The Real Alternative


The Power of Attitude

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By Steve Sekhon

I was recently speaking with a friend and remarked ‘attitude is everything.’ Even though the comment sounded marginally trite at the time, the idea kept coming back to me throughout the day. Do I really have control over my attitude? Can changing it actually transform my life?

It became crystal clear to me that I’m free to hold whatever attitude I choose, whenever I want. It is this choice that creates my experience of life.

It can be easy to forget this obvious truth on those days that I feel I’m swimming against the current. But even then I know that, when I’m consciously aware, how I respond to life is entirely up to me.

The attitude I have about the events in my life creates my emotional and psychological experience of it even more than the actual events themselves.

I determine what I think should be happening and consequently how I’ll feel if things don’t quite work out the way I planned. I decide if I’ll be discouraged, happy, critical or sad. I define what success or failure means. I determine the way particular outcomes will make me feel. I am the only one who can decide to tune my attitude by selecting who I spend time with and what I do.

When I focus my attention on things that encourage, support and enliven me, I reap immediate and positive dividends. When I give my attention to problems, constraints and fearful potentialities, the results don’t feel nearly so good. They actually make me more likely to see my life and the world in a negative light. The more I experience disappointment from my negative expectations, the less reason I see to be joyful. The longer I do it, the less choice I feel I have.

I can change my habits from ones that don’t serve me to ones that do. I can cultivate a daily practice or join authentic happiness coaching that helps keep me on track. I can read daily words of encouragement, surround myself with positive people and make a point of noticing when I’m being negative.

The more I stay aware, the more I realize that I’m as free to choose my attitude, as I am to select a flavor at an ice cream parlor. The difference between a trip to the dessert shop and the spontaneous choice of attitude is that the former is a one-time event, while the latter can create a beautiful or vicious cycle that affects my entire life.

Tendencies we may have toward resentment, generosity, victim consciousness, self-confidence, fear, trust, self-acceptance, or self-hatred are obvious to everyone we encounter, but sometimes we take our own approach to life for granted without being aware of our power to choose it.

When we realize that it’s not the conditions in the outer world but our attitudes about those conditions that cause us to feel the way we do it can be an enormous game changer.

Others pick up on our attitudes, subconsciously or consciously, and respond to us accordingly. Whatever opinion we have of the world will be mirrored back to us and we’ll feel justified for holding it because the evidence to prove it shows up repeatedly. Our attitudes essentially create a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s why it’s so important to find some high quality and easy-to-digest daily words of encouragement that keep you on track.

If you’re having difficulties with someone in your life, look for just one quality you like and see if you can find compassion for the rest. If you’re having problems at work, try focusing on what’s going well instead what’s not. Keep your attention on what you appreciate in every person, place or thing in your life and watch the situations evolve and improve. Notice the words you use and remind yourself that the perceptions you form are simply the result of how you characterize what you see.

If you want an easy and powerful reminder to help you maintain this practice, subscribe to daily words of encouragement and receive them in your inbox everyday. It could change your life!

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Steve Sekhon and Jarl Forsman are the founders of, which produces courses, workshops and daily messages to remind you of wisdom (which you already know) that will help you get unstuck, enjoy life and be more fun to be around.

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How to Get Rid of Negativity Learn Some Self Improvement Lessons

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Learn some self improvement lessons related to negative chatters, meditation, etc to eliminate negativity.

Negative feelings are like tidal waves, they attack your mind like waves coming one after another. Negative energy in you can take away you from good things in life. You are the beautiful creation of god and so don’t let any negativity affect your living. How to get rid of negativity? Get in touch with experts that deal with self improvement lessons. This will help in understanding the reason behind such pessimism and way to cure it.

In one day you cannot eliminate all negative energy, so start slowly and steadily. First understand what invites such bad feeling in your mind. Feelings like anger, jealousy, confusion, depression, etc results in downbeat which affects your persona. Learning self improvement lessons can help in getting rid of demons like negative energy. How to get rid of negativity? Here are some lessons related to self improvement which you need to learn:

Get in touch with experts

There are experts who can take you to the path of happiness by means of examining your problems. Learn how to control harsh emotions and not let them come your way in future in order to continue living and ego free life. In self improvement lessons, expert will always advice you to love yourself because this will help you to love others. If you let ego go out of your life, it can become very easy to handle emotions.


They will always advice you to meditate more in order to develop the power of concentration and gain back the positive aura. Meditation has power to eliminate every reason behind negativity! It helps to lower down the stress level, eliminate anxiety, etc. It will connect you in understanding yourself emotionally and will bring out positive power that can assist in dealing with different problems. Basically it quiets your body and soul, allowing you to develop self awareness.

