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7/29/12

The Mystery of Quiet Reflection

"Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Do you compete with time? Or complain there is not enough of it? Are you guilty of bragging about how much you have to do? Or how long it has been since you have had a vacation? Or even a day off?

What is your reaction when another tells of their hectic life? Do you feel the need to one-up? Do you regard busy-ness as proof of self-worth?

Everyone has been given twenty-four hours in a day, yet some seem to make better use of it than others. Effective use of time is not magic, but it is a mystery. It starts with the wisdom of self-evaluation.

Redeem the time. Suppose you use a pizza coupon. The size and quality of the pizza remains the same but the financial outlay to you is less. Through use of a coupon the pizza proprietor gave you more bang for your buck. Quiet time stretches your spending. It is not another item on your “to do” list; it is actually a time maker.

Attune your heart and mind to inner peace. Did you know that noise comes from the same root word as nausea? For a few minutes deliberately shut out the noise of your surroundings. Push all the brain chatter aside and focus on the rhythm of your breath. According to brain science, as you focus on calm, the frontal lobes turn down the brain volume and ushers you into a place of serenity.

Listen to the still small voice inside. Conscious is defined as “an inner knowing of right from wrong, with a compulsion to do right.” Begin to listen to you; the answers are within. Brain scan of people meditating takes them to what scientists call “the God spot.”

Practice makes permanent. I have been told that runners reach a high to which they become addicted. Energy is released when the position is assumed on the runner’s block. I don’t know about exercise yet, but I can vouch for the longing for meditation. Assume the position and peace enfolds. Meditation is the silent language of creation.

Whether for a few minutes or an hour discover the mystery of quiet time and find the enchantment of wonderland. When you think you do not have time for quiet time is when you need it most. Taking a few moments of quiet reflection to realign thoughts and release pent up emotions helps you sort out true priorities vs. the tyranny of the urgent. Quiet time allows one to temporarily disengage from the rat-race to find your humanity.


7/22/12

Balancing Our Emotional Scales


Dr. William Glasser, founder of Reality Therapy, likens our emotional state to mental scales that weights what we have against what we want to have. The more we are living the life we want to live, the happier we are. The more evenly balanced our mental scales are, the more connected one is with reality.

Automotive experts tell us that cars run more efficiently on a full tank of gas. The gas is used up driving long distances or in stop-and-go traffic. The driver keeps an eye on the fuel tank and makes adjustments as needed. When the gauge is nearing ‘E’, the driver does not panic but simply keeps an eye out for a gas station to fill up.

Likewise, our lives run more smoothly when our emotional tank is full.

Emotions are there to communicate with us and to alert us to what we are creating in our lives. When you feel lower level emotions, such as frustration or anger, it is because you perceive that you are not getting what you want.

So, what’s a body to do? And that is just the point. The body responds negatively to drained or overwrought emotions. All behavior is total that includes the enmeshed employment of thoughts, actions/inactions, emotions and physical responses all at once.

Feel it. Recognize that you are feeling the way you feel and allow yourself to feel it. Emotions have to be owned before they can be kept, adjusted or discarded. Denying the emotion does not eliminate it; it just pushes it down to fester.

Self-evaluate. Ask yourself why you are feeling the way you feel. And more importantly, do you want to continue to feel that way? If not, what choices are you willing to make to adjust or discard the emotion?

The basic trigger behind drained emotions is the failure to get what you want in any given situation. The more stack attacks of such deficiency, the greater the scales are askew. Not getting what you want fits into a number of categories from the trivial wanting steak and being served soup to the serious boundary breakers. Are you willing to make the choice to enjoy cheese and crackers? Are you willing to speak up despite the butterflies in your stomach?

We are never in perfect balance but our objective is to stay as balanced as possible. Balance is maintained by being aware of your feelings and patterns. When you see yourself drifting off course, take notice and make an adjustment.

It is really hard to have a bad day when the emotional tank is close to full. Life’s journey runs smoothly as we keep an eye on the emotional scales and fill up. It is the total behavior that drains; it is the total behavior that re-fills. Connect with whatever brings you back to reality: run, jump, dance, meditate, work, play, cuddle or whatever.

Please leave a comment. Let's get a conversation going. 

7/15/12

Conflicts and Resolution


With so many different personality traits interacting, conflict may seem inevitable. Take heart, it does not have to be permanent. Conflicts can be resolved. Resolve comes from a Latin word meaning “to loosen”. Thus, conflict is solved when we loosen our grip on being right or having it ‘my way’. Make relationship more important than being right.


