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Self-Care Tips

Self-care tips, random thoughts, and quotes for your pleasure and learning: 

 

  • From Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. 

    Anders Ericsson did some research on elite musicians and what made the very best violinists. He found they “practice alone” for greater amounts of time as the biggest difference in what made them better performers than other violinists. He found this same characteristic with similar effects of solitude when his team studied other kinds of expert performers. “Serious study alone” is the strongest predictor of skill for tournament-rated chess players. Even elite athletes in team sports often spend unusual amounts of time in solitary practice. So, what’s magical about solitude? Only when you are alone can you “go directly to the part that’s challenging to you. If you want to improve what you’re doing, you have to be the one who generates the move.” 

  • Happy Thanksgiving for those in American who celebrate it. What makes you laugh in a way that’s deep and helpless, the kind of laugh that can’t be controlled? More of that kind of laughing in our lives is fun.  I hope you have some of that pleasure today! 

  • See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love by Valarie Kaur is a powerful read. On page 311 she says: “Seeing no stranger begins in wonder. It is to look upon the face of anyone and choose to say: You are a part of me I do not yet know. Wonder is the wellspring for love. Who we wonder about determines whose stories we hear and whose joy and pain we share. Those we grieve with, those we sit with and weep with, are ultimately those we organize with and advocate for. When a critical mass of people come together to wonder about one another, grieve with one another, and fight with and for one another, we begin to build the solidarity needed for collective liberation and transformation - a solidarity rooted in love.

  • The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts That Make Us Overeat author Stephan J Guyenet, Ph.D gives us some tips for keep those extra pounds off as the holidays approach. On page 159 he says: "Efficiently Managing Overeating - One practical implication of this research is that if you to control your weight over the long term, focusing on the six-week holiday period will give you the greatest return on your effort. Developing strategies to avoid holiday overeating, such as getting rid of holiday snacks in the kitchen and cooking lighter versions of traditional recipes, might go a long way toward curbing the inexorable upward arc of adiposity that most of us experience over our lifetimes."

  • The holidays are quickly approaching and it tends to be a time when people gain weight. Stephan J Guyenet, Ph.D. wrote a book called The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts That Make Us Overeat. I recently read it and he has some wisdom for us especially around holiday time. "High-reward foods tend to increase food intake and adiposity, while lower-reward foods tend to have the opposite effect. This suggests a weight management 'secret' you'll rarely find in a diet book: eat simple food. The reason you'll rarely find it in a diet book is that, by definition, lower-reward food is not very motivating. It doesn't get us excited about a diet, and it doesn't make books fly off the shelves. We want to hear that we can lose weight while eating the most delicious food of our lives, and the weight-loss industry is happy to indulge us. The truth is that there are many ways to lose weight, but all else being equal, a diet that's lower in reward value will control appetite and reduce adiposity more effectively than one that's high in reward value." page 139 

  • "You can be wrapped in a warm blanket of worthiness if you will allow it." Abraham Hicks

  • Are you able to get out in nature? It helps to give your body, mind and spirit a break from the drama of today’s Covid and election world. What small thing could you do today to appreciate our environment? Watch a sunrise? Enjoy a sunset? Walk barefoot on grass? Take a hike? Walk your dog? Feel the sun on your face? 

  • In “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, she recommends a weekly Art Date which is something creative and fun you do totally by yourself. Examples given COVID-19 are: take yourself on a walk in nature, get your paints out and create something, cook a new dish, go to a lake to swim, build a model airplane or car. You can create your own list by making a play list with all the things you would like to do or try for fun. Be creative and dream. Ingrid Fetell Lee, the author of “Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness,” stresses that we need to put play on our calendar. By scheduling it, you have a greater chance of successful follow-through. If play doesn’t make it into your calendar like a business meeting does, it likely will not happen. Remember, a calendar is just a planning tool that helps us accomplish things. By having a play date planned, written down, and scheduled with yourself, you have something to look forward to that allows you to stretch out the enjoyment of the experience as you anticipate the upcoming event. 

  • Feeling sincerely sorry if you’ve made a mistake and offended another is important. Be sure to avoid blaming the other person for their hurt feelings. Apologizing also involves creating a plan to avoid repeating the offense. If you don’t do this step, that lack of sincerity will break the trust you are striving to create with the other person. It is important to listen to the person’s frustration and pain before you say you are sorry. If they don’t feel listened to and understood, your apology is pointless and meaningless. Acknowledging your responsibility is an important step in success. When you admit to another that you’ve done something you wish you hadn’t, you feel better. It’s good for our spirit and is a sound human practice. 

  • "The Happy Clap” - with a huge smile and inhale quickly like you are super excited and clap your hands together quickly as if you are delighted and happy about something; ham it up for 15-30 seconds. I often laugh involuntarily after doing it for just a few seconds. It feels silly and quickly elevates my mood while feeling energizing.

  • Theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin on obstacles: 

    "I used to resent obstacles along the path, thinking, 'If only that hadn't happened life would be so good.' Then I suddenly realized, life is the obstacles. There is no underlying path." 

    Source: Interview in Tribe of Mentors  from James Clear's newsletter

  • To become a better listener, it helps to ask yourself what you learned about the person you have been talking to when the conversation ends. If you realized you know nothing new about that person, take a moment to reflect. It might help you to be more curious next time you speak to them. Noticing the subtle nonverbal details of the conversation will also help you feel more connected to the person and you will be thought of as a better listener. 

  • Author and entrepreneur Derek Sivers on finding time to do what matters: 

    "When you experience someone else’s genius work, a little part of you feels, 'That’s what I could have, would have, and should have done!' 

    Someone else did it. You didn’t. They fought the resistance. You gave in to distractions. They made it top priority. You said you’d get to it some day. They took the time. You meant to. 

    When this happens, you can take it two ways: You could let that part of you give up. 'Oh well. Now I don’t need to make that anymore.' Or you could do something about that jealous pain. Shut off your phone, kill the distractions, make it top priority, and spend the time. 

    It takes many hours to make what you want to make. The hours don’t suddenly appear. You have to steal them from comfort."

    Source: Where to find the hours to make it happen found in James Clear's newsletter 

  • "Success is largely the failures you avoid.

    Health is the injuries you don't sustain.

    Wealth is the purchases you don't make.

    Happiness is the objects you don't desire.

    Peace of mind is the arguments you don't engage.

    Avoid the bad to protect the good." James Clear 

  • "Your problems adjust to their true level of importance after a hard workout and a good night of sleep." James Clear 

  • New research supports sugar’s role in depression. Alcohol also plays a role in depression. It’s not a big leap to realize alcohol is primarily sugar-based and sugar itself also creates depression. The number of American adults who report at least one major depressive episode in a given year is 16.2 million prior to COVID-19 as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health. The increase in depression and anxiety since sheltering in place was recommended, is staggering. This is from a purely observational point of view. If you are prone to depression, note that soda and sugary beverages are the leading source of sugar consumption. In addition, 75% of all packaged food included added sugars. You may be eating more than you realize. The average daily intake of sugar in American is 18 teaspoons which accounts for 14 percent of total calorie intake for the day. Sweets act like a drug in our system, which is why we want more and more. Sugar is something to think about eliminating if you are prone to depression. However, it’s very addictive and not easy to give up. Be patient with yourself. Notice the feelings you are experiencing when seeking sugar. Noticing will often give a clue as to why you need to distract yourself with something that tastes good but is not healthy for you. Be curious. Susan Pierce Thompson is just releasing her once a year, Food Freedom Videos right now at Bright Line Eating. Lots of free, valuable information. 

  • In her latest book, “You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters,” Kate Murphy discovered something surprising: We tend to listen less carefully to the people we are closest to because we think we know what they are going to say before they say it. This is known as the “closeness-communications bias.” Familiarity in close relationships can breed inattentiveness. By doing this, you might be missing the various ways the person has shifted because you are relying on your possible inaccurate history with them. 

  • This was written by Elizabeth Gilbert for the 2016 holiday season. It seems so appropriate today so I'm sharing it. 

    "For anyone who has been hurt by destiny (hurt by randomness, hurt by accident, hurt by the devastating mysteries of life itself) may you be able to ease your suffering, by surrendering into mercy. 

    For anyone who is in furious battle against another person right now, and you feel wounded and betrayed and abandoned and mistreated and judged and shamed and degraded and abused...may you find safety from anyone who is actively harming you, and then (and only then — once you are physically safe from harm!) may your heart begin to be healed with mercy. 

    And for those of you who are in battle against yourself (the darkest war of them all) I send you my softest blessings. I saved you for last, because I know that you are suffering the most. I know you, my sweet friend, who hates yourself so much. Trust me: I KNOW YOU. I know how hard it is for you to get away from your abuser — because you ARE your abuser, and you are also the abused. I know you, because I HAVE BEEN YOU — and sometimes, at very difficult moments, I STILL AM YOU. So listen to me, my sweet suffering friend, who is so deeply familiar to my heart. Here is my Christmas gift for you. Here is my prayer: 

    May you finally drop the knife that you are holding to your own throat. May you cease the endless waves of argument against yourself. May you throw away that thick file of evidence you've been collecting for years about what a garbage person you are. May you stop manufacturing your own ferocious, loud, and incessant brand of life-destroying propaganda. May you exchange self-savagery for tenderness. May you learn how to replace perfectionism with empathy. May you soften your heart toward itself, so the poor thing can finally heal. May you forgive your past. May you forgive your present. May you forgive your future. May you take refuge at last in the peace and transformation that can only come from forgiving literally everything about yourself that you believe is unforgivable. May you see yourself not as YOURSELF, but as an exhausted stranger lost in a foreign land, who needs a place to rest. May you find that place of rest — at last — in mercy. 

    I love you all.

    Have a gentle, gentle holiday...

    ONWARD,
    LG"

  • “It’s Not Always Depression” by Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW is a wonderful book. It teaches how to listen to your body, discover Core Emotions, and connect with yourself on a deep level, allowing you to understand yourself better. It helps you heal old wounds and create more joy in your everyday life. I am rereading it for the third time right now. 

  • The book: The Mindful Millionaire: Overcome Scarcity, Experience True Prosperity, and Create the Life You Really Want by Leisa Peterson will give you clarity about your relationship with money that may surprise and delight you. 

