Posts filed under ‘How-To’

Did You Know That There is a Season for Everything?

To remind you of this timeless wisdom, we invite you to read the famous poem from Ecclesiastes 3.

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To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones,
and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

March 11, 2009 at 2:08 pm 1 comment

Which Power Do You Honor?

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I had the most amazing experience today as I was out and about, running errands downtown. I was surprised to be unable to find a parking space, since I usually park in front of my destination, regardless how crowded the streets may be. I’d been circling the block for about thirty minutes when I spotted a van on the corner ahead of me about to pull out of its parking spot. As it moved out, I glided right on in… to see a sleek BMW sedan just ahead flashing it’s blinker as if it had been waiting to back into the exact same spot. The flashy BMW slowly pulled back alongside my car, and we both lowered our windows as soft flurries of rain drizzled down from the sky. The BMW’s driver was a 20-something Asian male wearing black sunglasses, who crisply announced, “I was waiting for this spot.”

I replied, “I was waiting for this spot, too. I didn’t see you there — I’ve been circling this block for thirty minutes.”

The Asian fellow furrowed his brow and looked very annoyed as he said, “I’ve been circling for thirty minutes, too.” As I looked at the young man, I saw another myself. A younger, male, Asian version of myself, perhaps, but I had a very clear sense that our roles could easily have been reversed. Only a moment of time had passed as I gazed into the depths of his Ray-Bans, yet I felt that there was only one course of action that would give me peace of mind; to relinquish the parking spot. I replied, “You can have this spot. It’s yours,” and pulled forward to watch the young man park his BMW there. I sighed as I noticed he hadn’t even said, “Thank you,” no doubt because he was sure that he was right and I was in the wrong.

As I began to drive around the block one more time, I bit my lip and asked Spirit, “WHY is this happening to me? I just don’t get it.” It was so strange for me to be deprived of a parking spot for thirty minutes — this had never happened to me before! As I passed the BMW in its corner spot on my circuit around the block, I noticed it’s license plate for the first time: “BM POWER.” Suddenly, I understood — and laughed out loud! When I was growing up, “BM” was a word that children used when they were talking potty talk, and seeing it proudly displayed as a source of power was just too funny! Naturally, the owner of BMW was most likely intending to demonstrate pride in his vehicle, but the wonderful and oh-so-timely message for me finally put my entire frustrating parking experience in perspective.

You can’t let the @#$% win the game, regardless how much power it might think it has. After all, you are always the one who chooses how you respond to every situation — your feelings and your attitudes are your greatest riches, and there’s no way that any kind of “BM POWER” (no matter how trying the situation may seem) can ever be greater than love!

Within seconds of this divine revelation, a car on the block ahead of me pulled out so I could park my car. In that instant I knew for sure that it really is that simple. All you have to do is decide which power you will honor in your life.

About the Author:
MBA,  Intuitive, and Spiritual Life Coach, Cynthia Sue Larson helps people tap into the extraordinary powers that lie within them to create their best lives.  Please visit her website: http://www.realityshifters.com.

March 9, 2009 at 9:02 pm 2 comments

At One With the Solution

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I recently visited a friend, who loaned me a bead and rope puzzle that had been sitting around her house unsolved for many years.
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Take it with you, and let me know if you figure it out“,

she said with a hopeful lilt to her voice as we said our farewells.

I brought the deceptively simple puzzle with me inside my parents’ house, where it quickly became the center of attention. As one person after another tried to solve the puzzle, I waited outdoors until the excitement died down. About an hour later, I was delighted to enjoy my first private inspection of it.

This puzzle was elegant in its simplicity. It consisted of two beads on separate loops a rope that was firmly connected to a piece of wood at each of its ends. There was a hole in the center piece of the puzzle from which the ropes emerged into the separate loops for the two beads. The solution to this puzzle was illustrated on the back of the wooden piece as a picture of the two beads adjacent to one another on the same loop of rope.

I immediately sensed something about this puzzle… I could feel the solution to it as clearly as if I was holding the solved puzzle in my hands. Suddenly I knew that if I just held that image in my mind, I could manipulate the beads and rope until the beads were side-by-side. I was not closely studying every move I made, but was instead in a state of being at one with the solution to the puzzle.

