Archive for February, 2006

Posted on Feb 3rd, 2006

I had a powerful dream this month. In my dream a "person" was approaching me with great hostility. His face was cut out revealing a sharp-toothed reptilian face with hate-filled eyes inside what now was clearly just a human body-suit hiding this monster. I held my ground, faced it and felt its rage, but it clearly was not in a mood to work anything out.

As that was clear, I woke up. I was disturbed by the image and thought about what to do. I decided to practice what I preach with students and clients!

Each of our experiences is a creation of our mind. This is more obvious to us regarding dreams, but it is equally true regarding waking experience. Remembering this, I reasoned that I would communicate a resolution to my unconscious mind via a consciously created dream that I repeatedly and vividly ran in my mind until I felt it have a tangible effect.

In my conscious version, I confronted this monster, but I was 50 times bigger than he. I held him in my hand and gently bounced him around. As my giant self, I looked him in the eye and completely stared into his hatred. Then I softened and invited my whole body to relax as I invited him to communicate at which point there was a wordless release in my emotional and physical body.

A client also shared a dream within a few days of my dream. He was with his family and feeling intensely annoyed that his wife and children were ignoring him. I had shared my dream process with him, so he wanted to jump in and be 50 times bigger than everyone. I agreed he could certainly do that, but in this case, since it was his family and not a monster, I suggested he look at his self in the dream. In the dream, he was identified in his dream self looking out of his own eyes unaware of his own self-definition and condition — much the way we live our daily conscious life.

I explained that, since the dream was in his mind, it was made of his own mental energy, and it followed, therefore, that all the people in his dream were made of his own energy taking the form of his beliefs about each of them. What he missed in the dream, and what we all miss very often in reflecting on dreams (not to mention our conscious experience), is that we also form our sense of self as the experiencer in the presence of the "others."

Just jumping into the "trick" of being 50 times bigger wouldn’t give him an appreciation of this important fact. I had him see the "him" in the dream that had been constructed on automatic pilot by his subconscious, and examine who that self had to be in order to be affected by the actions and attitudes of his family. We changed some debilitating attitudes and beliefs that were operating in his dream self, including a limited sense of context.

Then we replayed, vividly and repeatedly, a movie of the dream with his new more aware and empowered self interacting with his family instigating creative play and co-operation. He experienced a wonderful shift that he was able to take home with him, and we also communicated this new sense of self to his subconscious mind to replace the old autopilot version!

In my opinion, this is a much more productive and enlivening approach to dream work than analysis. And the most powerful piece is to ask, "Who do I have to be, in order to be affected in this way?" and, "Who do I have to be in order to stay happy and effective in this situation?" and make these empowering changes through active visualization and rehearsal.

These crucial questions apply to daily waking life also. Who do we first have to believe we are, and where do we have to believe we are, in order to be affected by others? What changes can we make to keep full self respect, enthusiasm and effectiveness?

Have fun working with these liberating questions!

Jack Elias, a Clinical Hypnotherapist in private practice, is founder and director of The Institute for Therapeutic Learning, a licensed Vocational School in Seattle that trains and certifies Transpersonal Clinical Hypnotherapists. Jack presents a unique synthesis of Eastern and Western perspectives on the nature of consciousness and communication, teaching simple yet powerful techniques for achieving one’s highest personal and professional goals. Since 1967, Jack has studied Eastern meditation, philosophy and psychology with masters such as Shunryo Suzuki Roshi and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Before beginning his teaching and counseling career, Jack worked for 20 years in sales, marketing and financial planning. Jack offers dynamic experiential workshops and seminars, and his Finding True Magic courses are eligible for credit at various universities.

Posted on Feb 3rd, 2006

There may be times in your life when you feel anxious and overwhelmed. Maybe you have commitments, obligations or projects bidding for your attention…all at the same time! Maybe you have an important decision to make and find yourself having a difficult time focusing. Or maybe you are simply exhausted from all the multitasking.

Remember to stop, take a breath and “close all unnecessary doors.”

When you feel overwhelmed it usually means your energy has stopped flowing. You see the projects before you requiring more energy than you believe you have to perform them.

