Tag Archives: Ambition

Set Your Intents By Finding Your Passion

As you can see, we are already hard at work at making 2014 the Year of Intent. Mallika wrote a blog post about what makes a good intent and how to write it, but how do you find out what your soul desires?

In our experience setting intents from a place of passion greatly increases your odds to stay motivated to manifest your intent. Do you know what your passion is? For some people it’s simple but for a lot of us that question can be kind of complicated. Maybe we know what area interests us – like writing or fitness or helping people, but we aren’t sure how to refine that into one coherent intent. Or maybe you’re still searching for that thing that makes you happy to get up in the morning.

If the latter is the case try asking yourself a few simple questions: In your free time what are you most often doing? Try describing your perfect day to yourself. What are your hobbies? What sort of things make you feel relaxed and at peace? It could be that your great passion is something you’ve never tried before, but exploring the things in your life that make you happy right now are the key to finding your path. If your perfect day includes a lot of being outside then maybe you’re passionate about nature and the environment. Were you doing something like a hike? Then maybe you should consider an intent to hike a challenging trail or to increase your stamina to hike further than you have before. Did your perfect day involve curling up somewhere and catching up on all the reading you’ve been meaning to do? Set an intent to finish the stack of novels by your bed. Or be adventurous enough to try writing one of your own. Maybe your perfect day would be spent with some mystery person that makes you feel special. Set an intent to date more or be more social! Intents can be about anything and can help you reach any goal for yourself. Follow the good feels and you’ll know when you’ve hit the right spot.

Found your area? Great. How do you refine that to a specific intent? It can be overwhelming when you think of all the things you want to accomplish and narrowing it down may seem like an insurmountable task. Take a moment to think. When setting your intent, be brave. Your inner self already knows what it wants, you just have to listen. Don’t be quick to talk yourself out of an intent or a certain goal by saying you can’t get there before you even begin. (On the flipside, don’t create a situation for yourself that really is impossible because you will only be met with the frustration of failing your own expectations. And that sucks.) Be ambitious, but realistic. And remember, we’re here to support you.

If you need a little motivation to remember how awesome you are and your true potential, check out this video. It was created as a response to Nash Grier’s “What Guys Look For in Girls” video, but without the context it’s an inspiring set of words for anyone.

What’s your passion? Tell us in the comments below! 

photo by: AlicePopkorn

Raise the Bar For Your Own Success

big_small_With any kind of happiness project or habits change, we need to figure out what kind of change at which to aim.

For instance, I think it’s important to be very concrete and specific about what you’re asking of yourself:  “Plan lunch with a friend once a week” instead of “Have more fun.”

Along the same lines, research suggests that some people have better success changing a habit when they start small. A series of small but real accomplishments gives people the energy and confidence to continue. For instance, a person who wants to write a novel might resolve to write one sentence each day. Or a person who wants to start running might resolve to run for one minute.

These little steps also help to shape the patterns of our days, to make room for the new activity. The habit of the habit is even more valuable than the habit itself; that is, being in the habit of going to the gym is more valuable than any one particular work-out (this is related to the tricky one-coin argument). Keeping a habit, in the smallest way, protects and strengthens it. I write every day, even if it’s just a sentence, to keep my habit of daily writing strong.

On the other hand, research suggests–and common experience confirms–that some people do better when they’re more ambitious. Sometimes, counter-intuitively, it’s easier to make a major change than a minor change. When a habit is changing very gradually, we may lose interest, give way under stress, or dismiss the change as insignificant. There’s an excitement and an energy that comes from a big transformation, and that helps to create a habit.

A person might be better off giving up sugar than giving up dessert at lunch. A person who wants to wake up earlier than the usual 8:00 a.m. time might find it easier to start waking up at 6:00 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m.

In some situations, and for some people,  lowering the bar helps; sometimes raising the bar helps. What works better for you? To aim big or to aim small? To make a small change that’s easily within your grasp, or to aim at a bigger, more exciting challenge?

***

Meet the Boy Who Invented Email

personal-statement-by-vashiva

Article shared with Intent by VA Shiva Ayyadurai

Celebrate the Power of Intent on the Anniversary of Email’s Invention  

August 30 marked the anniversary of the invention of email, created by a 14-year-old boy in 1978. His name is VA Shiva Ayyadurai, an Indian-American immigrant, and he is the inventor of email.

