8 Resolutions to Better Yourself

by Jordyn Cormier –

While your belly may still be happy and rotund from the seasonal merriment, the new year is fast approaching. Inevitably, it’s resolution time.

This year, instead of assigning yourself numerous resolutions that you will surely ditch by January 31st, why not take this chance to better yourself on a more permanent, less physical level? 

Embrace and ditch these particular habits and you’ll succeed in making the new year version of yourself the best it can possibly be.
  • Stop feeling guilty. 

We spend a considerable amount of thought-energy on guilt — and where does it get us? It doesn’t solve problems; it ironically worsens them by building up stress which takes an incredible toll on your body and mind. Instead, take a proactive approach to life and improve the situation. Don’t just sit around feeling sorry for yourself. No matter how bad you feel today, tomorrow is always a new day, and a new chance to live better.

  • Accept yourself as you are. 

You are imperfect. Deal with it. Everyone is flawed in myriad ways. Thinking that you’re somehow any worse than anyone else is incorrect. Everyone makes mistakes. But, by practicing confidence and self-acceptance, you will exude the illusion of ‘togetherness’ that everyone is striving to achieve. Heck, you may even start to fool yourself!

  • Exercise, meditate and eat natural foods. 

No one’s telling your to try and win the next Ironman competition, but these 3 pillars are pivotal to a healthy, happy lifestyle. Think about it as a trifecta: Some gentle, fun exercise every day keeps you young; 5 or 10 minutes of meditation will nix your chronic stress; wholesome, natural foods will help your body function the way it was meant to. Start incorporating these into your life, bit by bit, week by week, and notice how much better you feel. Your body will love you for it.

  • Embrace your dreams. 

Everyone has dreams. But, for most, that’s where they stay. Make your dreams reality this year; they’re not impossible. Make a realistic, step-by-step timetable to help you achieve your wildest, most desired dreams. It may take an entire year — it may take 10 — but you’ll be pursuing your dreams and enjoying the experience instead of just letting them flit about and wither within your mind.

  • Stop fearing the unknown. 

Take chances this year. Fear of the unknown is what squashes most dreams. Comfort is overrated; try something you’ve never done before. Get out there. You may just discover a whole new dimension to yourself! What’s the worst that can happen?

  • Stop stressing about money. 

Again, stressing only worsens the situation. Instead, do something about it. Be proactive. Financial stress can make you miserable. Figure out a way to deal with it and trust that, with effort, it will all work out in the end. You’ll feel the load on your shoulders lighten considerably.

  • Do things that make you feel strong and independent. 

This is especially true if you are in a long-term relationship with loved ones and friends. We can get so comfortable and dependent on our partners and comrades that we lose a bit of ourselves — that beautiful, spunky spark. 

This year, take chances and rediscover yourself out on your own. Take a solo trip, delve into a new class by yourself, talk to interesting new people. It will bring further dimension and excitement into your life — and your relationships.

  • Let go of negativity. 

The counterclockwise whirlpool of your mind can suck even your most intrinsic happiness and positivity out of you if you allow it. The beautiful thing is: you’re in control. You can cut the branches of negative thought off at the source.  

Most of what we experience in life is heavily influenced by the mind, meaning you have the power to alter and improve your experiences through positive thinking. Kick out negativity and negative words like ‘can’t’, ‘no’, ‘won’t’, ‘too hard’, and all the rest. Negativity is simply a waste of precious, beautiful time.

This is the year to make yourself into what you want to be. Carve your own path and thrive in the positivity and confidence these habits will offer your life. 

So, go ahead and do it — there’s no better time. It’s all within you.
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When Worlds Collide

by Evita Ochel –

Understanding the Challenges of Life on Planet Earth:

Right now as you read this, you know yourself to be living on a planet called Earth in a physical incarnation that you share with about 7 billion other people and over 8 billion other living species. In this solar system that we are in, we think of ourselves as being one race of human beings, sharing one planet and one reality. But do we really?
When we examine this fact on a deeper level of awareness, we begin to realize that there are many more worlds within this one world that we envision ourselves to be living in. What is more so, is that there are numerous realities as well. And I am not even talking here about the heavy duty ideas of quantum physics, parallel Universes or multiple dimensions.

I am simply talking about the fact that each one of us, being a physical individuation of source energy, is its own world and reality.

This means that we have about 7 billion worlds sharing 1 planet.

Although the idea may be simple for us to grasp and know conceptually, the depth of this idea has major implications for understanding life here on this planet. It opens up a whole new understanding when we move past the concept, and actually apply it.
If we look at the state of the world today, 10 years ago, 100 years ago or even 1000 years ago, we see that although much has changed, one thing remains the same. We cannot seem to get on the same page of understanding when it comes to life on this planet. Why is this? Why is it so hard for us to apply concepts that should be so fundamental to increasing the quality of life for all, especially when we have the means to do so? 
Take the idea of peace for example. 

It cannot be argued that it would improve everyone’s lives, yet we choose not to apply peace on this planet, both personally and collectively. It can be done tomorrow worldwide if we really wanted to but we don’t. This is just one example of what happens when worlds collide.

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We May Be One, But We Are Each Unique

In recent years the phrase “we are all one” has gained increasing popularity. It is used by many in spiritual and non-spiritual circles alike, often indiscriminately. I used to use this phrase too, and sometimes still do, but today in a very different way. What I have noticed is that many who use this phrase, often use it in a way that strips us of our unique individuation and diminishes the purpose of our individuality.
In my experience thus far, yes, we are all one meaning we have all come from the same source of creation, but this does not make us all the same. And although this may seem obvious to you, I feel it all too often gets lost in many spiritually oriented people who are trying to take on a conceptual “love and peace” view of the world, rather than an experiential one. We may all have the same general purpose of spiritual evolution, but our unique purpose and how we see or experience reality is very different.
This is not meant to divide us or make us focus on our differences, rather than our similarities. Instead it is meant to acknowledge the gift of uniqueness that we each are. 