  • Found in Courtney E. Ackerman’s new book, My Pocket Meditations for Self-Compassion: “Practice feeling. For many of us, identifying and sitting with our emotions is really hard, in part because we’re not used to doing so. This exercise helps you practice feeling your feelings, because, of course, the more you practice, the easier it’ll become. To start, think about an intensely emotional plot or story, from a book, movie, or show. Consider which character you most easily identify with, and imagine how it would feel to be in their shoes. Spend a few minutes sinking into their story and experiencing those emotions. Jot down the feelings you’re feeling. After several minutes, let these feelings go, watching them drift away like a leaf on a slowly moving river.”

  • Author Toni Morrison shares a lesson from her father: 

    "...one day, alone in the kitchen with my father, I let drop a few whines about the job. I gave him details, examples of what troubled me, yet although he listened intently, I saw no sympathy in his eyes. No “Oh, you poor little thing.” 

    Perhaps he understood that what I wanted was a solution to the job, not an escape from it. In any case, he put down his cup of coffee and said, “Listen. You don’t live there. You live here. With your people. Go to work. Get your money. And come on home.” 

    That was what he said. This was what I heard: 

    1. Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss but for yourself. 

    2. You make the job; it doesn’t make you. 

    3. Your real life is with us, your family. 

    4. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are. 

    I have worked for all sorts of people since then, geniuses and morons, quick-witted and dull, bighearted and narrow. I’ve had many kinds of jobs, but since that conversation with my father I have never considered the level of labor to be the measure of myself, and I have never placed the security of a job above the value of home."

    Source: The Work You Do, The Person You Are Read in James Clear's newsletter. 

  • Due to the intense collective worry and all the restricted social options, play time is especially important to help our mental and physical health. Even in difficult times, you can still create ways to enjoy yourself that are healthy and allows a sense of connection with others. What appeals to you? Online Zumba classes, Zoom dinners with family or friends, playing with your kids in the yard? Take a few minutes to allow your creative brain to come up with some ideas that would be possible to do and fun. 

  • From Weightless Newsletter: 

    "In the new book The Anxiety First Aid Kit: Quick Tools for Extreme, Uncertain Times, mental health and anxiety experts share a variety of excellent suggestions for helping us effectively manage stressful thoughts. Here’s a list of creative, humor-based techniques from their book to try:

  • Sing the thought to the tune of “Happy Birthday” or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
  • Write the thought over and over.
  • If these techniques don’t work or resonate with you, that’s OK. The key is to remember that you are not helpless when anxious, awful thoughts arise. You don’t have to believe them. You can challenge them. You can thank your brain for trying to help and remind yourself that you are, indeed, resilient and you’ll cope with whatever comes your way. Or you can schedule a virtual appointment with a therapist. Or you can try all of that.
  • Make a poem using the thought.
  • Draw or paint the thought.
  • Translate the thought to another language.
  • Recite the words backwards.
  • Make the thought into a full script with a funny ending.
  • Try to make the thought so bad that it’s absurd.
  • Add the phrase “I am having the thought that” to your thought (or “I am seeing the image of” if an image comes to mind instead), repeating it as you go up and down a flight of stairs.
  • Send the thought to the “spam folder.” When we receive a scam email (the one that says you’ve won some inheritance from a distant uncle and you just need to click the link and provide your banking information), we roll our eyes and mark it as spam. We don’t even think twice about trusting the content. And we can do the same for our anxious thoughts. As the authors remind us, “thoughts are imaginations inside your mind.”
  • "3 things that help habits stick:

    1) Repetition. Habits form based on frequency, not time. 

    2) Stable context. If the context is always changing, so is the behavior. You need a reliable environment. 

    3) Positive emotions. If it feels good, you’ll want to repeat it." James Clear 

  • "I have stopped accepting the things I cannot change and started changing the things I cannot accept." Unknown 

  • 𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝗮 𝘀𝗹𝗼𝘄 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗾𝘂𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝘁 𝘂𝗽.” 𝗨𝗻𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄𝗻

    Recovery from an injury or surgery is hard work but it’s work worth doing.  Keep at it.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Have a great day! Sending hugs to all those in recovery from physical aliments. 

  • From the Weightless newsletter: 

    Here’s an assortment of small and simple acts of self-care to start your day: 

  • Keep a book on your nightstand, and read a few pages before getting out of bed. 
  • Stretch your body, putting your arms over your head, bringing your hands to prayer position, and setting an intention for the day. 
  • As you just open your eyes and begin your day, the key is to do something that feels good. Which will vary from person to person. Don’t pick an activity that you should be doing. Rather, pick an activity that you want to do, yearn to do. Don’t meditate because it’s healthy, and good for you, and every article seems to recommend it. If meditation just isn’t your thing, figure out what is, and do that. 

  • Journal for a few minutes: about something you’re excited about; something that’s been on your mind (and heart); something you love. 
  • Close your eyes, notice where you’re feeling some tension or pain, and massage that area. Make a mental note to return to that spot throughout the day. 
  • Listen to a calming or upbeat song while you doodle, color, or draw a mandala.  
  • Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and visualize three people, places, or things that make you happy or grateful. 
  • Listen to a faith-based podcast as you perform a few favorite yoga poses, take notes, or simply sit in a comfortable position with your hands at your heart. 
  • Keeping your eyes closed, tune into the sounds and scents of your bedroom (or outside it). Or do the same as you step outside for a few minutes and breathe in the summer air. 
  • Simply light a candle or two in your bathroom (without turning on the lights), as you brush your teeth, shower, and get dressed for the day. 
  • From Courtney E. Ackerman’s new book, My Pocket Meditations for Self-Compassion: “Take a nature walk in your mind. Close your eyes, and visualize yourself walking in the woods, passing by beautiful trees and other surroundings. Notice what else you see, such as sunlight peeking through the trees, a bright blue sky, and colorful flowers and plants. Engage your other senses, as well, such as hearing birds chirping and trees rustling, and smelling the fresh, sweet scent of summer in the forest.”

  • “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.” – Dalai Lama

  • Courtney E. Ackerman’s new book, My Pocket Meditations for Self-Compassion, is filled with wonderful ideas for taking compassionate care of ourselves. “Stretch your body. Begin by sitting comfortably and closing your eyes. Lift your arms over your head, lengthening your spine and keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Next, push your hands in front of you, interlacing your fingers as your palms face out. Hold this stretch for several moments, noticing how your body feels. Then do the same with your arms behind you, pressing your arms away from your body and noticing the tightness between your shoulder blades.”

  • "A woman who gives but refuses to receive is a thief." Dr. Frantonia Pollins 

  • The seven Core Emotions are anger, sadness, fear, disgust, joy, excitement, and sexual excitement. They are all just sensations in the body. There is something that happens in your body that you have learned to call “anger” (or sadness, joy, excitement, fear, disgust, sexual excitement). Core emotions are your compass in life. Processing feelings means “feel” then “allow”. If you pay close attention you will notice what your body does when you feel any of these seven emotions. Ask: How does sadness show up in your body? Notice. Learn. Grow.

  • “Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break that chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future.” - Yehuda BergIt 

  • Food for thought in a poem by Haroon Rashid:

    We fell asleep in one world and woke up in another.

    Suddenly Disney is out of magic, Paris is no longer romantic, New York doesn't stand up anymore, the Chinese wall is no longer a fortress, and Mecca is empty.

    Hugs & kisses suddenly become weapons, and not visiting parents & friends becomes an act of love.

    Suddenly you realize that power, beauty & money are worthless, and can't get you the oxygen you're fighting for.

    The world continues its life and it is beautiful. It only puts humans in cages. I think it's sending us a message:

    "You are not necessary. The air, earth, water and sky without you are fine. When you come back, remember that you are my guests. Not my masters."

  • From James Clear's newsletter: 

    Inventor and businessman Thomas Edison on focus:

    "You do something all day long, don’t you? Every one does. If you get up at seven o’clock and go to bed at eleven, you have put in sixteen good hours, and it is certain with most people, that they have been doing something all the time. They have been either walking, or reading, or writing, or thinking. The only trouble is that they do it about a great many things and I do it about one. If they took the time in question and applied it in one direction, to one object, they would succeed. Success is sure to follow such application. The trouble lies in the fact that people do not have an object, one thing, to which they stick, letting all else go. Success is the product of the severest kind of mental and physical application."

    Source: How They Succeeded

  • In Choose Hope, Take Action: A Journal to Inspire and Empowerartist and author Lori Roberts shares many wonderful prompts and ideas for making a difference and effecting positive change. Here are eight simple prompts to help you get started: 

Explore the gifts you’d like to share with the world by jotting down your strengths, skills, and experience. 

List five random and not-so-random acts of kindness you can do this week. For example, surprise a loved one with pizza delivery or a gift card to a local bakery. Send a card of hope to a child in foster care. Send thank-you cards to your local hospital, fire station, or police station. Send a thank-you card to your children’s teacher. Buy groceries for an elderly neighbor who lives alone. Leave a bouquet of flowers on your best friend’s doorstep. Write a review for your favorite book, restaurant, yoga studio, or mom-and-pop shop. Greet grocery store staff and say “thank you.”

As you go about your day, pay attention to what frustrates or resonates with you. For example, maybe a piece on mental health in veterans stays with you or you notice a lack of domestic violence resources in your community. Let this be a clue into how you’d like to help. 

Don’t go it alone. Think about a loved one who might want to join you in your volunteering efforts. What causes are you both interested in? How can you challenge each other?

Brainstorm five ways you can make life less difficult for the people around you. Listen closely to their concerns and complaints. Can you offer a solution, a helping hand, or simply your full attention? 

  • "When you become aware, you become responsible. When you make a choice, it determines who you are and who you are becoming. With each decision, we get something and we give up something." Author Unknown 

  • From the Weightless newsletter: "

    In her classes at Stanford University, lecturer and health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D, asks her students to write on a slip of paper a single line about something they continue to struggle with today, something that “no one would know just by looking at them.” She then puts these slips into a bag and mixes them up. As students stand in a circle, they each randomly pull out a slip from the bag and read it aloud. 

    I am in so much physical pain right now, it is hard for me to stay in this room. 

    My only daughter died ten years ago. 

    I worry that I don’t belong here, and if I speak up, everyone will realize that. 

    I am a recovering alcoholic, and I still want a drink every day. 

    McGonigal includes these examples in her excellent book The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You and How to Get Good at It

    While the situations are individual, the pain is universal. 

