Expanding Our Minds & Paving a Path to Freedom

I had so much, but felt so little.   I think it was a deeper desire for more meaning and joy, for I had become numb, deadened and desensitized to my life. I wasn’t depressed, I was discontent.  It wasn’t that my life was bad. I would have some nerve complaining about anything, considering those with real misfortunes.  My life was just too predictable in an annoying way and I had way too many people leaning on me for support. To top it all,  I was reliving the same problems over and over and over again, applying solutions that didn’t work.

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I felt tired, disillusioned  and quite unfulfilled.  Everything was on replay. The things I collected, now collected dust and took up too much space – books, clothing, furniture – the clutter of “cherished” memories – did nothing but confuse me.

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At the very same time, my parents, in their 70’s, living in a pretty remote part of Florida, were in need of some help. Their health was degrading. Actually, their lives were falling apart. The house in need of growing repair.  It was May when I got the call. Mom developed stage four lung cancer and dad,  tormented by anxiety and fear, slipped deeper and deeper into dementia. He was frustrated, angry and confused as well. They didn’t want anyone’s help, they didn’t want to see that they could no longer take care of themselves.

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Every single day brought on a mini disaster as they continued to try to do the things they use to be able to do.  Fires in the oven, crucial medication missed, terrible falls in the middle of the night and countless visits to the emergency room. I dreaded every flight I took to see them.

I witnessed first hand what people do when they hold on too tight, when they cling to the past, when they shut down, when they isolate themselves. They were terrified to the point of paranoia.   They became delusional and just couldn’t and wouldn’t accept the inevitable – that everything eventually breaks down, fades away.  Everything in life is impermanent. We die a little each moment, with each breath we exhale. This is a part of the process of life. It is also why we must hold life preciously in our hearts, while we have the time we do.

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Time does not stand still for anyone and while I was extremely sad,  I am grateful that I was able to comprehend the lesson and the wisdom in my parent’s painful decline. Clinging to what once was and wishing things were different does us no good and only has us suffocating and suffering more.

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It was with this that I made the non-negotiable decision with myself, that I wanted more joyful moments in my life while my vision is not blurred with cataracts, my hands can still lift a pot to cook and my legs can carry me for long walks along the shore

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We must be grateful for every second we have now and every gift of a moment we have from this second forward. We must learn, adapt and find new ways to stay relevant and useful. Purposeful while doing the best with what we have.

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At the same time that I was keeping my head above the water with my parents in crisis and my freelance work, my husband, my darling, told me that he never took the lithium he very so needed to keep his bipolar illness at bay.

In and out of hospitals for much of our marriage, it was one roller coaster ride after the next.

The meds seemed to help keep him balanced, or so I thought.  It was the last draw and he lied to me and that hurt very much. He began self-medicating with drugs and then alcohol and then God knows what. Anything to soothe his mania I guess. He was trying to  help alleviate the heightened anxiety.  All of this crazy behavior around me was pushing me further and further into disassociating from all of my emotions.

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I did not want to accept the reality of all of this pain. He too, may have been on a path – while I was choosing to discard of  anything that no longer served me well. He may have been seeking the same, using different tools, a different approach. Somewhere along the way there was a huge disconnect. That’s the trouble with chemical imbalances and mental illness, you never know what’s real or what’s just a troubled mind gone off on a really wild tangent.

So, the only question to answer: What do I do now?

Forgiveness first, self-care second. I’ve been exploring the wisdom of Buddhism, the secrets of the Kabbalah and enjoying the calm and mind-clearing benefits of meditation and yoga. I am doing more of what I enjoy doing. Swimming in the ocean, bicycling, Soul Cycle, exploring new places, reading, long walks, dancing and time with my daughters and friends.

So far, I have come to understand and respect, that by becoming more curious about myself and how I think and in turn expanding my awareness by building my propensity to be mindful, to forgive and to give with loving kindness.  I feel healthier and more energized. By asking What am I to do now? What is the right thing to do next? I am guided by my heart and values that I hold dear.

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With the current state of world affairs, I have been questioning just how sane we really are. Frankly, I am frightened of what’s to come and the media loves it that way.

