Saturday, October 30, 2010

Inner Critics

We tell ourselves so many lies and half-truths ... We listen and are duly impressed by these inner voices that turn into unseen judges that nag at us. We give each of these judges a seat of honor in our minds, all the while hating their guts and their never-ending supply of judgements ... We give the judges permission to accompany us on each journey of life, never daring to realize that we can park them, at least momentarily.

-- Eloise Ristad

The Inner Critic makes each of us a child. As we become the child in our relationships, we lose our sense of self. We are no longer self-contained, self-respecting adults. We look to others for validation. Our self-worth is based upon their opinion of us. Thus, everyone around us becomes a mother or a father whose support and approval is desperately needed to protect us from the constant criticism of the Inner Critic.

-- Hal and Sidra Stone

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Opening The Heart

"Everything is made of light; everything is alive. The Great Mystery of life has little to do with intelligence. The universe is not an intellectual process. The intellect is helpful; but our hearts are the wiser part of ourselves."
-- Mellen-Thomas Benedict

Heart is a word that refers to many different levels of our being. Essentially, it is the love aspect of soul, capable of making direct, intuitive contact. Soul love is not emotional; it is highly impersonal and intelligent, capable of grasping the essence of someone or something without any projection on our part.
Appreciation significantly turns on the heart. Appreciation is not an emotion that arises spontaneously, but a soul quality we can choose. The more often we choose to be appreciative, the easier this choice becomes and the more frequently our heart opens to give and receive love.
"If you open your heart, love opens your mind."
-- Charles John Quarto

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Relaxation Rescue

Relaxation Rescue by Laura M. Turner, M.S., CHHP

Let's face it, stress is everywhere. It lurks in every corner and around every bend, just waiting to "get" us. And study after study concludes that although some stress can be productive, prolonged stress can lead to chronic illness.

Yet, stress can only "get us" if we let it. If we can agree that the mind and body are interconnected, than I believe you can actually decide to manage stress, take control of it and instantly over-come the negative influences brought to you by your environment.

Now, stay with me for the "clinical" stuff. Scientific evidence supports that the stress of the body comes from the nervous system's "fight or flight response." If you haven't heard this term before, it's when the body suspects trauma and instantly shifts into "survival mode" based on the stimulus of an oncoming stress factor. This "survival mode" response, does terrible things to the body including increasing heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, muscle tension. These are the bad boys that can lead to harmful changes over time.

Now for the good news: you can teach your body not to make the shift into survival mode. Do this by retraining your body to create its own relaxation response. How? Begin by incorporating these three proven relaxation rescue techniques into your own life:


Meditation provides an escape from stress as it refocuses the mind on something else - most often the breath. The benefits of meditation counteract the negative stress-responses by creating a mode of deep inner peace and physical health. It does this by slowing the heart rate and lowering the blood pressure. It also includes many other benefits including those of anti-aging.

As I've so often told readers: there really is no one right way to meditate. For our purposes however, I will give you a meditative grounding exercise that can help you on your way.

Grounding Exercise: Sit with your legs crossed in a comfortable Indian style position with your hands relaxed on your lap. If you like you can also sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and posture tall. Close your eyes and imagine a beam of light dropping from the base of your spine through the earth, connecting you to its center. Allow this beam of light to expand in width until it is wider than your own body and envelopes it. This is your personal space.

This exercise places you totally in you body and reminds you that you are anchored to the earth. Remember, the more grounded you are the more aware you are. During your 10-20 minute meditation session, aim to sense the presence of your higher self.

Mindful Breathing:

Practicing to breathe through your nose and breathing from the diaphragm can also help your body relax and de-stress. In the same way that meditation calms the body, mindful deep breathing from the diaphragm can elicit a relaxation response that can calm the body and help you refocus in times of perceived stress. It will also work to counteract the negative effects of the dangerous flight or flight response.

Here's an exercise in deep breathing you can work on daily to help train your body for relaxation. This exercise will help you better utilize the diaphragm and help you retrain your body to intake oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide more effectively:

First take in three maximum breaths inhaling from the nose and exhaling from the nose.

Next as you take in your next three maximum breaths, focus on contracting your stomach muscles and increase the size of breath with each inspiration. Focus on feeling the expansion of your diaphragm as you exhale and deflation as you exhale.


Walking is an exercise that can put you into a relaxation state almost immediately. I walk for fitness and have walked my way to weight loss (more on this later), but I believe the best quality of walking is that it creates a sense of balance and flow with the body. It has also been scientifically linked to cardiovascular endurance, as well as noted for its ability to counteract many of the damaging fight or flight responses we have mentioned above. For myself, I've invested in a walking pedometer and have made every effort to stay close to 10,000 steps each day.

To de-stress, try to find 1/2 hour each day to walk. Your body will thank you for it.

Relaxing Quickies:

When we become stressed and need a relaxation rescue, this is most often the time when the least opportunity for a full relaxation overhaul exists. Yet, if we spend time nurturing our relaxation response using the exercises above, we can draw from the relaxation experience.

Therefore, by practicing the three aforementioned exercises in your daily life, you can learn to draw from the relaxation response when you feel the threat of oncoming stress. For example, when you feel stress coming at you, take a deep relaxing breath, close your eyes and draw from the calming energy of your meditative space or take a quick walk to bring your body back into balance.

I think you will find, the more you practice these relaxation techniques each day, the more often your body will involuntarily shift from fight or flight mode directly into that of relaxation rescue!

Laura M. Turner is a health journalist, author and net-preneur. She hosts: Beauty & Body Online ( Your Home For Natural Health, Wellness & Creative Abundance. Visit: to sign up for her free eZine: The New Body news and Wellness Letter.

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Friday, October 22, 2010


When I get confused, when my mind is wrestling with what to do, I have learned to abandon my thought processes completely. The best solution, I've discovered, lies in asking my heart for direction. This requires that I stop my mental chatter, either by sitting in silence or by doing something completely different. In quiet, still space, I often know what's needed, with a clarity I never get from the labouring of my mind.

And I now know, without doubt, that when I'm confused is never the time to act. I must wait for clarity.

"I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks."

-- Daniel Boone

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Support or Not To Support

To support or not

"It is not helpful to help a friend by putting coins in his pockets when he has got holes in his pockets."

-- Douglas Hurd

Are you struggling financially because you are helping another adult who is being irresponsible around money?

Without intending to do so, we can keep people dependent when we are willing to financially rescue them. Enablers typically feel it�s their duty to help out. They may see giving money as an expression of love. Unfortunately, they may lose their own financial security as a result.

As hard as it may be to do, the solution may lie in forcing the dependent to find his or her own way financially. In this case, it�s not selfish to not lend a hand -- it actually serves the highest interests of all. Learning personal responsibility can be a tough road but it�s a necessary one for empowerment.

"Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon them and to let them know that you trust them."

-- Booker T. Washington

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bring Soul Into The World

Bring soul into the world

"We live in a culture that is greatly biased against the imagination, because our culture is very materialistic, objective and literal. Our culture lacks soul, and doesn't know it, although it experiences the consequences. When you don't know what's missing, then of course you don't know what to bring in, even though you feel something is missing."

"We live in a world that needs more soul, more meaning. We, as conscious beings, have, as our primary responsibility, at this time in human history, the task of bringing soul into the world, or releasing soul into the world. We do this, first of all, in ourselves and in our own personal world; then we do it in our groups  including family; then we do it in our society through our work, relationships and presence there."

-- Andrew Schneider