    Behind the smiles, pretty outfits, tidy homes, outdoor adventures, and work-related wins, each of us struggles with something. 

    In her book, McGonigal notes that she uses this reminder whenever she believes she’s alone: “Just like me, this person knows what suffering feels like.”

    She further writes: 

    It doesn’t matter who “this person” is. You could grab any person off the street, walk into any office or any home, and whoever you find, it would be true. Just like me, this person has had difficulties in his or her life. Just like me, this person has known pain. Just like me, this person wants to be of use in the world, but also knows what it is like to fail. You don’t need to ask them if you are right. If they are human, you are right. All we need to do is to choose to see it."

  • PsychCentral put this out recently in their newsletter Weightless: 

    "As you’re going about your day, putting out fires at work and home, trying not to freak out over the latest headline, it’s easy to spend your days unaware of what’s happening inside your own mind and body. It’s easy to overlook your physical sensations and thoughts. Because you’re trying to keep moving and keep it all together. You’re trying to check off essential tasks, raise your kids, and do a good job at your job. 

    This is absolutely understandable. And yet, glossing over our feelings and physical cues prevents us from meeting our needs. So does an inner dialogue that is harsh, cruel, and inflexible. 

    Compassionate self-care originates from sharp self-awareness. And that self-awareness can be fostered with just a few minutes of looking within each day. 

    In his book Habit Swap: Trade in Your Unhealthy Habits for Mindful Onesmeditation teacher Hugh G. Byrne, Ph.D, shares these three key questions for us to explore: 

  • What am I aware of right now? Notice what you’re telling yourself (and try to gain some distance from those thoughts). There’s the thought of “I can’t do this.” There’s the thought of “I’m super stressed.” There’s the thought,”Why bother?” Notice the emotions that are arising. There goes sadness. Anger. Anxiety. Notice your physical sensations and overall state. Tension in the shoulders. Tightness in my legs. Exhaustion. 
  • How am I meeting this experience? In other words, what’s your attitude toward your inner experience? Are you curious about what’s happening? Are you judging your emotions? Are you telling yourself you shouldn’t be feeling that way? Are you putting yourself down?
  • What is a wise and kind response? What can genuinely support you in this moment? Maybe you can stop judging how you’re feeling for a moment, and get curious instead, wondering what sparked those feelings. Maybe you’d like to stretch your body or journal further about your feelings. Maybe you’d like to talk about it with a trustworthy friend. Maybe you’d like to get outside to feel better. Or, according to Byrne, maybe you’d like to respond with a loving-kindness meditation: “May I be happy. May I live with ease. May I accept myself as I am.” Maybe you’d like to simply tell yourself, “This is hard. I’m doing the best I can.” If you’re having a hard time accessing self-compassion or cutting yourself even a smidgen of slack, try picturing yourself as a child, or try picturing your child (and how you’d like them to treat themselves). 
  • Record the questions on your phone and play them back. Record your responses, too. Write your responses in a journal (or not). Invite your family to practice quietly along with you. Ask a friend to remind you to tune in—and do the same when they forget. Revise the questions a bit so they better resonate with you. 

    Ultimately, the key is that you acknowledge what’s swirling inside and support yourself through it. 

    You can incorporate this quick awareness check-in into your day in different ways: Set an alarm to ring every hour or few hours. Do it first thing in the morning, at lunch, and before or after dinner. Even checking in with yourself a few times a week can be powerful."

  • From James Clear's newsletter: "

    Author Michael Lewis on the stories we tell ourselves:

    "As I’ve gotten older—I would say starting in my mid-to-late 20s—I could not help but notice the effect on people of the stories they told about themselves. If you listen to people, if you just sit and listen, you’ll find that there are patterns in the way they talk about themselves.

    There’s the kind of person who is always the victim in any story that they tell. Always on the receiving end of some injustice. There's the person who’s always kind of the hero of every story they tell. There's the smart person; they delivered the clever put down there.

    There are lots of versions of this, and you’ve got to be very careful about how you tell these stories because it starts to become you. You are—in the way you craft your narrative—kind of crafting your character. And so I did at some point decide, “I am going to adopt self-consciously as my narrative, that I’m the happiest person anybody knows.” And it is amazing how happy-inducing it is."

     

    Source: The Tim Ferriss Show #427: Michael Lewis on the Crafts of Writing, Friendship, Coaching, Happiness, and More"

  • Chronic stress and your immune system

    Tips to help you stay healthy when life gets complicated from Blue Shield California

     

    If you’re dealing with more stress than usual right now, you’re not alone. COVID-19 is taking a toll on people across the United States. When so much of your energy is committed to caring for loved ones or worrying about the future, stress can mount up quickly and leave an effect on your physical health; specifically, your immune system. However, by addressing the causes behind stress, and ways to manage it, you may be able to help mitigate its effects.

    How does stress impact your immune system?

    When you feel stressed, your body and mind prepare to take action against whatever’s causing an emotional reaction, deprioritizing your immune system in the process. This gut-level reflex is often called the fight-or-flight response.

    For many of us over the past few months, our fight-or-flight responses have been working overtime. As the realities of COVID-19 influence our daily lives, our bodies continue to secrete cortisol, the chemical that drives our fight-or-flight response, causing necessary increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels. Effects like these occur as your body stops focusing on normal functions and instead focuses on preparing you to avoid danger.

    We all have moments of stress, but the risk lies in enduring this high-stress state for too long: Chronic stress may make you more susceptible to viruses and injury.

    Curbing chronic stress

    Of course, it would be impossible to rid yourself of stress altogether. Many causes of stress are outside of our control. Instead of seeking to avoid them entirely, try monitoring and slowing your stress reactions.

    Everyone has their go-to coping mechanisms. Some of them are healthy, like talking to a loved one or writing your thoughts in a journal. Others, such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and overeating, can cause even more significant harm to your health.

    Finding healthy ways to cope with stress now can help you prepare for the next time you meet the urge to turn to unhealthy behaviors, easing your fight-or-flight response in the process. Some examples of healthy ways to manage stress include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • The management techniques you teach your children now have the potential to help them deal with stress for the rest of their lives. Your goal is to notice unhealthy coping mechanisms – think tantrums, lashing out, making themselves sick – and substitute them with useful coping skills like the ones listed above.

  • Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep
  • Exercising
  • Journaling
  • Meditating
  • Talking about your feelings with a loved one
  • Volunteering and helping others
  • Talking to a mental health professional
  • Practicing mindfulness 
  • Your children may also benefit from the same stress-management techniques, but identifying their expressions of stress often requires a closer look. The emotional and behavioral symptoms many children experience during times of high stress include:
  • New or recurring fears (fear of the dark, fear of being alone, fear of strangers)
  • Clinging, or unwillingness to let you out of sight
  • Anger, crying, whining
  • Inability to control emotions
  • Aggressive or stubborn reactions
  • Regressing to behaviors present at a younger age
  • This is from a friend of mine, Patricia Smith: "I subscribe to a newsletter called Weightless and this was on offer today. I thought I would share it with my beloved friends.

     

    One powerful solution is to pivot our self-talk toward compassion. These phrases are just some examples of what this can look like:

     

    Today is really hard for me.

    Stress is draining. It’s understandable I’m tired, and I can move a bit slower today. That’s OK.

    I am upset and disappointed I didn’t get that done and what I need right now is rest.

    I am struggling today like so many people. And like so many people, I deserve kindness, too.

    I am doing the best I can under these difficult circumstances.

    I’m feeling sad right now. I can take a quick break to journal about it.

    I forgive myself for ….

    In this moment, I need ….

    I accept my sadness.

    I accept my frustration.

    I made a mistake and I can make it right.

    I can grow from this by ….

    It’s OK to feel this way.

    I’m not a robot. I need rest.

    I am learning every day.

    I am in pain and I’ll breathe through it for a bit."

  • From James Clear's newsletter: Poet Yahia Lababidi on the power of listening:

    "A good listener is one who helps us overhear ourselves."

    Source: Signposts to Elsewhere

  • From notthatjamesbrown'sblog: "Fear. “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert, Dune We all fear something, sometime. And when fear arises we have two choices:

  • Run away.
    Face it.
     
    There are A LOT of ways to run away from fear. Many of them involve substances and behaviors that often end in 12-step programs. And those that don’t, like social media and shopping, probably should have programs. When we run from fear all we’re really doing is suppressing it. Which means it sits there, festering, often for years.
     
    Running doesn’t work because fear will always catch you in the end.
     
    OK, so what does it mean to face fear?
     
    Well, as the passage above suggests it’s not about kicking fear’s ass. It’s about allowing the fear to be there, allowing it to pass (90 seconds is all it usually takes), and then, in what I think is the most important step, taking the time to reflect, to “turn the inner eye to see its path.”
     
    Turns out if you follow the path of fear it usually leads back to the fear of death. Either the finality of death itself, or, more commonly, it’s that we will die before we find love/purpose/meaning…whatever’s on our bucket list. We’re afraid that we’ll die never having lived the life we could have.
     
    So…that fear that you’ll never get another good job again? Fear of death.
     
    Fear that you’ll have to home school your kids for another year and you’ll all end up hating each other? Ditto.
     
    And so on.
     
    One the most challenging ideas in Buddhism is that you should contemplate your death often. Not out of some morbid fascination, but because coming to terms with your inescapable end is a way of realizing what really matters.
     
    “Death is certain. The time is not. Knowing this, what is the most important thing?” – Pema Chodron
     
    There’s a lot of fear coursing through the collective right now.
     
    The question isn't what can we do about it, but what can we do with it?
     
    With love, James"

  • Memorial Day Celebration: Taking time to honor everyone that has served in our military with special acknowledgment to those that lost their lives. Also honoring all people on the front lines of the pandemic crisis. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

  • There is an excellent free 45 minute podcast: "Why We're All Grieving" by David Kessler and Dan Harris. You can find it at http://tenpercent.com  by Dan Harris or at http://grief.com on the COVID-19 page for David Kessler. Recently released is Dr Kessler's new book: Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. I have trained with him and he is an amazingly generous resource on death and dying issues along with grief of all kinds. Dan Harris is also an excellent resource for increasing your happiness. 

