Tag Archives: mindfulness

The Responsibility is Mine

Ever have a time in your life when everything – I mean everything – seems to be going in the wrong way? You and your S/O bicker about every little thing. Maybe you’re asked a direct question and you give a vague, non-committal answer, or, your social editor goes on hiatus and you blurt an answer that you wish you could immediately take back?

While that’s happening at home, stuff at work is mounting, too. You fall behind on a project, you forget to do daily, routine tasks. You miss deadlines, show up late to an important meeting, say something inappropriate to your boss or to a customer. Voila! You are the proverbial frog in a vat of water that is slowly coming to a boil. Pretty soon you will be fried.

The bank calls. Your rent check bounced. Your daughter calls. You were supposed to pick her up at the airport an hour ago. You’re standing in the middle of a grocery store, staring dumbly at the different brands of coffee – you’ve forgotten what you needed to pick up.

Things can go to hell pretty quickly when you have ADHD.

We’re lucky. It’s real easy to blame everything on having ADHD! Woo hoo! We have the perfect, built-in excuse! Isn’t that exciting!?

Yep, ADHD is a built-in excuse, an explanation for our sometimes erratic, seemingly irresponsible behavior. In fact, it really is not an excuse at all – stuff does happen (or not happen) because we do have ADHD. This neurological/biological disorder is very real and can create real problems.

That being said, our behavior affects others – and sometimes at the worst possible moment. That inappropriate thing said to our S/O? It could literally cause a hurt heart for years. Forgetting to do mundane tasks at work? Welcome to the unemployment line. Bounce the rent check because you handle money about as well as a teenage girl on a shopping spree with Dad’s credit card…you get the picture.

We never mean to do the odd stuff that we do. Typically our hearts are in the right place but, for whatever reason – impulsivity, bad timing, lack of an internal editor – our social ticker is off a few beats. Nevertheless, spouses, girlfriends, friends, bosses will at some point feel the effects of our unique talents for getting in trouble.

So, what can you do?

First, stop making excuses. Own whatever it was that happened. Take absolute responsibility.

Second, make amends. Make sure that whoever was affected by what you have done understands fully that you are responsible, and that you’ll do whatever is necessary to make things right – and do whatever is possible to not let whatever happened occur again.

Next, become a keen observer of your behavioral patterns. Essentially, step outside of yourself and notice the types of stuff you do that is outside the norm. What leads to doing these things? Is there a trigger? Numerous triggers? What are your feelings? Take note of what is going on that initiates this behavioral pattern.

After that, do your best to be mindful of those feelings, triggers, and situations that precipitate the behavior. Awareness can allow you to disrupt the pattern.

For example, let’s say you have a pattern of interrupting people during intense conversations. The trigger might be a feeling of being threatened or accused or confronted. Your brain gets over-stimulated through a flood of adrenaline and you must defend, respond, interrupt.

When you feel this happening, you’re mindful that you are about to open your mouth at exactly the wrong moment, take a deep breath, close your mouth, and listen. Just listen. Take as many deep breaths as you need to take whenever you feel the words scrambling to the tip of your tongue. Breathe. Just breathe.

It will be difficult at first. But, the more mindful you become, the more often you practice this, the easier it will become. You’ll find that you’re developing a new pattern, a healthier response that is more socially connective.  Guess what? You’re absolutely responsible for this behavior, too.

The more you do this, the more patterns you disrupt, the better life will be. You won’t disrupt everything. You won’t catch every behavior. That’s okay. Roll with it. Take responsibility. Forgive yourself.

The more you do this the more graceful you will be with yourself and with others, and the more grace you will receive.

And it begins with owning it all. No excuses. You are responsible. Joyfully responsible for all that you do.

Loving the Life You Live

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

MasqueHmm. In a recent survey by British phone maker, HTC, 75% of people  said they make their lives seem more exciting (than what’s real) on social media.

That probably isn’t too astounding to believe. It’s been drilled into our heads to not trust what we read on the internet, right? A little embellishment is okay, isn’t it? We expect that, don’t we?

What about this: according to the Society of Human Resource Managers, 53% of resumes have a falsification. Mix into this the fact that worldwide twice as many hate their jobs compared to those who like what they are doing.

How about this: GlobalWebIndex reported that 42% of those using Tinder (an online dating site) were married.

There’s so much more. There is a study or survey on everything.  A lot of it isn’t promising.