In allowing myself to explore this idea, I have come to grasp why so much misunderstanding, chaos and confusion exists in our world today. We are simply trying to merge everyone into the same reality.

To do this however, goes against the basic law of free will. 

This is why people speak about love, but what the concept of love actually means to each person is so different. The same goes for similar concepts like peace, compassion, equality and so on. We each understand these concepts through our lens of reality, through our personal state of awareness and evolution to that point.
Similarly, this message is also not meant to depress us, but rather to empower us to be more understanding of the different levels of existence and concepts shared on this planet, as to why things are the way they are.

We may think we are all talking about the same things but more often than not, we aren’t. Billions of different worlds are colliding and the final outcome is a rather disorganized state of affairs, where most have to learn through life the hard way.


Artwork by Cameron Gray

You Are Your Own World and Reality

And so, as many of us think that we live in one world, the truth is we do. However, this is not the world we are thinking of. The one world we live in, is our personal world. Each of us comes into this life and physical incarnation at a different level of evolution, we are then conditioned by the various cultural, religious and political influences depending on where each physical incarnation takes place. 
This builds various biases, beliefs and perceptions about the world as we know it. Most of us continue life at this pace, possibly with some small bursts of various awakenings that may change some of these patterns. Others, may have major awakenings and drastically shift the course of their lives, sometimes even multiple times.
The most important thing to note here is that there really are as many worlds co-existing on this planet as there are human beings.

Each one of us lives in our own world, with its own perceived reality. Embracing our unique qualities and individual paths is not a bad thing that should be seen as separating, rather than uniting us.

In order to fully grasp the wholeness of who we are and really put the phrase “we are one” into action, rather than as just a concept, we have to embrace our own unique purpose and individuality first. Just as, in order for a seed to know itself as being part of the planet, it has to experience itself as a plant first. The same goes for us.
When we embrace our unique individuation, purpose and level of existence, we can then begin to see how we fit into the whole. 

This is where I feel many people in spiritual areas have skipped a necessary step. This being, to fully embrace yourself first, before you can embrace the totality of all creation. You get to know the whole by first getting to know the parts that make it so. Thus to understand the external world, we need to first understand the internal parts that make it up.



Spiritual Grades of Evolution

To best summarize what I mean by all of this, I’d like to use a simple analogy that all of us are familiar with based on the current model of education that spans from kindergarten through college. Through this analogy it is my intention to help you see and understand why our Earth is in the state that it is. And again, the state I am referring to is neither bad or good. It is simply a disorganized state, where we are not living from a state of high efficiency or coherence.
To illustrate this, I want you to imagine the following scenario. 

You have just arrived in a brand new country that you know nothing about. As part of your tour of their culture, you are taken to visit a local school. You walk into a classroom and you notice something odd that you have never seen back in the schools of your own country. This classroom is full of kids of all ages and they are all trying to learn together. You notice some kindergarteners, a high percentage of elementary school kids, some high school kids and a handful of college kids. 

All of these beings are trying to learn and coexist together. 

 The teacher is of course trying to do the best job they can by adhering most of the curriculum to the high percentage of elementary school kids, and so this leaves a lot of the kindergarten kids restless and getting into all sorts of trouble, while it leaves the college kids bored or frustrated. 

The older kids often try helping the younger ones understand the concepts before them, and while this works sometimes, other times it is a useless endeavor. The older kids soon realize that the younger kids can only grasp certain things at different levels of their development and there is no point in trying to teach them the same things they are learning themselves, or things they are not yet ready for.
Okay, so let’s come back from the visualization. I am sure you have guessed it by now as to the purpose of that scenario. This is the easiest way to envision very much what is happening here on Earth.

Planet Earth is like one giant classroom. 

It is fun, it is exciting, sometimes the lessons are easy and sometimes they are hard. But the biggest challenge in this classroom is being with kids of all ages and at all very different levels of learning. This is how I have come to see and understand planet Earth.

We may all be one, coming from the same source, but we are all at very unique levels of our personal evolution.

It is this, that poses the greatest challenges on this planet.


Akasha by Elreviae

When we begin to see our planet from this perspective, we begin to understand why there are those of us who like the kindergardeners are only interested in fulfilling their own needs and captivated only by their own existence. Then there are all sorts of elementary school kids who are each at very different levels themselves. 
Some just want to play, while others actually want to learn something. Some are causing themselves all sorts of trouble, not yet understanding how this “school” works but as they want to figure things out for themselves, as kids often do, they won’t hear from the older kids about how things can be done differently.
Then there are the high school kids who are starting to see through the system and rebelling against it in all sorts of ways. They are often the activists who want to make a change, who want to be heard, who feel like they must do something. Then there are the college kids, again all at different levels of their personal mastery and specialization, who are starting to understand that the only way to change the world is by changing yourself.
If we compare life on this planet to other planets where life forms exist, what we know of so far is that one of the biggest reasons why our planet is so unique is because it breeds such diversity. What we know about other civilizations is that they are much more aligned to being at a similar level of evolution. This naturally makes it much easier for their societies to coexist together in peace or work for a common goal.
On our planet, because there are such wide variations of beings, this is very difficult to do. As you can imagine a 4th grader wants very different things than a 10th grader, or even a 7th grader! And so we have those on our planet who want to play with guns, those who have no problem killing others whether it be humans or animals, those who want to create beautiful architecture, or those who are interested in learning all they can about their existence. 
Also, since there is a greater predominance of elementary school kids, just as the teacher in the above example, our society is geared towards these elementary “grade levels”. And instead of “a” teacher, we have a system put in place to keep the majority under control in various ways, be it political, religious, etc.
To make matters more complex, yet fun, we are not all at the same level or grade with respect to every area of existence. 