Within ten minutes, I’d solved the puzzle, and the two beads were resting together on the same loop. My family was astonished to see the puzzle solved so quickly, and wanted to know how I’d done it. I simply replied,

I was at one with the puzzle.”

I got looks of disbelief and some annoyance at this remark, but I didn’t know how else to convey my feeling of being harmoniously attuned to the solution. They wanted to see me solve the puzzle, but I knew that any audience watching me so closely when I couldn’t even watch what I was doing myself would block me from being able to solve it.

I felt so aligned to the puzzle that solving it felt instinctive to me, as if I’d worked this puzzle successfully hundreds of times and could use motor memory. There was some truth to that, since my mother had brought home several similar topographical puzzles when I was a teenager, and I’d spent many enjoyable hours playing with them.

When my family’s attention was once again diverted elsewhere and I had another quiet moment to work unobserved, I moved the beads back apart from one another again. This time, I paid a bit more attention to how I was manipulating the ropes and beads, so that I would be able to help my family solve the puzzle, too.

When my family saw the puzzle back in its original starting state, they were astonished once again, and asked how I’d solved the puzzle. I repeated, “I was at one with the puzzle”, smiling as I said this, since I saw how my enigmatic response made little sense to anyone.

As I showed my family the steps required to move one marble to the other side, I realized:

it is possible to align oneself
with the solution to any given problem,
and in doing so
find a seemingly effortless approach.

The steps to doing this are simple:

(1) Observe an imagined future solution,
(2) With feelings of happiness and gratitude for finding the solution,
(3) Without staring too closely at what one is doing as one solves the problem.

This reminds me of the wonderful adage:

The one who says it cannot be done
should never interrupt the one who is doing it.

lest we get so caught up in what we think we know
that we can’t see the world as it really is.

About the Author:
MBA,  Intuitive, and Spiritual Life Coach, Cynthia Sue Larson helps people tap into the extraordinary powers that lie within them to create their best lives.  Please visit her website: http://www.realityshifters.com

March 9, 2009 at 8:50 pm Leave a comment

Top 10: Mistakes Men Make in Divorce

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By Jeffery M. Leving

It’s easy to make mistakes at the very beginning of the divorce process, especially if you’re dealing with someone who is highly manipulative, abusive or just plain irrational. Even if you are divorcing a reasonable person, it’s tough to think clearly and make the right initial decisions. Most people are so angry, upset or anxious at the end of their marriage that they’re not thinking logically about what they should do to protect themselves or their children from an unfair settlement.

In the past, the prevailing emotions during a divorce were usually sadness and regret. Today, anger is the dominant emotion: People are angry at their spouses, their spouses’ parents, at their spouses’ new partners, etc. All this anger translates into words and deeds that make the divorce process more costly, stressful, frustrating, lengthy, and an all out war. It doesn’t have to be that way, even if you are divorcing the most irrational of humans. Below are the 10 most common mistakes men make in divorce. If you can learn to place your emotions in check and avoid these mistakes, you can alleviate some of the pain that comes with any divorce.

#10Using Your Children as Pawns
Threatening to limit or deny visitation is a powerful threat, and it can terrify a parent who loves his child(ren). Often, parents who are the primary caregivers, but who lack the financial resources, feel that they must use this threat to gain sufficient financial support.

As painful as these threats are, do not respond in kind. Don’t issue threats of your own. Instead, recognize that in most cases, the truth will come out. If you’ve been a good, responsible parent, your spouse likely cannot deny you a chance to see your kids on a regular basis. More to the point, the court won’t allow it in most instances.

#9 – Thinking Romance First, Divorce Second
The most common factor that turns a normal divorce into an abnormally contentious one is bringing another woman into the mix. The situation is already potentially volatile, and all it takes is the mention that you have a new lover for your spouse to become infuriated.

There are several reasons you may want to announce your new relationship-revenge, one being to show her that someone finds you attractive and you’ve even found happiness. Try to keep a new relationship out of the conversations with your spouse and especially your children. The best decision is to wait until the divorce is concluded before you engage in a new relationship.

#8 – Allowing Your Spouse to Convince You to Not Hire An Attorney
If your spouse has hired a lawyer, you need to hire one quickly. If you don’t, you are an amateur playing against professionals. One underhand tactic is for a spouse’s attorney to offer to represent both parties to save time and money. Not only is it unethical, but it also creates a conflict of interest.

