Tag Archives: Wealth

Is Kidnapping Ever Justified?

My friend forwarded me the security advisory, which began, “There have been three kidnap incidents in Ikoyi in the last five days.” I read this while sipping my morning coffee, a knot hardening in my chest.

My husband and I moved to Nigeria with our three young children in 2011. We live in Ikoyi.

Wax market
Lagos market

I skimmed through the rest of the message, gnawing on my thumbnail. It provided practical tips on staying safe, such as varying your routine, avoiding fuel stops on isolated roadways, and bringing braiders to your home instead of leaving your child at a salon for hours.

The email ended with a warning: “If you live in an area with high kidnap rates, there is always a possibility that you could already be a target, or that you or your family members are being developed as targets.”

Our sweet children could be targets? I slumped over on the sofa and decided to lie there until I died.

My husband, John, called me from work an hour later. Death was taking longer than planned, so I answered the phone. “Did you hear about the kidnappings?” he asked. “I must have gotten that email from a dozen people.”

“Those poor families,” I said. “Do you think we’re safe here?”

“Our risk is low. These are almost always inside jobs and I trust the people who work for us.”

“Isn’t that what everyone says?” I asked.

I stared at the photo of our kids on the end table as John explained that most countries have had periods in their history when kidnapping is common. “It happens in Russia and Colombia. It happens in any place where there’s income inequality and lack of opportunity. In Brazil in the ‘80’s, plastic surgeons perfected an ear replacement technique because victim’s ears were sent along with the ransom note.”

If John was trying to comfort me with facial mutilation stories, it had the opposite effect.

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When it was time to pick up the children from school, I roused myself from the sofa. After bolting the front door, I climbed into the back of the SUV and buckled my seat belt. Our driver, Sunday, locked the car doors. We circled inside the electrified walls of the compound, waiting for the blue-uniformed security guards to open the gate.

The children were sitting in their classrooms, all body parts accounted for. I hugged them and felt the knot in my chest loosen.

At home, the kids snacked on watermelon slices. They began doing their homework at the dining table while I had my cooking lesson.

Taiwo comes over once a week to teach me how to prepare my husband’s favorite dishes. She has spent twenty years working as a chef and instructor to ex-pat and wealthy Nigerian families. Over the last few months, we have become friendly. We chat about our children, about her church, and about the meaning of Yoruba names. She is proud that her oldest daughter is the first in their family to attend university.

melon 'soup' with goat
Melon soup with goat

I began washing bitter leaf in a bleach bath in the sink. Taiwo struck a match and lit the stove. She squeezed palm oil into a pot. As it sizzled, she sliced a plantain.

She told me how easy it had been to find transportation to my house and thanked Jesus. It is rainy season here and she arrived just before the skies opened up.

I mentioned the recent kidnappings as I stirred the greens through the water. “Isn’t it terrible?” I said, submerging a leaf.

Taiwo told me a story about a mother and daughter she knew from Church who were kidnapped in Benin City. She said the women were held for two weeks before being released. “These were good, God-fearing boys,” she said of the kidnappers. “They graduated from university but couldn’t find jobs. Their families needed them to pay school fees for their junior siblings.”

I pulled the stopper from the sink and watched the water gurgle down the drain.

“When educated Nigerians can’t get jobs,” she said, scraping the pot with a spoon, “it’s fair for them to turn to kidnapping. The wealthy have more than they need.”

The children’s laughter echoed into the kitchen. I stared at Taiwo, my mouth hanging open.

I mumbled something about misdirected governmental spending but Taiwo interrupted, offering rapid instructions on preparing stew.

In the evening, I sat in the dark living room, left with more questions than answers. I wondered if others felt like Taiwo did. Would the people we know in this country sympathize if our children were kidnapped? Or would they think it was a fair price to pay for the opportunities we have had?

Days have passed but my thoughts remained on Taiwo. How could a morally upright woman come to the conclusion that kidnapping is a justified commercial enterprise? I can’t relate but I have never been pessimistic about my children’s future. I don’t know how it feels to live without the expectation that my kids will prosper.

A Blessed Life: Practicing Gratitude in the Face of Robbery

I Dedicate You My Heart !If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep at night, you are richer than 75% of the world.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the one million who will not survive this week due to illness.

If you have money in the bank, any money at all, money in your wallet, spare change in a dish some place in your life, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. 92% of people don’t even have that.

(All three quotes above are from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and his presentation on Gratitude.)

