and the absence of negative emotions, like apathy and sadness, Wright said.

An excessive negative focus in the workplace could be harmful, such as in performance evaluations where negatives like what an employee failed to do are the focus of concentration, he said. When properly implemented in the workplace environment, positive emotions can enhance employee perceptions of finding meaning in their work.

In addition, studies have shown that being psychologically well has many benefits for the individual, Wright said. Employees with high well-being tend to be superior decision makers, demonstrate better interpersonal behaviors and receive higher pay, he said. His recent research also indicates that psychologically well individuals are more likely to demonstrate better cardiovascular health.

Wright said happiness is not only a responsibility to ourselves, but also to our co-workers, who often rely on us to be steadfast and supportive. In addition, Employee well-being affects the organization overall. Studies have shown that after controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, job tenure and educational attainment level, psychological well-being still is significantly related to job performance, according to Wright.

Wright said psychologically well employees consistently exhibit higher job performance, with significant correlations in the 0.30 to 0.50 range. Not only are these findings statistically significant, they are practically relevant as well, he said. A correlation of 0.30 between well-being and performance indicates that roughly 10 percent of the variance in job performance is associated with differences in well-being, while a correlation of 0.50 points to a substantial 25 percent of the variance.

In some of Wright’s academic and consulting work, he has used a form of utility analysis to determine the level of actual savings tied to employee well-being. For example, in a sample of management personnel with average salaries in the $65,000 range, he found that being psychologically distressed could cost the organization roughly $75 a week per person in lost productivity. With 10 employees that translates to $750 per week in performance variance; for 100 employees the numbers are $7,500 per week or $390,000 per year.

When employees have low levels of well-being and job satisfaction, they are more likely to quit their job. Wright said employee turnover could be extremely costly for an organization losing a disproportionate share of its better employees. In one study, Wright found that the possibility of turnover was 0.57 times smaller for any one-unit increase in well-being. As with job performance, the knowledge of an employee’s well-being can be highly useful in helping human resource personnel determine cost-effective employee retention strategies, he said.

Well-being has shown to be stable over time, though it can be influenced by situational circumstances through psychological-based interventions, Wright said. Methods to improve well-being include assisting workers so they fit their jobs more closely, providing social support to help reduce the negative impact of stressful jobs, and teaching optimism to emphasize positive thought patterns.

 Wright said one controversial approach to improving well-being in the workplace is by seeking and hiring employees who have high levels of well-being.

Wright’s findings on psychological well-being and job satisfaction have appeared in several publications, including the Journal of Management, Organizational Dynamics, the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, the Journal of Applied Psychology and the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Reference:  Kansas State University (2009, February 4). Happy Employees Are Critical For An Organization’s Success, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/02/090203142512.htm?goback=.gde_2047935_member_164235829

some days you’re the pigeon…

In Fitness/Health, Humor, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Well-being on Sunday, 16 September 2012 at 10:23

i can’t recall where i found this but i really like it!

***

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.

The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes. And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.

So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don’t carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you’re carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you’ve rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!”

And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

  • Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.
  • Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
  • Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
  • Drive carefully. It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
  • If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
  • If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  • It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
  • Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.
  • Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Melody:
  • Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird…sleep late.
  • The second mouse gets the cheese. (so, don’t always be in such a hurry)
  • You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
  • We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
  • A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Mindfulness and ADHD

In ADHD, Mindfulness, School Psychology on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 at 07:55

A mindfulness prescription for adult ADHD

Psychiatrist Lidia Zylowska shares how people with ADHD can manage their restless minds.

www.lidiazylowska.com

 

“My mind is always busy,” exclaimed Carolyn. “If you ask me about one thing, that makes me think of a million other things.” 

“I noticed,” I thought to myself. Carolyn was in my office for an evaluation of possible ADHD, and it was a struggle to keep her focused. Many of my questions were met with long descriptions and too many details. Other times, she veered to another topic. She seemed to be insightful, and her answers were often interesting or humorous—but they didn’t always address the question.

