Saturday, February 27, 2010

How to Find Inner Peace: 5 Timeless Thoughts

by Henrik Edberg

“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.”
Marcus Aurelius
“Possession of material riches, without inner peace, is like dying of thirst while bathing in a lake.”
Paramahansa Yogananda

Finding peace within is a wonderful but also a difficult thing. It is easy to go looking for it in the wrong places.
So here are 5 timeless thoughts to help guide you to the places where you can actually find it.

1. Simplify.
“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.”
Peace Pilgrim
Making thing simpler has certainly brought a lot of inner peace to my life. So, a few of my favorite suggestions on how to simplify your life:
  • Use a limited to-do list. Only 2 or 3 of the most important things.
  • Set limits. Set limits for daily checking of inboxes. I do it only once a day. Set time limits for small decisions and make them within seconds after you have thought about them to avoid procrastination and overthinking. Set time limits for tasks such as 15 minutes each day for answering emails or for using Twitter. Set a limit for commitments and say no to be able to feel less stress and produce better results.
  • Remember to “keep things extremely simple”. I have written down that sentence on my white board and it is a daily and constant reminder that helps me when I lose my way.
2. Accept.
“Acceptance of others, their looks, their behaviors, their beliefs, bring you an inner peace and tranquility – instead of anger and resentment.”
When you accept what is you stop feeding energy into resisting what is. You don’t make a problem more powerful and sticky in your mind. Instead, somewhat counter intuitively, when you accept what is it loses much of its power. It just is.
And you feel stillness inside. Now, accepting what is doesn’t mean to give up. It just means that you put yourself in a better position take action if necessary. Because now you can see more clearly, you can focus your energy towards what you want and take the appropriate action to change your situation.

3. Forgive.
“Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions.”
Gerald Jampolsky
By accepting what is it is much easier to let go of things and to forgive what has happened.
Forgiveness is important because as long as you don’t forgive someone you are linked to that person. Your thoughts will return to the person who wronged you and what s/he did over and over again. The emotional link between the two of you is so strong and inflicts much suffering in you and – as a result of your inner turmoil – most often in other people around you too.
When you forgive you do not only release the other person. You set yourself free too from all of that agony.
One thing to keep in mind is to not just forgive others but also yourself. By forgiving yourself – instead of resenting yourself for something you did a week or 10 years ago – you make the habit of forgiveness more and more of a natural part of you. And so forgiving others becomes easier too.
Also, what you think is a question of forgiving others you may sometimes – after some time and inner struggle – discover is just as much, if not more, about forgiving yourself rather than the other person.

4. Do what you enjoy.
“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you’ll have more success than you could possibly have imagined.”
Roger Caras
When you do what you enjoy there is a natural peace that arises within. You are in alignment with your outer world. This also leads to a lot more success than if you have a lot of inner turmoil and really don’t care that much for your work.
One of my favorite tips for finding things you enjoy or love doing is simply to explore life. To be curious and try things out and see what you think of them. This can bring many insights both about yourself and about how things really are when you do them rather than when they are just theories floating around in your head.
If you have read my ebook The 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness then you know that there is a whole chapter in it about finding and doing what you love with exercises and tips for further reading. So if you haven’t checked out the book yet, go to this page for instructions on how to get you own free copy.

5. Be careful with your inner peace.
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
St. Francis de Sales
By using the tips above and by living in the present moment you can find a lot more inner peace. Not only during days when things go as planned. But also on days when your world is upset and things aren’t so easy. On such days your inner peace will be very useful to help you make good decisions and to get things done. So be smart, stay calm and be careful with your inner peace.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Are you a Leader or just a Boss?