For example, a being may be at a college level when it comes to mastering personal relationships, but at an 8th grade level when it comes to living in harmony with nature. To add to this, when we speak of people having “spiritual awakenings” or experiencing “enlightenment”, this does not mean one awakening in a conclusive sort of way.

We may each experience a spiritual awakening when it comes to a specific subject or at a whole grade level, which we can equate with graduation from that grade. This would happen when we equalize all areas of existence to be at least at that level of evolution, as we proceed to the next. Even along these levels, as each child in the same grade, we too have different interests and preferences. Even when we reach the college level, we are still not done, for we are then involved in an eternal journey of specialization and further self mastery.
This is also why we can begin to understand why sometimes something as simple as trying to have a conversation with others about topics which we may think we would all understand similarly, proves difficult.

Let’s use some more examples to further understand on a practical level. 

Think about the topic of abortion for example, a 3rd grader will have a completely different understanding of this topic compared to a 9th grader, compared to a college kid. (Remember we are using complex human topics in the context of grade school analogies.)

What peace means to a 1st grader is very different than what means peace to a 5th grader, and more importantly what each is willing to do in order to have peace. And so we can take any topic, the so called economy, politics, ethics, health or nutrition and understand why we have the misunderstandings and miscommunication we do.

We may be talking about the same things but each of our unique abilities to comprehend the vastness of each topic totally depends on our personal level of evolution. Ultimately, I am not sharing this so that you may try to figure out what supposed grade you or anyone else is in. That is not at all the point of this dialogue.

The point is to realize that we are all at different levels of our learning, thus of our personal evolution and spiritual development.
Concluding Thoughts
Although we are currently part of a collective reality on this planet, we each construct our own reality, based on our personal perspectives, past experiences, biases and level of evolution.

Our personally constructed reality is the most influential force in our lives.
We are all at different stages of spiritual evolution, or in different grades. And a 3rd grader is no better or worse than a 9th grader. “Better” and “worse” are simply constructs of an unconscious ego-mind that lives in the world of duality.
We each need to be tolerant of the fact that we are sharing a planet with many other beings of every level, just as kids of all ages in one classroom. The older kids need more patience with the younger kids, for we were all once there. While the younger kids can save themselves a lot of hurt and pain, if they so desire, by taking example from the older kids.
In order to create most effectively, you must align yourself with those that share similar worlds to yours. This does not mean people of the same religion or same political party, but beings who choose to perceive reality and vibrate at a similar frequency to you.
In the end, I do not have a solution for you, because technically there is no problem.

We simply have to recognize and understand the challenge before us, to be able to better get along with each other and create the lives and world we most want to experience. We each came to this planet, this time and many times before, knowing this challenge very well. In fact, this is one of the reasons why we come here at all, as contrast can cause us to learn and evolve the fastest.

It is why we tend to pick the families we do, religions, cultures and such. It can therefore be seen as a very positive, rather than negative thing, despite the challenges that it presents.

As long as we don’t get caught up in other people’s realities but see the bigger picture of what is going on, there is perhaps no better playground or classroom where we can have the chance to spiritually evolve at a faster rate.

About Author: Evita Ochel is a consciousness expansion teacher. Her diverse passions and expertise include being a writer, speaker, holistic nutritionist, web TV host, and author of the book Healing and Prevention Through Nutrition. Her health oriented teaching focuses on natural, whole, plant-based and organic nutrition for optimal health and longevity. Her spiritually oriented teaching focuses on consciousness expansion and heart-centered living for optimal joy and inner peace. Evita is also the creator of several online publications: Evolving BeingsEvolving WellnessEvolving Channels and Evolving Scenes as well as Healthytarian — a lifestyle for the well-being of the mind, body and spirit.

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Awareness Essentials for Inner Growth

by Don Turner –

When you have a negative experience remember that this does not reflect the nature of your real self or the nature of the universe/reality. Rather it reflects your choice — at probably an unconscious level — to believe in and become attached to something negative.

Since you have the capacity to change this choice, you have nothing to fear or to loose from looking at the painful experience, finding what belief or identification is causing it and deciding to change your mind. 

You can release the false image. 

(And all negative images we hold will create pain because they are negations or denials of the positive essence of one’s self and thereby restrict one’s self-expression.) Therefore, every negative experience can be looked on in a positive way as an opportunity to gain awareness of one’s deep-seated negative assumptions and false identifications. This needs to happen before they can be released and replaced by the positive truth implicit within one’s inner self or soul.

If this awareness can be gained, it creates a great sense of peace, relaxation, freedom and expansion.

For now there is nothing to defend against, no need to condemn oneself, or for massive efforts to achieve an imagined agenda for safety and success. The universe is realized to be safe and supportive. The solution to life is not to be found in achieving ego ideas separate from our experience of life itself. By opening to and trusting in the wisdom within, experience becomes fulfilling.

CLARIFYING ONE’S ISSUES

With regard to a particular problem area one may be experiencing in life, resolving it is dependent on clarifying the particular negative image(s) we hold that has created our difficulty. It is not sufficient to know that the problem is related to various issues, although this may be a first step.

We need to gain a clear awareness of the specific core image(s), with its implicit assumptions, values and beliefs about who we are and what is real and significant, that underlies our experience.

Then we must understand the causal relationship between our beliefs and our experience and understand how we may unconsciously create those things that rationally we don’t want.

We also have to believe in our capacity to change our minds once we examine what’s there. 

Then we need to be able to be open and listen within to clarify what is the truth for us.