Why not? Why aren’t we loving the lives we lead?

Generally speaking we all have something in our lives that is satisfying. Some more than others. And life satisfaction isn’t really tied to money. Granted, having enough than not enough contributes to overall satisfaction, but only fractionally (Gallup reported that of those making $125,000 or more only 60% were satisfied). In employee surveys financial compensation is typically way down on the list of why someone is happy in their jobs.

Early in my career I had worked hard in creating a merger between the organization I led and another local entity. It took over a year to navigate the deal – but once it was consummated, I was named the executive director for the new organization, doubling my salary. And the moment it happened I could feel the emptiness in the pit of my stomach. I knew this wasn’t going to be the right fit. I endured for two years, finally resigning. I began living a life meant for someone else – I was bored, dissatisfied, and cranky.

Thoreau said that most men live lives of quiet desperation. That’s the thing, isn’t it? All too often adversity happens. We make choices in response to that adversity. Suddenly, 20 years later, we’ve lived that life of quiet desperation. Maybe we’re satisfied with certain things – but overall there is a lot of things we would change.

We don’t get do-overs, though, do we? Or…do we?

In doing research I have scanned many many prescriptions for living a life we love. Common themes emerged – some obvious, some surprising. Shockingly, there were a few no-brainers that didn’t make anybody’s list. Maybe I was shocked because the omitted items were things my grandmother, Babe, taught me.

The most basic thing we need to grasp is that loving the life we live is proportional to the positivity of our attitude about life. To that end, here are the pillar concepts:

Live for today, in the moment. Some call this “being present”, Life is lived in a never-ending state of NOW. Life happens NOW, in the moment. Jesus said don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow – there is enough to think about today. Grandma Babe said to take time to smell the flowers (and you may as well pick a few while you’re standing in her garden).

Being PresentBe grateful. Cultivate in your heart a feeling of generalized gratitude by daily considering those specific things in your life for which you can give thanks. In fact, do this: when you wake up in the morning, immediately give thanks that you are alive and breathing. Give thanks for having shelter, food and the other stuff inside your walls. Give thanks for all the people who love you – and whom you love. Do that daily. The gratitude mind-set will seep in. Babe would say, “Be happy you were born in America and not (fill in the fascist country of your choice)”.

Be true to yourself. Sometimes it is hard to drill down through all the ideas about life you’ve adopted based upon reactive choices, or by being influenced by people close to you. But, the treasures are there. You can hear them whispering at the edges of your consciousness. Sometimes they shout at us. Either way, you know. The truth – your truth – is there, in your heart. I’ve written an entire section on this subject in my book, Blazing into the Creative Wilderness. The basic is something my grandmother told me, “Follow your heart. The rest isn’t really worth your time.”

Give. Human beings, at our core, tend to be selfish. We’re focused on our survival. But, there is also this little bit of magic in us that let’s us see others, too.  We begin by giving to those around us, the people we love. For most of us, we receive love in return.  As we grow and gain experience, we learn that the more we give, the more we receive. It isn’t always reciprocal with everyone, but the scales balance eventually. There is an ebb and flow. Babe was a giver. More than anything else, she gave love. Even now, many years after she passed away, she’s still giving to me, and her memory continues to wrap me in her warmth.

Love. It’s simple to say and hard to do. Love isn’t an emotion – it is a choice. It encompasses giving, forgiving, listening, receiving, and so many other things. Grandma was married to my grandfather, Herb, for 55 years. It wasn’t always easy. They survived the depression, world wars, and so many other adversities. But, they had love. Love for each other, for their children, for their community.

Laugh. As Babe told me, it was the secret to being married to the same human being for 55 years.

Love God. Jesus gave two great commandments to His disciples that sum it all up: Love God with all your mind and your heart, and love others as you love yourself. Pretty simple. Despite the secular humanism and relativism that pervades modern culture, by and large the most successful and happiest people believe in God, or at least a universal power that was far greater than themselves. What’s interesting to me is that each of the pillar concepts in this list describe some aspect of our limited understanding of God.

300px-Hands_of_God_and_AdamObviously there are many other things to consider, nuances, things specific to your situation. But, by focusing on these pillars you’ll be well on your way to loving the life you live. Don’t take my word for it – trust Grandma Babe.

 

Success & the Law of Attraction: The Missing Link

When The Secret exploded into our popular culture, the Law of Attraction was suddenly everywhere. Even Oprah weighed in.