I often find that many people onfuse leadership with positional power. We tend to believe that a person in a position of authority or someone with a title, has their position or title due to their leadership qualities. However, in many cases there is no correlation between someone’s position and their leadership ability. Just having a title does not make you a leader, leaderships is about influence. Title only buys you time to exercise true leadership, and in this time your leadership either increases or diminishes and eventually fails. There is a huge difference between being a boss  and being a leader…! Consider the following…
“The boss drives group members; the leader coaches them.
The boss depends upon authority; the leader on good will.
The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.
The boss says ‘I’; the leader says ‘we.’
The boss assigns the task, the leader sets the pace.
The boss says, ‘Get there on time’; the leader gets there ahead of time.
The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.
The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.
The boss makes work a drudgery; the leader makes it a game.
The boss says, ‘Go’; the leader says, ‘Let’s go.’“
– Author unknown

People follow the boss because they have to if they want to keep their jobs. People follow leaders because of who they are and were they are going.  Too many leaders today rely on their position to lead. How about you?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

5 Steps to Stress Relief

If you often find yourself struggling with the effect stress has on your physical and emotional well-being, follow the following 5 steps to stress relief:

1. Acknowledge it. It sounds simple, doesn't it? It might even sound futile. But taking a moment to admit to yourself that something is stressing you out is the first step in letting go of it. As women, studies show that we often take on more than we can handle. By acknowledging that an extra activity will put more added stress on an already hectic lifestyle, you can balance out the pros and cons and make a decision that's right for you.

2. Get a massage. I don't mean one of those extravagant, $200 massages with a hunky Swiss masseuse (though that might be something to put on your birthday list!), but the kind of stress-relieving, muscle-relaxing rubs that husbands and boyfriends are great at providing. And don't underestimate the power of bribery in obtaining these... "If you rub my feet for 10 minutes, I'll... [insert pleasurable activity of choice] for 15." No man can resist!

3. Laugh. You've just had a huge argument with your boss. Your mother called for the third time this week to ask if you're pregnant yet. Your son's teacher called you in to discuss his habit of peeing on walls. When you're stressed, even the smallest annoyance can seem like one more added pressure that you're not able to cope with. So forget about it for a while. Grab a good friend or family member and watch a funny sitcom together. Or a romantic comedy. Or a cartoon. Read the funny pages, or share a good joke. The more you laugh, the more mood-enhancing endorphins you'll produce!

4. Sleep. Not getting 8 hours of sleep every night? You should. If you're already exhausted when you head in to work, you'll be less likely to be able to handle whatever life might throw at you that day. If you have small children, sleeping through the night might seem like a luxury you don't have. Try napping during the afternoon when they do, even if it's just for half an hour. It'll do wonders for your mood, your stress levels, and your patience.

5. Pamper yourself. Do something that makes you feel good, something only for you. Buy a new romance novel and curl up with it after everyone else is asleep. Garden, scrapbook, paint, write. Do whatever brings you joy.

Toward World Peace: Seeing the Unity Between Us All

By Stephen Knapp




The Factors that Keep Us Apart * Having Spiritual Vision



We Are All Working to Attain the Same Things * Seeing Through the Bodily Distinctions * Breaking Down the Cultural Distinctions * Breaking Down the Religious Differences * Focusing on These Distinctions Means Animal Consciousness



Our Real Identity * Being Free of all Designations





Reasons for the Happiness in the Vision of Unity * Attaining Peace on the Planet * Achieving Peace and Happiness for the Individual and the World * The Need for Good Leaders and Rulers





Starting With the Basics * The Golden Rule is Universal * Good Rules for Life






Friday, February 19, 2010

A very simple loving-kindness meditation

When you start the practice and at times when you feel you can only manage a little.....perhaps as you light your is a simple loving-kindness meditation:
As you breathe in – cherish yourself

As you breathe out – cherish all beings
If you find it difficult to feel that you are caring for yourself, just lay a hand gently on your heart region as you think or say these phrases. You can use them when you sit for dedicated times of meditation practice. You can also use them as a 'post it note' practice. Maybe you'd like to write them out and stick them up somewhere you can see them, to remind you throughout the day.

By Sujatin - Lotus in the mud blog

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Open Heart

Approaching life with an open heart means that we have opened the door to a greater consciousness within ourselves.

Spiritual teachers have always pointed to the heart as the seat of consciousness, and recently Western science has found evidence to support this realization. It turns out that the heart has its own central nervous system and is not simply under the rule of the brain as formerly believed. Anyone who has taken the time to explore the heart knows this and, more important, has realized that the heart is the source of our connection to a consciousness greater than the ego. Approaching life with an open heart means that we have opened the door to this greater consciousness, taking up residence alongside it in the seat of our soul. Fortunately, at this time there is a lot of support for this shift energetically as well as practically. To some degree, approaching life with an open heart is as simple as shifting your attention onto your heart.

