If you had just 5 minutes with a person and you knew that you would never see them again, what would you want them to walk away with from having spent 5 minutes with you? How would you want them to feel after having been with you?
I am a breast cancer survivor so I know that every day is a gift. I learned in the long daily ride to and from the radiation treatment that hours in a day make a difference. I knew from the short snap of a few moments lying on the table receiving the radiation treatment how vital five minutes can be. Just 5 minutes a day can be life transforming! Five minutes a day can save a life!
- A 5 minute meditation
- A 5 minute yoga stretch
- A 5 minute pause in the middle of the day
- 5 minutes of self-reflection
- A 5 minute walk on the beach
- A 5 minute phone call
- A 5 minute encounter
What is the meaning of 5 minutes to you? Your life makes a difference. What difference would you like to make in the lives of others?
How many of you have ever experienced the challenge that comes with changing a habit. I have found that habits are like oyster glue. Scientists tell us that oyster glue is probably the strongest glue in the world. In fact, oysters don't even lose their grip under water, and in salt water at that!
Oyster glue allows oysters to cling to the rocks even in a strong tide. At some point it occurred to me that this is very much like our habits. They stick firmly in the subconscious mind. Then they direct our thoughts, actions and behavior.
And one more thing about oyster glue that stumps even the scientists. It is the instantaneous speed with which oysters can unlock their stick! In one moment a batch of oysters can pull together in a tight ball the size of a baseball. And in the next instant, they can all let go and be on their own again.
Don't you wish we could do this with our habits? How do we let go of those old patterns that no longer serve us? How do we make an instantaneous transformation? Or can we?
From my perspective, it all starts with perturbation, a feeling of discontent, like a shaking up, an inner earthquake. Those things or ways of being that used to be satisfying, no longer bring us happiness. It could be boredom with a job, an outmoded relationship, or a desire to try something new. It could be an inner frustration or an inner irritation, like the grain of sand that lodges in the oyster shell.
I call this stage the stage of divine discontent. Some old behavior no longer fits. It is the natural urge to grow. It is a small seedling of new awareness pushing forth from unconsciousness into consciousness seeking the light of day. And the path of transformation looks something like this:
- Divine Discontent - A feeling of discomfort, as if the old clothes no longer fit, a slow emergence from sleep or the illusion we were living, a sense that the old ways no longer work, a desire to shake off the past and move forward in a new way. This stage can sometimes last for weeks, months, or even longer.
- Willingness - Finally the old skin becomes so uncomfortable, that a willingness to change or to let go emerges into consciousness. Even though trepidation or fear of the unknown may play on the edge of consciousness, the old has become so intolerable that it pushes you forward.
- Decision - When the inner tension has reached reached maximum capacity and we are fully and wholeheartedly willing, a decision ensues. Two things occur here: an inner change and an outer change. As forces shift within, the forces in the universe shift too. For as we decide forward, our entire relationship with the world changes. New and unseen forces flood in to support the change.
- Action - It is here that we must consciously attend to the 'how' of change. Do we step out into the abyss to make a massive change? Or do we take it in a series of small steps as we enter the new territory? And how do you know which path is best for the particular change you are going through? This elicits the need for inner contemplation:
- Envision the end result you want to achieve. If you can't see the end result, feel the feelings you wish to experience as you 'be' the new you.
- Ask for guidance from your inner sage, your inner teacher.
- Then listen to the whisperings of the still small voice for your inner sage knows the speed and distance that is appropriate for you at this stage in your evolution.
- Trust the process. As you stay in touch with your inner sage, your still small voice will help you course correct as you go. Mistakes will be caught before they become too large and then will be part of the learning process as you get your footing in the new level.
I love the journey; learning, growing and transforming as we do along the path to higher levels of contribution. I love the metamorphosis I've gone through on my own life path.
So I'd love to hear your "oyster story". What habits have you changed? What experiences have you gone through in the process? And what discoveries have you made in your life journey.
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Who or what defines you? An ancient proverb says that, 'The self is the self's only friend. And the self is the self's only foe.'
- What beliefs have you held that have held you?
- What decisions have you made that have made you?
- What stories have you told yourself ?
Have these beliefs, decisions, and stories become the story of your life?
- I'm not smart enough
- I'm not good at that
- I'm too old for that
- Life is a struggle
- I don't like that
- I don't have enough money
- I'm too heavy
- There's not enough time in the day
It's all the things we think we are, all the things we think we can or cannot do, all the abilities we think we have or have not. Truthfully, it is the decisions we made over the years that create the habits that determine the life we are living now.