My biggest concern is to have a strong enough mind that I don’t become brainwashed by all the bad news. I have always wondered how people followed someone like Hitler, let alone Trump. This truly concerns me. Reading books about the holocaust like Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl and watching movies like Schindler’s List and Life is Beautiful, I still ask myself, how do these atrocities happen?  I have become so concerned that if the world completely fell apart, I want to make sure that I have a strong enough mind and spiritual base that I do not follow the herd.

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This herd mentality is something I know I desperately need to avoid. I need to seek a more meaningful understanding of life, so that I can strengthen my mind and continue to think clearly. So that I can better understand the truth and the purpose of living and giving with intense gratitude each day. I know that clinging to fear of falling prey to stronger (albeit: unhealthy) minds. My mind should never be controlled by outside forces, including fear.

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How Honest Do We Really Want to Be with Ourselves?

I am 1,000 % absofuckinglutely certain that I should be recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the biggest idiot on the planet for repeating the same damn mistakes over and over again for most of my adult life. Life on repeat can be brutal.

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mistake

 

Why am I so susceptible to making the same mistakes over and over again?  Whether it’s ruining a diet with three glasses of wine, running credit card debt on a bunch of useless stuff I never needed in the first place, trusting a friend who was way less than honest or sacking up with an ex.  What possesses me/us to continue to do things that get in the way of what we truly want? Is it fear of the unknown? Fear of what life would be if we didn’t do the things we did on repeat? Maybe. Perhaps it’s a matter of finding the holes. The holes we keep falling into. The mind-numbing, soothing and relaxing way our brain feels after a glass or two or three of wine. Or the familiar, comfortable and easy way it feels to slip right back into the arms of the one you once loved.  I need to look at the benefits of my biggest mistakes.

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Read: How to be honest with yourself and get more done, for some decent advice on how to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Harmful Habits & Slipping into Default Mode

When we do something right, a pathway is created in our brain. Unfortunately, a pathway is also created when we something wrong. We basically build habits this way, both good and bad. So the reason we keep making the same mistakes is that we slip by default back into existing neural pathways.

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Achieving Ego Free States

Sometimes I feel like I need a complete rewiring of the brain.

Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.

It seems that individuals under “treatment” transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states . . . and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance. Read more in The New Yorker: The Trip Treatment

Natural Reactions

If you have ever been accused of “overreacting” and you think something is wrong with you because someone told you so, then this 10-minute watch is critical for your growth. Bottom line: Reactions are NATURAL. Overreacting is a warning sign that you have been hurt badly. You have to HEAL that, not shame it away.

 

When Our Minds Run in Circles

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Reading, learning and practicing how to meditate to calm my mind, I am focusing on what Buddhists call “maitri”

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Maitri – practicing loving kindness and awareness to all your thoughts. Read: When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. The purpose of meditation is not to find your bliss, but to befriend and let go of all thoughts – the good, the bad and the ugly. To accept them all with loving-kindness, with maitri.

The Benefits of Being Socially Selective

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I just don’t have the bandwidth, headspace or patience for anyone right now. That is quite alright in my book. Sometimes we need a little solitude to sort things out. I just wish more people were fluid in silence.

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Comment  below if you agree and have a great Monday.

 

Making Sense of it All & Finding the Answers We Seek

If I dig deep enough – all the way to the very core of my inquiry, a big part of my quest is about making sense of it all.

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Searching for the answers I seek, I have a difficult time understanding that not everything in life is logical.  Most of it is a mystery and yes, it is with a great sense of gratitude that I respect that there are miracles happening every single moment of my life.  However, I am also hardwired to remain cynical about the magic and skeptical about letting go and giving into the mystery of life unfolding as it should be. Letting go of not being able to control more of my life.

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Most of life actually is quite chaotic and a huge mystery.  Our desire to apply logic only fools us and typically it is for self-preservation. Read: Five Logical Fallacies That Make You Wrong More Than You Think

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and most of what I try to control, including people I love, only holds me back from opening my heart to something bigger, stronger and more fearless that I can ever be.