Eventually you will be able do this any time, any place, but at first it may help to try it in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Simply sit with your eyes closed and draw your breath into your heart. As your breath expands your chest cavity, your heart expands and opens. You may feel tenderness or sadness in your heart, and you may also feel relief. Any emotions that arise can be effectively witnessed and healed through the meditation process, which benefits both your physical heart and your energetic heart. The more you practice, the more you will find your heart opening to your own presence and to all the situations your life brings.

When we open our hearts, they may feel tender and vulnerable, which simply means that they need our loving attention as we cleanse and heal them of past hurts and blockages. This process asks us to practice some of the heart’s greatest lessons—patience, compassion, and unconditional love. On the other hand, we may take up residence as effortlessly as a bird returns to its nest. Either way, approaching life with an open heart simply means returning to our true home. 

Our Evolving Language

Choose to be more conscious of the words and phrases you use in everyday life as words have power.

There are many troubling phrases in our language that we use without considering their full meaning simply because they have been accepted into common knowledge. Even as our ideals progress, our language maintains some phrases from our past that no longer serve us, for example: Boys don’t cry; good child; boys will be boys; problem child; illegitimate child; and many more. While these phrases may be used without harmful intent, they are inherently negative. Children can be especially sensitive to such phrases, which may stay with them their whole lives, adversely affecting their self-image and wounding their self-esteem. We can create positive change by choosing not to use these words and phrases as we come across them in our vocabulary.

It is challenging to examine our habits in terms of the words we use to express ourselves, but it is also exciting. Language is an area where we can exercise our free will, creating positive change in the world around us by simply choosing carefully the words we use. It may seem like a small thing, but our words have a rippling effect, like a stone thrown in a pond. People naturally pick up on the way other people speak, consciously or unconsciously changing the way they speak in response. We don’t need to actively try to influence people; it happens without our even thinking about it. All we have to do is choose to be more conscious ourselves, putting to rest words and phrases that are outmoded, insensitive, or harmful. We can also exercise our creativity by creating new phrases that carry positive and loving energy to replace the old ones.

You may already have some ideas about phrases you’d like to transition out of your language, and now that you’re thinking about it you may come across many more. As you consciously decide not to use these phrases, you may feel lighter and more joyful, knowing that you have chosen to drop baggage that was handed down to you from a less conscious time. As you do so, you elevate the language for future generations who would no doubt thank you if they could. 

Click to download the first 45 pages of the new book DailyOM: Learning to Live

A Life Lesson from Poor Countries

I always like to extract life lessons from seemingly unrelated ideas. This time I want to discuss an interesting article titled Why Poor Countries Are Poor. The article, which talks about the reasons some countries are poor, takes Cameroon as an example:
Life Lesson
The average Cameroonian is eight times poorer than the average citizen of the world and almost 50 times poorer than the typical American. And Cameroon is getting poorer.
To grasp the situation better, look at the infrastructure there:
Douala, a city of 2 million people, has no real roads… Piles of rubble and vast holes mark unfinished construction or demolition work. Along the middle is a strip of potholes that 20 years ago was a road… As our car slowly bumped and lurched through the crowds, I tried to make sense of it all by asking Sam, the driver, about the country. “Sam, how long was it since the roads were last fixed?” “The roads, they have not been fixed for 19 years.”
19 years? How could that happen? Remember, Douala is a major city. Didn’t the people complain about it?

The Main Reason Poor Countries Are Poor

Economists have theories about what make a country poor:
Economists used to think wealth came from a combination of man-made resources (roads, factories, telephone systems), human resources (hard work and education), and technological resources (technical know-how, or simply high-tech machinery).
But the author argues that the picture is incomplete. There is an important part missing. The missing part explains why a poor country couldn’t build those necessary resources in the first place. Here it is:
Government banditry, widespread waste, and oppressive regulations are all elements in that missing piece of the puzzle… During the last 10 years or so, economists working on development issues have converged on the mantra that “institutions matter.”
Having bad institutions is the main reason poor countries are poor. How do you know whether or not a country has bad institutions? There’s a clear characteristic:
…self-interested and ambitious people are in positions of power, great and small, all over the world. In many places, they are restrained by the law, the press, and democratic opposition. Cameroon’s tragedy is that there is nothing to hold self-interest in check.
That’s it. There’s nothing to hold self-interest in check. As a result, everyone just looks for ways to benefit himself without ever thinking about what the consequences might be for other people or future generations. There’s no mechanism to restrain short-sighted behavior.