Repeated negative experiences of a similar nature point to the existence of negative images and assumptions within one’s mind. The mind, as the creative organ, externalizes it’s structure of attachments about reality in the particular forms of our experience.

Thus we may come to know when we are out of alignment with our inner self — through negative and painful experience.

Our core beliefs and the basic structures of our mind can seem to have a self-justifying nature if, as we so often do, we confuse cause and effect and do not clearly see how we are responsible for co-creating our particular experiences. 

This is especially true when we experience things that we don’t rationally want. We therefore think the experience must justify the belief that we think is the valid conclusion from the experience. When we do not question the arbitrary nature of many of our firmly held beliefs and cultural assumptions we must, invariably, live circumscribed lives restricted by the limits imposed by these beliefs.

To realize our potential for happiness and fulfillment, we must become aware of those assumptions we hold that are false and negative and that thereby restrict the full and free expression of our being. 

We have to gain detachment and understanding about those core images we hold about what is real and important. These are not only reflected in our thoughts and values but in what we identify with, what we live and experience.

We have to be able to separate false internalized attitudes and ideas from those that are reflections of our inner self and that allow that inner self to manifest itself.

This understanding posits that as human beings we embody: 

1. An eternal spirit or essence that is an expression of the One Life encompassing everything.  

2. An inner immortal self consciousness that has certain inherent qualities.  

3. An outer personality whose ultimate purpose is to align with, embody and express the inner soul and spirit that inhabit him and that he is, in essence. 

When an individual has identified with false (not reflecting his true essence and nature), negative and separate patterns of thinking and feeling, these result ultimately in pain and suffering of some sort and thus help the individual to shift in a direction that will be more authentic and fulfilling (as realizing one’s inner self and spirit is).

Related ‘Working on Self’ Articles from Soul Life Center
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12 Promises You Should Make to Yourself and Keep Forever

by Marc and Angel Chernoff –
When you become your own best friend, life is easier.

Life is not all rainbows and butterflies.  It can be tough sometimes.  And you’ve paid a heavy price to get this far, so the best option is to really make it count by moving forward from where you are.

Free yourself from the world’s negativity – from the sources of ignorance telling you what you can and cannot do – by promising to look ahead, to live ahead and to get ahead.  In other words, start making positive promises to yourself!

Promise to fight back, to fight harder, to laugh louder and longer and slap adversity back into its seat whenever it dares to stand against you.  Promise to be a force to be reckoned with – because you are a force to be reckoned with.

Make these promises to yourself and keep them forever.
Repeat after me: “I promise…”
  1. “I will not hold the past against myself.” Your problems, your weaknesses, setbacks, regrets and mistakes teach you if you’re willing to learn, or they will punish you if you’re not.   So let them teach you, every day.  Take everything as a lesson learned.  If you regret some of the decisions you have made in the past, stop being so hard on yourself.  At that time, you did your best with the knowledge you had.  At that time, you did your best with the experience you had.  Your decisions were made with a younger mind.  If you were to make these decisions with the wisdom you have today, you would choose differently.  So give yourself a break.  Time and experience has a wonderful way of helping us grow and learn to make better choices today, for ourselves and those we care for.
  2. “I will own my life and never deny responsibility for it.” – Through the grapevine, you may have learned that you should blame your parents, your teachers, your mentors, the education system, the government, etc., but never to blame yourself.  Right?  It’s never, ever your fault… WRONG!  It’s always your fault, because if you want to change, if you want to let go and move on with your life, you’re the only person who can make it happen.  It’s YOUR move to make.  It’s YOUR responsibility.  Own it!
  3. “I will speak kindly and consciously to myself.” – Wait, what did you just say to yourself?  Were they the inspiring, encouraging words you would speak to a friend?  Or were they the belittling remarks you might shout to an enemy if you had no heart.  Or the negative assessments about life you would utter if you had no faith?  All day long we speak silently to ourselves, and a part of us believes every word.  So stay mindful, and ask yourself, “If I had a friend who always spoke to me in the same way that I am speaking to myself right now, how long would I allow that person to be my friend?”  (Read Loving What Is.)
  4. “I will listen to what my heart and soul is telling me.” – When something feels right, that means it is right for you (at least it is worth looking into).  And if you genuinely feel deep down that something is wrong, it probably is.  Pay attention to your authentic feelings, and follow where they lead.  When you’re following your inner voice, doors tend to eventually open for you, even if they mostly slam at first.
  5. “I will live a life that feels right to me, not one that looks right to others.” – Give yourself permission to follow the path that makes YOU happy.  And realize that some people in your life will refuse to walk beside you as you embark on this journey; they simply won’t approve no matter what you say, and that’s OK.  Sometimes when you commit yourself to creating your own happiness, it clashes with the perceptions of others.  Sometimes when you gain something great, you have to let go of something else.  And sometimes this ‘something else’ is a relationship that only wants you to do what they want you to do.
  6. “I will let go of relationships that are obviously not meant to be.” – Most people come into your life temporarily simply to teach you something.  They come and they go and they make a difference.  And it’s OK that they’re not in your life anymore.  Not all relationships last, but the lessons these relationships bring to you do.  If you learn to open your heart and mind, anyone, including the folks who eventually drive you mad, can teach you something worthwhile.  Sometimes it will feel weird when you realize you spent so much time with someone you are no longer connected to, but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.  You are exactly where you’re supposed to be.  We all are.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  7. “I will not let any situation permanently steal my smile.” – Even when times are tough, take a moment to pause and remember who YOU are.  Take a moment to reflect on the things that have real and lasting meaning in your life.  And then smile about how far you’ve come.  Honestly, nothing in this world is more beautiful and powerful than a smile that has struggled through the tears.  Any fool can be happy when times are easy.  It takes a strong soul with real heart to develop smiles out of situations that make us weep.  No matter how long it takes, it will get better.  Keep going.  Tough situations build strong people in the end.
  8. “I will celebrate and appreciate the life I have.” – Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.  Don’t be one of them.  Take a breath of fresh air.  The past is behind you.  Focus on what you can do today, not on what you could’ve or should’ve done yesterday.  Remember, for everything you’ve lost, you’ve gained something else.  Appreciate what you have and who you are today.  Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.  Count your blessings, not your troubles.  It costs nothing to be positive, and it changes things for the better.  Your thoughts are yours to control, so make good use of them to give your actions and your life a powerful advantage.
  9. “I will realize and use my power to make a difference.” – The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.  Don’t do this.  The world needs you.  In a world filled with doubt, you must dare to dream.  In a world filled with anger, you must dare to forgive.  In a world filled with hate, you must dare to love.  In a world filled with distrust, you must dare to believe.  And once you do, I promise, you will find that power you once thought you lacked.
  10. “I will dedicate myself to personal excellence.” – Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.  And excellence is never an accident.  It’s the result of high intention, focused effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.  It’s also important to note that excellence cannot be judged by looking at where you are at any given point in time, but by measuring the distance you have traveled from the point where you started.  It’s about being diligent and making progress – either a step forward or a lesson learned – day in and day out.  (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)
  11. “I will keep stretching myself beyond my previous level of comfort.” – Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.  Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there.  Know this!  When you’re struggling, that’s when you’re growing stronger and smarter.  The more time you spend there, the faster you learn.  It’s better to spend an extremely high quality ten minutes growing, than it is to spend a mediocre hour running in place.  Every day, you want to practice at the point where you are on the edge of your ability, stretching yourself over and over again, making mistakes, stumbling, learning from those mistakes and stretching yourself even farther.
  12. “I will embrace the changes I know I need to make.” – Life is a balancing act of holding on and letting go – of staying put and moving on.  We strive to make the right choices, but how do we know when it is truly time to move forward with our lives?  The signs aren’t always easy to accept, but they are there and you know it.  Relationships, jobs, and even the cities we live in have expiration dates.  Sometimes we hold on to what’s not working out of fear that we won’t be able to adapt to necessary changes.  And thus, the outcome is always the same: more pain, immense frustration, and lasting regret.  Be smarter than that.  Embrace the changes you know you need to make.

