These Are the Things That Define You – Part Two – The Importance of Love

The biggest threat to any type of relationship is
misunderstandings.

Misunderstanding ourselves
and
misunderstanding others.

When you don’t like something then express it. Most importantly do it without trying to hurt someone because they hurt you. Instead, try helping them feel what you feel, expressed by both your words and actions.

When people understand
they usually do not judge.

The better you know yourself,
the better you can know others.

Spending time with a person is how you get to know them.

In the same way you must build a trusting relationship with yourself. You need to spend time getting to know more about you. You can never get to know yourself if you are surrounded by lots of noise, friends, and family, or if you are always preoccupied with things to do.

Being around others is vital.

We learn from their experiences and perspectives. It is just as important spending time alone, in peaceful surroundings. Peaceful surroundings doesn’t mean absolute silence. It means the absence of interruption and other distractions.

If you’re always listening to others,
you’ll just become the sum of
everyone else’s ideas.

Your deepest reflections cannot be heard unless you make time for them to be heard. Without really listening to yourself, you won’t have anything to keep you grounded. You’ll fall into all types of emotional traps. Most important you’ll find it difficult to resist the negative influences of others.

Of all the judgments we pass in life,
none is more important than
the judgment we pass on ourselves.

You may also want to use this opportunity to consider your life goals in all aspects: physical, mental and spiritual. You need to sit with your emotions and spend the time to distinguish them and label them. In the questioning process, ask yourself what your values are.

 

 

Core values will be things like compassion, honesty, love, kindness, loyalty, etc. Clarifying your core values will give you an exact picture of who you are.

  • Find out what makes your heart sing.
  • Find out what keeps you excited.

It is important your actions are supported by your core values and fundamentals. If not, you will find yourself in self sabotage. The ability to reach your highest potential is severely limited when you are busy self sabotaging!

Find out what inspires you. These are the things that define you.

Being with nature is also a good idea. You tend to connect better to your inner being, when you are more relaxed. The answers that you seek, while in a state of mental relaxation, surface more easily. You become clearer and clearer, in the intents that you sent out to the Universe(God). Because this intent is in perfect alignment with the real you, you do not experience any conflict or sabotage.

Time alone to
meditate and reflect
is productive time.

You cannot expect to function well physically everyday, if you are out of balance in other aspects such as mentally and spiritually. Very importantly, consider putting aside “me” time on a regular basis. I choose to spend “me” time meditating, reading books or simply just be with myself.

You must guard your personal quiet time and really make use of it.

This is your alone time with the Universe (God).
This is inviolable sacred time.

  • This is when you connect with your soul.
  • This is when you learn how to be at peace with the storms of life.
  • This is where you’ll find comfort and guidance.

This is what defines you.
This is when you know the importance of love.

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These Are the Things That Define You – Part One – Journey of Self-discovery

The term “Journey of Self-discovery” refers to a series of events whereby a person attempts to determine how they feel about spiritual issues or priorities, rather than following the opinions of family, friends or peer pressure.

Self-discovery is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection,
The willingness to learn more about their fundamental
nature and purpose.

If the only emotion concepts you recognize are “I feel good” and “I feel bad” you’re not going to be very emotionally healthy. But, if you’re able to distinguish the more specific “I feel alone” from merely “I feel bad” you’re able to deal with the problem.

Examining your life under a microscope can be uncomfortable and gruesome.

You will be grateful for starting the process of self discovery, because rewards unfold when you know more about yourself. Understand how you make improvements to your behavior, thoughts and emotions. Uncovering answers will help peel off layer-by-layer the negative thoughts that have imprinted in your mind. These negative thoughts and beliefs are your obstacles to inner growth.

You’ve probably never thought about learning words as a path to greater emotional health.

Words Seed Your Concepts
Concepts Drive Your Predictions
Predictions Regulate Your Body
Your Body Determines How You Feel.

The greater your vocabulary
the more precisely your brain can calibrate your body’s needs.