The power of intent is what allowed that young boy, in 1978, working in Newark, NJ, to create email — the same power that created the light bulb, the phone, the airplane, and everything we see around us.

The journey of that 14-year-old  provides a wonderful example of that power of intent, and what can occur when intent exists, and when it does not. Today, at the age of 49, I want to share that boy’s story, because it is no longer my story, it is everyone’s story who cares to see a better world where all of us have an equal chance to express our power to create and innovate — activities, which I believe are the ultimate expression of the life force within all of us.

Prior to 1978, There Was No Intent to Create Email

Prior to 1978, email did not exist. Email did not exist because the intent to create email did not exist. In fact, most researchers and inventors at big institutions thought it was impossible to create email, so they did not even make an attempt.

This lack of intent is crystal clear, expressed unequivocally in the RAND Report, written on December of 1977, which summarized the state of the art of research in electronic text messaging:

At this time, no attempt is being made to emulate a full-scale, inter-organizational mail system. The fact that the system is intended for use in various organizational contexts and by users of differing expertise makes it almost impossible to build a system which responds to all users’ needs. (Crocker, D., December, 1977)

The “inter-organizational” or the interoffice mail system was the system used by nearly every office in the world to receive, process and transmit paper-based communications.

This was a complex system of interconnected parts consisting of the now familiar Inbox, Outbox, Folders, Files, Address Book, the Memo (“To:”, “From:”, “Subject:”, “Date:”, “Cc:”, “Bcc:”), Attachments, Return Receipt, Forwarding, Composing, Sorting, and much more, we see in modern email systems. CEOs, secretaries, accountants, and a variety of staff with differing expertise used this system, without which any office could simply not operate.

Prior to 1978, dating all the way to the Morse code telegraph of the 1800s, people were intent on creating systems for the simple exchange of text messages, like SMS, instant messaging, early predecessors of Twitter using the “@” symbol. There was, however, no intent “to emulate”, the interoffice mail system.

Intent Leads to the Creation of Email

In the summer of 1978, 14-year-old Shiva had just completed an intensive immersion program at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University (NYU), where he learned seven computer programming languages, including FORTRAN. Following this, he was bored and was planning on dropping out of high school, much to the concern of his parents Vellayappa and Meenakshi Ayyadurai.

His mother, intent to see her son stay in school, realized he needed to be challenged. She introduced him to Dr. Leslie P. Michelson of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), located in Newark, NJ.

Dr. Michelson provided Shiva a challenge: Create the electronic version of the interoffice mail system then in use at UMDNJ. This was something that researchers had found “impossible” and had made “no attempt” to pursue.

This challenge became Shiva’s intent and obsession. From this intent, Shiva envisioned an electronic system, which would contain all parts of the interoffice mail system. He envisioned a system that would be easy-to-use, so people of “differing expertise” could transition from typewriter, paper memos and files, to an electronic equivalent.

Using the FORTRAN language, he wrote 50,000 lines of code to create that system. What emerged in 1978 was the first version of this system. He called this system, “email”, a term that had never been used before, and was not so obvious then.

In 1980, the Copyright laws were amended so software inventions could be protected. Shiva applied in 1981. On August 30, 1982, he was awarded the first US Copyright for “email”, “computer program for electronic mail system.”

August 30, therefore, is the official anniversary of the invention of email.

The Reaction to the Power of Intent

For some, the power of intent can be threatening, for it demonstrates that creation can occur anytime, anyplace by anybody, beyond the control of a few.

On February 16, 2012, Shiva’s papers, computer code, artifacts, demonstrating the invention of email were accepted into the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH) at a special donation ceremony.

Following the Smithsonian ceremony, industry insiders, including those who had forgotten they had authored the RAND Report, unleashed a series of vicious attacks. For over 30 years, Shiva neither attempted to profit from nor promote his invention. When the Smithsonian news came out, industry insiders were threatened.

Why?

Starting in early 2000, these industry insiders supportive of Raytheon/BBN, a multi-billion dollar defense contractor, had begun to rewrite history that their work in electronic text messaging, created prior to 1978 was “email”. The purpose of this was to ensure their place in history, as well as to create a false brand as “inventors of email,” which would guarantee them lucrative cyber-security contracts in a highly competitive industry.

However, facts are facts. Email, the electronic version of the interoffice mail system, which Shiva created, and the term “email,” he coined, did not exist prior to 1978.

