Food for Thought:
“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”
-Agatha Christie, An Autobiography
The following article hits especially close to home for me because many years now (decades actually); I have tried to have a loving relationship with my sister. It has been mostly a tiresome and extremely hurtful journey for me so recently I made the decision to let her go. I read something once that spoke to dysfunctional family relationships and it explained that just because people are your family, it does not give them the right (or allowance) to mistreat you & cross boundaries time and time again. This made perfect sense to me due to the fact I feel very strongly that family should care for you, love you unconditionally. Shouldn’t family members be a source of support, security and comfort and offer a safe place for you to fall when times get tough? I think so, and I have lived my life treating my sister as a precious gem only to be rejected by her time and time again. There have been times I have questioned what’s so wrong with me that my sister chooses to treat me so disrespectfully? Well, I now know that although I’ve not been perfect, I have given our relationship my all and then some. I am given out. I now have made the decision to sit back and what will be, will be. If she chooses to reconnect with me, I will always be there with open arms to welcome her back into my life; but the relationship we’ve carried on in the past is not an acceptable one. Boundaries will be set and therefore reinforced. I do pray our estrangement comes to an end with much hope, sooner rather than later.
“Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together.”
At the end of my first long-term relationship in college, when it was clear there was nothing left to salvage, I told a mutual friend that I “had to make it work.”
The idea of moving on seemed incomprehensible. I’d invested three years. We’d loved each other, laughed together; hurt each other, grown together. I was young and I made him my everything. How could I possibly let go of us when my own identity was inextricably wrapped in our pairing?
The friend told me I talked as if we were married with kids. I didn’t have to make it work. There was no good reason to stay other than my resistance to the pain of leaving.
How do you ever know when it’s time to walk away from anyone? It always feels so much safer to stay—in a friendship, a romance, and especially a relationship with a family member.
It’s hard to wrap our heads around the idea that love often means letting go. We can still have feelings for someone and recognize that the relationship is irreparable. Sometimes moving on is the best way to love ourselves.
It’s a choice to set two people free instead of continually reliving the same arguments, denying the same incompatibility, and opening the same wounds knowing full well they’ll only heal with time and space.
But the truth is there are no simple step-by-step instructions for knowing when it’s time to move on. Surely there are signs. But the most important is that small knowing voice within that says something isn’t right, and it can’t be fixed.
It may never be easy to admit this. Endings always lead to uncertainty, and that can be terrifying.
But they also beget new beginnings, and new opportunities for relationships that don’t leave us feeling depleted and defeated.
How do we know when it’s time to move on? It’s when we find the courage to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that staying will do more harm than good.
We’re the only ones who can admit this to ourselves. And we’re the only ones who can change our lives for the better by finding the strength to walk away.
By Mike Robbins
If you had to sum up your life’s story, would you say it’s inspiring? Boring? Tragic? Realize that not only are you the main character in your life, but you’re also the author—only you can determine if you think your story is good and what the next chapter will be!
Sometimes when I’m about to take a big risk, go for something important or step out in a bold way in my life, a judgmental question will pop up in my head: “Who do you think you are?” Does this ever happen to you?
This is one of the many ways the feelings of not being good enough or of unworthiness show up in your life and get in the way of your success, fulfillment and authenticity. Sadly, as most of people know, this question doesn’t come from your true self; it comes from your “Gremlin,” the little monster in your head whose only job is to keep you out of perceived danger. The more you listen to your Gremlin, the more you allow him or her to sabotage your life.
However, this question, “Who do you think you are?”—while often asked in a negative, critical way and is something you allow to stop you from doing, saying and going for important things in life—is also a very important question for you to ask and answer honestly. When you look at it on deeper level, you see that your answer to this question has a lot to do with how you experience life in general.
How life is for you has a lot less to do with your circumstances or situations and much more to do with how you relate to them and the thoughts you have. Some of the most powerful thoughts you think and the ones that have the most impact on you are the thoughts you have about yourself (i.e., who you think you are).
Everyone has a story about themselves and their lives. These stories are often dramatic, funny, scary, inspiring, sad, intense, boring, enjoyable or tragic (usually a combination of many of these things). In most cases, the story you have changes a bit, depending on how you’re feeling about life and yourself at any given time.
One of the things you may sometimes forget, however, is that you’re the author of the story of your life, not just the main character. You may think that your story has to do with all the things that have happened to you, the qualities you were born with or have cultivated, the stuff you’ve done or haven’t done yet. But, when you remember that your story is a function of your thoughts, most specifically the thoughts you have about yourself, you can be empowered to consciously transform not just your story, but your life as a whole.
Here are a few things to think about and do to enhance your thoughts about yourself and therefore enhance your experience of life:
Who you think you are is one of the most foundational aspects of how you relate to life and yourself. As Henry Ford said in his famous quote: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” This simple quote is so wise and profound. And, whether you think you’re great not, you’re always right—it’s a function of who you truly think you are.