Along with a restless body, a busy or restless mind is common with ADHD. This can be a curse and a blessing. Having a restless mind can make it difficult to focus and follow through on one’s tasks without getting sidetracked or lost in thought. On the other hand, having lots of thoughts and ideas can lead to making unusual and intriguing connections between things. Many adults with ADHD exhibit “out-of-the box” thinking and creativity due to their incessantly curious mind.

(…)

The ADHD Mind

In ADHD, thought flow is often irregular. Ideas can frequently branch out or jump from place to place. On the other hand, there may also be a tendency to get stuck in one way of thinking or to obsess about something—a kind of inflexible flow.

With frequent jumps in thinking, the content of ADHD mind may sometimes look like a disorganized closet and sometimes like a zigzaggy road that ultimately reaches a novel insight. Sometimes the content of the ADHD mind is out of balance or skewed. For example, the thinking may be overly optimistic or overly pessimistic.

Self-Perception and ADHD

Accurate self-perception seems to be difficult in ADHD. For example, positively biased self-perceptions—reporting higher competence than what the actual performance shows—are common in ADHD children. This kind of overestimation in children is found across the board in social, academic, and behavioral domains. It may be in part a result of certain cognitive deficits, and it may have a protective role in early years; however, its full impact is still unknown. (At the same time, children with ADHD are typically accurate in their perceptions of others’ performance.)

The problem with accurate self-perception is also shown in adults with ADHD. In a 2005 study adults with ADHD self reported higher competence as drivers than their observed performance and their driving record showed.3 In contrast, a 2007 study among college-aged students, by contrast, suggested that ADHD students tended to underestimate their academic performance.

In my clinical experience, many adults with ADHD, before even being introduced to mindfulness, are able to notice or joke about their mental process. Perhaps the repeated experience of living with an unruly, frustrating, and skewed mind makes it easier for them to see their thoughts as somewhat separate from themselves. However, despite this general knowledge, it can still be difficult for people with ADHD to notice the very moments when their mind jumps or gets stuck in unbalanced thinking.

Mindfulness of Thinking

The mindfulness-based approach to thinking is different from traditional psychotherapy in that it teaches us to experience a different relationship to our thoughts before attempting to focus on their content. Mindfulness first invites us to watch or witness the flow of thinking. Instead of being caught up in the narrative in our head, we are invited to observe our thinking as an everchanging stream, similar to watching clouds float across the sky. This shift in perspective weakens the grip of unhelpful thinking.

A 2007 study by Norman Farb at the University of Toronto showed that mindfulness training can weaken the tendency to be caught in an inner story and analysis of yourself and promotes focus on direct experience. This is important since habitual self-analysis can make one more vulnerable to unhelpful rumination, anxiety, and depression. In contrast, focus on present-moment experience, as in mindfulness, has been demonstrated to promote well-being.

Exploration 5.1: Mind Like a Sky

  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Become grounded in the present moment by noticing your breathing
  • When you feel settled, imagine a spacious blue sky with white clouds floating across it.
  • Sense your awareness as being like the blue sky, vast and spacious, larger than the passing clouds. With such awareness, you can watch your thoughts and feelings asif they were clouds coming and going.
  • As you watch them, label your thoughts and feelings without personalizing them—for example, “oh, there is worry,” “sadness,” “remembering.”
  • Notice that, just like clouds, your thoughts may go by quickly or slowly. They may be linked with each other or floating separately. They may appear light and fluffy or dark and heavy.
  • As you watch your thoughts flow, see if you can sense the space between them. This space—the space of open awareness—is a place where you can observe your mind without being pulled by it. It is the space from which you can note thoughts and feelings but choose to not act on them.
  • As you do this exercise, it is easy to get lost in thinking—to go into the clouds and become enveloped by the content of your thoughts and feelings. Whenever that happens, become aware of your breath and reground yourself in the present moment. Then return to watching your mind.