Experts and insiders cannot simply alter the facts by shouting louder, because it is to their benefit.

Celebrate the Invention of Email

As Noam Chomsky reminded everyone during the height of the attacks on Shiva last year:

The efforts to belittle the innovation of a 14-year-old child should lead to reflection on the larger story of how power is gained, maintained, and expanded, and the need to encourage, not undermine, the capacities for creative inquiry that are widely shared and could flourish, if recognized and given the support they deserve.

As we reflect on the anniversary of the invention of email, let us celebrate the facts of that 14-year-old boy’s creation in 1978, which are now here for all us to understand and to reflect upon. For in doing so, we celebrate our children and ourselves.

This celebration is particularly needed in today’s world, where we need to move beyond old and false narratives, that only a few, in big institutions, large universities and big companies, can create.

His journey is ultimately our journey.

Celebrate the anniversary of the invention of email!

* * *

VA Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D., the inventor of email, is a systems scientist, inventor, author, and entrepreneur, who holds four degrees from MIT and is a Fulbright Scholar, Lemelson-MIT Awards Finalist and Westinghouse Science Honors Award recipient. In 1978, at the age of 14, he invented email, the electronic version of the interoffice email system, while working as a research fellow at the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), now Rutgers Medical School, in Newark, NJ. In 1993, he invented EchoMail, a technology platform for managing large volumes of inbound customer service email as well as for outbound marketing email. In 2003, he invented CytoSolve for mathematically modeling complex molecular pathways of the human cell, towards providing a new in silico paradigm for drug development. As an educator, he has created Systems Health a new curriculum for medical practitioners that integrates eastern and western systems of medicine, and teaches Systems Visualization at MIT. He serves on the Board of several companies and is also the founder of Innovation Corps, a project of the not-for-profit International Center for Integrative Systems, which aims to provide a new vehicle for youth to convert their ideas to innovations and tangible businesses.

The Best and Worst Advice I Ever Got in College About Work

.Labor Day Weekend in Boston means two things. Most working people with the day off flee, emptying the streets, taking to the highways, and soaking up the long weekend somewhere outside city environs, preferably with ocean or mountains and without discarded couches littering the sidewalks.

Meanwhile, most students from the city’s many universities (and recent grads from schools everywhere) are moving in, bloating the streets with their moving trucks and subjecting their dads to too many flights of stairs. (A retroactive and eternal thank you to my own father who did this countless times, including when he hoisted a table through a window to fit into a tiny Cambridge apartment, after cutting my box spring in half so that we could maneuver it up the stairway and reassemble it once in my new room. One could say I learned a thing or two about patience and problem-solving from that guy).

This year, I fell into neither category. I’m a long way from college, and I just moved this winter and don’t plan to do it again anytime soon. I no longer subject Dad to being Macgyver on moving days; I spring for movers. I also labored on Labor Day, teaching yoga to a packed house of enthusiastic, sweaty, come-and-get-me-September yogis at Inner Strength Studio. I planned for a video shoot with Runner’s World magazine this weekend. I did a little writing.

Yet, the momentum around me got me thinking about labor and the best and worse advice I got about work while in college. Two key moments come to mind, both of which occurred while I was choosing my major. English.

And I’d choose the same way if I were to do it all over again. Despite getting advice like the following, from the father of a young girl I tutored regularly as a side job. I remember the scene in their impressive Virginia home well. The older son was on the verge of an exciting milestone: his bar mitzvah, and the living room in which I helped his younger sister with reading and writing was overrun by elaborate party favors. I wouldn’t see this many gift bags again until my time as a marketing executive at Boston magazine, while planning massive events like its annual Best of Boston party.

“You have to think about the things you want to have and figure out the job you can do to get those things.”

At this, he motioned around the beautiful home at the things his work had materialized. I didn’t argue. He made a valid point. It was a beautiful home, and they were a lovely family. They seemed happy. If you want a nice home, you have to work to get it. This much I knew, and it’s in my DNA to work hard anyway. But I disagreed with other aspects of his statement. The pursuit of things wasn’t going to inspire me to study subjects about which I didn’t care or in which I didn’t excel. And who’s to say that once I got these things, I’d be happy?

Thank you, sir. Have a wonderful time at the bar mitvah. Little Sally, nail that spelling test, girlfriend.   

Needless to say, this was the worst advice I ever got.

