February 14th is around the corner and everyone has a lot to say about whether it is a good use of time or a sick plot by card companies to make tons of money and swim in it like Scrooge McDuck. Who can say.
But over here at Intent.com, we’re big fans of love.
This week we’re celebrating..
Monday – Love for Yourself
Tuesday – Love for your community/planet
Wednesday – Love for your family
Thursday – Love for your friends
Friday – Love for that special someone
So be thinking. What do you love? Who do you love? Why do you love?
Today is Monday and we’re talking about loving our spirit, loving ourselves.
One of my favorite Intent users posted a great intention.
She asked “Are you a good friend to yourself?”
Are you? The golden rule is to treat others as yourself, but would others really want that? Are you treating your self in a way others would want to be treated?
Mind blown, I know.
Maybe you’ve never meditated before. Maybe you never will.
But, maybe, just maybe, over a panini at lunch or a coffee break at Dumb Starbucks, you could ask yourself that question.
Am I a good friend to myself?
Because you should be!
The adage goes that you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most. So, it would logically follow that hanging out with people who eat fatty junk food will sabotage you and your diet.
Few of us consider that one of the things preventing us from committing to our weight and fitness goals is our environment – and that includes the people around us. This is especially true in America, where fast and “super sized” are glorified. We are surrounded by a junk food friendly environment – whether it’s the muffins offered to you in your company break room or the Italian “family style” dinner with friends. Everywhere you turn, advertisers are trying to hypnotize you into buying. We are bombarded with commercials for food which show joyful anorectic models enjoying chocolates and cheeseburgers. We were taught by our mothers to dutifully finish what’s on our plates. This world full of temptation, misconceptions, and immediate gratification just might affect our ability to get back into our jeans size from high school, don’t you think?
We are drowning in a flood of false information, thanks to all this pervasive and persuasive advertising. These advertisements train our brains to link unhealthy food with pleasure. As you pass a billboard showing a hot celebrity drinking Coca Cola, subconsciously you make a connection between what he or she represents to you – namely health, happiness, athleticism, vitality and success – and drinking Coke. In reality this sugary, toxic and chemically addictive drink is the epitome of unhealthiness, addiction, and obesity. In many cases, junk food is marketed to us as “healthy,” “natural” or even “organic,” but the opposite is more true. Even TV shows about weight loss such as The Biggest Loser glorify rapid, dramatic weight loss that unfolds before our eyes in an hour. And of course it doesn’t tell the whole story; we are spared the gory details, the high risk of injury, and the non-sustainability and unhealthy methods they use on the contestants. The TV magic and the glaring omissions give legitimacy to extreme rapid weight loss and create unrealistic expectations for the audience.
As I alluded to earlier, your peer group can also alter your decision-making. In general, people like people who are like them. For example, heavy drinkers prefer to hang out with heavy drinkers, and overeaters prefer feasting with fellow gluttons. The unspoken (or sometimes spoken) pressure is on, to fit in and be liked. Most social gatherings center around food and alcohol, so if you are dieting, you will need premeditated strategy and willpower if you don’t want to sabotage your diet.
Friends and family tend to appease each other when they fall off the wagon. When you look for consolation, they will tell you “It’s okay, it’s not that bad to take a day off; come on and live a little!” People become very forgiving because they want you to like them. They don’t hold you to a higher standard, in part because that’s not what you want to hear.
Unfortunately, not everyone wants you to be successful. Sometimes it can even be someone close to you like a spouse, family member, or friend who will try to talk you out of your goal. They might be afraid that if you feel better about yourself, you will neglect them or leave them. They might be afraid of “new competition” they will have when you accomplish your weight goals. Or, they may feel in competition with your “gym time” or even with your trainer. Bottom line is that most of the time they do it not because they don’t love you but precisely because they do. For instance, spouses may worry a “new you” may be less attracted to them. Sometimes, simply reassuring them of your love and friendship, keeping open communication and involving them in your health journey can solve these issues.
So, if you agree that the environment that surrounds you can sabotage your progress, what do you do? Well, since living on a mountaintop in Tibet is (probably) not an option, the best way to deal with misinformation or saboteurs is to plan for your success. When your mindset is stronger, achieving your outcome will be your priority. Nothing and no one will deter you. When you are prepared for success, you will win.
