February 14, 2012, by Cynthia Revesz, creator of the Essential Balance Principles™ www.cynthiarevesz.com
Love is the essence of your being. It is the sacred ground in which you are rooted. It’s the invisible current of life that flows through you. And, when this vital energy is flowing freely, you enjoy vibrant physical and emotional health, and remember your connection to spirit.
Does it seem strange to think of yourself as love? That may be because, not only is love both a noun and a verb, but, from an early age, you experienced love as conditional. That means it is only given or received under certain conditions. Parents may, in fact, love their children unconditionally. But, from a child’s perspective, it doesn’t seem that way, when the parent withholds tenderness, affection and approval because the child fails to behave as expected. As children, when we fell short of what was expected of us and met with disapproval, we may have concluded that we were unlovable or not deserving of love.
Thus, from the earliest age, we got the message that our value is conditional and not self-evident. Later in life, this belief continues to be reinforced as people judge us on the basis of superficial things, such as our appearance and how much money we make, rather than for who we are. But more importantly, we do this to ourselves by rewarding ourselves with self-love only when we pass certain self-imposed tests. You know how it goes: if you gain a few pounds, things aren’t going well at work, or you aren’t in a relationship, you don’t feel good about yourself and deny yourself love.
This self-denial can take a mild form, such as not liking parts of your self much, or express itself as a serious self-loathing, a highly toxic emotion. In any case, you wall yourself off from the sustaining stream within yourself, and from others by not giving and receiving love. This emotional level disruption, impacts your energetic and physical levels of being, too. On the energy level, the circulation of your life force energy stagnates and, depending on the intensity and frequency of your self-defeating thoughts, blockages can occur in your subtle energy system. On the physical level, you may experience a variety of symptoms from low-level discomforts (such as losing touch with that delicious feeling of being alive in a body, muscle tension, stomach pain, backache, and headache) to serious health issues (over time, obsessive self-destructive thoughts can cause serious problems). While all pain or illness may not be the result of a lack of self-love, when your ability to give and receive love is blocked, you suffer on all three levels of your being – body, mind and spirit.
All of us deeply desire, and need, to be loved for who we are. When there are no conditions attached to it, love frees you to be your self and creates wholeness and healing. When you don’t feel that you have to prove your worth or uphold an image, all of the energy that goes into doing that is available to you. Although many people have only experienced unconditional love with a pet (which is why our furry friends make us feel so good), you can experience your own true nature by loving yourself unconditionally.
Because love is so essential to your overall wellness, I invite you to examine how you may be denying yourself the healing and liberating gift of total and unconditional love. Begin by observing the quality of your relationship with your self. How would you describe it? Do you struggle with your self? Are you a taskmaster? Or, your own worst critic? Do you alternate between feeling good about yourself and thinking that you’re only good enough “if” you keep your weight down, close a deal at work, or whatever? When you notice that you’re assessing your value based on conditions, remember your priceless and sacred inner essence.
You may also want to try the following practices. I suggest picking one practice and working with it exclusively for a few days, observing any changes within yourself, and then going on to the next one.
Be kind and compassionate. Treat yourself as you would treat someone you cherish, or like you would treat a small child, or beloved pet, that is in your care. Take a moment and imagine how this would feel? Do you notice a softening in your self?
Practice non-judgment. As you go about your day, allow everything to be as it is. If you notice that you’re resisting any experience or judging any aspect of yourself, repeat to yourself “it is” and allow it to be. How does this feel? Do you feel lighter? Or more open?
Know your worth. Because your essence is divine love, nothing that you do, or say, or think is necessary to establish your value. Your intrinsic worth is no greater or less than that of anyone else. Your grandest achievements don’t make you any better than anyone else and your worst mistakes do not make you any less. Go about your day with the awesome awareness of your true worth and of the divinity in others. Notice what changes for you when you look at life from this perspective.
