Archives for October 2011

Individuality Explained

Everybody is different.  We each have our own values.  We each have our own tastes.  We each have our own preferences.

And sometimes it is not enough to “be” an individual and “have” our own preferences.  Sometimes we need to express our individuality.

The most common way people express their individuality is through fashion (and much less socially disruptive than graffiti or vandalism or public disturbances).  While following the whims of fashion is probably the way people show the most lack of individuality – everybody’s tastes changing in unison – rejecting a fashion norm or breaking out one’s own fashion trend is one of the best ways to say, “Hey, I’m me.”

My elder daughter brought this home to me a few months back when I noticed that she was no longer capable of finding two socks in her drawer that matched.  It seems that if a matching pair was found, she would hunt it to extinction.  Wearing two non-matching pairs became her small way of saying, , “Hey, I’m me” without being too disruptive to those people around her.

She kindly agreed to model some of her choices over a two-week period for this post.  As you can see, variety is not something she lacks.  If I tried mixing up my socks, chances are that nobody would know the difference.  But here the difference is plain to see.

 

READ ALSO: Do you personalize?

This post was featured in the Carnival of Creativity.

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Got Guilt?

It’s time to let go of some baggage.  It is time to get rid of the guilt.

“Who, me?  Guilty?  I don’t feel guilty.  I don’t have anything to feel guilty about.  Hey, what are you implying?…”

Relax.  Most people feel guilty.  Yes, even all the innocent people feel guilty. We feel guilty about not spending enough time with our kids or our spouse, and if we spend more time with them we feel guilty about not spending enough time with our friends or our work, and if we spend more time with them we feel guilty about not spending more time on church or community projects, and if we spend more time with them … STOP!

There are only 24 hours in the day.  There are only seven days in a week.  You cannot simply dispense with the laws of arithmetic, nor can you suspend time. Portion the hours you have been given as best as you can.  If you do that, please do not feel guilty.  You have nothing to feel guilty about.

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A Quick Guide to Happiness

To acquire happiness you don’t have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don’t you experience it? Because you’ve got to drop something. You’ve got to drop illusions. You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels! ~ Anthony De Mello

Happiness is an incidental happening when we are in harmony with life itself. It is something we become aware of whilst pursuing other things instead of pursuing happiness itself. Happiness will not stand still long enough for you to reach its destination. It will always be an elusive pursuit if you are looking to acquire its presence, it will always be the goal or project you cannot complete, it will always be hidden from you in plain sight, and it will always be lying on the grass on the other side of the fence if you believe the grass you lay on is not as bright, vivid, brilliant or intense.

Happiness is the thing you can never enjoy or appreciate if you think you have found it, because happiness is not anything you can find, it is a thing that finds you whilst you are looking for something else. May your happiness find you living in peace and harmony, dancing in the rain and sailing within the stormy seas of life itself.

“If you think sunshine brings you happiness, then you haven’t danced in the rain”

Being happy is not about whether we are alone or not. Truly happy people find their happiness within themselves, not in others. They may still prefer not to be alone, but do not measure their happiness by whether they are, or are not alone. Take some time out to get to know who you really are, whether that’s done through meditation, contemplation or facing your fears. If we want to BE ourselves we must know who we truly are.

I think life is wonderful because I decided to see it that way. I made the choice to see the world that way. We know life is nothing more, or less, than what we perceive it to be. What if we made a decision to see the good before the bad, the positive before the negative, the good seed in every bad situation, and the chance to grow with every obstacle we face?.. I believe anything can be achieved with enough practice.

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it. – Groucho Marx

I write about a lot of things from personal development to natural health remedies. At the moment I’m writing reviews on baby products such as the Razor Rip Rider 360. If you are looking quality reviews, why not pop on over to the Razor Rip Rider website for the perfect gift for your little one.


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How Does Feng Shui Work?

For many people, the ancient Chinese study of Feng Shui seems shrouded in mystery. From “Chi” to the Ba Gua and its graceful yet impenetrable Chinese characters, many feel they have no hope of understanding how Feng Shui works, and give up on pursuing its many benefits.

But the power of Feng Shui lies not in what FengShui does, but in how the student of Feng Shui perceives his or her surroundings. In that sense, Feng Shui works not because it does something, but because its practitioners perceive aspects of surroundings that many people don’t perceive. Once the practitioner understands the surroundings, he or she consults the established texts and methods to determine how to alter that environment in an auspicious manner.

The practice of Feng Shui was developed in ancient times and has been carefully refined over the millennia. In the most ancient times, Feng Shui practitioners used knowledge of the stars and, later, the compass, to orient homes in propitious manner for the well-being of the occupants.

