Tag: Live Your Dreams

 The Art of Giving without Attachment

 

Have you ever done a kind deed simply for the sake of giving without any strings attached or payback considered?  Have you given away something of value to a stranger or given of your time without expecting any financial reward?  These are just a few examples of practicing the art of giving without attachment. What does giving without attachment really mean and why should you cultivate this practice?

The very definition of giving, freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone) has an inherently detached quality. There is an innate sense of letting go, the opposite of hoarding or holding on. But how often is our giving calculated?  Well if I babysit for a friend, she/he will do the same for me.  Giving without any expectation of outcome or praise is tough, but that is the essence of giving without attachment. Giving to grow your heart, to release your grip, to become liberated from that which you hold on to.

How does giving without strings liberate and grow your ability to love and to live a more meaningful life?  It connects you to your humanity, to your empathy, to your ability to see the suffering in others and feel something.  Giving also helps you to step outside your sphere and to connect with others on a visceral level.

Giving without attachment is a wonderful way to help you accept when others give to you.  Often, our childhood dictates a message of receiving that it’s better to give than receive, but if everyone is clamoring to give, who is receiving?  That message sends a negative image that receiving is for the poor, the needy, the weak, and the unsuccessful.  We all have times in our life when we want to receive.  Giving without attachment helps us to receive without feeling guilty or shamed.

Anne Frank, a diarist and one of the most talked about victims of the Holocaust once said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”  It is often difficult in the modern world to remember this.  When you give, it does not have to be a thing or financial, (you can give of your time, your silent presence, a smile) you reap the internal rewards of connection, joy, and self esteem.  Giving builds character and helps you get outside of your own needs and desires and consider others.  When you give freely, you teach yourself a lesson in being unconditional.

Giving without attachment does not mean giving everything away and doing without.  It may entail digging a little deeper than merely skimming off the top. If you only give away your excess, you may want to look at other ways you can give. Become a mentor. Take a friend to lunch, just because or send a card without an occasion. Bake a dinner for a charity event, make an anonymous donation to a cultural or educational organization or slip a bill to a homeless person.

Think of all the people in your life that have given something to you without any expectation.  There are countless ways to pass on that giving tradition, and when you begin to drop the attachments and expected outcomes, you send a ripple of hope into the world, while expanding your ability to be a loving considerate human being.

 

 

 


Practicing Gratitude & Positive Thinking

 

 

 

Building a practice of gratitude & positive thinking is easy for some, but for others, it can be a struggle. If you were raised with an abundance of negativity, it might be challenging to break the habit of looking at life through a pessimistic perspective. However, through conscious choice & practice, you can change that. As your thoughts begin to move toward the positive spectrum, your eyes will naturally open to gratitude. It’s almost impossible to be a negative thinker and have gratitude!

To grow your gratitude, look at how you feel about yourself & the people in your life. Do you gravitate toward trust, kindness, doing the right thing? How is your self-esteem? When you feel good about yourself, you can feel good about others as well! Positive thinking begins from within. If this is a battle for you, try:

  • Repeating affirmations
  • Veering away from overly critical people in your life
  • Reading uplifting material that encourages you & allows you to let go of fear & self-condemnation
  • Replacing negative thoughts as soon as they pop up
  • Focusing on your breathing, consciously slowing it down & imagining that with each exhale, you release negativity
  • Acknowledging the little things that are good about your day & your life

To change the hole in the bucket syndrome (when you seem to never have enough), redirect your focus to what you do have. Your health, friends, a flower growing in your yard, loving pets, two hands, a working mind. Once you begin, you’ll see there’s a lot to be thankful for!

Gratitude is active; it champions goodness, sincerity & earnestness & is meant to be shared with others. The more you give it away, the more it’s like the one seed that grows into a field of flowers – it’s self-perpetuating. Similar to positive thinking, the more you practice it, the easier it becomes. Positive thinking allows you to fail & to try again. It encourages you to grow into your best self & walk away from anything or anyone toxic in your life. Most people who are negative about others are projecting their own inner fears.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. This may sound harsh or simple; however, when you sit on the pity pot too long, you get stuck. Life is made of ups and downs, ride them out & learn the lessons. Let go & move onward. Don’t overly chastise yourself for mistakes. Realize the good in a bad situation. Find those little “thank goodness that didn’t happen” & be grateful. Yes, it’s terrible you lost your job, but you still have all your body parts, move on. Practicing gratitude during difficulties builds stamina & helps you grow stronger & more positive.


