When individuals hear the word joy, the image of wide and bright smiles may initially come to mind. On the surface, happiness and joy may seem synonymous. Although closely related, there is a stark difference between the two, specifically it is the attitude of choice.
Joy vs. Happiness
One noteworthy essay describes happiness as “depending on external factors to exists.” Therefore, individuals may get into the routine of saying, “When this happens, I’ll be happy.” This if-then mentality sends us into a never-ending cycle of waiting on happiness to fill a potential void and puts your happiness in the hands of Future. Joy, on the other hand, is more spiritual in nature. In fact, many religious denominations place joy as a sacred or holy emotion.
Something that is seen as a blessing or rewarding occurrence. However, universally, joy is accepted as a choice one makes. Despite various circumstances, whether financial hardships or personal differences, a person who chooses joy still maintains a positive outlook towards the future. Their joy is ever-present and consistent despite situations of despair.
Happiness is often times momentary and matched with a state of euphoria. Within the moment, there are no other negative influences that could drastically impact the level of happiness one experiences. Because of this emotional focus, happiness is only limited to circumstantial occurrences.
How Joy is Life-Changing
Since joy is a choice, this means it takes a concerted effort to achieve. It is quite simple to bask in the stress, negativity, and despair so prevalent in the world today. Certain situations can even make it easy to become victimized. Because of this, learning how to choose a joyous spirit is vital. One simple way to do this is to practice kindness, even when it’s difficult. This is especially necessary for employment where things can get hectic.
Clashing personalities, strict deadlines, and even unmanageable colleagues can make work-life a dread. However, you have the power to remain positive in the midst of negativity. Walk into the office with a smile and strive to be kind to everyone you encounter.
Don’t respond to negativity with combativeness. Instead, find your inner peace that cannot be destroyed. This mentality goes far beyond the office. It transcends to every avenue in life. If you suffer from disappointments, hard times, or failure, try to find the learning experience within.
This will empower you to push forward and find delight in your experiences whether positive or negative. This new mentality is life-changing because it forces you to find the positive in whatever you are handed. Unlike happiness which comes and goes, choosing joy lasts beyond the circumstantial positives. It can help mold and guide you throughout life’s difficulties.
How to Develop Joy
One of the primary ways to develop joy is to find meaning and purpose in everything that you do. This will give you a sense of living as opposed to living for something. One popular news source suggests “connecting authentically” with those around you. As opposed to searching for vanity or the negative, find a way to really get to know those in your sphere of influence. This will help you to develop a deeper human connection.
In addition, remaining humble and grateful are two primary ways to further develop your joy. When you focus on the good that your life has, you have no reason to be down or remorseful. In addition, understanding your limitations in comparison to the huge universe will help you to not take life too seriously. By focusing on heightening your connective awareness, you will be able to develop long-lasting joy.
Joy can help you to serve others, be a better friend, employer, person, and advocate. It provides you with a sense of fulfillment even during harsh times. In order to live a life filled with purpose and sanity, it’s imperative that you learn how to choose joy every day.
Find ecstasy in life: the mere sense of living is joy enough. – Emily Dickinson
Joy does not simply happen to us.We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. – Henri Nouwen”
If U are to truly experience life, U must be able to give yourself permission to fail.
Through failure U will learn, grow and become successful.
Life is akin to learning to ride a bike – U will fall. U will stumble. U will crash. U may even get hurt. U may even find yourself too afraid to get back on the bike. However, it is important to remember, whenever U put yourself ‘out there’ and attempt to tackle difficult situations, handle problems, or begin something new, U may not always be successful. In fact, it may take you a significant amount of time to master whatever U are attempting to achieve. There will also be times when no matter what U do, success simply will not occur.
That’s OK! Failure is a part of a life well lived! How you view and deal with problems, difficulties and new experiences can have a huge impact on your life, your success, and your happiness.
U may choose to give up or blame someone else or beat yourself when U fail. However, U might be surprised to hear that many successful people are not only grateful for their past failures, but they ascribe their present success to having tried and failed in the past.
Six Reasons to Embrace your Failures
Failure is opportunity in disguise – To acknowledge failure as an opportunity is not putting a Pollyanna spin on reality. It’s accepting that everyone fails, and U can choose to try and learn from your mistakes, or you can do nothing. Successful people see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and change course when things aren’t working out as planned.
Failure highlights your weaknesses – If U can detach from the emotions of failure, U can soon see where the leaks are in your boat are and take steps to mend them.
Failure increases your resiliency – One big lesson learned from trying and failing is finding out U can get back up again and keep going. U can admit that U tried and failed and use what U learned to build a better strategy to reach your goals. That’s a huge life lesson!
Failure will encourage U to innovate – When faced with failure, U will begin to learn to attempt new and different strategies. Failure encourages U to view risk in a different light. If you’re not afraid to fail, you’re more likely to try new things and experience life in a whole new way!
Failure reminds U that you’re not alone – Accepting failure as part of life will make U more empathic and less judgmental of others. You’ll be more likely to help other people who are embracing life and attempting to move forward despite their obstacles. In return, U will be more open to ask for and receive help when U are in need.
Failure will suggest U be kinder to yourself – Seeing failure for what it is (a temporary setback) will make U more forgiving of your flaws. You’ll be less of a perfectionist and be less prone to self-doubt. Forgiving yourself, in turn, will build your self-confidence and make U more likely to succeed the next time around.