Here is the visual that can help you.

Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a circular room. All around the circle are the many doors leading to the areas of your life. Each door has a label on it, family, career, relationships, finances, health, home, personal care, etc. Many of the doors are open and some may even have “stuff” spilling out onto the floor. Stand in the center of this circle and call your energy to be present by taking three deep breaths. Spirit is in our breath. You embrace Spirit with each breath. Imagine yourself walking around the room, closing all the doors. Take a deep breath, close the door, than exhale.

Move yourself around the room until all the doors are closed. Return to the center and breathe. Place your attention on your breath. Feel yourself more centered as your energy comes together within.

Now, you truly have the power to stand in the center of your circle of life fully empowered to walk into your life opening one door at a time.

If you practice this visualization on a regular basis, you will feel more centered and balanced as you move through your life. When you feel the slightest anxiety you will be able to use this visualization in your conscious breathing to return to center.

Sharon Marquart is a gifted Certified Personal Coach, inspirational speaker and author. For more than 13 years she has share with audiences large and small. She is the author of "Working For God," "Living With Soulful Purpose," and "Creating A Wedding Ministry." (http://www.creatingaweddingministry.com) Her coaching practice is Living at YES!(You Embracing Spirit) where she passionately supports clients in identifying mistaken beliefs and self-limiting thoughts. She coaches them in getting unstuck, setting intentions and living possibilities! Sharon teaches via tele-classes and facilitates tele-groups. Her coaching clients are nationwide and communicate via telephone appointments. Sharon is committed to bringing Metaphysical and Spiritual Truths into everyday language and applying them to everyday life experiences. http://www.Livingatyes.com

Posted on Feb 2nd, 2006

From the time of the first human beings, stress has been with us. It is part of our natural response to challenging situations. When our forefathers were faced with a potentially dangerous situation, such as facing a wild animal, the stress response would ready the body for ‘fight or flight’. Stress chemicals (such as adrenaline and cortisol) would be released, resulting in changes such as an increase of blood sugar for instant energy, blood being diverted away from digestive system and skin to ‘feed’ the muscles, faster and shallower breathing to increase oxygen intake. These, and other stress related changes were brought about for one thing only…. to deal quickly with the stressful situation, either by confronting it or running away. Once the situation had been resolved, the body would return to normal. The stress response was, for early man, a life saver!

The human stress response has not changed since the time of primitive man. However, the situations that trigger stress have changed a great deal. The physiological changes brought about by stress can still be a positive event in situations which can be resolved within a reasonable timescale. An example of this might be an athlete preparing for a race or an actor preparing for a stage production. In cases like these, heightened arousal produced by stress can improve performance. We have probably all experienced situations, where the added edge of competition or a deadline has been the motivation we have needed for effective action. In these cases also, the bodily changes can be stepped down once the situation stimulating the stress has been resolved.

The problem with stress occurs when the situation producing the stress cannot be resolved within a reasonable time period. Remember, nature designed the stress response for immediate action, either to deal with the situation or to remove ourselves from it (’fight or flight’). When this does not happen, the prolonged exposure to the stress chemicals and the changes they produce start to become harmful. It becomes chemical warfare in our own bodies and repetitive exposure to excessive and unresolved stress can lead to weakening of the immune system, physical and nervous exhaustion, illness and in extreme cases, death.

As mentioned before, the way our bodies respond to stress has not changed since prehistoric man, but the situations that cause us stress can be very different. Most of us no longer have to worry about hunting food or escaping from wild animals, but the high pressure and fast pace of modern living has brought with it many more insidious stresses, which constantly invade our life. These stresses, can vary from continually having to meet work related targets and unrealistic deadlines to being stuck in a traffic jam. A lot of these situations, especially when accumulated over time, can keep your body flooded with stress chemicals for far longer than nature intended. Unless we find ways to deal with this, the result, as outlined earlier, is a deterioration in health.

