Tag Archives: self help

Take a Fiver

 I recently had one of those days where I felt overtired, overworked and overcooked? Rather than succumb to my ego’s desire to drink an espresso and charge forward with my work day, I chose to listen to my ~ing and take a fiver. Taking a fiver is an old-school Gabby tool that I turn to often. A fiver is the simple exercise of stepping away from whatever you’re doing to take a five minute break and recalibrate your thoughts and energy. You can take five minutes for deep breathing, five minutes for a cup of tea, a five minute walk around the corner etc. It’s that simple! Sometimes a fiver is all we need to invite spirit back into our day and allow a miraculous shift to occur. Today when you’re ready for a fiver watch this vlog:) 


Walk in your own truth.

www.sos.org This is the site for my Beloved Master, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Marahaj to whom I owe my very breath.

There are many reasons to keep to your dharma or chosen work in life.  Today’s buzz word for dharma is finding your passion and creating a life that brings about your own spiritual upliftment  as well as for those around you.  My dharma or chosen path was realized very early on in life when my father was dying at the early age of forty eight from cancer of the colon.  I was born and raised in Kenya that was a British Colony at the time.  Due to changes in Kenya’s political leadership and my mother’s view of the Mau Mau from the perspective of the BBC radio broadcasts and what she was privy to in her clerical job with the Nairobi Police force she felt it best to return to the village in England where she had been raised and where her brother and mother lived.

I did not find the opportunity to fulfill my dream in England and in my early twenties found myself in the Midwest USA working as a nanny for a prominent and wealthy family.  After a brief time with this family I worked from the home of a Jewish lady who owned a nursing agency and taught me to do basic care for the sick in their homes and I would then return to her home on my free days.  She always included me in family celebrations and religious holidays.  She had a modest home in a nice suburb and drove me to places I needed to go for work.  I became interested in a program that I heard about through the board of education that was paid for and I would be responsible only for my uniforms, books and living expenses.  That was the beginning of my work in nursing.

I have a daughter and was married for almost twenty years.  I met my first spiritual Master when I completed my RN program and for the next eleven years I dedicated my spare time to spiritual practices and spending time with my Meditation Teacher as much possible.  My marriage ended and I moved to the East Coast and drove to the spiritual retreat in the Catskills to spend time with my spiritual teacher.  After completing my Master of Science Degree in Nursing I returned to the Mid West.  

Some events have given me deep insight into the field of mental health.  I have literally had to walk away from work and report incidents to officials outside of the system in order to shine some light into dark places.  It has in a way been a burden.  At some level I wish that I could have turned a blind eye or to live with the oppressive nature that unethical events put a person under.  I cannot live like that and I will speak up for myself and anyone else who I see is abused by individual’s or a system.  I long for a time in my career now where I may be able to work in a facility and enjoy patient care and work with a team of competent and ethical people.  

In the East part of spiritual development takes place through seva or selfless service.  Seva opens the student of the Master to Grace in carrying out the particular service and other areas of life.  Through my work as a nurse I have noticed that although I have been able to live quite comfortably others certainly have excelled in the realm of wealth.  I am told that the purer that a person becomes inside the easier it is to become open to the Grace of the Master who can shower you with material blessings.  I am open!!!  A very dear friend of mine who died had become so transformed over the years through the Grace of our Master that I believe he had reached Sainthood.  His karmas with money were clear and he left this life quite poor having lived as a welfare recipient due to a health condition.  I understand that we have to always be able to let go but I feel particularly sad to have lost the company of this great friend and spiritual mentor.  I even know that I will miss my cat who has been so loving and patient as we have moved across the country together.  She is a dear companion and great soul.  I recognize the same soul within her as I have inside my own being.  We are happy together like a family.  I consider her to be the baby in my life.