I define conflict as “having opposing views without grace.” It does not matter with whom the opposing views are (you with you, you with your heritage, you and God, you and another) conflict ceases to be conflict when seasoned with grace.

Conflict happens through unchallenged beliefs. To blindly accept hand-me-down lore as the only viable way closes one’s mind to the wondrous variety of humanity. It is okay to identify with one’s culture, just not to the exclusion of others. Each ethnicity has valid worth.

Everything has a trade off. In all relationships there is give and take for the good of the whole. I could have a fulfilled life without ever playing “Hi-Ho Cheerio” again. Because I love my grandchildren, I lay my preference aside for their benefit. While I may not be excited about the game, I am thoroughly involved in building relationship.

Choose your battles. When you do engage, stick with the issue at hand. Do not ambush with a “stack attack”. Bringing up past transgressions as evidence for present conflict does nothing to solve bring resolution. State your position but have no point to prove. Use “I” statements. Communicate from your view.

Choose your attitude. Never take the position “I am right and you are wrong.” Be open to the fact that you could be wrong. Even if right in facts, could be wrong in attitude. Let your words be seasoned with grace. There is a difference in an answer and a comeback. A comeback engenders strife whereas an answer gives or asks for information.

Take comments seriously, but not personally. Take yourself out of the middle; be objective. Focus on the problem, not the personality. When do you want to know that the boat won’t float? There may be genuine value in the information given. Leave the emotions behind. Listen to the words rather than presumed hidden agenda. If the encounter turns ugly, back off, take the high road by choosing to not be offended.

Participate in the wonderful dance of life. For the sake of relationship, agree to disagree while continuing to hold the person in high regard. Know when to let go. Choose to flow. As my jitterbugging arthritic friend proclaimed, “You can’t be uptight when you’re dancing.”

Leave a comment. mona@solutionprinciples.com



7/1/12


Being Overwhelmed






Do you relate?



A major factor behind feeling overwhelmed is allowing yourself to be besieged by today’s fast-paced multi-tasking society. One becomes inundated with so many things to do that mismanagement holds sway. Priorities are neglected. Goals are abandoned. One becomes filled with guilt over broken promises and overdue deadlines. Fear and frustration reign.


Stop. Take a deep breath.

There, didn’t that one simple suggestion help?

The act of stopping allows you to catch up with you. Stopping permits the tornadic whirlwind to settle. One deep meaningful breath calms emotions and engages rational thinking.

Observe. Once you are off the fast-track you are better able to see your surrounds. It is not so much what is going on around you as what is going on inside you. As the fevered tension subsides, purposely monitor your self-destructive patterns.

The body’s cells operate in one of two positions: closed for survival or open for growth. Frustration is the chaotic combination of distorted mental pictures, critical self-talk and the physical cells closing down (in order to keep you alive!). With the release of pent-up frustration, energy flows for accomplishment.

Assess. Examine your to-do-list in order to judge or evaluate its validity.

  • Quickly write down all the pressing thoughts in your head. Do not judge the need or organize the outcome. Just write from the largest to the minutest; have to’s and want to’s.
  • Once your random thoughts are on paper, distinguish between a project and the tasks that aide in the completion of the project. Example: The project is organization; associated tasks are: sort out (closets, shelves, files) systematize reading materials, de-clutter desk, scrub floors, take off recycle, donate to Salvation Army, hold garage sale. Projects dwarf once you see how details to be accomplishment are one and the same.
  • Independently calculate the weight of each project. On a scale of 1-10, with ten being the heaviest, assign power to each project. Although all are important, give due diligence to the one of greatest weight over those that appears urgent. Even if two of the lesser weights are marked-off, your loan will not be lightened because the heaviest is still waiting in the wings.
  • Set a time and date. Today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year; long term, short term. You cannot rise above your calendar. Once tasks are given a time frame in which to be accomplished, energy is directed to the outcome more than the minutia.
  • Ask and answer self-evaluation questions. Is it really important? How so? Is it really that urgent? Why? Have I given it more power than it warrants? What if I saw it as a choice rather than a command? Is the fate of the world dependent upon my doing this? Or my family? Who do I need to help me? How can I delegate?

Who would have thought that moving forward starts with stopping? Rather ironic, huh? Don’t just imagine what three or five deep breaths would do; experience it. Live it. Keep your cells open for growth.

Please share your insights below.