Be The Light You Need

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And in the word’s of William Shakespeare. . .

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

Your fate is in your beliefs and behavior, and how you respond to life events.

 

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Those who have been reading know that I am working on improving my behavior. Here I share a few things that have changed. These are new perspectives that have helped me grow.

1. I have let go of trying to change or control others. You just can’t. Change yourself instead. Besides, it’s more interesting and rewarding. Life changes, when you transform. You heal, life heals. It is that simple.

2.     Realize that feelings should be processed not suppressed.

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3.   Give up suffering needlessly, no longer worrying about worst case outcomes. The truth is, life is full of surprises. You must be wise enough to know that life doesn’t always produce what you wish would happen. It’s typically creates what is most likely to happen. Prepare for that.

4.   Learn to listen and observe more, to understand what is really happening around you.

5.   Take stock of this moment while mindfully paying attention to the here and now.

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6.    Choose to be more responsible of all that is happening in your life. I am beginning to own mine. It makes me feel stronger. More accountable. Even a little more in control.

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7.    Understanding that you should embrace your eccentricity. It’s what makes you, you. Don’t be worried about being different. Appearing normal will get you no where. Stop behaving as if you are seeking the approval of others. Seek approval from yourself.

8.    Please continue to release all that no longer serves you. Let the useless go. People, places, things.

9.    No more delusional thinking. Experience reality for what it is, not what you wish it was. That is kind of like #3.

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10.   Seek clearly without judging. Then you will see it most realistically. Reality is your friend.

11.   Honor yourself and your desires.

12.   It’s not necessary to share every little emotion, thought or feeling with anyone who will listen.

13.   Forgiving and letting go. Put that on repeat. It is so freeing.

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14.    Cease to react to every little thing that happens.

 

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The Benefits of Becoming More Self-Aware & Emotionally Intelligent

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Have you ever thought back on some of the most important decisions you’ve made in your life and wondered “What was I thinking?”  I certainly have. When we are reflecting on how we got here, perhaps we should be asking “What was I feeling?”  What state-of-mind were we in, that led to the some of the poor decisions made?

You see, when we make decisions based on emotions from fear and anxiety, we create a recipe for disaster.  Deciding to do something because you are afraid of doing something else or fear you will have no other choices or options at all, will get you absolutely nowhere.

Better decisions are made when you arrive at conclusions with a sense of strength and courage. The outcomes of those decisions will help you grow and evolve with increased clarity and self-improvement. The more thoughtful your decisions, the more quality you will have in your life.    I promise.

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You begin by becoming more emotionally intelligent – while understanding the role that your emotions play in everything you decide to do. Allowing any and all of your emotions to channel the way you move forward is not the best course of action. You don’t just listen to your gut. That is not enough. You must first think, feel, consider all options and then make a plan. A plan to deliberately move in the right direction.

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When we make decisions, like where to work, who to marry, who to befriend based on deep-seated emotions of fear, insecurity, and anxiety, we never make the best choices.

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And please don’t doubt this one bit. The more well-thought out decisions you make today WILL lead to an improved life tomorrow.

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Bike riding around Greenpoint, Brooklyn yesterday, this quote, in the window of Word, the bookstore, really resonated with me.

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Oh and these emotions and feelings we speak of, they are so complicated, aren’t they?

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So how do we begin to understand our emotional triggers, the things that we feel that scare us, make us feel useless or violated, maybe even shameful and guilty?

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Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in an effective and positive way. A high EQ helps individuals to communicate better, reduce their anxiety and stress, defuse conflicts, improve relationships, empathize with others, and effectively overcome life’s challenges.

Our emotional intelligence affects the quality of our lives because it influences our behavior and relationships. EQ is synonymous with self-awareness because it enables us to live our lives with intention, purpose, and autonomy.

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Why Running Away From Your Feelings Will Keep You Stuck in the Same Place

Running away from intense emotions of pain, anger, and resentment is what we do sometimes.   We numb these feelings with a smoke of this and a sip of that. It’s such an easy way out, but only temporarily.  Why do we stuff our sorrow and run from our feelings? I truly believe not many of us want to feel our suffering, but suffer on we must.

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If we would just consider that inside each moment of suffering is a superb amount of life teaching. A whole world of emotional education to help us grow.  It begins with learning the process and ability to express,  dismantle and adjust as you strengthen your locus of control.

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What you need to do is understand that what is actually happening is your world right now and how you feel about it are two DIFFERENT THINGS COMPLETELY.

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You must urge yourself to develop the ability to differentiate your feelings from what is actually happening in any given situation.

