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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Ripple Effect- It Starts with You


Like a pebble dropped into a pond
our lives affect many, today and beyond,
causing ripples with what we say
in those we touch throughout the day.
One kind word or action well done
can change the world for someone.
Our thoughts, opinions, and attitudes
are absorbed by all, influencing moods.
Never underestimate the power of words,
'cause what is said is always heard,
rippling waves through space and time,
so keep speech positive and actions kind.

"Rippling Waves' from Awakening Perception 

Today, see how many smiles you can receive in response to your own bright smile.  Watch how the world responds to you.  You do not even have to say a word to affect others.  Your expressions, the way you move, even the way you feel is emanated out from you onto others- whether you want it to or not.  How you are affects others.  When you are in a rushed or anxious state of mind, it will influence those around you.  When you are calm and have a warm expression, it will make others feel at ease.  With awareness, you will be able to monitor your moods and begin to regulate them to more neutral or positive expressions of being.  If you feel agitated, just by changing your outward expression by consciously smiling, breathing slow, and moving slower, you will begin to feel calmer.  You can be a positive influence on your own emotional body as well as be a positive force in the world.


Today's meditation is to ponder how we start ripples that affect more people than we will ever know. 

Please make your ripples something you want amplified, because they are.
What are you amplifying to the world today?

Namaste-

Laura Barrette Shannon

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Using Prayer to Release Resentment



"Pray for those who despitefully use you." ~Mathew 5:44

The advice given here is the key to releasing any resentment in your heart that you may be holding on to. When we become attached to our emotional pain, we resist letting go of it. When we repeat thoughts of resentment, anger, or hatred in our minds we are reinforcing our attachment to the pain by justifying it to ourselves.  This causes suffering. 
By praying for those who act in unawareness, we are not only helping them with our prayers, we are helping to heal our own hearts. Remember that people do the best they can with the knowledge, beliefs, and psychological state of mind that they have at the time.  There is no need to take offense from anyone.  What people do is never personal.  It is not about you.  There is no need to carry this pain and resentment any more. You are only hurting yourself.  
Pray for those who have hurt you. Stop justifying your resentment and you won't be attached to it. Prayer will heal your heart.
Be happy my friends-
Laura Barrette Shannon

Sunday, February 19, 2012

See the Perfection in Imperfection


Do you need everything to be perfect before you can relax? Do you feel anxious if your life isn't planned out perfectly, if your day takes an unexpected shift, or if things don't go the way you expect? The desire for perfection can drive you to do extraordinary things, but an obsessive attitude can drive yourself crazy. If this is an issue for you, by bringing self-awareness to your perfection tendencies you will have the power to get those thoughts under control. Remember that moderation is the key to peace of mind. Learn to see the beauty in imperfection and you will be able to relax and enjoy life without trying to make it perfect.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Joy of Service


Many times when we take the focus off of ourselves and work to help others, our own problems shrink in size.” ~ Angie Hoover Lawson

Being of service to others is one of the most powerful techniques to raise your spirits. When we are helping others, it takes the focus off our own problems while building a sense of self-worth. It also arouses feelings of interconnection and love. Since love is the master from which all positive emotions spring forth, it will trump all negative emotions. If you feel awful and don’t know what else to do, after you pray for peace of mind, go help someone. You will feel like you make a difference. It will remind you that what you do matters. At the same time, it will refocus your attention away from your own personal problems. Serving others always allows us to build and strengthen our bonds of interconnection.

I remember the night I learned of my daughter’s death. I was emotionally stunned and just sat looking out the front window all night. As morning came, I noticed the man across the street come outside to pick up his garbage, which had been spread all over the place by some animals overnight. Without thought, I went outside and started helping him pick up the garbage. We didn’t speak, and he had no knowledge of what I was going through. When we were done, he said, “Thanks.” and went back inside. It was those three or four minutes, picking up garbage, that were the most peaceful moments of that day. Acting in service, even in one of my darkest moments, helped me feel at peace for a few minutes. So yes, service will not only help others, it will help yourself too.