 

The Law of Attraction

In Mindfulness, Philosophy, Well-being on Monday, 10 September 2012 at 07:10

THE  LAW OF ATTRACTION

The Law of Attraction is one of the most powerful and fundamental laws in this physical universe. Many of the “mysteries of life” can be clarified by a basic knowledge of this  important concept.
Fundamental principles of the Law of Attraction:

1) Definition  — “ That which is like unto itself is drawn “ * (see note at bottom)
2) Thoughts are energy and act like magnets, drawing to them thoughts of similar vibration.
3) When enough thoughts accumulate upon a given topic, it is drawn into the life experience. The more thought, the faster that topic is drawn.
4) The emotions act as amplifiers to thought. Powerful emotion, positive or negative, will draw the thought(s) behind them more quickly into the life experience.  Positive thoughts generate positive emotion and draw positive life experience, negative thoughts generate negative emotion and draw negative life experience.
5) Everything in the physical universe is composed of energy, and ultimately, of thought. Energy and mass are convertible. Each pattern of energy has a unique frequency or vibration. Thoughts are energy and each likewise has a unique frequency or vibration. Emotions are strong vibrational energy patterns which are powerful attractors of like energy.   Leading to  1).
6) When thought is in agreement with a persons inherently divine nature, positive feeling is the result. When thought is in opposition or contradiction to one’s inherently divine nature, negative feeling or emotion is felt.
7) Feelings are therefore the infallible guideposts which will lead inevitably toward the discovery of the true self and one’s inherently positive, divine nature.
8) Each being in the physical co-creates his/her universe by thought. Co-creation is actually attraction, utilizing the Law of Attraction.
9) Deliberate creation is the conscious and knowing use of the Law of Attraction.
10) Victimization, luck, or chance is the unconscious or unknowing application (or mis-application) of Law of Attraction.
11) Probability and statistics are less relevant in the presence of Creative Will (proven by experiment). Said differently, deliberate creation may overcome probability or chance.
12) That which is observed to be happening to another, but which is not present in the observer’s life experience, is the co-creation of the other, else it would be present in the observer’s life experience  (1).
13) The Law of Attraction is a natural result of the Law of Free Will. The ability to generate thought upon any topic (co-creation)  will attract similar thoughts like  it, and so into the life experience.  This acts as protection against anything that is unwanted, for by focusing upon that which is wanted,  that which is not wanted is not drawn.
14) That which is resisted persists, because that which is focused upon is drawn into the life experience. Fighting something that is not wanted always leads to its persistence in the life experience  (1)
15) That which is focused upon is attracted, whether it is wanted or not ( 1 – 5, 13, 14).
16) To get what you want, focus upon it.  Focusing upon what is not wanted, will invite that which is not wanted into the life experience (15)
16a) Protection from something unwanted is impossible, for one immediately activates the vibration of the unwanted thing, and so begins to attract more of it.
16b) De-activation of something not wanted is impossible, for in the attempted deactivation of the unwanted thing, one immediately activates the vibration of the unwanted thing, and so begins to attract more of it. “Try not to think of an elephant.”
17) No one or no thing can create in the experience of another, because no one can think another’s thoughts. Similarly,  no one or no thing can create in your experience, because no one can think your thoughts. Leads to free will (13)
18) Therefore the Law of Attraction protects us from everyone and everything, unless we choose to invite it through our thought. (17)
19) Each being cocreates what will be called a Sphere of Creation, with that being at the center, utilizing the Law of Free Will and the Law of Attraction.
20) The intersection of all Spheres of  Creation creates the common reality.
21) To ‘change the world’, first change your own reality. This will change one of the intersecting Spheres of Creation (your own)  and so influence the Whole.
22) The universe does not distinguish vibrationally between that which is offered from observation and that which is offered from imagination. The house you are living in is composed of vibrating energy patterns . The dream house you imagine in your mind is also composed of vibrating energy patterns. The Law of Attraction works equally well for both. Effective visualization can result in manifestation. To change your reality, practice visualization of what is wanted along with the feeling of what it would be like to have what is wanted.
23) Group meditation or visualization is an effective way to achieve change on a large scale. As the vibration of many Spheres of Creation are raised, the intersection of these with the other spheres comprising the Whole raises the overall vibration of the common reality.