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Selective Perception & Mental Gymnastics

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Sunday seems like as good a day as any other to start thinking about ways I can strengthen my mind. To start with, I stumbled upon this smart list of  brain training, mind-soothing exercises.

A Mind Clearing & Expanding List of Good Thinking Skills

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The truth is, the quality of your mind determines the quality of your life.

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I have to diligently guard what enters my mind. Note to self: stave off the temptation to randomly search YouTube. Consume Quality. Read and watch only quality books & films.

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Don’t believe everything I think. Don’t hold onto every little thought. Release, and let it go. Meditation can help you with this.

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Give my mind some well-earned rest. The importance of self-care.

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Brighten my mind with hopeful, peaceful and positive thoughts. Training my mind to be  calm and to ward off the alarming effects of long-term, chronic stress.

Transformation

Focus on what I want, not what I don’t want. This ain’t easy. The mind always wants to go back to ruminating worry and concern.

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Develop a healthy rule book for good thinking.

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

 

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Understand & know what I value. Freedom, truth, a sense of security, peaceful living and love.

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Take my mind on adventurous trips. Inspire it by doing more of what I enjoy.

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Feed it good food. Each brain cell gets a boost from healthy nutrition.

And know that I have a choice – how I react to any given situation.

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Avoid negative people, gossip, bullshitters and crazy makers at all costs. Like the plague.

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Learn new skills. Study what I am curious about. Dabble.

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Free my mind of unnecessary pain, guilt and fear. Ask questions instead. Stay curious. Continuously ask yourself, Why are you doing what your doing? Like right now, why are you reading this? I know why I am writing it. To help me become a better version of myself than I was yesterday.

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Organize my surroundings.  Remove what is useless. Declutter my life and my brain.

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Most of us value intensity. Intensity makes us feel like we are busy, productive and important. Not. True. Slowdown.

Our breathing can shift our minds.  Breathing to conserve my energy. Yes, there is a direct link between emotions and our breathing patterns.

Expand my mind in the great outdoors. Clear my mind.

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Beware of Brutum Fulmen.  Apparently coined by the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder, a brutum fulmen is a harmless or empty threat. It literally means “senseless thunderbolt.”

Lot’s of things in life are empty threats. Even those you scare yourself with – ignore them.

Read: 20 Latin Phrases You Should be Using

Why We Fail to Become Our Best

Doubts don’t kill dreams, delusional thoughts do. Our half-beliefs and uncertain thoughts are trying to tell us something very important and it is our responsibility to listen up and act.

Negative mind chatter

These annoying worries that wake us up early and keep us from moving forward, hold the power to help us grow and become stronger.

While most of us tend to drown out the worry, anxiety and concern, I am interested in finding out what happens when instead of tuning out self-doubt, I give it an ear. What is my self doubt trying to tell me?

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Listening and questioning about my worry and ruminating thoughts of . . .

Guilt.

Do I have my priorities straight? Am I doing what is most important to me? What is best for all? What have I been ignoring? What should I take care of now?

Dissapointment.

How have I let others down? Am I treating others and myself in a caring and endearing way? What have I neglected to do?

Irrelevancy.
Am I continuing to keep up with my skills? Will my work actually effect the lives of others?  Will it make an impact? If not, what might I do instead?
Inadequacy. 
Am I practicing what I preach? Am I as loving, patient and compassionate as I could be?
Undeservingness.
What am I not doing enough of? How can I bring more value? How can I contribute more? Where am I needed?

Self-doubt reminds us that we have work to do. It nags at us -we need to improve.

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It tells us that we are not finished, that we can and we should try to become more . . .thoughtful. . . honest, intelligent. . .loving, patient, wise. . .compassionate, empathetic. .

The uncertainty and apprehension of self-doubt, the emotions that ride along, that keep us fearful and manifest into worry and anxiety can really improve us. If we listen and take action.

These feelings don’t have to drown us and we don’t have to drown them.

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Yet and while we are at it, we must hold on to some confidence. Anxiety and worry should push us to power on, to move forward and to hone our skills, better our behavior and become an improved version of our former selves. Not break us down.