Letting Go of Negative Narratives

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“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra
All of us have a past, a history that we cherish, warm memories that makes us smile inside. But have you ever found yourself stuck in a story that you no longer want to play a part in? An old narrative that family or friends have cast you in? There are several ways to replace the worn out tapes of negativity with positive messages that will strengthen your ability to walk the plank. By walking the plank, I mean leaving behind the familiar and taking a leap into the ocean of possibility.
Letting go asks you to stop listening to stories that spout off negative messages of “you can’t or you shouldn’t.” Abandoning these narratives, gives you permission to step or leap over obstacles into the pasture of prospects and opportunity. The body responds to stories the mind spins whether they are true or not. By creating positive mental images and narratives, the body and psyche begin to shift; to believe that there are options and alternatives. Try replacing the “I can’t do this because I’m not…” with I can and see how the borders of your life expand.
Try to define yourself with what you can do rather than what eludes you. A friend was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at a young age and was given a list of do’s and don’ts. When she became an adult she began to study yoga and meditation empowering herself with new ideas that led her to realize her full potentiality. She released the story that had sold her limitations. Physically she grew strong and mentally she let go of fear.
How though do we step by step revise the stories that chain us to feelings of inadequacies? Here are a few ideas that may encourage you:
• Sit in stillness. Give yourself time to unravel the day’s “to do” list. This allows your mind to rest and recharge. It is difficult to re-write a negative narrative when your mind is exhausted. Sitting in stillness also allows you time to identify those narrative that don’t serve your best interest any longer. Stillness (even ten minutes) provides a sanctuary to go within a safe haven to observe your inner feelings and desires.

• Once you have honed in on a story you want to change, start small and steer clear of shame and blame. The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Take one story or thought at a time and gently re-write the scenario.

• Practice re-directing your thoughts and stories. Imagine batting them away or see them float past like a cloud out of your mind and body.

• Replace I can’t language with I can and I will. When revising a new story make yourself the hero. Whatever it is that you want to change or let go of imagine doing just that and say it out loud to yourself.

• Write it down. A good story or book tantalizes our imaginations; we see in our minds eye what the printed words suggest. Do the same for yourself. Write your story. Maybe you want to be an artist but were told by your parents that isn’t practical. Now is the time to erase that advice and pick up a paintbrush. Call yourself an artist, put notes around the house to remind yourself that you are worthy of following a dream or passion. Recall that person that loved your sketch or photograph.

By taking the time to let go of stories that hold you back, your load will be light enough to move forward into the horizon of change. Enjoy the revisions and writing the new version, the updated edition of you!


Experiencing the Journey to Live Our Dreams

“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” –Paolo Coehol, The Alchemist

So many times we hear commonly shared wisdom like “Happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of traveling.” But what does that mean? Like many things, in theory it sounds great, but it’s not quite that simple when put into real practice.

How do we know where to start? Does the journey begin, as they say, at the very first step? Or does it come after recognizing our reality as it currently stands and adjusting it accordingly?

We’re inundated with many conflicting ideas on creating a path to our best life. Everyone has a different interpretation of happiness, destiny, dreams and what they all mean. They’re ubiquitous, elusive ideals that are describable, but indefinable. Ideals we continually strive for, but most interestingly, can’t see, much less concretely understand.

When we step out into the darkness, on the beginning of a new journey, the first key is consciousness, particularly in terms of understanding ourselves— our strengths, shortcomings, quirks and other characteristics that make us uniquely ourselves. Assessing them; making peace with imperfections and striving for improvement are all acknowledged in this step— allowing us to continue forward.

In our second step, we create conscious action. We walk with a sense of purpose; utilizing new skills learned, old habits reformed. Beginning to experience the essence of joy; with a renewed sense of purpose in our personal goals— as well as a better understanding of and appreciation for, our true, work-in-progress selves. 

After we’ve come to begin our realization of who we really are, on our journey, right now, we’ve become conscious of ourselves and our surroundings, allowing us to move on to the next step.

Continual Acceptance. This is knowing that things will change. Wishes, plans, predicted paths; they’re all subject to detour. There is no guarantee where the road will lead, and that’s the beauty of it. The enlightenment of it all. When we allow the universe to unfold as it will, we begin to experience life, truly live it, instead of attempting to dictate our self-justified will.