My longest challenge has taken place over the past two years and I will be very happy to clear this karma and move on to a life in Chicago where I can live near my Master when He is in the US.  My struggle has been a legal battle and I am thankful for my Master for keeping me safe and leading me through the quagmire of events that could have resulted in me loosing my nursing license and thus my ability to earn a living.  I have taken the situation to higher authorities and feel confident that those responsible will face consequences for their efforts to ruin my life.  I intend to work in nursing again because I have a deep desire to work with children and adolescents who have difficult circumstances in their lives that they will have to transcend and succeed in life despite all the odds.  My friend who died had a tragic life himself as I did myself and he used to say that I should be glad and thank my family because the experience of living with them made me turn inward and find God.  This is the gift that I can offer to children who are mistreated or lack love that they can become stronger because of their circumstances and rise above what other’s have done to hurt them.  A quote from Don Quixote caught my eye yesterday.  Don Quixote reminds Cyrano that "windmills, if you fight them, may swing around their arms and cast you down into the mire."  Cyrano responds, "or lift you up among the stars!"  This how to handle adversity.

This is my first blog.  I work as a Professional Life Coach and can be reached at lawrencerita511@gmail.com  You will have to commit to a Spiritual Path or your Religion and become vegetarian in order for me to work with you.  

Your Body Means Business

A wave of recent research revolves around the premise that your gut is smarter than your head. In our newer more complex world tapping into your deeper intelligence is a key to avoiding pitfalls and taking what is necessary to make a quantum leap.

Over the last few month’s I’ve unplugged in order to dive into the mechanics of what makes the ground fertile for a big change. It is fascinating to see the most innovative organizations recognize that the best choices involve more than rational deliberation. (Women, of course, have known this for millennia.)

A Big Wig’s Big Payoff

George Soros is one of the top investment managers in the world. His 32 percent annual return has earned him legendary status as a trader and speculator. Just imagine–if you had invested $1,000 in his Quantum Fund when he started in 1969, you would have found yourself worth $4 million by 2001. Dang! I wish I had. 

George looks over the same financial data, statistics and market analysis as his competitors. What is his secret weapon? Listening to the intelligence of what I refer to as the town inside George’s body. George-ville. Yep. In his autobiography, Soros on Soros, he writes about listening to the brilliance of his back pain. Whenever he felt a twinge in his lower back, he knew something was "off" in his portfolio. He would stop whatever he was doing, assess his strategies, figure out which investment was not productive, and correct it. George honored the advice of his body so deeply that he wouldn’t allow himself to be disturbed while he was following his back pain’s cues. 

Why not take a few seconds to listen to your own early warning system?

If you think of your gut as a sort of radar, you will understand why airplanes use it and why you should too. Like George, you can have access to more of your own intelligence if you give it your attention.

A Country Western Song Waiting to Happen

Learning how to un-think and listen to your inner smarts is one of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to relationships, too. Studies show that 82 percent of communication is nonverbal. Studies show that we form opinions about other people in less than three seconds. Those conclusions may be right or wrong decisions. You might assess them and ignore it anyway. Or you might make rash choice in three seconds and regret it later. Perhaps there’s a new guy in your life. So what if he has been the town bad boy for years? He’s cute. He’s a good kisser. Who cares? Well, maybe he’s saying all the right things, but have you noticed the tiny, icy pang in your stomach? Listen up! Your body signals may be telling you that Mr. Wonderful is actually a Country Western Song Waiting to Happen.

In a business context you need to check things out with your gut as well as your mind.

1. First Is Always Best

First impressions are really important (and often, always right). The biggest mistake folks make is second guessing their gut. Let yourself really honor that first impression. Sure, things can be changed if you feel like taking another look. Don’t ignore your feelings if they are strongly negative.

2. When In Doubt Check It Out

The turbulent times we live in seems to be bringing scam artists. A underhanded-real estate agent approached our family about selling a property. It never ‘felt’ right to me. After doing some digging we discovered that the carrot he was swinging in front of our noses was actually rotten.

3. Push The Pause Button

Your intuition is a hard worker. But it works on it’s own time zone. Don’t rush your gut. 

This morning I was getting ready for a meeting with an attorney. Since I just moved I needed to juggle that lunch with a meeting with the Gas company. I kept having the feeling that the lunch wasn’t going to happen. This made no logical sense. We had confirmed an hour earlier.