Cynthia Revesz is the creator of the Essential Balance Principles™ a set of universal principles for living an empowered life. Contemporary shaman, wisdom teacher and intuitive energy healer, Cynthia offers workshops and works with private clients to assist them in healing whatever may be affecting them on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. To receive FREE inspiration, guidance and great tips for the evolutionary journey of the self, sign up for her newsletter at: http://www.cynthiarevesz.com
November 22, 2011, by Runar Sögaard, Founder & Senior Leadership Developer, Next Level.
How to have a thankful Thanksgiving
Aren’t all Thanksgivings thankful? Unfortunately, I have recognized that being thankful is something that we have to work at, even on Thanksgiving.
If your home is like most, your Thanksgiving Day will be very busy, with either traveling to where you want to go or preparing your home to have others over for the day. Either way, that can be very hectic and emotionally trying, which doesn’t lend itself to preparing your heart to be reflective and thankful. In fact, Thanksgiving weekend is the most traveled weekend in America. Airports are full, and don’t always provide much room for contemplation of your good fortune.
This means all the more that if we want to be the kind of people who are characterized by thankfulness, then we must make sure that we focus on it, and not just on Thanksgiving Day, but at all times during the year.
Here are a few key words as well as some thoughts that are simple and practical to apply; something you can use right away in your quest to become more thankful:
Time. Set aside time regularly to be quiet, to reflect. We live in the fastest-paced time ever. From the moment we awake to the moment we collapse into bed, we have the opportunity to go at full speed and never slow down. If we schedule time every day in which we can be quiet and reflect, we will free our hearts and minds from the tyranny of the urgent and rushed.
Thought. Give thought to the many blessings that you have. Living in a consumer culture, most of us are fully aware of what we do not have and how we absolutely must have “it.” But how often do we reflect upon that which we already have? Take some time each day and think of one or two things you have that you may typically take for granted, and then take a moment and give thanks for those. In fact, I make it a part of my reflection time to review a list of things that I’m thankful for.
Generosity. Be generous toward those with less and not envious of those with more. We tend to look at others who may be wealthier than ourselves and think, “I sure wish I had what he or she does.” That kind of thinking breeds envy and jealousy rather than contentment. What can we do to break that cycle? I would suggest being generous to those who are less fortunate than yourself. Go to work at a food bank, and not just during the holidays—everybody works there then—but on a regular basis during the year. That will remind you of how good you really have it.
Ask. Ask a friend what they are thankful for. You will be amazed at the answers you receive and you will create a meaningful bond with your friends as you focus on this powerful question.
Acknowledge. Lastly, tell those you love how thankful you are for having them in your life. So many times we neglect to take the time to craft the words to express to those closest to us what their presence in our lives means to us. Take the opportunity of Thanksgiving Day to write them a note, or sometime during the day put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes and tell them. Let them know what they mean to you, and in return you’ll begin to create the possibility of deeper, richer, more fulfilling relationships with those you love.
Of course, we should do what we can to make the most of the day we call Thanksgiving, but wouldn’t it be a shame if the only time we reflected on our blessings was that one Thursday in November? And the answer is, of course!
So let’s do our best to be aware of the many great gifts that we have each and every day of the year. As we do so we will see our hearts soar and our minds more and more at peace as we regularly remember and remain aware of our good fortune.
The Power of Trust
By Miriam Hawley and Jeffrey McIntyre, Leadership Developers with Next Level. For more blogs by Miriam and Jeffrey visit: http://www.enlignment.com/blog/
If love is what sources our lives and our leadership on and off the field, what role does trust play? According to Joyce Brothers, “The best proof of love is trust.” Trust is something that needs to be renewed, refreshed and revised.
We consulted the dictionary and found this definition – trust: the ability to rely on the integrity, the strength and the confidence of a person or situation.
