Archive for November, 2012

Gratitude | Excerpt from Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

“Imagine an ox’s yoke adrift / On the vast ocean and a turtle
Happening to poke its head / Through the hole—
This is how rare / And extraordinary it is to
Be born a human being.”
—Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam

GRATITUDE DOESN’T REQUIRE a particular faith or religious practice, but just simple feelings of genuine thankfulness for who you are, what you have, and where you are in your life. Gratitude is an act of integrity without negativity, judgment, or static. It is a loving mindset and perspective. It has been well documented that an attitude of gratitude lends itself to better overall mental and physical health.

Living with a heart full of gratitude, generosity, and joy creates a full life—one of constant blessings and grace. Gratitude changes your energy. As you express heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the universe, you create an optimal vibration that aligns with Source energy and, in turn, attracts more blessings, grace, and abundance into your life. Your goal must be to double-triplequadruple the amount of time you have spent in your life up until now in a state of heartfelt gratitude. It is astounding how the consistent vibration of energy at this high frequency level can transform your life. When times are tough, or you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, transcend the moment by giving heartfelt thanks for some other aspect of your life. This simple act changes your mindset while purifying and heightening your energy.

The energy of gratitude and love are as close as humans can get to Source energy. Gratitude is a direct exchange of love and thankfulness between you and the universe, and is an essential aspect of Living with Certainty. By being thankful to the universe for what you have and what you are about to receive, you acknowledge your unwavering faith that something out there is working out of pure love on your behalf.

Use your first waking moments each day to be thankful for your breath and your life. Use this time to vibrate the high frequency energies that you intend to fill your day. Don’t squander this brief and essential time by jumping into thinking, planning, and worrying about mundane activities. There will always be time for that. Instead, meet the new day with a fresh, blank slate of gratitude-laden, highvibrational energy emanating from the sweet clarity with which you awaken.

Up until now you may have taken your life’s difficult circumstances into consideration and felt that you have little for which to be grateful. However, if you are truly to transition your mind and your life through Living with Certainty, you must spend as much of your time as possible in the high-vibrational state of gratitude. Quite simply, not appreciating your life is devaluing it. Remain cognizant every day of the big and little things that make you smile, lighten your load, teach you a lesson, or bring a fleeting feeling of joy. The only way to make gratitude a fundamental aspect of your being is to heighten your awareness and develop the habit of expressing thanks for your life in its entirety, just as it exists today.

No matter how bad you may think your circumstances are, someone always has it worse than you, and life can be taken from you in the blink of an eye. Anything this fragile and fleeting must be cared for, revered, and appreciated. The more you accept and internalize this fact, the more gratitude you will express for who you are and what you have today.

There are many things to be grateful for—the smiles and greetings of strangers; books and music; the warm afternoon sun; the renewal and safety of last night’s sleep; the warmth of your fireplace; the magnificence of a ripe, summer peach; the shade of a tree on a hot day; pure drinking water; your child’s safety; the love of friends; the walk you took through the park; the hummingbird that fluttered by your hanging pot; the learning that came from a difficult circumstance; freedom; and so on. As simple as some of these things are, never take them for granted. Millions of people around the world do not have the most basic of these things.

Harm No One | Excerpt from Living with Certainty

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

“What is the greatest power? The greatest power is the Creator. But if you want to know the greatest strength, that is gentleness.” —Leon Shenandoah

The people who make you the angriest can serve as your most influential teachers. These heated exchanges carry great potential for learning and enlightenment, because being easily offended and oversensitive are self-limiting soft spots. These moments test you. You must rise to the occasion and respond with self-respect and dignity, while respecting the others who are involved. This requires taking the time to listen and being empathetic. Always remember that you are in control of your responses, both external and internal.

Living with Certainty requires that you learn to avoid conflict and confrontation by taking a different approach—one that doesn’t hurt others. This takes discipline and restraint, but a significant internal shift takes place when you stop seeing people as being merely human, and begin to see them first as souls.