Embrace failure, learn from it and use it as a stepping stone to success.– Recreate-U.com
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. – Michael Jordan
No man ever achieved worthwhile success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure. – Napoleon Hill
The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows. – Buddha
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail. – Confucius
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. – J.K. Rowling
Using The Power Of Choice To Improve Your Quality Of Life And Wellness
U have the ability to choose. U can decide what to eat each day, what clothes to wear, what restaurants to go to; U have the ability to choose what U want in life and what U don’t want. Of course, some things U can’t choose such as what color your skin is, what size feet U have, what day of the week it is, but U do have the ability to make choices that matter in regards to your well-being.
How We Feel
The practice of developing wellness in your life shows U that U do have the ability to choose how U feel. U can consciously influence your emotions and yourself. U can use mental training strategies like self-hypnosis and meditation to encourage certain states and feelings within your mind.
U can choose how to react to a certain situation or to a certain person. U can control your emotions so U don’t fall into negative, degenerative, or destructive thought processes. U can even use the power of choice to heal.
Healing from Within
The power of choice is very similar to the power of intention. When U hold an intention in your mind, U are attracting the result of that intention into your life. When U make a choice, U are attracting the result of that choice into your life. Therefore, if U learn to be very aware of the choices U are making for yourself, U will become more aware of where your choices are leading U. U can learn to remove destructive and negative influences from your life once U become aware of the choices U are making.
When U remove negativity and destructiveness from your life, U will begin to feel an all-pervading sense of wellness within your daily way of life. When U learn to promote this feeling on a regular basis, the natural result is healing of your spirit.
Healing the Spirit is Healing Both Body & Mind
Spirit is the awareness of the entire cosmos and the understanding that everything is connected to everything and, indeed, everything is one. Obviously, that includes U, and me, and everyone else. Therefore, when the Spirit is encouraged to heal, meaning, when healing is promoted within yourself and without yourself, U will begin to experience healing on all levels.
But What Does Healing Mean?
Healing, or more specifically, spiritual healing does not actually have anything to do with physical health. I know this may shock some of U, who are reading this, but it doesn’t. It is actually pretty obvious why not when U are able to see the big picture.
For example, a person with a terminal illness can still have a very powerful and aware spirit. A person who is incredibly fit and healthy physically can be completely negative in their mindset and still practice many destructive forms of behavior. Spiritual awakening occurs to many people who are on their ‘death-bed’ so what am I talking about when I use the term ‘healing’?
Healing, In Reality
Becoming completely aware of who U are; knowing, in reality, everything is okay and understanding your position and function in life, that is real healing.
On the other hand, there is suffering. Being lost in life, being confused about what is real and what is not, being angry and traumatized by past experiences, holding onto judgements and opinions about people, things or places which leads to a feeling of separateness, these things all fall into the realm of suffering.
True healing can only occur when all of these things are overcome, when suffering is brought to an end inside your heart. In reality, true healing and true spiritual wellness can only occur when the source of your suffering has been extinguished.
U have the ability to choose whether or not U suffer. By choosing not to suffer U are encouraging healing within your spirit. When healing is encouraged within your spirit, this has the natural effect of developing inner peace within your heart.
To truly heal, to remove all of the anguish, all of the confusion, all of the aggression, all of the conflict, U have to make positive choices. U must choose not to suffer, not to feed your problems, but instead, take away the source of their inspiration.
Only U can do that for yourself.
If U choose not to promote suffering in your life, this will have the effect of promoting greater quality of life and greater health. Even if your physical health is bad, as will be the case with most of us as we age and grow older, U can still have a mindset that doesn’t experience this as suffering, but simply sees that it is a part of the natural way of things.
For those of U who have health problems in your younger years, make the choice to stop doing anything negative or destructive to your spirit. By doing so, U can encourage greater physical health as well and mental and spiritual health.
Healing begins with your mindset and the choices U are making for yourself. What will you choose?
You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripples for change. – Tim Cook
The idea that everything is purposeful really changes the way you live. To think that everything that you do has a ripple effect, that every word that you speak, every action that you make affects you, other people and the planet. – Victoria Moran
To become more conscious is the greatest gift anyone can give to the world; moreover, in a ripple effect, the gift comes back to its source. – David Hawkins
Everybody talks about wanting to change things and help and fix, but ultimately all you can do is fix yourself. And that’s a lot. Because if you can fix yourself, it has a ripple effect. – Rob Reiner
We need to take action to develop compassion, to create inner peace within ourselves and to share that inner peace with our family and friends. Peace and warm-heartedness can then spread through the community just as ripples radiate out across the water when you drop a pebble into a pond – Dalai Lama
ReCreate-U is a blog created for U and others who find themselves dealing with similar issues and life struggles. I am looking for real people who are willing to be open and share their story so others may learn and be inspired. Please submit your story (not previously published elsewhere, including your own site), with your bio and photo. If you wish to remain anonymous, please let me know and I will honor your request.
Writing and expressing yourself and sharing with others is a cathartic experience and can be a very therapeutic way to release what may have been pent up for a very long time.
However, before submitting your story, I ask U to share what U have been through willingly, openly and honestly and, along with me, do so in the spirit that your experience may inspire and help others and allow them to learn from your experience.
Acceptance is the acknowledgment of yourself as U really are at the moment, with no illusions or self-deception.
Likewise, acceptance expands outward by acknowledging situations, other people, your whole world and overarching reality as it is, not as U would rather it be.
