Category Archives: Peace

From Intent.com: Being New

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“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”
― Cynthia Occelli

 

Change is innately scary.
There are elements of it that involve things falling away, things passing on, things ceasing to be. If you stay focused on that side of change, you can be frozen in place. Staying the same doesn’t necessarily mean everything is good though. What living things are known for never changing? Part of life and part of health means growing and developing. The most beautiful gardens require pruning and tending not because they are falling apart but exactly for the reason that they are constantly growing.  Continue reading

Terrorism, Fear and the Movies

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This week the whole world grieved at the unfathomable murder of 140 students and teachers in Pakistan at the hands of terrorists. A little closer to home for many of us, theaters pulled “The Interview”, a satirical film from Seth Rogen and James Franco about a news team sent in to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jong-un, after hackers not only hacked Sony’s computer system but released threats to harm movie theaters and movie goers attending the film upon it’s opening this Christmas holiday.

There are a lot of ways to feel unsafe at the moment and people everywhere are speaking up about it. It seems that wherever there are those seeking to live in freedom, there will be others seeking to take it away. On a small scale, this our hope for you this holiday season: Continue reading

After the Diagnosis: Life with Breast Cancer

breast cancer ribbonAnytime someone uses the world “cancer,” stomachs drop and brows furrow. When the word breast cancer is uttered, minds start racing with worries about the worst-case scenario. Leaving the doctor’s office after being diagnosed with breast cancer is one of the hardest parts, as you are literally taking your first steps toward treatment. Breathe — it’s going to be okay.

Get to Know What You’re Dealing With

If you need to break out a recording device to remember everything the doctor said, then do it. Take time out to research all the terms that he or she used. Research the different stages and start finding answers to common questions so you can be better informed. Once you know the basics, you can start asking your doctor the more advanced questions about the cancer and about your treatment.

Start Building Your Support System

Moving forward, you’re going to want a two-tier support system. The first tier should be a significant other or a parent who can hold your hand the entire time and stand next to you during doctor’s visits. The job of this person isn’t easy; they’ll know everything about breast cancer and all of your specific treatments, and they’ll be the second opinion you seek when you make the hard decisions. They’ll also need to be a hand to hold and shoulder to cry on.

The second tier is made up of your friends and family, who will drop by to brighten your day and ask about your well-being. They’ll bring books to read while you recover, gossip to keep you in the loop, and jokes to make you laugh. They’re like breaths of fresh air in a world of medical jargon and stuffy hospitals.

This is actually one of the hardest steps as you start telling those who are close to you about your breast cancer. It starts to feel real, and you have to say it out loud over and over again.

Find Your Voice and Start Asking Questions

Some doctors and hospitals make a patient feel rushed, especially if the cancer seems minor and easy to treat. This might be good news for you, as you’re not a case that the staff is highly worried about, but it can make a patient feel like their not valued or important.

Don’t let the doctor or nurse leave until you have every possible question and concern addressed. You’re already going through a difficult time in your life; you don’t want to be left in the dark in regard to your treatment plan. Ask what test results mean, look at your chart, and have the doctor give explanations of the treatment process.

Treat Yourself

One of the first things you should do after you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer is to treat yourself to cupcakes, that purse you’ve had an eye on, a manicure, or whatever else makes you feel good about yourself. The road ahead won’t be easy, so take a little time to make yourself feel good before you have to face it.

Fighting cancer isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t beat it. Use it to build strength, not weakness.

photo by: TipsTimes

Are You Playing the Blame game?

Yosemite riverIf you’re listening to the news these days, you’re likely hearing a lot of jabbering on Capitol Hill about the dysfunction of healthcare.gov. Though not surprising, I still find it disheartening to hear grown adults, leaders in their field and leaders in government, pointing fingers and playing the blame game. In politics, whatever is wrong is almost always someone else’s fault, definitely the other party’s fault, and perhaps even another country’s fault.

Imagine, just for one moment, what it would be like to live in a world where, when things are amiss, leaders stood up and said, “I see what’s wrong with this picture, and here is where I am responsible for what’s happening. As a result, here’s what I can do to turn it around. Do you support me on this?” Can you imagine? I believe the support would be mind-boggling.

The chances of this happening any time soon appear dim (though with the announcement of Marianne Williamson running for congress in California, the prospects are looking up!). We can, however, focus on our own sphere of influence.

How often do you play the blame game? When something isn’t going well for you, do you point the finger elsewhere or do you examine where you can take responsibility and step up to the plate?