We were thinking and talking about trust one day when we heard that Steve Jobs had died. There were many tributes to his vision and his creativity, many accolades about his business leadership—even through his failures. As we were reading about him, we came upon this quote:
“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
We reflected on what we trust as we develop our leadership in our personal and professional lives.
- We trust ourselves. Golda Meir said it well: “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.
- We trust our relationships—our families, our friendships, our partnerships. In our experience of being life and business partners, trust has been broken and remade over and over again. Our commitment to one another and to our business success has enabled us to do the work of rebuilding trust. This is the place where return on integrity becomes return on investment.
- We trust our communities. In order to sustain ourselves and develop thriving businesses, we must make connections and partner with other entrepreneurs and business leaders for our mutual benefit and the well being of our communities and the world. Only by working together do we have the possibility of creating a world that works for everyone.
Questions to Ponder:
- How have you trusted yourself today? What have you done to fan the sparks of possibility?
- Where is trust disrupted in your life? What can you do today to repair, restore or reestablish it?
- What experiences of building trust in your communities are you most proud of?
“There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy and civilization throughout the world—one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love.
On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet, it is the least understood, the most neglected, and most underestimated possibility of our time.
That one thing is trust.”
— Stephen M. R. Covey, The Speed of Trust
Actions and Practices:
- What practice will you use today to aid you in sustaining trust in your leadership in your relationships, your business and your communities?
- To whom will you turn now for support in renewing trust in yourself or in others?
- Share with your children or your employees something important you have learned about trust today.
August 2, 2011, by Runar Sögaard, Founder of Next Level
I heard a very interesting comment from the 8-times olympic goldmedalist Michael Phelps the other day;
The most important thing is not how you start – the most important thing is; How do you finish!
What a secret to get hold of!
Perseverance is as important to achievement as gasoline is to driving a car. Sure, there will be times when you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, but you’ll always get out of the rut with genuine perseverance. Without it, you won’t even be able to start your engine.
The opposite of perseverance is procrastination. Perseverance means you never quit. Procrastination usually means you never get started, although the inability to finish something is also a form of procrastination.
Ask people why they procrastinate, and you’ll often hear something like this: “I’m a perfectionist. Everything has to be just right before I can get down to work. No distractions, not too much noise, no telephone calls interrupting me and, of course, I have to be feeling well physically, too. I can’t work when I have a headache.” The other end of procrastination—being unable to finish—also has a perfectionist explanation: “I’m just never satisfied. I’m my own harshest critic. If all the I’s aren’t dotted and all the T’s aren’t crossed, I just can’t consider that I’m done. That’s just the way I am, and I’ll probably never change.”
Do you see what’s going on here? A fault is being turned into a virtue. The perfectionist is saying that his standards are just too high for this world. This fault-into-virtue syndrome is a common defense when people are called upon to discuss their weaknesses, but, in the end, it’s just a very pious kind of excuse-making. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with what’s really behind procrastination.
Remember, the basis of procrastination could be fear of failure. That’s what perfectionism really is, once you take a hard look at it. What’s the difference whether you’re afraid of being less than perfect or afraid of anything else? You’re still paralyzed by fear. What’s the difference whether you never start or never finish? You’re still stuck. You’re still going nowhere. You’re still overwhelmed by whatever task is before you. You’re still allowing yourself to be dominated by a negative vision of the future in which you see yourself being criticized, laughed at, punished or ridden out of town on a rail. Of course, this negative vision of the future is really a mechanism that allows you to do nothing. It’s a very convenient mental tool.
I’m going to tell you how to overcome procrastination. I’m going to show you how to turn procrastination into perseverance, and if you do what I suggest, the process will be virtually painless. It involves using two very powerful principles that create productivity and perseverance instead of passivity and procrastination.
The first principle is: Break it down.
No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, whether it’s writing a book, climbing a mountain or painting a house, the key to achievement is your ability to break down the task into manageable pieces and knock them off one at one time. Focus on accomplishing what’s right in front of you at this moment. Ignore what’s off in the distance someplace. Substitute real-time positive thinking for negative future visualization. That’s the first all-important technique for bringing an end to procrastination.