The best came from my friend, Doc, one year behind me in school but infinitely wiser in many ways. He became a bit of an urban legend in the English department at the University of Richmond. First, he was male, and they were hard to come by in our course of study. Second, his memory borders on photographic. For the first few weeks of September during the fall that we met, I thought he was a total slacker. He never took notes, while I busily detailed everything our professor said. He seemed a little aloof, sitting back in his chair and occasionally glancing out the window at the blossoming trees outside. Why was he even in this class, I thought, my body pitched forward so that I wouldn’t miss anything. Craning myself closer to the Shakespeare lecture would obviously implant the information into my brain more effectively.

When we ended up in a study group together, the other girls and I expressed skepticism before his arrival… until he showed up and schooled the sh** out of us by remembering pretty much every lecture, quotation, theme, historical context, cross-reference, and footnote we’d covered that semester. Thus, Doc became my new best friend—and the source of the best work advice I ever got in college.

“College is not job training. When you get a job, they’ll train you. College is for studying what you love, enjoy, and want to think critically about. It’s about learning and learning how to learn—so that you can learn to be an expert at what you choose to do.”

I’m paraphrasing of course. I don’t have Doc’s memory.

So, I chose English. I minored in Women’s Studies. I was a class shy of an Economics minor, and if there’d been a major in Eastern Philosophy and Religion at the time, I’d probably have that too. I loved these courses, and they led me to work in industries I enjoyed, including education, marketing, media, and, yes, yoga, until merging what I enjoyed most and was best at into my work today.

The way my brain functions is no doubt influenced by how it learned to organize and convey information learned in college. However, the world changes drastically over a lifetime, and the best career investment one can make is the desire to work hard and tirelessly on a chosen path. The quickest way to burn out and become miserable is to work at something you don’t like for things that can’t make you happy.

I don’t have a lot of things, but I have all the things I need, which means that in a weird way both pieces of advice worked for me. Or, better yet, I worked for them.

What do you think? What’s the best or worst career advice you’ve ever gotten? What did you study in college, and how has it moved you through life?  

Originally published on my website, Om Gal.

Your Life Can Be Soul-Stirring – Here’s How

another reasonBy Jay Forte

Most of us move through live in “vanilla” mode; things are fine – things are okay – not bad, not good – just okay. Vanilla.

What would life be like if it were soul-stirring instead? What if life were double mocha-chip fudge with caramel (sounds like a Starbucks drink) instead of vanilla?

Life is designed to be amazing. The purpose of life, according to the Dalai Lama is to be happy – to find and live what moves us, inspires us and stirs our souls.

But someplace in our histories we have been told that life is just about surviving – about just getting by. We are taught to fear danger, loss and lack, so we play it safe. We feel it is better not to live too large because that way we can minimize any large hurt or disappointment. We convince ourselves that good enough is the way to do life. We believe that adventure is for those who are not logical or responsible or for those who are brave and courageous – not us. So we perpetuate the view that we should minimize our impact and footprint – that we should live just under the radar.

Every day life delivers; the world meets us where we are. If we want small, sure, we can have small. But here is the great thing – if we want soul-stirring, we can have soul-stirring. It is nothing more than a choice. But if it is our choice, why do so many of us not choose soul-stirring?

It is the events, experiences, and stories that play in our heads that influence us to choose small. Whose voice do you hear telling you to pull back, don’t step out of line, do what others do and basically talk us out of our dreams? I wonder if it is truly your voice or the voices of parents, schools, friends, churches or colleagues. We seem to trust others who know little about the true us to influence how we see the world – our world. We defer to others to tell us how to do life. And for many, this forces us to miss out on what matters most to us.

There is a reason we call a great life soul-stirring; it activates the deepest part of us. We feel it down to our soul, our essence. At this level, everything about life is different – larger – more profound. The more we approach life this way, the more we see the opportunities it creates and more significant life becomes. We are moved just being part of life, instead of moving to get out of life’s way.

What if your work was soul-stirring – how much more significant would it be and what additional opportunities would it create?

What if your relationships were soul-stirring – how much more significant would it be and what additional opportunities would it create?

What if your life was soul-stirring – how much more significant would it be and what additional opportunities would it create?

What permission do you need to allow yourself to choose large over small? Get to it soon because each day we are not living a soul-stirring life is a day that is less remarkable than it could be.