Making fun of others seems to make some people feel better about their own deficiencies. By finding fault with others, gossiping, and being judgmental, you are being destructive to yourself and others, adding static to your energy vibrations. Remember that you have no idea where others are in their own spiritual journeys, or what it is they need to learn.

Michael Berg, the ordained Rabbi, Kabbalah scholar, and noted spiritual leader, said, “Most of us don’t give much thought to the things we say. We assume that once we’ve said something, it’s over and done with. Spiritually, this is not true. Words are energy and they live on.” Berg maintains that if you’re in a foul mood and just aren’t sure why, you should consider your energy level and karma. Have you done something to harm, hurt, or criticize someone, thereby lowering your own vibrational frequency level? When you don’t apologize or act contritely, this negative energy sticks with you and remains dense and low-vibrating. Anytime you discuss the shortcomings of others, you rouse damaging, negative forces within yourself, so limit your focus to the good. Never say anything behind someone else’s back that you wouldn’t say in front of them.

There is no peace, gratitude, or joy in rage. If you engage in these behaviors—even when feeling provoked—you lower your energy and are not living with certainty. The equation is quite simple: When you hurt others, you hurt yourself and lower your vibrational frequency; when you love others, you love yourself and raise your vibrational frequency.

Responding to Your Anger

Rather than argue with someone, make an effort to be calm and eventoned. Explain your position, without getting caught up in proving you’re right. People who lash out and engage in conflict, or who speak to you with disrespect probably don’t respect themselves. Release the expectation that they will behave differently, and remind yourself that nothing about this person’s viewpoint or existence is needed to validate any aspect of your life. Then step back and lower your emotional level by objectively considering what it is that you’re meant to learn from this challenging encounter. Keep in mind that at the soul-level we are all connected, and the other person is in need of compassion.

It’s easy to get defensive when you feel that you are being unfairly attacked, but it’s lazy to give into anger. Slow down and breathe. Instead of reacting, hold yourself in the moment and experience it. If you can excuse yourself to go sit with stillness, meditate, or practice your Sacred Sevens, by all means, do so. Allow feelings of interconnectivity and empathy to arouse your compassion. If you can, you’ll be able to continue to communicate in a healthy manner.You may also find it remarkably helpful to force yourself to think a kind thought about this person. You’ll immediately notice that this simple act raises your vibrational level, calms you down, and makes you feel better, putting you in a more productive mindset to diffuse the situation.

When you are kind and loving, you naturally meet a more loving environment. When you are stressed and hostile, you meet a stressed and hostile environment. This is karma and applies to everything you put out there into the world. You’ll get more of what you give.

Ten Actions ALL Parents Can Take to Help Eliminate Bullying

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

From Education.com -

The latest research shows that one in three children are directly involved in bullying as a perpetrator, victim, or both. And many of those who are not directly involved witness others being bullied on a regular basis. No child is immune—kids of every race, gender, grade and socio-economic sector are impacted. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As parents we have the power to help reduce bullying. Here are Education.com’s top ten actions you can take to help address bullying:

  1. Talk with and listen to your kids—everyday. Research shows that adults are often the last to know when children are bullied or bully others. You can encourage your children to buck that trend by engaging in frequent conversations about their social lives. Spend a few minutes every day asking open ended questions about who they spend time with at school and in the neighborhood, what they do in between classes and at recess, who they have lunch with, or what happens on the way to and from school. If your children feel comfortable talking to you about their peers before they’re involved in a bullying event, they’ll be much more likely to get you involved after.
  2. Spend time at school and recess. Research shows that 67% of bullying happens when adults are not present. Schools don’t have the resources to do it all and need parents’ help in reducing bullying. Whether you can volunteer once a week or once a month, you can make a real difference just by being present and helping to organize games and activities that encourage kids to play with new friends. Be sure to coordinate your on-campus volunteer time with your child’s teacher and/or principal.
  3. Be a good example of kindness and leadership. Your kids learn a lot about power relationships from watching you. When you get angry at a waiter, a sales clerk, another driver on the road, or even your child, you have a great opportunity to model effective communication techniques. Don’t blow it by blowing your top! Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way, you’re teaching your child that bullying is OK.
  4. Learn the signs. Most children don’t tell anyone (especially adults) that they’ve been bullied. It is therefore important for parents and teachers to learn to recognize possible signs of being victimized, such as frequent loss of personal belongings, complaints of headaches or stomachaches, avoiding recess or school activities, and getting to school very late or very early. If you suspect that a child might be being bullied, talk with the child’s teacher or find ways to observe his peer interactions to determine whether or not your suspicions might be correct. Talk directly to your child about what is going on at school.
  5. Create healthy anti-bullying habits early. Help develop anti-bullying and anti-victimization habits early in your children—as early as preschool and      kindergarten. Coach your children on what not to do—hitting, pushing, teasing, “saying na-na-na-na-na,” or being mean to others. Help your child to focus on how such actions might feel to the child on the receiving end (e.g., “How do you think you would feel if that happened to you?”). Such strategies can enhance empathy for others. Equally if not more important, teach your children what to do—kindness, empathy, fair play, and turn-taking are critical skills for good peer relations. Children also need to learn how to say “no” firmly if they experience or witness bullying behavior. Coach your child about what to do if other kids are mean—get an adult right away, tell the child who is teasing or bullying to “stop,” walk away, ignore the bully and find someone else to play with. It may help to role play what to do with your child. And repetition helps: go over these techniques periodically with your kindergarten and early elementary school aged children.
  6. Help your child’s school address bullying effectively. Whether your children have been bullied or not, you should know what their school is doing to address bullying. Research shows that “zero-tolerance” policies aren’t effective. What works better are ongoing educational programs that help create a healthy social climate in the school. This means teaching kids at every      grade level how to be inclusive leaders and how to be empathic towards others and teaching victims effective resistance techniques. If your school does not have effective bullying strategies and policies in place, talk to the principal and advocate for change.
  7. Establish household rules about bullying. Your children need to hear from you explicitly that it’s not normal, OK, or tolerable for them to bully, to be bullied, or to stand by and just watch other kids be bullied. Make sure they know that if they are bullied physically, verbally, or socially (at school, by a sibling, in your neighborhood, or online) it’s safe and important for them to tell you about it—and that you will help. They also need to know just what bullying is (many children do not know that they are bullying others), and that such behavior is harmful to others and not acceptable. You can help your children find positive ways to exert their personal power, status, and leadership at school. Work with your child, their teachers, and their principal to implement a kindness plan at school.
  8. Teach your child how to be a good witness or positive bystander. Research shows that kids who witness bullying feel powerless and seldom intervene. However, kids who take action can have a powerful and positive effect on the situation. Although it’s never a child’s responsibility to put him or herself in danger, kids can often effectively diffuse a bullying situation by yelling “Stop! You’re bullying” or “Hey, that’s not cool.” Kids can also help each other by providing support to the victim, not giving extra attention to the bully, and/or reporting what they witnessed to an adult.
  9. Teach your child about cyberbullying. Children often do not realize what cyberbullying is. Cyberbullying includes sending mean, rude, vulgar, or threatening messages or images; posting sensitive, private information about another person; pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad; and intentionally excluding someone from an online group. These acts are as harmful as physical violence and must not be tolerated. We know from research that the more time a teen spends online, the more likely they are to be cyberbullied—so limit online time. There’s a simple litmus test you can teach your children about online posting: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face or you would not feel comfortable having your parents see it—don’t post it (or take it down now).
  10. Spread the word that bullying should not be a normal part of childhood. Some adults hesitate to act when they observe or hear about bullying because they think of bullying as a typical phase of childhood that must be endured or that it can help children “toughen up.” It is important for all adults to understand that bullying does not have to be a normal part of childhood. All forms of bullying are harmful to the perpetrator, the victim, and to witnesses and the effects last well into adulthood (and can include depression, anxiety, substance abuse, family violence and criminal behavior). Efforts to effectively address bullying require the collaboration of school, home, and community.Forward this list and articles you’ve read to all the parents, teachers, administrators, after-school care programs, camp counselors, and spiritual leaders you know. Bullying is a serious problem, but if we all work together, it’s one we can impact.