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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Common Fears – Choosing a New Response

Our minds are powerful and moving into fear is a common experience that we can each look at and change.

Everyone has fears—it is a natural part of being human. Fear can protect us from harm by sending a rush of adrenaline to help us physically deal with potential danger. But there are times when fear may keep us from participating fully in life. Once we realize that fear is a state of mind, we can choose to face our fears, change our minds, and create the life we want to live.

Our minds are powerful tools to be used by our higher selves; like computers, storing and using data to make certain connections between thought and response. We have the ability to observe these and choose differently. No matter where the fear came from, we can create new connections by choosing new thoughts. When our souls and minds are in alignment, we create a new experience of reality. This journey requires many small steps, as well as patience and courage through the process. Here’s an example: You decide to overcome your fear of driving on the freeway. Your plan of action starts with examining your thoughts and finding a new way of seeing the situation. When you’re ready, you enlist a calm companion to support you as you take the first step of merging into the slow lane and using the first exit. Your heart may be racing, but your confidence will be boosted by the accomplishment. Repeat this until you are comfortable, with or without help, and then drive one exit furth! er. When you are ready, you can try driving in the middle lane, for longer periods each time, until you find yourself going where you want to go. This gradual process is similar for conquering any fear, but if you find it overwhelming, you can always seek the help of a professional.

You may think that you are the only one with a particular fear, that nobody else could possibly be scared of ordinary things such as water, heights, public speaking, or flying. These types of fears are very common, and you can have great success overcoming them. Remember, it is not the absence of the fear but the courage to take action anyway that determines success. When we learn to face our fears, we learn to observe our thoughts and feelings but not be ruled by them. Instead we choose how to shape the lives we want.

 

 

 

 

A Matter of Significance – Recognizing your value

Change your thinking to knowing that your life matters and that you are important.

It can be easy sometimes to buy into the illusion of our own insignificance. We may see large corporations or institutions, celebrities or successful people in our community, and compare ourselves to them, thinking that their fame or material power affirm how little our own lives amount to. But nothing could be further from the truth. Every single one of us matters—tremendously. Our very existence affects countless people in countless ways. And because we are each essentially a microcosm of the larger universe, our internal experiences affect the whole of life more than we could ever imagine. The world simply could not exist as it does now if you, or any one of us, were not in it.

Perhaps you are aware that on some level you believe your life does not matter. If this thought resonates within you, maybe it is time to explore why you feel this way. You may have formed self-rejecting or belittling beliefs as a child to keep yourself safe or to help you make sense of confusing situations. You may have felt unseen or unheard and decided that there was something wrong with you, rather than with the attention span of the people around you. Spend some time looking into where these feelings of insignificance first took root, and see what changes you might be able to make in your life and in your heart.

This one belief in your own unimportance could be limiting you and impacting your life in enormous ways. When you shift your perceptions around your own ability to affect your life and impact the world, you may discover wonderful parts of yourself that you had long ago forgotten. There may even be exciting new parts that you never even knew existed. When you gain awareness of how much your life really does matter, new sources of energy can emerge and your sense of connection with the world is renewed.

Take Action

In order to make our dreams come true, we must take action rather than simply wishing for what we want.

There is a popular misconception that we might be able to just wish our dreams into being. Maybe on some other level of consciousness this is the case, but here on earth what we need to do is take action in our lives. Vision is an important companion to our efforts, but it can’t accomplish anything all by itself. When we focus on what we want and ask for what we want, we are initiating a conversation with the universe. Our desires, passionately defined and expressed, bring about valuable and relevant opportunities, which we then respond to by either taking or leaving them.

Many of us are afraid to step out into the world and make things happen, and so we hang back, dreaming and waiting and watching. There are times in life when this is the right thing to do, but this phase of inaction must eventually give way to its opposite if we are to build our dreams into a reality. This can be really scary, and we may fail and struggle, but that’s okay because that’s what we’re supposed to do. Waiting for everything to be perfect before we act, or waiting for what we want to be handed to us, leaves us waiting forever. No one expects us to be perfect, so the best thing we can do for ourselves is to get out there and take action on our dreams.

One of the hardest parts about having a vision is that when we test it in the laboratory of life, it often comes out looking completely different than what we had in mind or, worse, it doesn’t come out at all. If you read the life stories of people who have brought their dreams into reality, you will hear many stories about this experience. But you will also hear about hard work, taking action, perseverance, and, finally, the successful birthing of a dream.

Moving Our Body – Poetry in Motion

Our bodies love movement. When we stretch or dance, our bodies adjust, realign and start to become fluid with the rhythm of life. Our mood lifts and we feel more connected with the world around us. If you are feeling stuck, ready to release old energy, or eager to feel more alive, try moving your body. By giving your muscles a chance to do what they were created for, you may find that all areas of your body and your life benefit as well.

Many times we can be so busy that we forget moving our body is even an option. Some of us remain seated at our computer for hours every day or rush from task to task with robotic precision. When we are caught up in crossing items off our to-do lists, we tend to neglect all the opportunities there are to enjoy our bodies in the process of living. If this is true for you, begin looking for opportunities to move. You might try dancing or moving about freely as you clean your home, tend your garden or care for your children. If you are able to devote a set amount of time to self-care, practices such as yoga, dance, tai chi and walking are all great ways to keep your body in motion.

Imagine how freeing it would feel to trust your body’s movements completely, knowing it has a perfect strength and rhythm of its own. See if you can sense your bones providing graceful support, your muscles and tendons expanding and contracting in just the right measure, your lungs changing pace to fill deeply with fresh air. Movement is a vital celebration of life. It is a way to proclaim your own existence and relish in the joy of being alive. Today, and into the future, give yourself the gift of your body in motion.