Lesson:

Being of service to others is one of the most powerful techniques to raise your spirits.

Exercise:
Do you feel overwhelmed with your own problems? Or feel like you’re in a funk? Offer to help someone in need. Become aware of when people could use some help. There are so many opportunities to be of service. It can be as simple as giving someone a ride to the store or offering to do yard work for the old widow next door. Even just bringing someone a warm meal or a plate of cookies can make his or her whole day brighter. When we pay attention to the needs of others, we’re not only helping them, we are helping ourselves in the process. It opens our heart, which allows us to feel more love. An open heart is a healthier and happier heart.

Lift the spirits of two people. Give someone a helping hand today! If enough people make a habit of helping others, it will be a kinder world. It starts with you.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Be Who You Are


It isn’t until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are—not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within- that you can begin to take control.” ~ Oprah Winfrey


A girl asks her Grandmother, “How do you know what your purpose in life is?”

The grandmother gently takes the child by the hand and leads her toward a pond where a frog is sitting on a lily pad.

Grandmother says, “Dear little one, see this frog? Does he have to think about what his purpose is before he sits in the sun to warm himself or swims with delight with his friends? Does he think about being patient and working hard for his next meal as he awaits a passing fly?”

The girl responds, “I guess he just does those things naturally, Grandma.”

“Yes, and by following his instincts and doing what he naturally yearns to do, he is living his life’s purpose.”

You too might wonder if there is a purpose for your life. I assure you that there is. Finding that purpose is part of discovering your authentic self. The more you align yourself with who you really are, the clearer your life purpose will become. Finding yourself involves listening to your intuition and your natural instincts. If you yearn to play piano, if find yourself composing original melodies in your head, then the chances are good that your life purpose involves music. When we suppress our basic natures or our inborn talents, we are holding ourselves back from being all that we could be. When we suppress our innate yearnings of self-expression, we suppress a huge part of who we are. This can result in feelings of uselessness, low self-esteem, and depression.

Finding your life purpose involves moving beyond your childhood programming and following what feels right to you. If you are in a family of doctors and were always expected to grow up to be a doctor, this may or may not be your true purpose. Only you can answer the call of spirit, which will guide you to express your innate gifts. By allowing your innermost desires of self-expression to come out, you release yourself from being who and what everyone else thinks you should be, thus finding yourself in the process.

Not everyone’s life purpose will be an enormous influence on the world, such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Gandhi. Sometimes your life purpose is felt most on your inner circle of family and friends. But the most important result of living your life with purpose is the effect it has on you. You will feel passion and immense joy for life.  Also, by being authentic to who you are, you will inspire others to be themselves too.

Act in alignment with your heart and connect with spirit, and you will be living your life with purpose.

Lesson:

The purpose of life is to reconnect with your authentic self and then to let your life be an expression of who you are.

Exercise:
Do you act in alignment with your authentic self, your deepest desires, and your intuition? The best way to decide if you are living your life with purpose is how you feel about who you are and what you do with your time. It’s not about thinking or logically planning a life of accomplishments. Finding your self is about connecting to the still small voice of spirit in your heart. It’s about listening to your intuition and instincts. It’s about rediscovering the pieces of yourself that may have been lost or suppressed. Sit quietly and take a few deep breaths. Take a few minutes to really feel who you are. What it is that you wish to do, to experience, to express, to be like today, next week, next year?

This is the most important question you will ever answer. The answer will change over time as you continually evaluate your innermost desires. The purpose of life is to connect with your authentic self and then let your life be an expression of who you are. Once you know who you are, you can evaluate what is working in your life to achieve balance between who you are and how you live. Evaluate what is in alignment with your dream of self-expression.

Do you believe and think you are on the path to actively live out your sense of self?

Do your words and actions work for or against your authentic self?

Keep doing what works. Stop doing what doesn’t.

Find a way to act and speak in alignment with who you are and what you want to experience.