If something isn’t feeling right in a relationship, whether it’s with a friend, a family member, or a lover, do you look solely at the other person for what they can do to fix it, or do you look within at the part you play? It’s so easy to pick apart how other people are failing you, but perhaps not so enticing to examine how you are failing yourself.

For everything that’s going on in your life, you bear some responsibility, even if it’s only in your perspective and certainly in your response. That may sound harsh, but it’s actually exceptionally empowering as it gives you room to move, change, flow, and evolve.

When I was in my teens, my family went through a rough patch. Honestly, at times it was pretty hellish. Due to the circumstances, I realized I could pretty much do whatever I wanted and blame my behavior on family issues, as though it gave me permission to act crazy and throw my life away. Thankfully, at a young age I knew this was not the answer, and that goofing off would only mess with my own path, no one else’s. Ultimately, regardless of the situation at home, I still had jurisdiction over my actions and reactions. Though I had my ways of rebelling (sorry Mom!), I stayed on top of my academic game and ensured my pathway to University.

The same is true for romantic relationships that haven’t panned out. People always want to know, what happened? Well, I could give the easy answer and say he did this and that, but the truth runs so much deeper than that, and it’s one where we both hold responsibility. How could it be any other way? We were both in the relationship and both contributed to its dissolution. If I can’t look at my participation, how can I expect to grow from the experience and into the healthy relationship I desire?

Pointing fingers and placing blame only serves to disempower you. You’re basically saying it has nothing to do with you and therefore you can’t do anything about it. On the flip side, reflecting on where you can take responsibility creates an empowered stance. This leads to choice and action. This leads to forgiveness and gratitude. Isn’t that preferable to hopelessness, self-pity, and anger?

I’m not saying the answer is to let people off the hook. People do shady things, and sometimes that crosses a boundary that cannot be repaired in the context of the relationship. Yet even knowing when it’s time to walk away from an unhealthy situation is a form of personal empowerment. You are responsible for you, and if you find yourself in a situation where most of your energy is going toward what the other person or people are doing to wrong you, it’s time to focus your attention inward on where your power lies to make change for the better.

Yosemite View

Take action now:

1)    In the comments below, share an experience you are dealing with, or have dealt with, where you can take responsibility for your role.

2)    Share this article far and wide, with your friends, family, and social network. The ripple effect of people taking personal responsibility for themselves is profound!

Namaste,

Sasha

You can find Sasha over at her Empowering Wellness blog.

How Gossip is Wasting Your Time

Gossip robs you of energy and is a cheap way to feel good about yourself.

It is pointless entertainment.

Whenever you gossip about someone else you lower your own vibration.

Whenever you gossip you waste your time, and your own life.

Whenever you gossip you give the person you gossip about your energy and power for that moment.

It serves nothing to gossip or speak negatively about another. Gossip is an empty calorie communication, like eating cheap fast food that leaves you dissatisfied.

Ask yourself if the person was there with you whether you would speak in the same manner about them.

Ask yourself if you would feel good about other people speaking the same way about you.

Ask yourself if what you are saying about the other person is loving.

Your words are powerful. They are energy and vibration.

When you speak, you impact yourself and you also impact those around you.

When you gossip about another, you are impacting their world and how others perceive that person.

What impact do you want to have in life?

Know that everything you put out will come back to you. It’s the law of karma. The energy with which you speak about another will come back to you. So be very aware and conscious of what you say.

It’s easy to gossip about those that are successful and going for their dreams. But realize it takes humility to let yourself be inspired by their success and use it as inspiration to live your highest.

It’s easy to gossip about those that are negative and “failing” in life. But it takes courage to hold them with compassion, amidst their pain, and send them love instead.

Commit to speaking about others in a manner that enhances more love. This doesn’t mean you won’t be honest or certain communications won’t be challenging. Rather, it’s an invitation to be clear in your intention.

So, what is the intent for your communication?

If your commitment is to love, then what would you say and how would you speak?

Speak only love.

Or don’t speak at all.

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If you are ready to go to your next level in life join me at www.boundlessblissbali.com Dec.5th-16th. Miracles await you!

Are You Willing To Change Your Perspective?

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 5.08.10 PMYou have been arguing with your mother for years about how she treated you when you were younger. It has allowed for a marginal relationship at best. Are you willing to see you and your mother differently?

You think your boss is a real jerk. He doesn’t communicate clearly or effectively and that bugs you. You feel he is cheap with the compliments about your work and has never seemed to make an effort to have a sound professional relationship with you. Are you willing to see him differently?

