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It's your world

It's your world | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

It is up to us what world we live in.

 

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

So true. Personal perspective is a choice. Chose wisely. ~ V.B.

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We have the power to choose

We have the power to choose | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” ~Wayne Dyer

When I was twelve years old I got back from a weekend at my aunt’s house with my mom. We came home to find my father dead in bed. I remember my mom’s screams causing many of our neighbors to come over to see what had happened.

The experience shut me down. I don’t know how else to put it. My father was young: fifty-three years old. It was a huge shock to everyone.

Apparently, he was too proud to get a pacemaker. He died of a heart attack.

My oldest sister was on her honeymoon. She had just gotten married a week before. My other sister was away at college. When they came home they were hysterical, just like my mom and the rest of the family.

I felt like I had to be the strong one because I was the man of the house now. I was very quiet and reserved about the whole thing. This gave the impression that I was handling it well.

Things were not well, though. I never dealt with it in a proper way. I never received therapy or any other kind of help. I buried the experience deep down—so deep that I can barely remember him.

I rarely even spoke about it with anyone. I may have had only a handful of conversations about it by the age of thirty.

I thought I was okay with it, but I was damaged.

I realized somewhere in my late twenties that it affected me. I felt an intense emptiness inside. I’d become sad at times for no reason. I’d feel like crying but couldn’t.

I tended to lean toward the negative. The future always seemed uncertain and scary. I have always thought I would die young. I couldn’t see myself living past the age of forty. It influenced relationships in ways I didn’t realize until recently.

It impacted my ability to express emotions, because I’d decided that being strong meant holding them in. I wouldn’t have been able to write this a year ago.

I managed to make it to the age of twenty-nine without having my heart broken; in fact, I was only five months away from thirty when it happened. It was a traumatic experience for me, probably because it was the first time.

The abandonment aspect was hardest part. I was depressed. I felt certain that something was wrong with me. I blamed myself. I hated myself. My confidence and trust were shaken. I felt abandoned. I thought I would never recover. I felt damaged yet again.

Some time later I reconnected with someone I dated briefly in college. I’d always considered her “the one that got away.” We began dating and things were great for a while. We were in love and best friends. But even though we were really enjoying each other, I was not okay.

I shared more of myself with her than anyone ever before, but I was never truly comfortable. I had confidence, insecurity, and abandonment issues. I was always worried that she would leave me.

I was so afraid that I constantly needed validation. The vulnerability was eating me up inside. I tried to hold on too tight to feel a sense of control. Eventually she felt suffocated and broke up with me.

It was a self-fulfilling prophecy really—I lost her because I was afraid I would.

I don’t blame her, though. She is an amazing, beautiful, brilliant woman. It wasn’t a healthy relationship which made things hard on her—I get that. In a way I’m grateful for this. It was a wake-up call.

The break-up hasn’t been easy, but I’ve managed better than I could have ever imagined. I made it a point to try to remain positive, to not let it consume me. I have chosen to view it as a learning experience.

I started writing in a journal every day to get through it and understand myself better. One night I was feeling down, but I wanted to steer my thoughts in a positive direction. I started making a list of things I would learn from the break-up.

They included things like not dwelling on the negative, loving myself, being confident, and being less critical of myself. In the middle of the list I wrote the words:

“I can choose what affects me.”

By the time I finished the list, those words lingered. I repeated them over and over out loud. Every time I said them I felt more powerful. I felt more control over my life. I repeated different variations of the theme:

I can choose what affects me.

I can choose to not be damaged.

I can choose to not be afraid.

I can choose to not let this break-up depress me.

I can choose to look at mistakes as learning experiences.

I can choose to be confident.

I can choose to be happy.

I can choose to feel loved.

I can choose.

Every time I said a phrase, I felt a chill in my body. Tears started flowing, but I wasn’t really crying. It felt like they were escaping; like I was letting go of this deep sadness I’ve carried for so long.

It was an awakening, a healing. It was one of the most significant and amazing experiences in my life.

I wrote the words “I can choose” on my hand as a reminder. They give me the power to take control of my life. Every morning I write them again. Eventually, I won’t need a visual reminder.

Whenever I feel my thoughts become negative, I look at my hand and remember that it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to be slaves to our pasts. We don’t have to go through life with emotional scars.

We don’t have to let negative experiences define us.

We all have power over our lives. It may be difficult to see, but it’s always there. We always have a choice.

