Visualization on Love and Compassion

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference towards one’s neighbor.”

– Mother Teresa


Do you consider yourself a loving and compassionate person?  Are you able to show love and charity and compassion towards your neighbors? And if so, are you practicing this same love and compassion on yourself. Most of us, especially the women among us, find it difficult to be very loving toward ourselves.

Lucille Ball famously said – Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.

I believe we do have to love ourselves first, be filled up with love, in order to let love flow. And when we are filled up, then let it flow; flow freely and copiously, because love and compassion are not luxuries, but necessities:

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries, without them humanity cannot survive

-Dalai Lama

I’d like to share one of my favorite visualizations with you today.

 

Do it today, do it everyday . . . Love the Earth, Love Your Neighbors, Love Yourself . . .

 

 

I would love to hear any feedback about how this visualization was for you;  I always love hearing about people’s experience with creative visualization.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

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Smile

“Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.”

– Dalai Lama


Sigh – the title of my book needs to be changed. It needs to be ‘fresher’. I’m frustrated and feel kinda old. I’m not even sure what fresher looks like.

But I’m working on it. And I changed my email settings too, apparently Comic Sans is very old school.

Frustrating and rather daunting, but I have chosen to follow the Dalai Lama’s advice:

Choose to be optimistic, it feels better

And then I watched a TED talk.

I invite you to watch it as well. Choosing to smile makes sense . . . even when one is feeling kinda old . . .

I’d love to hear about how you stay optimistic.

And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

Happiness – At least 40% is up to YOU!

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.  I can choose which it shall be.  Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.  I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

― Groucho Marx


HAPPY – The Movie tells us in no uncertain terms that Happiness is within our grasp.

While 50% of our level of happiness is genetic, only 10% is attributed to circumstances (like income, health or the number of shoes in our closet).  The other 40% is up to us:  what we do, how we think and our intentions to be happy.

HAPPY is uplifting and insightful.  It asserts that we can actually re-wire our brains, altering its structure and function, by engaging in some simple activities.  And that happiness is a choice that everyone can make, everyday.  The movie outlines several ways to be happier:

  • Simple Meditation Practices (*see info below about the Compassion Meditation)
  • Physical activity, especially that which gets us “in the flow” and unaware of our surroundings, can contribute to chronic happiness
  • Other activities which get us “in the flow” – like playing music, doing something we love
  • Being of service
  • Community, being with friends, and of course, Love

This information is consistent with Martin Seligman’s findings:

Seligman’s Five Elements of Well-Being (PERMA):

  • Positive Emotions (P) – Feeling positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love.
  • Engagement (E) – Being fully absorbed in activities that use your skills and challenge you. (Flow)
  • Relationships (R) – Having positive relationships is a universal requirement to well-being. (Community)
  • Meaning (M) – Belonging to and serving something you believe is bigger than yourself. (Service and Helping others)
  • Accomplishment (A) – Pursuing success, winning, achievement and mastery for their own sake. (Gratitude)

The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) is doing ground-breaking work on the subject of Meditation and Happiness.  One of the people interviewed in the movie is Dr. Richard Davidson:

Richard J. Davidson, PhD, is a renowned neuroscientist and one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of contemplative practices, such as meditation, on the brain. He is the founder and chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking work in studying emotion and the brain. A friend and confidante of the Dalai Lama, he is a highly sought after expert and speaker internationally. Time magazine named him one of the most influential people in the world.

The same meditation practice used in these studies is offered by CIHM online, free of charge. So it’s even easier to choose happiness!

If you haven’t seen the movie, please take the time to watch it. In my opinion, it is nothing less than life-altering!

 


 

Please let me know if you’ve seen HAPPY, and if so, what you thought of it.  And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

 

If you cannot see anything beautiful about yourself – get a better mirror . . .

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

– Dalai Lama


I still have tears in my eyes as I write this – having just read an article about another teen in NZ who committed suicide due to bullying.  The suicide rate among young males in New Zealand is the highest in the OECD.  It’s appalling! Where is the compassion? Is compassion among young people diminishing?  Can it be brought back?  Can it be taught? Some say that compassion cannot be taught, but I believe it can.  Recent studies seem to suggest that it can.

At the University of Virginia, Compassionate Care and Empathic Leadership Initiative — a lengthy, fancy name for a simple, purposeful way to teach kindness, usher resilience and nurture compassion — is seeding change in fertile ground.

It appears that compassion can be taught, according to an article in Huffington Post.

Voluteerism can lead to compassion, and educational institutions are a central pillar in fostering volunteerism among youth. Indeed, it appears that compassion can be taught, which means that today’s educational institutions carry greater social responsibility than ever.

Please take the time to watch this amazing video by a young man who was bullied.  Shane Koyczan took his pain and created something mesmerizing.

To This Day,” is his spoken-word poem about bullying.

 

 

I’d love to hear what you thought about this YouTube video.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

Living a happier life

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”

– Dalai Lama


Happiness seems to be the ultimate goal for so many of us, but the question always comes up, HOW?  How can I live a happier life?  I get asked this question in workshops and by friends when I talk (sometimes ad nauseum!) about living a happier life.  So I did some research about how to answer this basic question.

