Monthly Archives: July 2007

Reflections on Self Growth

Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment. – Stephen R. Covey

If you think about it, all new growth is tender. There is a period of time when one must be gentler than usual. Additional love and compassion go a long way to secure the viability of what is growing inside. When you work on yourself in a conscious, directed way, it’s important to realize that some of the keys to sustaining that growth are patience, a delicate touch and persistence.

During my meditation retreat last weekend, our group worked very hard on overcoming long time, persistent negative beliefs, habits, and fears. Sometimes this can be exhausting work and it helps to relax and do mindless activities to give yourself time to catch your breath. A little self pampering can go a long way to insure that you recover the energy that you have expended. For example, take a nice walk through the forest, eat something light, sit in the sun, listen to music, have a cup of tea, take a short nap or anything that doesn’t require a lot of mental activity. I recommend staying away from activities that can distract you like watching T.V. or work/career activities.

When you remove those old tired ways of reacting to the world, a hole or vacuum is created. This is where you plant a fresh belief or start something new that will eventually turn into a positive habit. If you replace old fears, negative beliefs and rigid ways of thinking with something that you prefer, you have taken the first step in consciously directing your entire life.

I wish you a pleasant day!

Michael

ABC’s – Stop procrastinating

ABC’s – Stop procrastinating

What does this one look like for you? This is one of the words that I had the definition “twisted up” for many years. For a long time, I thought that taking time to sit still was procrastinating. Oh… but it wasn’t. Sitting or standing “still” for a moment was actually a positive action. Then when I was assisting my niece and some other younger friends through tough times, I would easily say to them, just do “something”, always take a step forward. Not that they would have to be “big” steps, just get moving. And while I saw these things solidifying, yet another one came to light. A lot of times people don’t do anything because of fear… mostly of the unknown.

What all this turned into for me, was that taking time to sit, to be calm, would help me get to processing and thinking mode. Then, when done “collecting my data and sorting” it was time to move so that the actions could start again. I have always been comforted by knowledge and learning new things. So I actually took “action” by finding more information.

So to others, I would look like I was procrastinating, I found that I rarely do. And if I am, then I need to allow myself time to sit. Do a little something each day and celebrate my accomplishments instead of beating myself up for not getting MORE done. One bite at a time. :)

Have a blessed day.

Kim

Our Many Faces

For most of us, as we go about our lives, the persona or face we present to people changes depending on the situation and the people that are interacting with us. We show more or less of our real self in relation to how comfortable we feel.

At work, you may show one side of yourself, but at home more aspects are exposed. Parts of you come out more with one friend than another one. We act and interact differently with our family than we do with acquaintances. I’m starting to understand and believe that this may cause struggles in our lives that are more subtle than we’ve previously thought.

Slowly but surely, over a long period of time, we begin to feel less comfortable expressing our true self in any given situation. The small choices we make in this area can mean that we unconsciously begin to act to please others more than ourselves. As we spiral down this path, our self esteem suffers, our self confidence decreases and we depend on others to maintain our level of happiness. Fear of judgment could also develop as we become more uncomfortable showing our true selves.

I’m starting to examine how and what parts of myself I show to others. And more importantly, I’m looking at what parts I’m hiding from the people I interact with on a regular basis compared to others I just meet. Here are the list of actions I’m taking and questions I’m asking to understand what part of me is hiding at any given moment:

  1. Make of list of your closest friends. Write down what parts of yourself that you hide from each of them.
  2. Write down the reasons why you hide that particular part of yourself from each of your friends.
  3. Do you see any patterns?
  4. Pick a couple of friends and a couple of parts that you hide and begin to show that side of yourself to them.
  5. How do they react? Does anything change with the relationship? Do you feel that you are being judged or criticized?

After you’ve become comfortable with my technique, I would suggest going through this list with work associates, acquaintances and people you have never met. My goal is be myself no matter what the situation is or whom I meet. I don’t want to feel like I have to hide anything. I owe that to myself.

Michael

ABC’s – Read, study and learn about everything important in your life

ABC’s – Read, study and learn about everything important in your life

Actually, from “Women at Heart / Word of Heart” I got something that fit for this so well. I have included that below. I can say, that once you find your “true center” the “struggle” goes away. And true understanding and happiness starts.

