Category Archives: Relationship W/Others
Any subject that has to do with improving your relationship with others
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
The Spirit Way
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
Have a Blessed Day
Love & Light
The Spirit Way
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
The Spirit Way
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
The Spirit Way
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
The Spirit Way
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:
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:
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
The Spirit Way
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
The Spirit Way
“Going green” doesn’t have to be a daunting task that means sweeping life changes. Simple things can make a difference.
The contents of this list might not be new, but they bear repeating. Sometimes it takes a few reminders for things take root.
1. CHANGE YOUR LIGHT
If every household in the United State replaced one regular lightbulb with one of those new compact fluorescent bulbs, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.
Don’t like the color of light? Use these bulbs for closets, laundry rooms and other places where it won’t irk you as much.
2. TURN OFF COMPUTERS AT NIGHT
By turning off your computer instead of leaving it in sleep mode, you can save 40 watt-hours per day. That adds up to 4 cents a day, or $14 per year. If you don’t want to wait for your computer to start up, set it to turn on automatically a few minutes before you get to work, or boot up while you’re pouring your morning cup ‘o joe.
3. DON’T RINSE
Skip rinsing dishes before using your dishwasher and save up to 20 gallons of water each load. Plus, you’re saving time and the energy used to heat the additional water.
4. DO NOT PRE-HEAT THE OVEN
Unless you are making bread or pastries of some sort, don’t pre-heat the oven. Just turn it on when you put the dish in. Also, when checking on your food, look through the oven window instead of opening the door.
5. RECYCLE GLASS
Recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. If it isn’t recycled it can take a million years to decompose.
6. DIAPER WITH A CONSCIENCE
By the time a child is toilet trained, a parent will change between 5,000 and 8,000 diapers, adding up to approximately 3.5 million tons of waste in U.S. landfills each year. Whether you choose cloth or a more environmentally-friendly disposable, you’re making a choice that has a much gentler impact on our planet.
7. HANG DRY
Get a clothesline or rack to dry your clothes by the air. Your wardrobe will maintain color and fit, and you’ll save money.
Your favorite t-shirt will last longer too.
8. GO VEGETARIAN ONCE A WEEK
One less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. For example: It requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. You will also also save some trees. For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed.
9. WASH IN COLD OR WARM
If all the households in the U.S. switched from hot-hot cycle to warm-cold, we could save the energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day.
Only launder when you have a full load.
10. USE ONE LESS PAPER NAPKIN
During an average year, an American uses approximately 2,200 napkins—around six each day. If everyone in the U.S. used one less napkin a day, more than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.
11. USE BOTH SIDES OF PAPER
American businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper every year, equal to 175 pounds per office worker. For a quick and easy way to halve this, set your printer’s default option to print double-sided (duplex printing). And when you’re finished with your documents, don’t forget to take them to the recycling bin.
12. RECYCLE NEWSPAPER
There are 63 million newspapers printed each day in the U.S. Of these, 44 million, or about 69%, of them will be thrown away. Recycling just the Sunday papers would save more than half a million trees every week.
13. WRAP CREATIVELY
You can reuse gift bags, bows and event paper, but you can also make something unique by using old maps, cloth or even newspaper. Flip a paper grocery bag inside out and give your child stamps or markers to create their own wrapping paper that’s environmentally friendly and extra special for the recipient.
More ideas: HGTV, Martha, DIY Network
14. RETHINK BOTTLED WATER
Nearly 90% of plastic water bottles are not recycled, instead taking thousands of years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water, a great choice for the environment, your wallet, and possibly your health. The EPA’s standards for tap water are more stringent than the FDA’s standards for bottled water.
15. BAN BATHTIME!
Have a no-bath week, and take showers instead. Baths require almost twice as much water. Not only will you reduce water consumption, but the energy costs associated with heating the water.
16. BRUSH WITHOUT RUNNING
You’ve heard this one before, but maybe you still do it. You’ll conserve up to five gallons per day if you stop. Daily savings in the U.S. alone could add up to 1.5 billion gallons–more water than folks use in the Big Apple.
17. SHOWER WITH YOUR PARTNER
Sneak in a shower with your loved one to start the day with some zest that doesn’t come in a bar. Not only have you made a wise choice for the environment, but you may notice some other added…um…benefits.
18. TAKE A SHORTER SHOWER
Every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than ten gallons of water. If everyone in the country saved just one gallon from their daily shower, over the course of the year it would equal twice the amount of freshwater withdrawn from the Great Lakes every day.
19. PLANT A TREE
It’s good for the air, the land, can shade your house and save on cooling (plant on the west side of your home), and they can also improve the value of your property.
Make it meaningful for the whole family and plant a tree every year for each member.
20. USE YOUR CRUISE CONTROL
You paid for those extra buttons in your car, so put them to work! When using cruise control your vehicle could get up to 15% better mileage. Considering today’s gasoline prices, this is a boon not only for the environment but your budget as well.
21. SECOND-HAND DOESN’T MEAN SECOND-BEST
Consider buying items from a second-hand store. Toys, bicycles, roller blades, and other age and size-specific items are quickly outgrown. Second hand stores often sell these items in excellent condition since they are used for such a short period of time, and will generally buy them back when you no longer need them.
