Overcoming Distractions & That Overwhelming Feeling

Distractions keep us from focusing on our mission. If you don’t have a mission, that’s okay, think of your mission as anything you say that you really want to “focus” on if you had the time, the money, the resources. You know, your hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

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Everything feels like a distraction at times, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed especially when distractions are inviting and enticing.

Do what Adam Robinson does. Ask yourself this question – my notes from Tribe of Mentors.

Where should I be focusing my attention right now?

Mission

 

Art by Russ Mills

https://byroglyphics.co.uk/

Why Keeping an Open Mind and Heart is The Healthiest Thing You Can Do

Having had my fair share of stressful and painful experiences, I am intrigued by studies that explain how negative emotions manifest as physical pain in our bodies. I am specifically interested in the role of stress and the condition of our heart because even though our heart governs most of our decision making, we truly take for granted one of the most magnificent masterpieces of creation.

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A New Type of Heart Attack in this article from Harvard’s Heart Health Newsletter.

Most heart attacks are due to coronary arteries being blocked by blood clots that form when plaques of cholesterol rupture. The lack of blood flow through the blocked arteries results in heart muscle dying — hence the name “heart attack.”

But over the past few years, physicians have come to recognize and better understand another form of heart attack. This unusual type of heart attack does not involve rupturing plaques or blocked blood vessels. It is called takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or stress cardiomyopathy. Japanese doctors, who were the first to describe this condition, named it “takotsubo” because during this disorder, the heart takes on a distinctive shape that resembles a Japanese pot used to trap an octopus. The disorder was commonly believed to be caused by sudden emotional stress, such as the death of a child, and to be far less harmful than a typical heart attack. For that reason, some had also labeled this condition “broken-heart syndrome.”

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Purifying Your Heart

In the yogic tradition, so-called heart blockages are caused by unfinished and unprocessed emotions. They call this energy, Samskara, which in Sanskrit means “impression”. You know, the things that make either a good impression or bad on us that we can’t seem to get “over” – those things that cause our mind to ruminate on horrible or remarkable experiences that have happened to us. The heart and mind playing an important role in making us feel inspired and loving or apathetic and victimized.

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Our heart is an instrument made of extremely subtle energy that few of us come to really appreciate. The heart’s energy flow (referred to as Shakti, Spirit or Chi) plays a very important part of our lives and experiences.

The heart controls our energy by closing and opening. For example, you can experience great feelings of love for someone until they say something negative towards you. Vascilating between open-hearted and closed. For deeper reading on The Secrets of The Spiritual Heart, a chapter of the book I have now read five times, I recommend The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.

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So science is also demonstrating that volatile emotions like anger and hostility are bad for heart health. But studies have shown that some of the quieter emotions can be just as toxic and damaging.

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“Study after study has shown that people who feel lonely, depressed, and isolated are many times more likely to get sick and die prematurely – not only of heart disease but from virtually all causes – than those who have a sense of connection, love and community,” Dean Ornish, MD, tells WebMD.

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Author Michael Singer explains that we have spent a lifetime of storing up unresolved conflicts which can lead to a heart that is shut down and closed for business. But all is not lost. We have a choice.

We can simply allow the experiences of life, whatever we label as good and/or bad — from falling madly in love to experiencing the death of a loved one —  yes, just simply allow those experiences to move right through us.

Will they be joyful and painful experiences? Yes. But the clinging and resisting and wrestling you do with these emotions will no longer distract you from living fully in the moment with an open mind and heart.

The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.

Art by Turkish artist and graphic designer Aykut Aydogdu, based in Istanbul.

The indomitable will of our soul burns on even during the downward spiral of our destiny.