Afterthoughts

In a world where vows are often left unfulfilled – where making a pledge means less than it used to – where promises seem like they’re made to be broken – it would be nice to see words come back into power, wouldn’t it?

Words can be twisted into any shape, so you must be careful not to be careless.  Remember this when you make promises to yourself.  Your promises must be backed by devoted action.

The image you have of yourself in the future depends on the actions you watch yourself take today. Promise yourself and then prove it!

The floor is yours…

Which of the points above resonate with you the most?  What promises do you want (or need) to make to yourself?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.

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10 Important Questions to Ask Yourself

by Marc and Angel Chernoff and Mark Manson –

At the end of the day, the questions we ask ourselves determine the type of people we become.

When you’ve been running a successful personal development blog and life coaching business for the better part of a decade, one thing becomes crystal clear: Everyone has the same basic wants and needs.
Over the years Angel and I have gotten to know thousands of people of different ethnic backgrounds, from different cities and countries, who live at various socioeconomic levels, and trust me, every one of us basically wants the same things.  We want validation, love, happiness, fulfillment, money, and hopes for a better future.  The way we pursue these needs is where things branch off, but the fundamentals are the same.
Think about it.  If I ask you, “Quickly, in one sentence, what do you want most out of life?” I bet your rushed response is going to be something like, “I want to be happy, and have a healthy family, and a career I like that pays well, etc.”  Your response is going to be so common and ubiquitous that it basically doesn’t even mean anything.  Which is precisely why senseless, happy-go-lucky questions like this aren’t very helpful.  And yet, this is precisely the kind of questions we often ask ourselves.
So what kind of questions might you ask instead?  Questions that force you into a corner.  Questions that help you embrace the sacrifices it takes to get where you want to go.  
Questions that motivate you to focus on the next step forward.  
  1. What is worth suffering for? – If you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs.  If you want the six-pack abs, you have to want the sweat, the sore muscles, the early mornings at the gym, and the low carb meals.  If you want the successful business, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business deals and decisions, and the possibility of failing fifty times to learn what you need to know to succeed.  If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is just an idealization, a fantasy, and a false promise.  Maybe you don’t actually want it at all, because you’re not willing to suffer though the work it’s going to take to achieve it.
  2. Based on my daily routines and actions, where can I expect to be in five years? – This question just backs up the first one.  If you have an idea about what you want the next chapter of your life to look like, you have to DO things that support this idea every day.  An idea, after all, isn’t going to do anything for you until you do something productive with it.  In fact, as long as that great idea is just sitting around in your head it’s doing far more harm than good.  Your subconscious mind knows you’re procrastinating on something that’s important to you.  The necessary work that you keep postponing causes stress, anxiety, fear, and usually more procrastination – a vicious cycle that continues to worsen until you interrupt it with ACTION.  (Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)
  3. What do I need to spend more or less time doing going forward? – Most of us spend way too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.  In other words, productivity is not just about getting things done, it’s about getting the right things done.  At the end of each day, look at how you have spent your time, and adjust the allocation as necessary for tomorrow.  Do your best to get rid of your schedule’s complexities so you can spend more time on the things that matter.  This means fine-tuning and eliminating all but the essential tasks, so you are left with only the ones that add value to your life.  And above all, know when to set aside the important things for the vital things, like family.
  4. In service of what? – As Viktor Frankl so eloquently put it: “Don’t aim at success.  The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it.  For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued, it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than one’s self.”  So think bigger.  Be a part of something greater than yourself.  This could be anything.  Some people take an active role in their local city council, some find refuge in their faith or family, some join social clubs supporting causes they resonate with, and others find passion in their careers.  In each case the psychological outcome is the same.  They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in.  This engagement brings happiness, success, and meaning into their lives.
  5. What am I pretending not to know? – Reality denied always comes back to haunt.  There are two ways to be fooled by your own subconscious.  One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.  Both are tragic forms of self-deception, because the person who lies to herself and listens to her own lies comes to a point that she cannot distinguish the truth within her, or around her, and so loses respect for herself and for others she cares about.  Don’t be this person.  All possibilities open up when we stop deceiving ourselves.