I took some extra time before I left the house. Lo and behold the attorney called to say he wasn’t feeling well and needed to cancel. Not going to that meeting saved me at least two hours of wasted time today.


How has listening to your intuition helped you?

You can receive notice of my blogs by checking Become a Fan at the top. Ask Eli a question at info@elidavidson.com or go to www.elidavidson.com today.

Eli Davidson is a nationally recognized motivational speaker and executive coach. Her book,Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Stories for the Savvy, Sassy and Swamped, (Oak Grove Publishing) has won three national book awards. Eli is a reinvention catalyst, who can transform your professional and personal life from Funky to Fabulous with her 10 trademarked Turnaround Techniques that create rapid and remarkable results. Check out her blog at http://funkytofabulous.blogspot.com/

Originally Posted on Huffington Post

Photo: Flickr CC//JakeCaptive


The Universe Rewards Action, Not Thought

 In last week’s article about procrastination and integrity, a number of readers offered some great insights into thoughtful or mindful action coupled with commitment and the value of one’s word. One particular comment from Nosybear jumped out at me and reminded me of a core concept I learned many years ago that may be worth exploring a bit: The Universe Rewards Action, Not Thought.

Nosybear wrote:

When asked what he would do if he had one hour to save humanity, Einstein replied he’d spend 55 minutes defining the problem and five minutes on the solution. We in this country either jump immediately to the solution, thinking we know all about the problem, or we never act because we can’t define the problem immediately and begin action. What you’re proposing, Mr. Bishop, is nothing less than the discipline of reflection. As we become more of a 140-characters-or-less society, fewer and fewer even realize reflection, honestly thinking about the questions instead of the answers, exists, much less practice it. Learning to reflect, to define the question before jumping to the answer, is life-changing.


This insightful comment reminded me of a wonderful little lesson I learned in a problem solving class some 40 years ago. The puzzle in front of us required a combination of creative thinking and creative action. The exercise was set up so that other participants could provide feedback about problem solving moves but weren’t allowed to talk. They could provide feedback in the form of positive encouragement, in this case, applause, when I actually picked up and moved one of the puzzle pieces and did so in a way that indicated a "directionally correct" move.

In this particular puzzle, there were dozens and dozens of possible moves, but only a handful which would lead to a solution — moves which were directionally correct. I spent a great deal of time thinking about possible solutions while my feedback mechanism, other participants whom the seminar leader referred to as "my universe," remained observant and completely quiet. Absent of action on my part, they had nothing to reward, no feedback to provide.

And so I thought. And then I thought some more. And still the "universe" remained quiet. The seminar leader kept saying over and over again, "The universe rewards action, not thought." I thought some more.

Finally, I picked up a puzzle piece and moved it. Stone cold silence from my "universe," which I confidently ignored and moved some more pieces. Finally, the seminar leader peered in over my shoulder and proclaimed that I was doing a great job of "ignoring my universe." With a little prodding from the leader, I started over with the admonition to "listen" and to recognize that "the absence of feedback, is in fact, feedback."

Something clicked this time around and I got the message. I moved a puzzle piece and heard silence. I moved it back and tried another. Applause this time. I moved another and heard silence once again. I moved one more, heard the applause, and then it all clicked into place. With just a couple of bits of feedback on the heels of taking action, I suddenly saw the solution. I rapidly moved all the other pieces into the solution while "the universe" acknowledged the moves with continuous applause. Had I sat there thinking and thinking, I might still be there. All it took was a little action on my part and the willingness to listen to the feedback.

So what’s the point and how does this square with the Einstein quote about thinking for 55 minutes before moving to a solution?

When confronted with a challenge, problem or one of life’s many puzzles, thoughtful consideration of possible ways forward are beyond important. Indeed, mindful, considerate and creative thinking are often antecedents to successful outcomes. However, until you’re willing to put your butt on the line and take some kind of action, not much will happen other than more spinning of the mental wheels.




How Much Does Your Word Mean These Days?