They are the decisions we made and the stories we told ourselves repeatedly over the years until we believed them. Then we defended them as if they were the sacred self-evident truths about who we are and what we are capable of. Maybe these are the sacred cows we have to forfeit in order to discover the truth.
All of these statements limit the dimensions of a dimensionless being. We are infinitely capable, wondrously magical, remarkably more than we ever thought ourselves to be.
You are a being living in a body and this body is on loan to you for the duration of your visit on planet earth. You are the being that animates the form. You are not the form!
You are not the small limited individual that you have identified yourself as. That identity is an illusion. You are one with the timeless reality and that reality is without limitation.
When you embark upon the journey of self-discovery and become a student of the self, a window opens to another world. It is the world beyond our beliefs. It is a world of infinite possibility. And it whispers of the mystery of who we really are.
I encourage each and every one of you to become a student of the self. Step up to the window and see what you can see. Look out beyond your beliefs and attitudes and gaze upon the greatness and grandeur of the self.
- List your self-limiting beliefs, the ones that stop you from doing what you want to do, being who you want to be or having what you want to have.
- All the "I cant's"
- All the "I'm not able to's"
- All the "not enough's"
- For every limiting belief - write a reframe
Here's a few examples from above:
- I'm not smart enough --- I'm learning and growing every day!
- I'm not good at that --- Up until now I haven't been good at that but I'm learning more every day
- I'm too old for that --- 70 is the new 50!
- Life is a struggle --- Life is a challenge but I see the opportunity in every challenge and I'm on it!
Have fun with this. Rewrite your script and you rewrite your life!
I wanted to share this quote that I found somewhere on the internet. In reflecting, I thought it to be the perfect adjunct to our discussion on the power of decisions to direct the course of our lives!
So I took a photo of sunset from my house and added the quote to it. I hope you like it and I hope it inspires you to reflect as much as I have.
I thought it appropriate to add 2 new promises or commitments to my self on this day of the Chinese New Year. So I am extending my meditation in the morning and walking 3 days of the week. And so in Cantonese...
KUNG HEI FAT CHOI
'Congratulations And Be Prosperous!'
- Did you make any New Year Resolutions?
- Did you promise yourself anything this year?
- Have you ever made any promises in years past?
- Have you ever petered out or even forgotten your goals along the way?
It is good to remember that we are deciding beings! We shape our world by the decisions we make daily.
Every event starts now and every decision that counts is the one you make at this very minute. What is vital to your success is the decision you make at this very moment for every moment creates the next.
- Do I put on my running shoes or not?
- Do I take another bite of that chocolate cake or stop now?
- Do I go to the gym right now or not?
- Do I get up early this morning or take another 10 minutes in bed?
- Am I going to get frustrated about this or am I willing to breathe and let it go?
- Do I get on the bike or miss a day of biking?
- Do I go to yoga class tonight or skip it?
- Do I pick up that rubbish on the sidewalk (even though I didn't drop it there) or do I pretend I didn't see it?
Every new year I am reminded of the Olympics and the Olympic Spirit - the mind set of excellence, stamina and commitment. I am inspired annually because of my New Years Resolutions and what it takes to fulfill them.
All Olympiad dreams and all New Years Resolutions are written in the back story between the main events. It is what the Olympic champion does on the day when he or she isn't in the mood to practice and they get up and go to practice anyway.
Every time I think of the Olympiads I am reminded of their commitment. It stands as a personal message to me and to all of us who are willing to pay attention. Every athlete's story highlights my own. The highs and lows, the pitfalls and pinnacles.
Moods and mindsets will rise and fall, come and go, but it is what you do every day that writes the script for a long term commitment and ultimate success.
And I thank the athletes of the Olympics for the stunning reminder that you and I am are not alone in our quest. We may have different goals and objectives, but underneath it all we are human beings attaining to success, satisfaction and happiness in our own areas of endeavor.
Let us learn from our Olympiad brothers and sisters. Remain committed! Take one step at a time and make the daily decisions that will carry you through to your objective!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! And to all of you, thank you so much for the Birthday messages! I was and still am overwhelmed with the love and thoughtfulness of your messages! And each personal expression touched my heart and inspired my soul.
On the morning of my birthday as I was lying quietly in bed contemplating my time on Earth, I felt an overwhelming love surround me. At that moment, I accepted the gift and invited the love into me. Instantly it poured into every cell in my body and filled my heart to overflowing. In reflecting at this moment, it seems that the universe was gifting me with just a portion of the expression of its love for all of us. And I share it now with all of you...