  6. What old rejections are still holding me back today? – All too often we let the rejections of our past dictate every move we make.  We literally do not know ourselves to be any better than what some opinionated person or narrow circumstance once told us was true.  Of course, an old rejection doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough; it just means some person or circumstance from our past failed to align with what we had to offer at the time.  It means we were graced with more time to improve our thing – to build upon our ideas, to perfect our craft, and indulge deeper in to the work that moves us.  Don’t let old rejections take up permanent residence in your head.  Kick them out on the street. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  7. What do I not want others to know about me? – This question cuts right to the heart of your insecurities.  Let it remind you that problems and flaws are a part of everyone’s life.  If you try to hide them, you don’t give the people in your life a chance to truly know you and love you.  And you allow small problems to escalate and dominate your self-confidence.  When you make a mistake, it might be irritating, but don’t bury it.  Be open about it, address it, and move on.  Our problems are really our blessings if we use them to grow stronger.  And, ultimately, the people who belong in your life will see your problems and flaws simply as signs that you are just as human as they are.
  8. Are the people around me helping me or hurting me? – A big part of who you become in life has to do with who you choose to surround yourself with.  And as you know, it is better to be alone than in bad company.  You simply cannot expect to live a positive, fulfilling life if you surround yourself with negative people.  Distancing yourself from these people is never easy, but it’s a lot harder when they happen to be close friends or family members.  As hard as it may be, it’s something you need to address.  To a certain degree, luck controls who walks into your life, especially as it relates to your family and childhood friends, but you decide who you spend the majority of your time with.
  9. How are my “shoulds” getting in the way of my “haves”? – The desires of our ego are often in conflict with the emotions of our heart.  Find your balance between planning and presence – between striving and appreciation.  Work hard, but don’t go looking for something better every second.  You must be willing to loosen your grip on the life you have planned so you can enjoy the life that is waiting for you in this moment.  It may not be everything you want for your future, but it’s everything you need right now.  Experience it and appreciate it.
  10. What is worth smiling about right now? – As Shawn Achor describes in his book The Happiness Advantage, a recent scientific study showed that doctors who are put in a positive mood before making a diagnosis consistently experience significant boosts to their intellectual abilities than doctors in a neutral state, which allows them to make accurate diagnoses almost 20% faster.  The same study then shifted to other vocations and found that optimistic salespeople outsell their pessimistic counterparts by over 50%.  Students primed to feel happy before taking math tests substantially outperform their neutral peers.  So it turns out that our minds are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative, or even neutral, but when they are positive.

Your turn…

At any given moment, life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek these answers that continues to give our lives meaning.  Honestly, you can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led down a road strewn with trouble and confusion or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it and step forward.
So with that said, which of the questions above hit home the most?  Why?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights.
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Stages of Spiritual Growth


by Unity J. Schmidt –

From Egos to Angels, Caterpillars to Butterflies:

We’re all here to grow. To become conscious. In that consciousness we see who we are, and who we are meant to be. I am a mover, and a procrastinator. I am free and enslaved. I am love and I am fear. And today, I resonate and act to lovingly move to simply, “Get it done!”

Create Consciously
This simple call-to-action is often that which holds me back the most. I can think of all the reasons why “not to get it done,” and some very legitimate ones as well, including my little boy and girl need Mommy time now, the dishes need scrubbing, the office work is piling, my body needs rest, my words may not be enough and I may not succeed on this and this and that and that.
When I find myself slowing down and stepping into that sacred space of centrepoint, I realize that if only I simply move and ‘get it done’ then it will be all that which it is meant to be! And it does not matter if everything is receiving A+ qualifications, nor does it matter if while getting it done I accidentally fumble and fall and have to start again. For when I start again, I will already be at least a step ahead of where I was before, in that space of non-action and doubt.
So what matters most is that I just ‘do!’ I must move on, just like that caterpillar-in-my-garden-to-become-butterfly must carry along and eat and move and act to metamorphisize. And this should be so easy, shouldn’t it?
Yet, in the fear of why ‘getting it done’ may not be the best or the easiest thing to do, I find myself holding back. Then spirit gives me a song, this time it is the “Wavin’ Flag” song by K’naan and spirit sings to me:

“When I get older, I will be stronger
They’ll call me freedom just like a wavin’ flag
And then it goes back, and then it goes back…”

And I remember that I must just move! I do not want to wait passively until I return again, I must live now and move assertively today. I must trust that whatever actions I take, as long as they come from a space of love, that these will be the right actions, at the right time, for the right exchange of energy. Even if sometimes it may just feel like all I’m doing is eating milkweed!
To ensure that I’m feeding my inquisitive caterpillar, spirit asks me to feed the curious caterpillar and gives me questions to reflect upon and to evolve within.

