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Friday, April 29, 2011

Love Yourself First

(photo from seefurtherthaniam.com)




Don't confuse the desire to share your time and love with another, with the need to complete yourself or feel whole. When people convince themselves that they are incomplete with out being with another person they are deluding themselves into thinking that somehow another person can make them feel whole. No one can make you feel happy or whole. These are feelings that can only come from within your own heart. 


Sure, a new love will provide feelings of elation and a temporary feeling of fulfillment, but as the newness wears off in the relationship, so will the feeling of completeness, unless you have learned to love yourself. The void you may feel in your heart is because you haven't embraced your own perfection. LOVE YOURSELF FIRST, and then you will be offering a complete person with a whole heart to the relationship.


It can be challenging to overcome a lifetime of self judgement.  Be gentle with yourself.  I use a positive affirmation every morning to remind myself that, "I AM healthy, happy and whole."  Whenever I feel self doubt, I repeat this phrase a few times.  It may sound like it won't make a difference, but I assure you that it will.  Loving yourself first is a fundamental step to being happy.  


 Namaste-


 Laura Barrette Shannon 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Is Important to You?

The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.  ~Stephen Covey~

Take a look at your life. Is it over scheduled with activities to the point where you feel that you don't have time for self improvement, creative endeavors, or quality time with loved ones? If you make a list of the top five priorities in your life, do you make time to attend to them? Decide what is important, schedule it, and then schedule the rest. You will be surprised at how much your life will be 
enhanced when you focus on what is important to you. ?


My top priorities are:
1.  Peace of mind
2.  Relationships
3.  My dogs
4.  Health
5.  Creative endeavors- writing


Because these things are a priority to me, I make time for them.  It is easy to get so caught up in the multitude of activities that are vying for our attention that we neglect what is important to us.  Evaluate your schedule, and ask yourself, "What is important to me?"


Enjoy your journey~


Laura Barrette Shannon

Monday, April 25, 2011

Don't Make Assumptions


"Don't make assumptions."  don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

When we make assumptions about people by the way they dress, their occupation, level of education, hair styles , or any other label we place upon them, we are deluding ourselves into believing stories about them. This happens all the time. We see through the perceptions of our own limited beliefs. We might see a teen dressed as a Goth and assume that they are depressed, have evil thoughts, or are failing school.  This may or may not be true. 


 We assume that the stereotype is the rule for the group.  My son went through a goth stage in high school.  He and most of his friends dressed in black, wore chains, and had unnatural hair colors and wild styles.  They were the nicest group of kids.  Every one of them had an after school job.  Not one of them was depressed.  It was just a form of self expression and promoted a feeling of belonging to a group, instead of feeling like social outcasts.  Still, there were plenty of people who judged them by the way they dressed.  


Become aware of the tendency to judge a book by its cover, and be open minded and tolerant of others who may be different than yourself. When we release the habit of judging others we free ourselves in the process. 
Enjoy your journey!
Laura Barrette Shannon

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What Are You Feeding Your Mind?



It's time to take a look at what we feed our minds everyday.  Every source of input you allow into your mind will become a seed of thought.  That is how advertising works.  They bombard you with the same ads over and over until you are brain washed into buying their product.  Life in general is the same way, filled with sensory input, which when focused on over and over will sway your thoughts which in turn affects your moods.  What you choose to pay attention to feeds your mind.  If you are feeding it an over abundance of pointless drama (reality TV), negativity (news), and meaningless distractions (video games) then the result will be a life of drama, meaninglessness, and negativity.  

Here is a simple test:  Take a look at your facebook news feed.  Is it filled with more uplifting posts or more drama filled negative posts?  Facebook is just one small refelction of your overall life focus.  What you choose to read feeds your spirit.  If you want to be happier and enjoy a life of meaning then begin feeding your spirit with more uplifting input.  Forget reality TV and come back to your own reality.  Take time to see and hear your natural environment.  Pay attention to the people in the room with you.  Switch your attention and change your life.

Enjoy your journey~

Laura Barrette Shannon

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Is Life Saying to You Today?


"Do what you like. Like what you do." I read this on a Life is good.® T-shirt tag. I have worn this t-shirt a hundred times, and until today, I never noticed this mighty message on the tiny tag. Life is the same way. Daily, we are surrounded by subtle messages that can guide us and teach us, but most of the time we aren't even paying attention enough to see or hear them. Life works in mysterious ways. Sometimes a word of wisdom is in the next song you hear on the radio, or a conversation at the next table.


By paying attention to your environment and the often overlooked details of life, you are not only raising your awareness, you are honing your ability to be present.  This itself is worth the effort.  But it is those subtle messages that seem to speak directly to me that always amazes me.