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LEARNING TO BE REAL

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”

— Alfred Mercier

Educator John Holt contended that learning is a natural process that happens to anyone who is busy doing something real for its own sake. We don’t have to be taught how to learn. We begin learning about life in the womb and if we remain curious, we never stop.

A young student, Jamaal M. Watson, has offered a beautiful new twist to the concept of education: “Each of us has a one-of-a-kind identity – just as we all have one-of-a-kind fingerprints – and what education means is to develop that unique personality so that we each know who we are. Self-discovery is at the bottom of being somebody real. …To discover yourself and find your path through life, you need to have lots of firsthand experiences, mostly on your own in tough situations. It doesn’t do much good to get these experiences second hand from books.”

“You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.”

— Barbara Sher

Wow, it has been awhile…

Hi y’all.

So, I am going to have some new books to put out here and you will definitely “hear” a tone change in my writing. I do so believe in the “Law of Attraction”. I don’t however agree with calling this a “secret”… come on, it’s how everything works… why do we need to keep that a secret? :)

After looking back over the past three and a half years (oh… almost 4) I had quite literally started down a path to manifest a new reality for myself. And once I was “complete” with the journey to center, I can quite clearly see where I made choices that took me away from what I truly wanted. And, I can see where I “fought” or “re-taught” myself so that I could get back to it.

I feel now that I have the tools, the knowledge and the strength to face any challenge, know how to be my own best friend, comfortable with asking for help and receiving gifts. And thankful for all that I am, have been and will be. Now, I am able to love freely, care completely and be strong for those around me.

I will be finishing up with the ABC’s, and somewhere in my “notes” over the past two months, I have another abc list that better fits with my “new” perspective. I won’t make that one as long, cause now I am not “fighting” for center. I have found center and now am back to creating and growing and thriving…. WOW… this stuff is good.

Thanks again to Nat and Michael for getting this site started. It has been very therapeutic for me. To Flo for all her insights. To Rebekah for reminding me to change the sheets. :) And to GOD for bringing us all toghether!!!

Kim

Moments Out of Time

White DaisiesI just spend an incredible weekend at a meditation retreat with friends approximately 7 miles south of Bath, England on an organic farm. The views were quite nice as we were tucked into a valley with rolling hillsides in the distance. Near where we slept was a lovely cut flower garden teeming with many varieties of flowers containing an abundance of white daisies.

Our group (13 to start and 12 to finish) spend hours meditating, talking, relaxing, eating lightly and experiencing the many hidden places of this “wild” farm. My dear friend Rebekah led the retreat and her partner Carlo assisted.

The theme of the weekend was healing. We did many exercises to push through barriers that were preventing us from being what we truly wanted. Many of these workshops were quite challenging for all of us. The group really came together with a common goal of exploration, openness, desire to grow and a strong feeling of wanting to help each other. It was quite an eclectic mix of people and personalities but it all seemed to work out in the end.

FlowersEveryone had a transformational experience that swept aside multiple fears that had haunted each of us for long time. The time for relaxation in between sessions allowed us to regain our strength and think about the experience. The weather cooperated with sun and clouds during the day becoming rainy in the late evening and night. We ended the day on Sunday with a bonfire and a huge feast to celebrate everything we had gone through.

It was a long but incredibly inspirational weekend. I look forward to exploring some of the themes we discussed in future postings.

Have a great day!

Michael

Thoughts on Fear and Courage

Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice. – John McCain

Pain nourishes courage. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you. – Mary Tyler Moore

Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared. – Eddie Rickenbacker

I have a lot of experience with fear. In the past it both defined and restrained me. I had a mixture of different fears that all seemed to percolate under the surface all the time. I had a fear of flying, fear of success, fear of failure, fear of responsibility, fear of the unknown, fear of confrontation, fear of new things, fear of being in a foreign country, fear of getting a new job, fear of meeting new people and etc. It was not fun to be me during those years.

Slowly over time I developed the courage to start understanding and subsequently overcoming my many fears. I think I have a better appreciation for courage because of the multitude of fears I have experienced and lived. As I gained confidence with applying courage to my situation, my approach to overcoming a fear became a little easier.

Courage really begins with that first step taken towards change or a better feeling. If you can do that, each succeeding step gets a little easier. Also, by taking it one step at a time, the scope of your effort is smaller and more manageable.