Gifts are bestowed upon on us when we’re actively aware of what is happening in our immediate now. It’s the subtle shifts we make, allowing a force larger than ourselves be our guide. Giving us the gracious opportunities the universe has in store for us; the essence of living the life that we dream, so long as we decided to look and listen.


The Transformation of Time

‘Everything on earth is being continuously transformed, because the earth is alive… and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognize that it is working for us.” –The Alchemist

So often we hear that we live in a world of “me.” We are taught to fend for ourselves, fiercely clutch on to what we hold dear, and make the best we can out of life. Is that enough?

 We like to think it is, with all of the day-to-day chaos that exists in life; we feel we don’t have the time to deal with anything beyond what’s going on in the moment. The bigger question, is however, the one that we don’t even really think about— what is the moment? 

We tend to think of moments as spans of time instead of experiences. We have just a minute to look at a flower—we’re on a schedule after all—not enough time savor it or enjoy it; just enough time to notice it. Now imagine this moment as a true experience instead of a reflection of time. In other words, if time were on your side, how would the moment change?

 You’d enjoy and appreciate it, right? You may examine the flower’s color, the content of its parts, the way it smells, or the way the wind blows its petals. Which is a richer experience? The obvious answer is the real experience instead of our predetermined time spent. Time is an arbitrary indication of ‘what we need to be doing and when we need to be doing it.’ Our self-regulated time, as it happens, takes us away from experiencing the universe fully and completely.

While we’re driving our cars, waiting for a subway, or rushing to a meeting, the world is blooming, and growing, all around us. Nature, in all of its self-sustaining glory, doesn’t work on our time. It works in the universes time, something much grander and richer. All living things beyond humans trust the earth to be their guide, why can’t we? 

A plant doesn’t grow because you watch it; it grows because that is its responsibility to the Earth. So when we look at our own lives, what would make you believe that a life will bloom and flourish by living it by the clock? By holding it fiercely and tightly, we suffocate growth—experience anger, fear, frustration and bitterness instead of the complete essence of joy that is available to us when we’re in tune with the universe.

As souls of that universe, we may live in the guiding love of the Earth.  Realized dreams, achievable opportunities and an abundance of joy are within our grasp and we don’t even recognize it; right there in our blind spot between truly living and surviving is our chance to find peace. To feel fulfilled, to know that we’re living our best life each and every day, we just have to know where to look for it, and most importantly, have the courage to embrace a concept much more elusive than our concept of time.  


Making Peace with Uncertainty

Recently, Pema Chödrön posted an excerpt to her Facebook page from Three Methods for Working with Uncertainty, in Shambhala Sun, March 1997.

Although the article itself is nearly two decades old, it’s advice that is remarkably relevant for the digital age. Today, in a world so full of ever-present distractions, we lose some of our ability to be critical thinkers. Our brains aren’t conditioned to work through problems as they once were— our smartphones and gadgets tell us “Why think when there’s ‘An app for that’?”

Awakened to that idea, it takes a reality check; a look back into insight from the not-so-distant, but much-more-digitally-disconnected past, to pique our interest into tuning into ourselves and tuning out some of the noise and distraction in our everyday experience.

In the excerpt, Pema highlights three key ideas— her methods for working with uncertainty:

  • No More Struggle: “Whatever happens, we can look at it with a nonjudgmental attitude.”
  • Using Poison as Medicine: “When suffering arises, we breathe it in for everybody.”
  • Regarding Whatever Arises as Awakened Energy: “This reverses our habitual pattern of trying to prove that pain is a mistake that would not exist in our lives if only we did the right things.”

From those ideas what lessons can we pull from the principles she addressed and put into practice in our own lives? Here are some thoughts on how to incorporate the core concepts into some mindful meditations:

1. See things as they really are; not how you perceive them to be.

This is the ‘no more struggle’ part. It’s important to note, that the ‘heart of our minds’ are non-biased— in addition, life ebbs and flows, independently and continuously. Pema explains this as, “things dissolving forever and ever.” When we learn to live in the present moment, we experience everything as it truly is. When we’re being judgmental towards ourselves, we’re not allowing ourselves the opportunity to learn from mistakes. To experience how challenges help us grow. Find the ‘silver lining’ in each obstacle, and focus on creating the best moment you can. Be present and peaceful.

2. Use your pain to build compassion for others.

Pema address this as ‘using poison as medicine’. Each one of us has the opportunity to turn our own suffering into empathy— for both those who understand our struggle personally and those who have a different affliction. The post notes, “This poison is not just our personal misfortune. It’s our kinship with all living things, the seed of compassion and openness.” To find this true compassion, we must, first, not be fearful of it. We’re conditioned to push pain away instead of walking through it; the more we embrace each other and learn to accept our lives, flaws and all, the better we feel about ourselves and our relationships within the world around us.

