Do opinions matter?

People often have opinions on things that are trivial, easily understood or based on common experience. They may either like or hate your style, your decisions or the way you rear kids. They may easily criticize your actions and your work.

 How do you take it on?

  • Are you upset or depressed after the slightest criticism?
  • Do you feel a knot in your stomach when people judge both you and your work?
  • Are you defending yourself to prove the critic is wrong? 
  • Are you debating over and over again of how to respond to a negative feedback?

Or, … do you just notice it, register and move on?

Well, one of the keys to personal mastery is the ability to distinguish whom to listen to and whom to ignore. It is of course not always easy because opinions can be harsh and they may evoke strong emotions. They may touch you at some very personal level. They may deeply hurt you, especially when you feel they are unjust.

If somebody judges you as fat, ugly, unskilled, stupid or alike, does it affect you? Even if you are such, so what? If this is a fact, it is a fact and that’s it.

But …

Is the critic perfect herself? Is she skinny, beautiful, skilled and smart? Does she provide you not only with the opinion but also a practical way of making things better?

Why do people criticize?

A simple answer is this: people either want to add value (contribute) to your (or their) development or put you down so that they can feel worthy and successful. The latter usually happens because of jealousy, feelings of insecurity or their lack of self-esteem.

However …

Even if they want to add value it doesn’t mean it is of use to you. A general piece of advice may be well meant but completely irrelevant.
Even if they want to put you down, it doesn’t mean that you need to respond to it. Just thank them for the feedback and perhaps challenge them with naming their intentions.

Opinions matter

When people are confronted with a difficult subject, they stay silent. On the other hand, when people are confronted with an easy subject, everybody has an opinion.

There is an interesting concept by Parkinson on the Law of Triviality or the importance of the bike-shed. I now cite a big piece from Wikipedia because it is perfect to explain the point. Read on.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson’ [..] dramatizes this “law of triviality” with the example of a committee’s deliberations on an atomic reactor, contrasting it to deliberations on a bicycle shed. As he put it: “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.” A reactor is used because it is so vastly expensive and complicated that an average person cannot understand it, so one assumes that those that work on it understand it. On the other hand, everyone can visualize a cheap, simple bicycle shed, so planning one can result in endless discussions because everyone involved wants to add a touch and show personal contribution.

 

[…] Parkinson writes about a finance committee meeting with a three-item agenda.

 

The first is the signing of a $10 million contract to build a reactor, the second a proposal to build a $2,350 bicycle shed for the clerical staff, and the third proposes $57 a year to supply refreshments for the Joint Welfare Committee.

 

The $10 million number is too big and too technical, and it passes in 2.5 minutes.

 

The bicycle shed is a subject understood by the board, and the dollar amount within their life experience, so committee member Mr. Softleigh says that an aluminium roof is too expensive and they should use asbestos. Mr. Holdfast wants galvanized iron. Mr. Daring questions the need for the shed at all. Mr. Holdfast disagrees.

 

Parkinson then writes: “The debate is fairly launched. A sum of $2,350 is well within everybody’s comprehension. Everyone can visualize a bicycle shed. Discussion goes on, therefore, for forty-five minutes, with the possible result of saving some $300. Members at length sit back with a feeling of accomplishment.”

 

Parkinson then described the third agenda item, writing: “There may be members of the committee who might fail to distinguish between asbestos and galvanized iron, but every man there knows about coffee – what it is, how it should be made, where it should be bought – and whether indeed it should be bought at all. This item on the agenda will occupy the members for an hour and a quarter, and they will end by asking the Secretary to procure further information, leaving the matter to be decided at the next meeting.”

It’s interesting, isn’t it? There are multiple parallels to it in real life.

So …

You will always be faced with opinions of others or given unsolicited advice, especially about surface issues. Why? Because these are easy to make, there is a conversation / confrontation going on and the sense of fulfillment that the critic’s day has not been lost 😉

Some people choose to be offended by what you do or say, or like to play the victim role, just because it is their style. They love to gossip, judge and make you feel inferior, so that they can feel better themselves.

Sometimes, the criticism is intended for your best interest, simply because your friends, family or teachers do worry about your decisions, your kids and your future. This is their worry though, not yours.

Sometimes, the criticism is meant to save the critics because your acting or thinking shakes their world too much.The best defense is attack, as some say, and the criticism will be as sharp as a laser to protect their own homeostasis.

Although opinions matter, you need to take them with a pinch of salt. Or, two ;).

How to handle criticism

If you get opinions, judgements and criticism, just notice them and determine whether they are of any value.

The key is to ask yourself:
“Is this person in the position I want to be? Is he/she an expert on the subject involved?”

Are you getting criticism of starting a business from people who have never had one?
Are you getting marriage advice from friends who can’t hold their own relationships?
Are you getting judgements on your change in carrier from people who are scared to change?