To invite acceptance is to face facts. No one can truly reinvent themselves without practicing the art of acceptance, because acceptance is a form of deep honesty and reinvention requires honesty.
The art of acceptance is also the art of living without preconditions or unrealistic expectations. Having expectations isn’t a bad thing, except when U try to treat your own expectations as facts. It’s easy to get caught up in a false world that’s governed by your expectations.
Your irrational expectations prevent acceptance in many cases. U have expectations yourself, other people, the world, the way life should go.
Consider how disappointing the following expectations are: • Life should be fair. • People should always treat me well. • I need to be great at everything I do. • People must like me. • I must please other people all the time.
These are all irrational expectations that create misery and frustration. U will remain afflicted with disappointment because U are living in a state of conditionality, not acceptance. Acceptance may look a bit grim, but it’s far from it. Indeed, irrational expectations prevent acceptance in many cases.
Consider: • Life isn’t fair. • People don’t always treat me well. • I’m not great at everything. • Some people don’t like me. • I don’t please others all the time.
Accepting these as the rock-solid facts they are is liberating. Acceptance frees U from disappointment. It blows the doors to your own personal development wide open. Personal reinvention leads to fantastic developments only when U are willing to shed your illusions, preconceptions, and expectations.
What acceptance isn’t If acceptance is an acknowledgment of facts, what is it not? Acceptance is not:
• Settling for less
• An excuse for negativity
Acceptance doesn’t mean U pretend to like a situation or that something doesn’t hurt or disturb. Instead, when U accept a situation as distressing, U own your feelings. The tendency is to shy away from things that are unpleasant, and many times in life you will face unpleasantries. Sometimes it’s not so much the hard truth that disturbs U as it is your thoughts and feelings about the truth.
It is a natural tendency to want to make things congruent and harmonious with your beliefs. Often, when faced with a fact that doesn’t fit in with worldviews, U will distort it to fit your own views, or U will ignore it altogether. That’s a false belief, but it’s the nature of the human psyche to keep U insulated from pain.
Often, that insulation gets applied before U make a rational analysis of a threat—or a change. Often U will feel threatened, and U will attempt to remove yourself from the danger, even if it means U haven’t accepted the reality of a situation.
Coping with reality always works better for reinvention than avoiding reality. Accepting reality never lets U down and always helps build U up. Given that reinvention is all about change U have to have a solid basis for correctly and realistically gauging what to change and how to go about it.
Acceptance is essential for inner peace, and it’s also essential for making life changes. As U begin to make changes, you’ll be able to discover how to carry out your personal transformation.
Acceptance of yourself isn’t the end of things. Acceptance is the beginning of reinvention, a re-awakening of your self.
Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.― Anthony J. D’Angelo
“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes – it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.” ― Maya Angelou
“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” ― Heath L. Buckmaster
How would you describe your life thus far? Is it everything U have wished it would be? Do U believe your path has been within your control? Or has life’s natural energy and forces carved a path for U which U never intended to follow?
The reality is the life and path U follow are what have been designed for U. Life’s illusion is your belief that U have the ability and the knowledge to forge your own way. U may even feel the need to follow the path others have chosen for U. The reality is If U continue to fight and attempt to control where your life leads and resist outcomes, U are in for a battle. Unfortunately, with battles come battle scars. Resistance and struggle leads to additional resistance and struggle; not wellness, satisfaction and happiness.
Should U choose to approach life without any preconceived notions or expectations, U will calm the negative emotions and devastating physical outcomes that occur when life becomes a battle. When it’s a battle you choose, it becomes very difficult to avoid failure, loss, physical issues and life-long illnesses. The battle scars U may experience include anger and frustration, a defeatist attitude, low self-esteem, regret, sadness, depression, etc. When battling life, U will never open yourself up to the myriad of possibilities because your focus is on challenging your current path rather than realizing another path could be one of least resistance and personal fulfillment.
A wise teacher recently helped me accept how my life has been thus far. I have learned life is a series of lessons and every experience U have been given thus far is a gift to help U move along the path that has been chosen for U. You see, life JUST IS.
Dealing with chronic pain and other health issues hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses and has led to many changes in my life’s direction. The path carved out for me wasn’t the one I intended to follow. I have fought accepting my circumstances because my illusion was to continue to desire what I thought I couldn’t have.
My teacher likened my life’s approach to a bird injured and weighed down with pain standing on a cliff wildly flapping its wings attempting to get off the ground and soar. Despite symptoms of exhaustion, pain and a rising sense of defeat, a bird will continue its attempts to fly. If the bird continues to fight rather than resting and healing itself, the bird may eventually succumb to its pain and die.
Just like the bird, my goals were alluding me despite my best efforts. Wanting to soar, I did everything in my power and pushed myself beyond my capabilities to rise up. My goals and ambitions were admirable. Yet, my approach was less than stellar. I struggled, fought, flapped, flapped some more and finally wore myself out. I was on the brink of falling off the cliff because all I could see was the need to return to the path that I thought awaited me. I never looked to the sky and realize I could rise above my circumstances. I failed again and again to take flight because all I saw was a singular answer to my problem – “work harder and U will succeed”. I didn’t understand I was simply causing additional tension, strain and exhaustion with my approach which often resulted in the need to recoup for days before I was able to fully recover and attempt to get moving once again..