24) All action is the result of a prior thought or thoughts, not the other way around.
25) To change your life experience, alter your thoughts about it before going into action. Altering your vibration can be 95% of the change process, resulting in an alignment of your energy with what is wanted, leading to action along the path of least resistance.
26) Duality or Polarity is simply the not-having and the having. Focusing on lack does not draw what is wanted (leading to not-having)  and focusing upon that which is wanted draws the having – of.
27) All scarcity is the focus upon lack. All abundance is the focus upon having that which is wanted.
28) All feeling is the result of prior thought. To change how you are feeling about an area of life , change your thought(s) upon it
29) The point of attraction is the point of feeling. E.G., If you are feeling poor, you cannot attract prosperity. To attract prosperity, you must feel prosperous. This may seem like a contradiction, but it is a natural result of Law of Attraction – that which is like unto itself is drawn.
30) Every single thing that is in your life experience is attracted by you, and is a reflection of your thoughts and emotions, there are no exceptions
31) Your present reality is  the result of all of your prior thoughts and feelings
32) A belief is a long-standing thought pattern
33) Karma is just a long-standing thought pattern  or patterns in an area of life, which keep attracting the same energy. To change karma, identify and change beliefs. Karma is an unnecessary, but  natural, consequence of Law of Attraction
34) Feeling good is a state of beingness, not doingness. Many think that in order to feel good they must  do something that makes them feel good, but it is just the opposite. First you think of doing something that makes you feel good, the doing of it only helps to hold your thoughts in the positive
35) All trauma has behind it, the Basic Thought(s) which created it. Effective therapy always empowers the client by clearing the trauma and uncovering the Basic Thought(s) which attracted the trauma. Uncovering the Basic Thought(s) behind the trauma will always lead to cognition, which is just recognition by the client of the Basic Thought(s) . This is simply Law of Attraction in reverse
36)  The universe is 100% fair. All things  in your experience are the result of the attractive power of your vibration in that area.  (1 – 5), (8), (9), (17)
37) There is no injustice. All beings are receiving exactly those things upon which they are focusing their attention.   (36)
38)  Scientific objectivity is a myth. Experiments which purport to prove hypotheses actually work by Law of Attraction. The experimenter attracts to him or her the energy or subjects which are in harmony with the experimenter’s intent. This is how  independent experimentation can “prove” opposite conclusions.
In a time-space universe, no two objects can occupy the same spatial coordinates at the same time. Therefore no two observers can have the same viewpoint, even if every observer in the universe were to view an event at the same time.  Objectivity is defined as “of, or having to do with a known or perceived object as distinguished from something existing only in the mind of the subject, or person thinking.” (Webster’s New World Dictionary, College Edition,  1962). Since every observer has a different viewpoint, there cannot  be complete agreement as to the true nature or reality of an object. True objectivity requires an observer who can perceive the entirety of space-time all at once, as a whole, in any moment of time. But this is the definition of God. Since no observer can have the status of God, and since science rejects God, there can be no true scientific claim of objectivity. Stated another way:
39) The scientist performs an experiment and attempts to prove or refute RESULT_X. He is focusing on RESULT_X, therefore Law of Attraction is already working to deliver what the scientist is focused upon. The scientist uses rigorous procedures to ensure objectivity, all the while wondering whether or not RESULT_X will prove true by experimentation. And all the while Law of Attraction is busy giving him the energies or subjects corresponding to RESULT_X. The scientist proclaims  objectivity by saying :“I will not declare RESULT_X to be true until it actually manifests.” Meanwhile, a clairvoyant has written an article asserting that RESULT_X is true. The scientists laughs, scoffing at this unprovable assertion, and showing many pages of mathematical equations showing that there is only a 42% probability that RESULT_X will be proven true. The clairvoyant responds: “ I can see the energy  vortex  with the properties of RESULT_X around the scientist, therefore I know it will manifest.” The scientists hoots and scornfully tells the clairvoyant to “face reality”, and tells her she does not understand the mathematics behind RESULT_X and so is ignorant of the matter. All the while Law of Attraction is delivering to him the energies and/or subjects corresponding to RESULT_X, for he is focusing upon RESULT_X. When RESULT_X manifests, the scientists claims “I have objectively proven RESULT_X.” The clairvoyant says: “I already knew that!”  It’s all a result of Law of Attraction.