One time a couple of years ago, I left money in the console of my car. I deal mostly in cash. I had skipped going to the bank and left a wad of ones and fives in my console to the tune of hundreds of dollars. Not smart, I know. At the time, I was pregnant, and I was also raising my eight year old boy. This meant, when I exited the car each afternoon, I had many elements to manage — book bags, yoga bags, grocery bags, etc.

One night I absentmindedly left my doors unlocked. When my son and I got in the car the next morning to hustle to school, I realized my car had been broken into, the console had been raided and my wad of cash was gone. I was very bummed. I was irritated with the perpetrator and myself for leaving the money there in the first place. I grouched and grumbled and was so animated, that my son began to cry. He was concerned, anxious, and scared. Recognizing this, I started to pull it together. That’s when it hit me: the thief had not only taken my hard earned yoga money, he/she had also stolen all my spare change. I had no idea how much that even totaled. It was certainly not something I even noticed. So the thought occurred to me: Maybe the thief needed the money more than I did. I mean, maybe not too of course. But maybe, given that they stole every last penny, maybe they did.

Right then, I turned it around. I released my anger and my frustration. I wished the thief best of luck and love. And I started to comfort my son, while also simultaneously pledging not to leave money in the console again. And of course, to this day, my son double checks to make sure I have locked the doors each evening.

According to Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, treasuring our divinity means being in a constant state of appreciation. Dyer professes that it is in this state that we train ourselves to look for things to be joyful about, happy about and grateful for. When I am steeped in gratitude, life seems so much simpler. I am not overwhelmed with things I wish were different. I am not viewing the world from a lens of lack. I am not drowning in self-pity or sorrow. I am abundantly aware of the blessings in my life. I am full of… I am just full. It’s such a delightful way of being. I offer you this humbly. Gratitude. It’s a practice worth engaging. It’s the practice of looking for the beauty around you at all times. It’s so fulfilling and enriching. Give it a try.

photo by: Joe Fakih Gomez

How Healthy Is Your Energetic Bank Account?

Yeah!Practicing yoga is like making a deposit into an energetic investment account. Every little bit helps, and it will grow exponentially depending on the commitment made to build up the reserve. Just as the account can be piddled away through mindless spending, your precious energy can be depleted through mindless living.

We save things to be used for a rainy day, or a thunderous year. Money, food, clothes, breath, your physical and energetic self…all these things are looked after, used and then replenished through conscious living.

Your energetic bank account is of the most precious areas in life to nurture and let thrive. To build up a reserve is to commit to something wholeheartedly. The commitment could be to your yoga, meditation or prayer practice. The commitment could be to live a truthful life in all the many facets that make up you as an integrated part of society. The commitment could be to walk grounded, lead others to beauty or live purely for this moment. The commitment is in the choice, and the energetic reserve gets deeper and more stout with each action, thought, and speech that supports this choice.

As you let this soak in, know there are things that not only add to this energetic account but also those that deplete it. An energy leak could be anything from biting back your truth, a relationship that sucks the life out of you one sip at a time, or even toxins physically ingested through mindless consumption. Just as the commitment to fully live is a choice, so is the desire to slow the leaks, or even stop them. You choose, and then you make change.

Who cares if you have a healthy energetic nest-egg? I want you to. I want myself to. There will be a time when you need every cent of that reserve. There will be a time when your life’s work of getting strong, wise, and grounded will be pulled out from under you. There will be a time when you will be so incredibly thankful that you put in the effort. Through that effort you will have amassed love, compassion, clarity, vitality, and an understanding of your part in this vast place we call home. There will be a time when you will need all you’ve got.

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photos by: R'eyes & Andres Rueda

How to Find Happiness, Even When You’re Broke

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How do you define rich?

People often equate more money with more happiness, higher status, or increased security. Losing a job or not getting an expected promotion leaves many in a state of despair and weighed down by a feeling of lack.

A recent study found that how we define wealth is often dependent on our age, income, and occupation. Where we live in the world and our socioeconomic status can play a large part in how we define wealth and happiness.

Here in America we live in a society that perpetuates the more-is-better mentality. When we lose what we have or can’t maintain a certain standard of living, we tend to feel inadequate.

Analyzing our personal motives for the job we’re in, the path we’re pursuing, the things we buy, and the things we want can prove very revealing.

Are we trying to present a certain image, live up to a certain societal standard, or accumulate as much financial security as possible? How much money would it take to make us happy, secure, or content?

The bigger question is less why we put so much importance on having money and more What would we do if we lost it all?

