I had an awakening today. I realized the true power of my journey to find my worthiness. I can remember five years ago when I was unhappy in my marriage and how I thought the redesign of my kitchen was going to be the key to a newfound fulfillment in my life. For the duration of the renovation, it was exciting watching my kitchen transform. When the construction was completed, I went shopping and bought all sorts of new things to complete the new look just perfectly. And as I sat in the beautiful kitchen after I completed the final touches, the same darn void was still there.
The massive project did not change a thing. That kitchen continued to be the same unhappy place it was before with a marriage that was tearing me apart. It wasn’t until today that I learned the depths of my transformation over the last 2 years post-divorce. You see today, I own a much smaller home and my kitchen is nothing spectacular but it is a source of great joy. My girls and I laugh so hard sometimes in my kitchen that we find ourselves rolling on the floor in tears. We have created so many joyous and heartfelt memories in our new home and we have all learned that what we really crave is peace, security, love and acceptance. We truly don’t need anything else. I would not trade my life today for anything. I am beyond blessed. I am able to look back over the difficult road I traveled stripping myself down of my people-pleasing behaviors, the masks, the raw vulnerability of sharing my stories with complete transparency and standing in some unimaginable truths. But you know what I gained from all of that…a huge respect and love of myself! I learned I am a really strong woman. I learned the true meaning of life and my 3 young girls are now learning the simple truths before they leave elementary school.
Our thoughts determine our reality and when we become aware of our thoughts and can reroute our thoughts to align with the emotions we desire to experience, we open the door to thriving. My oldest daughter struggled with crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) three years ago and over the past year, I completely weaned her off her medication, and personally was able to witness the power of our minds. At the age of 6, my mom’s death seemed to trigger her OCD tendencies. Her life and emotions were completely at the mercy of her obsessive thoughts and ritualistic behaviors. At the recommendation of her pediatrician and after trying many different methods of therapy and behavior modification, we agreed that her brain was not responding without a chemical balance.
Medication seemed to be our only hope to give our daughter a normal life again. For a year, it seemed to provide some relief but then I began noticing it really was just a band aid approach and the persistent OCD thoughts continued to rage a war inside her head as they battled for the opportunity to control her again. Her future happiness depended on the treatment of the root cause of her OCD: her thoughts. As a Life Coach, I knew the scientific findings proved we are capable of reprogramming our brains. And so I began therapy with my daughter through our daily talks. She soon was able to vocalize what was going on behind the scenes in her mind and we fought a daily battle to eliminate and replace the negative self chatter with positive affirmations.
Her thoughts now had reached a fork in the road: they could continue down a painful path of rigid control and fear-based illusions or choose to reclaim their power and strive for inner peace. My daughter chose peace and I was able to show her the power of awareness and mindfulness first-hand. She learned that she wanted a better reality and she fought for it until her young brain was able to form new grooves that rerouted the worries to a place of contentment and peace. Those old deep grooves to fear and darkness no longer exist in her mind today. Within a few months, she had control of her reality and now she thankfully embraces a whole new way of approaching life. It all was possible when she realized she had a choice! How often do we forget to realize that we always have a choice? We always have the ability to take back our power.
When we live on autopilot, our life never has this clarity but mindfulness changes that. At the age of 9, a young child was able to choose how to live out the rest of her days. You have that same choice too today. So tonight, as you go to bed, decide if you want tomorrow to be the start of a new beginning for you. A day in which you desire to reroute some old programming and find your true worthiness and source of inner contentment and passion. Find the courage to take this bold step. Look deep inside and listen for the whisper that is telling you exactly what you need to hear to wake up with conviction and determination to live out your most fulfilling life. Claim your worthiness once and for all, and go in search of your inner peace. There is truly nothing more important you can do.
This article was originally written by Kristin Swarcheck and was published on The Huffington Post.
I’m Mandie Spooner, I’m a mother, a wife and a nutritional therapist, I run my own growing business and keep our busy home on track, which is full of rowdy growing boys and one quieter grown man.
None of that makes me particularly unique by the way, there are many thousands of women just like me, balancing all the elements in our lives including some time to connect with the world outside of our immediate family, which can give us a sense of self and sanity, sometimes when it is most needed.