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Life is what it is, not what you think, feel or believe it is. That is just you painting the dark cloud of your emotions on top of the situation and changing it into your story. Your emotions are just a response to what is happening at any given moment, they are not what is actually happening.  Whatever you are feeling about anything, whether it be good, bad, sad or pleased has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on at that moment or what the outcome will be.

It is up to you to understand what issues you have inside that are trigging your troubled (or pleasant) emotions.

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This applies to everything. For example, your spouse may be drinking too much, getting sloppy and lashing out at you. That is what is happening. How you feel about this situation may be sad, angry, frustrated and deeply concerned, which in turn will have you creating a story in your mind. A story of victimization and loss. Those feelings may or may not drive you to do something, but they are not healthy for you.  When you remove your emotional responses, you will realize you have options. You have an option to remove yourself from the pain your spouse is causing you.

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A Better Way to Navigate Your Emotions

Sometimes it is a good idea to overcome your frightened emotions by meeting them head on in order to improve. This would include things like forcing yourself to speak in front of a group in order to get over the fear of public speaking. Yes, the obstacle can become the opportunity, but on a day-to-day basis, it is wise to do the following as you learn more about how you can manage your emotions.

Know What Triggers Your Emotions

Place yourself in favorable situations and avoid those that trigger heightened responses.

In other words, stay away from people that get your angry, places that make you feel uncomfortable and situations that somehow have the power to upset you. Become more aware of what makes you “fly off the handle”.

Make Things Easier for Yourself

Especially when you are learning something new in the beginning. For instance, if you are trying to learn how to draw, sing, act or run your own business. Look for ways to simplify the process. Make it easy to start.

Implement with Strong Intention & Attention

The key to any transformation (read: change) in your life, is to focus on your intention and attention on what you are trying to achieve. Keep your eye on the goal and don’t let your competitive nature get in the way.  This will help manage things like jealousy and resentment as well as perceived obstacles in your way.

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Inspired by 10 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by @BriannaWiest

 

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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Deep Self Awareness & The Numbness We Call Normal

It’s pretty damn simple really. It all boils down to how we experience our lives. How alive we are in the moment. How we show up.

How we experience life depends on how conscious we truly are.  

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The question is, how deeply awake we are as we experience our life. If we were radically honest with ourselves and woke up enough to notice, we’d admit that the majority of us are just sleepwalking children.

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Everything we do is so habitual. Well, at least for me.

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The God You Would Like to Believe In

Into the sixth week of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and I am actually realizing that what we really want to do is what we are really meant to do and that the notion of striving, sweating, clinging, falling and staying small is just a terrible idea.

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The notion that there really isn’t enough time in our days to do the things we want to do is ridiculous. In the “Recovering A Sense of Abundance” practice, Julia has us writing and thinking about the God consciousness that has remained unexamined since our early childhood. A God that will hold back anything from us is absurd. This includes the freedom for us to let go and live the creative lives we were meant to live.

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She inspires us to awaken to our creative and generous genius God who wants us to have fulfilling, enjoyable and creative work. We are the ones who deny ourselves the luxury of designing a new life for ourselves. We do that. Not God. Now let’s get out of our way, shall we?

Embracing Great Souls & Wacky Assholes

I give my husband the credit for turning me on to this video from philosopher Tim Freke this morning. I am so glad I remained open (yet stubbornly so) to get back in bed to watch Tim explain how to become more deeply awake to our breautifully complex humanness and to our lives.

It’s remarkable how with a simple new thought, we can create a tremendously different new world for ourselves. It’s about waking up from this numbness we call normal. Waking up to our oneness and celebrating our individuality. 

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How to Have A REALLY Good Day

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Keep it simple. If you want to have a good day, do some good.  Take a good nap. Read a good book. Make a good meal. Have a good call. Watch a good movie. Workout Good. Have good sex. Have a good cry.  You see all that good adds up.

More stoic wisdom from Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living.

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Wise Advice for Waking Up to Your Life

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Here’s a Damn Good Recipe for Failure & Unhappiness, for a life of misery.

Be self-righteous, wallow in self-pity, drown the day in fear and complacency. Look at your life and others with anxiety, jealousy, and hatred.

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Now here’s a More Delicious Recipe for Harmony, Peace & Happiness, for an extraordinary life.

Take it on the chin. Be flexible, resilient, forgive more. Work smart and hard and always look at life with confidence and gratitude.

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The Waking by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke

When life feels like . . . .

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Repeat this little prayer. . .

a prayerRight now I am frustrated because I am not taking better care of myself. Which got me wondering about the payoffs I experience for staying stuck in my progress. For not waking up more and doing what needs to be done to change what I don’t like about my life.

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Dig deep for the payoffs for not moving towards your goals today. Ask yourself some BIG questions.