How do you prepare for success?
1. Surround yourself with supportive people. If your loved ones aren’t supportive of your health and fitness goals, convince them to change and be a part of your team or find some supportive peers to cheer you on. Succeed regardless.
2. Make sure you have accurate information about fitness and nutrition. Consult with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist. Nothing beats having a coach who can guide you to win the game the right way.
3. Plan your food shopping, plan your meals and plan your exercise time. Don’t let anyone or anything distract you or steal your time.
4. Watch less TV. The number of commercials for garbage processed food is mind-boggling. These companies are paying a lot of money to sell to you and have mastered the art of influence. They (mis)use popular words like “healthy” and “natural,” but one glance at the label reveals how supposedly healthy, low fat, and natural it really is. Put your TV watching on a diet too, and it will facilitate your dieting and help you avoid unnecessary temptations.
5. Remember that you are a rock star. You can do it regardless of what anyone tells you, including your own inner critic. I believe in you. You put your mind to it and you will succeed.
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Orion 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.
When offered with presence and sincerity, the practice of prayer can reveal the source of what your heart most deeply longs for—the loving essence of who you are. Perhaps without naming it as prayer, in times of great need and distress you may already spontaneously experience the act of doing so. For instance, you might find yourself saying something like, “Oh please, oh please” as you call out for relief from pain, for someone to take care of you, for help for a loved one, for a way to avoid great loss.
If so, I invite you to investigate your experience of prayer through mindful inquiry, asking yourself questions such as: What is the immediate feeling that gave rise to my prayer? What am I praying for? Whom or what am I praying to? The more aware you become of how you pray spontaneously, the more you might open to a more intentional practice. Below are some guidelines I offer my students for deepening their inquiry:
1. Posture for prayer: You might begin by asking yourself,If I bring my palms together at my heart, do I feel connected with my sincerity and openness? What happens if I close my eyes? If I bow my head? Find out whether these traditional supports for prayer serve you. If they don’t, explore what other positions or gestures feel the most conducive to openheartedness.
2. Arriving: Even when you’re in the thick of very strong emotion, it’s possible and valuable to pause and establish a sense of prayerful presence. After you’ve assumed whatever posture most suits you, allow yourself to come into stillness, then take a few long and full breaths to collect your attention. After a while, as your breath resumes its natural rhythm, take some moments to relax any obvious tension in your body. Feel yourself here, now, with the intention to pray.
3. Listening: With the intention of fully contacting your felt experience, bring a listening attention to your heart, and to whatever in your life feels most difficult right now. It might be a recent or impending loss, or a situation that summons hurt, confusion, doubt, or fear. As if watching a movie, focus on the frame of the film that’s most emotionally painful. Be aware of the felt sense in your body—in your throat, chest, belly, and elsewhere. Where are your feelings the strongest? Take your time, allowing yourself to fully contact your vulnerability and pain.
You might even imagine that you could inhabit the most vulnerable place within you, feeling it intimately from the inside. If it could express itself, what would it communicate? Buried inside the pain, what does this part of you want orneed most? Is it to be seen and understood? Loved? Accepted? Safe? Is your longing directed toward a certain person or spiritual figure? Do you long to be held by your mother? Recognized and approved of by your father? Healed or protected by God? Whatever the need, let yourself listen to it, feel it, and open to its intensity.
4. Expressing Your Prayer: With a silent or whispered prayer, call out for the love, understanding, protection, or acceptance you long for. You might find yourself saying, “Please, may I be better, kinder, and more worthy.” Or you might direct your prayer to another person or being: “Daddy, please don’t leave me.” “Mommy, please help me.” “God, take care of my daughter, please, please, let her be okay.” You might feel separate from someone and call out his or her name, saying, “Please love me, please love me.” You might long for your heart to awaken and call out to the bodhisattva of compassion (Kwan-yin), “Please, may this heart open and be free.”
As you express your prayer in words, while staying in direct contact with your vulnerability and felt sense of longing, your prayer will continue to deepen. Say your prayer several times with all the sincerity of your heart. Find out what happens if you give yourself totally to feeling and expressing your longing.