 Control negative chatters

 What are chatters? Chatters are those thoughts that keep on running in your mind like things you want to achieve, your goal, your daily task, etc. You keep on thinking such things while traveling or while working but the problem arises when these chatters turn out to be negative. When you start thinking ‘you cannot travel, you cannot work’, etc brings in negativity. How to get rid of negativity? Best answer to this is control negative chatters. Don’t divert your mind from your goal! Such negative chatters are not worth against your precious time.

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Gift from devotion is run by David Adelson, a well-known spiritual genius known to offer how to how to Get Rid of Negativity. Enjoy the relief with kind healing.

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The Little Engine That Could

The Little Engine That Could

The Little Engine That Could by Cliff via Flickr

By: Wee Dilts

‘The Little Engine That Could.’ is one of those marvelous children’s stories that stays with you.

I’m 74 years old and still, to this day, when faced with difficulties, I often find myself remembering a picture of the little engine chugging down the mountain saying, ‘I knew I could, I knew I could.’

The story first appeared in 1930. There have been many versions through the 80 years.

As a trainer, teacher and psychologist, I don’t know that I can give you a better example of how to persevere and overcome obstacles.

If you haven’t read it, do so today. It’s free online.

Life is always full of obstacles and problems and all to often we just give up on our dreams and as the saying goes, we live out our lives in quiet desperation. How sad.

Vince Lombardi:
‘The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack or strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.’

Obstacles get in the way and your ‘I think I can’ may get weaker. This is the time to persevere. Push yourself into action. Never give up. Like the little engine, keep on chugging.

Albert Einstein:
‘It’s not that I’m so smart.  It’s just that I stay with problems longer.’

When the Universe sends you a creative idea, you often start out with the thought. I wish I could, I wish I could.

As you play with the idea and kick around ways to achieve it, you begin to image you can do it; ‘I think I can, I think I can.’

At some point, after you’ve reached the goal; you’ll be chugging along singing ‘I knew I could, I knew I could.’

The story is a great example of how to keep going when the going gets tough. I like this Japanese proverb:
‘Fall seven times. Stand up eight.’

A Desire is a creative idea that comes to you.  It’s your inner voice talking to you urging you to start chugging toward your goal.

These are the steps you need to take to reach the other side of the mountain:
1. Clarify your goal – write it down, get it clearly and concisely on paper. If you don’t know where you are going, I guarantee you, you won’t get there. The goal for the little engine was to get the load up and over the mountain. Great symbolism
2. Commit to achieving your goal – Like the little engines, song ‘I think I can.’ Commit to doing what it takes to get up and over your mountain. Reach your goal.
3. Create a plan – A man must have a plan. Write down your plan, step by step, how are you going to achieve your goal?
4. Visualize – mental imagery is potent stuff. During your meditation time, take a moment to clearly see your goal, see it as fully achieved. It works.
5. Start – This is the hardest step for most of us, it is easier to think, plan and scheme than it is to actually begin. Do some actual footwork each day, even if it’s as simple as making one phone call. Start.
6. A journal – Take time each day to write in your journal. Learn how to journal. This is an often overlooked, powerful technique for achieving your goals and actualizing your dreams.
7. Persist, Persist, Persist

Why should we stay with the struggle? Because when we succeed it helps us remember that success is merely a failure turned inside out.

We need a challenge to be fully alive and we set goals because we have the will to succeed.

Brian Tracy:
‘Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.’

When a difficulty presents itself be prepared. Practice visualizing your success.

Visualize yourself conquering your mountain. Keep on chugging.

The little engine puffing up the hill symbolizes the essence of not giving up.

I hope at the end of my journey I’m singing ‘I knew I could, I knew I could.’


So it seems that one method for reaching life’s goals would be to remember the ‘Little Engine That Could’ and keep on chugging.

‘The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground.’

Do you have an ‘I wish I could?’ Then go to work, start chugging up the hill to success.

Mahatma Gandhi
‘Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.’

Copyright © Wee Dilts 2010

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Wee Dilts is a counselor, psychologists, a metaphysical trainer. A teacher of self improvement for years. She has helped thousands with her Free articles and Ebooks on how to change your life. To get Free self help articles visit


Prayer and Recovery: Benefits of Prayer Beyond the Belief

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Author: Brenda

Yoga has a spiritual component that is valuable for many people. But in my belief, looking beyond the spiritual component is what tells you what’s actually a great choice and what’s not. It’s these extra benefits that really make something a powerful tool for combatting anxiety, and that’s why today I would like to share why Christian prayer is such a valuable tool for controlling anxiety beyond the belief alone.

What Do I Mean ‘Beyond the Belief?’

In this case, I want to explore the ways that prayer in the Christian religion is beneficial to overcoming anxiety beyond the belief in God. In other words, God is there to help heal living with our anxiety symptoms, as it says in Isaiah 14:10, ‘Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.’ God himself is there to cure anxiety, and so once you believe, anxiety is going to go away.