 

The Audacity to Act on Your Dreams and Learning to Trust Yourself

Today’s thought is about the many ways we disappoint ourselves when we say we will do one thing and then do the exact opposite, or maybe, we do nothing at all.
A lack or slack in self-trust can be a very dangerous and stagnating trait to have because it keeps us stuck.
How does the lack of self-trust show up in our lives? Well, sometimes we fantasize about the future to escape the present.
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It’s when fantasy becomes fact in our minds that we begin not to believe or trust ourselves anymore.  This lack of self-trust becomes a black hole that consumes our self-respect.
But how does this happen? A 16-minute read from Mark Manson that will kinda blow your mind about what self-trust means.
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There is no one behavior that will permit you to suddenly trust yourself.  However, a collection of small actions over time will alchemize and inspire an improved sense of trust.
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No. 1 Don’t deceive yourself. See things as they are, not how you wish they would be. As hard as this is, it’s gravely important, less you desire to be repeating  “why didn’t I see that coming?So often we ignore the truth for the lies we prefer.

No. 2 Speaking of repetitive behavior, never repeat the same mistake. Once repeated it’s not a mistake, it’s a damn decision.  Write that mistake down, make it a part of your mantra, tattoo it on your arm, just remember it deeply and move on. Whether that is a person you need to let go of, something you must apologize for or something you did that really hurt another.
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No. 3 Explore. So often, we think we are stuck where we are and we convince ourselves that this is the best place we could be because we are just ignorant of what lies beyond our sites. Get out there, adventure something bigger than what you have right now.
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No. 4. Face the truth. What is your life really like right now? Work with what you have and try something, using what you have, to propel yourself into action. You will astonish yourself when you see how creative you can be.
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No. 5. Tell yourself the truth and speak the truth to all. Do not underestimate the raw power of choosing to be honest in both word and action with everyone including yourself.

No. 6. Do not lie or conceal anything to protect others, no matter how tempting, no matter how little and white or and no matter how small. Tiny lies will eat away at you. You are not “protecting” anyone, including yourself. Speak the truth to your friends, family, and colleagues. It is amazingly refreshing and what the world needs.
No. 7. Do something good, no matter how small, for yourself each day. For one hour a day put yourself first.  Sign up for that class, go for a hike, read that book, write that poem, learn that dance, try that new meal you have been wanting to prepare. Carve out that time for you and no one else.
No. 8. Working towards a goal? a dream? Do something today to move you closer to it and catch yourself quickly if you fall prey to extensive planning and research. That is not moving towards the goal and is a symptom of not trusting yourself. Act, don’t just dream.
No. 9. When trying to make a decision, understand that there is more than one answer, so when figuring out your problem, think of few solutions, and choose the one that resonates and most appeals to you.  Sure it might not be the best solution, but you must get used to making decisions regardless.
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No. 10 Keep small promises to yourself today and please don’t set yourself up for disappointment – take the pressure off – put less on your list. Do the most important and a few of the little things.
No. 11 Take a good look in the mirror. Watch how you talk to yourself inside your head all day. Are you an enemy or a friend?  Be a good friend to you.
No. 12. Trust in your own direct experience, just because someone said on the internet that something is good for you, doesn’t mean it is good for YOU.
No. 13. When considering other people’s advice and opinions, ask yourself, “Do I want to be like this person? If the answer is yes, give their perspective more weight than if the answer is no. If the answer is no and you still take their advice seriously, you are signaling to yourself to trust people you don’t admire more than you trust yourself.
No. 14. Give yourself permission today to freely act on your own truth, logic, and intuition and open your mind to new ideas. Do as James Altucher recommends and keep a log of 10 new ideas a day.  They don’t all have to be good, they just have to be new.
No. 15.  Do not allow yourself to consume bad-tasting conversation or sugar-loaded condiments disguised as delicious and nutritious health foods. Anything you consume should be real, honest and true, so be aware of who you surround yourself with and the habits and meals they bring to the table.
No. 16.  Feel your way to self-trust.

“As we learn to recognize and understand the body’s subtle sensations, and then act on them, our self-trust will grow tremendously. To me it is rather amazing that the body has this innate sense of the truth, as if the body is hardwired for it,” states psychotherapist John Prendergast Ph.D.