With my approach, I never noticed the winds which had been blowing in my direction all along. Deafened by my flapping wings and blinded by my all-encompassing effort to get back on track, I never heard or felt the wind on my face. I now realize, I simply needed to lean forward, spread my wings and wait for the air currents to sweep me up above the cliffs allowing me to move with ease along my path. There was never a need to flap my wings widely to get off the ground and follow my path; that was the illusion.
The reality is life will sweep U up and take U on a journey like no other. There are gifts that await U. Gifts U may have thought were long gone; never to be achieved. Follow the wind my friends and see where life leads, there is so much to experience if U embrace the path U have been given no matter its hardships. For in difficulties lies experience and growth. U can’t control how far U will go or where U will land but, if U spread your wings, U will SOAR. Take pride in how far you have come thus far. Do not beat yourself with statements such as “I should have…”, “if only I would have…”. There is no guilt in doing what you did. It was what you knew. With each new challenge along your life’s path – ACCEPT, EXPLORE AND SOAR.
“It’s the ‘everyday’ experiences we encounter along the journey to who we wanna be that will define who we are when we get there.” – Aaron Lauritsen
“Some days… I walk. Some days… I run. And on the odd day… I fly. And when I have a really special day…I soar!”
– Anthony T.Hincks
About forty percent of all Americans will vow to change one thing or another about themselves this New Year. Often these goals and resolutions are never met. In fact, sixty percent of all individuals will have completely forgotten about the resolutions they have made within six months.
New Year’s resolutions usually fall under the following categories:
• Weight loss
• Personal development
• Health and diet
• Stress management
• Focusing on personal relationships
Carrying out your resolutions and goals can be accomplished. Read on to find out how.
1. Define your Motivation
There are 2 types of motivation: • Intrinsic – this means your motivation comes from inside. For example, U prefer jogging, going to the gym, or shopping by yourself. The motivation for follow through comes from within and U are comfortable and motivated to accomplish your goal without the assistance of anyone but yourself. Just doing and participating is reward enough.
• Extrinsic – you’re motivated by actions outside your personal scope. The reward system is external. Accomplishing the goal may be more difficult without having someone by your side you help motivate U. U may also find U are in need of an external motivator such as a reward when you achieve your goal.
Once U figure out your motivation type, then all U have to do is put yourself in situations that make U more comfortable and excited to accomplish your goals.
2. Actions speak louder than results
Deciding on a goal for the New Year is always easier said than done. However, it’s the steps you take to reach that goal that are sometimes trickier. If you want to stick to your resolutions, it’s wise to break each step down into smaller goals to make them more manageable.
Finally, each time you achieve a step towards your goal, reward yourself and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. Positive reinforcement is crucial to help guide U as you push towards your goal and commit to your responsibilities.
One way to keep everything in check is to make sure your goal setting and steps towards reaching your golas are S.M.A.R.T.:
• Specific – having a specific end result prevents you from making excuses. • Measurable – evaluating your progress will give your motivation a boost. • Achievable – U can set daily goals as a building block to bigger goals. • Relevant – if it’s not relevant, why bother? • Time-bound – goals need to have a defined end date.
3. Be Honest with Yourself
The more realistic your resolutions, the more likely you’ll see them through. If your goal for the New Year is to exercise more, then start small. Instead of planning a 5-day workout week, go for twenty minutes each day then increase gradually.
You’ll find, as with all goals, as soon as U start seeing what you’ve accomplished, you’ll be pumped to do even more. However, it’s crucial that U stay away from the “all-or-nothing” approach. Doing something, even if it’s a small piece of what you’d originally planned, is much better and more productive than doing nothing at all. Acknowledge your accomplishments, no matter how small, as U move towards reaching your resolution.
Moreover, it’s equally important to not have too many resolutions up in the air at once. Make a list, prioritize them, and go from there. Once U feel the first one’s in the bag, go for the second, and so on. Focusing on one goal at a time will channel your energy and efforts, helping U reach your target faster.
4. Think things through
Having a positive mindset is key when progressing towards your goals. However, let’s be honest; every plan is bound for failure if you’re not careful. Be smart and anticipate obstacles so that when they do appear, you’ll be prepared.
For example, if U get bored when you exercise, choose upbeat workout music that’ll get you revved up. Or U can workout at home, as you catch up on your favorite TV shows. If your motivation method is extrinsic, go to the gym with a friend. The idea is to nip obstacles in the bud before they becomes stronger than your willpower so that U can surmount any roadblock that comes between U and your goal.
5. Be accountable for your actions
Accountability means you’re taking responsibility for the choices you’re making. This may seem easy to do at work when U have a deadline and a boss reinforcing it. It may not seem as easy when you’re home alone and skip out on cooking a healthy meal, and order take-out instead.
You can enlist the help of a friend or join a support group to insure commitment and follow through towards meeting your goals. By enlisting the help of someone else, you are not only accountable to yourself but to another person.
Hang a calendar on your wall with progress notes so U can keep tabs how far you’ve gotten and what still lies ahead.
Keeping your New Year’s resolution may seem difficult to accomplish. However, applying these 5 steps, U will be more apt to stick to your goals. Once U accomplish your first resolution, you’ll be more apt to continue to set new goals for yourself and move towards balance and fulfillment.
“You are not creating a new you; you are releasing a hidden you. The process is one of self-discovery. The hidden you that wants to emerge is in perfect balance.” -Deepak Chopra, MD.