  • What am I avoiding? Hard work maybe? Self-discipline? A little pain now for bigger gains later?
  • Who am I punishing by staying this way?
  • Am I avoiding the true expression of my emotions? Are they too frightening to feel?
  • What if I am waiting for a guaranteed miracle? Who will bring it to me?
  • Perhaps being stuck is really manipulating myself and others?
  • Maybe I am looking for special attention? Wallowing in self-pity?
  • What will I miss most if I do succeed?

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Understand the difference between I will try and I will find a way  “Results are a function of your commitment. Most people are unaware that where they are is exactly where they want to be.”

 

 

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Every Level of Life Demands A Different You

So why did I start this blog in the first place? I started because I knew I had to grow. I knew I had to grow emotionally, spiritually, professionally and physically. I knew that if I didn’t grow and change and adapt, I would be stuck.

I don’t want to be stuck and I don’t want to stay the same. It’s not serving me well.

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At each level of your life, the world demands a different you. A better you. The more (healthy) risks you take in life, the more life asks of you. Life asks for an improved version of you. What does that look like? It looks like YOU with more skills, more love, more patience and more self-awareness.  Not just a new wardrobe.

Growing and moving in this positive direction requires that you adopt a proactive mindset.  Stephen Covey’s Proactive vs. Reactive language choices. From “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“.

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There is something remarkable about growing better each day and discovering parts of yourself you never knew existed. This won’t happen if you aren’t willing to try new things, meet new people and put yourself out there.

Learn and read and watch inspiring people. Visit inspiring places.  This starts with a wish list. I urge you to write down ten things you wish you were doing right now. Trips you wanted to take, classes you wanted to attend, movies you wanted to see, books, etc. It all starts with a desire.

Learn and read and watch inspiring people. Trust me, if you listen attentively enough, everyone is inspiring in some way, shape or form. Some may inspire you to change your attitude because you don’t like the way they behave. Yup. Even some of the most negative people in your life are teaching you something. 

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Turning Things Inside Out

Sometimes it is a good idea to take a look at your negative emotions and try to turn them inside out. Ask yourself what’s good about constantly being worried and afraid? Maybe it’s saving you from taking too big of a risk, like living beyond your means right now? The fear is real. Don’t negate that. But remember to find out why.

Ask yourself what’s good about feeling like you may become irrelevant? Maybe that’s you telling you to start learning new skills.

Ask yourself why you are so mad and frustrated that you still haven’t lost those sticky, pudgy 15 pounds? Maybe that’s you really telling you to become more disciplined with your life. To be more proactive rather than reactive about your life. 

Growing With Your Pain

I am learning so much from Pema Chodron (she is a very wise Buddhist nun). I carry this little book with me wherever I go. It fits in my purse and I read her wise advice throughout the day.

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A Fugitive From My Feelings

Oh this whole emotional growth,  this is a big one. A difficult, frustrating and challenging part of my growth. Something that gives me the feeling that I might just start having those frightening panic attacks again. Nooooooooooooo!!!!

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Instinctively I KNOW that the doors to my life are going to bust wide open when I begin to start facing my feelings. I mean actually feeling them for the first time. You see, for most of my life, I was a fugitive from my feelings.

For those of you who are looking for alternative ways to feel fully alive and present in your life, yes 100% radically accepting life as it comes while putting your best vibes forward, I strongly, highly . . . no I URGE you to listen to Tara Brach’s podcast. Listen to any of them, but one of my recent favorites “Sure Heart’s Release

I would love to know “What Are You Unwilling to Feel?” – comment below. 

I am currently studying how to undo my maladaptive processing of emotions. An article I found here.  Also, a smart and easy technique to Pause, Breathe & Reflect into your sadness and pain here.

Until tomorrow  . . . .

 

Ancora Imparo – I am still learning

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“If anyone can prove and show to me that I think and act in error, I will gladly change it – for I seek the truth, by which no one has ever been harmed. The one who is harmed is the one who abides in deceit and ignorance.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.21

Read: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

It is okay to change my mind today. I don’t need (or want) to always be right.  Go ahead, prove my thinking wrong. Correct me. When I stand corrected, I change for the better,  for resisting may only harm me. 

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If I am not changing, then I am not growing and isn’t growth the whole point? To slip into a better, bigger version of myself each day. Sometimes this requires a real change of mindset.

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Sometimes, the script in our head runs on automatic for years, unquestioned, unchallenged. What if you flipped the script? What would it be like to challenge our thinking? Read: You’re One Moment Away From Being Who You Want to Be

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We might neglect our future selves because of some failure of belief or imagination. – Dereck Parfit.