It may be a hypothetical question to many of us, but for a large portion of the population it’s become a reality.

Homelessness and unemployment are realities affecting many. Losing a job is one of the major causes of depression and increases the risk for suicide.

Unemployment is a major challenge. It often requires changes in lifestyle, expectations, and rips off a label we’ve identified with for years.

This breaking down of what we have or what we know is an opportunity to break through.

There is now an empty space or void where there once was a job or a title. How we choose to fill that space mentally, physically, and energetically can make the difference between a happy or discontent state of being.

Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Victor Frankl revealed the importance of finding meaning in life in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. His experience as an inmate in a concentration camp proved to be more than just an exercise in finding meaning in loss. His experience was one of finding meaning in an unimaginably horrific situation.

There is sobering truth in his famous quote:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

The freedom he offers is dependent on responsibility. Taking responsibility for one’s own attitude and outlook.

To that end, when we look at our losses or life changes as beginnings, as opportunities, and find nuggets of meaning in the smallest details of life, we find the search becomes less external and more internal.

As Frankl says, “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Contentment is an internal state. It is not dependent on what we have or don’t have. While what we have can affect our superficial level of happiness, true contentment stems from a deeper state of acceptance, gratitude, and acknowledgement of our true value.

When I start to feel discontent or dissatisfied with what I have or superior or inferior to another human being, I bring myself back to reality by what I call the Emergency Room Equalizer.

When someone is taken to an emergency room in a life-or-death situation, no one asks for their job title or pay stub. Their clothes don’t matter, their money doesn’t matter, their education doesn’t matter.

The only thing that matters is their life. Keeping them alive.

We are all in an emergency room of sorts. We’ve got 80 or 90 years to live, and that’s not long. There is nothing more valuable than our lives and nothing more equalizing.

True prosperity comes from appreciating the quality of our life more than striving for quantity in our life. Most of us have our health, our families, and many years ahead of us. All of us have the breath in our lungs and the clothes on our back.

When we choose to find the meaning and see the value in our lives, we find that even when we are poor, we are rich. We can live full and fulfilling lives with very little.

Even if we haven’t lost our jobs, when we make efforts to simplify our lives we often find more contentment, less distraction, and a deeper sense of well-being.

Practices that bring us back to the home of our bodies and the true essence of who we are, such as yoga and meditation, are powerful tools for stepping into our present circumstances with an open mind. Below I share a link to author Shakti Gawain’s discussion on Creating True Prosperity, hosted on the conscious media platform of Gaiam TV, where she highlights the distinction between inner and outer prosperity.

A sense of contentment with what we have often opens the door to finding joy in the simplest aspects of life, regardless of how much or how little we have.

When we’re faced with limited resources, difficult circumstances, or the loss of a job, may we echo the words of American artist Henry Miller:

“I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.”

*****


418_CreatingTrueProsperityClick here to watch Creating True Prosperity

If money is the key to prosperity then material possession is the currency. Many people see prosperity as the acquisition of security, status, and wealth, which seem to equal admiration, freedom, and leisure. But money doesn’t always work the way that we think.

We sometimes forget that having a lot more doesn’t necessarily mean we struggle less. True prosperity comes from realizing and engaging what matters in life, not from accumulating things or building walls or images around us. Join Shakti Gawain in this fascinating and enlightening weigh-in between inner prosperity and material prosperity.

You can get hundreds of yoga and meditation videos for free by starting a 10-Day trial with GaiamTV:

 

How do you find happiness, even in the wake of financial hardship? Please share your comments below.

 

10 Quotes to Inspire an Abundance Mindset

It seems like just yesterday that we celebrated the New Year but we’re already halfway through the month of January. By now, those of you who have made New Year’s resolutions have had some time to adapt to your new routines. Some of the most popular resolutions each year are to lose weight or to improve one’s finances. Believe it or not, the two are very closely related because in both cases, in order to be successful, you must focus on consuming fewer resources than you take in. Whatever the goals might be that you’ve set for yourself,  I hope that you’re making steady and consistent progress every single day. It’s also possible that some of you might be struggling to stay on track so you might be feeling frustrated or disappointed in yourself.  If the latter is true then this is precisely the point during which you need to stop what you’re doing and give yourself a chance to make a change that will help you continue along the intended path.  As a financial expert, much of the work that I do with my clients involves helping them practice goal-setting in order to achieve their ultimate desire which is to improve the state of their finances.