We know, it’s morning. Asking you to smile before your AM coffee is as preposterous as asking you to do a triple back flip for the gold right now. But you may be surprised — even a fake smile can go a long way.
In a happy happy study that’s about to appear in the journal Psychological Science, researchers have found that smiling — any kind of smile — is a sure way of reducing stress.
Doctoral student Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman, Ph.D., of the University of Kansas, grouped 169 university students and gave them facial expressions training, reportsPsychCentral.com. You know how there’s a the genuine, warm smile that wrinkles up the sides of your eyes and then there’s the pretentious, stiff kind that only works the muscles around your mouth? In this particular case, chopsticks were involved to help create both.
The students were divided into three groups — those whose chopstick gave them a neutral facial expression, those who were made to have a standard grin, and those with a Duchenne smile (that’s the scientific warm for “real smile.” Go figure). “Chopsticks were essential to the task because they forced people to smile without them being aware that they were doing so,” explains PsychCentral.com. “Only half of the group members were actually instructed to smile.”
The happy hippos then had to engage in stress inducing activities, fun stuff like drawing with their non-dominant hand through a mirror (aah!) and sticking their hand in an ice bucket (then again, in this weather…). Throughout the whole thing they had to A) keep the chopsticks in their mouths, B) their heart rates were monitored, according to TheAtlantic.com.
The results confirmed what we’ve all learned from years of fake smiling to our frenemies: any kind of smile is good for you, your social status, and apparently your heart. Those with the neutral facial expression were most stressed out (was it perhaps because everyone around them had chopsticks holding up their lips?!), those with regular, lame grins had lower heart rates (meaning less stressed), and those with the sweet, natural Duchenne smiles did best and were most relaxed.
“The next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment,” Dr Pressman told Telegraph.co.uk. “Not only will it help you ‘grin and bear it’ psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well.”
The lesson we should all take from this? Smile. Even right now, even before your non-decaf, extra foam, skim soy latte. It’ll make the day that much easier.
1. Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion.
Keep yours moving.
2. Alignment comes naturally.
Balance cannot be achieved by force.
3. Yoga is more than a series of poses; it’s an approach to life-
and to the world around you.
4. A daily walk can reengage your body and mind.
5. You can’t force flexibility.
It’s about releasing and opening gradually.
6. Experiment with exercise that soothes as well as strengthens.
7. Balance isn’t static; to achieve it,
you have to move, adjust, and change.
8. Your core supports the whole body.
Explore ways to keep it strong.
9. See physical fitness as a practice, not a goal.
10. To find your strength, push past your comfort zone.
If you’re like me, you are constantly learning new skills — gardening, carpentry, pizza-making, languages, sports, and so on. And I think this is a fun and wonderful thing to do.
But what’s the most important skill?
That’s debatable. I think compassion is a huge one, as is mindfulness. I’d go with those two any day of the week.
But if I had to pick just one, it would be this: learning to be happy with yourself.
That seems too simple, to trite! Too mushy and New-Agey! And I’ll grant all of that, but I stand firmly by my pick.
Why? The answer has to do with how this one thing can affect everything else in your life. If you are not happy with yourself, or your body, you become insecure. You think you’re not good enough. You fear being abandoned and alone. You do lots of other things to compensate, and these lead to problems.
So many of the problems people have stem from this one thing — being unhappy with themselves (often in the form of being unhappy with their bodies). Let’s take a look at why, and then look at some ideas of how to master the skill.
“You don’t have to let the surroundings and occurrences of your world bring you stress. You can choose to give them love and appreciation.
Instead of handing out judgments about every little frustration, annoyance and disturbance, you can exude peace and positive purpose.
Instead of letting life get to you, let real, authentic joy flow forth from you.
You are perfectly capable of being ever peaceful, even though you may not always be in peaceful surroundings. You are easily and naturally able to be continually positive, regardless of what may come your way.
The quality of your life in every moment is your decision. Peace is not a place or even an external condition, but a choice of how you are.
Let go of conflicting thoughts about how life is supposed to be.
Live life simply and purely as you choose to be.”
1. Some of the best inner journeys start with the passport – stamped kind. (Pass the in-flight peanuts.)
2. When our life stories start to sound predictable, it’s time for a re-write.
3. Overrated: multitasking…Underrated: unitasking.
4. Summer tomatoes: the universe’s way of reminding us the good-for-you food tends to be delicious.
5. Midwives—of babies; ideas, peace—do amazing stuff.
6. Expanding the mind: always a cool thing—so what if it sounds a little too ‘60s-trippy.
7. Perpetually good advice from James Brown: “Get up offa that thing-and dance ‘til you feel better.”
8. Running on the beach beats trudging on a treadmill every time. (Just sayin’.)
9. Ever notice how people brighten up when you recognize their efforts?
10. There’s a reason why nature is sometimes called vitamin N.
From Whole Living Magazine
Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you?
Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you?
Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you?
Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you?
Today, for many the burden of self doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you?
Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you?