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1/29/08

Benefits of Meditation

The words “medicate” and “meditate” have the common root “to heal”. To meditate is to think deeply about a situation to obtain insight that will result in immediate and long-term resolution. Here are some of the benefits of meditation.

Know Who You Are. Meditation awakens the reality that you are more than your physical body. You are more than your job. You are more than your possessions. You are more than your associations. You are a creative part of a loving God. You are a unique individual with infinite worth, inestimable value and inherent dignity. You are gifted with talents to bless yourself and the world. You are a work of art with a designer label. You are loveable. Through meditation you transcend time and connect with your place in the scheme of things.

Receive More Love. When you understand that you are loved - warts and all - you become willing to be vulnerable to receive love. It starts with accepting a compliment, whether you agree or not. You become less alienated.

Feel Energized. It is through quiet contemplation that potential energy is transformed into enthusiastic force. As you realize your spiritual purpose you are refreshed and enlivened.

Get Honest. Through honest reflection you become aware of both strengths and weaknesses. Getting honest about weakness conquers egotism, fear and ignorance and paves the way for teamwork. Being candid about strength enlightens, energizes and promotes cooperation.

Find Answers. The answers are within and are mined through concentration. In quietness your soul can hear the still small voice of conscience. In quietness you are attuned to truth.

Worry Less. Though spiritual deliberation you become aware of your potential as well as the limits of your own abilities. This releases you from trying to control what you cannot control and empowers you to be in command of your own actions.

Change Bad Habits. Seeing your true you provoke the release of energy to overcome harmful habits, negative attitudes and self-sabotaging actions. Instead of relying on willpower you are wonderfully empowered to triumph over.

Live Healthier. Mental and spiritual progress empowers you for improved physical health. Even though you are more than your body, you have a renewed appreciation for your body and a committed application to wellbeing.

Spiritual Fulfillment. Our bodies need so much maintenance it is easy to overlook what spiritual beings we are. Meditation puts you in contact with your own spirit, with God’s higher power, and with your connectedness to all mankind. As we shut out the noise of the world we become attune to the still small voice of our own moral conscious.

Meditation is not magic but it is a mystery. Studies have proven that calm reflection for a mere thirty minutes a day, five days a week, for one month produces amazing results mentally, spiritually, physically and relationally. Begin today and reap the healing benefits.

1/20/08

Achieving Personal Change

Change is the shift from one state to another brought on by stimulus or force. There may be outside factors over which you have no control yet the most satisfying and long lasting ones are the changes you choose to make for yourself. Here are some thoughts on being a change agent in your own life.

Change is possible. Because you tried to overcome a habit or attitude in the past, does not mean it cannot be accomplished in the present. Failure is not final. You can do it. The missing ingredient is motivation more than ability. Set goals to keep you focused and let yourself know you are capable of success.

Change is personal. You have to do it for you. Although others will benefit, if your intent is to please someone else the change will not be sustaining. We are all self-determining and only you can decide to make it happen. Although you can definitely be a positive influence in another’s choice to pursue change, you cannot change anyone but you.

Change encompasses total behavior. Effective change must contain a personality adjustment. Behavior consists of four components: the thoughts you think, the actions you take, the emotions you feel and the response of your body. Trying to change only one element is self-defeating. The aim to tame your temper starts with the internal development of compassion.

Change is an inside job. The mind focuses on the most dominant thought. See it to believe it. Picture yourself with skills, abilities and attitudes you want to develop. Use positive self-talk. Rather than berating a misstep, applaud a lesson learned.

Change is a process, not an event. Nothing grows without changing. A seed planted takes time to become a flower. Transformation is taking place even when not apparently. Change comes in stages over time; it is a marathon, not a sprint. Give yourself room to grow and rest in your development. Give change a chance to prove itself.

Change is understood through reflection. Employ a support group, friend or journal to mull over your thoughts, frustrations, accomplishments and plans. Having a sounding board is invaluable. Writing, meditation and talking is like looking into a mirror to see what you otherwise cannot see. It reveals what may be keeping you stuck and shows points for growth.

Change is worth it. Recognize the positives about change and embrace it. See and feel yourself growing to meet the challenge. Focus on what you gain rather than what you give up. Do not sabotage self by proclaiming you are doing your best unless you are actively …
· pursuing opportunities to learn (seminars, classes, books, mentors, counsel)
· engaging in change thought processes
· embracing new insights
· making different decisions

The key to change is a changeless sense of who you are. Know that fidelity to the original will remain in tact. You will simply become the best you possible.

1/10/08

How to Dissuade a Bore

We have all met them. The “know-it-all”, or perhaps worse, the “think-he-knows-it-all”. They can be quite captivating. Meaning, you are the one that is trapped. Allow these tips to help you disengage.

Set limits. If there seems to be no end to the saga, hold your hand up as if to indicate, “Stop”. Jump in with the assumption that this could take awhile and that, although you would love to hear every detail, you have other obligations. Smile and graciously go on your way.