 

 

I have no actual reference/citation for this post as it has been cited in SEVERAL sources and never with reference to the original author.  Even so, it is an extremely powerful concept!

Balance

In Mindfulness, Well-being on Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 09:06

Ah, yes…

 

Balance.

Mastering anxiety

In Anxiety, Meditation, Mindfulness, Well-being on Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 05:58

Mastering Anxiety – By Dr. Neil Kobrin, Author of “Emotional Well-Being, Embracing the Gift of Life”

September 8, 2012

Retrieved from: http://drneilkobrin.com/mastering-anxiety/?goback=.gde_2047935_member_161038898

Anxiety is something everyone deals with, potentially on a daily basis. Some people encounter it more than others, and everyone deals with it differently. In order to master anxiety, one must be able to return to peace.

This reminds me of a great story of a monk from a monastery in the deep, back woods of India.

One day, the monk finds out that he’s going to be celebrated by the greatest master of his time. The master is going to visit the monastery and honor him with an award for all of the great work that he’s done in his lifetime. The monk is very flattered, and the whole monastery spends the entire day preparing for the master’s arrival. They clean and cook and get the whole place set up for this wonderful feast in honor of their monk. The master comes to the table and sits to the right of the monk and begins praising him for dedicating his life as someone who takes a vow to eliminate suffering for all beings.

The entire feast goes well, the master is very impressed. Soon, everyone is off to their individual chambers to sleep. That night, a disciple hears a sound by the windows and runs over to see what’s going on. He sees his master with a rucksack on his back heading out to the woods. The disciple climbs out of the window and runs up to his master and asks, “Where are you going, Master?” The master looks deeply into his disciple’s eyes and replies, “I failed today.” The disciple is confused. “What are you talking about, Master? Everybody honored you. It was beautiful.” The master looked at his disciple and reflected, finally saying, “That may be true my son, but just at the height of the ceremonies I looked down and noticed my palms were sweating. I have much work to do.” And so he went into the woods to sit in meditation and contemplation.

Now this story is confusing for some because it’s ending is ambiguous. That’s one of the things I like best about it, different people can interpret it different ways.

Similarly, mastering anxiety is done differently by different people. The monk was anxious, even while being praised by the great master. Perhaps it was because he was being praised by the great master and all of the preparation that went into the feast. Regardless, he was anxious and needed to return to his peaceful state. For him, meditation and contemplation worked. Perhaps they will also work for you.

Do you have a method you use to master anxiety and return to your own peaceful state?  Respond by commenting here, or feel free to join the conversation on my Linkedin Group http://bit.ly/MindfulMomentsGroup

Until next time, Dr. Neil Kobrin

 

love, love quotes!

In Buddhist Thoughts, Mindfulness, Random quotes on Thursday, 6 September 2012 at 10:06

i LOVE finding quotes that put into a few short words or sentences various ideas, theories, thoughts, etc…

consider this a work in progress as i will add to this page from time to time.  sometimes, i find others have said exactly what i am trying to say or feel much better (and succinctly) than i can!  ENJOY!

