Sunday, October 31, 2010

Being At One with Nature

by Linda Johnson

"Living with nature means learning to live with the vibration of the land, co-existing with the birds, animals and insects, being accepted by the elemental kingdoms and learning to commune with the elements. You can't do any of this from a car so I encourage you all to do some serious communing! If you don't have access to any local nature, take a trip to a national park or the mountains where you can relax and feel what you are missing in the city.

It is essential for us humans to re-establish a relationship with nature as they represent all the other ascending kingdoms on Earth - we are only one kingdom and need all the help we can get! Make the effort to 'be at one' with nature and give your ascension a boost."

The Beauty of Imperfection

Planet Earth is a place of learning and karma balancing.

While polarity can now be balanced out through ascension, humanity is a long way from 'perfection'. We, and all the other nature kingdoms, and the Earth herself have been traumatised, scarred and shattered for a long time and we are all in need of healing.

Healing, like all spiritual growth, begins within. It starts by looking within and taking charge and responsibility for your own life and happiness, without expecting something outside of yourself to do it for you. You are who you are... and who you are today is your starting point - with all your perceived flaws and imperfections.

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. What is perfect to one person may be flawed to another. But who says perfect is 'right' and imperfect is 'wrong' anyway? Things just 'are' - and you can find help and lessons all around you. Look at the nature kingdoms for example. Clover has three leaves. Occasionally a mutant comes along with four leaves. Is this imperfect?

Remember, imperfect flowers make great potpurri, and good-hearted people come in all shapes, colours and socio-economic backgrounds. What information, healing or love could you be missing out on if judgements are made on fantasy criteria instead of looking within, and following your heart and higher self in your life choices?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to Always Speak With a Kind Heart

speak with a kind heart

Please consider this:

People may not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

You may have heard that before, but when you really think about it, you will realise that you actually have great power and responsibility in each of your day to day interactions.

Whether it is a business or social conversation, by thinking about what you say, and how you deliver the message, you have the power to make a great connection.

You have the power to contribute something meaningful, and you also have the power to be hurtful.

Always use your power for good and speak with a kind heart.

Here are my 8 key tips to do just that:-

1. Speak Thoughtfully

While your words may not be remembered years later, choose them carefully.

If the saying “you are only as good as your word” is true, than it only makes sense to speak good words, or words that reflect who you really are.
“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” –  Buddha
2. Speak Kindly

Being kind doesn’t mean that you can’t make your point. Being kind doesn’t mean that you can’t be direct. Being kind will show that you care, regardless of the message.

By sharing your compassion, you might change how someone feels about themselves or a situation.

3. Listen

If you are only thinking about what you are going to say next, you are missing half of the conversation!

If you ask a question, wait patiently for the answer. Even 10 seconds of no talking can seem like an eternity.
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” –  Mark Twain
We often like to fill up empty space, especially quiet, empty space, but don’t be afraid of silence.

Sometimes, it is in that quietness that the really good stuff starts to happen.

4. Reserve Judgement

Before you enter a conversation, especially with someone you don’t know very well, it is easy to make a snap judgement.

Before words even come out of their mouth, you have likely formed an opinion.

This may be because of the way they are dressed, a look you thought they gave you, or a story you heard about them.

Make a point to let that go, so you can really hear what they are saying. Do what you need to do to think of them in a loving way.

It might help to think about their family. Are they a father? A daughter? Who loves them?

Giving 30 seconds to think this through will really humanise the conversation.

If you consciously think about the fact that they are in this world, trying to make a great life, just like you, then you will be more invested in the interaction.

5. Be honest

Speak with integrity and tell the truth. If the truth hurts, be compassionate, but be honest.

This goes especially for business conversations. It’s natural to want to be nice instead of honest, especially if someone is trying to sell you something you don’t need or want. Your honesty will save everyone time.

This is especially important in more serious conversations, for instance, breaking up business or personal relationships, when you say (in so many words), “You are not for me”.

Remember you aren’t saying, “You are not for anyone.” 

It is important to get that message across. Just because a person, business, or product is not right for you, doesn’t mean that they are not perfect for someone else.