  • The more control you have over your attention, the more control you have over your future. James Clear - Also his book: Atomic Habits is on sale for 40% off in the US and 30% off in the UK. (You can also get the audiobook for a steep discount.) If you’ve been thinking about grabbing a copy for yourself (or as a graduation gift), but haven’t pulled the trigger yet, then today could be a good day to do it.

  • Maya Angelou said: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

  • From author Jeff Brown on the importance of getting to know our inner selves:

    We will continue to project our stuff outside,
    until we work it through inside.

    We will continue to see the aggressor 'out there',
    until we find out where he lives 'in there'.

    We will continue to fear authority,
    until we find our own inner authority.

    If you think your lens on reality isn’t shaped by your unresolved material, you are mistaken.

    We will live life as projection,
    until we live life as truth.

    You want to see things
    as they are?

    First you have to see yourself,
    as you are.

  • Rick Hanson says the brain is like "Velcro for bad experiences and Teflon for good ones." In psychological terms this is negativity bias. With practice, self-compassion can help us correct negativity bias. Savoring which involves noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life and gratitude give us ways to experience self-compassion. 

  • Others can criticize your actions. Only you can criticize your thoughts.

    And if thoughts precede actions, then you need the courage to overcome self-doubt before you need the courage to overcome your critics.

    The first battle is always internal. James Clear 

  • Have you noticed how we are presented with the same lessons, over and over and over, before a tipping point is reached? The lessons we need to learn circle round us, closing in, until finally we are ready to take them in. Take them in. Those are the words that matter, because until I had embodied the lessons I was supposed to learn, absorbed them into the warp and woof of my being, they didn't "take"; they remained a head trip and didn't lead to changes in my behavior. — Jane Fonda

  • Mister Rogers on how to find good during scary times: 

    "When I was a boy and would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

    Source: Mister Rogers Talks With Parents

  • https://brenebrown.com/podcast/david-kessler-and-brene-on-grief-and-finding-meaning/ An excellent podcast with Brene Brown and David Kessler on grief and finding meaning which reflects what is going on in the world currently.

  • Given what's going on in the world, the following from James Clear is very appropriate: 

    Growth is trading discomfort in the moment for satisfaction in the future. 

    Decline is trading satisfaction in the moment for discomfort in the future.

  • "Ultimately, the only way to truly be in control of your life is to be in control of your thoughts." James Clear 

  • Thich Nhat Hanh.

    "Breathing in, I hold my fear with tenderness.
    Breathing out, I care for my dear little fear."

  •  In an article called, Fear vs Worry by Meredith Bell, she says, “Worry is a choice...it interrupts clear thinking, wastes time, and shortens life.”

  • "Do you make regular visits to yourself?" Rumi "If your compassion does not include yourself it is incomplete." Jack Kornfield 

  • https://www.tarabrach.com has several valuable things to help you deal with the anxiety that arises with COVID-19. 

  • Before you ask for readers, write the article you wish you could read.

    Before you ask for the sale, create the product you wish you had.

    Before you need support, be the supportive friend. Before you need love, be the loving partner.

    Always give value before you ask for value. James Clear 

  • Sisu: How to Develop Mental Toughness in the Face of Adversity

    Without warning, Soviet Union planes came roaring over the city of Helsinki, Finland on November 30, 1939. Finland was about to receive a violent shove into World War II.

    The Soviets dropped more than 350 bombs during the raid. Innocent civilians died. Entire buildings were turned to dust. And it was just the beginning. Three hours before the air strike, more than 450,000 Soviet soldiers began marching across the Finnish border. The Soviet soldiers outnumbered the Finnish army almost 3-to-1. That wasn't the worst of it. The Soviets also commanded more than 6,000 armored tanks and almost 4,000 aircraft. Finland, meanwhile, had just 32 tanks and 114 aircraft. 

    It was the beginning of what became known as the Winter War. For the Finns, there was no question whether some of them would die. The question was whether any of them would survive.

    The Winter War

    The winter was brutal that year. In January, temperatures dropped to 40 degrees below zero. Furthermore, at that time of the year and with Finland being located so far north, the soldiers were surrounded by darkness for almost 18 hours per day. Vastly outnumbered, fighting in a brutally cold darkness, and facing near-certain death, the Finnish soldiers relied on a concept that has been part of Finnish culture for hundreds of years: Sisu.

    Sisu is a word that has no direct translation, but it refers to the idea of continuing to act even in the face of repeated failures and extreme odds. It is a way of living life by displaying perseverance even when you have reached the end of your mental and physical capacities. During the Winter War, the extreme mental toughness of Sisu was all the Finnish soldiers could rely on.

     Finnish troops man a machine gun during the Winter War. (Image credit: The Library of Congress)

    The Finns would suffer more than 70,000 casualties during the Winter War. But that number would pale in comparison to the 323,000 Soviet casualties during that same time. By the end of winter, the Soviets had seen enough. The Moscow Peace Treaty was signed in March 1940. In total, the Soviets had attacked with over 900,000 soldiers during the Winter War. By the end, 300,000 Finns had managed to fight them to a standstill. 

    Sisu

    Emilia Lahti, a PhD candidate at Aalto University in Helsinki and former student of Angela Duckworth at University of Pennsylvania, studies the concept of Sisuand how it applies to our lives. According to Lahti, “Sisu is the concept of taking action in the face of significant adversity or challenge. It is not so much about achievement as it is about facing your challenges with valor and determination.” She goes on to say, “Sisu provides the final empowering push, when we would otherwise hesitate to act.” 

    In many ways, Sisu is similar to grit, which has been shown to be one of the best predictors of success in the real world. For example, Angela Duckworth's research on grit has shown that…

  • West Point cadets who scored highest on the Grit Test were 60% more likely to succeed than their peers.
  • Ivy League undergraduate students who had more grit also had higher GPAs than their peers — even though they had lower SAT scores and weren’t as “smart.”
  • When comparing two people who are the same age but have different levels of education, grit (and not intelligence) more accurately predicts which one will be better educated.
  • Competitors in the National Spelling Bee outperform their peers not because of IQ, but because of their grit and commitment to more consistent practice.
  • We will all face moments when our physical and mental resources feel tapped out. There will always be times when we are hammered with failure after failure and are called to find a fire within. And perhaps even more frequently, there will be many moments when we want to achieve something, but it feels as if we face incredibly long odds. In those moments, you have to call on your Sisu.

  • When you start a business even though you have nobody to look to for guidance. Sisu.
  • When you are two miles from finishing your race, and it feels as if you can't make it another step. Sisu.
  • When you are running on fumes and bleary-eyed from caring for your young children, but still need to find the strength to nail your presentation at work. Sisu.
  • When you step under the bar and prepare to squat a weight that you have never tried before. Sisu.
  • When you're in the middle of a season slump that never seems to end. Sisu.
  • When you feel as if you have tried everything you can to achieve your goal, and you still haven't made it. Sisu.
  • We all experience failure, but mentally tough people realize that failure is an event, not their identity. Sisu

    But Sisu runs even deeper than grit. It is a type of mental toughness that allows you to bear the burden of your responsibilities, whatever they happen to be, with a will and perseverance that is unbreakable. It is the ability to sustain your action and fight against extreme odds. Sisu extends beyond perseverance. It is what you rely on when you feel like you have nothing left.

    Failure is an Event, Not an Identity

    Joshua Waitzkin, a martial arts competitor and champion chess player, says, “At a high level of competition, success often hinges on who determines the field and tone of battle.” It is your mental toughness—your Sisu—that determines the tone of battle.

    Most people let their battles define them. They see failure as an indication of who they are. Mentally tough people let their perseverance define them. They see failure as an event. Failure is something that happens to a person, not who a person is. This attitude is what helped carry the Finnish soldiers through the Winter War. Even when surrounded by failure, by death, and by insurmountable odds, their Sisu did not let the soldiers see themselves as failures. (Author unknown)

  • Thanks to all the health care workers, all law enforcement personnel, firefighters, service organizations striving to keep people fed, and everyone who is working out in the world to provide us with the necessary elements of survival. You are all doing a heroic job of helping society to maintain some form of normalcy. May you stay healthy and strong as you do your jobs. 

    Hopefully many of you remain employed from home and are sheltering in place. As you deal with all the changes with this pandemic, what are you doing that works to take care of yourself? There many be some simple things you can do to help keep calm, such as going for walks keeping 6 feet of physical distancing, doing something creative (art, cooking, sewing, woodworking), talking to family and friends on the phone, meditation, or journaling to keep a personal history of this time. 

    There are numerous organizations offering free or low cost services on the internet to entertain and education you during this time. Do some exploring in areas you are interested in to see what is available. Most of all, keep contacts with loved ones open so you are not isolating emotionally. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime all offer you the ability to see and talk to people you care about. Make it a point to use these to connect. 

  • Enjoy the wisdom of Bernadette Jiwa: 

    Nobody creates from a place of certainty. 

    You can’t predict the future. You never could. Nobody can.

    Despite this fact, you took action in the past.

    You made brave decisions without absolute proof.

    You loved without knowing if your love would be rejected or returned.

    You did things you were not sure would work.

    You tried, knowing you might fail.

    You trusted things would work out.

    And if they didn’t your resilience enabled you to try again.

    We are our most creative in times of uncertainty.

  • https://youtu.be/_xw0A7sWcZ8?fbclid=IwAR2r2egLRB-XOxJ58gOx4og97GROgcrXcsVznt0MKcSkv8_gKwS8vJRzDRU

  • "Your current habits are perfectly designed to deliver your current results.” James Clear 

    "Needless commitments are more wasteful than needless possessions. Possessions can be ignored, but commitments are a recurring debt that must be paid for with your time and attention.” James Clear 

    In the COVID-19 challenge, how are you going to adapt to all the changes? I have a few ideas on what might help. 

    1. Establish some kind of daily structure for yourself. 

    2. Limit the time you spend on your phone/web/TV/radio looking or listening to news to no more than 2x a day for no more than 30 minutes. 

    3. Find a way to exercise at your appropriate level in your space. Can you stretch on a bed or sofa? Can you walk up and down a hallway, get outside, or climb stairs? Use your phone to do exercise videos from the internet. You will feel better with movement.

    4. Find ways to laugh and smile. There is a lot of comedy on TV and on the web. Find something to watch that tickles you. 

    5. At the end of each day, take time to be grateful either in a gratitude journal by writing or silently note what has gone well and what you appreciate. 