I am a student of Life.  I have studied different philosophies and followed many  teachers, but Life itself has been the best teacher.  When I look for the lesson in a past experiences I always find one.   When I need guidance or a nudge in the right direction, Life always provides the perfect message.  What is Life saying to you today?  


Enjoy the journey!


Laura Barrette Shannon

Monday, April 18, 2011

Break Out of Your Box!

(photo from ambassadorscare.com)
BREAK OUT OF YOUR BOX- Conquer fear, do something new, something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. When you break out of your box you push beyond self limitations, regaining personal power and freeing yourself in the process. 


When we avoid doing things that are new and different we remain inside our comfort zone.  This may feel safe, but it limits our experiences.  When you push yourself into doing something you normally would never do it is called a "Not Doing".  It doesn't have to be a big change to reap a big reward.  Even the smallest Not Doing will effectively decrease your self limitations and increase your personal freedom.


 The biggest Not Doing for me was overcoming my fear of the ocean.  I used to be afraid of sharks, so I would never go past my knees in the Gulf of Mexico near my home.  I had convinced myself that since there were indeed sharks in this area that it wasn't safe to swim over my head.  (Very rarely is anyone attacked here.) I decided to conquer this fear by swimming out to a buoy that was 30 yards out from shore.  I stood at the water's edge for a few minutes, pondering my fear, and my chances of swimming there and back without getting attacked.  Finally, I started walking into the water.  I was almost half way there, waist deep, when the most unexpected thing happened.  As I continued walking I was walking up hill!  By the time I reached the buoy, I was in two feet of water standing on top of a sand bar!  All these years, I never knew that my fear was unwarranted.  I realized that it was the fear itself that had paralyzed me.  I regained so much power from that experience that I can now swim without anxiety.  


You can start by Not Doing some little things.  One of my favorites is wearing silly hats. Change how you normally dress, or change your hair.  If you are an extrovert, try being quiet.  If you are an introvert, become the life of the party.  Challenge yourself to push beyond your self limitations.  What can you Not Do today?


Enjoy your journey~


Laura Barrette Shannon

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ride the Wave

Are you riding the wave?
(photo from surfingsecretsrevealed.com)
RIDE THE WAVE- We live in a dynamic universe, where nothing ever stays the same. Life is never static. It flows with ups and downs like the ocean tides.  When we fight the nature of these tides we cause undue stress within our minds.   Enjoy living in the present as it is, but don't get too attached to it, because it will be different soon enough. By riding on top of the waves instead of being caught up in the middle of them we have the ability to steer ourselves along the wave.  Learn to flow with the waves of life by riding the extremes with awareness and acceptance, or those waves will knock you down for sure! 


May you have a happy journey!~


Laura Barrette Shannon

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Is Your Cup Overflowing?

Is Your Cup Overflowing?
(image from Superstock.com)

When your cup is full -STOP POURING!

Do you take on more than you can handle and then feel stressed? Do you have a problem saying "no" or try to please everyone all the time?  Trying to do more than you can handle is like pouring hot coffee into a cup that is already full.  If you keep pouring it will burn you.  It's alright to pace yourself, choosing to do what is important to you, and not committing to everyone and everything that vies for your attention.  Remember, if you are overworked and over stressed, then you won't be much good to anyone. Practice setting boundaries and limits on how many things you schedule, then you will have time to drink that cup of life with joy!

Many Blessings~

Laura Barrette Shannon

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Are You a Puppet?

Are You a Puppet?
ARE YOU A PUPPET? When we blame other people for our problems and personal issues we become a puppet of life. To be completely free and at peace with yourself and the world you have to stop pointing the finger away from yourself for being who you are, and the way you act.  


Unhappy people tend to blame their parents, boss, past traumas, ex-spouse, or even God for their problems, preferring to play the victim with "Woe is me" stories, rather than look at their own actions and life choices.  Don't be a victim of life!

Reclaim your personal power by taking full responsibility for who you are and how you interact with the world. Take responsibility for your life- Cut those puppet strings!


Many Blessings~


Laura Barrette Shannon

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Redefine Free Time

Time is free, are you?
Do you feel that there isn't enough free time in the day to do everything you'd like to do? Realize that everything you do is exactly what you have chosen to do, and therefore you should do it with all your heart. There is no "free" time, just time. You can either spend it in joyful awareness, or spend it wishing you were doing something else, building feelings of resentment. It's a matter of committing yourself to whatever you are doing at the time. Either do it with joy, or don't do it.


I used to resent doing housework, especially washing the floors.  Then I realized that I choose to do it, no one is forcing me to wash floors.  I choose it because I want clean floors.  Why should I resent doing something that I choose to do? Now I put the radio on and practice singing while washing.  It becomes a joyful chore.