Todd Henry, the founder of Accidental Creative and author of the new book titled Die Empty; Unleash Your Best Work Every Day, challenges us to show up big to life – to know ourselves and use up all of abilities – to “die empty.” Add to this the following perspective from the great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment; and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” Wise words. Soul-stirring words. How do they inspire you to show up more significantly to your life?

“Affirmations Are B.S.” and Other Things You Shouldn’t Believe

UpwardBy Orion Talmay

“Affirmations? Yeah, whatever… I don’t do that new age B.S.! That’s only good for weak people with no self-confidence! The people I train don’t need that crap!”

I actually heard these words from one of my fitness mentors I look up to. His huge resistance to the idea of affirmations was kind of shocking to me. I, for one, believe in “that stuff”. Does that mean I am weak? Is it all a scam to make us feel better about life? Am I just a hippie dreamer?

In my free-spirited late teens, I read two books that really shaped me. One of them was The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy. Murphy spoke about the power of our thoughts and how they influence what we manifest in our lives:

There is a miraculous curative force in your subconscious that can heal the troubled mind and the broken heart. It can open the prison door of the mind and liberate you. It can free you from all kind of physical and material bondage.

The other book was You Can Heal Your Life by the remarkable Louise Hay. Hay’s philosophy is similar to Murphy’s. In the book she described using positive affirmations to eliminate self-defeating thoughts: “What you choose to think about yourself and about life becomes true for you. And we have unlimited choices about what we can think.” According to Hay, an affirmation is anything we say or think, therefore all of our self-talk is a stream of affirmations. In order to change your life, you must pay attention to your thoughts and choose empowering ones. By choosing thoughts that make you feel good and stating a desirable intention as a daily practice, you are retraining your brain how to think and speak and you are reprogramming your beautiful subconscious mind.

Affirmations are the seeds of your dreams that you plant for later harvesting. By writing your dreams down and affirming them in ink, or vocalizing them out loud, you bring them into the physical realm and one step closer to manifesting. If you say a lie over and over again, won’t you start believing it? If telling a lie can affect you like that, why not tell a good “lie” – one that has the potential to change your life for the better?

Many times when I’ve gone back to read what seemed originally to be “impossible” affirmations, I actually found they had manifested in my life. Who cares if it seems weird and too “outside the norm”? Who wants to be normal anyways? Popular thinking usually turns out to be average thinking. Galileo Galilei was sentenced to spend rest of his life in prison for his ideas. He vocally supported the Copernican hypothesis that the earth is not the center of the solar system, but one of many planets revolving around the sun. Three centuries later he was called the “father of modern science” by Einstein.

When researching this subject, you will find that in this day and age, science is backing “new age” thinking more than ever before.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, the tidy, objective, mechanistic view of the world began to fall apart…scientists began looking into the world within the atomic nucleus, and they were shocked to discover that on the subatomic level, the physical world did not behave at all the way Newton said it should. In fact, the “atom” itself turned out to be a sort of illusion: The closer scientists looked, the less it really appeared to be there…And when our vision of the atom fractured, the foundation of classical physics fractured along with it. Our view of how the world works was in for a radical transformation. – John Assaraf & Murray Smith (The Answer)

Quantum physics nowadays include theories like parallel universes. It’s no longer science fiction that the power of our thoughts affect physical objects and create new realities. No longer are we in an age where meditation sounds “funny.” Today’s science backs up the positive sweeping impact of quieting one’s brain waves into lower frequencies. People are opening up to possibilities in the realm of the unknown.

The ancients knew that space is not empty; it is the origin and memory of all things that exist and have ever existed…[This insight] is now being rediscovered at the cutting edge of the sciences [and is emerging] as a main pillar of the scientific world’s picture of the twenty-first century. This will profoundly change our concept of ourselves and of the world. – Dr. Ervin Laszlo (as quoted in The Answer)

When I train my clients, my rule is: no negative self-talk. “It’s too hard”, “no way can I do it” are being thrown out the window in the first session. I know for a fact that the body reacts to what you tell it. What you affirm feeds your future blueprint. One of my favorite clients once said “OMG, I am so bad at lunges”. So I told her: “Let’s change your self-talk about lunges. I think it would serve you better to instead say that I am getting better and better”. She looked at me frazzled and really forced it out uncomfortably, saying: “I am getting better and better.” Guess what? She did get better and better, AS SHE WAS SAYING IT! She started listening to – and modifying – her self-talk outside of our training sessions and consequently improved on achieving other personal goals.

