TAKING ACTION

"An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied."
Arnold Glasgow

Life is always changing.

That is one thing we can be sure of.

Decisions about our lives, our family,our work, our spirituality,our relationships and our personal growth have to be made daily.

By procrastinating and putting off these decisions we put of short-term urgencies which ultimately become long term matters of concern and goals become very distant longings. It would serve our interest to take action before we get to that point.

Remember that to achieve goals, as already mentioned it is vital to determine ones values and desires first. If individuals do not align their goals with their values, the chances of them not achieving their goals are pretty high. Even if the goals are reached, it leaves a sense of emptiness and continued despair. So as it has already been mentioned it is important to determine values first before setting goals.

What's your first step?
What are 3 actions you could take that make sense this week?

5-Minute Stress Fixes

Whether you're anxious about the hectic work day, frustrated by an endless list of chores, or upset over an argument with a loved one, you don't have to let stress get the best of you. All you need is five minutes to escape life's frantic pace and regain your composure. Here, quick tips for conquering stress in your most distressing moments;

Running late?

You overslept, hit traffic, and are dashing into an important meeting 15 minutes late — again. Instead of spinning into an anxious frenzy, press your inner pause button and ask yourself, what’s another five minutes when I'm already late? There's no point worrying about something you can't change. Then take slow, deep breaths and seek solace by letting your mind wander to a better place (like your last vacation) or making a mental list of things you're grateful for. This will help you get back in touch with what's most important and keep you from rebounding through the day on overdrive.

Overwhelmed by others' needs?
Somewhere between juggling demands from your high-maintenance boss, your meddling mother-in-law, your distraught girlfriend, and/or your bickering kids, slip away for a moment — either by ducking into an empty room or just closing your eyes — and draw an imaginary circle around yourself to create your own private island. Use your senses to distance yourself from reality: "See" a cloudless blue sky, "feel" the warmth of the sun, and "taste" that creamy piƱa colada. Within your circle of solitude, no one can enter or disrupt your inner peace and harmony. Keep this imaginary island as your own breathing room for safety whenever you feel engulfed by incessant pressures to be available to others.

Annoyed by difficult people?

We all encounter them: nosy neighbors, buttinsky relatives, rude grocery clerks. To insulate yourself from their irritating behaviors, first acknowledge how you're reacting (for example, your fists may clench while thoughts of how to escape race through your head). Recognizing your emotions enables you to develop strategies for soothing them, which in turn delivers a sense of calming control. Recite a calming self-affirmation, such as, "No matter how much she gets under my skin, I'll treat her with kindness.” And have some good excuses prepared for escaping your next encounter, such as, "Sorry — gotta go. I'm expecting a phone call."


Second-guessing yourself?

Our minds are often plagued by self-defeating thoughts that start with phrases like "I can't," "I'll never," and "If only." The next time your inner critic pipes up, follow these steps to silence it: Close your eyes, breathe mindfully, and reflect on a time when you were surprised by your own strength (maybe it was when you gave birth or quit your job to find a better one). "Remembering past moments when you trusted yourself will guide you toward feeling comfortable with your decisions now.

Falling behind?
Joy to the world? Instead of swearing that you'll never procrastinate again, try making a two-column to-do list. On one side, list the high-priority tasks in order of importance; in the other column, jot down the things that can happen tomorrow or the next day. This will help you formulate a plan, and when you realize that there are things that can actually wait; your load will seem less demanding. As you complete each task on your list, cross it off with a colorful Sharpie. This visual affirmation of accomplishment is soothing, and learning how to tackle stress before it paralyzes you is your ticket to overcoming it.

LIVE CONSCIOUSLY!

3 Steps to a Happier You!



For greater peace of mind, learn the secrets to self-compassion


High self-esteem has long been touted by psychologists as the key to happiness and success. But these days, experts are questioning self-esteem's status as a personal cure-all — noting that it's hard to acquire, even harder to hang on to, and can lead to arrogance and narcissism.

What does create a healthy, resilient psyche, it turns out, is self-compassion. When things go badly, a be-kind-to-yourself mind-set makes you feel less anxious, depressed, and angry, and helps you recover more quickly from setbacks. Best of all, self-compassion is easy to develop.

Here's how.


Step 1: Realize that you're only human.

Goofing up, getting dumped, just plain losing it and the like happen — to everyone. "Whatever failures, losses, or humiliations we face are part of the human experience — and adding self-criticism to the mix only increases the pain. You're not unique in your trouble, and it doesn't point to a shameful personal flaw.

To embrace this frame of mind, say mantras to yourself such as, everyone goofs up now and then, or Guess I'm human after all! Reinforce this line of thinking by reminding yourself of people you know who've dealt with the same setback you're facing. You’re not alone!

Step 2: Feel your pain.

Rushing through or denying your bad feelings won't make them go away, but wallowing isn't healthy, either. Mindful acceptance — that is, truly feeling your feelings — allows you to face your pain and then move on. If you get mentally lost in blaming yourself or others, you prolong your suffering it manifests. But if you simply allow yourself to feel the emotion and let it run its course — which is often a wave that builds and tapers off — it dissipates much more quickly.

Start by closing your eyes and taking a few slow, deep breaths to center yourself, while recalling what you want: to be peaceful and free from suffering. Then focus on the physical sensations in your body, such as constriction in your chest, a tight throat, a clenched jaw. Note how those sensations shift and change. If your mind strays, gently bring it back to your body until the emotion ebbs away...

Step 3: Talk to yourself with kindness.

