The Power of Asking for What You Want

http://www.dumblittleman.com/2011/01/power-of-asking-for-what-you-want.html

Getting what you want out of life isn’t always easy. You can spend weeks, months or even years working on your goals. That’s a lot of effort and planning just to get from point A to point B. Worse still are the people who do nothing but wait around hoping that what they want will just appear in front of them.

There’s a better way to get what you want, just ask for it. The old adage that the fastest route between two points is a straight line applies here. Asking for what you want is easier and works faster than any plan you could come up with.

My Story of Asking for What I Want

Sometimes asking for what you want can really surprise you. After I graduated college, I got a full time job and began my career. About a year into the job I had an opportunity to travel through Southeast Asia. This travel was not for work, it would have been a personal trip for 30 days! I was in a bind. Traveling through Asia had always been a dream of mine. However, I knew I couldn’t just quit the job I tried so hard to obtain.

I tried to think through my situation. I realize that most jobs in America only allow two weeks of vacation per year. In fact, I don’t think I had seen anyone where I worked take any time off whatsoever. But I wanted both a job and travel so I racked my brain figuring out a plan to make it work. I realized I had only one option: to ask for what I want.

I had no doubt in my mind that I would get a “no”. No one expects their employer to allow that much time off just to travel. But to my surprise, I got the OK. The only stipulation was that I would be put into a different position when I got back. I was completely satisfied with the arrangement. A few months later, I was in a plane half way over the Pacific on my way to Thailand. And the best part was, I felt reassured that I had a position when I got back.

The biggest reason most people don’t try asking for what they want is fear. They fear rejection or they fear that they’ll ask in the wrong way or say something stupid. Asking someone for something you want can be a scary thing to do, but it’s a lot better than waiting for it to just happen. And with a few tips, you can make your experience a lot better.

Here are a handful of things I did to help get the response I was looking for.

Be Assertive

There’s something about combining confidence with control that gets attention. People really respond positively to it. You’re probably going to be nervous asking, but that’s normal. Relax as best as you can and be confident. If you ask in an assertive, polite way, you’re more likely to get what you want.

Know what you want

The more specific a request you make, the easier it will be for both you and the person you’re asking. If you appear indecisive and unsure in what you want, your request will come off as weak. Part of success in asking for what you want is showing the person how much you really want it. Show this by being specific in what you want. Plus, being specific is just polite to the person you’re asking in case they have to work around your request.

Be Flexible

Being specific in what you want is important, but so is being flexible. When I asked for my time off to travel, I had to accept the different position when I came back. If I had been rigid in my demands, I wouldn’t have succeeded. It wasn’t ideal for me, but it was acceptable in order to get what I wanted. If you’re prepared to compromise, you’ll succeed too.

Be prepared for a “no”

Asking for what you want isn’t a silver bullet for success. Oftentimes, you’ll receive a “no” and you have to be prepared for that. Years after my travels through Southeast Asia, I thought I would ask for similar time off from a new employer. I asked for a month off to travel and got a “no”. However, they did spend several days in consideration so I think it was pretty close to being accepted. I had to settle for a regular two week trip instead. I didn’t get what I wanted, but nothing bad happened to me by asking.

People want to help you

Before you ask for what you want, realize that people want to help you. It is rare for someone to respond negatively to a well-thought out polite request. Most people get a good feeling by helping another person out. Plus, they’ll probably remember a time when they were in a similar position. If you keep this in mind, you’ll be more confident. And that will get you one step closer to getting that “yes”.

Have a Blessed Day
Love & Light
Karen
The Spirit Way 

Let go of judgment: five tips for letting love in

http://peacefulplanetcommunication.com/2011/03/24/let-go-of-judgment-five-tips-for-lettin-love-in/

By: LEAH MCCLELLAN

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there. –Rumi

We humans categorize, name, and label things to make sense of the world: clouds are white, the sun is warm, dogs are furry, crackers are crunchy, roses emit an odor.

We attach names to things and group them together not only to understand the world but also to communicate about it.

We also add a value—good or bad—to the things we name: threatening storm clouds, miserably hot sun, wonderfully furry dog, lousy crackers, heavenly roses.

When it comes to people, we categorize, name, and label them too, not only with their given or family names, but also with descriptions of race, gender, age, marital status, and occupation: a Somalian woman, a British man, a young girl, a husband, a wife, a farmer, an engineer.

And just like anything else, we also place judgments on people: a beautiful Somalian woman, a talented British man, a homely young girl, a lousy husband, a cheating wife, an industrious farmer, a brilliant engineer.

Sometimes the judgments are fairly neutral or descriptive.

But we also place people into categories according to the emotions that rise up in us when they behave in ways we don’t like. Looking at the list above, I can easily imagine those same people in a conflict among themselves or with others and using words like bitch, jerk, brat, idiot, whore, redneck, and gearhead.