So that’s the main benefit of Christian prayer, and it’s something that comes from belief. But for the purposes of this article, I want to go over the ways that Christian prayer continues to benefit anxiety even beyond that main advantage. These include:

  • Sensory Use – Prayer uses your senses. It uses your voice, it uses your imagination, and if you’re in church, it also uses your ears and your eyes. Using your senses is actually very important for taking yourself out of your own head (a common issue with anxiety) and replacing it with emotionally healthy information.
  • Uplifting Experience – Prayer makes people feel good. Prayer is there to improve your mood and give you faith in a brighter future. That makes it uplifting, and positive emotions are also very beneficial for relieving anxiety.
  • Reminder to Change – A lot of anxiety is self-sustaining, and many people fall into habits that make their anxiety worse. Prayer is consistent, and serves as a reminder to never fall back into any habits that fuel anxiety further.
  • Trust in Someone Else – Prayer also shows that you’re placing trust in your future. Prayer is about making sure you don’t fear the future. Since most anxiety is based on uncertainty, prayer both provides that certainty and reduces that fear of the unknown, because it acts as a reminder that God is with you.

Christianity is powerful enough itself to make an impact on your anxiety. But what makes prayer so special is that it has added benefits even beyond the belief itself. It’s a great tool to adopt to help you reduce your anxiety and make a real difference in your mental health.

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Meditation, Important Facts to Consider

English: Meditation

English: Meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Monique

Meditation can be practiced by anyone out there, because it is simple and inexpensive since it doesn’t call for any special equipment. It is also possible to meditate in wherever you are currently; being it the office, the bedroom or the bus.

In the simplest terms possible, meditation can be explained as a thorough or complete state of thoughtless awareness. In most cases, meditation is often seen as an act of sitting down quietly to relax and ponder but in real sense, meditation is a state of a reflective, deep peace, that can only happen when the mind is totally calm and still. When this happens, then it opens doors for inner transformation that can only take one to a higher level of awareness. This is how our true potential as humans is accomplished.

Contrary to what most people believe, meditation is not concentration. Concentration can be described as the endeavor to fix your attention on a given subject or object for a given period of time. Meditation can also not be described as loss of control because involuntary movements, voices, sound and colors are just some symptoms of loss of awareness and also signs that one has indeed lost control over some parts of himself.

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Exercises can also, not be described as meditation and neither can they be described as a mental effort. Postures and breathing may be part of meditating but do not necessarily represent it.

Meditation usually is effortless and since it leads to a state of thoughtless awareness, it can be a very effective form of stress relieve. It is therefore capable of improving the quality of life, while at the same time saving on resources that could have otherwise been directed to healthcare.

Other than relieving stress, meditation comes with other benefits and they include the following:

  • It helps gain a new perspective on stressful circumstances.
  • It helps in building new skills, that help in managing stress.
  • It increases self-awareness.
  • It helps one focus on the present.
  • It helps in reducing negative emotions.

Meditation also helps a lot when one is suffering from many health conditions and more so, if those are a result of stress. Health experts believe that the following illnesses can be improved through meditation:

  • Fatigue
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Asthma
  • Binge eating
  • Cancer
  • Depression

It is always wise to seek the advice of a renowned medical practitioner before using meditation, if you are suffering from any health condition; this is especially true where the condition happens to be mental, since meditation has been known to worsen such conditions.

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Monique Solares

Interested in alternative and holistic therapies,info, news, tips and resources in 19 different categories. Visit my website at :

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Victims Of Bullying At Increased Risk Of Anxiety Disorders And Depression Later On

Victims Of Bullying At Increased Risk Of Anxiety Disorders And Depression Later On (

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Compassion RX: The Many Health Benefits of Altruism

eo_gp1.jpg © Galina Pembroke

According to a 2004 University of Chicago survey of over 1300 people, women are more likely than men to feel empathy, and feelings of empathy and altruism are unrelated to financial status.(1) These finding may not surprise you. What is surprising is that these feelings have measurable benefits. Not only for the receiver but for the giver.

Increasing immunity through decreasing stress

Cleveland, Ohio’s The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love studies the benefits of altruism, which they define as “unselfish benevolent love.” Recently Esther M. Sternberg, a research professor who authored The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions (Freeman, 2001) wrote a paper for The Institute. In it she examined mechanisms by which altruistic love affects health, concluding that caring may suppress disease activity and activate immune response.(2)

Sternberg says that altruistic love may heal by decreasing or stopping stress. This is important. The stress-state produces terrible effects through both mind and body. The American Psychological Association states that “psychologists have long known that stress impacts our ability to fight infection.”(3) During stress the brain releases unhealthy chemicals and hormones. This affects our immune cell’s operation, reducing their ability to fight infection and inflammation.