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, April 21, 5:45 PM

It is hard work, but it is worthwhile.

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"How to improve your memory"

"How to improve your memory" | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

With age comes wisdom, and you can use your acquired wisdom to help combat memory problems in new and creative ways.

You can improve your memory. You can make the decision today to get better at remembering things, whether it's the name of that new business associate or where you parked your car. Whether you only occasionally forget a name or you can't seem to stop forgetting your keys, your purse, or your meeting notes, you can do something about it. Your memory can be honed and sharpened with the right lifestyle choices and a basic knowledge of memory-enhancing strategies. Scientists agree that, in the absence of brain disease, it is possible to improve your memory, although there are varied ideas about the best way to go about it.

Many experts agree that one of the most important ways to keep your memory sharp, or to improve it if it's starting to falter, is to engage in plenty of mental exercise throughout life. We've all heard that getting regular physical activity can keep the heart muscle strong and functioning at its best. Even though the brain is not a muscle, it, too, needs regular exercise in the form of mental calisthenics to stay sharp and perform well. While the heart's job is to pump blood to the body's cells, what the brain does best is communicate with its own cells. The more numerous and healthy the brain-cell connections and the faster the signals can go back and forth, the better the mind and the memory will work.

Keeping the brain nimble through puzzles, riddles, and other brain-challenging exercises and activities helps build new connections between brain cells and strengthen those that already exist. Pretty much any activity that actively engages the brain, such as jigsaw and crossword puzzles, board games such as chess, and even watching programs that test your knowledge or expose you to new ideas and concepts, can help. The more interesting and enjoyable the activity is to you, the more likely you are to engage in it consistently and in the long-term. Stimulating your senses, facing new physical challenges, learning to play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language -- all of these can help build more cellular bridges within the brain and improve overall brain function.

We'll start off by touching on memory exercises. Learn more about these fun and useful exercises that keep your memory in tip top shape.

 

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Good stuff!

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How to use meditation to dominate negativity

How to use meditation to dominate negativity | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

I’m sure there have been at least a few times in your life when a negative response has made matters worse.

Let’s say you’re working on a complicated project for months. You’ve done all types of research and details of the project have even spilled over into your personal life. This project has basically consumed you.

Then in the middle of it all, your boss, in passing, mentions a detail you were previously oblivious to. He talks about further and you realize this is something you should have known about from the start. This detail that your boss just informed you of changes everything.

You now have to start from scratch. It would be much harder to try and incorporate this new information into what you’ve already completed. Everything you’ve done up to this point is a complete wash.

After hearing such news your natural reaction would be to go ballistic. To yell, scream, throw things around and maybe even curse out your boss but you can’t. If you did anything like that you’d have much more to worry about than recreating an almost complete project. You’d be worried about getting a new job.

There might have been times when your negative reaction to something could easily be fixed with an apology but that isn’t always going to be the case. There will be times when just want to let loose, release your aggression in that moment. And you just might.

While it may feel like a weight off of your shoulders immediately after your spectacle is finished, all you have done is made matters worse.

And the results could be irreversible. Imagine asking your boss for your job back after you’ve angrily told him what you think of his level of intelligence. That would be a long shot at best.

You can avoid turning bad situations into worse ones by dominating negativity and practicing non-reaction. A better way to cope with stress can be achieved with meditation.

The practice of non-reaction helps you gain control of negative emotions and puts you back in the driver’s seat. Instead of negative feelings running your like, leaving you to clean up the mess of what is left behind. You can react from a positive place and work on solutions.

With practice this can become natural to you. You’ll be able to exercise it with every day challenges and come out on top.

Non-Reacting

This is the ability to delay reactions until you have calmed down and gained a better understanding of what is going on.

When you immediately respond to something that upsets you, your actions demonstrated your immediate feelings. Often, it’s not truly what you meant or wanted to do.

As you become wiser and can easily identify right from wrong, in these circumstances you’ll find yourself afterward realizing that you shouldn’t have done that. You’ll spend a lot of time apologizing and righting wrongs.

Non-reaction is the complete opposite. It’s using your wisdom in the moment, not later when you see things clearly. With non-reaction you avoid the need to correct negative actions because you respond when you’re cool, calm and collected. This is the best time to make decisions.

It’s a pretty simple theory but when you’ve become accustom to going off on a tangent it can become difficult to practice. Meditation will help bring you to the calm state naturally to implement it.