“If you are not where you want to be, do not quit, instead reinvent yourself and change your habits.” – Eric Thomas
Easter and April Fools’ Day coincide today. So what are the chances of these two very different holidays being celebrated at once? According to Bustle.com this is the first time Easter has fallen on April Fool’s Day since 1956. Since 1900, it has only happened four times; in 1923, 1934, 1945, and 1956. The next time this is set to occur is 2029.
According to Bustle.com, Easter may be a huge holiday with deep roots, but April Fool’s Day has been around for centuries as well. While we don’t know the exact reason the holiday began, some say it started after a calendar shift in France in the 1500s that changed New Year’s Day from the end of March to Jan. 1, as a joke to trick those who continued to use the old calendar.
I, personally, find it interesting that the New Year originally began the end of March. Easter is associated with new beginnings and it was a calendar shift in France (the origin of April Fool’s Day) that contributed to the date change for the start of a new year. Therefore, let’s make April 1, 2018 your brand new start at living a full and satisfying life. It makes perfect sense for this to be YOUR YEAR and YOUR DATE to celebrate your NEW BEGINNING. I encourage you to embrace this date and begin your quest to live life fully and reach your full potential!
In previous lessons U have learned what it takes to Reach Your Full Potential and what it means to Live Life to Its Fullest. I have entitled the upcoming learning series ‘A Fresh Start – A New Beginning’. Happy Easter, everyone!
Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life. – S.D. Gordon
The spirit of Easter is all about hope, love and joyful living. – Anonymous
Let today be the start of something new. – Anonymous
Being curious allows U to become more open minded and not take life at its face value. Think about it. Without curiosity, U will miss out on what life has to offer. You will bypass and forego many wonderful experiences should U choose to be safe rather than curious. U may be telling yourself that life is safer and less stressful when U settle for the status quo – work, eat, sleep and repeat. If all U do is go to work, pay the bills, mow the lawn, shovel the snow, feed the dog, take care of the house and repeat; U are likely to be dissatisfied! I would contend that such a life is boring, unfulfilling and simply existing versus living. Without adding curiosity to your life, life will become a series of mundane tasks. U will never grow, change, evolve or truly live.
Curiosity can position U to not only see life at its face value but to understand it fully and make better decisions about what U want to achieve and do. Curiosity motivates U to explore, experience everything more fully and be engaged in life. When U add curiosity to your life, U serve yourself more effectively. Being curious is a promise U need to make to yourself, if U are to truly to live your life. Delve into life completely – explore, learn, try, experience, and discover all kinds of things in your world to live fully.
Variety is the spice of life
Research finds encountering new things and feeling excitement about and interest in them release dopamine and other feel good neurochemicals to make U happier and lead to a more full life.
Curiosity help you embrace change and open yourself up to new experiences
Curiosity leads to exploration which motivates U to learn about situations, relationships, and events. If U aren’t curious about something, U will never discover, process, and plan for your involvement. Staying curious helps U become a more daring risk-taker because U really want to know. When U are more willing to leave the old and familiar routine and take up a challenge, in order to reap the rewards of new knowledge and stimulation, your life will improve. Being curious leads to a far more satisfying life than the one where you stay huddled up in the comfort of the mundane, safe and familiar.
Curiosity leads to engagement
When U are engrossed in your topic, conversation or activity, U can more easily experience being fully present, and enjoying what U are doing, and because U are so immersed in what U are involved in or learning about. Time falls away and conversation becomes effortless.
A positive repeat cycle
Practicing being curious about life leads to more openness and engagement with life, which leads to more experiences and adventures, which lead to more satisfaction, meaning, and fulfilment. Become curious about what life has to offer and U will find yourself wondering why U have positioned yourself to sit on the sidelines when U could have been on the field participating in the game of life. U will be amazed at what life has to offer simply by opening up and allowing yourself to be curious. Curiosity will help U in your relationships. It will improve your life experiences and increase your satisfaction in life.
Becoming curious about the everyday
Curiosity can help U turn the most mundane of everyday tasks into something enjoyable. When U learn to see things from a new angle or perspective you can not only learn something new, but U can benefit from the thrill of discovery and gain enjoyment from the process. U will never be bored again.
Curiosity supports life to the fullest
Curiosity naturally leads to doing more, and the more curious U are the more diverse experiences U can enjoy, and experiencing is one of the greatest ways to live life to the fullest.
Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness. – Bryant H. McGill
“Curiosity keeps us moving forward, exploring, experimenting, opening new doors.” – Walt Disney
“Curiosity is the most powerful thing you own.” – James Cameron
In this learning series, A Fresh Start, Recreate-U.com will begin to explore a myriad of activities to help U start fresh and begin to explore life as U wish. The world is full of experiences for U to explore and enjoy and everyone finds joy in different activities. To fully express who U are and ‘find’ yourself, you must immerse yourself and participate in activities you enjoy and follow your heart. How U use your free time can inspire U, uplift U and captivate U in a very personal way.
Today, I would like to talk about music and how it can transform a day, your mood and how U interact with others and your world.
Why U Should Listen to Music
Humans are connected to music in ways that allows us to interact and understand one another on a different level. Music has a way of transcending the gap in communication. Our favorite musical artists touch our soul with their lyrics and captivating sounds. Sometimes words cannot express the emotions U are feeling. When life is difficult, music can be a constructive way to express what U are feeling. Music can be a very effective way to express yourself and cope with life’s challenges.