It’s easy to point out things you’re doing wrong, or how you should think, act and achieve things. It is sufficient for you to recognize a negative feedback, look at it with your filter of indifference on, apply it when appropriate and discard it otherwise. It may take you years before you learn this attitude, but you will eventually reach this point so if you decide to.

The power to control your reactions and attitudes to bad comments or harsh judgements is necessary for a personal mastery.

You don’t have to listen to everyone out there.
You don’t have to take all the criticism on equal basis.

Just remember that opinions are in the eye of the beholder.
Only some opinions deserve your attention.
The rest is to pass.

 ***

The image above shows a beautiful quilt by Inge Duin. See more of her works on  www.ingeduin.nl.

 

mrsa_naid

The title of this post comes from this article by Sarah Boseley, the Guardian.

 “Antibiotic resistance remains a major threat to public health around the world, and for the large part, the cause is misuse of antibiotics”, says the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Say it aloud: anti-biotics. The “anti” is the Greek word meaning “against”, while “bios” is life. Against life. (Now it’s clear what the name probiotics stands for too ;))

Antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed drugs nowadays. They fight bacterial infections, though they are useless against the viral ones. When used properly, antibiotics can save lives. When overused, antibiotics boost bacteria resistance to the levels that have not been known before. This poses a threat to our lives, especially when we are going through a treatment or operation in a hospital. According to the author of this book, over 70% of the pathogenic bacteria in hospitals are at least minimally resistant to antibiotics. I think the situation is more serious than we want to believe it is.

Bacteria

Bacteria were before us and have been with us for millennia. Bacteria are everywhere. We wear bacteria on our skin and in various places in the body. Some of them are essential for our well-being, such as the ones taking care that the food is properly digested. Some of them are harmless. Yet, some of them are like soldiers in the times of Peace, calm yet easily mobilized for an attack when the right opportunity comes. 

Bacteria may even “like us” as we have a symbiotic relation with them. They are often not dangerous until the time comes when the balance in the body is lost. This is often the case when the previous usage of antibiotics weakened the immune system and/or we have not taken sufficient care of ourselves. This happens when we sleep too little, stress and eat junk food, overwork ourselves, go through difficult transformations or crisis, or when we carry strong emotions and suppress them.

In the beginning, bacteria start slowly. There is just a feeling of some weakness, unease or perhaps extra tiredness. When ignored, bacteria multiply fast and soon they are well equipped for a full attack. You or your child are then suffering from an unstoppable dry/wet cough, catarrh and pain in the chest. After a few days you have had enough of it. You will go to the doctor (or a GP, as here in the UK). Of course, the traditional medical doctors are well trained in all main-stream approaches. They will often prescribe antibiotics.

Antibiotics

What will you do? If this is about yourself, perhaps you will wait for some more time and see how things develop. If this is about your child, well…, you may become scared. In your best will, you will subscribe to the authority of the profession, the anointed wise men, chosen to guide towards the vibrant health. You will follow the doctor’s prescription. Of course, this is the antibiotic of the new generation, 100x better and stronger than the old penicillin.

Oh, how wonderful! How great is its working!

The missile attack of this new generation destroys everything alive inside the body, killing all the bacteria, even the beneficial ones. The antibiotic is strong. Perhaps too strong. It has worked well, it seems. 

Now your good flora is wiped out from the digestive tract and you become more susceptible to invasive pathogens. This may sound acceptable to sacrifice the good bacteria for the highest good (survival) in order to kill the evil ones, but ….Do you realize that the strength of your immune system is directly correlated to the healthy gut? 

And there it comes. Your intestines allow more and more toxins to go in your blood stream because they don’t have enough good bacteria to fight against. This leads to a weakened immune system and severe gut inflammation. So, soon comes an era of thrush, candida overgrown or another microorganism enjoying the clean space in your gut. Now, the doctor will prescribe another medicine which will kill all the fungi invaders. However, the war is not over. These will soon be replaced by the new, mutated bacteria which were smart enough to hide in the dark bunkers of your body.

While your body was busy to counterbalance the die-off of the fungi, the survivor bacteria were fiercely working underground, preparing for the new forms of attack. Surely, the information from the antibiotic was available so they worked hard to incorporate these traits to their DNA so that they could misguide the antibiotics of the new generation. They have adopted their DNA and cell boundaries and will soon begin a new attack. They are now wiser, stronger and better equipped.

And you or your child, their lovely hosts, will welcome them back. Why? Because your gut is unprepared for an invasion. Your cough is impossible to stop, the head is shouting from pain, the phlegm is everywhere, and you are incredibly weak.

You go to the medical doctor or a GP again and get the third antibiotic this autumn/winter. Because, obviously the previous ones have not done the job sufficiently well. And, let’s hope the winter is severe enough to kill the bad bacteria. But … there are bacteria which survive all hard conditions, even severe cold. They awake refreshed in spring, looking for new hosts.