Those names say a lot more about me and the company I keep (or have kept) and the language I’m familiar with than the people the words describe. I admit I had to Google “nicknames for engineers” because I was only coming up with “anal retentive,” which is an adjective but I wanted a noun. Sorry, engineers. No offense intended. I’m just the reporter.

I’m sure, if I spent five minutes or so, I could come up with a long list of all the judgmental words—nouns or adjectives—that I’ve ever used or heard to describe people who don’t fit the values we want them to fit into.

There are a lot of reasons why we do this, but the main reason is because we see the world in a dualistic way—good or bad, right and wrong—and we want to place people into those categories. It’s what we’re used to doing, and we’re often eager to do it. She’s wonderful, he’s not. Et cetera.

Rather than thinking about what our own needs are, we place blame on others when they don’t meet our needs.

Blaming others is also a way of punishing them for not being who we want them to be.

By placing moralistic judgment on someone we withdraw compassion and love as a way to show our disapproval. We want to show other people—whether it’s the person in the line of fire or our friends or family—that someone does not fit our values and expectations. We may do it to show anger or to show hurt, and we do it to blame because we aren’t taking responsibility for ourselves.

We also judge because we’re in the habit of judging. But when all is said and done, our judgments only reflect ourselves, not others.

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, author of Non-violent Communication: A Language of Life, says that “certain ways of communicating alienate us from our natural state of compassion.”

The first “life-alienating” form of communication is moralistic judgment. Moralistic judgment implies wrongness or badness on the part of someone who doesn’t act in accord with our own values.

How often do you judge people or do “name calling?” That’s what placing judgment on others is, when we use words to do it, although “name calling” is a term usually used for elementary school students: “Johnny, don’t call Susie names. It’s not nice,” a parent may scold.

An hour later, that same parent is on the phone complaining about a useless teacher, a miserable boss, a neighbor who’s a gossip, or lazy kids.

What about you? Do you place judgments on others?

I know I do. I used to do it a lot more than I do now but with practice (years of it), judgments are almost always in my thoughts only, though they may leak out in my attitude or indirectly in my words. I’ve worked on my awareness of that tendency and, these days, after I’ve thought something negative about someone—while driving, for example—I take a look into myself to see what’s going on.

1. What am I feeling? Why does this person disturb me so much?

Sometimes we get angry just because someone doesn’t fit in with our sense of morals and values. It could be “habit energy,” as Thich Nhat Hanh calls it in Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames. It could be something we learned from our parents or friends, and it became well-entrenched in us. Racial hatred and bigotry falls into that category. Simply finding fault with others can also be a habit. In some cases, we’re hurt because we need and expect a certain treatment or behavior from someone and, when we don’t receive it, anger is triggered and we don’t know any other way of handling it.

Sometimes, if we’re not at peace—tired, hungry, anxious, depressed—the things people do may affect us in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.

2. What do I really need?

To use driving as an example, since most of us do plenty of it, every driver in my ideal world would be courteous. He or she wouldn’t startle me, would always use turn signals, would never tailgate, and would always take turns—first come, first served—at four-way intersections with stop signs. What I need is calm and peace, but guess what? I’m responsible for that, not anyone else. It’s nice when other drivers are courteous, but when they’re not or don’t appear to be, it’s still on me to maintain my inner peace and compassion.

3. Is this person capable of giving me what I need if I ask for it?

Other drivers aren’t capable of giving me what I need, whatever it is. They act as they do for their own reasons, and so does everyone else, in general. Strangers can’t, though they might. Many friends give me exactly what I need, very often. Other times not. My closest friends almost always do. In some cases, though, someone I thought was a friend (or someone I expected to provide what I want or need from a friend) can’t give me what I need. In that case, it’s on me to decide if what they give is sufficient to continue the friendship or association or not.

If someone can’t give me what I need, it doesn’t mean he or she is a bad person.

4. What is the other person’s situation or viewpoint?

If we let go of judgment, we can see more clearly. How can we see the bright light shining in someone if we’ve labeled him or her a jerk or nasty or miserable or stupid? As long as we hold onto that label, our vision is clouded. We might even be treating the other person in such a way that encourages precisely the behavior we don’t want. I kept that in mind during a conflict I had with a veterinarian awhile back. What she was doing had nothing to do with me, and though the situation was extraordinarily difficult, withholding judgment (or I should say not reacting to it and practicing non-judgment and compassion) allowed me to maintain my peace and clarity and, eventually, she began to let go of her hostility.

5. What can I do to replace this judgment with compassion?

Become aware of it, first of all. Recognize that our judgment is only about us, not the other person. We don’t know other people’s reality, we don’t always know why they behave as they do, and we don’t know how we may be affecting them. If we remind ourselves—practice the knowledge—that other people are just like us with weaknesses, fears, worries, concerns, and needs, even though their needs may be quite different, we can let our natural compassion rise up and give love a chance to shine through and see people in a completely different way.