People who exhibit higher emotional expression

  • Go to the doctor less frequently
  • Use medication less frequently
  • Spend fewer days hospitalized for illness

[Tweet “The greater your vocabulary, the more precisely your brain can calibrate your body’s needs”]

This insight is directly connected to your relationship with others. Most importantly it’s also connected to our relationship with the Universe (God). What we believe about the Universe (God) and it’s expectations for us is vital to what we believe about ourselves.

Self discovery is not an a one day or a one week affair.

It can take a lifetime of building a relationship with yourself. Note that your inner self is not going to stay constant either. You are evolving all the time. Based on your self discovery at any point in time, you make conscious decisions for changes. Additionally, as you mature, you gain insights that make up the new you.

Self-discovery is about being mindful of who you really are, instead of what culture says you should be.

It is important to ask yourself what you want out of life and work towards it. Aligning with your soul’s’ purpose brings about fulfilment. Without a purpose and direction, you are going to feel like a ship which is going nowhere. I can assure you that if you don’t go through this process of evaluation on what your purpose is, you are going to experience regret while on your deathbed.

You need to confront your emotional issues and weaknesses
because they reveal the separation from the real you.

The real you is authentic, loving and nurturing. The process of self discovery is not just about unearthing nasty stuff about yourself. It is about honoring your strengths and abilities. As you become more aware of what you are good at, you lessen the list on weaknesses.

Learn to forgive yourself.

Negative beliefs tend to invade every aspect of your life. If you have feelings of low self worth, then you are likely to carry them in the relationships you have at home, in the office, with your friends, relatives and loved ones.

You, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. When your outer self is aligned with your inner being, you will feel happy and free!

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What Can I Do To Change My Life?  EP:000

What Can I Do To Change My Life?  

This question is simple, the answer is quite complexed. Especially, to those in the chronic illness community.

Let’s establish a foundation to the development of a healthy mindset. Living with the many ways chronic illness changes your life, places stress on your life, making you feel damaged, weakened, and even broken. As people go through life they develop active or passive attitudes depending on comfort and/or feeling in control of that situation. Often, chronic illness forces us into a self-protective, subconscious reaction by taking control of our emotional and physical surroundings.

To achieve this, we develop a Fixed Mindset.

FIXED MINDSET

A Fixed Mindset is when you need to look smart and in control while internally feeling weak and out of control. In order to achieve this, you develop a Fixed Mindset and you:

  • Avoid Challenges
  • Give Up Easily
  • See Effort As Fruitless Or Worse
  • Ignore Useful Negative Feedback
  • Feel Threatened By The Success Of Others

This Fixed Mindset obviously leads to stagnation and the feeling of being physically and emotionally stuck.

You want to change your life and so you have to do the opposite. Our starting point is Changing YOUR Mindset.

The key to any successful life change is a Positive Growth Mindset.

POSITIVE MINDSET

The very first and most important step is, change your thought patterns. If you are thinking negatively about life and all the things around, then you should change your thoughts.

To really change your life, you need a Positive Growth Mindset.

GROWTH MINDSET

Having a Growth Mindset you can change anything in your life. The view you adopt in your life changes the way you lead your life.

Having a growth mindset means:

  • Seeing Effort As Path To Mastery
  • Learning From Criticism
  • Finding Lessons Of Inspiration In The Success Of Others
  • Embracing Challenges
  • Persisting In The Face Of Setbacks

The result is a better sense of free will. You create a life that YOU desire.

POSITIVE GROWTH MINDSET

Keep a Positive Growth Mindset.

Dive deep into it and urge yourself to ask even more questions.

  • Every person is unique,
  • Every person is connected with everyone
  • Each person needs to develop his/her personal reality.

That should be based on what is real, valid, no matter the time, place, circumstances. Then, you can develop methods, explanations, perception suitable to your uniqueness, and compatible with the rest of the universe.