Gut and antibiotics resistance

To understand the antibiotics resistance, please read the Molecular Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Resistance report by Powell.

A few citations from Herbal antibiotics:

“The fairly recent discovery that all of the water supplies in the industralized countries are contaminated with the minute amounts of antibiotics (from their excretion into water supplies) means that bacteria everywhere are experiencing low doses of antibiotics all the time.”

“Once in the presence of antibiotic, [even in low doses] a bacterium’s learning rate immediately increases by several orders of magnitude.”

“As bacteria gain resistance, they pass that knowledge on to all forms of bacteria they meet. They are not competing with each other for resources, as standard evolutionary theory predicted, but rather prominiscouosly cooperate in the sharing of the survival information.”

“Bacteria can share the resistance information directly or simply extrude it from their cells. They often experiment, combining resistance information from multiple sources in unique ways that increase resistance, generate new resistance pathways or even stimulate resistance to the antibiotics that they have never encountered before.”

Two quotes form this short article:

“The new ECDC data shows a significant rise over the last four years of combined resistance to multiple antibiotics in Klebsiella pneumoniae and E. coli, in more than one-third of the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries.”

“K pneumoniae is a Gram-negative bacterium, that normally lives harmlessly in the gut, but is increasingly showing up as a harmful “superbug” causing urinary, respiratory tract and bloodstream infections, particularly in hospital settings where it spreads rapidly among patients via the hands of healthcare workers and is a frequent cause of hospital outbreaks.”

A citation from the Gut and psychology syndrome book:

“Just like Candida Albicans, the Clostridia family was given a special opportunity by the era of antibiotics, because Clostridia are also resistant to them. So, every course of broad spectrum antibiotics removes good bacteria, which leaves Clostridia uncontrolled and allows it to grow. Different species of Clostridia cause severe inflammation of the digestive system, for example Clostridium Dificile causes a potentially fatal pseudo-membranous colitis. Some species of Clostridia have been linked to such debilitating digestive disorders as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.”

Think it twice, think it 5x!

There are times when there is no discussion whether antibiotics should be taken or not. Antibiotics are to save lives. Yet, in the age of antibiotic’s overuse and hardly any new antibiotic development (financially uninteresting to the big pharma), I encourage you to think 5x before you will take an antibiotic. Perhaps your taking it for a relatively mild condition will add to the boost of bacteria resistance, while your gut flora will suffer. 

Do you really, really, desperately need it to save your life???

Please realize that antibiotic-resistant infections and “super bugs” are becoming a huge challenge to standard medicine. Diseases that were easily treated by antibiotics, say tuberculosis, are not any longer. The bacteria become more and more resistant.

Before using antibiotics, I encourage you to learn about options, alternatives and side-effects. This is your homework as very few traditional medical doctors will consider alternatives for you. In many cases, they even cannot because there are regulations they have to follow.

Over the years you have consumed, ether consciously or not, sufficient doses of penicillin and related antibiotics, macrolides, antifungals and so on. This is not only through taking medicines, but perhaps, more importantly, it is through the tiny doses that come from the consumption of dairy, meat and fish, yet accumulate over the years.

The book

I highly recommend the Herbal antibiotics book by Stephen Harrod Buhner which can be bought at Amazon or BookDepository (ships worldwide for free). Buy the version from 2012, not from 2000 if possible. This book is not yet translated to other languages. 

This is a well-written and researched book on herbal alternatives (teas, tinctures or infusions) for treating drug-resistant bacteria. The book is scientific at times and not an easy read, but it is not meant to be such. The book is meant to be a practical reference for self-help or in times of crisis.

While the subject of antibiotic-resistance is alarming, the author is not spreading any fear. Instead, he focuses on facts. These facts are clearly presented and supported by available research and study (and obviously Buhner’s long-life experience as a medical herbalist); an enormous amount of references is given for a diligent reader. Buhner comes with extremely valuable information on the use of herbs. He also discusses potential side-effects or cross-references with other drugs. He presents detailed profiles of thirty herbs and their actions. 

Many of the herbs described (although not all) can be grown in your garden or balcony, others can be bought in health food shops or online, either raw or as teas, tinctures and oils. The home remedy recipes are easy to follow and prepare, given that you have the ingredients first. 

Are your ready for the world without antibiotics?

I am. The knowledge of Buhner has potentially saved my kids from taking the antibiotics twice over the last few months.

Highly recommended!

***

Photo shows “Interaction of MRSA (green bacteria) with a human white cell. The bacteria shown is strain MRSA252, a leading cause of hospital-associated infections in the United States and United Kingdom.” Photo courtesy NIAID available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

***

Useful resources:

***

 

There are times in life when everything seems to go wrong. And you wonder how to persevere.