Not everyone can give us what we need. But we can let go of judgment and feel kindly toward others (or at least remain neutral) and find our own peace and compassion in ourselves even if we don’t care to spend time with them or expect them to give us the things we need in our lives.

 Have a Blessed Week
Love & Light
Karen
The Spirit Way 

AUTOMATIC WRITING

http://www.healingfromwithin.com/Articles/Automatic_Writing/automatic_writing.html

     The following exercise is a simple way to develop intuition, access inner guidance, and unblock creativity.

     1. Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

     2. Have a pen and pad of paper ready then settle into a comfortable sitting position.

     3. At the top of a piece of paper write what you would like guidance on. Decide whether you would like general guidance or guidance on a specific question. It helps to date this especially if you are keeping a journal.

     4. Take a few moments to center yourself. Tune into your breathing and take a few slow, deep breaths. Allow your breathing to relax your mind and body. Then ground yourself. Feel the ground beneath you. Imagine that you run a grounding cord from the base of your spine down to the center of the earth. Then feel the energy of the earth come up through the base of your spine, up through your entire body, and out through the top of your head, connecting with the universe above. Now imagine that a golden light comes down from above and enters your body through your crown, at the top of your head. Imagine this light flowing down the center of your body, then out through the base of your spine, extending down to the center of the earth and anchoring you to the earth below.

     5. Next ask for the highest guidance possible. When you feel ready pick up your pen and write whatever comes to you without stopping. Do not judge, analyze or evaluate what you have written even if it does not answer your question. Write until your hand is done. When you are finished, read what you wrote.

Have a Blessed Weeekend
Love & Light
Karen
The Spirit Way 

3 Reasons Why Change Is Good

http://blog.beliefnet.com/inspirationreport/2011/08/3-reasons-why-change-is-good.html

By: Jennifer E. Jones

I have a love/hate relationship with change. If things stay too stagnant for too long, I get terribly bored. When too many things change all at once, I find myself desperately seeking comfort.

Recently, my life has seen a lot of change, and it’s mostly been positive. I am genuinely happy about it all. Yet, I found myself building a fort out of my living room furniture in silly efforts to feel like I’m 10 years old again. When I was still using the fort days later, I knew, perhaps, I was feeling a bit unsettled.

Have you felt that way? Like your life is a carousel that’s spinning  and you just want to get off? Believe it or not, change is good for you. Here are a few reasons why.

1). Changes makes you flexible. Being stubborn and resistant to new things will make a normally stressing situation even more so. Change helps you be fluid and go with the flow.

2). Change makes you smarter. If things never changed, you’d never learn anything new. And every time you learn a new skill — even if it’s just how to adapt — you are that much smarter than you were yesterday.

3). Change reminds us that anything is possible. It’s easy to think that anything that’s stuck will always be that way (i.e., the career that won’t lift off the ground or the marriage that’s coasting on neutral). But when you see things change, whether it’s in your life or someone else’s, it’s encouragement to know that nothing stays the same forever.

Have a Blessed Weekend
Love & Light
Karen
The Spirit Way 

An Energizing List Of Positive Words

http://www.the-benefits-of-positive-thinking.com/list-of-positive-words.html

As you become more aware of your thoughts, actions and words, it gets easier and easier to spot the negativity that you inadvertently put out.

You then start choosing those thoughts, actions and words which leave you feeling good towards yourself and others.

Some people do not realize the words they use and how these words affect them.

An example that always called my attention is the typical British response to “How are you?”: most people I have met reply “Not too bad, thanks”.

I thought, “Not too bad? Then there’s some degree of ‘badness’? Why not say ‘I’m marvellous, thanks’ instead?”

When I started to become aware of the words I used, I consciously chose to use positive words more often. The books I was reading at the time offered me a number of positive words that I included in my vocabulary.

I have compiled a list of positive words for you which offers you a large range of words beyond the classical “good”, “great” and “positive”.

Here are a few suggestions as to how and when to use any of the words you will find in the list of positive words below:

You can copy and paste this list in a word or excel document, number the words, and print the list.

You can then paste it on a wall at home or at work, and randomly choose a number and look up the word to use that positive word throughout the day.

You can sharpen your affirmations and give them an even more personal touch by including relevant positive words.

For instance, you could transform “There is an abundance of resources available to me” to “There is a limitless abundance of convenient resources available to me”.

You can record the positive words of your choice with your own voice and play the recording in the morning as soon as you get up, so as to start the day motivated and inspired.

You could even use the format “I am…” and add the words you choose – an excellent way to fill yourself with positive energy.