BUT. . .

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First things first, we must cease and desist the ongoing self-delusion.

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“you think I’m crazy,” she said.

“no,” he said, “you’re not crazy enough”

 

Few people nowadays know what man is. Many sense this ignorance and die the more easily because of it . . . I do not consider myself less ignorant than most people . . . I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me. My story is not a pleasant one; it is neither sweet nor harmonious as invented stories are; it has the taste of nonsense and chaos, of madness and dreams like the lives of all men who stop deceiving themselves. (Hesse 105)

Hesse, Herman. Siddartha, Demian, and other Writings. Ed. Egon Schwarz. New York: Continuum, 1992.

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I am deceiving myself every time I . . .

  • underestimate the amount of time it takes to do something.
  • continue on with conflicting behavior that does not align itself with my ideals.
  • set goals that I don’t yet have the tools, skills or talent to reach.
  • think I got my point across, when I believe I made myself understood but the other person did not listen- did I use the right words, the best tone, how can I command more respect, get others to really listen?
  • tell myself that was my very best – I gave it my all. Push on.
  • blow things out of proportion – thinking that problems are bigger than they really are.
  • make excuses for bad behavior -lashing out, behaving poorly or treating others in a way I would never wish to be treated.
  • tell myself something is going to be easier than it actually is.
  • have an idea, that I think it’s a great idea, even though I haven’t tested it.

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Those who are slow to confess their errors are busy constructing lies to conceal them. – Unknown.

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Sometimes we must detach as we question.
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& remain cautiously optimistic, which is fostered as . . .
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. . .a feeling of general confidence regarding a situation and/or its outcome coupled with a readiness for possible difficulties or failure.

Directions for listening and acting on self-doubt and delusion.

Take inventory. List what must be done and then take deliberate action. Self doubt will dissipate and melt away with each attempt you make, measure you take, routine you practice, habit you build. . .  the stronger you will feel, the more confident you become. Taking action to improve your behavior will soothe away the worry and concern.
Remember it is thoughtful and deliberate action . . .
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continue on with dedicated practice . . .
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Featured image 

Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach, 1938 by Salvador Dali

On Thinking Clearly & Writing More Nobly

The Goal: A Completely Transparent & Unclouded Mind

I am not an online shopper. I don’t buy much stuff at all. But this week I’m anxiously checking my mailbox daily. I’ll try (almost) anything to tame my unsettled and restless monkey mind.

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What did I order, you ask? A brain boosting mushroom (minus the visuals ) coffee with lion’s mane (supposedly good for memory and in a category of safe, smart drugs or nootropics) as well as chaga and Rhodiola which was used by the vikings to calm the nervous system while enhancing immunity from Four Sigmatic.

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I am also creating my own filters so I can focus on. . .

Paying Attention to What Matters Most

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As I listen to Jason Silva at The Sydney Opera House explore the exponential growth of technology and how it is shaping our personalities, I realize how much a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.  In a world of abundance, the only scarcity is human attention. Recommended reading: from Kevin Kelly The Inevitable, Understanding the Twelve Technological Forces that Will Shape Our Future.

How Time Totally Trumps Money

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With all there is to be distracted by. . .hell, time moves oh too quickly.

So as I focus on what to study, read, learn and create, I tell myself, I can always make more money, but I can’t create more time.

Listen to How to Waste Money to Improve the Quality of Your Life

 

On Writing More Clearly & Nobly

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Studying Lu Chi’s Wen Fu: The Art of Writing

From Catalogue of Genres

A body of writing may take any of a thousand forms,

and there is no one right way to measure.

One whose language remains muddled cannot do it;

only when held in a clear mind can the language become noble.

A New Definition of a Billionaire (No.6)

True transformation, real personal change, can come from a spark of inspiration or devastating disruption. When you have been so turned on that your Hell Yes becomes your mantra for mind-blowing transformation or when you have dug yourself into such a deep hole that there is no way out but a mandatory intervention of

something has to f😎king change.

That moment that transforms your mind and ignites your soul can be fueled when you follow through with relentless daily discipline and commitment.