22. BUY LOCAL
Consider the amount of pollution created to get your food from the farm to your table. Whenever possible, buy from local farmers or farmers’ markets, supporting your local economy and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas created when products are flown or trucked in.
23. ADJUST YOUR THERMOSTAT
Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree cooler in the winter. Each degree celsius less will save about 10% on your energy use! In addition, invest in a programmable thermostat which allows you to regulate temperature based on the times you are at home or away.
24. INVEST IN YOUR OWN COFFEE CUP
If you start every morning with a steamy cup, a quick tabulation can show you that the waste is piling up. Invest in a reusable cup, which not only cuts down on waste, but keeps your beverage hot for a much longer time. Most coffee shops will happily fill your own cup, and many even offer you a discount in exchange!
25. BATCH ERRANDS
Feel like you spend your whole week trying to catch up with the errands? Take a few moments once a week to make a list of all the errands that need to get done, and see if you can batch them into one trip. Not only will you be saving gasoline, but you might find yourself with much better time-management skills.
26. TURN OFF LIGHTS
Always turn off incandescent bulbs when you leave a room. Fluorescent bulbs are more affected by the number of times it is switched on and off, so turn them off when you leave a room for 15 minutes or more. You’ll save energy on the bulb itself, but also on cooling costs, as lights contribute heat to a room.
27. GREENER LAWN CARE
If you must water your lawn, do it early in the morning before any moisture is lost to evaporation. Have a few weeds? Spot treat them with vinegar. Not sure if you should rake? Normal clippings act as a natural fertilizer, let them be. If you’ve waited too long, rake by hand — it’s excellent exercise.
28. PICNIC WITH A MARKER
Some time in between the artichoke dip and the coleslaw, you lost track of your cup, and now there are a sea of matching cups on the table, one of which might be yours. The next time you picnic, set out permanent marker next to disposable dinnerware so guests can mark their cup and everyone will only use one.
29. RECYCLE OLD CELL PHONES
The average cell phone lasts around 18 months, which means 130 million phones will be retired each year. If they go into landfills, the phones and their batteries introduce toxic substances into our environment. There are plenty of reputable programs where you can recycle your phone, many which benefit noble causes.
30. MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE
Not only are you extending the life of your vehicle, but you are creating less pollution and saving gas. A properly maintained vehicle, clean air filters, and inflated tires can greatly improve your vehicle’s performance. And it might not hurt to clean out the trunk—all that extra weight could be costing you at the pump.
31. RECYCLE UNWANTED WIRE HANGERS
Wire hangers are generally made of steel, which is often not accepted by some recycling programs. So what do you do with them? Most dry cleaners will accept them back to reuse or recycle. (Cue Joan Crawford.)
32. RECYCLE ALUMINUM AND GLASS
Twenty recycled aluminum cans can be made with the energy it takes to manufacture one brand new one.
Every ton of glass recycled saves the equivalent of nine gallons of fuel oil needed to make glass from virgin materials.
See if you can work out an arrangement with your employer that you work from home for some portion of the week. Not only will you save money and gasoline, and you get to work in your pajamas!
34. KEEP YOUR FIREPLACE DAMPER CLOSED
Keeping the damper open (when you’re not using your fireplace) is like keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney. This can add up to hundreds of dollars each winter in energy loss.
35. CUT DOWN ON JUNK MAIL
Feel like you need to lose a few pounds? It might be your junk mail that’s weighing you down. The average American receives 40 pounds of junk mail each year, destroying 100 millions trees. There are many services that can help reduce the clutter in your mailbox, saving trees and the precious space on your countertops.
36. CHOOSE MATCHES OVER LIGHTERS
Most lighters are made out of plastic and filled with butane fuel, both petroleum products. Since most lighters are considered “disposable,” over 1.5 billion end up in landfills each year. When choosing matches, pick cardboard over wood. Wood matches come from trees, whereas most cardboard matches are made from recycled paper.
37. LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING—ONLINE
Consider if you really need a paper phone book. If not, call to stop phone book delivery and use an online directory instead. Some estimate that telephone books make up almost ten percent of waste at dump sites. And if you still receive the book, don’t forget to recycle your old volumes.
38. GIVE IT AWAY
Before you throw something away, think about if someone else might need it. Either donate to a charitable organization or post it on a web site designed to connect people and things, such as Freecycle.org.
39. GO TO A CAR WASH
Professional car washes are often more efficient with water consumption. If everyone in the U.S. who washes their car themselves took just one visit to the car wash we could save nearly 8.7 billion gallons of water.
40. PLASTIC BAGS SUCK
Each year the U.S. uses 84 billion plastic bags, a significant portion of the 500 billion used worldwide. They are not biodegradable, and are making their way into our oceans, and subsequently, the food chain. Stronger, reusable bags are an inexpensive and readily available option.
41. FLY WITH AN E-TICKET
The cost of processing a paper ticket is approximately $10, while processing an e-ticket costs only $1. In the near future, e-tickets will be the only option, saving the airline industry $3 billion a year. In addition to financial savings, the sheer amount of paper eliminated by this process is commendable.