A comprehensive list of positive words

Abundant

Accomplished

Achieving

Active

Admirable

Adorable

Adventurous

Admired

Affluent

Agreeable

Alert

Aligned

Alive

Amazing

Appealing

Appreciate

Artistic

Astounding

Astute

Attentive

Attractive

Auspicious

Authentic

Awake

Aware

Beaming

Beautiful

Best

Blessed

Bliss

Bold

Bright

Brilliant

Brisk

Buoyant

Calm

Capable

Centered

Certain

Charming

Cheerful

Clear

Clever

Competent

Complete

Confident

Connected

Conscious

Considerate

Convenient

Courageous

Creative

Daring

Dazzling

Delicious

Delightful

Desirable

Determined

Diligent

Discerning

Discover

Dynamic

Eager

Easy

Efficient

Effortless

Elegant

Eloquent

Energetic

Endless

Enhancing

Engaging

Enormous

Enterprising

Enthusiastic

Enticing

Excellent

Exceptional

Exciting

Experienced

Exquisite

Fabulous

Fair

Far-Sighted

Fascinating

Fine

Flattering

Flourishing

Fortunate

Free

Friendly

Fulfilled

Fun

Generous

Genuine

Gifted

Glorious

Glowing

Good

Good-Looking

Gorgeous

Graceful

Gracious

Grand

Great

Handsome

Happy

Hardy

Harmonious

Healed

Healthy

Helpful

Honest

Humorous

Ideal

Imaginative

Impressive

Industrious

Ingenious

Innovative

Inspired

Intelligent

Interested

Interesting

Intuitive

Inventive

Invincible

Inviting

Irresistible

Joyous

Judicious

Keen

Kind

Knowing

Limitless

Lively

Loving

Lucky

Luminous

Magical

Magnificent

Marvellous

Masterful

Mighty

Miraculous

Motivated

Natural

Neat

Nice

Nurturing

Noble

Optimistic

Outstanding

Passionate

Peaceful

Perfect

Persevering

Persistent

Playful

Pleasing

Plentiful

Positive

Powerful

Precious

Prepared

Productive

Profound

Prompt

Prosperous

Proud

Qualified

Quick

Radiant

Reasonable

Refined

Refreshing

Relaxing

Reliable

Remarkable

Resolute

Resourceful

Respected

Rewarding

Robust

Safe

Satisfied

Secure

Seductive

Self-Reliant

Sensational

Sensible

Sensitive

Serene

Sharing

Skilful

Smart

Smashing

Smooth

Sparkling

Spiritual

Splendid

Strong

Stunning

Successful

Superb

Swift

Talented

Tenacious

Terrific

Thankful

Thrilling

Thriving

Timely

Trusting

Truthful

Ultimate

Unique

Valiant

Valuable

Versatile

Vibrant

Victorious

Vigorous

Vivacious

Vivid

Warm

Wealthy

Well

Whole

Wise

Wonderful

Worthy

Young

Youthful

Zeal

Zest

Have a Blessed Day
Love & Light
Karen
The Spirit Way 

THE LOST ART OF LISTENING

http://michaelhyatt.com/the-lost-art-of-listening.html

One of the greatest gifts any of us can ever receive is the gift of listening. It is also one of the greatest gifts we can ever give. Unfortunately, it appears to be a lost art.

We live in a world where everyone is talking but few are listening. What often passes for listening is simply one person pausing to collect their thoughts for their next soliloquy. Just turn on your favorite talk radio or television show to experience a vivid example of this. (My personal favorite is Hannity & Colmes, where no one appears to be listening to anyone!)

Listening is difficult work. I don’t pretend to be good at it, but I am trying to learn. Like every skill, the more you do it, the better you get. Here are a few things I am trying to practice and that you can also do to improve your listening skills:

1.  Be fully present. This is where every great conversation begins. So often, we are distracted with other things. We try to listen while continuing to work on the computer or watch television. To be fully present means we eliminate these distractions and focus exclusively on the other person. It takes great effort to be fully in the moment, leaning forward, with your ears—and heart—open.

2.  Ask a question. I am trying to discipline myself to ask more questions. Instead of just commenting when it’s my turn, I try to ask a question about something the other person said. Perhaps they said something that requires further explanation. Maybe you need an example. Regardless, a question can help the conversation go deeper.

3.  Ask a second question. Great questions are the prerequisite for great conversation. Sometimes, like peeling the layers off an onion, you have to peel the conversation back with even more questions. It’s good to ask questions. It’s even better to ask lots of questions. The more you listen, the more insight you gather and the more relevant your comments will be.

4.  Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Words are only part of the communication. Sometimes we need to experience the other person’s feelings to really understand. We need to listen with our heart as well as our mind.

5.  Validate their thoughts and feelings. One of the worst things we can do when listening is invalidate the other person. “Why would you think that?!” Or, “You shouldn’t feel that way.” These kinds of words don’t move the conversation along; they stop it dead in it’s tracks.

6.  Repeat back what you have heard. When we do this—and do it accurately—we communicate that we understand. It also gives you an opportunity to re-calibrate your understanding if you misunderstood something.