Often, this orientation took advantage of several benefits that, upon modest reflection, seem obvious: orienting the home to receive the most sunlight in the winter, or the greatest shade in the summer. However, in the modern world, few of us would recognize these benefits without and explicit effort to do so, so even on its simplest and most ancient level, Feng Shui provides what is for us a “new” understanding of our environment.

As ancient practitioners deepened their understanding of their natural surroundings, they developed what is now known as the “five elements theory.” The five elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, are connected through and interact with “Chi.”

English translations regularly use the term “life force” as a translation for chi, but there is no term in English that captures the meaning of chi well – this may be one reason Feng Shui seems so mysterious to westerners. Chi is a vital element or an energy field that expresses or captures the relationship between the energy of living things and the energy of the inanimate world.

A last important concept underpinning Feng Shui is the concept of Yin/Yang. This concept is founded in the recognition that almost everything we can experience can have either a positive or a negative effect. Yin yang theory recognizes, in essence, that opposites cannot exist without each other, thus they are inseparable.

Feng Shui, in so far as it is used today, is used for two purposes. Both require analysis of the environment with respect to understanding the interaction of the five elements and chi, and balance with respect to yin and yang. First it is used, as it was in ancient times, to find the most auspicious site, portion of a site, or orientation of a building on a site. Second, and more commonly, it is used to maximize positive flow of energy and the best balance of opposing forces of yin and yang in a room, office, or home.

So, while Feng Shui may seem mysterious, the concepts that underlie it are ancient, tested again and again, and, often, easily understandable.

Michael Schnippering is the founder of Feng Shui at Work. He is committed to the true art and science of Feng Shui. Over the years his Feng Shui practice has taken him to various parts of the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Colombia and Argentina. If you’d like to learn more about Feng Shui, read Michael’ blog and follow him on Twitter @fengshuiatwork

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The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life

How to Get Through Life’s Holes and not Get Stuck in Them!

The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life is about resiliency. One of the most consistent characteristics of people who report high levels of life satisfaction and happiness is resilience: having the ability to bounce back from life’s setbacks, grow from challenges and transform stress into success.

The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life is a self-help book that will be released in mid October. This whimsical yet informative self-help book uses Swiss Cheese as a metaphor for life itself. Life is not predictable and smooth like cream cheese. Our lives are really more like Swiss with all its distinctive holes, and without the holes, there would be no Swiss! Our lives, likewise, have inevitable “holes,” and “imperfections,” yet these holes give us our unique character and depth.

It’s a fact that the larger the holes of the Swiss, the sweeter and more distinctive the cheese. What an analogy to our lives! We develop resiliency by overcoming challenges and obstacles. By moving through life’s holes rather than getting stuck in them, we become stronger.

Besides, the holes of the cheese are called eyes, so it is the holes in our lives that allow us to “see more clearly” and develop insight. Swiss Cheese with no holes is called blind Swiss – and you wouldn’t want to live with your eyes closed like this cheese in denial!

There are ten takeaways from “The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life” that can empower you and help you build resiliency skills:

  1. Fondue Can Never Turn Back into a Block of Cheese. Give up the habit of looking back with regret – there are no do-overs and by focusing too much about the past and what can’t be changed will keep you stuck in a hole!
  2. There is No Such Thing as a Perfect Slice of Cheese. Give up the need for perfection. Besides, the road to success is paved with mistakes and failures.
  3. No “Whine” with the Cheese, Please! Pity Parties are over-rated. Strive to look at things more rationally and positively. The Swiss Cheese Motto is: Think Straight and Feel Great!
  4. If the Cheese is Ripe, Dig In! Be Proactive, not Reactive! The more you feel in control of your actions and reactions, and do not “wait” for things to happen, the more empowered and effective you will be.
  5. Live ‘Whole’ Despite the Holes.  Focus on developing mindfulness and spirituality with the intent of being present-focused.
  6. Enjoy the Wine and Cheese Party! People who connect with others, give and receive social support, are happier than people who are isolated. As the old Bell Telephone commercials said: Reach out and touch someone!
  7. Be like Cheese-Lite! Develop health and wellness through exercise, healthy eating, and good lifestyle habits. Welcome wellness for a healthier YOU!
  8. Slice the Cheese Wheel of Life. Get organized, prioritize and delegate so that you can achieve a healthy lifestyle balance. Don’t let time divide you – learn to divide your time and energy in a way that makes you feel balanced.
  9. Master the Cheese Wheel of Change.  Embrace change, be flexible, and strive to be a Stress Manager and not a Stress Carrier!
  10. Smile and Say “Cheese”!