***”

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.”-Bertrand Russell

“Pick battles big enough to matter and small enough to win.”-Jonathan Kozol

“Charity isn’t a good substitute for justice.”-Jonathan Kozol

“Teachers are my heroes; they are the most courageous people in this country.”-Jonathan Kozol

“Ambition is the last refuge of failure.”-Oscar Wilde

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”-Confucious

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged.  For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.”-Matthew 7:1-2

“People do get hypnotized by the hard choices, and stop looking for alternatives. The will to be stupid is a powerful force…but there are always alternatives.”-Lois McMaster Bujold

“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”~Anonymous

“Friends are the family we meet along the way.”~Anonymous

“Despite the high cost of living, it still remains popular.”~Anonymous

“This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anyone could have.”~Author Unknown

“Consider the postage stamp:  its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”~Josh Billings

“Men are made stronger on realization that the helping hand they need is at the end of their own arm.”~Sidney J. Phillips

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”~Will Rogers

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”~Abraham Lincoln

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”~Dr. Seuss

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.  If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened.  But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”~Friedrich Nietzsche

“The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity:  monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine.  The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man:  members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity.”~Thomas Szasz

“Potential means you haven’t done anything yet.”~Anonymous

“The maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters.”~Anonymous

“Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”-Karl Marx

“One needs something to believe in, something which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm. One needs to feel that one’s life has meaning, that one is needed in this world.”~Hannah Senesh

“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt.  People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.” -Cicero – 55 BC

“Nothing’s outside that’s not within.”-Goethe

“My life is my message.”~Mahatma Ghandi

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”~Mahatma Ghandi

When the student is ready, the master appears.  ~Buddhist Proverb

“Before enlightenment – chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment – chop wood, carry water.”~Zen Buddhist Proverb

“If you think you’re free, there’s no escape possible.”~Ram Dass

“You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed.”~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.”~Buddha

“No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.”~Zen

“Learning without thought is labor lost.”~Confucius

“Even a sheet of paper seems lighter when two people lift it together.”-Korean Proverb

“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”-Marie Ebner von Eschenbach

“It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us.”-Epicurus

“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”~Anais Nin

“When the mind begins to become still, we then begin to truly see it. When you first try to stabilize and pacify the mind, initially it will become very busy because it’s not accustomed to being still. In fact, it doesn’t even necessarily want to become still, but it is essential to get a hold of the mind to recognize its nature. This practice is extremely important. … Eventually you will find yourself in a state where your mind is clear and open all the time. It is just like when the clouds are removed from the sky and the sun can clearly be seen, shining all the time. This is coming close to the state of liberation, liberation from all traces of suffering. … The truth of this practice is universal. It isn’t necessary to call it a religion to practice it. Whether one is a Hindu or a Moslem or a Christian or a Buddhist simply doesn’t matter. Anyone can practice this because this is the nature of the mind, the nature of everyone’s mind. If you can get a handle on your mind, and pacify it in this way, you will definitely experience these results, and you will see them in your daily life situation. There is no need to put this into any kind of category, any kind of “ism.” Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche

“I expect to pass through this world but once.  Any good therefore that I can do, any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now.  Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall NOT pass this way again”-William Penn

“The more you sweat in practice, the less you sweat in battle.”~Anonymous

“Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.”~Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

posted 9/12/12

***

“In attempts to improve your character, know what is in your power and what is beyond it.”-Francis Thompson

“A man’s character is his fate.”-Heraclitus

“The farther behind I leave the past, the closer I am to forging my own character.”-Isabelle Eberhardt

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”-Roger Caras

“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”-Sir Winston Churchill

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”-Abraham Lincoln

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”-Aristotle

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.”-Ayn Rand

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”-Ghandi

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”-Cicero

“Total absence of humor renders life impossible.”-Colette

“The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealized past.”-Robertson Davies