My businesses, my life even, like many peoples today, function to a great extent through connecting with people & systems online, I shop on line, I socialise online, I work online, I can’t work to my full capacity when I’m not online, I research and book events, I learn, I keep in touch, my parents and some of my siblings are overseas and I have wonderful friends all over the world and social media keeps us close. The digital lifestyle is here to stay, it’s a good thing and with the internet of things and artificial intelligence emerging, life is only going to get more connected, the problem though is we will be spending more time than we already do on our devices and less time connecting as humans with not only our children but our partners, our friends, family and even ourselves.
So as with most things my solution, a little moderation is a really useful approach. I’m not suggesting to cut online activity completely but just moderate it, everything in balance. There is a limit to how much connectivity is really actually good for us and those immediately around us, and that’s why I introduced my own digital detox because I became out of balance with my phone, social media the internet and the time and attention that I spent there.
I recognised that a more immediate and human connection was needed in my family which was being missed due to my attention to my devices, and what was going on “outside the family” So, I decided to do something about it. I introduced the digital detox into my life and it’s been a really liberating and heart warming success.
My digital detox commits me Monday to Friday to down my devices completely for three and a half hours a day, after school until the kid’s bed time. I spend the time focused on the kids by being present and being available for them. At the weekends I don’t put my devices down for a set period however I consciously dedicate quality time and attention where and when it’s most needed and wanted. We always do something as a family at the weekend, even if its cuddled up on the sofa watching a movie together.
My experience has been amazing, my kids tell me they feel really good about this change, they get the attention they deserve and need, and I give them the engagement they were missing. I regret that I have missed some special moments, and I love being more present in their afternoons and weekend.
I haven’t abstained completely and I also encourage my kids and husband to use technology and access it responsibly. Many of my friends expressed an interest in what I was doing, so I’ve set up a non judgmental Facebook group [and no the Irony isn’t lost on me] to support people who recognise this trend in their life, where they are engrossed in twitter, Facebook, email, or other social or work related screen time, when in fact they would benefit from stepping away, and focusing on the family instead.
None of us is perfect, and from time to time a little help and some understanding can assist people to make huge and rewarding changes for themselves and those around them. Some articles in my local paper and online have created quite a buzz and I’m incredibly proud to have just over 600 people in the group, helping each other out and supporting their own digital detoxes. They only need do what is right for them, and like any problem behaviour, the first step is acknowledging there is a problem.
I hope the group I have set up helps those who have joined to find the courage and the strength they need to say “I’m making a change for the better” and to get support from likeminded individuals.
There have been some pretty negative comments online, and that’s fair enough, people are entitled to their opinion, I imagine that kind of thing could be off putting to some people trying to wean themselves off devices and a connected lifestyle that isn’t serving them. I hope no one is discouraged.
Specifically on the home front, I have a much better relationship with my boys now, because I am there and present and they get the attention they deserve, I feel better about myself and all that good feeling, well it compounds if you like, the good keeps getting better.
This article was written by Mandy Spooner and was published on Ten Eyewitness News.
Aside from a mat on the floor or a pillow with a window view to the ocean, there are plenty of moments along the day that come as a perfect pause to watch closely what is going on inside our minds and keep in touch with how we are feeling. Learn how to seize every pause we come to find as we go to work or while doing the chores at home that will tune us back with ourselves and the world that surrounds us.
Watching your mind
Take a look, literally, at what is going on with your thoughts inside. Are you happy or perhaps agitated and anxious? Watch your mind as it wanders and don’t judge. You can do this first thing in the morning to begin your day with a clear idea of what you’ve been through in the past week and how you’ve been feeling, or maybe before going to bed, going through all the things you did and how they make you feel.
Feeling your breath
The eternal flow of the simple act of taking a breath of air, feeling it as it comes in and out of the lungs is an exercise for learning how to let go. To feel the moment and let go of attachments that leads to suffering.
Every step you take is a new beginning. It allows us to reconnect with ourselves, reminding us that we are here in the present moment. Walking is also an excellent low-impact exercise that keeps the blood flowing and our hearts healthy. Taking a walk through the woods or around the neighborhood keeps us in touch with what surrounds us.
Let it Flow
There a few things we can control and we need to let go of those we can’t. Popular wisdom states that anxiety comes from our unceasing need to control the future, a concept that, technically, doesn’t exist. Acknowledging these principles will help reduce your general tendency towards physiological over arousal and calm your nervous system.