 My recent series of articles on integrity and impeccability stirred quite a range of responses, ranging from the typical knee jerk dismissive stuff to the more mindful and engaged commentary from those more interested in dialogue than diatribe. One particular thread has stayed with me as I prepared to write this piece today.

Several readers commented in either the comments section or in personal email messages to me that they have found great personal awareness and strength in holding themselves to a higher standard of integrity when it comes to giving their word. I’d like to start exploring this a little bit with this article.

Having taught on the subject of personal response-ability for decades now, I was particularly struck by these readers who pointed out their own powerful lessons in integrity and impeccability when it comes to the simplest of daily interactions: giving and keeping your word.

For many people, the area of personal integrity has become more than blurred when considering what it means to make a commitment and give your word. Have you ever noticed how easily people can make a commitment and how much more easily they can go about breaking that commitment?

Have you ever told someone you would be there (appointment, teleconference, dinner, party, etc) and then come up with some lame excuse to beg out of the commitment? Not that I’m really proud of the fact, but I know I have. Perhaps your excuses weren’t particularly lame as much as they were creative. The point is offering up some kind of reason or excuse for not following through on your agreement.

Sure, in the real world, there are things that come up unexpectedly, ranging from real illness in the family to your boss changed your plans for you. I’m not talking about these kinds of situations when circumstances change beyond your control. I’m talking about those times when you choose to do something other than what you agreed to simply because you "changed your mind."

Now, I know it wouldn’t be terribly cool to call up someone and tell them, "I won’t be at your party, dinner, meeting, etc. because something more interesting came up." Nor would it be fashionable to call the person and say something like, "I know I said I’d be there, and I don’t really have anything else to do, it’s just that I’d rather stay home by myself than go out of my way to be with you tonight."

Haven’t you been there at one time or another? I know I have. What do you do when something like that shows up for you — you just don’t want to go for one reason or another, or, in fact, you did get a better offer?

Perhaps a more interesting question would be: "who the heck cares?"

The answer to the last question is: "you do." I’m not talking about the personality, the ego, or whomever you pretend to be when you aren’t being your authentic self. I’m talking about who you really are inside. You know who I mean — the person inside who actually pays attention to what you say and do.

If you’re about to go off about this apparently odd or perhaps even trivial distinction, I encourage you to consider this for a moment: did you ever have a thought that you wished you weren’t thinking? Did you ever have a feeling you wished you weren’t feeling? Of course you have. The underlying question might be, "who noticed?" If some part of you is thinking the thought, or feeling the feeling, then who is that noticed and wished you weren’t thinking or feeling what was present.

I’m suggesting that some part of who you are inside yourself actually notices what you say, what you do, and what you think. And, that part not only notices, it keeps score. And it learns. Or at least it allows.

I know, another "oh dear" moment. What on earth is he going on about now and how could it possibly matter? Well, it does matter and it is big. So let me offer an appetizer version of what this is and why it matters.


Photo: CC Flickr//Chris Havard-Berge



On Cultivating Resilience

 When I was 350 pounds I didn’t believe it was possible for me to maintain a normal weight. Now, having maintained a two hundred pound plus weight loss for nearly a decade, I am an example that it can be done. Transformation is not only possible, it happens. So whatever your age and whatever issues you are dealing with, I want you to know that change is not only possible, but also highly probable. By not giving up on yourself, by cultivating resilience and learning from experience, which makes resilience more likely, you can, indeed, teach an old dog, new tricks.

So what is resilience? What does not giving up on yourself look like and how do you go about it? Resilience is the ability the bounce back from an adverse event or situation. The dictionary uses the phrase to "recover readily" instead of bounce back. In either case, the emphasis is not on the negative thing or things that have happened, but rather what you do once they have occurred. After all, life is a roller coaster ride for most of us. Even Elvis and Frank Sinatra had comebacks which means they had setbacks. No one is exempt. The fact is it’s not the issue you are dealing with; it’s in how you deal with the issue that you will find your resilience.