Just sit, be still and invite the love of the universe into your heart. And in the presence of that love, visualize your next stage in life. See and feel the year as you would like it to be. Every new year is like an extra birthday for each of us. It is a time to re-invent yourself! Take the day or an an hour or even a few minutes to re-envision your life. Visualize a happy path filled with joy and abundance. This is my New Year's wish for you!
Thank you for being in my life!! I love each and everyone of you! And I pray for each of you the best and most joyful and successful year ever!
How do we stay centered so that we can continue to stay on purpose regardless of the changes going on around us?
How do we begin to transcend the external ebb and flow of daily life? How do we find inner stability in an environment of constant change? How do we rise above the pull of the tide or the ups and downs of our emotions so that we can achieve our goals and dreams?
The secret lies in our attention. Attention is like the flow of electrical energy through a light bulb. Or to put it another way...
Attention is energy. And where our attention goes, our energy flows.
Think of yourself as a light bulb. By focusing your attention within, you can increase the electrical current or voltage to this light.
Further, by taking our attention off the outer world and focusing our attention on our inner world, we start to rise above the ebb and flow, the ups and downs of life. Even more importantly, we start to rise above the ups and downs of our emotions.
What we focus our attention on expands.
Expand the light!
Here is a simple activity that will expand the light and raise your energy. At this energetic level, negative thoughts and feelings can't pull you or have an affect on you.
- Imagine a golden ball of light in the center of your chest at about the heart level.
- Take a deep breath and as you do imagine the breath increasing the electrical flow to the golden ball.
- With every breath, expand the inner light until it fills your chest with it's glow.
- Imagine that glow getting brighter with every breath.
- Steady your attention on the inner world while you take action in the outer world.
Remember to remember to practice this as often as you can during the day. Make a game of it! Ask yourself, "Where is my attention now?" Then, refocus and turn up your inner light.
Let your light permeate the atmosphere and notice that as you do, you begin to attract new and happier more fulfilling circumstances.
A perfect compliment to focusing your inner light is my music CD Daybreak and my centering CD, New Beginnings. One features baroque music to enhance learning and creativity, and the other includes a guided meditation to assist you in focusing your attention.
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To me, Thanksgiving is one of the most beautiful traditions in our culture. It is a time for reflection and family. It is a time to give thanks for everyone and everything in our lives.
We have a family tradition here in the islands. On Thanksgiving day we list 100 things we are thankful for in life. By the time I get to 50, after listing my family and friends, and the freedoms I have living in a free country, I have to reflect more deeply.
It is then that I start to realize how truly blessed I am. I give thanks for a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, the sky, the sea, grass beneath my feet, the smell of rain and all the things I so often take for granted.
I invite you to join me in listing the 100 things you are grateful for in your life. It is an inspiring experience. It will give you an opportunity to reflect on the gifts that your life has given you!
And I give thanks for all of you. Thank you for being in my life and enriching my experience here on Earth. Everyone of you have in some way touched my heart and inspired my soul.
May this holiday season bring you closer to family and friends. And as you reflect on all that you are thankful for, may your heart be filled with awe at the wonder of our humanity.
Have you ever wondered how we, as the human race, have gotten where we are? Have you ever hoped that the discord and disharmony would end? Have you ever wished for a better world for your children and your children's children?
If you have, you are no different from me. I would love to change the game and shift the paradigm! I would like to see the day when children stop acting out the US against THEM model that video games, TV and the media exploit.
I heard from so many of you about the nail story and the teaching that went with it that I wanted to share my thoughts in this regard.
The thoughts in the first two paragraph are what I think about, meditate on and pray about. I don't know the answer, but I do know that family and education make a difference. I do know that it takes a village to raise a child!
My nephew goes to a small school in California. The faculty and staff set clear boundaries on unacceptable and acceptable behavior. But it wasn't until a new kid came to school that they were able to see the results of their intention, work and teaching.
The new boy brought his world with him. He had teased and been teased in the previous school and he knew nothing different. It had been a way of life for him.
So on the first day of school, he cornered one of the quieter students on the playground. Then he began doing what he had always done; calling the boy names and shoving him.
Suddenly, as if from nowhere, an entire gang of six boys surrounded him. One of them stepped forward and said in quiet, yet emphatic terms, "We don't do that here."
The new boy was stunned. He winced, shook his head, and tried to understand what was going on. After all, he was not doing anything differently from what he had always done. The six boys stood firm as one repeated, "We don't ever do that here."
It was a game changer! The principal cried when he heard what his students had done. The teachers were thrilled beyond words. And soon the new boy was inculcated into the school's way. He let go of the old behavior and became a fine upstanding young boy.
All this is to say that we can change the game - one child, one family, one school at a time. My nephew's school did it and we can do it too!