But affirmations are not enough! If you look at your dirty laundry and say all day long “My laundry is getting cleaner and smells great” nothing will happen… You have to take action. Say you can do it, then do it! Just like saying I am getting better and better, while lunging. Affirmations will put you in the mindset to take action. They will keep you focused on your goals and desires. They will keep your unconscious mind open to all great opportunities around you. Previously you may not have noticed your self-talk if you were not attuned to it; but now that you are aware of its power, you will know to leverage it for positive action.

Please comment below and share your questions, stories, and experiences with affirmations. I would love to hear your thoughts; I greatly appreciate the feedback!

* * *

picOrion Talmay is a fitness expert and life coach who helps her clients transform their bodies and their lives. Her fitness skills include yoga, weight training, kick boxing, Aikido, MMA (mixed martial arts) and Krav Maga. Orion completed the Tough Mudder, a 12-mile extreme obstacle course with an ice pool, electric wires, buttered monkey bars, and more. She’s not all hard-core though; she is also a woman of the arts — loves to dance and sing, went to acting school, and speaks three languages. She is a graduate of the American Academy of Personal Training and is AAFA, AAPT, KBA, and Zumba certified. She is currently working on an online coaching program for weight loss and self development, designed to empower people across all aspects of their lives: physical, mental, social and spiritual. Orion is also working on her first book, about transformational change. Originally from Israel, she currently lives in sunny Santa Monica, California.

3 Ways to Dispel the Fear That’s Holding You Back

Sky & IAlmost everyone holds onto some fear. There’s fear that can kick in adrenaline to help you speed out of difficult situations like a near-miss accident. Then there’s the needless, energy draining kind of fear that holds us back and drains resources. This kind of fear keeps us from being who we are. It brings us to constrict and tighten shoulders, jaws and muscles when what we yearn to do is expand to be who we’re meant to be. This kind of emotional fear feels a bit like wearing a barbed wire fence. Every new move we try hurts. So what happens? We stop moving and get stuck.

How can anyone climb out of a barbed wire fence? Ouch! Is it possible to cut away the fear of pain and become free to move? Imagine taking a pair of heavy-duty wire-cutters and snap, snap, snap! In a few quick, efficient moves cut away every last, tight wire to free yourself up. It’s time to let go and express those heartfelt intentions and live the expansive life.

People who live in fear put up walls around themselves. They create armor so thick that nothing can get out or in. It’s time to tear down walls you may be aware of and take a risk. Do something that you’ve always dreamed of doing. This might be jump off the high dive at the pool, join Toastmasters and face fears of public speaking or simply tell someone you love them.

  1. First, recognize the fears that inhibit. Take a moment and reflect. What would you really love to do that you don’t do out of fear that you’ll be ridiculed, fear of failure or something else?
  2. Next, take a moment and imagine what’s the worst that could happen? Imagine success instead. If the desired leap of faith is not life threatening or harmful to anyone, take the next step.
  3. Dare to do what you dream. But don’t stick with the mental stuff. The mind sometimes creates demons that hang around and scare us into paralysis.

Moving into the heart, imagine joining the belly dance class and performing in public, or speaking those words to the one you love. If your aim is something big, like starting a business or appearing on a TV show, then work your way up to the big moment through learning about the process. Go back to school. Learn to manage, do interviews and express yourself in ways that unleash your positive creative energy. Get out and grow. The extraordinary mystical poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (better known simply as Goethe) wrote, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Enjoy the leap of faith!

* * *

Debra Moffitt’s book, “Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life” will be published by Llewellyn Worldwide in May 2011 (www.awakeintheworld.com).  Read more at www.debramoffitt.com Her essays and articles appear in publications around the world and focus on drawing attention to the spiritual in a mostly material-minded world.  She presents workshops in the U.S. and Europe.

 

Originally published January 2011

Be Happy: 6 Tools to Get You Smiling in No Time

Photography is in my heart What is happiness? The dictionary gives us a definition with synonyms, almost too many of them but in a nutshell all the words represent a good feeling, and feeling good is the natural quest in life. But how to arrive there or better still how to be in that state of feeling good, more or less continuously?

We associate happiness with “when …  then.” When I have what I want then I will be happy. What I want may be drawn from the well of careers, finances, relationships or more specifically that particular job, or income or mate … and yet those who have attained what they desire find that the resulting happiness is very short lived or eludes them completely. And then the cycle begins again. Furthermore, to quote Srikumar Rao, whatever it is that we can get we can also “un-get” making the source of our happiness very precarious.