Performance decreases.
Miscommunication leads to problems.
Things break in the house and in the office.
Cars need repairs.
Friends leave or die.
Family problems arise.
Health is challenged.
Kids catch bugs and need extra care.
Job is threatened.
Bureaucratic errors occur.
Systems you rely on break down.
Procedures go wrong.
Internet is gone.
Orders go miss.
And so on.

There are mental, emotional and physical challenges. On all levels. And you feel as if run by a truck.

The winds of difficulties blow in your face and they blow strong. There is an emotional turmoil. There is so much work but despite all the work you do, there is hardly any progress. Whatever you touch to manage, correct or handle, things don’t improve and often become worse. You take action but the results are little or even adverse.

And then you begin to wonder.

How am I going to handle this all? How am I going to persevere?

Has this ever happened to you?

Yes?

 You are not alone. Welcome to the Club 😉

Breathe it out and persevere

If sudden events come to your life, the first thing is to pause and breathe. Especially, the out-breath is important. Please follow the Red ribbon exercise. This simple focus on breath forces your Conscious Self to be present in the moment. And this gives you the control back.

The clustering of challenging events has always intrigued me. How is it possible that they come one after another?

Surprisingly, even if I think that I can’t handle them any more, I do. Even when I get kicked-off my balance, hurt, torn and misplaced, I am back to my center. I persevere.

I was originally poor at facing life challenges and my usual tactic was to close down, get depressed, sit in the self-pity pit and complain. With years of my conscious growth, however, I have become better and better at handling life setbacks.

I still get hit. I am still overwhelmed. And I still get hurt. Yet, after the initial shock or surprise, I find my peace and begin action from within. This is because I’ve developed practices that allow me to regain my balance and re-define my center. And I want to share them with you.

There are two main learning points with respect to your calmness and peace in the eye of a tornado. The first learning point is that the overall balance and feeling in control strongly depends on the centering and balancing of your physical body. And you can learn to practise that. Secondly, your mental and emotional balance depends on an undisturbed flow of emotions and practising detachment. This can be learned as well.

Practice I. Physical center and balance

Staying balanced and centered refers to a basic position in marital arts. Balance is attained when the weight of the body is distributed evenly, right and left, forward and back,all the way from head to the toes. Center is practised when the bodily awareness is concentrated at the center of the abdomen, say 2cm below the navel. All movement is initiated from the center.

Exercise. Regain your center and balance.

1. Warm up.

Stand tall, feet parallel, slightly wider than at shoulder width, knees slightly bent. Warm up your body with little stretching exercises. This should take 5min and is not meant as a warming-up to a demanding exercising session.  This warming up is meant for you to 1) bring your awareness to the body, 2) get the feeling of various parts of the body and 3) exercise flexibility of movement. It is not necessary though.

You can choose any warming up exercises you know. For instance, you can do the following:

  • Rotations of joints. Flex, extend, and rotate each of the joints:  fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, trunk, hips, knees, ankles, feet and toes.
  • Neck movements. Repeat 3-5x.
    • Tuck your chin into your chest, and then lift your chin upward as far as possible.
    • Lower your left ear toward your left shoulder and then your right ear to your right shoulder.
    • Turn your chin toward your left shoulder and then slowly rotate it toward your right shoulder.
  • Shoulder flexibility. Repeat 3-5x. Raise your left shoulder towards your left ear, take it backwards, down and then up again to the ear. Make smooth circles in both directions.  Repeat it for the right shoulder.
  • Arm swings. Repeat 5x. Swing both arms continuously to a position above your head, then forward, down, and backwards. Then swing both arms out to your sides.
  • Side bends. Repeat 3-5x. With hands on your hips, bend smoothly first to one side, and then to the other. Avoid leaning forward or backward.
  • Forward bends. Repeat 3-5x.
  • Hip circles. Repeat 5x in every direction. With hands on your hips, make circles with your hips in a clockwise direction, followed by an anticlockwise direction.
  • Leg swings. Repeat 5x. Put the weight on your left foot. Swing your right leg forward and backward. Repeat for the other leg.

2. Find your balance.

Stand tall on the ground with a straight spine, feet a shoulder apart, parallel to each other. Eyes are facing forward, shoulders flexible and knees bent just a little bit. You feel connected to the ground. You stand securely imagining your feet being strong as roots of an oak tree. Arms hang loosely at your sides.

Now, distribute your weight evenly. This sounds easy but may be difficult to attain.

Feet. Stand with feet a shoulder apart, parallel to each other. Spread the weight equally between the legs. Keep shifting weight from one foot to the other until you find where the middle point is. Then stop.

Knees. Keep knees bent a bit. You should feel firmly attached to the ground yet flexible, prepared to move if needed.

Head. Keep your head straight, facing forward. Imagine a flexible cord attached to the middle point of your skull. Since the tendency of many people is to slouch or look down, the goal of this imaginative cord is to pull you up. Check that your chin is parallel to the ground.  Your spine needs to be straight and your head needs to be an extension of your spine.  This is where the pull of the cord is.