Relaxation rewards

Improved immunity is only the first benefit of altruism. Sternberg says that “it is also possible that altruistic love might activate certain aspects of the ‘relaxation response ‘ in addition to blocking aspects of the stress response,”(4) The relaxation response is the opposite of the stress response. The stress response causes an increase in heart rate, stress hormone and blood pressure while slowing digestion. In contrast, the relaxation response allows our heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and hormonal levels to return to normal.

Pain relief

The relaxation from altruistic acts also helps the body stop pain. Allan Luks, the executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of Health, coined the expression “helper’s high.” This feeling mirrors the calm after a good workout. In the 1980’s, while working as executive director for New York’s Big Brothers Big Sisters, Luks surveyed thousands of volunteers about their experiences. From the results he theorized that helping people creates pain-killing endorphins.(5) Since then, multiple studies have supported Luk’s hypothesis.(6) One, published in 1998, found that this helpers high is healing. From two surveys with a total of 1746 participants, the Institute for the Advancement of Health concluded that helping-induced-relaxation was linked to pain relief, particularly in stress-related disorders. These include lupus, multiple sclerosis, voice loss and headaches.(7)

Good Feelings

The same surveys revealed that helping produces pleasant feelings and sensations. A majority of participants described these as physical and locatable. Half of the people writing about their experience described feeling high, warm and an increase in energy. This was most intense during touching or listening to someone. Remarkably, a majority of the study participants said these feelings would reoccur, although muted, when they remembered helping.(8 ) Many other studies have similar conclusions. A 2003 New Zealand study of 115 low-income older adults found that altruistic activity, in this case volunteering with a federally subsidized delivery program, predicted a positive mood. (9) The effects of altruism on a happy mood are well recognized throughout the medical world. Dr. Kathleen Hall, a world renowned expert in stress and founder of The Stress Institute, says that “altruism creates a physiological responses or ‘helpers high’ that makes people feel stronger and more energetic and counters harmful effects of stress.”(10)

Overall Mental Health

The combination of positive feelings and increased energy are conducive to overall mental health. This isn’t just self-evident; it’s studied. A 2003 study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that churchgoers who provided love, caring and support to others had better mental health than those who received their care.(11) Study researcher Carolyn Schwartz, ScD, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School explained: “The act of giving to someone else may have mental-health benefits because the very nature of focusing outside the self counters the self-focused nature of anxiety or depression.”(12) This outer-focus also leads to a change in how people perceive their quality of life. In medical terms, changing how quality of life is viewed is called response shift.(13) “These shifts are purported to lead to a renewed perspectiveon one’s life circumstances, such as one’s illness,stressors, or personal loss,” says Schwartz.(14)

However, she adds, giving beyond your resources is worse for mental health than not giving at all.


Stephanie Brown, evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan, studied elderly people involved in giving. Her study profiled 423 elderly couples for 5 years. She found that people who provided no help, either practical or emotional, were more than twice as likely to die than their altruistic peers. In contrast, those who received help had no longevity benefits. Helpees included friends, relatives and family.(15) The results of other studies on altruism’s effect on mortality are similar. In a study of 2,700 residents of Tecumseh, Michigan, researchers found that men who volunteered in their community were two and a half times less likely to die than non-volunteering men.(16)

Social Health

These social benefits of volunteering aren’t surprising. Luks, the man who coined the term “helpers high,” says that the pleasure of altruism mostly comes from being with others, noting that donating money doesn’t create the same results. Connecting with others is an aspect of altruism that is healthy on its own.(17) The Stress Institute’s founder, Dr. Kathleen Hall states: “Friendships are strong indicators of mental, physical and spiritual health. Friendship is not a luxury, but is essential to work-life balance and your health. Studies show that isolation decreases immune functioning and increases mortality risk.”(18 )

Spiritual Health

Dr. Hall mentioned spiritual health as an indicator of overall health, and it is. Altruism can work without spirituality, but spirituality cannot work without altruism. Altruism is involved in every moral religion and spirituality. Its health benefits are a wonderful ripple effect.

Deepening our spiritual and/or religious life includes developing altruism. In Transforming the Mind (2000, Thorsons) His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains that since we are all interconnected it makes sense to shift our focus outwards. “If you shift your focus from yourself to others, extend your concern to others, and cultivate the thought of caring for the well-being of others, then this will have the immediate effect of opening up your life and helping you to reach out,” he writes. The scholarly world echoes His Holiness’s view. Deborah R. Rhode, director for the Stanford Center on Ethics states: “For many individuals, charitable assistance is thus a way to express deeply felt values. Volunteers often attribute their contributions to desires to create a better society and to express religious beliefs or ethical principles such as commitment to civil liberties or racial equality.”(20)

Participating in a meaningful goal, connecting with others, and making a difference are wonderful reasons for giving our time and care. As long as it is a labor of love and not just labor we will absorb the benefits. If we have less pain, stress and disease, it is earned. And if in the process we live longer, it is more time for others, not just ourselves.