Plenty of people are good talkers. Few are good listeners. If you develop the latter skill, you will find yourself invited into amazing conversations that wouldn’t otherwise happen.

Have a Blessed Weekend
Love & Light
Karen
The Spirit Way 

A Divine Whisper, The Way of Spirit

http://cosmicwind.net/800/Cmwl/MichaelTobin/1.ADivineWhisperTheWayOfSpirit.html

By: Michael Tobin

THE SOLAR-AGE IS ON THE POINT OF BEING BORN. So let us prepare ourselves for the Great Coming, for the New Dawn, for the Birth of real Love, Truth, Goodness, Beauty, and Freedom which will make our little Earth a planetary Paradise — in accordance with the Divine Design.

Already, there exists the Solar-Age Over-Soul in the Psi-Universe of hyper space-time. This is the “spirit” of the coming Solar-Age social order which is preparing to be incarnated in physical form — which is making ready to express itself through the medium of Solar-Age social units and communities, starting with the simplest and eventually evolving to become highly-developed Solar-Age societies spread out across interplanetary space in every part of the Solar System.

The Solar-Age Over-Soul is truly ready to become manifest in embryonic form as a real psycho-social entity. However, for this to happen, the Solar-Age Over-Soul needs to express itself in and through those humans who are ready and able at this most critical historical moment to consciously become the vehicles for the implementation of the Divine Design. For the Solar-Age will come quietly — through our hearts — and its Coming will be announced with a whisper — a Divine Whisper, insisting in a loving and undemanding way on being heard and acted upon. At this very time, these whispers from the Divine centres of every person on our planet are earnestly urging us to follow the Way of Spirit and allow a higher psycho-social form to come into being. But, alas, most people are spiritually deaf and cannot hear, let alone pay heed to, the Divine whispers from the God-Within their depths. However, that does not mean that the Solar-Age cannot be born. Far from it. For, just as every seed starts with only the tiniest of shoots and rootlets, all it requires is a few humans — fully alive persons — to set in motion the actual birth process of the Solar-Age in practice.

The Great News of our time is that each and every single one of us can share in the birth of the Solar-Age by opening oneself fully to the Divine evolutionary thrust currently striving to express itself in Solar-Age form through the newly-evolving Cosmic Humankind — the “Children of Spirit”. Simply by choosing to become a birth channel for the incarnation of the Solar-Age Over-Soul, one will be taking the first step towards the actualization of the Solar-Age in practical form. And thru doing this one will, furthermore, have become a member of the embryonic Solar-Age Terrestrial Commonwealth.

Such a Commonwealth is not something that can or will be organized on the lines of the conventional world. Indeed, its initial form will be of the subjective kind. Because, while it will be a growing Reality and a wholly new realm of Experience in our midst, it will at first be a linking of hearts and minds and souls rather than of physical bodies — which will come later with local concentrations of Solar-Age humans.

What the coming Solar-Age actually amounts to is the realization of the “kingdom of god” which Jesus of Nazareth spoke about according to the way of thinking of his patriarchal times. For, when Jesus referred to a “heavenly kingdom which was not of this world”, he was not talking about some infantile fantasy-world “up in the sky” but about a concrete Reality which only he experienced in those far-off times. This was the Reality of the Solar-Age Over-Soul which was then at an earlier stage of development. However, now that this Over-Soul is in the process of coming into practical Being, it is possible for all those truly living humans with properly functioning body/mind/spirit systems to share in the Jesus experience on a universal scale of becoming co-creators with the Divine in the stupendous evolutionary task of bringing into being what was once called “The Kingdom of God on Earth”.

But there is nothing superficial or easy about embarking on such a Cosmic adventure. Because in the present-day soul-less world of Technocratic Man this means literally putting one’s life “on the line”, so as to speak. It means giving one’s loyalties to a new form of social order — the Solar-Age — rather than to one’s own nation as at present — with all the manifold consequences which will inevitably follow in the wake of such a choice. For, while one may continue to live in one’s familiar surroundings, one’s deeper Self will now belong to a far higher Reality. And it is to this higher Spiritual Reality — the Solar-Age Realm of immanent Spirit in psycho-social form — that one would feel honour bound to give one’s total loyalty to when matters of ultimate concern are at stake. To cope with such an experience successfully, requires humans of the Cosmic kind — highly evolved “psi-streams” in human form. Yet, at no time, would such persons ever stand alone as in the case of the cruelly martyred Jesus. For the Creative Power of Spirit — through the intermediary of the Solar-Age Oversoul — would be expressing itself through them in a manner that humanoids have not experienced up till now. Not alone that, but on the higher and deeper levels of psychic existence each such human would be inseparably inter-linked with all others of the same Solar-Age kind whose growing numbers are already having a profound effect on the delicate psychic fabric enveloping the psycho-social domain. Furthermore, each Solar-Age human would have many “spirit” helpers to “lend a helping hand”.