If you really want to change your life, watch for my next post “The 2 Minute Rule”

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RikkiSpeaks – You Have To Trust Someone Somehow

As I boarded my first bus, tears filled my eyes…

I watched as my family pulled away which tore at all of my emotions. I knew I had to make this trip, there was no question in my mind. I was doing what was right, although it didn’t lessen my knowing how badly I would miss them.

My first stop was in an inner city bus stop. I was faced with an extremely long layover and was now surrounded by a hoard of strangers. Looking at my surroundings, I noticed that this stop never slept. I was not unlike the place, as there was no way I could have closed my eyes. For the longest time, I just watched, as people moved about and children cried. Every type of person, of every ethnic background, seemed to swallow me making me the minority. After all, I was traveling alone.

Originally, while learning it would take me twenty  three and a half hours to travel what should have taken me nine by car, I was a little bit scared. It was a typical response, as people fear what they do not know. I was no where near a seasoned bus traveler. I made sure to my luggage within arms reach, as I was unsure of what to expect. I felt that making it to my destination with clothing was the best route to take and I wanted no chance of not ensuring this simple thing.

After sitting for quite some time, and suffering waffle butt syndrome from the uncomfortable iron benches, I decided I had to move. Exhaustion had set in, and I just couldn’t stay seated anymore. Hauling my luggage with me, I made my way outside.

Being a very friendly person, I have always been able to speak to whomever I am around. Boredom caused me to do just that. I made conversation with several people. Some were a little more apprehensive of my open abilities to say “hello”, while others seemed somewhat thankful to have someone to talk to.

We all spoke of why we were making our way, to our final destinations. Some were traveling as far as across the country. There were people who were making a new start while others decided simply to meet family and friends on the other side. There were even full families taking a quick vacation together. I, myself, was heading to help my very ill father.

I looked in the eyes of these people, from all walks of life, and found a little of myself in each of them. Oddly we were, after all, in this together. The more people I met, the more I felt responsible to watch out for each of them. Strangely, they all felt the same about me.

I had taken a couple of young fellas under my wing. The pair had met on a bus, and made it a point to watch out for each other. I decided to take care of them because I found them to be unworldly and it seemed they had no idea what to expect from life. We spoke of the girlfriends they had left behind, and they had asked for my advice on love and other topics. They listened as I vented about my fears of what I would learn when I got to my father’s hospital room. After a long while, they both became very tired and I agreed to watch their things, while they laid their young heads on a table and fell asleep. I woke them, when their bus was called, to ensure that they didn’t miss it. A small nod and wave and they were gone. Yet this time I didn’t feel so alone.

I had met a family who I connected with quickly. One of them won over my heart with her honest approach. She said to me, “I don’t understand why people steal luggage, because I don’t even want to lug mine, let alone someone else’s things.” Between giggles, I agreed. This family didn’t see me as a different color, nor did I them. We’d traded off luggage watching duties when each of us needed to get up and walk away. They had offered to feed me from the supplies that they had carried with them. I knew that their trip would be a long one, and yet they had offered to care for me from the little they had. I politely declined, knowing they would inevitably need it more than me, as they had many more mouths to feed. It didn’t change the fact that the offer had touched my soul.

A man who was seated on his luggage, beside the soda machine, passed me a handful of change from a purple Crown Royal drawstring bag. The money changer had met it’s demise and he saw me struggling to find enough change in my purse for a water. He refused to take any money in return, because as he had said, “my trip is now coming to an end, and yours has just begun.”

After boarding my next bus I met another man, who was a minister. He was heading to the same final stop as me. For the longest time, I listened as he spoke to the others on the bus, of God and His glory. He, then, began speaking to me and we quickly befriended each other.

Together, we’d made a layover in a very sketchy area. I had been speaking to some of the residents of the Indiana town we had stopped in. Those people were, without a doubt, some of the roughest people I had ever met.