    Notice how you are feeling and just allow the emotions to pass through you. Release the fear rather than holding on to it. I am sending each of you love and virtual hugs. 

  • “Your desire is your prayer. Picture the fulfillment of your desire now and feel its reality and you will experience the joy of the answered prayer.” Dr. Joseph Murphy 

  • “All you need to do to receive guidance is to ask for it and then listen.” Sanaya Roman

  • "Your actions are a consequence of your thoughts.

    Your thoughts are a consequence of what you consume.

    And in the modern age, what you consume is largely a consequence of how you select and refine your social media feed.

    Choose better inputs. Get better outputs." James Clear 

  • “The universe will reward you for taking risks on its behalf.” Shakti Gawain 

  • “I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.” Duke Ellington

  • “Affirmations are like prescriptions for certain aspects of yourself you want to change.” Jerry Frankhauser

  • The brilliant physicist and Noble Prize winner, Richard Feynman, on dealing with the expectations of others: 

    "You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. 

    I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing."

    Source: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Borrowed from James Clear's 3 ideas, 2 quotes, 1 question (February 20, 2020)

  • "The person who learns the most in any classroom is the teacher. 

    If you really want to learn a topic, then "teach" it. Write a book. Teach a class. Build a product. Start a company. 

    The act of making something will force you to learn more deeply than reading ever will." James Clear

  • "Do not wait. If there is something you wish to do, go do it. Death comes for busy people too. It will not pause and return at a more convenient time." James Clear 

  • “In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.” Pico Iyer 

  • Parker J. Palmer from his book - On the Brink of Everything: “The second reason I need to keep death daily before my eyes is also rooted in my experience. Nothing makes me more grateful for life - even in the hard times - than remembering that it’s a pure gift that I didn’t earn and won’t have forever. Nothing motivates me more strongly to ‘pay it forward’ than knowing that the time to share a gift is when I have it in hand.” 

  • Writer Laurie Buchanan on the behaviors and life we don’t choose:

    "Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing."

    Source: Tuesdays with Laurie

  • Happy Valentine's Day! Take time to appreciate those you love and the ones who love you. 

  • “I don’t have a lot of respect for talent. Talent is genetic. It’s what you do with it that counts.” Martin Ritt 

  • “I shut my eyes in order to see.” Paul Gauguin

  • Kindness Compassion exercise from Kristin Neff, Ph.D. - Say the following aloud or silently to yourself:

    1. This is a moment of suffering. This is really hard. I am hurting.

    2. Suffering is a part of life. This is part of humanity. I’m not the only one feeling this way.

    3. While doing a physical gesture that conveys caring and kindness (hands on heart or face or hug self), say: I’m here for you. I’ve got your back. 

  • Parker J. Palmer from his book - On the Brink of Everything: “More often than I like to admit, I’ve forgotten lessons learned and had to start over from scratch, relearning what I thought I knew. One advantage of age is the chance it gives us to learn and relearn until we truly know.” 

  • A friend shared this with me today and I found it of value. "I have stopped accepting the things I cannot change and started changing the things I cannot accept." 

  • "The most dangerous items on your to-do list are the ones that look like opportunities, but are actually distractions." James Clear

  • Tara Brach book RADICAL COMPASSION: LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF AND YOUR WORLD WITH THE PRACTICE OF RAIN

     

    R

    A

    I

     

    RECOGNIZE - What is going on inside me - the circling of anxious thoughts and guilty feelings. 

     

    ALLOW - What is happening by breathing and letting be. “It belongs.“ Feel in body.

     

    INVESTIGATE - What felt most difficult. This is not an analysis. This is feel the feelings and sensations in body. 

     

    NURTURE - Send a gentle message in word, directly to that anxious part: “It’s OK, sweetheart. You are safe. You are doing your best.”

     

    Nurtured by giving yourself permission to open to and fill yourself with the goodness of this experience. Soak it into every cell, and rest in the experience you are longing for.

     

    After the RAIN, we shift from doing to being. 

     

    What would my life be like without this belief?

     

    Who would I become if I no longer lived with this belief?

  • Parker J. Palmer from his book - On the Brink of Everything: “When you share your story of struggle, you offer me companionship in mine, and that’s the most powerful soul medicine I know. Here, it seems to me, is yet another parallel between faith and writing. The God I’m familiar with does not work like a GPS, but accompanies me as I try to grope my way through the darkest of dark places. I think a good writer can do at least a little bit of that for the reader; writing from a deeply human place of vulnerability is an act of compassion, as well as self-therapy.”

  • The painter, Walter Sickert, once told an annoying guest, “You must come again when you have less time.” 

  • Parker J. Palmer from his book - On the Brink of Everything: “I quote Saint Benedict, who said, ‘Daily keep your death before your eyes.’ That may sound like a morbid practice, but I assure you it isn’t. If you hold a healthy awareness of your own mortality, your eyes will be opened to the glory and grandeur of life. And that will evoke all of the virtues I’ve named, as well as those I haven’t, such as hope, generosity and gratitude.” 

  • F.M. Alexander on the importance of habits: 
    “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.”

  • Parker J. Palmer, from his book, - On the Brink of Everything: “Most older folks I know fret about unloading material goods they’ve collected over the years, stuff that was once useful to them but now prevents them from moving freely about their homes. There are precincts in our basement where a small child could get lost for hours. But the junk I really need to jettison in my old age is psychological junk - such as longtime convictions about what gives my life meaning that no longer serve me well.”

  • Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction 

    P.402 “Leaving the addict or staying in the relationship is a choice no person can make for anyone else, but to stay with him while resenting him, mentally rejecting him, and punishing him emotionally, or even just subtly trying to manipulate him into ‘reform,’ is always the worse course. The belief that anyone ‘should’ be any different than he or she is is toxic to oneself, to the other, and to the relationship.”

    Although we may believe we are acting out of love, when we are critical of others or work very hard to change them, it’s always about ourselves. ‘The alcoholics wife is adding to the level of shame her husband experiences,’ says Anne, a veteran of Alcoholics Anonymous. ‘In effect she is saying to the addict, he is bad and she is good. Perhaps she is in denial about her addiction to certain attitudes, like self-righteousness, martyrdom, or perfectionism.’ 

  • Step five: Recreate

    It is time to re-create: to choose a different life. Mindfully honoring our creativity helps us transcend the feeling of deficient emptiness that drives addiction. Write down your values and intentions and, one more time, do so with conscious awareness. Envision yourself living with integrity, creative and present, being able to look people in the eye with compassion for them - and for yourself.

    The mind of the addict is beset by constant worry and soothed only by the addictive substance or activity. 

    Once programmed, the addicted mind creates a world of emptiness where one must scratch and grab for every bit of nourishment and be ever vigilant for every opportunity to get more.  

    Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction 

  • MERRY CHRISTMAS TO THOSE WHO CELEBRATE IT.

  • Step four: Revalue 

    It’s purpose is to help you drive into your own thick skull just what has been the real impact of the addictive urge in your life: disaster. It has caused me to spend money heedlessly or to stuff myself when I wasn’t hungry or to be absent from the ones I love or expend my energies on activities I later regretted. It has wasted my time. It has led me to lie and cheat and to pretend - first to myself and then to everyone close to me. It is left me feeling ashamed and isolated. It has promised joy and delivered bitterness. Such has been it’s a real value to me; such has been the effect of my allowing some disordered brain circuits to run my life. The real ‘value’ of my addictive compulsion has been that it has caused me to betray my true values and disregard my true goals. Be conscious as you write out this fourth step - and do write it out, several times a day if necessary. Be specific: What has been the value of the urge in your relationship with your partner? Your children? Your employees? Your coworkers? Your best friend? Pay close attention to what you feel when you recall these events and when you foresee what’s ahead if you persist in permitting the compulsion to overpower you. Be aware. That awareness will be your guardian. 

    Do all of this without judging yourself. You are gathering information, not conducting a criminal trial against yourself.

    Dr. Schwartz introduces what he calls the two A’s: anticipate and accept. To anticipate is to know that the compulsive drive to engage in addictive behavior will return. There is no final victory - every moment the urge is turned away is a triumph. And accept that the addiction exists not because of yourself, but in spite of yourself. You did not come into life asking to be programmed this way. It’s not personal to you -  millions of others with similar experiences have developed the same mechanisms. What is personal to you is how you respond to it in the present. Keep close to your impartial observer. 

    Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

  • Step three: RefocusIn the refocus step you buy yourself time. The key principle here, as Dr. Schwartz points out, is this: ‘It’s not how you feel that counts; it’s what you do.’ Rather than engage in the addictive activity, find something else to do. Your initial goal is modest: buy yourself just 15 minutes. Choose something that you enjoy and that will keep you active: preferably something healthy and creative, but anything that will please you without causing greater harm.  The purpose of refocusing is to teach your brain that it doesn’t have to obey the addictive call. Success will come in increments. No matter how simple it may seem to others who do not have to live with your particular brain, you know that holding out for even a short period of time is an achievement. You are teaching your old brain new tricks. Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

  • Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

    Step two: Reattribute

    In Re-attribute you learn to place the blame squarely on your brain. This is my brain sending me a false message. In step two you state very clearly where that urge originated: in neurological circuits that were programmed in your brain long ago, when you were a child. It represents a dopamine or endorphin ‘hunger’ on the part of the brain system that, early in your life, lacked the necessary conditions for their full development. It also represents emotional needs that went unsatisfied.

    Reattribution is directly linked with compassionate curiosity toward the self. Instead of blaming yourself for having addictive thoughts or desires, you calmly ask why these desires have exercised such a powerful hold over you.

  • Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

    Step one: Relabel

    You label the addictive thought or urge exactly for what it is, not mistaking it for reality. When we relabel, we give up the language of need. An example is: I don’t need to purchase anything now or to eat anything now; I’m only having an obsessive thought that I have such a need. It’s not a real, objective need but a false belief. I may have a feeling of urgency, but there’s actually nothing urgent going on.

    Essential to all the steps is conscious awareness. Adam Smith used the term ‘Impartial Spectator’ and defined it as the capacity to stand outside yourself and watch yourself in action, which is essentially the same mental action as the ancient Buddhist concept of mindful awareness.