3. Allow the Universe to awaken your soul.

This is explained as the reverse of our “habitual pattern of trying to avoid conflict, trying to smooth things out, trying to prove that pain is a mistake that would not exist in our lives if only we did the right things.” This, too, is about walking through pain. Pema notes that we can’t reach enlightenment until we’ve “walked through our charnel ground.” Meaning, we’ve got to let it all burn down around us into nothing, sometimes, to see that ‘nothing’ may very well be everything. We know that whatever brings us the most suffering always feels insurmountable. However, when we learn that life is not about ‘doing the right things,’ or ‘staying away from conflict’ to avoid this, but instead, learning to accept our journey as our own, unique, individualized path— that, like any road, has beauty, bumps, surprises, scares and tight turns along the way— is a gift. And the bright side? What an incredible adventure!  

Now, take these meditations and find a quiet moment. Indulge the silence of your inner mind and experience that space where you feel less judgmental towards yourself and others. Allow peace, perspective and compassion to fill you— then go out and spread your light and love!


Find Your Personal Push Up

Estella Gong wasn’t happy with herself; feeling ‘uncomfortable with her body’ and ‘scrawny,’ she decided to not be discouraged by her dilemma— instead she turned her self-perceived problem into a passion to become her best self— one push up at a time.

She embarked on a 100 day push up challenge and translated the incredible transformation in a time-lapsed video for ‘Give it 100’; an organization inspiring people to practice something and document it for 100 days.

The supreme sense of accomplishment at the end of the transformation is acutely apparent; a moment of pure joy— the moment where every second of pain served a purpose— a place where the next goal seems significantly more achievable than it was just a second before.

Many of us yearn to master a craft or fulfill a desire that lives deep within us; we want to learn yoga or play guitar. We want to learn to meditate; be a writer; donate our time and resources to others in a different part of the world.

These are dreams that we’d love to see come to fruition, but we rarely give ourselves the opportunity to even attempt to accomplish them. Many times, these ‘secondary’ feelings get pushed aside for what we believe are more important, immediate activities and concerns.

Think about it; do you have a personal push up? What is it? Examine your heart’s desire and key in on that one activity or skill that you’d love to try to master. Have you got yours? Great. Now get to it. Give yourself the opportunity to find the time and spend even just a few minutes each day to achieve a small victory.

Videoing your progress may not be for you and that’s fine! Keep your progress personal in a journal or jot it down each day in a notebook— creating accountability and seeing consistent progress will help you keep motivated. Share your journey with a family member or a friend to help you stay on track, too, support is key!

Everyone has their own path to success. However you choose to go about achieving this monumental milestone of creating your own slice of happiness; stick with it and enjoy each moment of the journey. Remember, each day is an opportunity for you to get better and better, to reach higher and higher. Discover the hidden gifts deep within you; it’s time to set them free!


Shifting Your View Will Change Your Life

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Shifting Your View Will Change Your Life

In our culture, we are constantly reminded to set goals in all areas of our lives. In setting goals, we often create artificial deadlines and are encouraged to plan out steps to achieve our goals within the allotted time. Positive things can certainly come from setting goals however far too often, people who set goals feel a heightened sense of urgency and anxiety that becomes a negative force in their lives and minds. Thoughts of self-defeat creep in when deadlines are missed.

The purpose of this blog post is to show you a way in which you can reach for your dreams in a positive, meaningful way that transforms them into goals. What is your dream for yourself?

Whatever your dream or dreams may be, I want to show you a new path for reaching them. This path is not marked by deadlines, nor is it full of rigorous steps; rather it is a path that allows you to embrace the beauty of the daily journey.

The key to changing your dreams into goals is by shifting your mindset. I challenge you to shift yours. Instead of setting rigid deadlines for yourself, I want you to think of your life in a more fluid sense. I want you to look at each day, each moment as a gift – be in present time. What does this look like? It starts with your thoughts. You have to change your thinking from the negative, ‘if I don’t reach my goal, I don’t know what I’ll do,’ to the positive, ‘I have this precious moment, this wonderful day, what will I do with it?’ Choose to see the positive in yourself and in those you encounter. Enjoy the journey. Always live in the present rather than the future or the past.

