Choosing Peace

From “A Thought for Each Day” The Golden Present by Swami Satchidananda, the amazing Yoga Master who opened Woodstock in 1969 setting the stage for peace:

Choosing Peace

When anything comes to you, first ask yourself, “Will I be maintaining my peace by getting this, or will my peace be disturbed?” Ask that for everything. People you would like to be with, possessions you would like to acquire. It doesn’t matter what you want to do; strike that against the touchstone of peace. “Will this rob me of my peace?” If the answer is “Yes, you must choose peace or the other thing,” you should always choose peace. If the answer is, “My peace will not be disturbed by it,” okay, you can have that and still have your peace. That should be our aim.

Wise words. Think about the next time you’re ready to hit send on a controversial email, whether it is in business or your personal life. Is it biased, is it political, is it religious? Any of these may be okay. But take it a step further by asking yourself if this will disturb your peace in some way. If the answer is yes, save it as a draft and think on it a bit more. If it is something on social media, save your post or reply for a later time or day. Set a reminder in your phone.

Life is choices. It’s helpful to choose wisely for your serenity!

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Is Less Really More?

My mom quoted this saying often and there is substance in it. Throughout our lives we acquire things. Fancy kitchen gadgets, shoes, electronic devices, clothes, perfumes/colognes, cute things, practical things….you get the picture. We think we need them and that they make some aspect of life easier. But do they really? All of them? There was a time when we left our homes without a phone and the world didn’t come to an end. There was also a time when there were only a few bottled water choices, a few coffee choices, limited TV channels to watch and no trophies for sports competitions we didn’t win. There was a time when there were only board/card games to play until Atari became the rage. Do these changes define us? Have these things made us better humans? Do we communicate better with technology or has it removed something in the way we interact with others? Has more made us less?

Note: The 30.3+ million IT and computer systems in the world account for approximately 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions making them a formidable opponent in managing climate change. This is expected to double in 5 years according to the Worldwatch Institute.

To DIY or not…

I’ll admit it. I’m into DIY (Do it Yourself). Not the kind of DIY projects that take a long time or require me to read endless directions. More straightforward stuff. It started with household decor, but has moved into the use of natural products replacing store bought. I’ve become somewhat of a formulations fanatic. Yes, mixing stuff, trying this, testing that. It’s fun to me and sometimes I decide I like my new formulation better than the store bought, trademarked product.

Some of my successes are homemade: laundry detergent, glass/surface cleaner, deodorant, eye make up remover, bug repellent, skin softeners, etc. Not everything is successful. The fabric softener was weak. I need to work that out. But I feel a sense of accomplishment in successfully replacing with alternatives, many of them natural. What’s your guilty pleasure?

 

If you’re interested in trying any of my formulations, just comment on this blog post.

Some home ingredients

Some home ingredients

Overcome Fear

Fear is commonly interpreted as negative and uncomfortable. It can be. But it doesn’t have to be. Facing that fear may be just what is necessary to grow and to learn. Some fear and nerves are good. Physically, they keep the body and mind alert. There are nerves when we care deeply about something or someone.There’s “skin in the game” and the stakes are high. Fear brings about a call to action and puts us into achievement mode. It’s good to feel it, experience it and then take the lead in controlling it.

But how to keep those fears from overtaking us is another story. We need to get in touch with our thoughts so they don’t overtake us and gain control of our breathing/heart rate. Nerves can set the body and mind into a tailspin to where there is no way back if uncontrolled. Positive thought repetitions work very well. Adopt a mantra like “I believe in myself” or “I can do this.” A mantra when repeated can remove the mind chatter. Next time you hear your mind speaking negative thoughts, replace them with a good mantra.

Here are a few by Tony Robbins, Life Coach. Go!

morningaffirmations

Getting the Most from Conferences

Whether it is your first conference or your twenty first, there is a level of excitement and anticipation of the big event. Who will I meet? What new gems will help build my skill sets?

Learning from the process along the way builds strong, deep character. The people we meet and how we present ourselves and our work is game changing. So it’s good to have a plan for each conference. The plan doesn’t need to be anything formal. Just some forethought.

It might take a few readings of materials to understand the flow of the conference day/s. If the selection of workshops or sessions is intricate, print the options in order to read through everything thoroughly and highlight or underline interests and choices. It helps to have a first choice and a back up choice. Learn the rules to know if it is acceptable to move between sessions during session time.

Plan your information management ahead of time. Decide how you’re taking notes. Whether it is recording notes in a notebook, laptop, tablet or phone. Often handouts are given and it can be helpful to take notes on the handouts or take a picture of the handout with a smart phone for use later.