A Life Lesson for Individuals

I know that an individual is much less complex than a country, but I do see a parallel here. To succeed, especially in this era of globalization, you need to have good resources. Having good infrastructure, knowledge and technology is tremendously helpful. But, above all, what you need to be successful is good “institutions.” It’s good “institutions” that enable you to use your resources effectively and even build them in the first place. Without them, your self-interest will rule:
  1. You will only do things that give you short-term benefits.
  2. You won’t do the painful things necessary for long-term good.
  3. You might cheat to get something for yourself at the expense of other people’s interest.
Good “institutions” help you prevent this short-sighted behavior.
The question is: what constitute good “institutions” at individual level? What are the things that hold self-interest in check? The answer, in my opinion, is your values and self-discipline. These are the foundation upon which you can build many other things necessary for success. They help you develop your potential and use your resources in the best possible way.
Let’s look closer at both of them:
  1. Self-discipline. Self-discipline pushes you to do things that are painful in the short-term but good for you and other people in the long-term. Self-discipline makes you do the deliberate practice necessary to master a skill. Self-discipline makes you do your work even if you don’t feel like to.
  2. Values. Your values fuel your self-discipline. They ensure that you have the internal motivation to do the right things rather than external motivation (like fear of punishment). They ensure that you can stay disciplined in the long run. Furthermore, they keep you from doing things that are harmful to other people or future generations.
Though they are different, the core of what makes a country successful is also what makes you successful. You need something that holds short-sighted behavior in check. You need something that makes you do painful things today for the sake of long-term good. You need to have strong values and self-discipline.

Photo by DraconianRain

How to Be an Explorer of the World

From Under Solen Media

Monday, February 15, 2010

Five Ways to Become Happier Today

Psychology Lecturer, Harvard University

For however elusive happiness is to define, there are very specific things people can do each day that are proven to increase happiness: Tal Ben Shahar has spent his career studying them. He gave Big Think several practical happiness tips, including changing your calendar, buying a notebook, and changing your approach to car parking.

Question: What can people do each day to be happier?
Tal Ben-Shahar: The first thing to do to become happier, paradoxically, is to accept painful emotions, to accept them as a part of being alive. You know, there are two kinds of people who don't experience painful emotions such as anxiety or disappointment, sadness, envy; two kinds of people who don't experience these painful emotions. They are the psychopaths and the dead. So if we experience painful emotions at time, it's actually a good sign. It means that we're not a psychopath and we're alive. The paradox is that when we give ourselves the permission to be human, the permission to experience the full gamut of human emotion. We open ourselves up to positive emotions as well.

Question: Are there specific things people can do?
Tal Ben-Shahar: Then I think -- yeah. Some specific examples, exactly. The number one predictor of well-being of happiness is time, quality time, we spend with our family, friends, people we care about and who care about us. In our modern world, unfortunately this quality time is erroding. A very good predictor of well-being is what psychologist Tim Kasser calls time affluence. Time affluence is the thing that we have time to sit down and chat with our friends while -- not while being on the phone at the same time or text messaging at the same time, being with that person. This is a better predictor.

Physical exercise contributes a great deal to happiness; in fact, there is research showing that regular exercise, three times a week for 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise, could be jogging or walking or aerobics or dancing, three times a week of 30 to 40 minutes of exercise is equivalent to some of our most powerful psychiatric drugs in dealing with depression or sadness or anxiety. We've become a sedentary culture where we park our car next to our workplace or take the train and we don't walk like our fore parents used to. Thousands of years ago our fore parents walked an average of eight miles a day. How far do we walk today? Well it depends on where we park our car. And we pay a high price for it because we weren't made to be to sedentary. We were made to be physically active.