We’ve all been through it. The only real questions are, "How deep is the hole?" "How long do we want to stay in it?" and "How do we dig ourselves out?" The answers to those three questions can be found in one of my favorite stories, "An Autobiography in Five Chapters." I hope it brings you as much pleasure and insight as it has to me.

Chapter One:

I walk down a familiar street. In the middle of the road is a giant hole. I see it clearly, yet I fall into it anyway. I work as hard as I can to climb out. It seems like it takes forever, but finally I get out. I continue to walk down the familiar street.

Chapter Two:

I walk down the same familiar street. Right there in the middle is the same hole. I see it even more clearly and yet I fall right back in. Now I’m pissed. I work as hard as I can to get out. Again, it seems like it takes forever, but eventually, I make it. I continue down the same old street.

Chapter Three:

I walk down the familiar street once more. (I know. I know). After seeing the hole, I try to maneuver around it. I get about halfway, but it’s slippery around the edges and I fall in. Boy, this looks familiar. Using my experience, I climb out pretty quickly this time. Dirty but not worse for wear, I continue down the road.

Chapter Four:

I walk down … well you know. Anyway this time I know what’s coming so I am very careful as I work my way around the hole and I make it with out falling in. I’m pretty proud of myself at this point and although I’m tempted to look back, I avoid the temptation. I continue down the road.

Chapter Five:

I walk down a new road.

Here’s an example that I recently experienced. I had a couple days of falling back into old eating patterns (the familiar road), but I didn’t fall back into my old negative thinking patterns (the big hole) of "Oh well I blew it … Now I am horrible … I may as well go indulge for the rest of the week, month, year, etc." Nor did I severely restrict myself with a fast the next day. Instead, I saw the overeating as something normal people do, and then they just eat a little less the next day so it all balances out (the new road).

Our distorted thinking can lead us to build a monument to how disgusting or awful we are (the big hole), rather than just observing that we overate, and noting "Oh well, that didn’t do anything but make me feel a little bloated and set me back a half a pound or so (the new road)." The overeating may just indicate we are tired or bored or didn’t eat enough the day before. I found out that in this case when I was very tired, I laid low and watched too many cooking shows on TV (trying to get around the hole), which triggered my see-food, eat-food Pavlovian response. Being resilient I turned off the tube and went for a walk (the new road).

I’d love to hear about the familiar roads you might have chosen, the holes you found right smack dab in the middle, how you got yourself out, and perhaps most importantly, the new roads you’ve discovered. I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures with resilience.



Are You Listening Or Just Reloading?

 I think in our rush to argue and dissent these days, we have lost the art of listening. By that, I mean listening to truly understand the other person, not listening to agree or disagree, but simply listening to understand.

There is an old Buddhist saying that goes something like: "Are you listening, or just preparing to speak." Recently, I heard someone from Europe speak on the subject of communication in America. He said this: "Americans aren’t listening, they’re just reloading." Ouch! That certainly does describe one kind of communication that seems to be increasingly popular these days.

Have you ever been the victim of someone who is good at "reloading," someone who has been through one of those "effective listening" or "effective communications" courses? You know who I mean – they can make eye contact, lean forward, toss in the occasional "I see" and make every outward appearance of actually being attentive. The really good ones can also paraphrase or even repeat verbatim what is that you have to say.


I am not referring to the person who is seeking to listen and to paraphrase before carrying on themselves; rather, I am thinking about the person who has become highly skilled at what I call "malicious listening." The malicious listener has mastered the art of listening with a not-so-hidden motive. This person listens to prove you wrong and uses your own words to make their case. They can quote you ("you said . . . .") and quickly follow with a retort, rejoinder, or snide comment about how wrong you are. Indeed, they are skillful at "reloading."

The only problem with this kind of listening is that very little actual listening actually takes place. Surely you have had the experience of someone who can repeat back what you said and completely miss the message. They can be incredibly adept at using your words against you. They may hear your words, but they surely don’t hear you.