Read more here @thoughtcatalog

Begin to sense your surroundings and the people in your line of site with more than your mind. When you are anywhere, begin to feel the energy around you. Get to know yourself better and become aware of how you feel, sensations that arise including smells, tastes, and sounds when you meet someone. Don’t just use your brain.  Using other senses helps you to become more aware of what triggers you and either builds self-trust or breaks it down.
No. 17 Use tools and technology to help you trust yourself.  Here are six wearable devices to track your stress levels and emotions.
Wearable technology already can tell you about your heart rate, sleep patterns, health habits and breathing patterns; all of which can provide just as much insight into your emotional state as your physical state. For example, one Fitbit wearer discovered his device recorded the moment of his breakup. His heart rate soared at the bad news and stayed elevated for the rest of the day as he dealt with the sadness and heartache, showing how closely his emotions affected his physical state. But now, more wearables on the market are designed specifically to monitor your feelings, not just your physical state. These devices work by measuring everything from breathing and heart rate to speech patterns and brainwaves. Armed with information, you learn to recognize your emotional states and learn how to soothe your reactions and control your responses.
More on how to begin to trust yourself from @zenhabits
Art by surreal photos by @Rayda_ealvay, a 19-year-old self-taught photographer, retoucher, and artist based in Perm, Russia. Rayda manipulates her self-portraits into surrealist explorations of identity, emotions, and dreams.

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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Turning Your Passion into Progress

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To be passionate about your dreams is one thing. To realize your dreams and create with purpose is completely another. Oh the danger of being drunk with passion and intoxicated with ideas.

When all we have is passion, we fall prey to being impatient while assuming we will succeed while overcoming our limitations. Limitations are real and something we need to see clearly or we will never make progress. Self-denial about our limitations let us miss where we need to grow and go. We risk the chance of becoming blinded by naive enthusiasm. We promise ourselves more than we can muster. It’s a delusional place to be.

But oh how much fun it can be.

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We all know the loop. Take an idea, what seems like a very good idea and become really excited about that idea. Pumped. Stoked. On fire. We are filled with unbridled enthusiasm, perhaps what many people call passion.

That passion you feel, that deep desire to fulfill that dream, it’s the fire that fuels. Passion may very well be what kicks your ass out of bed in the morning and charges you to move forward, to go forth, to get on with it.

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The Alchemy of Passion

Read: The Surprising Alchemy of Passion & Science from the MIT Leadership Center.

But, passion without execution and the ability to fail and endure is a trap.

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Turning Passion into Progress

Turning your passion into reality requires something more. It requires progress. Sometimes painful progress. Progression – making  headway towards your goals – can and should be measured and tracked with a daily dose of reality. What your passion requires is honesty and clarity.

It might also need a plan.   A deliberate disciplined action strategy and of course the discipline to honor that purposeful plan every day. A blueprint of sorts. A guide. A map.

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But how do you know if you’re really making progress? Harness the data. Measure the feedback. Track how far you’ve come and how far you need to go before your dream(s) are reality.

Planning the process and producing a bit each day, making progress. This is what transforms passion into progress. What makes those dreams come true.

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Passionate activity without purpose is just noise. It might even mean just being busy.

Busy without being productive will keep you spinning your wheels while never making any real progress.

 

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We can ward off that danger of being drunk with passion by being realistic about what we are doing. Staying in the moment, measuring our progress and making corrections to our course each day.

A Critical Look at Our Faults & Failures

The ability to evaluate one’s own ability and progress is an important skill to turning passion into progress. It requires a critical look at what needs to be improved. Including your skills.  How good are you right now, really? How much more do you need to improve? to practice? to plan? to execute. 

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How are you sure that what you are doing is moving you forward?

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Inspired by

Ryan Holiday’s Ego is the Enemy should be required reading for everyone, especially those with a dream, a vision and or a passion. I am finding his book to be one of the most grounding pieces of writing I have read in a very long time. Thank you Ryan.

Illustrator Ruben Ireland

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