So what can we do about this? Well first of all, we need to understand that stress in focussed situations can be positive, but excessive or prolonged stress is harmful to our health. We need to build time into our busy lives to include activities which allow our bodies to rest, relax and flush away excess stress chemicals. These activities will vary according to the individual and might include spending time with your family, exercise, reading a book, following a hobby, or just simply taking a ‘chill out’ break to chat to friends. Anything which gives your mind and body a break.

Employers also have a duty to help employees manage their work related stress and should take this very seriously since, apart from the cost to the individual, it has been estimated that in America alone, the stress-related annual cost to industry through absence, health charges, insurance and reduced productivity runs into billions of dollars.

It has also been demonstrated that stress responses rise when individuals perceive themselves to be in a situation in which they have no control or input. Good channels of communication and mechanisms through which employees can be consulted on issues which affect them are therefore important in developing a healthy working environment.

There are many other issues which can have a bearing on management of stress levels, such as diet, time management, environment, etc, but these will be the subject of another article. The thrust of this article has been to point out that the stress response can be positive when faced with a focussed challenge, but harmful when it becomes prolonged or excessive. It is in everyone’s interest, including employers, to ensure that stress does not become a destructive factor.

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Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Stress
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Posted on Feb 2nd, 2006

"If you have ever been in a life-or-death emergency situation, you will know it wasn’t a problem. The mind didn’t have time to fool around and make it a problem. In a true emergency, the mind stops; you become totally present in the Now, and something infinitely more powerful takes over."

Eckhart Tolle in THE POWER OF NOW

I looked above my head to see why my fall to earth wasn’t being slowed. Above me was a malfunctioned parachute in what had been described to me in class as a “Mae West” where one of the lines had draped itself over the fabric keeping it from opening properly.

I glanced down to the ground to estimate my distance from earth and the amount of time I had left in my life, then gazed back up to the parachute to see if the malfunction had cleared itself yet, as instructed in class. The cord continued to choke off the fabric. I repeated the exercise once more, confirmed that indeed the malfunction was not clearing. I then reached down to my back-up chute attached to my front and with one hand pulled the cord that would free it, while clutching the ball of fabric that was my last chance for survival. I would need to throw the secondary chute away from me to minimize the chance of it becoming fouled in the “Mae West.” I glanced up one last time and watched as the line slipped from around the fabric, freeing it to open like a real parachute. I breathed for the first time since leaving the airplane.

My one episode of a malfunctioning parachute happened over 20 years ago, but it confirmed to me what Tolle wrote about our mischievous mind. My mind didn’t have time to create the malfunction as a problem. It was simply a life situation that needed to be dealt with as effectively as possible. Luckily, I had had a very competent instructor, my older brother Dale. It wasn’t until I was walking back to the hanger that my knees began to buckle. "I could have been killed," I heard my mind tell me. Then and only then had the malfunction appeared to me as a problem.

We can use our mind as either an artist tool with which to help create a masterpiece of our life or as a lethal weapon we use to kill off life, ours and others. A key first step to using the mind as an artist tool rather than a lethal weapon is to disassociate ourselves from our mind; to recognize that we have a mind but we aren’t our mind or the thoughts that it generates. From that position we can then choose which thoughts to hold onto and which thoughts to observe and let go of.

Using the tools and techniques of the Life On Purpose Process for the past 10 years has helped me get pretty good at making the ‘right’ choice by choosing to hold onto and empower thoughts that are consistent with my life purpose, and to release thoughts stemming from the fear, lack, struggling that make it based on Inherited Purpose.

How about you? Are you allowing your mind to create life draining problems or beautiful life enhancing possibilities?

©2005 Brad Swift of Life On Purpose Institute, Inc. This article can be reprinted freely online, as long as the entire article and this resource box are included.

Dr. Brad Swift founded Life On Purpose Institute in 1996 with the vision of creating a World On Purpose by assisting people like yourself to clarify their life purpose & live true to it. Determine how on or off purpose your life is with the fun & insightful Self Test at: http://lifeonpurpose.com/_forms/self-test.php?source=ezart Inspire yourself with a fr.ee subscription to Purposeful Pondering Ezine: http://lifeonpurpose.com/index.php?dir=_ezines&task=view-ezines

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