Focus on developing a positive outlook and healthy optimism, while you work on healing resentments, focusing on forgiveness, and striving to replace negativity with gratitude.
These ten areas of resiliency are important in every aspect of our lives, and embracing these delectable takeaways from The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life will give you the pungency and flavor of a complete and meaningful life!

Psychotherapists and wellness speakers Judy Belmont and co-author Lora Shor offer videos and self-tests, and book information on their website, http://www.theswisscheesetheoryoflife.com, where you can download the first two chapters of their upcoming book. Judy can be reached at JABelmont@theswisscheesetheoryoflife.com

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Is your marriage heating up or cooling off?

What I remember most vividly from our marriage preparation course (yeah, that’s a long time ago by now) is learning that in most parts of the world and most times in history marriages were arranged.  You did not marry for love, you loved for marriage.  We are used to hearing horror stories about arranged marriages and how people are forced to marry someone they do not even love.  But we rarely hear about how successful most arranged marriages are.  I guess that is not newsworthy.

Recently I read a statement to the effect that in modern society we jump in with a red hot passion, and after the wedding day we slowly let it cool down, whereas in more “traditional” cultures, a marriage starts out cool and the couple spends their life making it grow hotter each day.

Of course not all arranged marriages end up growing hotter, just as not all “true love” marriages last a lifetime.

What are you doing in your marriage?  Are you making it hotter or cooling it off?  A marriage doesn’t have to be arranged to grow hotter – it simply has to have a spark and two people feeding the fire.  So keep feeding it.

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Good Luck with this book

“Good luck!” We wish it to people in earnest. We hurl it at them with sarcasm. But few people really understand the links between luck and happiness.

One of the questions I used to ask in my live seminars is whether a lucky rabbit’s foot can bring happiness. Some wise guy always shouts out, “Not for the rabbit!” But the answer is in fact “yes.” When researching my book, Climb your Stairway to Heaven, I found compelling research to show that people who believe themselves to be lucky tend to be happier. And if that takes a lucky rabbit’s foot or a lucky ritual or if you have a lucky number or color, that is just great.

But luck is more than superstition.  believe it or not, there is science behind luck.

A few years ago, I wrote a review of The Luck Factor by Dr. Richard Wiseman, and this week I was thinking of that book again.  I decided to look up my review and also to share it with you.

The author is Dr. Richard Wiseman, and he conducted several years of research into the science of luck.  His conclusion is that luck is something we make for ourselves, and he lays down four principles for changing our luck. “Dr. Wiseman’s central thesis is that luck can be predicted and therefore controlled. He offers four “principles of luck”, then explains how we can harness these principles to live luckier lives.”

Most books that draw on good psychological science are more boring than a rendition of the Antarctica national anthem.  This one is an easy read and a fascinating read, and Dr. Wiseman includes many fun exercises to illustrate his points. This book gets a ten-out-of-ten from me. Read the full review.

 

 

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Book review: The Little Red Book of Wisdom

Imagine a public relations firm whose philosophy is “tell the truth at all costs”. Not possible? Not for Mark Demoss, founder of PR firm the Demoss Group. He created exactly that.

His book The Little Red Book of Wisdom contains boulders of practical guidance packaged in interesting, nugget-sized chapters. Half of the book specifically addresses the business world and the second half covers personal matters a refreshing change from the typical success-manual mode.

Like The Demoss Group itself, The Little Red Book of Wisdom is atypical on every level: unapologetic-ally Christian, Demoss manages to frame his philosophies biblically without preaching or moralizing. Instead, he illustrates his points with personal experiences and current events in a conversational style that’s easy reading for harried executives.

But this isn’t a sappy read: with chapters like “Do Something So Difficult, You’ll Never Want to Do It Again”, and “The Best Defense is a Good Defense”, Demoss challenges readers with time-tested philosophies that he personally practices. Not one concept is overwritten: if Demoss can cover it in a couple of sentences, he does.

The Little Red Book of Wisdom deserves a place on every leader’s desk, for short bursts of inspiration on the long road of service.


Meredith Healey is a single mom, so she needs all the self-improvement she can get. She blogs about her progress at http://sinthesinglemom.blogspot.com/

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No Regrets on your Death-Bed

I (guest blogger Delcan) was just thinking earlier (it happens sometimes) about lying on my death bed and looking back over my life. I began to ask myself some tough questions, and if I’m being honest (which I am) I wasn’t comfortable with the conclusions I came up with in the end. I realized that I may not be the happiest death bed person that ever lived and it wasn’t because I was on my way out, but because I may have more regrets than I care to think about whilst I have the chance to change them.