Practices Leading to Happiness

There are many roads to happiness and some more personal than others. Nevertheless they are there for each and everyone of us.

First Tip is to invest or focus on the process, as explained by Srikumar Rao. Another way of saying this is to focus on the journey and not on the destination. Make it a practice to start each day with an inspiring message. I often find myself waking up feeling rather flat, perhaps because here in Vancouver we are in a season of much rain and little sunshine but by the time that I am finished watching Enjoy the Ride my spirits have notched up several degrees. Make use of aids such as this video or music or whatever it is that makes your heart sing.

Second Tip is to learn the practice of deep breathing. Fill your lungs with oxygen by slowly counting to four as you breathe in and then in a controlled manner breathe out counting at least to five or six. Initially this may be a challenge but the more that you practice it the easier it will become. Oxygen is an amazing drug and your lungs, the organ that processes the oxygen, has receptors connected to the brain that trigger different “emotions”. For example, the top third of the lung is designed to trigger flight or fright; so if you breathe in a very shallow manner then the oxygen only fills the top part of your lung. This means that the receptors will send messages to the brain telling you to get ready for a fight or to run for your life. So breathe deeply and enjoy the calming effect. It is pretty difficult to be happy if you are in flight mode, if you are not calm.

Third Tip is to move. Movement makes energy flow. We are energy and when we are not happy then the flow of energy is not vibrating at a very high level. Go for a walk, even if it means getting off the bus a couple of stops before your destination or parking the car at the furthest corner of the parking lot. Walk with enthusiasm, throwing back your shoulders and swinging your arms. Go to a yoga class. Go to an exercise class or go for a swim and smile while you are moving your body.

Fourth Tip is to smile. Put a smile on your face, making eye contact with the person that passes you and flashing them a smile. You will be amazed by the response. And it will also have magical effects on you. It will fill your heart and make you glow. A smilereleases endorphins and therefore, like oxygen, is a powerful drug. Smiles also dispel energy vampires, a phrase coined by Jon Gordon in his blog and it is so very true. It is not possible to be happy with a frown on the face.

Fifth Tip is music. Music is a universal language. Some very interesting studies have been done with the effect that music has on the human brain. Play the kind of music that makes you want to move and then do it. Move with wild abandon. Remember that with movement there is a rise in energy.

Last Tip is to meditate. Meditating conjures up all kinds of images of contorted positions and demanding thoughts to vanish which in itself is thinking. But if you sit quietly, especially when you have that feeling of unhappiness; close your eyes and simply focus on your breath. Count as the air goes into your lungs and also as it comes out. Do this for ten minutes, no more. At first you can set a timer and you will be amazed how quickly you relax. Relaxing is one of the easiest steps that lead to a state of happiness.

 

Originally published January 2011

The Secret to Sticking with Anything

Pedra do Bau [Climb]How many times have you started something new (exercise routine, meditation schedule, writing that book, a new project), got pumped and excited about it, and then within a few weeks or months it slowly faded into a faraway memory? It’s normal and happens all the time. Gyms plan that every January 1st memberships will soar due to New Year’s Resolutions and then by March and April it’ll be back to mostly regulars.

It’s not that these people are slackers or don’t care about their body. What’s really going on is their level of commitment isn’t high enough. That’s because any goal, intention, or desire takes time to evolve into something that you care enough about to make the required level of commitment.

So what’s the required level of commitment? The secret to sticking with any goal is having a solid 100% commitment. (I would say 110% to emphasis how big this level of dedication is, but doing that has always been a major pet peeve of mine.)

It’s very important that your commitment isn’t 99.9999999%, but it’s 100%. Why? Because, even with a 99.9999999% commitment, you still have a little opening to rationalize and talk yourself out of the action. This is not because you’re a bad person, it’s because all change involves some discomfort. If given even a slither of space to choose comfort over discomfort, you’re more likely to choose comfort.

That little .0000001% of space allows for talk like this: “I don’t feel like it today”, “I’m so busy with work ”, “there’s just a lot going on right now”, or my personal favorite (because I’ve it used for years) “I’ll just do it tomorrow and get back on track then.”