There were two who I had made the acquaintance of at separate times during the stop. One had been assaulted by a bat and pipe, just days before, and wore the most terrible bruises I had ever seen. Another had been stabbed in the neck while falling asleep next to the town’s river bank. Curiosity took over and their broken bodies made me want to find out what had torn apart their souls. I had learned that drugs had been a part in each story and my heart broke for them. I reasoned that although they had made their own decisions in life they might not have been given any opportunity to avoid these mistakes. Each openly told me their stories and seemed comfortable in doing so. I reminded each of them that they had lived through their attacks, and were still here to tell about it. I challenged each of them to find the reason they had been given that second chance.

As I spoke to the people that everyone else would have shied away from the minister had later admitted that he had watched over me, the whole time, from afar.

As I stepped foot at my last stop, it occurred to me that I had been afraid for nothing. People are people no matter where you are. Everyone has a story to tell, although some are more sinister and terrifying than others. Some people just need someone to listen, and to care enough to give advice that no one else has the guts to give.

While becoming a bleary eyed traveler, I found I was never really alone. It is important, in life to remember that you have to trust someone sometime, even if it is someone that no one else would take the time to try to understand. No matter how soft or hardened the people were that I had met on my travels, just offering an ear and a heartfelt word seemed to sate the savage beast in all of them.

I shall board a bus again soon, to head back home. Though it will be heart wrenching leaving my father behind, I fear not the people I will encounter. Strangers are, after all, just friends I have yet to meet.

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How to Achieve the Creative State of Flow

Have you ever been so engaged in an activity that you lost track of time or even your surroundings? A bomb could have gone off (figuratively) and you wouldn’t have noticed?

That’s called “flow” – a state of consciousness where we experience a task so deeply that it truly becomes enjoyable and satisfying. For me this usually happens while I’m reading, writing, or developing software. For you, it could happen during any number of tasks — golfing, cooking, hiking, etc.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the architect of Flow and he wrote Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience. A guide that shows us how to add more enjoyment in our lives by increasing the time we spend in Flow.

The Conditions of Flow

Flow can be achieved by anyone with any task, as long as the conditions are right. I usually get into a state of Flow while writing. I listen to music through my headphones and after a few minutes I really get into my work I’m oblivious to my surroundings.

Sometimes I can’t type fast enough. Other times I type so s-l-o-w-l-y and the words don’t come easily. But, either way, I’m in a state of Flow. According to Mihaly there are eight characteristics to an optimal experience:

  1. You’re challenged by the task at hand. This seems to be the ‘prime directive’ to achieving Flow and can actually prevent you from being in a state of Flow. The difficulty of your task has to be “just right”. If the task is to easy, you’ll get bored and eventually stop. If the task is to difficult, you’ll get frustrated and eventually stop. Either way, you loose.
  2. The ability to concentrate is key. If there are to many interruptions or it’s noisy, you won’t be able to concentrate on your task. No concentration, no Flow.
  3. You have clear goals to achieve. Goals establish a mechanism to measure your progress and provide a sense of achievement. People in Flow achieve their goals.
  4. You receive immediate feedback. Either your ball landed in the cup or it didn’t. You know immediately if your goal was reached or not.
  5. Your worries and frustrations of everyday life recede into the background. This perhaps is one of the greatest benefit of Flow. You’re busy concentrating on your task and the rest of your world just “goes away” for a short while. Even though you’re challenged, you end up relaxed, satisfied and you achieved something meaningful (all this, and it’s legal too).
  6. Your sense of self disappears (only for a while). When it re-appears, you’re refreshed with an even stronger sense of self.
  7. You have a level of control over your actions while performing your task.
  8. You loose track of time and feel great when you’re done with your task.

The Paradox of Leisure Time

With all the “modern conveniences” available today, we have more free time than ever before. But, with all this free time, people rarely reported being in a Flow state.

What is the largest single pastime for Americans? Watching TV. It’s a national obsession – sports, soaps, reality TV, it doesn’t matter, we’ll watch anything. The interesting thing is this – Flow is rarely achieved while watching TV!

I wonder if it has anything to do with your brain being more active while you’re sleeping than when you’re watching TV? Even though we have plenty of free time, our single most leisure activity is producing the poorest quality of enjoyment. If you’re looking to take one small step to improve the quality of your life – then turn off your TV.