Feel your Body
This perfect machine that functions every day to keep us alive and going, take a minute and try to feel it. Doesn’t matter whether you’re standing on your feet, sitting in front of the computer at work, lying down on a beach towel with the summer breeze; be conscious of every posture you take.
Taking a bite
Think about where the food you have in front of you comes from. Try to imagine the different ingredients in their original form and even the types of people who looked after the crops or animals. Appreciate the fact that you have food on your plate. This feeling of thankfulness is the heart of a mindfulness practice. Now, when taking a bite, notice how your mind responds: Is it salty? Do you wish it was more spicy, or sweeter? Are you comparing it with previous meals? When we focus on the main act of eating, we’re less likely to overeat and consume things that don’t truly nourish us.
While lying down in our beds, without the weight of our bodies, sleeping comes as a formidable moment for meditation. It’s important to shut down all our devices before hitting the big pillow. Lie down under the covers, stretch your legs, and rest your palms on your stomach or by your head. Take three deep breaths. If your mind is wandering, it’s no big deal. Just take notice and return your thoughts to your breath, letting the inhale and exhale guide you into a calm, deeply relaxed state.
What is happiness inequality? It’s the psychological parallel to income inequality: how much individuals in a society differ in their self-reported happiness levels—or subjective well-being, as happiness is sometimes called by researchers.
Since 2012, the World Happiness Report has championed the idea that happiness is a better measure of human welfare than standard indicators like wealth, education, health, or good government. And if that’s the case, it has implications for our conversations about equality, privilege, and fairness in the world.
We know that income inequality can be detrimental to happiness: According to a 2011 study, for example, the American population as a whole was less happy over the past several decades in years with greater inequality. The authors of a companion study to the World Happiness Report hypothesized that happiness inequality might show a similar pattern, and that appears to be the case.
In their study, they found that countries with greater inequality of well-being also tend to have lower average well-being, even after controlling for factors like GDP per capita, life expectancy, and individuals’ reports of social support and freedom to make decisions. In other words, the more happiness equality a country has, the happier it tends to be as a whole. Among the world’s happiest countries—Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Finland—three of them also rank in the top ten for happiness equality.
On an individual level, the same link exists; in fact, individuals’ happiness levels were more closely tied to the level of happiness equality in their country than to its income equality. Happiness equality was also a stronger predictor of social trust than income equality—and social trust, a belief in the integrity of other people and institutions, is crucial to personal and societal well-being.
“Inequality of well-being provides a better measure of the distribution of welfare than is provided by income and wealth,” assert the World Happiness Report authors, who hail from the University of British Columbia, the London School of Economics, and the Earth Institute.
A growing body of scientific research indicates that mindfulness can reduce stress and improve mental and physical health. Countless people who have tried it say it’s improved their quality of life. Simply put, mindfulness is the practice of paying steady and full attention, without judgment or criticism, to our moment-to-moment experience. Here is a collection of the best writing on what mindfulness is, why we should practice it, and how to apply it in daily life, from leading figures in the field.
Leading thinking Jon Kabat-Zinn on the essence of mindfulness, stress reduction, and positive change.
Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on the transformative power of mindful breathing.
Professor of psychiatry Daniel Siegel, MD, on how mindfulness benefits the brain.
Physician and meditation teacher Jan Chozen Bays, MD, on how and why to practice mindful eating.
Pioneering psychologist Ellen Langer on how mindfulness can change the understanding and treatment of disease.
Leadership coach Michael Carroll on practicing mindfulness at work.
Psychologist Daniel Goleman on a mindful approach to shopping and consuming.
Pianist Madeline Bruser on how mindfulness can help us overcome performance anxiety.
And much more…
The Mindfulness Revolution also includes an in-depth discussion by writer-editor Barry Boyce about how mindfulness is being applied in a variety of professional fields—from health care to education, from performing arts to business—to improve effectiveness and enhance well-being.
The New York Journal of books reviewed “One of the wonderful aspects of The Mindfulness Revolution is that the essays address opportunities for mindfulness in everyday actions, such as shopping and online activities.”
The Mindfulness Revolution: Leading Psychologists, Scientists, Artists, and Meditation Teachers on the Power of Mindfulness in Daily Life belongs to A Shambhala Book Series, it has 288 pages.
This information was provided by Amazon. For more reviews and book facts visit amazon.com.