I often hear people complain about having to take care of their parents, grandparents or children's needs.  "I have to take Joey to karate and then help him with homework, I have no time for myself."  Well, actually, the time you have with Joey in the car is time for building your relationship.  The time you are waiting for his karate lesson is time you could be reading, meditating, or catching up on phone calls.  The time you are helping with homework, you are fostering a better understanding of your child and nurturing his academic growth.  What part of these examples is wasted time?  All of it if you are doing it with resentment in your heart.   


Be free to experience your time with awareness and joy.  Don't be a victim of your ego mind telling you that you could be doing something else instead.  These types of thoughts create unease and stress. Realize that you are free to spend your time however you choose.  Time is always free, are you?


many blessings~


Laura Barrette Shannon

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Warning: Don't Postpone Happiness!


“Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one's head.” ~Mark Twain

Is happiness something that you believe will come attached to some future event, or some special person? Are you postponing happiness until you have the ideal job, live in your dream home, find the perfect mate, retire, or some other future situation?  If you find yourself caught up in these thoughts you will always be waiting for happiness to arrive, which it never will, because those types of events will bring only temporary fulfillment.  

Don’t fall in the trap of delayed happiness! By repeating these type of thoughts, you convince yourself that some outside circumstance or future event will bring happiness. This is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves. Be happy NOW, because that's really all we ever experience; the present moment.  The root of happiness is not connected to the circumstances in our life. Benjamin Franklin described it like this, “Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.”  If your not happy now, then you won’t be happy no matter what happens in the future unless you change yourself.  You hold the key to your own happiness. 

The only constant in life is change.  Instinctively we know this, so it is only natural to dream of a future aligned with our deepest desires.  There will be hopes and dreams along the path of your life, each one eagerly anticipated as you walk through life. Focusing on these dreams and goals is a healthier mind set than focusing on the past, yet do not forget to also stay present as much as possible. Enjoy today.  These are the good ol’ times that you will talk about someday. Life is what’s happening while your waiting for the future.  Experience the journey with joy and awareness, because in the end, most destinations are just stepping stones to bigger dreams.

Not only are life situations not connected to happiness, but neither are people. Other people can’t make you happy, any more than we can make other people happy.  Happiness isn’t something that can be given to someone.  Happiness is something that we can only give to ourselves.

 There are many seeds of happiness, but none of them are attached to future events or people.  

Exercise:

Is there something that you’ve been waiting for before you’ll allow yourself to be happy?  Contemplate what those thoughts do to you.  Thoughts like that convince yourself that you can’t be happy until something happens.  Begin to believe that you can be happy regardless of what the future holds. Begin to believe that you have the power be happy now.  Begin to believe that you hold the key to your own happiness.

many blessings~

Laura Barrette Shannon

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Do You Always Have to Be Right?

"Confidence is being able to share your beliefs, wisdom is not being attached to them." Laura Barrette Shannon




There are so many unhappy people who would rather be right than be happy. It's easy to get caught up in sharing our point of view with others. It's a natural mode of communication. I share what I think about a subject and you share your thoughts about the subject. This type of communication goes on all day long. While it can be quite pleasant to talk to someone who shares your view, it can be frustrating to talk to someone with an opposing view.

More often than not, unhappy people will hold on to their view to the point of arguing. They would rather be right than to let it go. Somehow they have convinced themselves that if they can't get others to agree with them, then they feel emotionally attacked. This usually results in pompous thoughts of being smarter than the other person; obviously they are wrong and are too stupid to see it. The thoughts of judgment, the aggravation, the bitterness that can arise from these confrontations is all because they had to show everyone that they were right. It was more important to be right than to be happy.

So how can we interact with others who have conflicting points of view from our own without conflict arising? It starts with being flexible with our own beliefs. Listen to their viewpoint. Ask questions like, "Why do you think that is?". "Where did you learn that?". The second key to interacting with opposing viewpoints is to understand that it is not always necessary to share your conflicting thoughts. It isn't your job to teach everyone around you to see things like you do. It's ok to allow them to think differently than you do.

The most noticeable instances in my life concerning differing opinions is always politics. I've reached a point where I no longer put my two cents in these conversations. People are entitled to see the world from varying points of view, as each of us is unique in our perspective. By not attempting to invalidate other's opinions I maintain peace of mind amongst some very opinionated people. Sometimes I even listen and ask questions so that I can possibly understand why they see the world the way they do.

Example:

Man #1: "I think the moon is a spaceship for Martians."
Man #2: "That's an interesting point of view! What makes you think that?"
Man #1: "My grandfather told me when I was young."
Man #2: "Your grandfather sounds like an interesting guy. What else did he teach you?"

Example #2:

Woman #1: "I can't believe you are still married to John, after he cheated on you again!"
Woman #2: "It's understandable why you would feel that way. So, how's the new job going?"

It's not necessary to validate your actions and viewpoints to others. Be confident in your life choices and beliefs, but be willing to hear different points of view.

many blessings-

Laura