The State of Flow at Work

Engaging in a challenging activity is a primary condition to achieve Flow and for many of us, this occurs while at work. You’re given a task or you volunteer for a project that’s just beyond your current skill level. Deep down you know you can do it and maybe it’s a stretch. But it’s the challenge that intrigues you and ultimately expands your knowledge.

This is how one grows – expanding your skills by continuously challenging oneself and moving to that “next level”. It’s at work where the opportunity to grow occurs most frequently. There is nothing wrong with this. My point is that we need to find activities outside of work where we can achieve Flow.

Your Personal Plan for Flow

  1. Find a challenging activity. This could be anything. Reading, suduko, learning a language, cooking, or even playing a video game. Whatever you decide to do, just do it.
  2. Commit to yourself. Remember, you’re doing this for one person and one person only. Yourself. This is your chance to finally get on the road to happiness and accomplishment.
  3. Set a series of realistic goals. By setting goals you automatically know the level of skills needed to accomplish those goals and you provide yourself a framework for achieving a sense of accomplishment. Just as a video game has levels that you try to achieve, so should your activity. Define the levels, work to achieve them and realize your goals.
  4. Turn off the T.V. “Everything in moderation” is what my father used to tell me – so it goes for TV. Some is good, a lot is bad. Give yourself a chance to get into a Flow state by turning off the TV.
  5. Remove any interruptions. It nearly impossible to be engrossed in an activity when you’re bombarded with interruptions. I tell my kids “Please don’t interrupt me unless you’re bleeding or a dinosaur is crashing through our house”. They usually giggle and give me the time I need.
  6. Track your progress. Create a simple way to track your daily progress. Place a mark on a calendar, write a short entry in a journal or scratch a line in your bedroom wall.
  7. Enjoy your experience. Achieving flow takes determination. But remember to enjoy your experience along the way. As they say “it’s the journey that’s important”.

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Infinite Power, Endless Possibility, Limitless Opportunity

Behind me is infinite power, before me is endless possibility, around me is limitless opportunity.

We are in control of our lives through the power of love, knowledge and positive thinking. Through responsible decisions and striving to maintain clarity of mind there is power. With power over ourselves we can each shape our realities into a peaceful haven. The places you have been were on the path you have chosen thus far. That path is now behind you. In front of you is the endless possibility to create your ideal life. Looking around, you can find paths of limitless opportunity.

The power has been given to us through love, and with it we can love our lives and the lives of others enough to bring each of us the life of bliss we most desire. The power of love should be handled with a sense of clarity about one’s desires. Emotional stability is an important part of health. Knowledge to recognize which desires will truly benefit ourselves, and those around us, will safeguard us from the lesser desires we would have let get the best of us.

The best parts of you are ready to be tapped into at any time. You have brought yourself to this point in time. It is you who has created the current circumstances of your life. It is also you who has the power to change those circumstances now. There is nothing stopping you except for yourself. There are endless possibilities that one person can do for themselves and those around them through the power of love. Making clear decisions and deciding upon your strongest desires is a step you must take to promote the power you already have and have used.

Around yourself the universe has placed infinite possibilities through both obvious and hidden opportunities. If you can clue into your surroundings well enough, you will see opportunity everywhere. Taking an opportunity will only open more opportunities for that same avenue. Choose wisely which opportunities to pursue, and be aware that there are ALWAYS opportunities around you. Choosing desires carefully will help you focus yourself into which opportunities to choose.

There is a path which you are already on, and with the limitless powers within you have created this moment for yourself. Cherish this moment and open your eyes to the power you have, and to the opportunity surrounding you. Everything you need is here for you to follow the path meant for your life so long as you stay true to your heart.

[notice]EDITORS NOTE: We would like to welcome Stephanie Crystal as a contributing author to CITB. Her positive outlook will be welcome here and we are sure you will forward to this and future post by her.[/notice]

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