1. Preidt, Robert. Love for Others May Bring Rewards. 2004 ScoutNews. IVillage Updated 2007.,,wbnews_8t313hf2,00.html?ice=iv|wb|news,stoic

2. Sternberg, Esther M. Approaches to defining mechanisms by which altruistic love affects health The Institute for Research on Unlimited love. 2005.

3. STRESS AFFECTS IMMUNITY IN WAYS RELATED TO STRESS TYPE AND DURATION, AS SHOWN BY NEARLY 300 STUDIES. American Psychological Association. July 4, 2004. Revised 2007|wb|news,stoic

4. Approaches to defining mechanisms by which altruistic love affects health. Sternberg, Esther M. The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. Accessed April 11, 2007.

5. Jacobs, Gregg D. It is Healthier to Give Than to Receive. TrueStar Health. 2005.

6. Ibid

7. Lucs, Allan. Helper’s high: volunteering makes people feel good, physically and emotionallyPsychology Today, Oct, 1988

8. Ibid

9. Dunlin, PL, Hill, RD. Relationships between altruistic activity and positive and negative affect among low-income older adult service providers. Aging and Mental Health. 2003 Jul;7(4):294-9.

10. Hall, Kathleen. Stress Reducing Tips. The Stress Institute. 2005.

11. Schwartz, C., Psychosomatic Medicine, September/October 2003; vol 65. News release, Health Behavior News Service.

12. Schwartz et al. Altruistic Social Interest Behaviors Are Associated With Better Mental Health Psychosomatic Medicine 65:778-785 (2003) © 2003 American Psychosomatic Society.

13. Ring et al. Response shift masks the treatment impact on patient reported outcomes (PROs): the example of individual quality of life in edentulous patients. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2005, 3:55

14. Schwartz et al. Altruistic Social Interest Behaviors Are Associated With Better Mental Health Psychosomatic Medicine 65:778-785 (2003) © 2003 American Psychosomatic Society.

15. Swanbrow, Diane. People who give, live longer, IRS study shows. The University Record Online. November 18,2002.

16. Pain relief: Jacobs, Gregg D. Clinical Applications of the Relaxation Response and Mind-Body Interventions. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Dec 2001, Vol. 7, No. supplement 1: 93-101

17. Lucs, Allan. Helper’s high: volunteering makes people feel good, physically and emotionallyPsychology Today, Oct, 1988.

18. Hall, Kathleen. Stress Reducing Tips. The Stress Institute. 2005.

19. Lama, Dalai HH. Altruism. Excerpt from Transforming the Mind. UK:Thorsons. 2000.

20. Rhode, Deborah. Altruism and Hurricane Katrina: Lessons For and From the Public’s Response to Social Needs. Standford Center on Ethics. 2005.

~ ~ ~

Galina Pembroke was an internationally published writer specializing in health. She passed away on September 12, 2009 at the young age of 34 after a very brief illness.

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Authenticity – Why people arent themselves and what that costs them

Diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs via Wikipedia

by: Bella Enahoro

Why should you be yourself? The simple answer is ‘because everyone else is taken’ – it’s both the simple answer and an accurate answer. The important question is ‘why are we not ourselves?’ What is the pay off for not being ourselves? Ahhh, now we’re talking.

To begin with, what would cause us to not want to be ourselves? For some of us, we may have been raised in environments where it was dangerous to be who we are. Even as adults we may be working in environments that demand that we be other than who we are in order to ensure job security. So we conclude, I have to be other than I am to get what I want i.e. love, safety, income etc.

We may have learned to believe ‘who I am is not good enough to be loved, guaranteed safety, approved of’. We may have been told ‘who you are is not worth treating well’. We may have learned ‘who you are is not good enough to meet my standards for ‘being good enough’. We may become convinced that we are less than we should be.

When we feel not good enough what happens to our lives? We end up putting things on hold until we feel we ‘deserve’ by becoming good enough. We spend so much time striving to feel that we’re good enough. Have I accomplished enough, am I good looking enough, is my car big/fast/exclusive enough, is my job title high enough, do I have enough awards to be good enough? Exhausting isn’t it?

Self worth and authenticity are intrinsically linked. The worth we have in our own eyes, a sense of worth not built on acquisition, job title, appearance, credentials – is the only worth, worth living out of. How many of us realise that we have an intrinsic worth greater than anything on the outside? If we go through life with a sense of being deficient then we are motivated to acquire value – the things that others value in the world then become our aim in life. I may not be good enough in and of myself but look what I’ve got, becomes our calling card.