“Hope is a waking dream.”-Aristotle

“Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.”-Cicero

“Character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self respect springs.”-Joan Didion

“The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.”-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.”-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“You can tell the character of every man when you see how he receives praise.”-Seneca

“Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath.”-Solon

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”-Sir Winston Churchill

“Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.”-Bertrand Russell

“I’d like to see the day when we do for every child what we would do for our own.”-Jonathan Kozol

“If there are amazing graces on this earth, I believe that they are these good children sent to us by God and not yet soiled by the knowledge that their nation does not love them.”-Jonathan Kozol

“Teachers are my heroes; they are the most courageous people in this country.”-Jonathan Kozol

“If you could lead through testing, the U.S. would lead the world in all education categories. When are people going to understand you don’t fatten your lambs by weighing them?”-Jonathan Kozol

“I’m not Catholic. I’m not Protestant. I happen to be Jewish. So I can’t take communion. But I feel I take communion every day and every night when I’m with little children in the South Bronx because there is something sacred in their presence. These children are my religion.”-Jonathan Kozol

“Getting a Rhodes scholarship was easy compared to being a first year teacher in the Boston schools…Teaching little kids is hard work.”-Jonathan Kozol

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”-Voltaire

“There comes a point in your life when you realize

who matters,

who never did,

who won’t anymore…

and who always will.

So, don’t worry about people from your past,

there’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future.”~Anonymous

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”-Bertrand Russell

“Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.”-Bertrand Russell

“I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn’t wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.”-Bertrand Russell

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.”-Bertrand Russell

“If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.”-Bertrand Russell

“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”-Bertrand Russell

“In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying.”-Bertrand Russell

“It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won’t go.”-Bertrand Russell

“Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.”-Bertrand Russell

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin — more even than death…. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”-Bertrand Russell

“No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.”-Bertrand Russell

“Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.”-Bertrand Russell

“Passive acceptance of the teacher’s wisdom is easy to most boys and girls. It involves no effort of independent thought, and seems rational because the teacher knows more than his pupils; it is moreover the way to win the favour of the teacher unless he is a very exceptional man. Yet the habit of passive acceptance is a disastrous one in later life. It causes man to seek and to accept a leader, and to accept as a leader whoever is established in that position.”-Bertrand Russell

“The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy – I mean that if you are happy you will be good.”-Bertrand Russell

“The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.”-Bertrand Russell

“The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.”-Bertrand Russell

“Hatred does not cease in this world by hating, but by not hating; this is an eternal truth.”-Buddha

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”-Antoine de Saint Exupery

“We find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve.”-Maxwell Maltz

“In attempts to improve your character, know what is in your power and what is beyond it.”-Francis Thompson

“A man’s character is his fate.”-Heraclitus

“The farther behind I leave the past, the closer I am to forging my own character.”-Isabelle Eberhardt

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”-Roger Caras

“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”-Sir Winston Churchill

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”-Aristotle

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.”-Ayn Rand

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”-Ghandi

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”-Cicero

“Total absence of humor renders life impossible.”-Colette

“The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealized past.”-Robertson Davies

“Hope is a waking dream.”-Aristotle

“Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.”-Cicero

“Character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self respect springs.”-Joan Didion

“The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.”-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.”-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“You can tell the character of every man when you see how he receives praise.”-Seneca

“Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath.”-Solon

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”-Sir Winston Churchill

“Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.”-Bertrand Russell

“I’d like to see the day when we do for every child what we would do for our own.”-Jonathan Kozol

“If there are amazing graces on this earth, I believe that they are these good children sent to us by God and not yet soiled by the knowledge that their nation does not love them.”-Jonathan Kozol

“Teachers are my heroes; they are the most courageous people in this country.”-Jonathan Kozol