If there are people you know you would like to meet, make a list of them. If you are going to their sessions, you’ll know who to look for later. If you’re not, you might need the assistance of a conference volunteer to point them out to you.

Have an exit strategy. There will be many people to talk to and it is important to maximize time. Whether it is “Excuse me I need to find the rest room” or “Excuse me I need to locate a person I’ve been wanting to introduce myself to,” all of these help the day run a little smoother and help accomplish goals.

Wear comfortable, but professional clothing and shoes. Dress in layers. Conferences often have issues with heat and cooling so it helps to have options.

Your conference experience is what you make of it. Approach conferences with an open mind and a willingness to learn and you never know what possibilities will open up.

 

 

WE

It’s hard to ignore the barrage of negativity in the media: ISIS…EBOLA…ASSAULT…ANIMAL CRUELTY. Some people are counteracting these images and information with those more positive, like flowers, for example. But, really, what does it all mean? We mostly choose what we see and hear. And in doing so, we filter that information as it relates to us and who we are. Is it something we can understand on a deeper level? Is it something we can change in some way? Or is it something we merely use as fodder in conversations during the course of our days. The common denominator is WE. We make the choice.

If you don’t think you can make a difference, you might be surprised. I recently learned the term “slacktivism.” [i] It is essentially activism where you don’t leave your home. This is contributing toward causes, signing petitions, forwarding petitions, etc. And, there is this one man in India who does a little bit each day to save his island and it has made a huge difference. If you have some time to watch, check out what a visionary he is at this link below:

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/short-film-showcase/india-man-plants-forest-bigger-than-central-park-to-save-his-island?source=relatedvideo

Like the cliché “little things can mean a lot,” the little things can go a long way.

[i]  Can Slacktivism lead to Activism; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-geoffrey-a-mitelman/can-slacktivism-lead-to-a_b_5946986.html

 

Flaunt your flaws

 

Flaunt your flaws. Well, not precisely. But maybe consider not hiding them. What do you consider flaws? What you might think is a flaw, another person might think is an asset. It’s all in the name of perception.
You might think a boisterous, outgoing person has a gift. They might perceive it as a flaw. I’ve always admired straight hair, yet most of my straight-haired friends perceive that differently. I spent days trying to figure out how to hide red circles on my legs that are part of a benign skin condition. I figured I would either use tanning cream or wear only long pants. Then I got to looking around a little. I saw all kinds of legs. Legs with big bruises, legs with scars, legs with red veins, legs with purple veins, legs with big scratches and legs with large tattoos. It got me thinking. What WAS the purpose of putting so much effort into hiding these circles. Because one person asked me what was wrong? I should have just responded with, ” Yep, they’re my circles. See, I can connect them.” Aren’t there more important things in life to think about rather than trying to gloss over perceived flaws?

 

Circles

Circles

Gifted

It struck me while watching the astonishingly talented cast of the Broadway show, Matilda, that these young children are so lucky to have found their gift at an early age. That’s not to say that one day they might just decide they’re ready to move on from performing. Or, decide they just want to be regular kids and do school shows and community theater. But to have pinpointed their talent is so fortunate. It can take people their whole lives before figuring out what their gifts are.  And don’t even try thinking you don’t have one, because we all do! If you’re thinking that, then it is simply up to you to make it your personal mission to find your gift. Now it doesn’t have to be acting or singing. You may have a knack for being funny and making people laugh. Or you might be a person that is so patient that when everyone else has given up on something, you’re still hanging in there. Gifts come in many different forms. And they’re not always obvious. Challenge yourself to find your gift. Take classes, try something new. Once you know what your gift is, use it as much as possible. Let that be your gift to the world.

My mother was a gifted teacher. She never stopped educating children in regular classes as well as children with special needs.

My mother was a gifted teacher. She never stopped educating children in regular classes as well as children with special needs.

Your Peace

Winter isn’t over. But it’s the first sunny day above fifty degrees and it feels great. The snow is melting, the birds are calling and it is the perfect day to open windows and take a walk at last.  My cat is sunning himself on the couch, purring very loudly, yet completely at peace. His biggest worry is an occasional dog chasing where both dogs double team him, but that is of no consequence right now. His whiskers twitch rhythmically in time with his loud purrs. He rolls onto his back to warm his belly in the sun. All four paws in the air and he is at peace. It seems so easy. And it should be, but that isn’t always the case. Where is peace in a busy, connected world? Do you have a spot in the sun or a bright spot in your world?