Music impacts brain and behavior function. Music moves U; it inspires U. It heightens your awareness of your environment and surroundings. Music has been used to enhance cognitive and physical performance. Music compels U and helps U put your experiences in perspective. Music is able to change your mood and improve your outlook on life. Music can fire U up or help U relax. Music can improve your concentration and help U focus. Music can bring U to tears or make U want to do a happy dance. It can put you to sleep or motivate U to run a marathon.
Music can be an incredible vehicle in helping U capture what U feel and help U make your way through life especially when times are difficult.
How often do you listen to music? If it less than an hour per day, make a decision to listen to music more often.
When’s the last time you listened to music and it brought you to tears, made U want to do a happy dance or put you to sleep?
What is your favorite genre of music? Who is your favorite artist? Why?
Create a playlist of songs and music that relaxes U, inspires/motivates U, improves your mood and outlook.
What songs do U listen to because U simply love the lyrics?
There are certain things to keep in mind about choosing music which will make listening a more successful experience for U:
Listen to music U like.
Listen to music that inspires U. It can be uplifting, happy, enlightening or quiet and soothing. Choose music which will improve your mood and your overall sense of well-being.
Listen to lyrics that provide a positive message.
Try different speeds and music tempos to find music that is appealing to your senses.
Make music a part of your daily life and learn how music can affect U and how it can greatly enhance how U approach life. Who knows? Music might even help U move to the beat of your own drum!
“Remember that you cannot always please everyone and sometimes the very best thing you can do is to stand up, straighten your back, hold your head up high, and meet your own needs. This principle is all about standing up to the world to follow your heart, to be yourself, to “march to the beat of your own drum,” to be who and what U want to be, and to fully express who U are despite others’ potential attempt to suppress U.” ― Brent N. Hunter, The Rainbow Bridge: Bridge to Inner Peace and to World Peace
Inside U exists an endless supply of greatness refueled by your inner desire and motivation to possess the life U wish to live. Take stock in who U and recognize your capacity for greatness is limitless!
“The basis of success is not what you have nor who you are. It is what you have become and how great you feel about yourself and the life you possess.” – Myron Sta Ana
Purpose and Vision
Know your reasons, think outside the box and change your life with your imaginative thinking.
Strong Core Values
Your core values motivate U and shape your future. They will drive your behaviors and influence your actions and move U towards your inner greatness.
U can’t unlock your inner greatness if U don’t believe in yourself. To achieve greatness U first must set yourself apart from everyone else. If U truly believe in your purpose and your vision then nothing can stop U from being great. For example, professional athletes and Olympians may have innate abilities to perform well and achieve success in sports. However, inner greatness is achieved because of the realization that even though ability may be inherited, capability is related to your attitude and belief that anything is possible. So much more can be achieved than what lies within U if U truly believe in yourself. Your capacity for greatness is limitless as long as U believe you are capable.
Exercise Your Greatness
If U look at individuals who have achieved greatness, U typically only see them AFTER they have become ‘GREAT’. U haven’t seen the work, the failures and the everyday struggles that have gone into their achievements. Realize your shining moment, whatever it may be for U, won’t happen overnight or in an instant. It will take time and effort and persistence to achieve your greatness. Put your greatness to work. Practice with it everyday by setting realistic goals. The more U achieve, the more confident U will become in the goals and ambitions U have set for yourself. Greatness must be exercised to become fit.
There is nothing wrong with having lofty goals. While U shoot for the stars just remember that you can’t skip the present and the other roles U have in life – parent, teacher, mentor, son, daughter, sibling and friend. If U spend all your time and effort on the future and what U wish to achieve and forget about those around U and your other roles in life, U will lose sight of the here and now. No one can have a single role, purpose or mission in life. By staying grounded and connected to your world and your significant others, your road to greatness will be filled with many opportunities and experiences. These opportunities and experiences will help lead U towards achieving your inner greatness.
Efficient Decision Making
It’s a choice – greatness; it’s a decision that U make. Slice away any other outcomes and insist that greatness is the only true option for U. What U believe, U can achieve.
Habits and Goals
Discipline is an important aspect of unleashing your inner greatness and one of the most effective marks of this is creating a list of daily goals for yourself. Part of success lies in repetition and taking small steps consistently over time. It requires practice, hard work, and patience in equal measure, so, develop habits that will lead to your success and quash any behaviors or habits that are holding U back.
Enjoy the Journey
Greatness is less about achieving the goal and more about the journey it takes to arrive there. So, enjoy the journey –U won’t find happiness or greatness in instant gratification. Relish your opportunities to defy the odds and overcome obstacles as U traverse the road less traveled.
I am sure that everyone has heard the adage, ‘do not put off until tomorrow what U can do today’. Begin to explore and experience your inner greatness today by recognizing that today will be gone in an instant. Take steps now to live the rest of each today by being your best U!
“The only thing standing between you and your awesomeness, your greatness and true happiness is you! Let yourself be and have an amazing time doing it!” – Ricardo Housham
“Do not let other people take you to a dead-end when you can find your own path to greatness.” – Myron Sta Ana
Weekends are typically my time for reflection where I kick back and either listen to relaxing music, read a book, watch motivational YouTube videos or just take time to review how my week has been. Today, I want to dig a bit deeper and reflect on how the past year has been going in regards to my health and wellness journey.