I asked myself a couple of questions…

1. Would I be more afraid to die if I had more regrets?

 

The answer I came up with was this…

 

Like many people, I tend to put things off and procrastinate on important things in my life. I think we do this because we believe there is enough time to accomplish these things in the future. The biggest problem with this for me, is that I am on my imaginary death bed and I have no time left to accomplish my goals, dreams or fantasies. There is no tomorrow and there is no second chances. I’m regretful when I look back over my life, I am remorseful and feel self pity, maybe even anger.  How can I leave now, I have so much more to do, I have so much more to give.

My conclusion…

I believe I would be more afraid to die or let go if I had unfinished business or if I felt regretful that I didn’t accomplish more while I had the chance.

2. Is it possible to die without any regrets?

 

The answer I came up with was this…

 

The only time I have heard of a person passing on without any regrets was in the movies or in a story about some super person who achieved everything they wanted to achieve in their lifetime. I suppose the answer is yes, if the stories are true. It is obviously going to be different for each individual but it most definitely, maybe, probably is true for some.

My conclusion…

If you want to be lying on your death bed one day 😉 with a smile on your face, telling a pink elephant and a leprechaun how you have no regrets, then I guess you better start your life from this moment on with a goal in mind to make sure you have no regrets when it’s time for you to kick on.

3. If I am to live a life without regrets, what do I need to focus on?

 

The answer I came up with was this…

 

When I started to think about what could be done to help us live a life without regrets, I came up with the following …

  • Stop wasting your time on non important stuff.

How often do we repeat the same course of events day in and day out for a large portion of our lives. We are creatures of comfort and we waste too much time on mundane activities that do not stimulate our imagination and creativity. This will be the biggest regret for the majority of people when they are faced with the tragic fact that they wasted so much time doing f**k all to enhance their lives and the lives of others.

  • Don’t regret missed opportunities.

Next time you’re faced with a situation that is calling out for you to take action, don’t fob it off because you are afraid to take it on. Life is too damn short to be second guessing your capabilities or being too afraid to face failure. Embrace every obstacle in your life as an opportunity to grow and expand your arsenal of strengths as you will undoubtedly always learn a valuable lesson.

  • Realize that materialism can give you the illusion of happiness.

Yes, you read that right. Attachment to material things is never going to make you happy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy nice things, but realize that the feeling you have when you’re out shopping for a new coat, TV or even car, is not happiness, it’s not even close to happiness. When you spend more time trying to accumulate wealth than you do trying to drop the baggage that is not, and never will be, the person you need to be, then you are getting your fix of happiness from the outside instead of the inside. I’ve only been on one death bed before (imaginary of course) but I can guarantee that there’s not one person alive who would not give up all their wealth for more time, when they realize they need it most.

  • Know Thyself.

We have all heard this phrase before but I bet there’s plenty of people who haven’t a clue what it means. The truth is, most people have no idea, they think because they exist, or they know their name, religion, likes and dislikes, that they know themselves. If you want to get a better understanding of who you really are, then I suggest you spend some time in a room, on your own, in silence for at least 30 minutes every single day for a sustained period of time. If you do this then you will get to know your thoughts and feelings on an intimate level without the influence of anything or anyone else. Get to know your mind and how it works. We spend most of our time thinking on automatic pilot, how can we get to know ourselves if we don’t take the time to observe ourselves.

  • Truly be grateful for what you have now, and every day you exist.

If you want to appreciate your life, then you must appreciate the abundance you take for granted when you compare it with others less fortunate. Do this every day and you will begin to appreciate your life on a whole new level.

Okay, that’s as far as I got and no doubt I could have added a lot more but the point I would like to end with is this…

We talk all the time about life being short, we also spend a lot of time repeating the same things day after day. We set goals and decide to change our ways year after year. We go on diets, or give up smoking etc. The point is that we say life is short, but it is far shorter than we say, if we keep wasting so much time on s**t that doesn’t serve us now or later. I believe that if we are going to have regrets later on in life, it is because we do not fully appreciate just how important our lives really are.

Does life only become more important when we are faced with the loss of something we value. It is always too late when the time has passed. I’m not being funny here, it is so important to always remember…It is always too late when the time has passed.   IF ONLY…are two words you can avoid if you live a life without regrets.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you have anything to add then feel free to leave a comment, don’t move onto another site and regret it later.

Take care and have a wonderful day.


Delcan writes about a lot of things from personal development to natural health remedies. At the moment he is writing reviews on baby products such as The First Years Wave Stroller. If you are looking quality reviews, why not pop on over to the First Years Wave Stroller for more information..

 

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