The process is designed to be adversarial, and there is no way a lawyer can fairly represent you both. The odds are that your spouse has something to hide or something she wants, and she knows that if you hire a lawyer it will be more difficult to achieve that goal.

#7 – Using Verbal Abuse
Just about everyone who gets a divorce argues. Not everyone, however, engages in continuous verbal battles in which threats and vile accusations become routine forms of communication. Being on the receiving end of this abuse is demoralizing, especially when the threats raise the possibility of physical harm to you or your children.

You need to discuss any threats of this type with your attorney, who can advise you on how to deal with them. Furthermore, if it is you who’s engaging in the verbal abuse, remember that your spouse can easily obtain an order of protection and any violation of this order can land you in jail. There is a myth that men do not endure verbal or even physical abuse from their spouses, but it is just a myth. Abuse is not gender specific.

#6 – Rubbing Salt In the Wound
If your goal is to avoid a court battle and the high costs that go with it, then you want to avoid any accusations of personality flaws. Be aware of your spouse’s sensitivities and avoid inflaming them. Compromise is the essence of divorce negotiations, and if you say and do things to encourage your spouse to dig in and be inflexible, you’re asking for a war.

No matter how much you despise your spouse; no matter how many ways you feel you’ve been wronged, don’t make a bad situation worse by identifying your spouse’s vulnerabilities when trying to reach a settlement. Always try to negotiate before you litigate.

#5 – Using a Difficult Attorney
Lawyers can turn good divorces into bad ones and bad divorces into nightmares. It’s not just divorcing spouses that are difficult. Certain lawyers are intent on churning fees, and they can cleverly manipulate situations to their financial advantage. The result is couples who will fight over the big and little things and invariably wind up in court and broke.

Do not fall for the myth that you have to find a take-no-prisoners attorney, someone who is ruthless and will use any tactic necessary to “win” the case. When there is one difficult attorney, the odds are the divorce will be costly and unpleasant. When there are two difficult attorneys, the divorce will be a total nightmare.

#4 – Becoming Passive
The last thing you want to do when your spouse announces she wants a divorce is to become completely acquiescent. Many people are manipulative, and if they think they can manipulate you into getting what they want out of the divorce, such as money, property or custody, they will do so.

If you are stunned or saddened, you may agree to anything and everything your spouse recommends. Don’t confuse passivity with being reasonable. My experience is that the shock of divorce soon wears off, and once it does, you’re much less vulnerable to making this mistake.

#3 – Arguing About Who Gets What
In most divorces where couples have been married for a number of years, disputes about property arise, and sometimes these arguments are perfectly understandable. These arguments, however, can become completely irrational and vengeance-based. I had a client say, “I would rather incur 10 times in legal fees what the painting costs than allow her to have it!”

These arguments can be draining emotionally (not to mention financially), but it helps to recognize that no matter how your spouse uses these objects in the bargaining process, the court generally divides property fairly if both parties have competent attorneys.

#2 – Serving Your Spouse with Divorce Papers in Embarrassing Places
Having an officer of the law serve your spouse at home or business should be reserved for cases where they refuse to file an appearance or accept service of process, or where great conflict exists between the two parties.

There is nothing more embarrassing than having a police officer serve you with papers at work, and nothing more unnerving than hearing the doorbell ring at 2 a.m. and seeing a policeman at the door (and having your neighbors see him as well).

If your spouse uses this tactic on you, as obnoxious as it may be, remain calm.

#1 – Responding to An Impending Divorce With Anger
The early stages of the divorce process can be a highly emotional time when people say things they do not mean or act in unusual or uncharacteristic ways. Divorces “blow up” legally when one person responds to anger with even greater anger, creating an escalating war of attrition that otherwise would have been a brief skirmish.

Therefore, allow a bit of time to pass before you do anything. Your spouse may settle down after blowing off some steam, and you can continue to move forward in a reasonable manner.

March 6, 2009 at 6:52 pm 1 comment

Reverse Negative Self-Talk

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I’ve often not realized how damaging the little things I say to myself and others can be. It may seem innocuous, humble or modest to say something like:

I’m not very good at this“,

but when I hear my child repeating my very same words of self-abasement to someone else, I suddenly recognize the tremendous power hidden in those six little words.