If your dream is to enjoy a healthier lifestyle, start by envisioning it. What does it feel like to you? What is your role in this? What does your relationship with yourself look like? Think loving thoughts – toward your spirit and your body.

At first, thinking loving thoughts toward yourself and choosing to see the positive will be a conscious decision you make, moment by moment and day by day, but soon this becomes a part of you. You no longer need to consciously choose this mindset; instead, you simply do, as this is who you have become. I can’t wait for you to see what comes your way as you shift and grow. Please remember that you can shift your beliefs and see your dreams come true.


Creating Your Spiritual Self

Understanding and exploring our spiritual selves is paramount to personal growth; it’s a journey, however, that is often pushed aside. Sometimes, day-to-day activities distract us from the time and energy needed to dedicate ourselves to learn what lives within our hearts.

Mindfully affirming our higher self is key to developing our best life in the everyday world. In Spiritual Growth: Being Your Higher Self, spiritualist and author Sanaya Roman implores us to allow ourselves the opportunity to grow internally, without limitation, because of the beauty it bestows upon our existence.

Discovering who we are spiritually is gift to yourself; one that’s deeply personal and transformative. In her book, Sanaya cautions, “Do not wait for others to become more spiritual so that it will be easier for you.” Explaining that it’s more important to “make your behavior the example,”which, in turn, creates a more peaceful existence in the physical world. It makes you a beacon of light and love for those around you and also gives them strength. 

There is another beautiful component of this gift. Opening yourself to this awakening greatly expands your capacity to give and receive love, acceptance and compassion unconditionally. By focusing on what’s inside us instead of being distracted by outside stressors and influences, we’re tuned into the universe and its glory. 

By continually manifesting self-reflective thoughts on our growth, we can transform our reality and enrich our lives each and every day. Sanaya affirms that you can connect with the deepest fibers of your being, all the way down to your DNA, to reach your highest potential. 

Give it a try! Make time for yourself daily to search within your soul and reflect on what is not allowing you to reach your aspirations and goals. It’s time to do some soul searching; let the light inside of you shine out into the universe and radiate love. 


Are You Limiting Yourself?

What you choose to believe will dictate many facets of your life. Society has a lot to say to us, about us. It likes to tell us we’re too small to make a difference in the world or we don’t have what it takes to be what we want to be. And you know what? Many of us believe these societal lies – and once we believe something, it becomes a part of who we are; it is grafted into the patterns of our thinking.

What are your beliefs about yourself?

In this blog post, I’d like to identify some common, restrictive beliefs and show you how to go from limited to limitless. Let’s get started…

Restrictive Belief #1 – ‘I’m too small to make a difference in this world.’

While it is true that you are just one person, when you believe that you do not have the power within yourself to positively impact the world around you, you become a carrier of negative energy – in other words, you become limited. Limiting yourself in this way leaves no room for abundant thinking.

APPLICATION- Want to kick start abundance in your own mind?:

Begin with gratitude. Think gratefully of the positive qualities you do possess: ‘I’m thoughtful, empathetic, smart, educated, strong…etc, and I’m thankful for these attributes.’ Through this exercise, you will have opened the door to making a difference, and your possibilities will become limitless.

Restrictive Belief #2 – ‘I’m not courageous enough.’

Nelson Mandela once said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Okay, so you’re afraid to do something. Maybe you’re trying to overcome your fear of switching careers or starting a family.

APPLICATION- Want to overcome your fear?:

Acknowledge it. Look it straight in the eye and don’t be the first to look away. You see, once you sit with whatever it is that causes you to be afraid, that thing becomes less scary, less powerful. Through this exercise, you will become the victor, and in Mandela’s wise words, you will “triumph over it.”

Restrictive Belief #3 – ‘I don’t have enough time in a day.’

Time is a funny thing in that when we’re experiencing hardship, it seems to go on forever, yet when we’re having fun, time flies by. Rarely does it feel like we have just the right amount of time to accomplish everything on our to do list.

APPLICATION- Want to feel like you have enough time?:

Create it. Don’t let your looming deadlines and the ticking of the clock dictate your daily life; instead, rise an hour earlier and get ahead. You may even find incredible rejuvenation in rising early to experience some well-deserved quiet time. Take the reigns and set your own rules. Remember, you’re the one wearing the watch; it’s not wearing you!

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Take a few moments to ask yourself what you believe. You might be surprised to see what comes up. Open yourself to a limitless mindset and let abundance flow in.