Sooner or later, things fall apart, if we’re lucky. It can take many forms e.g we can lose everything we spent our whole lives accruing or we meet someone or a situation who places no value on our ‘social bling’. We run helter skelter trying to get them to ‘see’ us as our bling or we go somewhere else. But there’s a crack in the tea cup. When it finally breaks open, our break down becomes our breakthrough.

We begin to look for another way. What we’ve been looking for is a way to feel good about who we are, under all circumstance. We don’t always realise it at first since there’s much howling in pain and hanging onto fast disappearing ‘bling’.

The breakthrough cracks us wide open and everything we’ve been taught is ‘wrong’ with us, all the things we’ve been taught make us ‘not good enough’ stare us in the face. Excruciating at first but if we stay, refuse to take flight, we can transform. Now begins the re-acquainting ourselves with the ‘real’ us, all of it.

There are many transformation technologies from journaling, meditation, prayer, walking, body work, sound, vibrational healing. We tend to gravitate towards one that works for us. Soon the pain subsides, loses its edge. We don’t feel so raw. Our lives may be in shambles around us but we can stand to be alive and increasingly we can stand to be ourselves. We live in a time of infinite help with wonderful teachers who can assist us in moving out of our debris; emotional, psychological and spiritual.

Not being who we are, may be something we picked up at our beginning but was never a part of our being and we need not continue with it.

November’s LiveWell Audio features Sarah Ban Breathnach who guides the listener on a journey to reclaim our authentic selves and the beauty of the life we can create from our ‘real’ selves.

About The Author:  Bella Enahoro is the founder of a Motivational company that helps individuals,non-profits and companies improve their lives, build communities, profts and positive impact. Visit her website for the latest on audiobooks, downloads and articles on self-help, personal growth, professional development and spirituality.

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Moving Through Breakdowns With Transformation

articles_mtbd.jpgCopyright © Harry Henshaw, Ed.D., LMHC. All rights reserved. 

Success in recovery, or rather, staying in recovery, is dependent upon a variety of factors. For example, it appears that attending daily NA or AA meetings and staying in communication with ones chosen sponsor will definitely assist an individual in successfully implementing his recovery plan. Getting and staying committed to working the 12 Step Program also appears to increase the probability of the person staying abstinent from drugs and alcohol. While the above-mentioned elements of a persons overall recovery plan are crucial to his recovery, another major factor that will greatly influence an individual’s continued abstinence is how he is able to handle the breakdowns that happen in life.

Knowing about breakdowns, what they are and how to manage them, is absolutely necessary for one to stay committed to his recovery plan. Breakdowns are what brought an individual into treatment and eventually created the space for him to begin his recovery. Breakdowns also happen while a person is in treatment and will continue to take place after he leaves. Even after successfully completing a treatment program, breakdowns are almost certain to happen as one returns to the community from which he came. In fact, both the client and his counselor should expect breakdowns to occur after treatment. It is for this reason that knowledge of the structure of breakdowns and how to transform them is very important if not crucial for the individual wanting recovery.

What are breakdowns? Experientially breakdowns start to occur when an event or events happen that the individual believes should not happen or ought to happen differently than how they take place. As a result the individual starts to feel frustrated, angry, disappointed or even sad about what is happening in his life. Inside these types of emotions the person starts to become resentful, creating a story about the event and to which he will eventually begin to blame, be it other people, places, things, situations or circumstances for that which is appearing. A breakdown eventuates into a relapse when the individual believes that his experience is intolerable, feels inadequate with respect as to how to handle it and chooses to use drugs or alcohol to reduce the emotional component of that he is experiencing. In this case, a breakdown and ones inability to transform it leads directly to relapse.

Inside the work of transformational counseling, the process of enrollment will assist the individual in becoming authentic where he was being inauthentic and also allow that person to stay in his recovery. Enrollment is the third component of transformational counseling the utilization of which allows the individual to again move out of his self-limiting belief and back into being his created possibilities. When one begins to experience a breakdown he has gone back into being his self-limiting belief. Their will be the pretense of what is happening and that which is again hidden from him hence the created inauthenticity. The technology of the enrollment process allows the individual the ability to transform the experience by being authentic and as a result regaining his power and freedom through being his possibilities. Utilization of the process of enrollment as with transformation itself is a practice that requires a great deal of commitment. As with any skill the structure of enrollment is taught and it is in communication with the persons coach or even sponsor that its implementation is brought forth into the individual’s life.

The first component of enrollment has to do with recognizing when one is in a breakdown. The key to such awareness is to be found in how the individual is feeling about what is happening in his life at any one moment. There are many times in our lives where we do not stop to monitor or become present to how we are feeling. Sometimes we have a tendency to merely ignore or move away from how we are feeling about something or someone. Breakdowns have certain emotions attached to their design. Those most common are emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, frustration and sadness. The first part of utilizing the enrollment process is to monitor ones feeling state, to become present to how one is feeling and to do so to the point that it becomes part of ones very way of being in the world. Learning how to stay aware of ones emotional state is crucial to being able to successfully transform the breakdown experience that is being created.