We can’t change people. We can, however, change how we feel about them and how we respond to them. We can, if we are willing to see things differently, change how our days and relationships unfold. We just have to see it, want it and choose it.

Most of today’s conflicts happen out of yesterday’s events. We are pros at bringing the past into our present. We allow memories and experiences to keep us small, upset and justifying why it is right to fear, hate or insult. Stories and perspectives from others color our views and opinions so we think things like rich people are selfish, poor people are lazy, Muslims are terrorists, gay couples are trying to upset traditional marriage, nerdy kids are un-popular (or fill in your favorite bias or judgment).

Things improve only when we are willing – when we intentionally choose – to change. Are you willing to see your world differently? Are you willing to stop bringing the story of your biases and judgments that came from your past into your present?

This is important for two reasons:

  1. You could change you. In this judgmental place, we step out of our greatness; we keep ourselves small, petty and critical. In our judgments, we live in a constant state of disappointment, frustration and hurt. Seeing things differently could change this. Most of today’s misery comes from how we allow ourselves to see the world and others, rather than how they really are. We let our stories of who we think they are influence how we relate to them and how we approach our world. You could change this.
  2. You could change your world. The world is built by those who are right here, right now. If we all are willing to get past our stories, biases, and judgments and learn to focus on what is great in each of us, we could transform our world.

We frequently run on autopilot – allowing our responses to drive us instead of driving our responses. By being more present in each moment, we give ourselves greater awareness and control over our emotions, thoughts and therefore our choices. We choose our responses instead of letting them choose us. In that one moment we have the ability to determine if we are willing to see people differently – to see their greatness instead of their failures. We can then see that they are human and are not intended to be perfect – only who they really are.

We have a long history or not allowing ourselves to see things differently – change is hard. Our brain loves routine, the status quo and patterns. It feels safe when it knows what is coming next. This even includes the hurtful and painful things in life. See a battered wife defend her husband or an abused child cling to his or her abusing parent.

What would have to happen for us to want to see things differently – to see from our hearts instead of our heads – to focus on love instead of fear or anger? Because if today’s world isn’t at a place to compel us to change how we see ourselves and others, then I am concerned on what it may take to actually inspire us to make this change.

So back to our relationships. Are we willing to see them differently – as more honest, more intimate, more caring, more loving, more present, more faithful and more forgiving?

Back to our work. Are we willing to see it differently – as more effective, more efficient, more present and more interested?

Back to our lives. Are we willing to see them differently – as more valuable, more significant, more precious, more compassionate and more present?

We choose how we show up to the events of our life; choice is our greatest gift. Since things are our choice, are we willing to choose to see things differently – better, wiser, kinder, more loving – greater? That is the key to building a most amazing world. You have a part. So do I. I am in. How about you?

Lift Yourself Up with a Gesture of Kindness

almost mayThe next time you find yourself in a bad mood, take a moment to pause and ask yourself, “What is my attitude toward myself right now? Am I relating to myself with judgment … or with mindfulness, warmth, and respect?”

Typically, you’ll find that when you’re anxious, lonely, or depressed, you’re also down on yourself in some way, and that undercurrent of feeling deficient or unworthy is what’s keeping you cut off from your own aliveness, as well as your feeling of connection with others.

The way of healing and homecoming begins with what I call “a gesture of kindness.” You might for instance put your hand on your heart—letting the touch be tender—and send a message inwardly. It might be “It’s okay, sweetheart.” Or  “I care about this suffering.” Or, “I’m sorry and I love you.”  Often, it’s simply,  “This, too.”

Sometimes, this gesture of kindness includes saying “yes” to whatever’s going on—the yes meaning, “This is what’s happening, it’s how life is right now … it’s okay.”

If you’re really down on yourself, you can also say “Forgiven, forgiven.” Not because there’s something wrong to forgive, but because there’s some judgment to let go of.

As you offer yourself this gesture of kindness, take some moments to stay with yourself, to keep yourself company. Allow whatever most wants attention to surface, and sense that you are the loving presence that can include and embrace whatever’s arising.

Then, see if you can widen your attention, and notice what or who else is floating in your heart space. Perhaps you’ll intentionally offer a gesture of kindness to a friend who’s struggling with disappointment, a family member dealing with illness, or a teen caught in self-doubt.

As you continue to practice offering yourself and others this gesture of kindness, you will discover that this response to life becomes increasingly spontaneous and natural.  In time, you’ll recognize it as the most authentic expression of who you are.