    The point of relabeling is not to make the addictive urge disappear - it’s not going to, at least not for a long time, since it was wired into the brain long ago. It is strengthened every time you give into it and every time you try to suppress it forcibly. The point is to observe it with conscious attention without assigning the habitual meaning to it. It is no longer a ‘need’ only a dysfunctional thought. Physical changes in the brain depend for their creation on a mental state in the mind - they called attention. Paying attention matters.

  • Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

    “The fourth step should be practiced daily at least once, but also whenever an addictive impulse pulls you so strongly that you are tempted to act it out. Find a place to sit and write - preferably a quiet place - but even a bus stop or do if that’s where you happen to be when the addictive urge arises. Addiction is characterized by relapses and there  may be a tendency not to follow through. Commitment is sticking with something not because 'it works' or because I enjoy it, but because I have an intention that overrides momentary feelings or opinions.

    You don’t have to feel or believe that it’s working for you: you just have to do it and to understand that if you have a lapse, it doesn’t mean that you have failed. It’s an opportunity to begin anew.” I will be sharing the steps with you in a later post. 

  • Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction 

    Four-step self-treatment method:

    It depends on the high level of motivation for its success. We must take the first step of acknowledging the full impact of the addiction and we have to resolve to confront its power over our mind. 

    This approach is rooted in malfunctioning brain circuits and in implicit stories and beliefs that do not match reality. This is the core problem in addiction because the development of the brain and the mind was negatively affected by adverse early circumstances.

  • Page 374. "The addict’s behavior or substance use is also meant to calm anxiety - an unease about life itself, or about a sense of insufficient self. " Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction 

  • “There is no moving forward without breaking through the wall of denial - or, in the case of such an obstinate and slippery mind as mine, breaking through several walls, whose existence I do not even want to acknowledge.” Page 359 Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

  • "The addiction really isn’t over until I can see the emptiness of the behavior. (His son Daniel's comment). He carries a void inside. 't’s a void I do anything to avoid.' He says if he’s learned anything, it’s that 'have to be responsible for my own fear of emptiness.' The hidden emptiness is at the core, which our different addictions always promises but always fail to fill." Gabor Mate, MD In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

  • Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction Everything a person can do is better done if there is no addictive attachment that pollutes it. For every addiction - no matter how benign or even laudable it seems from the outside - someone pays a price. 

  • “Definition of addiction: any repeated behavior, substance related or not, in which a person feels compelled to persist, regardless of its negative impact on his life and the lives of others. The distinguishing features of any addiction are compulsion, preoccupation, impaired control, persistence, relapse, and craving.” Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

  • “Any passion can become an addiction but then how to distinguish between the two? The central question is who’s in charge, the individual or their behavior? And the addiction is the repeated behavior in which a person keeps engaging, even though he knows it harms himself or others. If in doubt, ask yourself one simple question: given the harm you’re doing to yourself and others, are you willing to stop? If not, you’re addicted.  And if you’re unable to renounce the behavior or to keep your pledge when you do, you are addicted.” Page 115 Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.

  • Gabor Mate, MD   In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction  - powerful thoughts! 

    "What relief do you find or hope to find in the drug or the addictive behavior?

    Far more than a quest for pleasure, chronic substance abuse is the addicts attempt to escape distress.” From a medical point of view, addicts are self-medicating conditions like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or even attention deficit hyper activity disorder (ADHD). Addictions always originate in pain, whether felt openly or hidden in the unconscious. They are emotional anesthetics."

  • Namaste, the Sanskirt holy greeting, means, “The divine in me salutes the divine in you.”

  • "Gratitude, not understanding, is the secret to Joy and Equanimity." Anne Lamott

  • "Nothing records the effects of a sad life so graphically as the human body." Naguib Mahfouz in the book Palace of Desire. What do you need to do to take better care of the only body you will ever get? Drink less alcohol? Eat healthier food? Get more sleep? Exercise today? Speak kindly to yourself? Give yourself the compassion we all need? 

  • Happy Thanksgiving! What are you grateful for right now? 

  • “Self-acceptance is the ability to accept all of our parts and to be open to them, even interested in them.” Jay Earley 

  • Whatever our limits are in range of motion, no matter how small or how big, within that range of motion, there's an infinite amount of space to explore. -Rodney Yee

  • “When we’re in the deepest, darkest, and worst emotional state, when it seems like self-acceptance is the farthest away, we are in fact one instant from the awareness that can transform us completely.” Raphael Cushnir 

  • “Being free takes first realizing you’re in prison, and then questioning what imprisons you. Peace takes naming what keeps you ruffled. Joy takes realizing what separates you from it. It’s a process, not a one-time event; you’ve got to want your life back more than you want anything.” Geneen Roth 

  • “The person to whom we have the highest moral obligation is the one over whom we have the highest influence, and that is our future self. So, if you want to give yourself a gift tomorrow or next year, or perhaps in the next lifetime, treat yourself well.” Rick Hanson 

  • If you open your heart and become like a child, you will always be blissful, always content.   -Dharma Mittra 

  • The very thing that I learned through yoga, that is essential to my ability to wake up every morning, is the breath. In yoga, my practice allows me to appreciate each breath and each moment. I realized that everything counts. Every breath, thought, word, and action counts in my practice and in my world. When I take time to appreciate the breath, I make space for an appreciation of life.  -Chelsea Jackson Roberts  

  • You can create a “coping card” for yourself to remind you of positive actions you can take or of a compassionate point of view that you want to maintain. This physical reminder that you can see regularly will help you make these things a healthy habit. 

  • Yoga is a practice of self-inquiry.  -Nicole Cardoza  

  • “If you can’t get what you want, you might have to settle for something better.” Jonathan Young

  • Pushing through resistance lets us see what's on the other side. -Seane Corn  

  • Yoga has given me the space to understand that every part of me is necessary. Everything is exactly as it needs to be. And what needs to be silenced are the voices that make me feel otherwise. -Jessamyn Stanley

  • Sometimes it's the little things that get to us. They add up. We can handle the first small crisis, the car running out of gas. Usually, we can handle the second small crisis, being late for work. It's when the third or fourth crisis in a row hits, someone canceled an order we were counting on for work and then a headache starts. At that point, we are tumbling over the edge of the emotional cliff and not coping well. It's as if our feet are planted in cement and we can't move forward to solve the next problem we are faced with. Even though many of us have been taught the usual self-help stress management tips (exercise, ask others to help, do neck rolls, take a deep breath, learn to say "no" when you have too many commitments, seek out positive people, don't escape with drugs or alcohol, learn to relax, meditate, avoid junk food and sugar, etc.), when in a crisis, often we can't remember to use them. Sometimes we can't even remember what a stress management tip is! So, just for today, breathe. Take a deep breath several times today and let it out slowly and quietly. You don't want the guy in the next cubicle wondering if you are having health issues and can't get your breath. The only thing you need to remember the next time you are stressed out is to breathe. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. There are all kinds of options on how to breathe depending on who you talk to or what yoga or meditation classes you attend. If you swim, the breathing is totally different. For now, you just need to get more air into your body to help your body relax.This breathing helps your body realize there is no need to be in crisis mode. It’s that fight-or-flight feeling which tends to increase your heart rate and elevate blood pressure. It adds additional stress to your body, which can lead to health issues if not controlled or eliminated. 

  • Make ONE decision at a time. Focusing on one decision at a time will stream-line your productivity. Read from your “to do” list, make a decision, complete at least one small step in reaching that goal, and move on to the next item.

  • Decisions are a major part of overwhelm. You will have the best results if you make decision during your peak productivity time. If you are a morning person, make decisions early in the day. If you are a night person, make them later in the day. Once you make a decision, don’t second-guess yourself. It’s a huge waste of time and energy. Give yourself credit for making the decision, then let it go and move on. 

  • When you are looking at what you need to get done, writing everything down in one place is often helpful…it’s a “brain dump.” It’s difficult to make good decisions when there are too many options. Seeing everything written in one place can free up space to think through priorities. 

  • Often we get overwhelmed with too many things to do and no clear priorities. A major mistake most people make is thinking that everything on your to-do list needs to be done. What can you let go of? What will not matter in a month if it’s done or not? 

  • But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you have three out of four of your limbs; it doesn't matter if you're fat, short, tall, male, female, or somewhere in between. None of that matters. All that matters is that we're human and trying to breathe together. -Jessamyn Stanley  

  • “That is really what radical forgiveness is all about - that people can feel better about themselves, accept themselves, love themselves more, and know that they are perfect just the way they are.” Colin Tipping

  • You can create a “HOPE kit” for those moments when you are down or depressed. It could be a scrapbook or a container that holds mementos that serve as a personal reminder of your accomplishments and connections in the world. Just looking at this creation can lift your mood and inspire you.

  • “Self-acceptance is a great matter, asking much of us, and giving back even more. Exploring and cultivating intimacy with what’s in the way of self-acceptance is an essential journey for us, if we are to truly come alive.” Robert Augustus Masters 

  • For some people, their automatic response when they are feeling down is to consider suicide. If your thinking process does not go there, it’s time to be grateful for that positive aspect of your personality. If you are the type of person who wants to end the pain by exiting life, ask yourself: “What one thing would have to change for you not to feel suicidal?” (Assessment and Management of Suicide Risk created by David Jones, Ph.D.) Plus, immediately get psychological support with a professional or someone you trust. 

  • “Self-acceptance is a kind of courage - a quiet courage. It means meeting life with who we are completely, being open to how we’re shaped in the same way the shore is shaped by the surf.” Mark Nepo 

  • “You can make me hurt, but you cannot make me turn against my own experience.” Steven C. Hayes 

  • “Emotions are central to almost everything we think, feel, and do. When we can accept our emotions, then self-acceptance naturally follows.” Karla McLaren 

  • “The good news is that pain, whether physical or emotional, can function as a powerful catalyst for healing, change, and growth.” Friedemann Schaub 

  • “Building a true sense of self-trust comes from making contact with the deeper parts of our being, such as the truth of our loving, even when we sometimes act in ways we don’t like.” Tara Brach 

  • Tara Brach, Ph.D. has a Mindful Awareness with Kindness practice she calls RAIN. R - Recognize what is going on under the story line. A - Allow it to be there. I - Investigating with kindness - Connect with what’s going on in the body - put hand on heart. N - Not identified with the unworthy self.

  • Because ego is built around the sense of lack, the need to improve and a sense of unworthiness, we need to be out of ego in order to be kind and gentle with ourselves. 