When it comes to achieving your (financial) goals, you first have to prepare your mind for the task ahead. You have to literally wipe the slate clean in order to receive new information which will serve as the basis of your new habits that ultimately will lead to the achievement of whatever you have set in mind to accomplish. Think of it as a warm-up which helps you make the transition to a more rigorous routine. Your heart and your mind need to be aligned in order for your actions to feel authentic and to yield the proper results. You have to create an abundance mindset before financial abundance can become a reality. When I refer to financial abundance, it takes on a unique meaning depending on the individual according to their respective life circumstances. The focus on abundance is not just on financial resources and wealth but it is also important to think of abundance in terms of time, energy, and resources to help others in need as well as the community of which you’re a part. Abundance in this sense takes on a transitive property that helps you make an impact in a way which is aligned with your values which ultimately helps to contribute to a better and more just world.

I’ve selected some quotes which are accompanied by photographic images. Each quote and photograph is meant to serve as a daily meditation to help you prepare your mind for the actual task of defining your goals, mapping out a specific plan for accomplishing them and then taking the actions needed in order to make the goals a reality. I recommend that you start and end your day with these meditations but you’re welcome to review them as often as you wish. Since this and subsequent exercises are based on being mindful, find a quiet and tranquil space in order to really focus on the words as well as the images. Practice these mindful meditations for a full week and prepare your heart and mind for success and abundance.

TAKE THE FIRST STEP & GO THE DISTANCE: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

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YOU ARE IN CONTROL (OF YOUR EMOTIONS/PERCEPTIONS); THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY:  “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” ~ William Arthur Ward

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BE GRATEFUL FOR ALL THINGS AT ALL TIMES: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continually. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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FOCUS ON WHAT YOU KEEP NOT WHAT YOU MAKE: “The amount of money you have has got nothing to do with what you earn. People earning a million dollars a year can have no money. People earning $35,000 a year can be quite well off. It’s not what you earn, it’s what you spend.” ~ Paul Clitheroe

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BELIEVE IN YOURSELF – IT IS ESSENTIAL TO YOUR SUCCESS: “A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failures certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.” ~ Alexandre Dumas

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YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES, JUST STAY FOCUSED AND DEAL WITH OBSTACLES AS THEY COME: “Whatever course you decide upon there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires….courage.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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ENJOY WHAT YOU NEED FOR TODAY BUT PLAN FOR THE FUTURE: “When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.” ~ Confucius

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PRACTICE DISCIPLINE & RESTRAINT – THESE QUALITIES BUILD CHARACTER AND SELF-WORTH: “Savings represent much more than mere money value. They are the proof that the saver is worth something in himself. Any fool can waste; any fool can muddle; but it takes something more of a man to save and the more he saves the more of a man he makes of himself. Waste and extravagance unsettle a man’s mind for every crisis; thrift, which means some form of self-restraint, steadies it.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

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DO WHAT YOU LOVE, DO IT WELL, DO IT WITH PASSION – MAKE THAT YOUR FOCUS: “You can only be truly accomplished at something you love. Do not make money the goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you. All the other tangible rewards will come as a result.” ~ Maya Angelou

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DO THE BEST YOU CAN EACH DAY/THERE WILL BE GOOD DAYS AND BAD DAYS – JUST KEEP GOING: “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Hellen Keller

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Buy Nothing Day

The U.S. economy is suffering. The world economy is suffering. Why? Largely because our government, corporations and citizens have been in a spend-don’t-save mindset. Meanwhile, people all over the world are starving — lacking for food, water and shelter. And our planet is suffering — as we pollute it and use up its natural resources.

So what’s the solution? Buy Nothing Day!
The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday — the busiest shopping day of the year. Adbusters invites you to join them in boycotting the shopping frenzy.
Just think of all the time you’ll save — not to mention money and environmental resources.
As Adbusters explains,
As the planet starts heating up, maybe it’s time to finally go cold turkey. Take the personal challenge by locking up your debit card, your credit cards, your money clip, and see what it feels like to opt out of consumer culture completely, even if only for 24 hours. Like the millions of people who have done this fast before you, you may be rewarded with a life-changing epiphany. While you’re at it, what better time to point out real alternatives to unbridled consumption – and the climate uncertainty that it entails – by taking your BND spirit to the streets?
Buy Nothing Day events are taking place all over the world — find one near you!
So, how will you spend the day?

Photo via AdBusters

Originally published in 2008

3 Tips to Get Over a Bad Break-Up

Being in a relationship is a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, not all wonderful experiences are meant to last. In fact, more often than not when a relationship ends it is typically over faster for one person than the other. The worst relationship breakups occur when one person just wants out and the other person desperately wants to stay in.