5. Embodying Prayer: Often our particular want or longing isn’t the full expression of what we actually desire. Similarly, the object of our longing, the person we call on for love or protection, may not offer what we truly need. Rather, these are portals to a deeper experience, an opening to a deeper source.
As you feel your wants and longing, ask yourself, “What is the experience I yearn for? If I got what I wanted, what would it feel like?”
Use you imagination to find out. If you want a particular person to love you, visualize that person hugging you and looking at you with unconditional love. Then, let go of any image of that person and feel inwardly that you are being bathed in love. If you want to feel safe, imagine that you are entirely surrounded by a protective presence, and really feel that peace and ease filling your every cell.Whatever you’re longing for, explore what it would be like to experience its pure essence as a felt sense in your body, heart, and mind. Finally, discover what happens when you surrender into this experience, when you become the love or peace that you’re longing for.
6. Throughout the Day: While your formal exploration of prayer can create the grounds for weaving shorter prayers into your life, remembering to pray in the midst of daily activities can help you become aligned with the kindness and wisdom of your heart. Here are some suggestions
At the beginning of the day, set your intention by asking yourself, What situations, emotions, or reactions might be a signal to pray?
Before praying, take a moment to pause, breathe, and relax. While it is helpful to become still, there’s no need to assume a particular posture.
Pay attention to your body and heart, contacting the felt sense of your emotions. What are you most longing for? What most matters in this moment, and in your life, to open to—to feel and trust?
Mentally whisper your prayer. The words might come spontaneously, or you might express a prayer you’ve already discovered that’s alive and meaningful to you.
In the latest episode of The Chopra Well’s 30 DAYS OF INTENT, Iman and Natalie continue their therapy sessions with counselor Alyssa Nobriga, this time focusing on the difficult path to self-love and acceptance. Iman bravely recognizes the role he played in a recent traumatic breakup, saying, “It’s hard to forgive myself.” Natalie criticizes herself for missing several key passes, which, she says, ultimately marked the end of her professional soccer career.
Both struggle with self-acceptance in the face of these regrets, a feeling to which many can probably relate. Does self-love mean loving all of it – the faults and failures, too? To echo Natalie’s words in the previous episode, “How do you love the parts of yourself that are most misbehaving?” Better just to love our friends, our family, anybody else, than to spend too much time trying to fall in love with the one person we know best… Right?
“You can’t love anyone else until you learn to love yourself.”
You have undoubtedly heard this statement or something like it before. Society is quick to dole out such pockets of wisdom, especially to young people struggling with self-esteem. But honestly, doesn’t it sound like a bit of a threat? After all, it can be easier to love outwardly rather than turn that focus inward. We know ourselves better than anyone else, will spend more time with the self than any other person in our lives. But this depth of understanding and rapport means we also have an intimate knowledge of our own faults, fears, and mistakes. Now add to that the notion that we might not be loving others as fully as we could, just for a lack of self-love, and we might start feeling guilty, too.
Reality check… Love is love. If you feel it, then it’s most likely real. So don’t worry on that front. But that doesn’t mean self-love has no place in the equation. As Deepak Chopra would probably tell you, we are all expressions of consciousness, comprised of the same possibility waves that make up the entire universe. To know the self is to know the world; and to love the self is to love all of creation. Consider the aspects of yourself you can’t stand, the ones that get in the way of total self-acceptance. Would you love your spouse or mother or child in spite of those very same faults? Might you not even love the faults, themselves, for making that special person so beautiful and unique in your eyes?
Try this exercise:
Place two chairs facing one another, and sit in one of them. Here, you are the neutral “Self,” the one you embody most of the time. Describe the difficulty you have loving yourself, as though you’re talking to a friend. Maybe there is an old wound or regret you can’t metabolize. Maybe there is some bad habit or quirk you can’t shake, or something in your physical appearance you aren’t satisfied with. Lay it all out.
Now move to the opposite chair and sit down. Here, you are the “Best Friend,” who resides within you all the time, even if you don’t always hear her voice. From the perspective as a friend, respond to what you just said in the other chair. Tell the “Self” why she is beautiful and strong and perfect in your eyes. Explain to her why these “faults” make her who she is, and why you love the whole package.