Realize your dreams of self-expression by realizing what they are, believing you can reach them, and then following the path of action in alignment that leads to them.
Be true to yourself and you will be following your life purpose.
Be who you are.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Releasing Anger


Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you, and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do cause hate in your heart will consume you too.”
~Will Smith

A fundamental step to being happy is learning to process negative emotions in a healthy way. When we are born, we freely express our emotions with passion, letting them completely flow. As children we process emotions with full force: we cry hard and laugh out loud. Then we move on with our day, not thinking about them. Children let their emotions flow with complete passion and then release them. They can be angry one minute and laughing the next. As we got older, we learned to suppress our emotions and/or express them in unhealthy ways. We also learned to dwell on the emotions in our thoughts, keeping them stuck inside our emotional bodies.

When we allow our thoughts to dwell in anger, discontent, or injustice, we are causing our own suffering. Anger, as all emotions, is a natural response to some situations. Feel the emotion, and then let it flow and let it go. We all did this when we were very young. We would get upset, cry, scream, and jump up and down, and then a few minutes later we would be onto something else without dwelling on the past emotion.

When people stay with the emotion by repetitively rehashing the situation in their minds, suffering occurs. Anger itself is the demon that wields the punishment. Oh, that we could instantly feel the burning nature of anger like the burn of a fire, we would avoid touching it again. There are many ways to extinguish this emotional fire. The one that works best for me is taking a few slow, deep breaths. This is instantly calming and allows your attention to move away from the angry thoughts. The fire of anger feeds on attention. Don’t feed it, and it won’t burn you.

Anger is never an excuse to act in harmful ways toward others. We all feel angry from time to time. With any negative emotion, it is best to let it flow to let it go. But that doesn’t mean you have to yell at someone or resort to violence. When you feel angry, acknowledge it, take a few slow, deep breaths, and then, if the feeling is still strong, choose an appropriate way to channel it: Walk, run, jump, scream (never at someone), take a shower, exercise, sing, or cry. Use whatever method works for you to discharge the emotion without spreading it to others.

Lesson:

Let emotions flow, then let them go.

Exercise:
Begin processing your negative emotions in healthy ways. Practice using different techniques to calm yourself and to release the emotional energy. Discover what methods work best for you. Be aware of your responsibility to keep your negative emotions from attacking others either verbally or physically.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Do You Victimize Yourself?


What poison is to food, self pity is to life.”~ Oliver C. Wilson
Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.” ~ Helen Keller

What does it mean to victimize yourself? And why would anyone in his or her right mind do such a thing? Unfortunately, people do it all the time and don’t even know they are doing it.

When you experience a negative event in your life, it can be very tempting to dwell on it in your thoughts or tell the story over and over days, months, and even many years later. Each time you do this, you are emotionally right back in the situation. Maybe it was someone who physically hurt you, a tragedy, or emotional pain from the past that you tend to revisit time and again. When you rehash old wounds by telling the story over and over, you reopen them, causing emotional pain. Humans are the only animals on earth that allow themselves to repetitively suffer over and over by the same event. By focusing on when you felt victimized, you are playing the role of the victim once again. This is emotional abuse that you inflict on yourself.

The first time you may be a victim, but the second time you are a volunteer. This is often said about physical abuse when referring to the people who return to harmful situations again and again. When we play the victim, by repeating stories of our perceived victimization we are reinforcing a victim attitude in ourselves. Being a victim will convince you that you are powerless, that life is beyond your control. This is not true. You are only a victim if you believe that you are. You cannot always choose what happens to you in life, but you can choose how to respond to life. Do not play a victim. Take your power back.

If you find yourself caught up in self-pity, immediately bring your awareness back to the present moment. Focus your attention on your physical sensations. Take a deep breath. Actively switch your attention away from thoughts of the past. If you have been in a habit of dwelling on past negative situations, you have not made peace with those situations or the people involved. Until you resolve the issues, they will continue to haunt you. The first step is to stop repetitively verbalizing your past pain to other people.

How do you make peace with your past? It all starts with intent. Begin with the intent that you can and will be able to live a happy life even though some things happened in the past that you wish did not happen. There are many processes for accepting the past and letting the emotions finally flow through you and leave. One of the best I’ve used is journaling. You can get it all out on paper. Write the things that you might never say to anyone else. Then burn it.