Today, think about taking the first step. Then simply take it. It will be difficult, but incredibly worth it.

Have a great day!

Michael

Busaba Eathai

One of the many things that make me very happy is Thai food. So, wherever I travel I seek out and taste test Thai restaurants. It’s a thankless job, but I suck it up and perform to expectations every time

Last night, we found a great Thai restaurant in the Soho area of London tonight. Busaba Eathai is located on Wardour Street. This restaurant has great reviews on Zagat.com. It was a short 10 minute walk from the Picadilly Circus tube station.

There was a long line waiting to get in as we approached Busaba. I asked the door attendant how long we would have to wait and he said only 15 minutes. I was surprised, but we were seated almost exactly 15 minutes later. A waiter handed us a menu while we were outside so that we could order as soon as we were seated. It was a great system that seemed to ensure a steady flow of people in and out of the restaurant.

The seating was communal which meant we sat with a bunch of people we didn’t know. It simply didn’t matter. The restaurant was quite loud, very busy and full of people having a really good time.

Now to the most important part; the food. We ordered pad thai, prawns in chile sauce with basil, a green curry with chicken and basil, and an order of coconut rice. The food was simply fantastic. I typically don’t eat the curry dishes, but this one was incredible. I think it was the basil. The prawns had just the right amount of “bite” and a wonderful flavor heavy with basil. The pad thai was light and quite tasty. If you have never tried coconut rice, I highly recommend it. The subtle flavor is a great compliment to any Thai dish.

Overall, we give this restaurant a 5 star. If you are ever in London, I seriously recommend this restaurant.

Have a great day!

Michael

Notes on Happiness

There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. – Carl Jung

The truest greatness lies in being kind, the truest wisdom in a happy mind. – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same. – Anne Frank

The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. – Allan K. Chalmers

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. – Albert Camus

I was thinking a lot today about happiness. Actually, not just today, but practically all the time. :-)

Carl Jung speaks of the contrast and duality that we all experience as we journey through life. Our lives go through ups and downs. It’s what makes us human. My goal is to encourage the happy times to be the bigger part of my life. But I would never want to lose the dark times, the sad times. We must never repress the negative feelings we experience, but instead work through them and bring ourselves back to happiness. We can truly grow as individuals when we do this.

I find it fascinating that all humans have the basic desire to be happy regardless of race, culture or religion. Laughter and smiles are common throughout human culture and even some animals display these traits. All children (humans and animals) love to play and have fun. As I meet and interact with people, I always try to lighten a serious mood or bring a little bit of laughter to a situation. It’s amazing how fast people will relax with one another when they are laughing together.

I’ve been working for years on being happy regardless of my external situation. We aren’t really taught how to do this as we grow up. Typically we look for things outside of ourselves to make us happy; a great job, a wonderful relationship, lots of money and etc. While those external feeds to happiness are fantastic, as soon as they change or vanish, we lose our happiness.

Over the next few weeks, I want to delve more into the internal inputs to happiness that can sustain us through most situations we may encounter.

Have a great day!

Michael

Feelings of Contentment

Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. – Garrison Keillor

As I look at back at my life, I always seem to get exactly what I need. Many times it has not been what I wanted, but like Garrison Keillor’s quote above; I did realize it was truly what I had wanted had I known.

If I think about some of the challenges and struggles in my life, I now realize that I needed them to become a better person or to become more of who I am inside. I don’t think many people actually want challenges and struggles to come their way. It’s easier to glide through life without all of that. But, when you make a conscious effort to work on yourself or improve an area of your life, the struggle becomes a challenge. Because of the conscious nature of this effort, personal growth can be even deeper. Another benefit is that you feel less like a victim of life and more in control of your destiny.

I’ve been working on becoming in sync, so that what I need is exactly the same as what I want. It hasn’t been easy. There are a lot of distractions in the world and persuasive arguments leading one to believe they need something that they really don’t.  I still have quite a lot work left in this area.

One of my intentions for the upcoming meditation weekend is to remove any roadblocks that are causing me to not fulfill my destiny, whatever that may be. I’m looking forward to the insights I expect to gain from my conscious intention.

Take a look inside and find out exactly what you need to grow as a human and to accomplish your desires. Start walking to wards what you need and you’ll find rich rewards along the way.

Michael