But, in no way, would a Solar-Age Terrestrial Commonwealth be a movement to change the world. For in itself from its initial beginnings it would embody the Solar-Age in the making; and so would be far removed from any so-called revolutionary party or church seeking converts. Humankind need no longer wait for the “revolution” or for the “hereafter”. The spiritual bliss of paradise can be ours here on Earth — if we only allow the Way of Spirit to reign supreme, gloriously supreme, on our homeland planet. So let us, then, initiate the Solar-Age. Let this very day be the day that you consciously declare yourself to be a Solar-Age person — a Cosmic human fully aware that one is of Spirit — a crusader in the service of the Divine — one of a new human breed who are destined to become the self-conscious element of the forces of terrestrial evolution in accordance with the Divine evolutionary Design embodied in the Universal Process.

Have a Blessed Day
Love & Light
Karen
The Spirit Way 

51 THINGS THAT WILL MAKE YOU SMILE

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/51-things-that-will-make-you-smile/

By: Lori Deschene

Some days, it’s easy to smile. You wake up to the sounds of birds chirping, with the warm glow of the morning sun cradling your face. You take several deep, cleansing breaths standing beneath a perfectly cascading shower, just before drawing a smiley face on the steamed-up glass with your index finger.

Your roommate or significant other makes your coffee, just the way you like it. You hit every traffic light. You sing to your favorite tunes. And you arrive at work refreshed, excited, and anxious to create and collaborate.

But not every day starts this way. Sometimes you wake up to chaos, in your head or in the world around you. You hit snags, and bumps, and roadblocks at every turn. You try too hard, or don’t try enough, and things fall apart, or things fall short.

You struggle, you fight yourself and other people, and you find yourself wishing you could stop the world so you could get off for a while.

But there is an alternative. When things go wrong, you can fall down or look up. You can shut down or wake up, all over again, starting from right where you stand. You can accept that the days won’t always look bright, but commit to finding something worth smiling about. Not sure what that might be? No worries, friends! I have a few ideas….

1. Call a friend who knows how to laugh at herself to remember what it’s like not to take yourself too seriously.

2. Ask a friend to come over and make you smile. It’s really simple and obvious, I know, but sometimes we forget to just ask for what we need.

3. Read a letter, card, or email from someone who thought of you when you were going through a hard time.

4. Search your deleted email folder for “thank you.” You probably made a huge difference in someone’s life recently—remember that now!

5. Text a friend, “What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard today?”

6. Text your significant other with a silly picture of you and ask for one in return.

7. Ask your significant other to make you breakfast in bed—and to be creative with it. (I have no idea what that could mean, but just seeing the thought s/he puts into it will likely make it extra fun).

8. Post on your Facebook page, “What made you smile today?” (Like I often do on the Tiny Buddha Facebook page!)

9. Tell a child in your life that you need a hug. Just try to stay stoic when she throws her little arms around your neck and sings “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow.”

10. Alternatively, ask that child to draw a picture of you and him or her together.

11. Take a break to enjoy a simple pleasure that you often multitask—like a cup of flavored coffee, or a favorite snack.

12. Rearrange your furniture. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel a sense of accomplishment when I do this, and I also really enjoy the novelty of creating a space with a different feel.

13. Give your cat a ball of yarn or give your dog a wrapped gift and watch him try to open it. Pets playing = instant smile, at least, for me!

14. Go out and invest in a hula hoop. It’s nearly impossible to stay glum when you get moving like you haven’t since you were a kid. (Alternative option: jump around on a trampoline and just try to not smile!)

15. For the ladies: paint your toe nails a bright color that you wouldn’t usually pick.

16. Ask a child in your life to do your hair. Seeing yourself with massive 80s bangs (ladies) or a Mohawk-inspired look (men) is sure to get you laughing!

17. Blast your favorite music and dance around with absolutely no regard for rhythm or appearance.

18. Bake something that has a silly face on it. Really—this is a valid suggestion!

19. Eat food that requires you to use your hands, and get messy—and then really get messy. Get rib sauce all over your face and just go with it.

20. Make some type of arts and crafts project, just like you would have as a kid, with plans to give it to someone else. (Two-part smile: when you see the ridiculous thing you made, and when you see your friend’s face after receiving it).

21. Make a snack you loved as a kid. Maybe it’s peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or a sundae with gummy bears on it.

22. Watch a movie or cartoon from your childhood. (Smurfs always do it for me, especially when I remember how my mother called them devil worshipers because Papa Smurf did magic.)

23. Write a hand-written letter to someone you love, using different colored pens.

24. Look at pictures from your childhood. I can’t help but smile when I see the ridiculously thick bangs my mother gave me (translate: the front of a mullet).

25. Pop in the video/DVD from your child’s last recital—or your childhood recital.

26. Call your oldest friend, start a conversation with, “’Member when we…,” and end it with, “That was awesome, huh?”

27. Do an updated version of that awesome thing, right now. Really—grab your markers, or your bike, or your flashlight, or you video camera, and have a childlike adventure.