When you have 100% commitment to something, feeling like doing it has no importance on whether you do it or not. There is no option; it’s in many ways liberating because you make it a non-negotiable. You don’t give yourself the burden of having to choose every day. Then one day it’s become a habit that moved from your non-comfort zone to your comfort zone!

To make a 100% commitment, it’s important to always focus on the WHY of the commitment. Why do you want to commit to having some discomfort for a while? It’s the why that will get you to a place where you can be 100% committed to something. And it often takes a little time (or a lot) for everything to click and your why to become so clear and strong that the required 100% commitment is there.

For example, I’ve practiced meditation on and off for almost 15 years, and while I always ended a session feeling amazing, I couldn’t seem to stick with my commitment to do it daily. It was only when I was ready to eliminate all excuses (and this came after something “clicked” inside and I knew I needed it every day to express my highest self, which became a priority), that I could make the 100% commitment.

Don’t put yourself down if you haven’t been able to have the motivation or commitment to stick with something, but examine the WHYs. From that awareness, you can make 100% commitments to things that align with you and your unique values and path.

In what areas do you want to be more committed and why? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.  

Life is What Happens When I’m Making Plans

life“If we actually believe half the shit we talk and write about, why are we worried? It’s all going to be what it’s supposed to be, isn’t it?” This was what I said to my best friend Cate the other day as we yammered on to each other about the woes in our life – you know, money woes, men woes, kids woes, work woes– whatever woes. Of course we attempted to add in our very aware and very spiritual observations, just to make sure that even though we were whining and worrying, we were being enlightened about it.

Such as me stating my desire to be in love – followed by self eviscerating examination as to why I need to be in love, judging myself for wanting to be in love; all of which is true. I do have issues with love (I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a very generalized statement- which is probably very true- most of us have issues with love) but I also want to be in love, because love is fun. I have a much better understanding of myself and what love means to me and my desire for love is pretty freakin’ normal.

Is it possible for me to hold both concepts: Desiring love because it’s normal to want to share your life with someone and desiring love because I have issues I’d like to work through regarding love? They actually work together, if I stopped trying to blow one of them up in the name of enlightenment and just have some fun with love, explore love, try on love. Do I have to wait until I have all my love stuff worked out before I can be in love? And if I do, how exactly can I do that? Seriously not looking for another class or seminar or book, I swear I’ve read them all, and I learn by doing!

I spent some time with another friend whose life is in a big transition. She has an entire list of things that need to happen before she can do the things she really wants to do. There is no room for either or, nor both simultaneously- it’s this way first and then she can have that. She’s not capable of seeing that it’s possible to have a mixed up convoluted version of both. Life is convoluted! There is life in-between the pages of your plan!

It’s true that sometimes you have to follow a recipe. Having a plan is a good thing; I like plans, but I spent an awful lot of my life planning and organizing and waiting for things to happen that were in my plan so I could do the next thing only to have wasted that time and missed out because I was so locked into my plan, which eventually blew up because I was, okay I admit it, attached to my plan.

It sort of goes back to that old myth “Wait until you’re ready to have kids.” Is anyone ever really ready to have kids? You might think you are and then you have one and you’re like “Shit I was not ready for this!”

Last year I had a plan and almost nothing in my plan actually happened, at least not exactly. But here’s the interesting thing: all the things my plan represented happened, but not in the way in which I had actually planned them. Huh, go figure.

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 5.51.28 PMWhich brings me back to my original question – if I were to live my life, with the understanding and acceptance that my life is going exactly as it should because I am following my true souls desire and trusting in that, and then of course planning (you have to plan a little) but being very clear about what my desire really is and then being open to what might come that isn’t in my master plan- but is my ultimate, true plan, then everything is going to be okay.

In my own life I have come to see the beauty in the chaos of plans unraveled. People often desire balance. We are often told to find it as if it’s something to look for. We like it when things happen the way we think they should. It makes us feel like we have balance and everything is under control. And sometimes that works- but really let’s get real, how often does it really happen that way?

Life is full of duality for which I don’t think you can find balance per se – balance means to equally distribute, and I don’t feel like my humanness equally distributes. It flows from one to the other and it holds each as possible and not possible and all possible. When I hold to tightly to one way another invariably gets jealous and puts a monkey wrench on my plan, thus causing me to feel completely out of control and unbalanced, and things start to fall apart. Once I finally allowed myself to live and breath and accepted that life is utterly unbalanced, I have no control, and only strive to know and to learn my true souls desire, have I found a steady wire to walk on.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...