Another method is to tell it to God. Pray for peace of mind and the strength to let it go. Or tell it to your dog, cat, plant, or a candle. Get it all out one final time. Allow yourself to feel the emotions, cry, yell, jump up and down, and release the anger, pain, and sadness. Allow the emotions to fully emerge and to finally release themselves from your mind and body.

Then, let it go. Repeat it no more. If it comes across your mind, immediately switch your train of thought and don’t ride that train. Eventually the train will come by less and less, and eventually it won’t even pass by. By focusing less on the past pain, you will be taking its emotional fuel away. This will allow you to recover enough personal power to work on acceptance and forgiveness as time goes on.

Watch what you say about yourself. When you repeat stories of being a victim, express self-pity, or talk down about yourself, you are giving away your personal power and playing the role of the unworthy victim again and again. Remember lesson #12: You are the narrator of your life story.

Be aware of how you talk about yourself. Words can either be empowering or victimizing.

Exercise:
Become aware of how you feel when you repeat stories of victimization. Avoid retelling any story that makes you feel upset or weak. Also, avoid encouraging others to tell their stories of victimization. Avoid saying self-effacing comments, such as, “I’m not good enough, smart enough, or attractive enough.” Don’t victimize yourself!

If there are issues that are emotionally unresolved, please take whatever action is necessary to release the resentment and anger. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help, such as a counselor, a psychologist, group counseling, or spiritual guidance. It is time to resolve any issues that make you feel like a victim so you can move forward into a life of joy and peace.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Seeing with New Eyes


(Image eclecticcommons.telldat.net)

Do you feel like you are living a dull drum or meaningless life? Are you looking to get back that spark of passion and joy? Start by looking at your day with new eyes. Look for the beauty in all things.  If you are looking for what's wrong with the world, that is all you will see. If you are looking for the beauty of the world, you will find it in everything.
 Look for the lessons in all experiences and they are evident. No experience is a waste when you can see the life lessons that you are offered by going through it.  Even tragic experiences are opportunities to learn more about yourself and life.  If you suffer through a traumatic experience and never learn anything, then that is a real tragedy.  Be grateful that you have the ability to raise your awareness to the level of seeing life as a learning experience.  Those who never come to this awareness are condemned to a life of suffering in their own mind.  
 Look for things to be grateful for, and they are endless. There are so many privileges that we are able to enjoy in this day and age.  Be grateful for indoor plumbing, electricity, a warm bed, and enough food to eat.   Focusing on what you are grateful for will eliminate the minor complaints of everyday life, by readjusting your vision.  You will begin to see that what most people complain about are minor inconveniences, not real problems.  
When you begin to focus on these positive aspects of vision, you will begin the spark of your inner happiness, igniting the fire of passion and joy for life. Once this happens, life will never be dull again! 

Everyone Is a Teacher



A Grandfather and his young grandson pass a drunken homeless man, begging on the street. The Grandfather is not a wealthy man by any means, living off of his Social Security check. As they go by, Grandfather pulls out his wallet, takes out a ten dollar bill and hands it to the man, saying, "Thank you, my teacher. May God Bless you." As they walk away the Grandson is confused. "Grandpa, how can he be your teacher, he is much younger than you, and he is just some drunk homeless guy?" The Grandfather smiles and explains, "My child, teachers come in all ages and disguises. This man is my teacher today, for he has reminded me to be grateful for the prosperity in my life, to appreciate my daily meals and warm bed to sleep. He has taught me the dangers of self indulgence, given me an opportunity to express unconditional compassion, and an opportunity to share with someone who has less than I do. I only gave him ten dollars. He gave me a whole sermon of lessons!"

Learn to see everyone as a teacher. Some will teach you by offering admirable qualities. Others will show you traits that you may wish to soften in yourself. Some will teach you to be yourself, because of how authentic they are. Everyone can offer a lesson. Be grateful for every relationship. Each one is a holy encounter. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