42. DOWNLOAD YOUR SOFTWARE
Most software comes on a compact disc, and more than thirty billion compact discs of all types are sold annually. That’s a huge amount of waste, not to mention the associated packaging. Another bonus to downloading your software is that it’s often available for download at a later date when you upgrade to a new computer or are attempting to recover from a crash.
43. STOP YOUR ANSWERING MACHINE
Answering machines use energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And when they break, they’re just one more thing that goes into the landfill. If all answering machines in U.S. homes were eventually replaced by voice mail services, the annual energy savings would total nearly two billion kilowatt-hours.
44. SKIP THE COFFEE STIRRER
Each year, Americans throw away 138 billion straws and stirrers. But skipping the stirrer doesn’t mean drinking your coffee black. Simply put your sugar and cream in first, and then pour in the coffee, and it should be well mixed.
Determined to stir? Break off a piece of pasta from the cupboard. You can nibble after using it, compost, or throw away with less guilt.
45. FIND A BETTER WAY TO BREAK THE ICE
When a big winter storm heads our way, most of us use some sort of ice melter to treat steps and sidewalks. While this makes the sidewalks safer for people, it may pose a hazard for pets who might ingest these products. Rock salt and salt-based ice-melting products can cause health problems as well as contaminate wells and drinking water. Look for a pet-safe deicer, readily available in many stores.
46. USE COTTON SWABS WITH A PAPERBOARD SPINDLE
Some brands of cotton swabs have a paperboard spindle while others are made of plastic. If 10% of U.S. households switched to a paperboard spindle, the petroleum energy saved per year would be equivalent to over 150,000 gallons of gasoline.
47. PAY BILLS ONLINE
By some estimates, if all households in the U.S. paid their bills online and received electronic statements instead of paper, we’d save 18.5 million trees every year, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste.
48. STOP PAPER BANK STATEMENTS
Some banks will pay you a dollar or donate money on your behalf when you cancel the monthly paper statements you get in the mail. If every household took advantage of online bank statements, the money saved could send more than seventeen thousand recent high school graduates to a public university for a year.
49. USE RECHARGABLE BATTERIES
Each year 15 billion batteries produced and sold and most of them are disposable alkaline batteries. Only a fraction of those are recycled. Buy a charger and a few sets of rechargeable batteries. Although it requires an upfront investment, it is one that should pay off in no time. And on Christmas morning when all the stores are closed? You’ll be fully stocked.
Take what you’ve learned, and pass the knowledge on to others. If every person you know could take one small step toward being greener, the collective effort could be phenomenal.
Have a Blessed Day
Love & Light
The Spirit Way
Just copy and paste!!
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The website I found it at!! http://www.december212012.com/CDC.htm
Have a Blessed Week
Love & Light
The Spirit Way
By: M. Farouk Radwan
One of the most popular causes for lack of self confident is becoming one hundred percent dependent on others to feel confident and worthy.
The problem with that approach is that if people judged you in bad way you will feel bad and sometimes worthless.
There is no doubt that in order to become really confident you shouldn’t pay attention to what people say about you especially the ones who don’t know you well.
For such an advice its easier to talk than to apply it because even if you tried not to care about the opinion of others you will still feel bad when they judge you.
The only solution to setting yourself free from the unfair judgment of others is to understand why do people judge others and how their judgment is formed. Once you know how the process works you won’t get affected at all if someone judged you.
The psychology of judging others
You might be thinking that its too selfish not to listen to others or to consider their opinion to be worthy but after you know the following facts you will change your mind.
• The human mind was designed to fill gaps, we assume the intentions of other people when we have missing information and this leads to incorrect judgment most of the time
• Our past influence the way we judge people, for example if a woman was betrayed by a man she might assume that any man who acts in a suspicious way is a cheater
• We relate people’s looks to their personality. If you met an arrogant person in the past then saw someone who looks like him you will assume that they both have the same personality
• We believe that others are like us, if someone lies all the time he will find it hard to believe others because he will think that everybody are liars
• Our beliefs affects our judgment, if someone thinks that all rich people are thieves then he will think that you are a thief the moment he sees your expensive car
• Stereotyping highly affects people’s judgments, anybody who has certain stereotypes defined in his brain might judge someone incorrectly, almost everyone developed some stereo types as the result of being exposed to the media.
In short, most people will judge you incorrectly and if you want to feel confident all the time then you should put no weight to their judgment unless they are really rational people.
Who can judge you accurately?
If a friend spent 10 years with you, won’t he be more likely to judge you correctly? (provided that he doesn’t have any judgment bias)
Of course he will be able to judge you better than someone who has just met you.
Now the question you should ask yourself is, who is the person who spent the most time with you?
Is he your father?
Your best friend?
You are the only one who have been with you since the beginning. In addition, you are the only one who have full access to your intention, your beliefs, your core values and dreams thus you are the only one who can judge himself.
Learn why do people judge others and why you shouldn’t feel bad when being judged
Have a Blessed Weekend
Love & Light
The Spirit Way