Posts filed under ‘Inspiration’

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

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

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