As you may or may not know, for the last five or six years I have been finding it more difficult to deal with chronic pain. No longer have I been able to ‘push through the pain’. The old athlete mentality has no longer been serving me well and the pain has been ‘winning’ despite my best efforts to deal with the situation. This year, I finally decided I couldn’t will myself to simply ignore the pain and attempt to go about living despite it. Lastly, I couldn’t find any medical options that would simply take the pain away. I was forced to find a way to live with the pain and make room for it in my life.
So, what could I do when pain was infiltrating every aspect of my life? How was I going to continue to function? When pain was impacting my ability to perform even the simplest of tasks and triggered additional pain how was I going to cope? I found myself backed into a corner with no where to go but to finally think outside the box and begin to explore any and all alternatives. I was desperate for answers and pain relief. I simply had to find a way to break the pain cycle.
When confronted with what seems to be a lack of options, most people will continue to trudge down the same path even when they know the path leads to a dead end. Why continue to walk the same path, you ask? Humans do what they know because it’s familiar, it’s safe and it’s what has worked in the past. I, too, figured if I tried harder, maybe next time it would make a difference. This is what I consider ‘universal human behavior’ It’s not wrong and no one should go and beat his or her self because we simply do what we know. However, it’s vital to our well being to understand when something is no longer working for us. It doesn’t make sense to repeat the same behaviors.
I am no different. I kept trying to do the same things, looking for answers and attempting to get pain relief without success. Even though Western medicine kept failing me again and again, I continued to seek pain relief from a variety of practitioners including pain management specialists and rheumatologists. I even met with my spinal surgeon hoping he could do something. I was prescribed caudal and facet joint steroid injections, nerve blocks, physical therapy, aqua therapy and pain medications. I revamped my diet and removed all inflammation triggers and carbs in an effort to control the pain per my rheumatologist’s suggestion. Still, nothing worked and I simply couldn’t figure out ‘why’.
I explored a variety of alternative healing methods, too. I tried detoxification, cranial sacral treatments, massage, meditation and acupuncture. I was prescribed a number of natural supplements and essential oils to help ease my pain. I even tried CBD oil. Still no relief.
In fact, I was only getting worse! Any intervention or increase in physical activity would trigger a firestorm of heightened pain for a week or more. The more active I was, the worse I felt.
Desperate to break the pain cycle, I did what I thought I would never do and I agreed to see a shaman. At this point, I was desperate and willing to try ANYTHING. However, I was skeptical because of my own pre-conceived notions about shamans and I still had not fully gotten past the stigma of what I considered ‘new age’ treatment methods.
Before you continue to read and, perhaps, cloud the rest of this article with your own pre-conceived beliefs, I ask you to agree with the notion that chronic pain is actually multi-faceted. This belief looks to identify the source of pain rather than treating pain’s symptoms. I now concede that it was remiss of me to think that chronic pain could be relieved or reduced by simply addressing the physical symptoms. And yet, that is exactly what every practitioner had attempted to do and how I was addressing the problem, too.
The truth is pain had taken away or impacted so much of my life that I no longer felt I was in control of ANY aspect of my life. I was fighting to hang onto the best of me and I disliked the me I was becoming. I was losing my vibrant, adventurous and full-of-life self.
It is true that chronic pain results in loss – loss of physical abilities and activity, loss of independence, loss of self-respect, loss of financial stability and loss of socialization. It causes a decrease in mental acuity and, eventually, this results in a sense that your ability to meet life head on is also lost. When this happens, your system goes on high alert in an attempt to manage the pain. Unfortunately, the more you try and control the pain, the more the pain takes precedence. Eventually, chronic pain has a way of squashing your spirit, your self-esteem and your ability to lead a fulfilled life. Many individuals who suffer from chronic pain have pushed their dreams aside and have given up on being able to enjoy life. Some chronic pain sufferers are simply existing from day to day.
This is the point in my life when I made an appointment with a shaman. Shamanic Healing addresses the spiritual aspect of illness. That is to say, it addresses the part of the illness that is in your spirit, soul, or energy body. Shamans believe that illness/injury appears in this spirit before it shows up in the physical body, and that if the body is injured the injury will also exist on the level of the spirit. Shamans believe that healing on the spiritual level can prevent conditions from appearing in the body, and also that healing the spirit will allow the body to heal once a condition has appeared. 1
After several appointments with the shaman she referred me to a physical therapist who practiced The Feldenkrais Method®. This method is a powerful and revolutionary approach to improving your life using gentle, mindful movement to bring new awareness and possibility into every aspect of your life.
With its emphasis on learning, the Feldenkrais Method® offers a gentle, comfortable way of shifting your pain by exploring your movement patterns. You’ll begin by exploring movements that are well within your comfort zone – no matter how small. Gradually, as your brain learns that freedom and comfort are possible, you’ll experience your body letting go of unnecessary tension. Pain will begin to dissolve. You’ll discover greater range of motion and ease of movement.
Contrary to popular belief, pain is not your enemy. Instead, it’s your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right. Pain signals you to stop, assess what’s going on, and take care. If you don’t, the pain and discomfort increase until they become chronic; your brain learns that pain is “normal.” The more you resist, the more you tighten. The more you tighten, the more restricted your movements, and the more uncomfortable you become. 2
The Feldenkrais method teaches you to ease into the pain versus resist the pain, to acknowledge the pain, let go and then shift your movements or your body to ease the pain. Feldenkrais teaches you to move more efficiently and to transition from tension to relaxation.