Suppose I were to ask you if you could write a 350-page novel. If you’re like most people, that would sound like an impossible task. But suppose I ask you a different question. Suppose I ask if you can write a page and a quarter a day for one year. Do you think you could do it? Now the task is starting to seem more manageable. We’re breaking down the 350-page book into bite-size pieces. Even so, I suspect many people would still find the prospect intimidating. Do you know why? Writing a page and a quarter may not seem so bad, but you’re being asked to look ahead one whole year. When people start to look that far ahead, many of them automatically go into a negative mode. So let me formulate the idea of writing a book in yet another way. Let me break it down even more.
Suppose I were to ask you: Can you fill up a page and a quarter with words, not for a year, not for a month, not even for a week, but just today? Don’t look any further ahead than that. I believe most people would confidently declare that they could accomplish that. Of course, these would be the same people who feel totally incapable of writing a whole book.
If I said the same thing to those people tomorrow—if I told them, “I don’t want you to look back, and I don’t want you to look ahead, I just want you to fill up a page and a quarter this very day”—do you think they could do it?
One day at a time. We’ve all heard that phrase. That’s what we’re doing here. We’re breaking down the time required for a major task into one-day segments, and we’re breaking down the work involved in writing a 350-page book into page-and-a-quarter increments.
Keep this up for one year, and you’ll write the book. Discipline yourself to look neither forward nor backward, and you can accomplish things you never thought you could possibly do. And it all begins with those three words: Break it down.
The second technique for defeating procrastination is also only three words long. The three words are: Write it down. Many of you have heard me say this over and over: We know how important writing is to goal-setting. The writing you’ll do for beating procrastination is very similar. Instead of focusing on the future, however, you’re now going to be writing about the present just as you experience it every day. Instead of describing the things you want to do or the places you want to go, you’re going to describe what you actually do with your time, and you’re going to keep a written record of the places you actually go.
In other words, you’re going to keep a diary of your activities. And you’re going to be amazed by the distractions, detours and downright wastes of time you engage in during the course of a day. All of these get in the way of achieving your goals. For many people, it’s almost like they planned it that way, and maybe at some unconscious level they did. The great thing about keeping a time diary is that it brings all this out in the open. It forces you to see what you’re actually doing—and what you’re not doing.
The time diary doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Just buy a little spiral notebook that you can easily carry in your pocket. When you go to lunch, when you drive across town, when you go to the dry cleaners, when you spend some time shooting the breeze at the copying machine, make a quick note of the time you began the activity and the time it ends. Try to make this notation as soon as possible. If it’s inconvenient to do it immediately, you can do it later. But you should make an entry in your time diary at least once every 30 minutes, and you should keep this up for at least a week.
Break it down! Write it down!
These two techniques are very straightforward. But don’t let that fool you: These are powerful and effective productivity techniques that allow you put an end to procrastination and help you get started achieving your goals.
Have a fantastic day!
Runar Sogaard, Founder and Senior Leadership Developer, Next Level
June 14, 2011, by Runar Sögaard, Founder of Next Level
What Constitutes a Good Life
Good morning everybody! I hope you all are doing great. Today I want to give you a few words on my view of what a constitutes a good life.
The ultimate expression of life is not a paycheck. The ultimate expression of life is not a Mercedes. The ultimate expression of life is not a million dollars or a bank account or a home. Here’s the ultimate expression of life in my opinion, and that is living the good life. Here’s what we must ask constantly: “What for me would be a good life?” And you have to keep going over and over the list—a list including areas such as spirituality, economics, health, relationships and recreation. What would constitute a good life? I’ve got a short list.