  • Iyanla Vanzant has a lovely prayer she uses: “Help me see this rightly.” 

  • Kristin Neff, Ph.D. Kindness Compassion Exercise - say and do: 1. “This is a moment of suffering. This is really hard or I’m hurting.” 2. “Suffering is a part of life. This is part of humanity. I’m not the only one.” 3. Do a physical gesture that conveys caring, kindness (hands on heart or face or hug self). “I’m here for you. I’ve got your back.”

  • Sometimes when we need a short break and time to reconnect with ourselves just putting our hand or hands on our heart will give us a moment of peace. Hands on our cheeks or arms around our own torso will do the same. 

  • A “conscious intent” to be kind to self is huge and a good starting point for making your day better.

  • The tone of voice you use makes a difference in how others receive your message. Notice the tone of your voice for the next few hours and see how others respond to you.

  • Self-Compassion author, Kristin Neff, Ph.D. practices listening to what she’s saying to herself when she makes a mistake or is struggling with something, then asks, “would I say the same thing to a good friend”? 

  • Author Elizabeth Gilbert describes herself as a “living permission slip” to do what she needs to do to love herself. Can you be that for yourself? 

  • Our choices will never please everyone. We are going to be criticized regardless. So, we might as well please ourselves. 

  • When I say “I SHOULD have ____” that’s always when my pain starts. I need to know where the should is coming from and need to figure it out in order to let it go. It doesn’t support me nor promote my well-being. 

  • “In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.” Pico Iyer 

  • “Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.’” The Talmud 

  • “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Lily Thomlin, a comedian said: “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” So true. 

  • Scientists who research forgiveness document the corrosive effects of not forgiving in addition to the benefits of doing so. Hanging on to resentment and anger can damage the heart as well as not allowing peace of mind. Failure to forgive may be a risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other chronic stress-related illnesses. People hanging on to hostile feelings toward others are at increased risk for anxiety, depression, and insomnia and are more likely to suffer from ulcers, migraines, cancer, and backaches. The reverse is also true and real forgiveness can transform these ailments. 

  • There is a Gaelic proverb that says: “Nothing is easy for the unwilling.” Before any change, there has to be a willingness to change. What do you need to be willing about?

  • Gray Craig, the founder of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), has fine tuned his approach to include the Unseen Therapist. You can view his free information at www.emofree.com for some valuable skills that may enhance your life. 

  • Do you have the belief: “You made your bed; now lie in it” Or “You got yourself into this; you get yourself out”? Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help when we most need it because we think we have to take care of things ourselves especially when we feel responsible for the situation we are in. In these situations it might be of value to send out to the universe a cry for help with a simple prayer. 

  • The author Shauna Niequist talks about “fake-resting.” This is where she wears her pajamas while putting things away, checking off tasks on her endless “to do” list, and basically getting an amazing amount of chores done. She says: “I fake-rested instead of real-rested, and then I found that I was real-tired.” When are you “fake-resting” when you need to take a few minutes to do what dogs know intuitively to do - lay down and take a quick nap? 

  • Do you spend more time asking your loved ones for help doing the dishes or getting something done efficiently than you ask about their life, dreams, or ideas? Are you on extra-capable, “I can handle a whole lot of things” mode? What price are you paying for this? Exhausted? Over-scheduled? What is one small thing you could do today to allow yourself to rest or to connect with someone you love? 

  • A recommendation for getting at your desire or dream is to answer this question: “If someone gave you a completely blank calendar and a bank account as full as you wanted, what would you do?” Take a moment to write down your ideas. 

  • Insights from Shauna Niequist from her book Present - Over - Perfect: “My regrets: how many years I bruised people with my fragmented, anxious presence. How many moments of connection I missed - too busy, too tired, too frantic and strung out on the drug of efficiency.” Do you see yourself here? What could you shift that would make you even easier to be around? 

  • "We think that by protecting ourselves from suffering we are being kind to ourselves. The truth is we only become more fearful, more hardened, and more alienated. We experience ourselves as being separate from the whole. This separateness becomes like a prison for us, a prison that restricts us to our personal hopes and fears and to caring only for the people nearest to us. Curiously enough, if we primarily try to shield ourselves from discomfort, we suffer. Yet when we don't close off and we let our hearts break, we discover our kinship with all beings." Pema Chodren

  • Seen in the mid-west on a church sign: "Children are like wet cement. Whatever touches them leaves an impression." 

  • When you find yourself thinking or saying: "He or she is driving me crazy!" ask yourself what creative work you are trying to avoid by spending your time and attention in their drama? It might be time to educate yourself around codependency and stop the crazy making dance. 

  • "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." Albert Camus 

  • “What we’ve really got to do is stop listening to our minds. We instead need to listen to the silence inside, listen in that place where our listening takes us beyond what we think we know. This is true even when we’re in turmoil, deep sadness, grief, or depression. Strangely, the more we struggle to get out of these states, the deeper we sink into them. The more we try to figure them out, the more we find ourselves confused, when what we really need to do is to begin to listen. Listening is the first step to discovering our autonomy, an autonomy that, if we take this search for our own happiness and freedom all the way, will fully flower one day into something you can’t imagine.” – Falling into Grace by Adyashanti 

    Adyashanti asks: “What do you know that you may not want to know?” You may want to do some release writing like Julia Cameron recommends with her Morning Pages from her book: The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity - write three pages long hand on this topic without thinking and without stopping. See what you discover. 

  • To maximize brain functioning, there are three keys: sleep, light exposure, and exercise. 

  • WRITING TO HEAL

    James Pennebaker a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Writing to Heal, has done research on the power of expressive writing in the healing process. “Emotional upheavals touch every part of our lives. You don’t just lose a job, you don’t just get divorced. These things affect all aspects of who we are - our  financial situation, our relationships with others, our views of ourselves, our issues of life and death. Writing helps us focus and organize the experience.” Pennebaker believes that because our minds are designed to try to understand things that happened to us, translating messy, difficult experiences into language essentially makes them graspable.”

    He recommends writing about emotional upheaval for just 15 to 20 minutes a day on four consecutive days can help decrease anxiety, rumination, depressive symptoms and boost our immune systems.

  • AGING AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE BY LEWIS RICHMOND 

    As I grow older, may I be kind to myself;

    As I grow older, may I accept joy and sorrow;

    As I grow older, may I be happy and at peace.

    As each of us grows older, may we be kind to ourselves; 

    As each of us grows older, may we accept joy and sorrow;

    As each of us grows older, ma we be happy and at peace.

    As all beings grow older, may they be kind to themselves;

    As all beings grow older, may they accept joy and sorrow;

    As all beings grow older, may they be happy and at peace. 

  • “‘Why is it that we suffer?’ [This is] not the only question that human beings have asked through the ages, but in some way it’s the most intimate, because we’re in fact biologically hardwired not to suffer. In other words, when we feel conflict, when we feel some sort of anxiety, our bodies get tense. When we suffer, our bodies respond directly—our breathing changes, our heart rate changes; our bodies send signals that something’s not quite right. In many ways, we’re biologically impelled to find a way not to suffer.” –Adyashanti

    Adyashanti points out the three primary ways the mind turns away from the experience of pain and toward suffering: it buys into the illusion of control; it demands that things be different; and it argues with what is and what was. Observe these “habitual patterns of thinking” and pay attention to your body which reveals the truth. Ask: “Am I identified with the illusion/belief that I can control this? Am I expecting things to be different than they are? Am I NOT accepting the reality of the present or past?”

  • This agency looks at the safety of products not regulated by government such as vitamins and supplements: https://www.consumerlab.com/ 

  • For a rapid reduction in anxiety and a quick stress reducer, take a 10-minute brisk walk. The increase in energy lasts 60-120 minutes. This is equal to a cup of regular coffee and is a much better health choice.

  • A technique from Positive Psychology: Each day ask: “What three things went well today?” 

  • They're words of wisdom that will take you on a journey beyond yourself. Read these thoughts from  Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul:

    "Come from a space of peace and you will find you can deal with anything." 

  • “Sometimes you don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice.” Unknown 

  • Dr.John Gottman Making Marriage work. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AKTyPgwfPgg&feature=youtu.be

  • "Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can...across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal." Cheryl Strayed 

  • "Life may be brimming over with experiences, but somewhere, deep inside, all of us carry a vast and fruitful loneliness wherever we go." Etty Hillesum 

  • Irwin Yalom in his book: Rippling said: “As a therapist, I touch people for future generations. We keep touching people’s lives long after we are gone even thought I won’t know it.” This is also very true of teachers. Since I have been both, I am giving myself permission to celebrate all the lives I’ve touched in positive ways even though for most of them, I’m unaware of the rippling effect I’ve had. 

  • Mooji who wrote Writing on Water said this: "Just say inside your heart, 'I am open, take me.' That itself is a mighty prayer, a true surrendering which can never be refused." 

  • Dr. Steven R. Gundry’s Rule Number 1: “What you STOP eating has far more impact on your health than what you start eating.”

  • Dharma Talks by Jack Kornfield (Buddhist)

     

  • From A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle: "Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on." What is it that you need or want to let go? 

  • Rumi, 13th century poet wrote: 

    The Guest House

     

    This being human is a guest house.

    Every morning a new arrival.

     

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,

    some momentary awareness comes

    as an unexpected visitor.

     

    Welcome and entertain them all!

    Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

    who violently sweep your house

    empty of its furniture,

    still, treat each guest honorably.

    He may be clearing you out

    for some new delight.

     

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

    meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

     

    Be grateful for whatever comes.

    because each has been sent

    as a guide from beyond.

  • If we could read the secret history of our enemies,
    we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering
    enough to disarm all hostility.
    - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

  • Bring awareness to moments of reacting and explore options for responding with greater mindfulness, spaciousness and creativity, in formal meditation practice and in everyday life. Remember that the breath is an anchor, a way to heighten awareness of reactive tendencies, to slow down and make more conscious choices. Even if you don’t have a regular meditation practice, you can anchor 2-3 deep breathes each day with something you automatically do such as brushing your teeth or eating meals. 

  • If I Had My Life to Live Over

    I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.

    I'd relax. I would limber up.

    I would be sillier than I have been this trip.

    I would take fewer things seriously.

    I would take more chances.

    I would take more trips.

    I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.

    I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

    I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I'd 

    have fewer imaginary ones.