No matter how hard you to fight to keep the relationship going if the other person is out they are out. There is no amount of pleading, begging, crying, chasing, bargaining or threatening that will make them come back. But, for some reason, you are not willing to let go. Have you ever thought about why you can’t let go? Why are some people unable or unwilling to accept the end of a relationship, even if it wasn’t that good for them in the first place?

Often the reason that people cling to a bad relationship or a dead romance is because they have a real internal fear that they can never achieve another interpersonal relationship connection. Sometimes this thought has evolved over time and with influence from the other person in the relationship. If this is the case the last thing you need is another relationship at this time. You are already a prime candidate for finding a partner that is at best likely to be very controlling and at worst abusive.

The best way to get over a bad breakup or a relationship that you desperately wanted to save is to get out of the dating game and focus in on yourself. To do this try at least one of the following tips to controlling your own destination and getting your life back on course.

Tip 1: Set A Personal Goal

This needs to be a non-romantic or dating goal. Pick one area of your life that you want to improve and set a “do-able” goal in that area. Maybe you want to learn how to skydive or you want to take a ballroom dancing class. Maybe you want to run a 10k or take a photography course. Whatever it is make it something you want to accomplish for yourself.

Tip 2: Determine What Makes YOU Happy

Stop and think about all the things in your world that make you happy. What do you enjoy doing, what is important in your life and what makes you smile? Then, start to think about how your want your next partner to represent those things that make you happy. Make a list of what the new partner needs to have as their personality traits and characteristics.

Tip 3: Think Positively About The Future

Stop focusing on what didn’t work and what you wished had happened; that is all in the past. Instead, focus on a positive future with the right partner that is as in love with you as you are with them. See this relationship as a truth in your world. See your future as positive, happy and, when you are ready, full of the love that you desire.

Only by making these personal changes will you be in the right emotional and spiritual space to make the most of a new relationship. You will have dealt with the past and moved into a new era of making choices based on your own positive future.

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your  free E books at  www.sherrygaba.com  Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba”on CBS Radio. Are you a Love Addict? Take Sherry’s quiz for a free eBook Filling the Empty Heart:  5 Keys to Transforming Love Addiction.

 

Breathing, Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery

Sometimes when people are walking their pathway toward recovery from an addiction they tend to look only towards the big picture. This means that they miss out on the small details that can help in the day to day issues that everyone faces when making life changes. One of the most overlooked aspects of personal care in recovery is managing the stress, anxiety and inner tension that can be triggered by any number of given events and situations.

Let’s look at this in a step by step fashion. Understanding your options to relax using controlled breathing is a major breakthrough for most people and it all starts with being mindful of changes that occur in your body when you are put in a stressful or anxiety provoking situation.

Step 1 Understanding Relaxed Breathing

The first step in being able to know when you are reaching a level of stress or anxiety that is problematic is to first know how your body acts in a relaxed and stress free state. To do this take a few minutes when you are not frustrated, worried or tense and close your eyes. Feel the way that your breathing pattern naturally occurs. Visualize the air moving into your nose, through your airways and into your lungs. Notice how your lungs expand in inhalation and contract when you exhale. Your breathing is deep and long and very soothing.

Step 2 Learn How To Take A Complete Breath

In “The Law of Sobriety” I provide a detailed explanation of taking a complete breath, also known as Pranayama. Start by lying down with your eyes and mouth closed one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose and feel your lungs and chest expand. Hold the breath for a moment and breathe out feeling the lungs empty. Hold this for a second and then breathe in again. By increasing the duration of inhalation with relation to holding and exhaling you can increase your energy levels. Exhaling slowly and longer will increase your feelings of relaxation.

Step 3 Breathe With Mindfulness

Once you have practiced complete breaths in a quiet location you can start to use the technique anywhere. When you notice your breathing patterns change to become quicker and shallower you will recognize that is a sign that you are starting to feel anxious, nervous or stressed.  When this happens you can immediately practice complete breathing to provide natural stress relief. This, in turn, allows you time to stop, think and relax, assisting you to continue on the positive path to recovery from any type of addiction.