The second component has to do with becoming present to the story that the person is creating with respect to the breakdown. While the emotional state of the individual is very important to become aware of, listening to the story that he is creating is also equally of importance. Within a conversation of transformation, every emotion is created by a thought. When there are negative emotions present in a person’s life as he is experiencing a breakdown there are also corresponding thoughts taking place. The thoughts that are taking place will appear as a story in the person’s mind. Within a breakdown the story will be other oriented, involving external people, places, things, circumstance or situations. Within the structure of the story, inherent to it, will be the belief that the external events are the real or true cause of how the person is feeling. It is with these thoughts that the breakdown and inauthentic way of being exists, a pretense that it is about another, hiding what it is truly about. As mentioned above, blame and resentment will eventually result. Becoming present to the story is vital if one is not to impulsively act upon it and as a result bring its destructive consequences into existence with respect to his life. Becoming present or an observer to ones story is crucial to transforming a breakdown.

The third component involves becoming present to ones self-limiting belief, to the source, to that which actually created the breakdown. Becoming present to ones self limiting belief, to that which has determined ones life up until the process of transformation began to take place, is the first component in the process of transformational counseling. Even though the distinction of ones self-limiting belief will create the space for the person to begin to create his life anew, it does not go away, become fixed or get cured. The self-limiting belief, much like a virus that has appeared in the human body, continues to exist. As with any idea that we have or create about us, it is also a way of being. We be or exist by what we think and more specifically by what we think about ourselves. What we are familiar with is being our self-limiting belief in the world. It is familiar for us to think and feel that the world is more powerful and real than we are and furthermore, that it is something that must be controlled and even survived. We will eventually experience a breakdown given our sense of inadequacy with respect to the world as this is how we have been in the community in the past. However, once the self-limiting belief is again distinguished the inauthenticity begins to weaken or be dissolved.

The fourth component of enrollment involves creating a possibility inside the breakdown experience. This act of creation can be to invent a new possibility or enroll oneself back into a person’s previously chosen possibilities. Creating possibilities for ones life is the second component of transformational counseling. However, once we get it that we are being our self limiting belief, that the source of the breakdown is the self limiting belief and not that which the story tends convey, it is at that moment that we can generate a possibility to be at that moment, a possibility to stand inside given the breakdown experience. It is by generating a possibility by our spoken word that the experience itself will transform. The breakdown only happens because of who we are being. It is by causing a possibility to come into existence through our word that the inauthentic way of being completely dissolves and with it the breakdown itself. It is with the creation of a possibility that the person’s power and freedom are once again restored.

The final component of the enrollment technology is acknowledgement. Once the experience is transformed it is important for a person to get the victory that his possibility has made for himself and his life, to acknowledge the difference of such a victory. Acknowledgement is about getting how the created or invented possibility has transformed the breakdown from what it was to that which is truly a breakthrough for the individual, especially with respect to the event or experience occurring. Acknowledgement is about getting the power of our word for allowing us to transform breakdowns into breakthroughs, to once again become our possibilities. It is this acknowledgement that strengthens ones process of transformation leaving the person’s power, freedom and self-expression fully restored. Acknowledgement is about standing in ones possibility, celebrating ones power and freedom having given up being a victim.

The practice of enrollment will make a difference for the person wanting recovery. Applying the technology of enrollment will enable the person to transform a breakdown when it happens and as a result avoid the destructive and possibly even lethal consequences that would have happened as a result of staying in a breakdown. For the individual in recovery, staying in a breakdown only increases the chances that he will turn to drugs and/or alcohol to reduce the emotional component of a breakdown. Staying in a breakdown as opposed to being able to transform tends to lead to relapse. Clients at the Holistic Addiction Treatment Program in North Miami Beach, Florida are taught to distinguish their self-limiting belief, create new possibilities for their life and furthermore, how to utilize the power of enrollment technology. The success of utilizing enrollment and even recovery itself, especially in the early stages of sobriety, will necessitate the person staying in contact with his sponsor or counselor especially when breakdowns happen. It is only in communication with another that the individual will continue to be his possibilities in life.

Harry Henshaw, Ed.D., LMHC

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Mysticism and the Idea of Sainthood, Part 4: Saints and Medical Science

Copyright © Michael W. Clark 2008.
All rights reserved.

This is Part of a series.

Part 1 » One or Many?

Part 2 » Mysticism, Science and Politics

Part 3 » Different Interpretations

From a psychoanalytic perspective, the Freudian would say that alleged spiritual visions are fantasies stemming from the libido.

That is, the sex instinct simply attaches itself to an imagined object.

Similarly, the staunch materialist would contend that spiritual visions are mere hallucinations stemming from inner psychological states.