28. Make a magazine collage of things that always make you smile. Consider it a mini vision board for moments you’d like to create soon.

29. Dress up in clothes you love, just to run a simple errand. When you like how you look, you generally feel good.

30. Wear bright colored socks. If your pants are long, wear a different color on each foot. It’s like a little private joke that only you and your feet know about.

31. Make a beeline to your favorite spot, whether it’s a beach, bike trail, or mall. (No judgment—it’s your favorite spot.)

32. Make time to see the sunrise or sunset, and make it an occasion. Invite a friend and bring wine and a picnic basket. Make a memory, and make it beautiful.

33. Walk by your neighborhood park and soak in the innocence, excitement, and wonder.

34. Grab your camera and go outside with a mission to capture things that make you happy.

35. Make a list of all the amazing things you’ve accomplished and experienced this year, and then bask in the beauty of it all.

36. Tell someone how much they mean to you. Say all the things that might make you feel kind of vulnerable, and then think about how special you just made them feel.

37. Help a neighbor with something, whether it’s pulling weeds from a woman’s garden or running an errand for an elderly man who no longer drives. Two part happiness—forgetting about your own problems, and showing someone that neighborly kindness is not a thing of the past.

38. Ask a friend to tell you what’s new with his or her passion project. Same idea: forget about yourself for a while and watch someone else light up.

39. Commit a random act of kindness and tell that person to pass it on.

40. People-watch with a dialogue-writing slant. As in, find two people sitting across the street and make up a ridiculous conversation in your head that they could be having. I know, it sounds silly, and it is. But it always makes me laugh! (I got this from the movie Date Night, in case it sounds familiar.)

41. Visit a positive news site. (There are tons of them.)

42. Elf yourself or a friend. (I know this one’s seasonal, but it’s funny year-found!)

43. Spend some time exploring 1000 Awesome Things.

44. Make your own list of awesome things.

45. Use the search functionality on Twitter and look for “happy” or “smile.”

46. Create a gratitude list for the day, including the smallest details (a fluffy pillow) and the biggest things (your health and your family).

47. Take a run around your block. Trigger some endorphins, whittle your waist line, and remember that the world is so much bigger and greater than it seems when sadness closes you down.

48. Laugh out loud. Seriously, just choose to laugh and keep going. (They actually offer laughter yoga and laughter meditation, if you’re interested in checking them out.)

49. Hum your favorite song. Humming has all kinds of benefits—it’s soothing, it centers you, and also calms your nervous system.

50. Make a new friend, in person or by commenting on a blog. Like this one. =)

51. And lastly…watch an uplifting video, like Tiny Buddha’s first YouTube video. I asked readers to submit footage of the things that make them smile, and the end result definitely put a smile on my face:  Video

Have a Blessed Week
Love & Light
Karen
The Spirit Way 

The Vibration of Words

http://vibhavari.hubpages.com/hub/The-Vibration-of-words

By: Vibhavari

In the beginning there was the word…

Apparently the beginning of creation was sound.

The Universe is made up of energy. Different types of energy have different frequencies. There was a time when I assumed that it was only living things that had energy, by living I mean things that breathe. It is only quite recently I learnt that all things in the universe are made up of energy, whether they breathe or not. Tables, chairs, books are all made up of energy- even the molecules contained in a solid block of metal are said to ve vibrating with energy, only it is so dense and the movement is so slow that it appears not to be moving.

Thus is is not surprising that words have energy and each word resonates at different frequencies. Not just the spoken word, but also the written word. Words that you use when you write messages, mails, letters do convey the emotion you had when you wrote them. For example- no matter how politely you have worded a letter when you have been feeling very angry, the recipient of the letter will sense the energy and the emotion that underlies it. That is why working professionsals are advised never to write or respond to any client when they are upset or angry. It is also good advice to write out that letter or mail when you are angry, but not to mail it right then. Wait a bit, sleep over it and review it after the mood has passed, you’ll be surprised at how many things you want to change in that mail or letter or you might decide to scrap it all and re-write it all over again.

We can do a small experiment here.

Look at the words here for a couple of minutes sense what they make you feel:

SAD

HATE

ANGRY

UPSET

These words even if not spoken resonate at a low frequency, they offer a negative vibration.

Now take a look at these words for a couple of minutes sense what they make you feel:

LOVE

JOY

PEACE

HAPPY

These words resonate at a higher frequency and offer a positive vibration. Just reading a word over and over again will make you start to feel the emotion in it.

The Japanese scientist Dr. Emoto has proved that if water or food is exposed to a written word- it will respond to that word. Food and water exposed to words such as ‘war’ or ‘hate’ deteriorated quickly; where as those exposed to words such as ‘love’ and ‘thank you’ had not deteriorated.