Meditating

Meditation is simple enough and can be quiet helpful in challenging situations. It’s an effective way to manage your emotions.

To meditate, sit or lie alone and clear your mind. It’s normal to fall asleep while meditating because the relaxed state you’ve entered. So you may prefer to sit.

When your mind is clear, things begin to make sense. You see them in a completely different way, the way they really are.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of meditating you can use it in everyday life. When stress arises you can meditate on the spot to calm yourself down.

You don’t have to close your eyes and cross your legs, just use the deep breathing exercises. Within minutes you’ll be able to think clearly and respond to stress without overreacting.

Soon controlling your emotions will become as easy as breathing. Immediate negative reactions will become foreign to you. Finding efficient solutions will come natural.

Domination

The benefits of meditation will become more apparent the more you meditate. If a few minutes are all you have, than that’s all you need. Make sure you meditate daily.

As you master meditation you’ll dominate your feelings and know exactly what to do to bring peace to your state of being.

This really works for me. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed out I just meditate briefly to regain control in the moment. Then I make sure to meditate at night or in the morning before taking on the day just to put everything into perspective.

Make sure you squeeze in a meditation session into your busy day. The more you do it, the more it benefits you and you’ll want to do it more.

Stress free is the way to be

Imagine spending thousands of dollars just to feel in control and manage anger. That alone could cause a person to go crazy.

But you don’t have to because meditation is a cost effective way to get exactly what you’re looking for. No more throwing disruptive fits of rage. Nope, you’ll be the level headed one with the solutions to move forward.

There’s no point in further complicating the situation. It just results in a bigger mess to clean up. Take a few minutes, get it together and get it done.

By being able to control your reactions and emotions you’ll be able to steer situations into the outcomes that work best for you. You will no longer be a victim of circumstance. You’ll be able to get what you want.

You have the ability to make things better and more seamless. And meditation can help you get there. Start your daily meditation session today!

Do you often fly off the handle, what happens? Do you meditate what benefits have you noticed?

Lea Bullen is a certified life coach and lifehack obsessed. Control more than just your emotions, control your life by living it the way you want to. Head over to her personal development site now to take the eye-opening Redesign Your Life course to do just that!

Read more at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/use-meditation-dominate-negativity/#kEXyRPs1YAP37WmI.99

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Meditation works. It helps bring you to the calm state naturally.

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Twelve tools for more mindful living | Remaining in the present moment

Twelve tools for more mindful living |  Remaining in the present moment | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

The focus of my life in recent months has been living mindfully, and while I don’t always remember to do that, I have learned a few things worth sharing.

The first is a mindful life is worth the effort. It’s a life where we awaken from the dream state we’re most often submerged in--the state of having your mind anywhere but the present moment, locked in thoughts about what you’re going to do later, about something someone else said, about something you’re stressing about or angry about. The state of mind where we’re lost in our smartphones and social media.

It’s worth the effort, because being awake means we’re not missing life as we walk through it. Being awake means we’re conscious of what’s going on inside us, as it happens, and so can make more conscious choices rather than acting on our impulses all the time.

The second thing I’ve learned is that we forget. We forget, over and over, to be awake. And that’s okay. Being mindful is a process of forgetting, and then remembering. Repeatedly. Just as breathing is a process of exhaling, and then inhaling, repeatedly.

The third is that mindful living isn’t just one thing. It’s not just meditation. Nor is it just focusing on the sensations around you, right now in this moment. I’ve found mindful living to be a set of very related tools, perhaps all different ways of getting at the same thing, but each useful in its own regard.


The Toolset

1. Meditation. Meditation is where mindful living starts. And it’s not complicated: you can sit still for even just one minute a day to start with (work up to three to five minutes after a week), and turn your attention to your body and then your breath. Notice when your thoughts wander from your breath, and gently return to the breath. Repeat until the minute is up.

2. Be Awake. Meditation is practice for being awake, which is not being in the dream state (mind wandering into a train of thought, getting lost in the online world, thinking about past offenses, stressing about the future, etc.) but being awake to the present, to what is. Being awake is something you can do throughout the day, all the time, if you remember. Remembering is the trick.