My daughter asked me to help her tie a balloon string around her stuffed animal toys at a recent birthday party, and I cheerfully agreed to help. As I wrapped the balloon string around her stuffed toys, I was surprised to hear myself saying,

I’m not very good at tying knots… I can’t remember all the knots there are“,

The words came out of my mouth before I could stop them — like slippery will-o-the-wisps who blew through the garden unbidden and unannounced. Once they’d burst out of my mouth, I could think of no way to retrieve them. My eyes caught my daughter’s eyes, as I looked for any clue as to whether these words had slipped away unnoticed, or had landed on her and taken root. My daughter’s eyes shone with the simple joy that I was helping her, and I hoped and prayed that my words hadn’t become part of her personal inner talk.

When I went to the bathroom a few minutes later, I overheard two children talking outdoors through the open window in the bathroom. I heard my daughter talking to a little girl, repeating verbatim exactly the same words I’d just spoken aloud and instantly regretted!

In that moment, I could see how the things we think and don’t say often get their start in early childhood, when we listen with reverence and full attention to every word our parents and care-givers say. These little words sink in very deeply, indeed.

What the Research Shows
Author Adam Khan shares a story in his book Self Help Stuff That Works of how Randall Masciana, M.S., found out what kind of mental strategy most improved a person’s performance when throwing darts. Masciana asked his dart-players to try everything from mental imagery (visualizing hitting the target) to Zen meditation (clearing the mind of extraneous thoughts). Masciana discovered that positive self-talk was the best technique for improving the dart thrower’s ability to hit the target. This kind of positive self-talk is very simple — it consists of talking to oneself in a confident, reassuring, positive, friendly way. Surprisingly, positive self-talk works better than anything else!

In her American Journal of Nursing article, “Making Self-Talk Positive”, McGonicle defines “harmful” negativity as being “awfulistic” – where everything is viewed as being catastrophic, “absolutistic” – using “must,” “always,” “never”, or “should-have” statements in one’s self-talk. It’s generally healthier to refrain from all-or-nothing thinking, discounting the positive, emotional reasoning, and personalization and blame.

In her book, Your Body Believes Every Word You Say, Barbara Levine recommends that we examine our seed thoughts for signs of mindless cliches and other negative elements, so we can replace these thoughts with something more constructive. Regardless whether our thoughts are positive or negative, Levine suggests that we reflect upon how we are feeling when these kinds of self-talk statements arise. We can then discover which thoughts help us feel better, so we can pay more attention to those thoughts more often.

Positive self-talk has been associated with reduced stress, which has been shown in numerous health studies to affect our health. Both thoughts and self-talk are based on beliefs that we form early in life. As I’ve now witnessed first-hand, beliefs shape our self-talk, which in turn affects our self-esteem… and our quality of life.

How to Transform Negative Self-Talk
The technique that works for me is to write two columns of phrases down… one on the left with the negative self-talk that I’ve noticed and would like to neutralize, and a column on the right for it’s antidote or reverse self-talk statement.

For example, if I wish to rectify my negative self-talk regarding my feeling of inadequacy tying knots, I would write down the reverse of my negative self-talk statement as something like this:

“I am very good at tying knots.”

At this point I am concerned more with my inner feeling about tying knots than with my actual ability at knot-tying. I know that by improving my confidence on the inside first, I will be able to more easily learn what it takes to be good at tying knots.

Perhaps more importantly, I’ll be setting a good example for every impressionable person around me, and feeling much better about myself.

For Further Information:
Grainger, R.D. (1991). “The Use–and Abuse–of Negative Thinking.” American Journal of Nursing, 91(8), 13-14.

Khan, Adam, Self-Help Stuff That Works (1999), a collection of 120 short chapters on taking your attitude and your effectiveness to new heights. Write to Adam at adamkhan@aol.com

Levine, Barbara H. Your Body Believes Every Word You Say: The Language of the Body/Mind Connection (1990). Boulder Creek, CA: Aslan.

McGonicle, D. (1988). “Making Self-Talk Positive”. American Journal of Nursing, 88, 725-726.

About the Author:
MBA,  Intuitive, and Spiritual Life Coach, Cynthia Sue Larson helps people tap into the extraordinary powers that lie within them to create their best lives.  Please visit her website: http://www.realityshifters.com

March 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm 1 comment