Are you ready?

On Being Comfortably Uncomfortable

In order to evolve we must have a deep, deep, deep desire to make the transformation true and we must be committed to doing things differently than we have done before. The danger lies in falling into daily ruts and remaining stifled by how we feel.

We can get comfortably uncomfortable with the false security of rituals and habits that do not serve us well in the long game of life. We trade out comfort for the moment, doing what feels natural and safe, for what might makes us healthier and stronger in the future. It’s the sacrifices and compromises that we don’t want to do now for a stronger and more fulfilled tomorrow.

Boxing Ourselves In

This in turn limits our lives. Boxes us in. We become strangely satisfied with what the day brings and when we stop seeking and searching for improvement we fall into a sleep walking state. A trance that keeps us from improving any further.

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Unraveling our Lives

If you can challenge yourself to become stronger, to feel uncomfortable, to stretch your mind and body, just a little bit every day you can unravel the state you are in.

It begins by waking up, by becoming more aware of the excuses you make for yourself and others, the annoying and recurring problems you have each day. The pain points you drown in another glass of wine or another tasty toke.

Do like those in the program. Clean up your errors. Admit your mistakes. Don’t kid yourself. Apologize and move on.

Facing Frustration

There is something absolutely energizing and almost fun when we begin to agonize over decisions and face our frustrations. Too little money, too much weight, not enough true friends, exhausting tasks at work. There is something empowering that happens to us when we face the frustration and work on each problem one at a time.

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Are you doing the things that are putting you in a position to soar?

Are you preparing yourself for how you will respond when

life destroys your sense of meaning?

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I am currently obsessed with developing a way to bring on an exhilarating neurostorm of enlightenment to the truth and limitless possibilities of this moment and the next.

It is what it isn’t. 

I have zero respect for the status quo, for what is and for what we perceive to be the “truth”, this so-called reality. I  also have distain for the phrase “it is what it is” – so much so, that I banish those that use the phrase from my mind kingdom.

anxiety-and-depression-gemma-correllNo, no, no your reality right now, whatever it may be, is precisely what you have chosen it to be right now. Your reality is what you perceive it to be. Your reality is connected to your attitude and the attitude you have can completely transform whatever situation you are in right now.

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Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Read: Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

Focusing Intently on What You are Becoming

Doing What Feels Natural isn’t Always What’s Best

Sure your habits might feel natural. You might explain your actions as something you just do, but that doesn’t make them good. Trade up your habits in favor of getting rid of what’s “natural” for  you. Eat less sugar, walk a little further, smile a lot more. Raise the stage for something that’s better. Experiment with new ways of naturalness. Upgrade your life.

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Undervaluing & Over Working Yourself to Death

If your frustrated and tired of not making enough money or stressed about how much you give in return for what you get, perhaps it’s time to stop undervaluing and over exerting yourself.

If you were to truly value all the gifts you give to the world, how would your world change? It is one thing to be modest and humble; it is another to have poor , low self-esteem. Do you know the difference?

Sometimes our esteem can be lifted by learning, by becoming more valuable through knowledge to have us become more confident at what we do. Remember, we don’t necessarily get paid for our time, we get paid for the value we bring to the hour.

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Seek, discover and focus on yourself. A winner is someone who recognizes his talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills and uses both to accomplish goals.

Regardless of anything else, always do more than what you get paid for, and do it well. This is not undervaluing. This is doing the right thing and the right thing is always the best thing to do.

Living in Fear

I have a four year degree, but I never paid attention in history class.  It was an online Coursera course with Professor Jeremy Adelman ( Director of the Council for International Teaching and Research at Princeton University) co-author of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of Humankind from Beginnings to the Present that led to a big realization.

We’ve Always Been at War

At first I as astonished at how violent our world history really was – from Genghis Khan to Adolph Hitler. I have come to accept that we have lived in perilous and troublesome times for thousands and thousands of years. Nothing has changed. There will always be disruption, pain, corruption and manipulation. It is how we deal with the pain of living, how we face our fears and obstacles that makes us who we are.