    You see, I'm one of those people who live sensibly 

    and sanely hour after hour, day after day.

    Oh, I've had my moments and if I had it to do over 

    again, I'd have more of them. In fact, 

    I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments.

    One after another, instead of living so many 

    years ahead of each day.

    I've been one of those people who never go anywhere 

    without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat 

    and a parachute.

    If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot 

    earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.

    If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter next time.

    I would go to more dances.

    I would ride more merry-go-rounds.

    I would pick more daisies.

    By Nadine Stair (age 85)

  • The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

    “When you deliberately focus your attention on love and joy, then you open the floodgates to receive miracles. Most of us get caught up focusing on what’s going wrong. But what if we spent our days looking at all that’s going right? Make a conscious effort to look for love throughout the day. To ignite this process, begin your day with a prayer: I focus my attention on the love that is around me, and I expect miracles.” 

  • The quote is from the book The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: "The point is simply this: How tender can we bear to be? What good manners can we show as we welcome ourselves and others into our hearts?" 

  • The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

    “The next time you get hung up in a victim mentality over why something isn’t working out the way you planned, simply say this prayer and realign with love:

    Thank you, Universe, for helping me see this obstacle as an opportunity. I will step back and let you lead the way.” 

  • “I keep the telephone of my mind open to peace, harmony, health, love and abundance. Then, whenever doubt, anxiety, or fear try to call me, they will keep getting a busy signal – and soon they’ll forget my number.”  – Edith Armstrong

  • Perhaps ultimately, spiritual simply means
    experiencing wholeness and interconnectedness directly,
    a seeing that individuality and the totality are interwoven,
    that nothing is separate or extraneous.
    If you see in this way, then everything becomes spiritual in its deepest sense.  Doing science is spiritual. So is washing the dishes. - Jon Kabat-Zinn

  • Anxiety a problem? There's a wonderful, inexpensive tool in the APP store - Anxiety Release APP

     

    Go to the APP store and look for Anxiety Release 

     

    It’s likely the second APP that comes up

     

    Look for a blueish symbol shaped kinda like a Burning Man 

     

    Mark Grant is the author - lovely English accent 

     

    Based on EMDR 

     

    It’s $4.99

     

    Download it

     

    Be sure to read the “Info” section in the upper right hand corner - lots of valuable information.  

     

    You need headphones to use and need to be able to look at the screen. 

     

    Short mediations that are very valuable.  I have no affiliation with this company. I just believe in their product. 

     

  • “Commitment is that turning point in your life when you seize the moment and convert it into an opportunity to alter your destiny.” – Denis Waitley 

  • Mary O’Malley’s book The Gift Of Our Compulsions has been so valuable to me in learning how to keep addressing my feelings when I just want to escape the intensity.  In the past I headed for sugar to numb myself out from feeling too much or I ate when I was tired instead of resting. I am grateful for my struggles because they have taught me a lot.  What are you noticing you do to escape? 

  • The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

    “This is my mission: to guide you to choose love no matter what so that you can turn all obstacles into opportunities for spiritual growth.”

  • TedTalk https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

  • Sit down wherever you are
    And listen to the wind singing in your veins. 
    Feel the love, the longing, the fear in your bones. 
    Open your heart to who you are, right now, 
    Not who you would like to be, 
    Not the saint you are striving to become, 
    But the being right here before you, inside you, around you. 
    All of you is holy. 
    You are already more and less 
    Than whatever you can know. 
    Breathe out, 
    Touch in, 
    Let go.

    By: John Welwood

  • Listened to a woman's idea where she is high-fiving herself to give herself credit for each of her personal accomplishments per day. It reminds me of something that I started some time ago and that I recommend people do to feeling even better about themselves. I say “Hello Beautiful” to myself when I see my reflection in a mirror, window, water, or anything that reflects.  Sometimes I use a funny voice, sometimes I use my normal voice, and each time I feel better. At times it’s resulted in me laughing hysterically because my hair is a mess or I have on really grubby clothes. You might want to add this to your repertoire of things to do for yourself for TLC. If you're a guy just substitute the word to "handsome."

  • The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

    “The moment you witness frustration in your life try this prayer: Universe, thank you for helping me find joy in this situation.”

  • I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness.
    It's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude.
    - Brené Brown 

  • “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

    –– Helen Keller 

  • If you are like me, you are often frustrated by computers. When my computer has a problem and I contact a professional, the first thing they usually recommend is to turn it off and start it again and see if that fixes it. Nine times out of ten, it cures my problem. Sometimes a computer just needs to reboot, and so do we! We just need to start again with self-compassion and a helpful reboot for our minds. We all deserve GOLD STARS because each of us is doing the very best we can! So give yourself a "reboot" by giving yourself credit for something you are doing right. 

  • HAPPY LABOR DAY - CELEBRATING BEING AN AMERICAN! 

  • What is your intention today? My intention for today is to surrender to whatever is most helpful to my highest good. This likely means getting more rest and stressing less.

  • “With every act of self care your authentic self gets stronger, and the critical, fearful mind gets weaker. Every act of self care is a powerful declaration: I am on my side; each day I am more and more on my side.”   Susan Weiss Berry

  • "Determination and perseverance move the world; thinking that others will do it for you is a sure way to fail."  Educator, Marva Collins

  • Researcher James Pennebaker wrote Writing to Heal and found 15-20 minutes of writing, 4 days in a row helped reduce anxiety, rumination, and depressive symptoms and it boosts our immune systems. 

  • “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who come short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who is the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…" Theodore Roosevelt

  • What are you doing to shift your behavior to support yourself? 

  • Notice two things in your life today: 1. What are your moment by moment experiences of happiness? 2. What gave you satisfaction during your day? 

  • From the book: The Only Little Prayer You Need by Debra Landwehr Engle - PLEASE HEAL MY FEAR BASED THOUGHTS. "When we ask for our fear-based thoughts to be healed, we are asking to replace fear with love and acceptance." 

  • Phone App "Anxiety Release "by Mark Grant based on EMDR principles. Need headphones to use. Less than $5 investment. Plus, the meditations are short and very valuable for any kind of anxiety. 

  • “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” Brad Paisley 

  • Research shows that our deepest sleep occurs within 20-90 minutes of going to sleep. So, perhaps even those of you who wake up in the middle of the night with insomnia challenges, can give yourself more credit for the rest you are getting. 

  • Forgiveness is a big act that many people advise us to do. However, it’s not always an easy task. We don’t forgive to help the other person, nor do we forgive for anyone but ourselves. Forgiveness is at its best a form of personal liberation, the ultimate in self-care. This is true both scientifically and spiritually. Research shows that people who are more forgiving experience fewer physical and mental health problems along with fewer physical symptoms of stress. 

  • “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice.” Steve Jobs

  • The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

    “The next time you get hung up in a victim mentality over why something isn’t working out the way you planned, simply say this prayer and realign with love:

    Thank you, Universe, for helping me see this obstacle as an opportunity. I will step back and let you lead the way.” 

  • You have heard that meditation will improve your life in ways you can't imagine and yet most people don't manage a regular practice. There are some easier ways to focus moment to moment that can bring a sense of peace inside. Bring awareness in moments of reacting and explore options for responding with greater mindfulness in everyday life is one of them. The breath can be an anchor, a way to heighten our awareness of reactive tendencies, a way to slow down and by deepening our breath it can help us make more conscious choices. You can anchor 2-3 deep breathes each day with something you automatically do such as brushing your teeth or eating meals. This small anchoring can give you a greater sense of inner tranquility.

  • If we could read the secret history of our enemies,
 we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering 
enough to disarm all hostility.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • "I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness.
 It's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude.
"- Brené Brown

  • Lighten up, play more, laugh at yourself. Schedule time for recreation. Spend time with friends and family who love you. You will be happier as a result.

  • Those of you dealing with urges, here's an 8 minute meditation that's excellent:  http://depts.washington.edu/abrc/mbrp/recordings/Urge%20Surfing.mp3

  • It's okay to say "no" to requests from others. Your time is one of your most precious commodities; use it wisely.

  • Researcher James Pennebaker wrote Writing to Heal and found 15-20 minutes of writing, 4 days in a row helped reduce anxiety, rumination, and depressive symptoms and it boosts our immune systems. I encourage each of us to do our own writing. I am doing it and it's helping with my stress level. 

  • "A friend is a gift you give yourself."  Writer, Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Important question to ask yourself: What is the one thing I need to do to take care of me today?

  • Be persistent in achieving your goals. It's important to remember that there is no such thing as failure, just a delay in achieving your goal. Go for your dream.

  • "Destroy negative thoughts when they first appear. This is when they're the weakest." Songide Makwa

  • “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” Brad Paisley 

  • "What we do during our working hours determines what we have; what we do in our leisure hours determines what we are."
    Entrepreneur, George Eastman

  • Growing older is not an option, it's a given if we are fortunate. How we grow older is an option! Are you growing older with grace?

  • Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love is a great bathroom reader for both people in a relationship. It helps us be aware of how to make the best of our connections with people we love.

  • More "messages from God" on billboards around the USA: Need a marriage counselor? I'm available.        Follow me.               Keeping using my name in vain, I'll make rush hour longer.               I don't question your existence.

  • Change happens all the time yet many resist it. It is the one constant factor in our lives year after year. Think about a year ago and what has changed in your life? Change won't go away. What can you do to welcome and embrace it? 

  • All relationships need work and dedication to remain in them. My observations of what happy partners do are: 1. Say please and thank you to each other- treat each other with dignity and respect, just like most people treat strangers. 2. Reminisce about how, when, where, and why they fell in love - they talk about it and remind each other of their loving beginning history. 3. Show and say appreciation for each other. They display an attitude of gratitude toward each other and their relationship.

  • "Thank you" are extremely important words. How often are you using them? If you don't us them much, can you start with silently saying them each time you are grateful?

  • From the book, The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein Page 117 “Begin your day with a prayer: I focus my attention on the love that is around me, and I expect miracles.”

  • It is our choice if our life is empty or fulfilling. An empty life is one of isolation. A fulfilling life is one of connection. Are you ready for a challenge? Relate to people you don't normally talk to, offer a helping hand, listen, practice connecting. What do you have to lose except emptiness?

  • "The people I want to hear about are the people who take risks."  Robert Frost 

  • Additional Self-Care Tips
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