Why is it important to keep the head in this position?  A head weights usually between 4.5 and 6kg. It is a heavy burden on both the atlas and axis, the first two cervical vertebra of the spine, where the head rests. A misalignment on this level carries on through the whole spine and usually results in various subluxations which lead to misalignments in the body. A proper position of the head can be attained through a conscious practice. Alternatively, you may need a help from an osteopath or chiropractor.

Shoulders. Keep your shoulder blades down. They need to support the spine yet remain flexible. Check they are aligned.

Hips. Imagine your hips are a bucket full of water. Move your hips forward and backward and to the sides. Your goal is to find a position where no water is lost from the bucket.

Being a tree. Imagine yourself as a tree, with strong roots (feet) and branches (your head and spine) extending to heaven. You are like a birch tree, well rooted and still, but flexible.

3. Regain your center.

Bring awareness to the middle of your abdomen. Tap lightly with your fingers on the abdomen. You can place the palm of your hand there to feel how it is rising with your breath. Take an in-breath that begin to feel the abdomen rising. Imagine how air nourishes you through all the organs moving out through capillaries of your limbs. Imagine your out-breath coming from your limbs.

Remain in this position for 5min or as long as comfortable. Focus on your breath.

Practice II. Detachment

I imagine emotions as energy currents or waves.  In the challenging time, emotions come suddenly and in strong waves. There is often disappointment, anger or feeling of injustice. There may be hurt, grief, pain or terror.

The natural working of emotions is to flow through your body. If you maintain the flow, you allow all emotions to be expressed in respectful ways. When the flow is blocked, a tension is created which will seek its own way out in the less convenient way, perhaps as health problems.

It is only holding them back, or riding on them kicks us out of the balance and out of the middle way. We become too much one-sided. We may be swayed by the strong waves and allow them to carry us. In doing so, we become submissive and loose control. As a result, we are weak an powerless.

Detach: look at your life from above

The first conscious act is to say “Stop”. Take the control back. Start thinking about the emotions. Recognize what they are and name them. By engaging your thinking, an emotion looses its strong impact. The next act is to detach from what is happening. It may sound difficult but it is actually simple and working fast when you remember to practise it.

Exercise. Make a break.
Leave your living place for at least a day, possibly a few days or a week. Physical distance forces a distant view on your life.

Exercise. Source.
Find what s the strongest feeling in you in this very moment. Name it. Write it down if you like. Find the though behind this feeling. Which thought gave birth to this feeling? Write it down in one sentence. Now, go another step back. What was the intention behind the thought? What is the source of the though? What was the motivation? What was your need?

In doing so, by the very naming of emotion – thought – intention, you give it a shape and make the generating process conscious. It gives you both understanding and control. Practice it.

Exercise. Football field.
Imagine a football field (baseball, basketball or any other sport game field). You are like a player on the field when  you are strongly engaged with your emotions. You have only a limited view of what is happening on the field, near to you. You are involved in the fight, in the kick, jump or run. You have a partial understanding. This is how your life is int he moment. How does it feel now?

Imagine now that you are a fan sitting on the chair above looking at the game. Now you can see the whole field, where the ball is, who taking actions, who is the best to give a ball to and so on. You gain a perspective. Now, imagine that this is the way you look at your life, just taking a view from above so that you, your house, your work becomes a view from, say, 10-20m from above (the 5-7th floor of a building).  Now you can observe yourself from the perspective of a fan observing the game. How does it feel?

Finally, imagine that you are a commentator sitting at the high, far above the field. You not only see the players and the field but also the fans. There are clear patterns. Actions clusters, behavior is repeated. beautifulYou can observe.

Now take this metaphor to see your life from the perspective far above, say even from an airplane. You become small, nearly insignificant and in one glimpse you see the whole town and your life. There are beautiful colors, patches and patterns, Things happen but somehow slowly. There is peace to it and a higher order. You understand.

Practice III. Enhance flow: release emotions

Emotions need to be expressed. They are our natural meter of what is happening to us. We can feel excited, happy, joyful, or uplifted. Similarly, we can feel angry, fearful, disappointed, hurt, terrified or powerless.

Emotions flow through the body. If you feel happy, you smile or laugh, your eyes are shining, you are jumping around. Similarly if you are disappointed, angry or fearful, you need to express such feelings as well.

We have been made to believe that it is wrong or weak to show feelings, such as anger, hatred, pain or fear. As a result, such emotions are blocked. What’s worse, these natural emotions may be heavily denied that you don’t even know they are there.

It starts with your intent to allow these feelings to surface and to express them as they emerge. It does not mean you should be crying, screaming, or yelling at yourself or people for hours. The idea is to find appropriate ways for the emotional release and in the convenient time, usually when you are alone.