On one of my favorite website, Daily Good, there was a post recently by Action For Happiness. Action for Happiness outlines the 10 Keys to Happier Living.

These keys are simplified by the Acronym: GREAT DREAM

Giving – Do things for others;

Relating – Connect with People

Exercising – Take care of your body

Appreciating – Notice the world around you

Trying-out – Keep learning new things

Direction – Have goals to look forward to

Resilience – Find ways to bounce back

Emotion – Take a positive approach

Acceptance – Be comfortable with who you are

Meaning – Be a part of something bigger

For each of these ten keys –  there is information, questions, resources and a range of suggested actions to help you apply them in your daily life. It is well worth exploring this wonderful site!

Interestingly, as I researched this more, I was taken back in history, to about 300 BC, to the work for a man called Epicurus.  As an aside, I was quite drawn to his name, interestingly, because on the Enneagram, I am a Type 7 – The Epicure or The Enthusiast.  If you are not familiar with The Enneagram, it’s a model of human personality, which divides personality into 9 Types.  I slot quite well into Type 7 – I’m a planner and I have a need to be happy!

In the healthy state, the need to be happy induces Type Sevens to explore the world and genuinely appreciate what they find. They derive great happiness as a result, thus their need is satisfied and a balance is reached.

At the healthiest level: Assimilate experiences in depth, making them deeply grateful and appreciative for what they have. Become awed by the simple wonders of life: joyous and ecstatic. Intimations of spiritual reality, of the boundless goodness of life.

Of course there is the unhealthy, obsessive side to this as well.

In the unhealthy state, the basic fear of being being deprived can cause Type Sevens to numbly seek new and different sensations and adventures without truly appreciating the experience. This means they will derive little happiness from all the highs, which further increases Sevens’ feeling of emptiness and basic fear of being deprived. The cycle continues to build up.

Type 7s also have a history of debauchery and addiction . . .

Desperate to quell their anxieties, Type Sevens can be impulsive and infantile: do not know when to stop. Addictions and excess take their toll: debauched, depraved, dissipated escapists, offensive and abusive.

But that is another story!  I digress . . .

Back to Epicurus.  At the heart of Epicurus’s Philosophy is a simple thought – that we aren’t very good at knowing what will make us happy.  He boiled happiness down to three basic ingredients:

  1. Friends
  2. Freedom/Self-Sufficiency
  3. An Analyzed life

The 10 Keys and Epicurus echo each other in many areas – the main one being that we need friends and connection.  And they both reflect the Dalai Lama’s sentiment that Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.

I want to close with Epicurus On Happiness, well worth the 20 minutes to watch and to help answer the question How Can I Live a Happier Life?

 

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on Epicurus and his philosophy of happinss, and how you live a happier life.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

 

 

What are your First World Problems?

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry.”

– Dalai Lama XIV


I was on Skype last night with my husband Jeff, who as I wrote in my last post, is in Borneo for a year.  And I got so frustrated by the quality of the video on Skype, the picture was fuzzy, we kept having lag time, and the connection kept cutting out.  I finally gave up and went to bed.  I woke up this morning and was emailing Jeff, and I realized – as I sat in my warm bed and looked out the window at the rain falling, as I sipped my hot tea and used the amazing technology to communicate with my husband so far away – that complaining about the quality of our skype call is such a First World Problem!

And so fittingly, about 10 minutes later, as I was reading Common Dreams, I found this series of ads that I have attached below called First World Problems.  This wonderful series of ads was created by Water is Life.  So powerful!

As the Dalai Lama says: If a problem is fixable, if you can do something about it, there is no need to worry. 

We can do something about this problem.  If you can – donate!  There are so many organizations out there trying to help: Water is Life, Charity Water, Water.Org to name just a few.  I googled donating for water and got over 75,000 results.  And if you can’t donate, then send this video to your friends and raise awareness.  Each of us can make a difference!

 

What’s your first world problem?  Thank you for visiting, I appreciate it.

Optimism!

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.”

– William James


I just read a fascinating book called The Luck Factor

http://www.richardwiseman.com/books/luckfactor.html

In his book Richard Wiseman explores why some people seem so lucky. It turns out that these lucky people don’t have special powers, like ESP, or anything extra-ordinary.  Most of them are no different than you and me.  But he did discover a few special things about lucky people:

Lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.”

He discovered that lucky people tend to be more optimistic in general and to expect good luck in their lives.  He noticed that people who expect luck have a more powerful ability to notice opportunities in their environment. Optimistic people’s field of perception is literally greater. And the great news is that he discovered that when you train people to expect luck, their field of perception increases accordingly!

Isn’t that wonderful!  This can be taught!  It’s not really a surprise, considering everything that has been written recently about neuroplasticity.  But still – how marvelous, people can be trained to expect luck and their field of perception will increase.  I just love that.  And I love the by-products for the research participants:

The results were astounding with almost all participants reporting significant life changes: including increased levels of luck, self-esteem, physical well-being, confidence, and success.”

I’d like to end this post with a video of the person I consider the The Ambassador of Optimism – The Dalai Lama speaking about Optimism in the Face of Adversity.

 

 

Please let me know what you thought of The Dalai Lama’s video.  And  I’d love to hear about your experiences being lucky.

As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  I appreciate it.