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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.

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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

The Rhythm of Life Unfolding

Trying to figure out why certain things happen in life is like attempting to piece together a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle while having only a few pieces of the puzzle in your possession.

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You cannot fully understand the present situation using the logic of your finite mind. Just know that a bigger picture exists, even though it is not possible for you to see it at this time.

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Trust, for all that is happening is an act of love; ultimately you will discover the blessing. Have patience! You will look back on this period of your life and be thankful for all this is occurring now.  The Matrix card from The Magadalene Oracle

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Respecting the “timeliness” of an action. 

Welcome to “Indian Time.”’

It’s not easy to explain what Indian Time is. It’s more complicated than assuming everything will be late (though, that’s often a safe bet). I’ve heard Indian Time described as “the time it takes for moss to grow on a stone,” or as one elder put it “the time it takes to do things in a good way.”

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It’s an enigmatic idea based on a uniquely cultural relationship with time. Simply put, things happen when they happen. There are not 24 hours in a day. Time is unlimited, impossible to cut up into chunks. 

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If something is to happen at 11 am, it might happen at 11:01 am or 12:26 or 1:11 pm. It will happen when it will happen. The universe has its own heartbeat, and who are we to speed it up or slow it down? To some, it’s an excuse to be late. To others, it’s a way to avoid ulcers.

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“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”
Dalai Lama

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Every single moment gives us an opportunity, a choice. Close the gap of what you are capable of doing and what your actually doing. Be the best you, right now. How do we live consistently as the best version of ourselves?  Read: The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly

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Inspired by human potential thought leader Bryant McGill author of Simple Reminders

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Minding What Really Matters

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Observing what happens around us without filters or prejudice. Now that’s something to soak up. A life skill worth practicing.  Try rewiring that into your brain. How often we get frustrated because life is not suppose to be this way or that way?  As if it was always our call.

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It’s so easy to get mad when things don’t go our way. It’s even easier to sleep walk through our days. On autopilot, we just cruise through the hours without even taking notice of the small things that need real care.  The tiny pain points that pop up, that if we just focused on now, would never get out of hand.  The things that really matter. Perhaps this is how bigger events and problems suddenly catch us by “surprise”.  When we avoid the smaller, seemingly “meaningless” things in life. We shrug them off. “It is what it is.” “She’s just like that.” “I’ve been meaning to take care of that.”

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An important skill to learn is to know how to sniff out the unexpected before it scares the hell out of you. It starts with paying attention to your life.

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I am sure you realize that more often than not, there are usually many warning signals before something goes surprisingly wrong. It’s just that we were so distracted at the time.

To detect early warning signals, you need to build up your curiosity. Paying attention involves asking many questions and developing a wide network of friends and family willing to tell you the truth, even when it is spiked with anxiety and panic.

Collect all the rumors and paranoia that blow around you and your life and then separate the signal from the noise. Now, that’s paying attention.

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Paying attention also asks that we ask the important question –

“What can you do today that will make a difference, not only in your life but in others?”

Becoming a More Attentive & Thoughtful Human

Encourage yourself to grow with quick and easy learning (YouTube), and create a personal mindset that allows you to make well-intentioned mistakes while paying attention. Taking notice, trying new ways of problem solving and staying awake at the wheel of life – it’s all a skill.

Don’t let your mind turn into a black hole where bright ideas go in but nothing useful ever comes out. Be an idea-driven human that values fresh thinking and doing.

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Understand your strengths and weakness which will show you where your vigilance is strong and where you are vulnerable. That’s paying attention to yourself.

Minding What Matters

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‘What actions can I take that will benefit not just myself, not just my  family, not just my community, not just my work, but all it’ – that’s when you start to see possibilities for greater freedom.”  That’s when you start paying attention to what matters. Inspired by “Leading the Life You Want“.

Happy and successful people focus on what really matters and who really matters to them. And then they take actions that are consciously and deliberately designed to make things better for them and the people around them.

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Find meaning in mundane tasks while playing on your strengths. Apply skills you have in one area of your life to another.

Act with creativity and courage—and continually experiment with new ways of getting things done. An exercise for enhancing your skill in being innovative is called Scenarios. Identify a goal in any part of your life, and describe the results you want to achieve. Be as specific as you can. Then identify three alternative courses of action that would achieve the same results. For each potential path, list the resources you will need, the people whose help you’ll draw on, and how much of a stretch beyond your comfort zone this would be for you. By taking time to think through different options, you increase the flexibility of your thinking. Brainstorming about creative possibilities puts your focus on the goal, or results, rather than on one way to get there.

Inspired by Leading the Life You Want and 18 Questions that could change your life