It is thus very important for us to choose the words we use very carefully. Imagine a Universe that does respond to every word you think and utter even jokingly and send you more of what you are saying and feeling even as a joke!

When you make a conscious effort to choose your words, you will find that the right words come to you naturally over a period of time. You will by and large stop using swear words and curses as those words will no longer resonate with you. Your world will be a happier place to be in.

Have a Blessed Day
Love & Light
Karen
The Spirit Way 

The Healing Power of Hugs

http://www.divinecaroline.com/22189/74188-healing-power-hugs

By: Vicki Santillano

About a year ago, I stumbled across a YouTube video showing two guys and a girl holding up signs that said “Free Hugs” in the middle of a crowded downtown street. I’ll admit, my initial reaction was, “What if they have bed bugs?!” (Sadly, that’s what happens when you live in a city with an infestation problem.) But the more I watched, the more I wished I was on that street getting some hug action. Everyone on the receiving end, even those who approached tentatively, walked away with big, grateful smiles.

What is it about hugs that make them so stress-relieving, even when they come from complete strangers? When we’re feeling low, getting a gentle squeeze provides comfort like nothing else. There are even therapeutic practices centered on hugging. When it comes to our health, turns out the best thing we can do is open our arms.

A Hug a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Though humans are inherently social, we shy away from physical contact in this country. Compared to other cultures, we tend to be hyper aware of personal space, offering a handshake instead of a kiss on the cheek and keeping a certain amount of distance between us and those we converse with. Unfortunately, the lack of touch in our lives is detrimental to our well-being. We need physical contact to feel connected to something other than ourselves and to feel a little less alone, especially in times of need. But when we’re stressed out or sad, we turn to a number of other coping mechanisms instead, like eating comfort food, getting a drink at the bar, and tuning out in front of the TV.

If you wonder about the social acceptability of hugging, just imagine asking your coworker or neighbor for one at the end of a tough day. In fact, countless studies have proven that hugging lowers stress levels and improves moods better than most things. A study at the University of North Carolina found that levels of cortisol, the hormone produced when we’re under stress, were significantly lowered (particularly in women) when subjects hugged their partners for at least twenty seconds.

Researchers from the University of Carolina study also found that hugging instigates an elevated release of oxytocin, which is known as the “bonding” or “cuddle” hormone and prompts loving and caring feelings. Some studies have shown that it also reduces blood pressure. Another study that took place in 2000 showed that hugging babies while they were given blood tests made them cry less and kept their heart rates steadier. Both elevated levels of cortisol and high blood pressure have been linked to various diseases, including heart disease, so not only does hugging feel great, it’s good for our hearts, too.

Taking Hugs to the Streets

Several therapies have been developed around the healing properties of touch and embraces. Healing Touch International, Inc. is a non-profit that claims to treat maladies like stress, depression, and physical pain through practitioners placing their hands above or lightly on patients as they lie on a table. A man named Steve Maher came up with a practice called the Ecstatic Embrace, which involves ninety-minute hugging sessions and is supposed to increase self-esteem and happiness. For those who want hug therapy in the privacy of their homes, there’s a product called Teddy Warm Heart. Teddy is a small stuffed bear with an inner device that heats up and warms those who hug him.

There are also those who apply the therapeutic values of hugging on smaller scales, such as the man who began the Free Hugs Campaign that spawned the aforementioned YouTube video. And would you believe people come from all over the world to get a hug from an Indian woman? Amma, which means “mother” in Malayalam (her language), has hugged well over twenty-five million people since she started traveling the globe and opening her arms to others. She’s known to some as the hugging saint and donates her time and money to numerous charities. I learned about her through a coworker who waited in line for almost two hours with an estimated 2,000 other people to receive a hug. People even brought Hershey’s Kisses for her to bless so that when they felt depressed later, they could eat a Kiss and feel better—like a sweet blessing to go.

My coworker isn’t a follower of Amma’s (a friend brought her along), so the way she felt about the hug—simply that it was “soft and warm”—is probably different from her companions. But whether you buy into the power of her hugs or the success rates of movements like the Free Hugs Campaign, there’s no denying that their existence and popularity suggest that we’re just not getting the amount we need in our daily lives. And what’s even more sad is that some of them might feel more comfortable getting a hug from a stranger than turning to the people in their own lives.

Psychologist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” I don’t know about you, but according to her, I’m severely deficient. Many of us invest plenty of time and energy in eating right, exercising, and taking care of ourselves, but in terms of getting our daily doses of physical touch, I bet almost as many are slacking. Everyone talks about eating an apple a day for optimum wellness, but maybe we should think about reaching out for a hug a day instead. It just might be the most economical health and mood booster out there—it doesn’t cost a thing and the benefits, like a brighter day and a stronger heart, are priceless.

Have a Blessed Weekend
Love & Light
Karen
The Spirit Way 

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