Read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way

Worried about your job? The stock market? Your 401K? Your worth is directly related to your philosophy, not the economy. What is your philosophy towards life? How can you improve it?

1. Focus on What You Are Becoming

Some of us can survive (for how long?) as an elemental force of chaos with supernatural charisma, sloppy planning and dumb luck. We make decisions driven by emotional reactions, petulance and paranoia and in turn we make a mess of our lives.

If you are stuck, remember your life is very malleable. The best way out of a problem you have right now is to do your best right now.

Make a decision to set goals – what people do you want to meet, books you want to read, places you want to go, experiences you want to have. . .

If you dare to change, everything will change for you. Adopt a new vision as your truth. When mankind decided we would fly, we flew.

Distort your reality field. Imagine you, only different.

Sure we can all use more money, good friends and less worry. For one day, forget about what you need and focus on what you are becoming.

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2. Ask Better Questions

In the age of smartphones, Google and Quora, answers are a dime a dozen and very easy to find.  Forget about the answers. If you want to solve the bigger problems, ask better questions. Start with “What if . . .”

What if I took that online course? What if I said I was sorry? What if I joined the gym?

3. From Emotional Pain to Physical Embodiment

Don’t be so focused on your work that your ignore signals of your body. Especially stomach issues.

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4. Getting into The Flow State

Supercharging your thoughts is a healthier way to stage yourself for altered states of being.

Get out of the every day. Take on new experiences, new places, new spaces, transcend the ordinary. Rest, relax, seek novel experiences and environments. Disconnect and reconnect with your child-like mind. Rediscover the place of wonderment. Get into a state of unbelievable lucidity. Chase experiences that put you in the zone.

Try it. For one day, give everything you’ve got into everything you do.

5. Plus, Minus, Equal

Find three important people in your life. A mentor, a partner and someone to inspire.

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6. New Definition of Billionaire

Become a billionaire. Someone who positively effects the lives of a billion people.

7. Your Mental Diet

Stand guard at the doorway of your mind. Feed your brain delicious food. A few inspiring books, blogs and people I have been consuming this past week.

Jason Silva’s Seeker a dose of knowledge to help you make sense of what is happening in the world around us.

Steve Job’s 10 Rules for Success.

Why it’s important to always stay a student, Ryan Holiday author of The Ego is the Enemy.

Life advice from the mentor to the masters, Jim Rohn

Wait but why? one of my favorite new blogs. Check out this post on building a mental swiss army knife.

The sky is not the limit, but your mind absolutely is.

Where there is an open mind, there will always be a new frontier.

 

 

Through Giving We Are Truly Living

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We all play many roles in life, sister, brother, wife, husband, doctor, lawyer, manager, director. . .  Sometimes there are roles we want to play and other times their are roles we get to play. Taking care of a terminally ill loved one who may not be the best version of themselves due to pain, anguish and fear is not an easy role to play. My brother and his wife have taken care of my dear Aunt Angela with grace, love and humility. She passed away from pancreatic cancer in January.

My Aunt taught me so much, not just by words, but by effort and example.

Her biggest lesson to me -to give is to live and through giving we are truly living.

I feel blessed to have been able to spend time with her and to have been touched by her inspiration, passion and immense love for life. She gave freely of her time, her advice, her thoughts and her talent, energy and heart. The time she spent here with us was spent meaningfully and connected with our hearts and souls.

If she was needed, she showed up, fully armed with the research, willingness and incredible desire to be as helpful and encouraging and as compassionate as she could be. Whether it was with her career (she learned how to code at age 50 so that she could keep herself relevant and be helpful to the company she was working with) or it was through her mother’s dying days and her husband’s long and horrific bout with cancer. Aunt Angela continued to give even supporting my daughter who suffered a traumatic brain injury through long patient phone calls, letters and loads of love.

Aunt Angela would do the work and become knowledgeable in the best way to help and support those she cared about. Whatever she did, she was all in. No holds barred.

Without leaving out a detail she gave fully and with this giving she was fully engaged in life. She knew how to create space for others through their pain and suffering when it was needed and she also knew how to encourage us to move forward.