Without agreeing to participate in these two treatment methods and having such wonderful natural healers as part of my recovery process, I don’t believe the ending of 2018 would have been a positive one. This is the first time in a very long time where my pain level has become more manageable. Being made aware of how pain has affected me spiritually and learning how suppressed and unconscious emotions can increase or trigger my pain has been life changing. Once again, I believe in me and my ability to heal myself.
In closing, the New Year is just around the corner and my wish for each of U is for U to explore ALL of your options when it comes to your health and well being. Just because a treatment method is familiar doesn’t mean it is able to provide U with the answers and relief U need. U are a unique being with your own unique needs. Explore, reach out and continue to try. Remember, stepping out of your comfort zone can make all the difference in the world!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
When something enters your life that is so big and so non-negotiable as catastrophic illness, you either go in denial for a while … or ultimately you accept it and you make space for it. And in making space for it, you illuminate a lot of things that you normally don’t have room for … you simply just look at the world differently.– Michael J. Fox
In preparation for our next learning series, it is time to examine what it means to live a full life and living life in the moment.
In our last series, Reaching Your Full Potential, the emphasis was placed on the ultimate goal; reaching your full potential. Well, now I am going to back up a bit. Rather than focusing on the end goal, I will be encouraging U to examine what it means to live a full life and how to live in the moment in this next series.
it is a cliché to say “life is a journey, not a destination” but it’s also very true. Living your life to the fullest is a process that will take U your whole life to experience and develop. Often, in life, we fail to celebrate and enjoy the journey. Arrival happens once, the destination being a singular goal.
The process and the journey, however, can be realized in so many different ways. Understand, your hopes and dreams are different from everyone else and the path U take towards your destination can be very different, too. U have a long road ahead so I encourage U to fill your cup, sit back, relax and enjoy your travel time while you experience your life’s journey. There will be much to see, do and experience each and every step along your way!
Write down what it means for U to live a full life?
What life moments have been extremely gratifying for you? How so?
If we are to reach our full potential, we must embrace spirituality and compassion.
The principles of compassion, which lie at the heart of the Golden Rule, encourage U to treat all others as U wish to be treated AT ALL TIMES. To be compassionate is to treat every human being, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, with kindness, respect, love, and, most importantly, without judgement.
Compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is biologically imperative for each of us. Compassion and kindness promotes emotional and physical wellness. These attributes have been found to produce many of the positive emotions that help bring happiness and meaning to our lives.
Did You Know? There Are Scientifically Proven Benefits of Being Kind!
Kindness is Teachable “It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.” — Dr. Ritchie Davidson , University of Wisconsin
Kindness is Contagious The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!
The Love Hormone Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’ which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re in anxious or shy in a social situation.
Energy “About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth” — Christine Carter, UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center
Happiness A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic—in this case, people who were generous financially, such as with charitable donations—were happiest overall.
Lifespan “People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” — Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”
Pleasure According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”
Serotonin Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!
Pain Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins—the brain’s natural painkiller!
Stress Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population!
Anxiety A group of highly anxious individuals performed at least six acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals. — University of British Columbia Study
Depression Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased.
Blood Pressure Committing acts of kindness lowers blood pressure. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardio-protective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.
Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ― Dalai Lama
Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion…is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.” ― Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
Living in the moment is not always easy. If U find yourself living in the past or regretting past circumstances and actions, U will be immobilized to live for today or plan for the future. In order to live in the moment, you need to keep your mind focused on the present.
There are some simple strategies that will help U live in the here and now. Old habits die hard and the tendency is to try to make them go away as soon as possible. Instead of expecting change overnight, “plan small” and set achievable goals.
Practice Self-Reflection and Become More In Tune With Yourself
Be objective and take a hard look at your habits and your life. Write down what is working and what isn’t.
Begin your day by spending five minutes in front of the mirror in the morning and have a serious talk with yourself. Make sure U are resonating with positive self talk versus negativity. Be honest with yourself. Some days the conversation may be difficult.
Spend time on U. U deserve to treat yourself as U treat others. U may be spending so much time taking care of others that U have failed miserably at caring for yourself.
Get out paper and pen and tell your “story”. How has life been for U? How have your early life experiences, people and events influenced who U are and where U are on your life’s path? Research shows that writing about your life can improve your physical and mental health. How have U dealt with life’s challenges and setbacks? Have they weighed U down? Do U consider them to be a burden or a challenge?
Practice mindfulness. Clear the mind and spend time daily in self-reflection. Mindfulness takes many forms but the goal is the same ; create a habit that leads U to inner understanding and provides meaningful purpose in your life. Whether U prefer to keep a daily journal, exercise, meditate or spend time in prayer, create a time and place daily where U can become more in tune with yourself.
Use a mindful cue. It is very easy to become distracted with the responsibilities of life and U may find yourself forgetting to follow through with these recommended tasks to help U remember to be mindful. Place a note on your bathroom or bedroom mirror, add another to your refrigerator and your computer and TV screens. You may wish to make a mindful bracelet or choose a habit that U already engage in to help U remember to stop whatever U are doing and replace it with some form of mindfulness.
Change up your routine. If you are stuck in a negative pattern of behavior, change up your morning or evening routine to promote mindfulness. i.e. Turn the TV off at a set time to allow for time to practice mindfulness. Get up an hour earlier in the morning so U have time for U before heading out the door for work.
I will spend more time discussing these positive changes as U move through the learning sessions in this series. For now, make it a habit to practice mindfulness daily and change up your daily routine to spend time living in the moment.
Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful. ― Margaret J. Wheatley