There is no heaven, hell nor afterlife for the materialist. Religion merely comforts weak-willed individuals thwarted by a mysterious and oftentimes harsh world.

Saints and Medical Science

Historically speaking, some of the saints might seem a bit destructive, uncompromising and obsessive.

Consider self-flagellation, hair shirts and St. Thomas More who had six Lutherans burned at the stake for heresy before he, himself, succumbed to the executioner for not sanctioning Henry VIII’s divorce.

What a mess.

In retrospect alleged saintliness and perhaps even some instances of martyrdom might seem pretty neurotic and more like the clash of rigid, judgmental personalities than some kind of holy ideal to be emulated.

If the saints of old could walk through a time machine to the present, some might seem barbarous, sadomasochistic or even insane.

But one thing is certain–because each saint lived in a distinct cultural setting, each met with a unique form of interpersonal and cultural misunderstanding and, in many cases, unspeakable oppression.

Not a few saints were taken as witches and devil-worshipers.

Joan of Arc, for instance, was condemned by an ecclesiastical court and tragically burned at the stake only to be found innocent by the Holy See 24 years later. And nearly 500 hundred years after her death she was canonized–that is, officially bestowed the status of sainthood.

As to whether some of the historical saints were psychologically disordered – or partly so – is a complex, arguably culture-bound question.

Critics of psychiatry say that aspects of this developing science are tantamount to a cultural weather vane, responding to transitory legal, economic and political influences. This kind of critique opens up debate as to the meaning of biological, psychological, social and spiritual normalcy.

One historical example favored among some anti-psychiatry and gay rights activists has to do with the psychiatric conceptualization and treatment of homosexuality.

The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) classification of homosexuality changed in 1973. Until that time homosexuality was construed as a disorder.  In 1972 a homosexual likely would have undergone extensive therapy in an attempt to change his or her sexual orientation to the supposedly healthy norm defined by the APA.

But in 1973, not so. Suddenly it was psychologically normal to be a homosexual.1

And one only has to consider psychiatry in Nazi Germany for an extreme example of cultural forces influencing the supposedly objective medical sciences.

Contemporary medical professionals are fully aware that this or subtler form of this dynamic could recur.2

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that some pharmaceutical corporations allegedly have used uneducated, impoverished people in underdeveloped countries as human guinea pigs for potentially dangerous drug testing.3

It’s hardly surprising that prominent intellectuals like Michel Foucault, Thomas Szasz and R. D. Laing question the very concepts of mental health and illness, while the psychiatrist C. G. Jung tries to redefine the issue within an apparently natural-cum-spiritual agenda of “achieving wholeness.”

More recently, the Czech psychiatrist Stanislav Grof envisions intense personal crises as “spiritual emergencies” that are best handled with holistically informed care.

Often, those episodes hold a powerful healing potential if understood and accompanied correctly. They are what we call a spiritual emergency.4


Where does all this this leave us? Are saints simply sick people hiding from the world or are they sublime seekers pointing to a greater reality?

The previous Parts 1-4 attempt to situate mysticism and the idea of sainthood within a contemporary cultural matrix.

In today’s world, a bona fide saint might be faced with unique challenges. He or she might be mishandled by an incompetent doctor, priest or insensitive friends and family members.

Historically, we’ve seen the unfortunate dynamic where family, friends and associates become angry and embarrassed, even hostile toward a potential saint. Two outstanding Catholic saints, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi, for example, were both temporarily imprisoned by their families in a misguided attempt to prevent them from pursuing essentially spiritual vocations.

And as noted, Joan of Arc was condemned to the flames and we have no reason to believe that similar, if perhaps subtler, dynamics couldn’t happen today.

As medical, religious and legal dialogue continues as to how alleged visionaries and saints are to be best handled in contemporary society, we would be wise to remember that in his own day even Jesus Christ was occasionally thought to be mad and demon-possessed (John 8:49).

And some still say that he was.

This might, in part, be due to the fact that it’s not always easy to live the Christian message as related in the New Testament.

Rethinking the idea of personal empowerment and allowing God to be our primary source of power and joy can be challenging, especially if success is measured solely through the lens of the immediately visible.

1 Meanwhile, the Catholic Church continues to regard sexual activity such as masturbation, homosexuality, contraception and unmarried sex as fundamentally disordered, opposing medical mores in these areas.

2 Milgram’s famous experiment suggests that even good people do bad things in certain circumstances. And Festinger’s research indicates that when compelled to lie some people actually start to believe in their untruths in an attempt to eradicate so-called ‘cognitive dissonance.’

3 BBC online News (South Asia): “Drug Trials Outsourced to India,” 22 April, 2006.

4 Dr. Stanislav Grof cited by Nadine Kreisberger, “Mystic Musings” in The Indian Express, 18 March, 2008.


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