Don’t say everything - some things really are better left unsaid.

6. Consider another opinion

Make sure your argument isn’t about being right. Perhaps there is an option or opinion that really is better than yours.

This doesn’t make your opinion less valid, and your openness to a new idea, will likely turn into a new opportunity.

7. Don’t yell

Once you raise your voice, your words become irrelevant.

Once you yell, you are talking at someone, not with them. When you yell, the only thing someone else is thinking is, “I can’t believe they are yelling.” or “What a jerk.” or some variation of that.

When you yell, you lose control and make the conversation about something completely different.

Instead, when you feel like yelling, lower your voice. Speak softly. You will likely get the point across in a more profound way.

If speaking softly doesn’t work for you, be quiet. Collect your thoughts, take a deep breath, walk away or do something that will distract you from yelling.

8. Say thank you

There is always time before, during and after a conversation to say thank you.

Thank you for meeting me here. Thank you for bringing that up. Thank you for taking the time to talk. Thanks for the inspiration.

If nothing else, a simple, thanks for your time applies every time.

The way forward – always walk and talk with a kind heart

Conversations happen all the time, but they don’t always happen with a kind heart.
“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.” – Gandhi
If you approach every conversation as an opportunity to learn something new and to treat someone with respect, instead of as a time to speak your mind, your message will be heard, loud and clear.

You will be trusted and more importantly, you really will be as good as your word.

Courtney is a writer and fine art photographer. She writes about simplifying and living life on purpose at Be More with Less. You can also follow her on  Twitter.
Image courtesy of Moriza

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to Live with Acceptance and Friendship Every Day

Love is what children need

What sort of world will our children have in 20 to 30 years from now?

What’s our legacy going to be for them?

Later on today, I am visiting some friends who have a baby daughter of 3 months old.

When I first met their newly born baby a few weeks ago, I wondered what sort of future world she could look forward to.

At the time it struck me that the only thing we can do for a child is be the best role model for them and create as loving and caring a home environment as we possibly can.

Then recently in an old journal, I came across a poem by Amanda Cater, which sums up beautifully what it takes to bring up a child.

The poem is called “If a Chid”:-
• If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn
• If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight
• If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy
• If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty
• If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient
• If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident
• If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate
• If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice
• If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith
• If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself
• If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.

It is many years since I last read this, and somehow it seems more poignant and meaningful today. It makes more sense to me today as I guess I am in a different space and perhaps more grounded.

Also, over the intervening years I have been blessed with numerous nephews and nieces and I have done a lot of work with the children at Nirvana School.

The above words ring so true for today’s world – and yet they are much more universal and not just for children.

These wise words in their simplicity offer us a way of living with each other.

Imagine how all of our relationships would change instantly, if we refrained from criticism, hostility, ridicule and shame.

So from today, get committed to live with tolerance, encouragement, praise, fairness, security and approval.
Most importantly I feel we should live with acceptance and friendship.

By treating every other human being with acceptance and friendship, all the other things will follow too.

From today, be prepared to be amazed by how much all your relationships improve as you apply Amanda Cater’s words in your life.

Please share below your experience of applying the simple principles above. And of course add your own suggestions too – no need to be shy:-)

love is all that matters
Images courtesy of laihiu
By Arvind Devalia

Friday, October 22, 2010

Relationship Rules

Tips on how to build a healthy love life with your spouse.