Useful tools for emotional release

No one can tell you how to feel your feelings. It is up to you to learn about your own sensitivity here through effort, intent, and action. Working with others on your emotions may be helpful but it not necessary. Only you can interpret your emotions and connect them to the likely causes as well as find the appropriate release.  Below, I suggest a few tools that I practise myself. Particularly, I encourage you to learn about EFT.

Hurt. Pain. Discomfort. Disappointment. Grief.

  • Pray. This will give you wisdom. Peace. And a solution.
  • Breathe. Breathe it out.
  • Cry. Cry it out.
  • Write about it. Take a piece of paper. Write things down. Jot down how you feel and what is bothering you. Take any time you need.  Burn the drawing and imagine all the emotions being made free through the flame.
  • Draw it. Take a piece of paper. Make a drawing of each feeling you name. Use colorful pencils. Take any time you need. Burn the drawing and imagine all the emotions being made free through the flame.
  • Mix-media. Make an artistic expression of your emotion by using various media such as writing, painting or collage.

Anger and grief (anger also hides behind grief).

When you are angry, you are prone to physical acts. The energy is concentrated and seeks a physical release. It asks for a strong act of hitting, slapping, punching or kicking. The greatest method for the release is to play a sport that requires such an activity: football, baseball, volleyball, etc. If you don’t have such a possibility, take a pillow or cushion and keep punching it until you get tired. It works wonders.

All emotions.

  • EFT. Use EFT, emotional freedom technique, also called tapping. It is a fast and effective tools for releasing emotions of the day. When learnt, it takes only 5min and can also be used to start a day in a good mood. The old (and hidden deep down) emotions and traumas may need a repetition over a period of time.
    Personally, it took me 1 month of 2 x 5 min daily repetition to release a strong trauma. The technique is simple, effective and actually fun. I encourage you to read the EFT instruction booklet, freely available. The best educational videos are these on tapping. Follow them. I recommend you learn the practice from the Tapping website.
  • Physical exercise. Exercise until you are physically exhausted. The best exercise is the one that requires a strong involvement of your limbs. E.g. running, chopping wood, kicking  a ball, jumping on a trampoline, punching in a gym, etc.

If any of the above is a little frightening to you, accept that it feels frightening. Name it. Do the Source Exercise above.

Practice IV. Smile

Even if this sounds ridiculous, smile

Change your posture, stand tall and face forward. Smile. By forcing a change on your physiognomy, new emotions (compensating the overflow you now experience) are likely to follow.

Smile to yourself.

Smile to remember things you are grateful for. 

Smile to this moment of Now.

Practice V. Relax

Find ways to relax at night. The Red Ribbon Exercise may be of help.

You can handle the challenges

This is your life. And you can handle the challenges. It is a choice.

You may choose to persevere and get stronger or not.
You may choose to release your emotions or not.
You may choose to take an effort to get to know yourself or not.
You may choose to learn the practices so that you are well equipped and resourceful when the tornado comes or not.

No choice is still a choice.

You can choose to handle the challenges and grow.

This is your life. Only you can change it.

 

 

stuff

There is Stuff.

Stuff is all great things you bought, got, borrowed, subscribed to, created or inherited. You keep them in your life, in your head, in your body, in your wardrobe, in your house, in your car, at your work, on your computer, and so on.

Stuff.

Stuff is magnetic. It has this remarkable property that the more you own the more is attracted to.

Stuff.  More Stuff, please come.

Stuff collection begins slowly but it does not take long before it arrives in huge volumes. The growth curve is speedy exponential. Having some Stuff, you can surely rely on more in no time.

Stuff.

Stuff hates empty spaces. Very much. It occupies every little corner it finds. No space should be left alone. For sure, there is Stuff to fill it!

Free Stuff. Welcome to the Stuff Club.

Free Stuff is especially good at it. It loves to spread all over the space in the name of being Useful or Lovable.

We all love Free Stuff, don’t we?

Oh, Stuff! Your precious Stuff.

Food.
Clothes.
Shoes.
Toys.
Tools.
Books.
Files.
Gadgets.
Computers.
Phones.

Stuff. Your lovely Stuff.

Thoughts.
Emotions.
Ideas.
Creations.
Products.
Deliverables.

Stuff.

And then you need wardrobes, desks, shelves, furniture, and space to keep your Stuff. You need to collect it, sort it, shape it, clean it, organize it and move it around. You need the time to store the Stuff once and then you need even more time to maintain Stuff as long as it is there. You need to do it in your house, in your wardrobes, in your garden, in your car, in your head, in your body or at your job. Simply everywhere.

Stuff. Your lovely Stuff.

Of course, you can completely neglect this process and let Stuff occupy random places it likes, but you will soon stop living comfortably. Or you get nuts by being overloaded with your precious collections in all places.

Stuff.

How did it happen that you have become such a talented Stuff Collector?

Well… You’ve simply started to take pride and joy in owning Stuff.

Stuff. You own Stuff.

So you have Stuff. Lots of Stuff.