Quit agreeing. Nothing heartens a bore more than encouragement. Watch your non-verbal cues to continue such as head nods, smiles, or utterances such as “Un-huh” or “I see”. I knew a man who spouted his opinions interspersed with a questioning, “Right?” In an effort to get to the matter at hand, I would unwittingly respond “Right”. Thinking that I was in agreement, he continued full steam ahead. I stopped agreeing and said, “No, I don’t know if that is right or not.” Without a concurring audience, what is the point.

Ask for a conclusion. Assertively set boundaries by asking him/her to skip the details and briefly give the end result. Firmness shows respect for you and kindness shows respect for the humanity of the bore.

Use Archer Bunker humor.
Rather than gesture hanging yourself, in a playful manner act as though you are dozing off. Make your exit and go home to bed or the washroom to splash cold water in your face.

Act as if. Give the individual an easy out by acting as if you have been monopolizing his time and offer to let him go. Then do it.

Stand up - physically as well as for yourself. If you are seated, stand up. Whether in an office setting, your living room or a barstool, when you stand up it gives a powerful non-verbal message that the encounter is over.

Pass the buck. I hesitate to suggest this, even though I have used it on more than one occasion. Using the networking strategy of acting the host, draw another person into the conversation then make an amiable exit (to entertain others, of course). Later, make it up to your unsuspecting pawn by taking her to lunch.

Even though bores are boring, they are still human beings so treat them kindly. Be firm without being rude. Be more cautious the next time you are around them to practice amiable avoidance.

1/5/08

Commit to Commitment


In welcoming the new year we have wonderful intentions and renewed hope for accomplishment. At the close of 2007, the Grand Avenue cartoon featured an exchange between the twins regarding New Year’s Resolutions. As Michael looked over his sister’s 2008 list, he observed that she had merely recycled 2007’s list and that she did not accomplish anything on the 2007 list. The girl boldly pronounced him wrong. Indeed she had fulfilled Resolution # 1 which was “Avoid time-consuming duplicative efforts.” Oh, how easily we can lie to ourselves.

Praeto’s 20/80 principle. Human beings are afflicted with what I call a “Bad Case of the Overs” – over-scheduling, over-committing, over-indulging, over-reacting, over-spending, and the list goes on. We make more commitments than we can keep. Yet, of all your possible activities, 20% will produce 80% of your intended results. When it comes to overcoming the overs, know that 20% of your activities will take you further and advance you faster than the others. Identify your 20% and doggedly stay with those the majority of your time, giving them your full mental and physical energy. Commitment to and completion of that 20% transforms ideas into reality, time into money, acquaintance into relationship, stress into energy, and inefficiency into effectiveness.

Seduction of Distractions. I’m guilty. I’ll just do these one or two itty-bitty things and get them out of the way so I can devote my full energy to the most important job. Those little distractions can grow to encompass 80% of time, leaving you less accomplished, unfulfilled, and a longer list of tomorrow tasks. Recognize your self-enticed distractions for what they are: self-sabotage. Spending time, resources and energy on things not in your 20% impairs, disrupts and incapacitates today’s success.

Practice of Procrastination. Webster’ dictionary defines procrastination as the intentional putting off of something that should be done. Perhaps procrastination is a ruse to atone for perfection: if I can’t do it perfect then I won’t do it. Challenge your excuses, step out of your comfort zone and just do it. Learn something in the process and know that the next time you will accomplish the task with more proficiency. Trust yourself to learn, to grow, to produce.

Secret of Concentration is Elimination. Multitasking is a deceptive ploy that binds us to the 80% inefficiency. Trying to do too many things at once is an enemy of focused attention and you are prone to make oversights and mistakes.. In a misguided attempt to get the small stuff out of the way, your mind’s primary thinking is consumed with the dread of the major project. Out of sight, out of mind. Stack the 80% into a neat pile and put it aside. Eliminate it from your field of vision. It will wait for you. Focus on your top priority, prune your schedule and hone your performance.

DON’T COPE, OVERCOME. A commitment is a binding vow and to commit is to obligate self or hand over. Fear is a powerful, yet subtle, motivator. Psychologists tell us we have only two real emotions – fear and love – and everything else is an outcropping of or watered-down expression of fear or love. Sometimes the two get mixed together. Perhaps an underlying motivation for the 80% less productive activities is a fear of success and the obvious passion for the 20% focused endeavors is genuine love of your selected mission. Spend time in thoughtful meditation to determine your trust in your pledges. Settling this issue and you move light years closer to achieving your goals.

ASK MONA. Q: In our culture, we have a coming-of-age celebration on the 12th birthday. Mine was a big deal and I loved it. I want the same thing for my daughter, however, at age five she wants to wear make up and carry a purse and I want her to wait. I have said “No” to make up until age 12 but she still wants a purse. What should I do?
Signed: Concerned Mother

A: Give her a purse. Does she have a doll even though she is not of child-rearing age? Sure she does. It’s a toy. It is a way of looking forward to being a mommy and practicing nurturing skills. Let her do the same thing with appreciating her female status and budding femininity. Be pleasantly firm in the boundary of a certain age before wearing make-up while allowing her to have pretend toiletries such as plastic lipstick and compact. And give her a purse to keep them in.

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