Number one, productivity. You won’t be happy if you don’t produce. The game of life is not rest. We must rest, but only long enough to gather strength to get back to productivity. What’s the reason for the seasons and the seeds, the soil and the sunshine, the rain and the miracle of life? It’s to see what you can do with it—to try your hand. Other people have tried their hand; here’s what they did. You try your hand to see what you can do. So part of life is productivity.
Next are good friends. Friendship is probably the greatest support system in the world. Don’t deny yourself the time to develop this support system. Nothing can match it. It’s extraordinary in its benefit. Friends are those wonderful people who know all about you and still like you. A few years ago I lost one of my dearest friends. He died at age 29—cancer. Henrik is gone, but he was one of my very special friends. I used to say of Henrik that if I was stuck in a foreign jail somewhere accused unduly and if they would allow me one phone call, I would call Henrik. Why? He would come and get me. That’s a friend—somebody who would come and get you. Now we’ve all got casual friends. And if you called them they would say, “Hey, if you get back, call me and we’ll have a party.” So you’ve got to have both, real friends and casual friends.
Next on the list of a good life is your culture. Your language, your music, the ceremonies, the traditions, the dress. All of that is so vitally important that you must keep it alive. In fact, it is the uniqueness of all of us that when blended together brings vitality, energy, power, influence, uniqueness and rightness to the world.
Next is your spirituality. It helps to form the foundation of the family that builds a nation. And make sure you study, practice and teach. Don’t be careless about the spiritual part of your nature; it’s what makes us who we are, different from dogs, cats, birds and mice. Spirituality.
Next, here’s what my Grandfather taught me: Don’t miss anything. Don’t miss the game. Don’t miss the performance, don’t miss the movie, don’t miss the show, don’t miss the dance. Go to everything you possibly can. Buy a ticket to everything you possibly can. Go see everything and experience all you possibly can. This has served me so well to this day. Just before he died at age 79, if you were to call him at 10:30 or 11:00 at night, he wouldn’t be home. He was at a soccer game, he was watching the kids play tennis, he was listening to a concert, he was at church; he was somewhere every night.
Live a vital life. Here’s one of the reasons why. If you live well, you will earn well. If you live well, it will show in your face, it will show in the texture of your voice. There will be something unique and magical about you if you live well. It will infuse not only your personal life but also your business life. And it will give you a vitality nothing else can give.
Next are your family and the inner circle. Invest in them and they’ll invest in you. Inspire them and they’ll inspire you. With your inner circle take care of the details. I always call my mother when I travel. Everyday. Just because I have promised her to always do that! She will have breakfast with her friends or help my sisters with their kids and I’ll call her just to give her a special day. Now, if I am in Australia, I’ll have to get up in the middle of the night, but it only takes five minutes, 10 minutes. So I’ll call Mom and I’ll say, “Mom I’m in Australia.” She’ll say, “Australia! Son, how are things in Australia?” She’ll talk real loud so everybody can hear—my son’s calling me from Australia. I’ll say, “Mom, last night they gave me a reception on the rooftop underneath the stars overlooking the ocean.” She’ll say, “Son, a reception on the rooftop underneath the stars overlooking the ocean.” Now everybody knows the story. It only takes 5-10 minutes, but what a special day for my mother.
If a father walks out of the house and he can still feel his daughter’s kiss on his face all day, he’s a powerful man. If a husband walks out of the house and he can still feel the imprint of his wife’s arms around his body, he’s invincible all day. It’s the special stuff with the inner circle that makes you strong and powerful and influential. So don’t miss that opportunity. Here’s the greatest value. A prophet said, “There are many virtues and values, but here’s the greatest: one person caring for another.” There is no greater value than love. Better to live in a tent on the beach with someone you love than to live in a mansion by yourself. One person caring for another, that’s one of life’s greatest expressions.
So make sure in your busy day to remember the true purpose and the reasons you do what you do. May you truly live the kind of life that will bring the fruit and rewards that you desire.
Have a fantastic day!
Runar Sogaard, Founder and Senior Leadership Developer, Next Level