Now that you've moved past the difficult feelings that often come with life's obstacles, focus on comforting yourself. If you can talk to yourself as mercifully as you would to your best friend, you'll start to see yourself as worthy of that care and forgiveness. And eventually, you'll be able to tap into that self-loving mind-set whenever you're in a tough spot.

To find the right words, think about what you'd say to comfort someone close to you if he faced the same issue — then say it to yourself. Or picture a wise friend advising you lovingly; you can even write yourself a letter, as if it came from her. Try holding a small, favorite object or even a stone, when doing these processes. Keep it handy and rub it to cue up soothing feelings when you need them.

Learning to be more loving toward yourself also brings a less obvious but equally important benefit: You'll soon find yourself extending that compassion to others and, in the process, making the world a kinder place.


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Humble Night: Dalai Lama, Dave Matthews



COMPASSION…
I would love to share my experience that I had this week-end with you.


Last night inner peace talks: The Nobel Peace Prize winner arrived in Seattle... Cultivating Compassion

“The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes.”

Despite the recent hardship in Tibet, THE DALAI LAMA, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, is in Seattle this week for "Seeds of Compassion.” The message…Compassion

As part of the Concert for Compassion, Matthews joins the Dalai Lama and broadcast journalists and NBC veteran Ann Curry for a dialogue at 4:30 p.m. about "building bridges -- how the emotions experienced through music unify and ultimately serve to create global compassion.

“Now it’s time to start female rule,” the Dalai Lama said with a big smile.
Matthews then praised his mother for teaching him values that kept him out of gangs as a teen. “I always thought my mother should be queen of the world,” he said.
Responded his Holiness; “My compassion comes from my mother’s affection.”

This touched my heart deeply. I thought to myself: This is what matters!



His message… Compassion is an understanding of the emotional state of another. Not to be confused with empathy, compassion is often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another or to show special kindness to those who suffer. However, compassion may lead an individual to feel empathy with another person.

“I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Living Your Best Life



Almost everyone feels overwhelmed on occasion, but how do you know if your life is chronically out of balance?

Evaluate the state of your life with the following quiz.

True or false:
1. I have more than enough time to do what I want to do.
2. I am on a health regimen that helps me feel energized.
3. I look forward to every day.
4. There are no people in my life (at home or at work) who drain me.
5. I love my home (location, contents, the feel, the style).
6. I have no clutter in my home and/or office.
7. I live a life pursuing what I want instead of what I should do.
8. My work is satisfying and rewarding.
9. I take at least two weeklong vacations a year.
10. I do not work on weekends.
11. I get plenty of sleep.
12. I have plenty of quality time with my children and/or the people who matter to me.
13. I have at least one hobby or pastime outside of my work and family activities.
14. I eat foods that make me feel energized instead of sluggish.
15. I have the space to take at least 15 minutes of silence a day.
16. I have friends that are easy to be with and a joy to spend time with.
17. I carry no heavy emotional burdens or addictive behaviors.


10 Secrets to a Stress-Free Life


Upgrade your outlook and keep your day from unraveling with these mental strategies


Start Small

Don’t overwhelm yourself with big changes. Alter one small thing—a morning habit, a food choice. Over time, these will add up to the intentional life you crave.

Connect
Put love and friendship first in your life, scheduling dates with others as you would doctors' appointments. Connection may help improve heart health, prompt the release of the stress-relieving hormone oxytocin, and allow you to sidestep the health risks.

Live Consciously! Be Present...
Rather than disperse your energy with multitasking, take one job, one person at a time. The more mindful you are, the quicker you can stop stress and turn yourself around.

Journal it

Release stress by getting negative feelings out of your body. Pick up a pen and write down your thoughts.

Own the News
Change the way you approach the bleak information you get from the media. Don’t shy away from knowing the facts—apathy can prove as damaging to your spirit as stress or depression. But use what you learn to become part of the solution. Send light, positive energy and prayers to those suffering, while finding tangible ways to get involved. You’re in a position of power and control. Embrace the media—look at it and use it as your classroom.

Walk softly
When we’re stressed, we tend to hit the floor hard with every step. Imagine you’re walking on a lotus flower—tenderly, gently. Unplug through your feet, and you’ll calm down to a more tranquil mental place.

Try a Mini-Meditation
Memorize a three-to-five-word phrase, a mantra, that will bring you back to center when things get rough, such as “I am strong” or “Spirit will guide me.” Also, keep a peaceful image mentally on hand (a beach scene, a quiet forest) to call up in stressful moments.

Love your commute

See your travel time as a chance to cultivate patience and compassion. If you can use calming breaths to stay relaxed and unruffled in traffic, you can handle anything.

Practice gratitude

It’s hard to feel gratitude and stress at the same time. Devote five minutes a day to giving thanks for all the gifts in your life—starting with your breath, the source of everything.

Take inventory
Make a list of things that bring you joy—and another list of things that drain your energy. Do this 10 minutes daily for a week, and then review your lists and see how your own life matches up.


Getting your priorities clear is the first and most essential step toward achieving a well-balanced life. The important point here is to figure out what you want your priorities to be, not what you think they should be.

“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way.” ~ Wayne Dyer

Compassion

Where the heart is full of kindness which seeks no injury to another, either in act or thought or wish, this full love creates an atmosphere of harmony, whose benign power touches with healing all who come within its influence. Peace in the heart radiates peace to other hearts, even more surely than contention breeds contention.



Sailboats
Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or to help you figure out who you are or who you want to become. You never know who these people may be (possibly your roommate, neighbor, coworker, long lost friend, lover, or even a complete stranger), *but when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment they will affect your life in some profound way.* And sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful, and unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles, you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart