Monthly Archives: February 2013

Always Giving…..

I believe it is a trait of women to be givers. But being a giver has a downside. You end up being bitter, wondering, “Where’s the giving to me?”

After years of giving, and giving and…giving, I wondered where and when the receiving part would start.

One day, I needed a favor from my husband. He didn’t exactly jump to it. Annoyed that I was not as a priority as I though, I reminded him of all I did for him. He asked me, “Did I ever ask you for any of those things?”

He never had. I’d done them all on my own self-righteous hook. I did it because I wanted to. I felt bad that he was in the position that he was and assumed it was my responsibility as a wife to help him out and give to him.

As I reacted in a defensive manner towards him, he responded to me as “why are you mad at me, you made the decision to do something, don’t expect it in return”.

I thought about this when I had some alone time and realized that my behavior was in reaction to what I had seen growing up. Always doing something to get something in return. Knowing that this is not normal or acceptable behavior…I still did it. Then the realization kicked in. If you wish to grow yourself, whether it is monetarily or emotionally, find a solid balance between the giving and the taking.

Know what you deserve to be paid for, whether that is in your job or your emotional/spiritual life.

Whatever you are doing, do it gladly, without thinking that you are owed extra for the doing.

And…if you cannot give the little bit ‘extra’ gladly, don’t give it.

I’m grateful every day for that moment of hurt, that very simple and yet large epiphany.

Giving Excuses

When we offer nothing but excuses in our lives, we are not being honest with anybody, mostly ourselves.
Excuses may seem like rational reasons for us not to do something, but if we’re not careful we can allow them to keep us from reaching our goals. Too often we accept our excuses as reasons why we cannot accomplish what we set out to do, and instead of finding alternatives we give up. But if we can be honest with ourselves and take responsibility for our choices, we will begin to notice that we no longer give excuses. When we keep our minds focused on our goals, we will find that excuses fade away in the light of our priorities, and issues become challenges that can help us become wiser and stronger.

Sometimes we may give others excuses rather than be fully honest. We may think it is kind to tell someone we are willing to do something with them, whether work or play, but then keep putting them off. This diverts our energy into keeping the truth at a distance while continuing a falsehood. But when we can take responsibility for our feelings and express them honestly, but gently, the other person is free to find someone who is better suited to accompany them while we are free to pursue the things we like. When we can do this, our energy can be invested in building better lives and relationships.

There’s another way in which excuses rob us of energy—and that is in the power of our thoughts and words. If we find ourselves in a situation, for example, where we are being asked for a financial contribution but we use the excuse that we can’t afford it, we create and attract lack and limitation into our lives. The same goes for seemingly simple things like pretending to not feel well or any other false statement. We may think that excuses make things easier, but they complicate matters with smokescreens. When we can commit to our priorities, take responsibility for our choices, and communicate them honestly to others, there will be no need to make excuses, and we will have much more energy to dedicate to all the things we love.

Creating Space in the Body

As we move deeper into meditation, the state of our mind expands thus allowing us to create more space within our body.

Our minds and bodies are interconnected, and the condition of one affects the condition of the other. This is why meditation is such a powerful tool for healing the body, as powerful as physical therapies. When our minds are cluttered with thoughts, information, and plans, our bodies respond by trying to take action. When the body has a clear directive from the mind, it knows what to do, but a cluttered, unfocused mind creates a confused, tense body. Our muscles tighten up, our breath shortens, and we find ourselves feeling constricted without necessarily knowing why.

When we sit down to meditate, we let our bodies know that it is okay to be still and rest. This is a clear directive from the mind, and the body knows exactly how to respond. Thus, at the very beginning, we have created a sense of clarity for the body and the mind. As we move deeper into meditation, the state of our mind reveals itself, and we have the opportunity to consciously decide to settle it. A meditation teacher pointed out that if you put a cow in a small pen, she acts up and pushes against the boundaries, whereas if you provide her with a large, open space, she will peacefully graze in one spot. In the same way, our thoughts settle down peacefully if we provide them with enough space, and our bodies follow suit.

When we settle down to examine and experience our consciousness, we discover that there are no hard, definable edges. It is a vast, open space in which our thoughts can come and go without making waves, as long as we let them by neither attaching to them nor repressing them. As we see our thoughts come and go, we begin to breathe deeper and more easily, finding that our body is more open to the breath as it relaxes along with the mind. In this way, the space we recognize through meditation creates space in our bodies, allowing for a feeling of lightness and rightness with the world.

 

Taking a Time Out

Sometimes as adults, we just need a time out to refocus and gather ourselves before starting out again. Most of us feel a little crazy from time to time. Periods of high stress can make us feel like we’re losing it, as can being surrounded by people whose values are very different from our own. Losing a significant relationship and moving into a new life situation are other events that can cause us to feel off kilter. Circumstances like these recur in our lives, and they naturally affect our mental stability. The symptoms of our state of mind can range from having no recollection of putting our car keys where we eventually find them, to wondering if we’re seeing things clearly when everyone around us seems to be in denial of what’s going on right in front of their eyes. For most of us, the key to survival at times like these is to step back, take a deep breath, and regain our composure. Then we can decide what course of action to take.

Sometimes a time-out does the trick. We take a day off from whatever is making us feel crazy and, like magic, we feel in our right mind again. Talking to an objective friend can also help. We begin to see what it is about the situation that destabilizes us, and we can make changes from there. At other times, if the situation is particularly sticky, we may need to seek professional help. Meeting with someone who understands the way the human mind reacts to stress, loss, and difficulty can make us feel less alone and more supported. A therapist or a spiritual counselor can give us techniques that help bring us back to a sane state of mind so that we can affect useful changes. They can also mirror our basic goodness, helping us to see that we are actually okay.

The main purpose of the wake-up call that feeling crazy provides is to let us know that something in our lives is out of balance. Confirm for yourself that you are capable of creating a sane and peaceful reality for yourself. Try to remember that most people have felt, at one time or another, that they are losing it. You deserve a life that helps you thrive. Try and take some steps today to help you achieve more balance and a little less crazy.

Ed Robinson's Blog

Whenever I encounter someone who is failing or struggling inevitably they have convinced themselves that this is their lot in life.  They spend a considerable amount of time thinking about worst case scenarios and everything that is going wrong. Sometimes they even start to believe they deserve their misfortune and/or easily fall into the role of victim.  More and more energy is taken up by negative thoughts and this only deepens their woes and solidifies self-doubt.  When this mindset takes hold for any prolonged period of time they actually begin to sabotage their own success and happiness.  It is a vicious cycle.  People don’t have black clouds over their heads they just become consumed by dark thoughts.  My own observation of others is that depression doesn’t happen to someone all at once instead it happens gradually over time…

While I don’t subscribe to the theory that we can fully control…

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Ed Robinson's Blog

You have to believe in yourself if you want others to follow you.  I don’t mean a hollow, braggadocios type of belief, but something with more substance.  It’s not enough to have strong opinions and a high degree of self-confidence.  This may make you just a blowhard.  Sadly, our society is never short on these types of individuals and they can be dangerous.  Just because you think you are right doesn’t mean you are.  The facts still matter and you must do the hard work required to achieve any level of real excellence.

What’s ultimately required is that your ground yourself in something more important than yourself.  You have to believe in what it is you are doing before you can fully believe in yourself.   Life is a constant search for meaning and understanding.  The tragedy of many people’s lives is that they are unwilling to put…

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