“If you could lead through testing, the U.S. would lead the world in all education categories. When are people going to understand you don’t fatten your lambs by weighing them?”-Jonathan Kozol

“I’m not Catholic. I’m not Protestant. I happen to be Jewish. So I can’t take communion. But I feel I take communion every day and every night when I’m with little children in the South Bronx because there is something sacred in their presence. These children are my religion.”-Jonathan Kozol

“Getting a Rhodes scholarship was easy compared to being a first year teacher in the Boston schools…Teaching little kids is hard work.”-Jonathan Kozol

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”-Voltaire

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”-Bertrand Russell

“Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.”-Bertrand Russell

“I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn’t wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.”-Bertrand Russell

“If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.”-Bertrand Russell

“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”-Bertrand Russell

“In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying.”-Bertrand Russell

“It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won’t go.”-Bertrand Russell

“Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.”-Bertrand Russell

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin — more even than death…. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”-Bertrand Russell

“No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.”-Bertrand Russell

“Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.”-Bertrand Russell

“Passive acceptance of the teacher’s wisdom is easy to most boys and girls. It involves no effort of independent thought, and seems rational because the teacher knows more than his pupils; it is moreover the way to win the favour of the teacher unless he is a very exceptional man. Yet the habit of passive acceptance is a disastrous one in later life. It causes man to seek and to accept a leader, and to accept as a leader whoever is established in that position.”-Bertrand Russell

“The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy – I mean that if you are happy you will be good.”-Bertrand Russell

“The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.”-Bertrand Russell

“The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.”-Bertrand Russell

posted 9/14/12

***

“Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.”~Dalai Lama

“The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone, not how you feel about them.”~Steve Hall

“How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.”~Steve Maraboli

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”~Jackie Robionson

“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.”~Vladimir Nabokov

“The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you’ve had.”~Author Unknown

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”~Dalai Lama

“Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.”~Author Unknown

“Not…what opinions are held, but…how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, [liberal] opinions are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.”~Bertrand Russell

“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.”~Jawaharlal Nehru

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”~Theodore Rubin

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”~Kenji Miyazawa

“No man who worships education has got the best out of education…. Without a gentle contempt for education no man’s education is complete.”~G.K. Chesterton

“All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.”~James Thurber

“One repays a teacher badly if one only remains a pupil.”~Nietzsche

“No problems are ever resolved by violence. It only aggravates the pain and the hurt on every side.”~Pranab Mukherjee

“The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”~Henry Miller

“In real life, love has to be possible. Even if it is not returned right away, love can only survive when the hope exists that you will be able to win over the person you desire.”~Paulo Coelho

“Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.”~John Dewey

“You have everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself.”~Seth Godin

“It is a fearful thing to love what death can touch.”~Anonymous

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”~Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who’s confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now.”~Joss Whedon

“It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.”~Harvey Milk

“To cheapen the lives of any group of men, cheapens the lives of all men, even our own. This is a law of human psychology, or human nature. And it will not be repealed by our wishes, nor will it be merciful to our blindness.”~William Picken

“Success is not to be measured by the position someone has reached in life, but the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed.”~Booker T. Washington

“If you can’t control your anger, you are as helpless as a city without walls waiting to be attacked.”~The Book of Proverbs

“The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.”~Brian Tracy

“The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying.”~Tom Hopkins

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.”~Albert Einstein

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”~Martin Luther King Jr.

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the

responsibility for changing them.”~Dr. Denis Waitley

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”~Friedrich Nietzsche

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”~Mahatma Gandhi

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”~MarkTwain

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”~Aristotle

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”~Goethe

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”-Bertrand Russell

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”~Anais Nin

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”-Bertrand Russel

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”~Terry Pratchett

“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”~Buddha

“Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath.”-Solon

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”~Denis Whatley

“The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.”~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“The farther behind I leave the past, the closer I am to forging my own character.”~Isabelle Eberhardt

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”~Dr. Seuss

posted 5/3/13

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