Question: How can we cultivate gratitude?
Tal Ben-Shahar: There are treasures of happiness all around us and within us. The problem is that we only appreciate them when something terrible happens. Usually when we become sick, we appreciate our health. When we lose someone dear to us, we appreciate our life. And we don't need to wait. If we cultivate the habit of gratitude we can significantly increase our levels of happiness. So, for example, research by Robert **** and Mike McAuliffe shows that people who keep a gratitude journal, who each night before going to sleep write at least five things for which they are grateful, big things or little things, are happier, more optimistic, more successful, more likely to achieve their goals, physically healthier; it actually strengthens our immune system, and are more generous and benevolent toward others. This is an intervention that takes three minutes a day with significant positive ramifications.

Question: What happiness techniques are particularly important in today’s world?
Tal Ben-Shahar: Okay. Sorry. One of the most important things that we can do in our modern world is to simplify, to do less rather than more. The problem is that we try and cram more and more things into less and less time, and we pay a price. We pay a price in terms of the quality of the work that we do. We also pay a price in terms of the quality of relationships that we enjoy. So doing less -- for example, switching our phone off for three hours when we get home, or not responding to every e-mail as it arrives, having what I call e-mail-free zones -- these little things, simplifying our lives even slightly, can make a significant difference to our productivity as well as happiness.

Recorded on: September 23, 2009

26 Simple Ways to Nurture Your Creative Life

A Growing A to Z List by Chris Dunmire

Nit Wits #1: Roll Play © Chris Dunmire 

Do you have unfulfilled creative dreams begging to be born into the world? Are you afraid of embracing new creative interests because you fear that you're not good enough, skilled enough, or knowledgeable enough? 

Do you want to know how you can begin transforming your fears into energy that will work for you instead of against you starting RIGHT NOW? If so, follow me into a series of new articles that will give you 26 simple ways to nurture and strengthen your creative life no matter where you are on your journey.

• • • The List in Progress • • •

  • #2: Break Some Rules
    Think about what rules are for and why some are necessary in your creative work.
  • #1: Act As If | Action Prompts
    This is one of the most important and useful tools I’ve seen used by motivational speakers, therapists, life coaches, creativity coaches, and successful artists of all kinds.
Pssst... While you're waiting for new installments of THE LIST, enjoy more engaging Infinite Creative Possibilities »

Solitude and Creativity

The creative process requires that you leave the external world and go to your private inner one. And while you dwell in this inner space, you don’t want to be distracted by the external world. A telephone ringing, a spouse rushing into the room in search of the car keys or the grocery list, a child shrieking in your ear demanding your attention — all these jerk you out of the private reality that is the writer’s life source. These are not just simple interruptions. When you are thoroughly immersed in your creative work they can feel like assaults, breaches of intimate boundaries.

Solitude contains and nurtures your inner world. It is here that we best access our self and the wealth of resources it holds. For most of us it’s the only place where we dare be fully ourselves. Flannery O’Connor once said, “I am never more completely myself than when I am writing.”

Think of solitude not as just a mood or sentiment but as your entrance to the imaginative theater where you project the illusions of sailing on the open sea, or taking a leisurely walk through a mountain village, or driving along city streets teeming with life, or sitting contentedly at home in your favorite chair. Solitude is where your mind opens to new possibilities and the currents of your creativity flow freely.

Write about ways that solitude works for you. Where do you go to find it? How do you feel when it is interrupted? Familiarize yourself with the ways it works in your life and how it serves your creative life. Examine ways you can protect it and have more of it in your life. 


Kimberly Wilson is the author of Tranquilista and Hip Tranquil Chick. She is also the designer of eco-fashion line TranquiliT, and the founder of the Tranquil Space Foundation, which promotes yoga, creativity, and leadership in women and girls. She lives in Washington, DC. Visit her online at

Tranquilista Excerpts by Kimberly Wilson

The following excerpts are published with permission from chapter 4 ("Chic Creativity") of Kimberly Wilson's book Tranquilista: Mastering the Art of Enlightened Work and Mindful Play.

By Kimberly Wilson.

The notion of creativity can be tricky to grasp. What exactly is it? Well, the art of being creative, of course. But what does “being creative” mean?

By Kimberly Wilson.

I’ve gathered an assortment of ideas to help you as you use twelve fabulous methods to dabble in creative expression.

By Kimberly Wilson.

Forcing creativity is akin to bathing a cat. The key is to be deliberate about it. Set the stage to let it flow.