There was nothing new about the Law of Attraction. This wisdom has been around for thousands of years. “As a man thinketh, so he is” comes to mind. We really do create our own reality because everything begins with a thought.  If we think negative thoughts, the world will seem dreary, lonely and everyone will call you Eeyore.

On the other hand, if our thoughts are positive, we will have a tendency to attract positive things into our lives. In fact, through the science of positive psychology it is proven that those with sunny dispositions tend to have happier, more prInspiredLightningoductive lives.

However…many who have attempted to implement the Law of Attraction have been sorely disappointed when the man/woman of their dreams remains in silent slumber, their checking account still comes up short at the end of the month, and their best vacation option is a long weekend at the Motel 6 in Bakersfield (that’s right, “Sun, Fun. Stay, Play!).

What the purveyors of the Law of Attraction didn’t tell you is that there is a part 2 to making this concept work. Yes, you need to see it and believe it, up your ante on vibration, and open your mind to the possibility of new possibilities. After all, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve.” Thank you Napoleon Hill. This is truth.

What is also true is that you can’t just stop at naming and claiming. There is some work involved. Here are the three things you need to do after you send your request to the great distribution center of the universe.

Gain knowledge. So you want to be an internet gazillionaire? Terrific! After you put in your request, start learning how online commerce works. Sign up for Wealthy Affiliate, read Online Marketing for Dummies, find yourself a hungry Millennial who can show you the ropes.  Whatever it is your heart desires, you best be learning how it works, discover the nuances, and learn the dance you’ll have to do to manifest your dreams.

Gain skill. As you add knowledge, put the knowledge to use. This is the action part. To be an internet gazillionaire you will need a website. You will need to be a marketer. You’ll probably need to write copy and do design work. You’ll need to Like, Tweet and Post. In other words, you’ll need to work. If the work follows your dream, it won’t feel like work at all. Hopefully it will be a joyful exercise in fulfilling your deepest desires.

Get connected. Internet gazillionaires don’t live in a vacuum. They aren’t shacked up at a cabin in the woods or live in a silent monastery somewhere in the Italian Alps. They are connected to people. Key people. They have a community. Find yours. This is actually the scary part for a lot of people. We’re afraid that we won’t measure up, won’t be accepted, won’t be taken seriously. We fear rejection. Keep this in mind: everybody experiences this in one way or another…so, if everyone experiences this, we’re all equal! Reach out to a potential mentor. Ask questions, As you receive, be willing to give. Be reciprocal. Pretty soon you’ll attract your community.

In my book, Blazing into the Creative Wilderness, I go into each of these three areas. Check it out if you want more detail.

Whatever you do, don’t just focus on part one of the Law of Attraction. Make the elements of part two a daily ritual. Within time you’ll be living the life you love.

 

Need a Brain Change? Meditate!

If you want to change your life, change your brain. This wisdom is ancient. Usually, when we quote ancient wisdom during the 21st Century, it means there’s something to it.

Every spiritual tradition embraces the precept of getting still, quieting the mind, fear not. Meditate.

There has been much research done that has identified the beIlluminationnefits of meditation. Mental clarity. Lowered blood pressure. Reduced anxiety. Heightened creativity. There’s good reason for this. Meditation creates physiological changes, increasing brain density and boosting connections between neurons.

Researchers at UCLA have found that meditation has a profound effect on the cerebral cortex. With regular meditation our ability to process information, make decisions, and increase mindfulness – among many other benefits – increase.

So…want to change your brain? Meditate.

So, what exactly is meditation? For me it is an opportunity to regenerate, relax and let go. My mind quiets and my focus gently sharpens – but without trying. There is no work to it. It is a rest stop during a busy day, a way station where I get to recharge.

But, what if you have never attempted meditation before? Or, maybe you have, but it just didn’t resonate? As a rational person you know that meditation can help you – after all, the science is there. You know there is a profound neurological benefit.

I recommend that you try the 9-Day Meditation Experience by Deep Origins (see my recommendation). You’ll receive, at no cost, nine guided meditations that cover a variety of functional areas (prosperity, abundance, healing, etc.) and you are taught how to meditate. Each meditation ranges between 6 and 20 minutes. By the end of the nine day experience you’ll really get why this practice works – you’ll want to continue. It very well may become the best part of your day.

And you’ll change your brain.