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your  free E books at  www.sherrygaba.com  Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba”on CBS Radio

Volunteer Your Way To Abundance

The summer is finally here! As we welcome the warm weather, the sunny sky and the thought of vacations and exciting times with our friends and family, we need to take a small step back. Even though your mind may be racing with positive thoughts and energy because the sun is shining, not everyone is abundantly blessed. For most of us, the summer time gives us a few more hours per month to kick back and relax. Have you thought about investing that time and energy into something that will reap benefits far beyond what you would normally expect? When you invest a few hours of time into a charitable activity you are volunteering your way towards personal abundance.

We know that The Law of Attraction tells us that the energy we release to the universe comes back to use many times over. When we volunteer for a cause that is near and dear to us, without the thought of personal gain, you will experience that energy in return. How does this work? It works because giving generously and without thought of self is one of our obligations to the planet and our fellow people.

When we experience great hardships such as being homeless or not being able to eat healthy because groceries are too expensive, people quickly lose hope. The loss of hopes fosters negative energy. Individuals become jaded, upset and extremely angry that they are living hand to mouth. What bigger gift can you give to a human being that is suffering than a renewed belief that people do care?

Our volunteer efforts not only give material resources to those in need, they also give them the spiritual and emotional resources they may not know they need. In my case, I support treatment centers that provide services to those that do not have the financial resources to enter addiction recovery treatment.

I work one-on-one with many clients who need help but simply don’t have the money or insurance that cover addiction recovery treatment. Many are not aware that there are a large percentage of individuals struggling with addiction that want help, but they are turned away. Many treatment centers won’t take insurance, even if the insurance covers the treatment services. These struggling individuals are turned away right when they need help the most.

I’ve spoken and worked with many people in recovery whose drug and alcohol use escalated because they couldn’t receive the help they needed. By investing my time and energy towards helping these individuals, without the thought of self-promotion, I have gained an abundance of positive aftereffects. This is a prime example of how giving positive energy, along with material resources to those in need is rewarded. The reward of abundance by volunteering is the way the world says thank you.

Simply put, the summer often allots extra time. Use those hours to give back and experience an abundance of positive energy.

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your  free E books at http://thelawofsobriety.com/store/   Contact Sherry at for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba”on CBS Radio

photo by: mRio

Miracles by Serving

 

For the past month, the book A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson has become my Bible. I carry it around everywhere, quote it to random strangers (true story) and find myself referencing it during times of need.

The  main message I received from the book is that we have one mission in life and that is to be a servant of Love. We are here to carry the work of our hearts. To spread the light. To surrender our notions of self and channel the energies of the Universe into giving.

On a superficial level, all this made sense. I can mentally understand that we ought to give back to the community. But between you and me, I have never been too much of a “volunteer”. I mean, I dabbled here and there, did a few Habitat for Humanities projects, but nothing too serious. I really just volunteered to add to my resume. It never truly felt authentic or from a place of love.

I spent all of last week at Omega Institute in upstate New York for the Yoga Service Council conference. YSC is an organization that seeks to spread the message of yoga service to the world. The conference was a huge deal, largely in part because it was their first one and will pretty much set the tone for the rest of the year.

Surrounding myself with yogis and yoginis who dedicate their lives to service is beyond inspiring. Many of these individuals gave up the comfort of regular paying jobs to create nonprofit organizations because they have experienced the healing powers of yoga. They seek to bring yoga to homeless shelters, schools, prisons, impoverished nations, etc. Halfway through my seven day stay at Omega, there came a revelation (angels singing, heaven’s opening, you name it) and I understood what Marianne Williamson is trying to tell us in her book beyond mental comprehension to something deep within the heart. I understood why A Course in Miracles came to me at this particular time. I saw the connection between all these events occurring in my life, from not getting the job I wanted, to going to YSC, to reading these books. All of these events are preparing me to Serve. That may not seem like a big deal but this slight shift from All About Me to Serving Others is radical. I finally understand my dharma, the reason for my existence…

Fixing, serving, or helping. Make a distinction. You want to be a SERVANT. You cannot fix others, it is not your job. Helping implies you are better. Serve. Offer. Heal yourself and give.

I am not sure what capacity Serving means for me at this moment. It may mean teaching a community class. It may mean working at a nonprofit. It most likely will mean helping other nonprofits grow in whichever way I can. What I DO know is that it’s not going to be an easy road and I definitely know it’s not glamorous work. But it feels right to me. Serving the community with the power of yoga is a gift I know I can do. Yoga has saved me and I know it can save others too. And the best part of YSC is that I now have the connections I need to begin the journey.

Exciting things are happening friends! I am excited to be a new addition to the Intent Voices team and hope to connect with each of you on your adventures in life.

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