By Hara Estroff Marano,

From many sources and many experts, I have culled some basic rules of relationships. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But it's a start. Print them out and pin them up on your refrigerator door. I won't test you on them—but life will.
  • Choose a partner wisely and well. We are attracted to people for all kinds of reasons. They remind us of someone from our past. They shower us with gifts and make us feel important. Evaluate a potential partner as you would a friend; look at their character, personality, values, their generosity of spirit, the relationship between their words and actions, their relationships with others.
  • Know your partner's beliefs about relationships. Different people have different and often conflicting beliefs about relationships. You don't want to fall in love with someone who expects lots of dishonesty in relationships; they'll create it where it doesn't exist.
  • Don't confuse sex with love. Especially in the beginning of a relationship, attraction and pleasure in sex are often mistaken for love.
  • Know your needs and speak up for them clearly. A relationship is not a guessing game. Many people, men as well as women, fear stating their needs and, as a result, camouflage them. The result is disappointment at not getting what they want and anger at a partner for not having met their (unstated) needs. Closeness cannot occur without honesty. Your partner is not a mind reader.
  • Respect, respect, respect. Inside and outside the relationship, act in ways so that your partner always maintains respect for you. Mutual respect is essential to a good relationship.
  • View yourselves as a team, which means you are two unique individuals bringing different perspectives and strengths. That is the value of a team—your differences.
  • Know how to manage differences; it's the key to success in a relationship. Disagreements don't sink relationships. Name-calling does. Learn how to handle the negative feelings that are the unavoidable byproduct of the differences between two people. Stonewalling or avoiding conflicts is NOT managing them.
  • If you don't understand or like something your partner is doing, ask about it and why he or she is doing it. Talk and explore, don't assume.
  • Solve problems as they arise. Don't let resentments simmer. Most of what goes wrong in relationships can be traced to hurt feelings, leading partners to erect defenses against one another and to become strangers. Or enemies.
  • Learn to negotiate. Modern relationships no longer rely on roles cast by the culture. Couples create their own roles, so that virtually every act requires negotiation. It works best when good will prevails. Because people's needs are fluid and change over time, and life's demands change too, good relationships are negotiated and renegotiated all the time.
  • Listen, truly listen, to your partner's concerns and complaints without judgment. Much of the time, just having someone listen is all we need for solving problems. Plus it opens the door to confiding. And empathy is crucial. Look at things from your partner's perspective as well as your own.
  • Work hard at maintaining closeness. Closeness doesn't happen by itself. In its absence, people drift apart and are susceptible to affairs. A good relationship isn't an end goal; it's a lifelong process maintained through regular attention.
  • Take a long-range view. A marriage is an agreement to spend a future together. Check out your dreams with each other regularly to make sure you're both on the same path. Update your dreams regularly.
  • Never underestimate the power of good grooming.
  • Sex is good. Pillow talk is better. Sex is easy, intimacy is difficult. It requires honesty, openness, self-disclosure, confiding concerns, fears, sadnesses as well as hopes and dreams.
  • Never go to sleep angry. Try a little tenderness.
  • Apologize, apologize, apologize. Anyone can make a mistake. Repair attempts are crucial—highly predictive of marital happiness. They can be clumsy or funny, even sarcastic—but willingness to make up after an argument is central to every happy marriage.
  • Some dependency is good, but complete dependency on a partner for all one's needs is an invitation to unhappiness for both partners. We're all dependent to a degree—on friends, mentors, spouses. This is true of men as well as women.
  • Maintain self-respect and self-esteem. It's easier for someone to like you and to be around you when you like yourself. Research has shown that the more roles people fill, the more sources of self-esteem they have. Meaningful work—paid or volunteer—has long been one of the most important ways to exercise and fortify a sense of self.
  • Enrich your relationship by bringing into it new interests from outside the relationship. The more passions in life that you have and share, the richer your relationship will be. It is unrealistic to expect one person to meet all of your needs in life.
  • Cooperate, cooperate, cooperate. Share responsibilities. Relationships work ONLY when they are two-way streets, with much give and take.
  • Stay open to spontaneity.
  • Maintain your energy. Stay healthy.
  • Recognize that all relationships have their ups and downs and do not ride at a continuous high all the time. Working together through the hard times will make the relationship stronger.
  • Make good sense of a bad relationship by examining it as a reflection of your beliefs about yourself. Don't just run away from a bad relationship; you'll only repeat it with the next partner. Use it as a mirror to look at yourself, to understand what in you is creating this relationship. Change yourself before you change your relationship.
  • Understand that love is not an absolute, not a limited commodity that you're in of or out of. It's a feeling that ebbs and flows depending on how you treat each other. If you learn new ways to interact, the feelings can come flowing back, often stronger than before.