—Tara Brach,  Labor Day Weekend, 2013

Enjoy this short talk on Dedicating to Kindness

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For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com

Join Tara’s email list:  http://eepurl.com/6YfI

photo by: paul bica

Deepak Chopra: Music & Art on a Path to World Peace

What role do art, music, and creativity play in creating a peaceful, sustainable globe? To consider that question, we might first examine the crucial role artists and creators have in our communities and in our own lives.

In this address to the members of the World Peace Orchestra, Deepak Chopra discusses the role of music and art on creating a path to world peace.

Are you an artist? What role do you think art plays on the path toward world peace?

For more about the World Peace Orchestra, click here.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and never stop creating!

Peace Matters: A Mother Responds to the Call for Action Against Syria

War and PeaceAs I pull my truck up to the local harbor beach, loaded with sunscreened kids, oversized striped towels and inner tubes, John Kerry’s voice breaks in over my radio, tuned into NHPR. “This crime against conscience, this crime against humanity, this crime against the most fundamental principles of international community, against the norm of the international community, this matters to us, and it matters to who we are.”

“It Matters” is an eloquently written persuasive argument in favor of punitive action in Syria for their obvious use of chemical weapons against their own people. And as Kerry pontificates on the necessity of action, I’m mothering my way through the last bits of summer vacation.

Kids tumble out of the truck, doors slam, happy screams pierce, sun shines, and I grip the wheel. How does a peace-seeking person like me feel about this?

I hate war. I hate it. I hate that women who lovingly grow tiny seeds into human beings have to watch as their sons and daughters are sent overseas because the overwhelming majority of men on this planet value power, money and ego over life, love and collaboration.

While I hate war, I do not hate the men who declare it. In fact, the opposite. I love men as much as I love anyone, and I want to see men live long, healthy and productive lives. But as the world turns, I see what men do and what men make and I’m tired of dealing with the consequences of greed, power and competition.

For thousands of years we’ve been deserted by fathers, raped by prom dates, suppressed by regimes, penetrated by uncles, underestimated by brothers, underpaid by bosses, beaten by husbands and ignored by society. For thousands of years we’ve had to stand by while men make decisions about our fate and the fate of our planet. If during these thousands of years, men have not found a way to create a peaceful planet through leadership, it makes me wonder if men truly desire peace. Or are men addicted to conflict and combat? Are they afraid that the end of war will mean the end of their manly value?

Every one of us is hard wired with drive, with the desire to be the best at something, with the need to control our environment. It’s always been this way. But just because this is the way it’s always been doesn’t mean it’s right. History is doomed to repeat itself because we human beings aren’t brave enough to choose collaboration over competition – on a personal level, on a professional level, on a local level, on a global level, on a 1st grade recess level, on a college application level, on an I-got-the-job-now-what level. We’re all at war with one another. All of us. Heck, most of us are at war with ourselves.

We are never happy the way we are, which makes it impossible to accept others the way they are. This seems so mundane, so small. But this is life. This is people. War is people, too. War is one man with a severe sociopathic condition and a powerful following. But the problem of war isn’t THEM. The problem isn’t WHY. The problem is US. You and me. US.

There is so much work to do. And the work doesn’t start in Congress. It starts with you and me. It starts in bed at night when your mind is focused on office politics and peer manipulation. It starts in the kitchen when I stare down a bag of Newman’s Ginger O’s that will only add to my increasingly unmanageable lower belly. It starts on the playground when one sad, confused, pained little boy is labeled a bully because he hasn’t mastered impulse control or feels unlovable and unworthy of kindness. This is where war begins.  With the tiny seed of you and me.

This brings me back to the front seat of my parked Ford truck, simmering in the driver’s seat, white knuckling the wheel, “It matters,” Kerry asserts, “if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens.”

Yes, it does matter, Secretary Kerry. It matters. But peace matters, too. We belong to the most creative human society to tromp the earth. We send rocket ships to Mars, we Skype with our sisters living in Hong Kong, we collect energy from the sun and turn it into electricity. We are innovators. Let’s use this innovation and creativity to inspire peace. There is a way. There is always a way. Peace matters.

No boots on the ground, yes I know. Just a drone strike. But is it ever that simple? Strikes have consequences and I don’t believe for a minute that three-four-shut-the-door will be the result of Obama’s proposed swift and concise action.

More lives, more anger, more more more. How about a little less less less? Doesn’t that sound nice? A little less breaking news? A little less testosterone? A little less shrouded children? A little less worry? A little less tossing and turning? As unlikely as it may seem, peace matters. Peace now.

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