Interesting Stuff. Cool Stuff. Beautiful Stuff. Useful Stuff. Funny Stuff. Working Stuff. Broken Stuff.

Stuff in all shapes, forms and colors. And more.

Stuff.

You can show off with your Stuff. Only few have so much quality Stuff as you do, don’t they?

Stuff. Quality Stuff, indeed!

But…

Do you still have the time to enjoy life?

“I need you so much”, says Stuff.

Or do you spend your free time organizing, cleaning, or sorting your Stuff? Stuff asks for the attention, doesn’t it? It loves to be pampered. Oh, yes!

Stuff.

Stuff is attachment.

The more you posses, the less free you are to abandon old things and start new ones.

Stuff.  Of course, needed.

Some stuff is necessary.
Some stuff is useful.
Some stuff is nice.
Some stuff is valuable.
Some stuff makes life comfortable.

Yet, there is lots of Stuff you rarely use or need. Yet you keep it.

In hope. Just in case. Maybe. Perhaps one day… Or you have forgotten you had it or abandoned it.

Stuff.

Too much stuff becomes clutter and makes you feel stuck. In projects. In work. In life.

Stuff.

It starts innocently. One, two or three things are left where they don’t belong. Then a few more follow.

Stuff. A small pile of things.

And there is suddenly a pile of clothes. To be sorted, washed or ironed. Not to forget the new clothes you have just bought. To be placed in your wardrobe.

Stuff.

And there is a pile of books. To be considered, looked at or read. And of course you need an ipad/kindle to read your books on the go. To save the time you don’t have anyway..

Stuff. Another small pile of things.

And there is a pile of files in the computer. And a huge inbox of unread emails. To be read, thought over, edited or answered.

Stuff.

And there is music, movies, photos, presentations, texts, conversations, and so on. Huge amounts. You need extra mechanisms to store your Stuff, extra backup and storage discs.

Stuff. Yet another pile of Stuff.

And there is a pile of ideas. To be thought over, investigated and worked upon. Or abandoned.

Stuff.

And there is this negative chatterbox in your head. To be kept quiet.

Stuff. Wow, even more Stuff here.

And there is a pile of everything that fits nowhere, but is everywhere. Old pens, watches, paper clips, tapes, hard discs, CDs, cameras, screen monitors, etc.

Stuff.

And before you notice your precious Stuff slowly becomes clutter, preventing you from gaining clarity, maintaining focus and taking action.

Stuff. Flooded with Stuff.

Stuff is there in all places in various sizes and quantities waiting for your attention and handling. Stuff depends on you. And you depend on Stuff.

Stuff.

So, you are overwhelmed and paralyzed with inaction.Yet you know that the only way is to face your Stuff head-on.

De-Stuff.

De-stuffing is unavoidable. Yet, you hate it. But, no, no, no. No other choice is there, I’m afraid.

As you find the time to welcome your Stuff, you have to find the time to kick your Stuff out of your life, your head, your work, your home, your car and so on. It will not leave you otherwise. Stuff is faithful to death.

De-Stuff.

The best approach to de-Stuffing is to maintain it as a regular Process and make it as fun or interesting as possible (to play as a child).

De-Stuff.

Throwing away things that served us well may be painful. Yet, it has to be done to make the space for new ideas or things. As inflow is continuously at work, similarly outflow should be.

De-Stuff.

You need to establish clear rules and limits where and how Stuff enters your life. And protect yourself from Stuff.

De-Stuff.

Say goodbye to the old and unnecessary things in your life. Whatever it is which does not serve you any more.

De-Stuff.

Clothes. Shoes. Toys. Tools. Books. Files. Gadgets. Computers. Phones. Thoughts. Emotions. Ideas. Creations. Products.

De-Stuff.

Time is more precious than Stuff.

The more Stuff you have the more time it takes for its handling and maintaining.

De-Stuff.

So before you collect any new gorgeous Stuff, ask yourself whether you really, really, really need it. If not, let it occupy the space of some other passionate Stuff Collector. Not you, this time.

De-Stuff.

What do your prefer: live for Stuff or live to become?

My answer is simple. And yours?

De-Stuff.

Choose what matters: Clarity, Simplicity, Space, Focus and Clean Solutions.

Live Stuff free.

And you will stop being stuck.
 
***
 
Recommended reading:
If you need a good motivation for de-cluttering, the Clutter busting book by Brooks Palmer is of great help. It will help you to understand how clutter blocks your progress in life. Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern is a fantastic book that will help you to devise a system that works for you. Both highly recommended.
 

***

Photo copyright by Moyan Brenn. Photo available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

***

you_are_becoming

Photo credit Fe Langdon, available on Flickr under Creative Commons.

How we say

One of the major obstacles in your development is to perceive yourself as a static thing. Similarly, one of the most limiting ways for a solution-focus is to look at a situation or problem as an event frozen in time.  So you say:

“I am ill.”
“You are a poor manager.”
“He is stupid.”
“This is the way things are.”