Move to the other chair again. Did you hear what the “Best Friend” said? Continue in this way back and forth between the chairs, taking on these two perspectives, until you really take in what the “Best Friend” has to say. Let us know how it goes!
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Feelings vibrate, just as all things in the universe do, at a particular frequency. Negative feelings like anger, guilt, and depression vibrate at low frequencies, while positive feelings like joy, appreciation, and passion vibrate at high frequencies. These high frequency vibrations make us feel good. This is why people and places that inspire and cultivate positive feelings have what we call good vibrations.
Good vibrations inspire health, happiness, and optimism. When we are tuned in to good vibrations, our bodies heal, our hearts open, and our minds shift toward the light. We see new possibilities and feel powerfully energized to follow our inner visions. At the same time, we feel relaxed and capable of manifesting these visions without giving in to stress or struggle. Good vibrations put us in a state of perfect receptivity so that we feel it is the energy flowing through us that accomplishes what needs to be done. We feel guided, supported, protected, and nourished within this joyful flow. We sometimes forget that we are allowed to feel this way all the time.
Lower frequency vibrations are not bad in a moral sense, but they are bad in the sense that they simply don’t feel good. Still, they have a purpose, which is to alert us to the fact that we are blocking out the higher frequency vibrations that we need to function well. They are a call for healing ourselves from within. The key to our healing lies in remembering that it is our birthright to feel good and that feeling good is the essence of our true nature. When we are receiving and sending out good vibrations, we are in the flow. When we are not, we can begin to raise our vibration by seeking out people, places, and situations that vibrate at a higher frequency. Whether we need to go on retreat or just call a friend who makes us laugh, seeking out those good vibrations and basking in them is a sacred and loving practice that returns us, time and again, to the joyful flow of the universe
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This article is printed from DailyOM – Inspirational thoughts for a happy, healthy and fulfilling day.
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Imagine after a lifelong search you finally meet your soul-mate and he (or she) has a Boxer pup in the bedroom, staring you down. Somehow you feel a twinge of anxiety and you take a trip to the bathroom. Sitting on the commode seat in a state of overwhelm a myriad of feelings crop up. Suddenly you are back in 5th grade, the new kid on the block, eating lunch alone…wanting a friend, and feeling rejected.
How could this four-legged beast dredge up this inconsolable feeling? You got it. Your potential soul-mate has a first love, a loyal, attention groping pet, the Boxer. That puts you in second position. This brings up instant resentment, out- loud you murmur, “That darn dog, how can I get rid of him”.
How long can you sit in the bathroom and not seem rude, childish or doomed to abandonment. Mind racing searching for a solution, you recall that dog-life equals 8 years of human life. A sigh of relief abounds, Boxer is 8-years-old and that’s calculates sixty-four-years, A SENIOR on his last leg.
Feeling more confident you go back into the bedroom…you can’t believe your eyes. The Boxer has his head on your would-be pillow, stretched out comfy and cozy, refusing to give ground. Your sweetheart puts out a hand beckoning you. This is the moment of truth. You can’t control yourself and blurt out, “It’s either the dog or me.” And, that remark draws a line in the sand; the battleground is etched in stone, and kicks off the wedge in your relationship.
After a few tears and haggling, Boxer needs to go out for his relief. Since you are not in bed, you take the leash and do the bidding. Out in the night’s fresh air, under the twinkling stars you have an epiphany, maybe you could befriend the beast. At that very second Boxer takes off chasing a squirrel with you holding onto the leash for dear life. You’re running fast, then faster, and you flash back to the high school track, you’re the sprinter in the final race for the team’s win. You’re picking up speed, legs flying, you’re in the zone, you’re first to cross the finish line, A WINNER.
“Yes”, you scream out into the darkened night. Both you and Boxer are panting; you bend over head to knee to catch your breath. A big wet tongue crosses your face. How amazing, you like it, giving Boxer a loving pat on his head, proud of the sprinter, “Good boy”.
Entering the house you have a new friend, and you think a phrase that had little meaning before to you, “And baby makes three”.
Merrie Way suggests if you need a doggie conflict-resolution. Maybe that tail wagging, kissy face canine can become your best friend. It sure beats running away from LOVE with your tail between your toes.