Feeding the Curious Caterpillar

  • Are you feeding your life with healthy, living, nutrient-rich food? 
  • Are you restoring your energy with the loving, sacred abundance from Mother-Earth?
  • Are you giving thanks to the nourishment you are providing, giving acknowledgement to it, just as it lives to give service to you?
  • Are you letting yourself feel full, like the plump caterpillar or laughing Buddha? 
  • Are you purely exchanging this fullness of life, love and laughter with those around you?
And as I find myself saying “yes,” to the above, I realize that to “get it done,” it feels so darn good!
Suddenly, I’m pleasing everyone (including myself), I’m giggling with my children as I become a pirate on a boat of dolphins and sharks, no longer afraid of what the other Mom’s will think of  “Pirate ARRHING!” me as they stoically sit on the bench or stand arms crossed by the jungle gym.
I’m learning new computer systems and programs and as I do I realize, “Wow, I can do this?” and I begin to have unexpected epiphanies about the operating systems of technology and their relationship with the life patterns we are building. I’m singing songs with a hummingbird heart while my husband Phi plays guitar.

I’m finding spirit vibrating in truth, filling every note whether they are a perfect tone or not, it does not matter. Most of all, I realize that as soon as I decide to move away from the fear of “why not,” I automatically step into the freeing courage of “why yes!”

And it is in that state of surrendering to “yes!” that I am able to live and transform to my highest potential. And spirit arrives again asking me to release to clearing chrysalis.

Releasing to Clearing Chrysalis
  • Where is the space you have built for rest and contemplation? 
  • How often do you ensure this peaceful place is entered into?
  • Are you receiving enough deep and peaceful sleep? 
  • What are your dreams teaching you?
  • How is sacred energy flowing through your body, your emotions, your mind and your spirit? 
  • Is your environment reflecting back this sacred journey of your awakening?
Although, it is no secret to me that we are all Creators and beings of Source, I still must evolve myself daily to reach and achieve those places of actions where my Ego is still clutching onto the shadows of “what if I fail?” or “what if I am not loved?” like a frightened child or perhaps a hungry caterpillar? Every step I take brings me further and further into the lightness of love, of completion, of peace and of a sacred life.
There are many who speak of the significance of ‘forgiving’ when it comes to our mothers and fathers, our grandmothers and grandfathers and other ancestors and of course, our brothers and sisters. I agree that we must ‘for give’ to ‘give.’
Yet, I am daily rediscovering that the ultimate Creator I must ‘for-give’ always is myself.
I must ‘forgive’ myself for those moments when fear freezes me from serving in love and stepping into my power. I must ‘forgive’ myself for those places in my past where Ego lived and leaded and most of all, cheated me.
I must ‘forgive’ myself for not yet being all that Great Creator shows me through God’s plentiful, daily miracles, from wishing star moments that brought about soulmate wedding bells, to two breakdancing-A,B,C,D-twinkle-stars-and-firetruck children, to a body that is healing even more every day and a soul that is singing again and again!
And this week, as I get it done, I’ve challenged myself to step into even more operating systems of technology-problem-solving for me, to songs sung out loud (even beachside amongst strangers), to learning how to make sushi and letting go of chocolate (except for raw chocolate, of course! macaroons – yes!), and to opening myself to work with another Healer to see what else we can do about my journey of Soul on Earth, healing-the-healer. 
Releasing the fear that others may expect, that all the healing is already done. And spirit shares, as long as I am here, there is always more healing to do! I do not know what this means for tomorrow. But I do know that for today this means that I am polished and disheveled, loving and terrified, hard-working and easy-flowing, and most of all, I am doing!
In doing, I awaken even further and excitedly wish to lovingly assist others in their awakening. And so I ask, how? And spirit replies again, Awaken to blissful butterfly!

Awakening to Blissful Butterfly
  • Is fresh air and sunshine swirling around you daily, restoring you to your natural state?
  • Are you listening to the new horizons you are to travel for us in self and service?
  • Where are you embodying the magic of love, and living your highest truths?
Understanding my passion for music and my romantic-fairytale heart, lastly they give me the song of Westside Story, “Tonight, Tonight.”

“Tonight, tonight
The world is full of light
With suns and moons all over the place
Tonight, tonight
The world is wild and bright
Going mad
Shooting sparks into space…”

And so that is what I focus on, the magic of tonight. So tonight, I’ll think on the magic, I’ll speak to God, I’ll love myself and the Universe and I’ll play, work and for-give to gooify again and again in the chrysalis of change, until I re-emerge the butterfly, journeying fully, no hesitations left, to the life of hazardous-glorious raindrops and heaven-felt, radiant sunshine, Healer, Healed, Healing!
May we fly “wingtip to wingtip”, as one Shaman once said to me and bless one another along our kindred journey! 

About Author: Unity J. Schmidt
She is an Intuitive Life Consultant and Energy Healer seeking to assist others worldwide in becoming the Healers and Heros they naturally are. She works with clients from around the world, helping them awaken Higher Self to understand the journey of discovery, and to heal the Ego so that life may be lived fruitfully, consciously, blissfully. 

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Five Pillars of Spiritual Mastery