3. Watch Urges. When I quit smoking in 2005, the most useful tool I learned was watching my urges to smoke. I would sit there and watch the urge rise and fall, until it was gone, without acting on it. It taught me that I am not my urges, that I don’t have to act on my urges, and this helped me change all my other habits. Watch your urge to check email or social media, to eat something sweet or fried, to drink alcohol, to watch TV, to be distracted, to procrastinate. These urges will come and go, and you don’t have to act on them.

4. Watch Ideals. We all have ideals, all the time. We have an ideal that our day will go perfectly, that people will be kind and respectful to us, that we will be perfect, that we’ll ace an exam or important meeting, that we’ll never fail. Of course, we know from experience that those ideals are not real, that they don’t come true, that they aren’t realistic. But we still have them, and they cause our stress and fears and grief over something/someone we’ve lost. By letting go of ideals, we can let go of our suffering.

5. Accept People and Life As They Are. When I stopped trying to change a loved one, and accepted him for who he was, I was able to just be with him and enjoy my time with him. This acceptance has the same effect for anything you do--accept a co-worker, a child, a spouse, but also accept a “bad” situation, an unpleasant feeling, an annoying sound. When we stop trying to fight the way things are, when we accept what is, we are much more at peace.

6. Let Go of Expectations. This is really the same thing as the previous two items, but I’ve found it useful nonetheless. It’s useful to watch your expectations with an upcoming situation, with a new project or business, and see that it’s not real and that it’s causing you stress and disappointment. We cause our own pain, and we can relieve it by letting go of the expectations that are causing it. Toss your expectations into the ocean.

7. Become okay with Discomfort. The fear of discomfort is huge--it causes people to be stuck in their old bad habits, to not start the business they want to start, to be stuck in a job they don’t really like, because we tend to stick to the known and comfortable rather than try something unknown and uncomfortable. It’s why many people don’t eat vegetables or exercise, why they eat junk, why they don’t start something new. But we can be okay with discomfort, with practice. Start with things that are a little uncomfortable, and keep expanding your comfort zone.

8. Watch Your Resistance. When you try to do something uncomfortable, or try to give up something you like or are used to, you’ll find resistance. But you can just watch the resistance, and be curious about it. Watch your resistance to things that annoy you--a loud sound that interrupts your concentration, for example. It’s not the sound that’s the problem, it’s your resistance to the sound. The same is true of resistance to food we don’t like, to being too cold or hot, to being hungry. The problem isn’t the sensation of the food, cold, heat or hunger--it’s our resistance to them. Watch the resistance, and feel it melt. This resistance, by the way, is why I’m doing my Year of Living Without.

9. Be Curious. Too often we are stuck in our ways, and think we know how things should be, how people are. Instead, be curious. Find out. Experiment. Let go of what you think you know. When you start a new project or venture, if you feel the fear of failure, instead of thinking, “Oh no, I’m going to fail” or “Oh no, I don’t know how this will turn out”, try thinking, “Let’s see. Let’s find out.” And then there isn’t the fear of failure, but the joy of being curious and finding out. Learn to be okay with not knowing.

10. Be Grateful. We complain about everything. But life is a miracle. Find something to be grateful about in everything you do. Be grateful when you’re doing a new habit, and you’ll stick to it longer. Be grateful when you’re with someone, and you’ll be happier with them. Life is amazing, if you learn to appreciate it.

11. Let Go of Control. We often think we control things, but that’s only an illusion. Our obsession with organization and goals and productivity, for example, are rooted in the illusion that we can control life. But life is uncontrollable, and just when we think we have things under control, something unexpected comes up to disrupt everything. And then we’re frustrated because things didn’t go the way we wanted. Instead, practice letting go of control, and learn to flow.

12. Be Compassionate. This sounds trite, but compassion for others can change the way you feel about the world, on a day-to-day basis. And compassion for yourself is life-changing. These two things need remembering, though, so mindful living is about remembering to be compassionate after you forget.

That seems like a lot to digest and remember, and I often forget all of this stuff, but then I remember, and say, “Ah, I was doing it again!” And then I practice again.

And then I forget, but I reflect, and I learn, and I practice again.

This is the process of learning mindfulness. It’s forgetting, and then remembering, again and again.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Staying in the present moment while practicing these tools is  so profound. The alternative of being awake in the moment is being lost somewhere else. This is too painful. ~ V.B.

 

"It’s worth the effort, because being awake means we’re not missing life as we walk through it. Being awake means we’re conscious of what’s going on inside us, as it happens, and so can make more conscious choices rather than acting on our impulses all the time."

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