Aunt Angela is truly unique and has an astonishing combination of creativity and discipline. Whether she was expressing her love of life through photography, ceramics, knitting, writing, baking, cooking, she dove into each project deeply to learn and practice with disciple and determination.

I was both fascinated and amazed at Aunt Angela’s ability to turn “pro” at whatever she put her mind to.

Aunt Angela gave so much of her time through listening for hours on end while not judging but holding space for the most vulnerable parts in all of us and at the same time she knew how to fight, to be strong and to persevere. She did this so well, that at first I found it extremely challenging to understand why she did not want to continue with experimental and alternative treatments for pancreatic cancer. However I have come to understand and appreciate her deep spirituality and connectedness to life that left her unafraid to move on and she has done so with dignity and courage.

Aunt Angela was like a second mom to me. So different than her sister, my loving mother, who is incredibly strong-willed, intelligent, wise and incredibly loyal. Together, the combination of these two amazing women, these spirited souls, I have been blessed to have the guidance and love to keep me on track, navigating life with gratitude and appreciation for each and every miraculous moment here on earth.

It is with Aunt Angela’s fantasy-filled, child-like mind that I have gotten through the saddest and most tragic events in life with faith and understanding that we learn and grow from it all.

Aunt Angela may not have had a huge network of friends and acquaintances but to those that she held dear she made certain to give all that she had. Her time, her energy and love.

I will always take with me her biggest lesson. To give is to live.

 

peak performance

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I really appreciate practical approaches for creating meaningful change in my life.

In the last few days, I have gathered some tips from Tony Schwartz author of The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal and Robin Sharma The Greatness Guide: 101 Lessons for Making What’s Good at Work and in Life Even Better

My focus this week, moving from the survival zone to thriving in the performance zone.

This is where many of us spend a good portion of our days. I  was just a mess yesterday as I spent my morning commuting through Manhattan’s busiest transportation hubs thinking about terrorist threats. I shut off the news immediately and stayed out of the subway.

Letting anger, frustration or fear take control. We don’t normally choose it, most of the time it happens to us. Whether we don’t feel appreciated, valued, respected or recognized, it doesn’t matter. We just can’t really live our best lives in this state.

the performance zone

A place where we feel clarity, freedom and a sense of accomplishment. This is a nice place to be. I like it here.

Robin Sharma recommends starting each day with a 20/20/20 lift off.

20 minutes of exercise, 20 minutes of journaling (gratitude and thoughts) and 20 minutes of learning.

Tony Schwartz recommends the four following simple ways to living better days.

Physical –  sleep more -it’s more important than eating. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier and wake up 30 minutes later. Play around with the time and see how you feel.

Emotional – feeling frustrated? Don’t send that email just yet! Quiet down the body with deep breathing in for a count of three and out for six. Do it slowly for three minutes.  This cuts out the flow of cortisol and puts your body and mind into a more relaxed state.

Mental – do the most important thing every morning for 60- 90 minutes (no more) every day. Do the work that will add the greatest value to your life and business first.

Spiritual -remind yourself who you are serving and reconnect to your values. Doing the right thing. Ask yourself everyday How would I behave at my best today?

I am curious, how do you lift off for better days? All practical tips and advice are welcome. Please share!

Maintaining Momentum

How to be irresistibly relevant in your life and your career by taking extreme ownership over your future.

1. Adapt

darwin

2. Update

I liken this to updating your internal operating system. Discover the essential actions you need to do, the specific knowledge you must have and the most efficient skills needed to become great at what you want to do.

3. Skill Building

Soak up the knowledge needed to build these skills by using on demand learning tools like Udemy, Coursera and Lynda. Education has never been more accessible and affordable. Stumble your way to success by learning, practicing and doing. Practice your new skills daily.

4.Tune in to News

Set your Twitter, Instagram and SmartNews channels to key words for up to the minute news and information about your profession, industry, career path or passion.

5. Meet Up, Connect and Communicate

Join communities of people that are committed to doing the same. It could be a special invitation on eventbrite, meet up or a Facebook group. Connect with others and learn from them. 

Emerson

#motivation

#mondaymotivation