The real point of listening has little to do with what words the other person used, and everything to do with what the underlying message or meaning might be. Listening to understand is quite different from listening to prove a point, pick a fight, or win an argument. "Yeah, but you said" is a common rejoinder of the one who listens to argue.

Back in my university days, I recall reading something by Paul Tillich, the philosopher and theologian who wrote: "The first duty of love is to listen." More recently, a teacher of mine put it this way: "listening is one of the highest forms of caring." Imagine what a conversation or even a disagreement might be like if based on loving and caring – at least caring enough to truly understand the other person.

There’s an old cliché that says all relationship problems are really communication problems. It has also been reframed as all business problems are really communication problems. The problem with communication problems is that way too many people think communication means they need to say more.

Effective communications courses abound each attempting to improve this apparently difficult thing to do – to communicate. We’ve all heard the drill: listen first, speak second; paraphrase before adding your own thoughts; don’t interrupt. And very little of this makes any apparent difference.

I must admit that before I really understood the problem, I, too, spent a lot of time trying to teach people all the various active listening skills from unconditional positive regard over to how to paraphrase and seek mutual understanding.

As you are probably sensing, I don’t think the problem lies in various listening skills. However, it has certainly been my experience that people don’t know how to listen very well…


Photo: Flickr//Orange_Beard



Are You Trying To Criticize For Success?

 Do you have the ability to look at a situation and instead see what’s wrong with it? Perhaps you have the ability to look at something and see how it could be improved? Same ability, really.

If you have the ability to perceive what’s wrong or to identify what would make something better, then you may possess the ability some would call "discernment."

Merriam-Webster tells us that discernment is the ability or "power to see what is not evident to the average mind."

Do you find yourself in rather frequent bouts of criticism? Do you criticize how others think? How they drive? What they do for a living?

If so, I’ll bet you also have a pretty accomplished "inner critic." Do you also find yourself criticizing your own self? Ever call yourself names, either out loud or under your breath? I know I do. My favorite is to call myself "idiot" when I do something that I consider to be less than thoughtful, useful, or intelligent.

Of course, my ability to criticize myself spills over into my ability to criticize others. There was a time in my life when I actively criticized others. It didn’t really matter the context, I would "happily" criticize someone else for their political views, relationship gaffes, how they dress, what they do for a living and just about anything you can think of.

What makes this propensity toward criticism even more challenging is that often the criticisms are well spotted. The object of the criticism may be accurate – you may be "right" – they are making a mistake, doing something that doesn’t work, or creating even more grief for themselves.

However, just because our criticisms may be accurate doesn’t mean they are useful.

Very few of us seem to appreciate being criticized or being called "idiots." Have you noticed? Rarely does criticizing another person or calling anyone names seem to produce much that is useful or appreciated. The line of volunteers seeking additional "constructive criticism" is notably short.

Years ago, I thought I had found a way of making criticism more palatable by adding a dose of humor, usually in the form of sarcasm. However, it took some time before I discovered that the quality of my critical humor was often counterproductive, regardless of how well intentioned it might have been.

A big part of my own awakening took place 30 years ago during a relationship seminar I was conducting. I was working with someone who professed a desire to improve his relationship skills and couldn’t figure out why people were initially attracted to him, and then quickly turned away. He was the archetype of tall, dark and handsome with a flashy personality and quick mind.

After working with him for 15-20 minutes, I turned to him and said, "You know, Fred – you remind me of a Corvette. It’s pretty, flashy, powerful, sleek and all kinds of other cool things. The only problem? It’s made of plastic – if you bump into the wrong way, it just shatters."

Fred laughed. Everyone laughed. He sat down and started to cry.

He came up to me later and asked: "How did you know that I collect Corvettes?" He also told me that the metaphor was powerful for him and helpful. I felt particularly impressed with myself.

Shortly afterward, my mentor who happened to be observing this particular seminar, came up to me and offered a somewhat different perspective. He asked how I viewed the interaction and I told him what Fred had shared with me. My mentor countered with this observation. "While this one may seem to have worked, you should consider that your approach leaves them laughing on the outside but bleeding on the inside."



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