Spiritual Mastery is defined as the perfection of the spiritual process and a complete understanding as to the nature of reality.
The benefits of Spiritual Mastery are extensive but include the ability to direct one’s destiny, choose one’s future higher-dimensional incarnations, transcend death, perceive the astral and trans-astral realms and perceive all of the non-physical and non-conceptual aspects of the Universe and Reality. Compounded onto those benefits – one can also achieve Life Mastery in the 3D world (health, abundance, well-being, perfection of the use of energy and having a strong immunity to karma).
It is an elusive state as the vibratory bar for Spiritual Mastery is high – yet with an understanding and application of five main pillars – achieving this state in this life-time (and thus becoming a non-returner to 3D) is certainly possible. Added to the elusiveness of the state is the fact that the state of Spiritual Mastery cannot be perceived directly from outside of it – and thus Spiritual Perfection remains vibrationally invisible until you are ready to understand directly.
Thus – any teacher (myself included) can only provide sets of tools and road-maps rather than wave a wand and grant you instant Universal Enlightenment. The path must be walked in order to transcend the path and attain an understanding of Truth!
The five main pillars to reflect upon and create if one is serious about attaining Spiritual Mastery:
1. Truth
To attain a state of Spiritual Mastery (and remain there long enough to be able to make use of the state) – one must be committed to the path of truth. All lies cause confusion and distract one from the true path. Lies, deceptions, trickery and all forms of cheating create karmic effects that dampen one’s vibration and keeps one trapped in a state of separation from Source / Ultimate Truth. 
For the Universe to be completely open with you – you must be open with it – lies create barriers and resistances to true intimacy with the Universe. Spiritual Truth cannot be perceived from any state not aligned to truth – and thus Spiritual Mastery is the product of a transmutation and renunciation of all lies!
2. Impeccability (Ethical Purity)
One of the main reasons why Spiritual Mastery is so hard to attain or to understand in the Western world is because of the unpopularity of being ethical. Many people cheat, lie, steal, delude themselves or others, engage in control dramas and violate the basic spiritual laws and principles that make a strong relationship to Source possible.
Examples include taking or abusing the sanctity of life, unethical livelihood, sexual misconduct, theft, control (violation of free-will),a lack of respect for the path and a whole host of other ethical issues. Without the ethical purity in place comprehending high-level spiritual understanding is impossible (there are Universal safeguards in place to prevent people blowing up stars and tearing holes in the Universe or damaging the purity of the Higher Planes – things that would happen if these safeguards were not present!)
Without ethics – whatever one thinks one knows may be false and in some cases one can become subservient to the energies of the Lower Astral – a phenomenon most notable in light-worker channellers who have not yet transcended control dramas. In my experience of the light-worker community – beneath a superficial veneer of love and light lies a dark world of criminal behaviour, corruption, cheating, lying and a large array of other unresolved control dramas which tragically ends in victim-hood, sickness, misfortune, suffering and death – the end result of ignoring ethics.
The worst enemies of spiritual enlightenment are lying and cheating – both of which will cost you in energy terms many more times the cost of playing fair and true. For as long as you have the tendency to lie, cheat or steal – spiritual understanding will be impossible to attain. When you cheat with intent – the karmic effect is amplified.
Whatever benefit you may believe you obtained through deception and cheating – will quickly be outweighed by the subsequent depletion of energy. What’s worse – in that depleted state – other people can then cheat you (what goes around comes around) and push you further down into the karmic web. Trying for a short-cut by cheating will always find you walking the hard and long way around.
The one thing that any spiritual teacher cannot teach you is how to live a life of integrity. Either one has it or one does not. It is not something one can learn overnight. Only the experience of life can teach you about the importance of integrity. Without it – spiritual information, understanding or knowledge is useless – for it is like making a daily visit to the well with a gaping hole in the bottom of the bucket. Nothing can be retained, integrated or made use of. This is why the world is hungry for spirituality and is not satiated – because there are a host of ethics and integrity issues in the way making retention impossible.
3. Bodily Purity
The body is the temple (the abode) of the Higher Self/Spirit/Atman. Keeping a strong relationship to Source requires an extreme level of vibrational purity and freedom from harmful toxins found in almost all foods and drinks on the planet.
The vices of modern day humanity (alcohol and tobacco) are the very things that ruin ones physical temple, destroying one’s light body and creating a further separation from Spiritual Truth. Eating toxic food consumes vast resources of one’s life-force that could otherwise be directed to the attainment of spiritual understanding!
4. Abundance
Many people struggle with this one primarily because of a separation between the left and right hempispheres of the brain – leading one to polarize spirituality and abundance as mutually exclusive opposites. Poverty then naturally ensues and one spends many years of one’s life working hard for little abundance instead of spending time doing spiritual practice!
Being spiritual and monetarily abundant simultaneously is a matter of transcending dualistic consciousness that attaches to the either/or mindset. Having money with no spiritual understanding gives the experience of basic materialism and existence on Earth with no spiritual perspective – being separated from the inner.
Being spiritual and having no money keeps one trapped in a space of being powerless to do or create anything in the outer. Neither are balanced spiritual states and keep one trapped in an either/or and thus stuck in the illusion that one desires to exit.
I was once asked why I promote being abundant as a Spiritual Master. The answer is the matter of time.
Spiritual Mastery takes much effort and time – thus you will need to work less. You will need all of the time you can muster up to perfect the spiritual process and death can come to call at any moment. Abundance can buy you more time which is the most valuable thing you can buy for your path.
Without plenty of abundance, you will be bound to the wheel of time through doing hard and low paid work – this will weaken your energy and destroy your body long before you are able to perfect a state of Spiritual Mastery.
5. Free Will
Without an understanding of free-will and an application of that understanding in one’s daily life – Spiritual Mastery will remain nothing more than a distant concept and pursuing it may not be in your best interests. Free Will gives all beings the choice to determine their own path. Interference with free-will is control and incurs unfavourable karmas.
The energy of Source cannot be controlled or manipulated and this explains why holding onto control issues always causes frustration, conflict, power struggles, suffering and further separation from Source.
Without a respect for free-will there is no respect for the sovereignty and uniqueness of all sentient life. When respect for life is absent – one gravitates toward the opposite – death and the associated loss of awareness. Death affirming actions, choices and beliefs deepen one’s entrapment to the reincarnation cycle.
Once all the five pillars are in place and one is grounded with pure intent – the pursuit of high-level spiritual understanding is worthwhile, fruitful and rewarding. One will have the energy and vibration that will enable one to discern spiritual truth and make fast progress toward completing all of one’s lessons on Earth.