These are facts and nothing can be done about it. It seems. While the statements above may look innocent, they are not. In fact, they act dangerously beneath the observable surface.

Are you one of the people who often heard as a child “You are a bad girl/boy” or “You are stupid”?

Did you believe that? I did.

It only takes a single authority (parent/grandma/older friend/teacher) to repeat such a statement a few times to make you accept it as a truth. Without questioning. Would it make any difference for you to have heard instead “You have behaved stupidly this time. What can we/you do next time so that you can improve?”

It would. For me.

Identity

The language construction “I am X” describes an equivalence between “I” and the very thing “X”. In such a statement an identification is taking place. If you keep repeating to yourself “I am stupid” you begin to identify with what you consider as “stupid behaviors” or “stupid people”. At some point you will start to model such a behavior more often, even unconsciously, simply because you have associated yourself with stupidity.

So, if you say “I am X” or “You are Y”, such statements act as naming on a deep, subconscious level. We make an equivalence and once we have taken it for granted, such an equivalence begin to hold forever. You stick the labels and they stay.

How to set yourself free

The first step is a shift in perception. Instead of looking at yourself as an Event, the key is to look at yourself as a Process.

You are not your thoughts.
You are NOT your emotions.
You are not your behaviors.
You are NOT your skills.
You are not  your actions.
You are NOT your achievements.
You are not your mood.
You are NOT your products.
You are not your failures.
You are NOT your problems.
You are not your parents.
You are NOT your wife/husband/kids.
You are not your car.
You are NOT your house.
You are not your job.
You are NOT your hobby.
….

While all the elements above may be very important to you and whom you have become, none of them is you. They are parts of who you are but you are much greater than their sum. If you choose to identify with any of them you may become vulnerable, fixated and stuck. And you may slow down any progress to a high degree.

For instance I used to identify with my work so I was hurt by people criticizing my research approach. I saw work as an extension of myself. As a result, it used to take me a substantial amount of time for an emotional processing before I could deal with criticism and work towards a further improvement of the ideas and applications. It was a waste of my emotional resources to suffer unnecessarily.

I am sure you know other people who are hurt or emotionally upset when somebody criticizes their approach or behavior, or when something happens with their car, or even when their children do not perform well to the expectations. It all comes from our deep identification with the Events. Be it results, attitude or children’s behavior.

Who you are

Your particular thoughts, emotions, behaviors, skills, actions, initiatives, possessions, responsibilities, failures and achievements are Events.

So, who are you?

You are simply a Process allowing, choosing, supporting and maintaining these Events. You are a Journey. Through Life.

You are not a static, frozen in time Joe. You are a Process of Joe.
You are a continuously learning and developing conscious being.
You have become and you are becoming.

Your goal is to take care of the Process to maintain it daily so that the habits you choose serve you through Time.

Watch your language

The second important point for becoming is to watch your language. The idea is to focus on describing the situation or event instead of making identity statements. Say to your child “You have not behaved kindly this time” instead of “You are a bad boy”. Say, “I’ve been searching for a new job” instead of “I am jobless”. Say, “I have not become wealthy yet, but I am taking my steps towards it” instead of “I am poor”. Say, “You have not organized your workplace in the best way last week” instead of “You are a muddler”. And so on.

Language is very important in describing and naming how you see yourself.  For a change to happen, you need to act differently and speak differently. Watch what you say and how you say it.  When you change how you describe yourself, your life, your problems and your challenges, you will begin to act accordingly. You will redirect your Process towards a better You.

Being a Process

Why does it make a difference to perceive yourself as a Process?

The key concept is that by being a Process you are already in motion. You are changing and evolving by the very nature of a process. Whatever happens, any failure, misjudgement or difficulty, any blessing, winning or achievement, change is just behind the door. You deeply know it and you accept it. You also know that change is the only stability you have. It makes you conscious to live in the moment and appreciate all the blessings that come to your life now. And it makes you aware that any difficulty, even the most horrendous, will eventually pass. Through the Process you can transform it.

By seeing yourself as a Process you begin to detach emotionally from the outcomes and the results while you are taking initiatives in the given moment. Action redirects the Process. And you know that even small steps repeated frequently enough can lead you far. In your Journey.

When you see yourself as a Process you begin to gain power, responsibility and control over your life. While you cannot control the majority of events, you can take care that the Process you are will equip you well to handle whatever comes. You begin to live by Gratitude and Love. To others and God.

You are becoming

You may not have made the best progress in your life yet but you can choose to start doing it now. In every moment you can abandon old patterns and choose the ones which serve you. By being a Process – a developing human being – you can grow into a greatness.

Spin.
Stir it up.
Move.

You are experiencing. You are becoming. Your best conscious Self.

***

 

 Page 1 of 2  1  2 »