by Lynda D’Amico
We are not human beings in search of a spiritual path here on earth. We are spiritual beings immersed in a human experience.
If you feel as if there’s something missing in your life, you are not alone. Living in a culture that places so much emphasis on external things such as material gain, independence, entertainment and productivity, we are encouraged to abandon our inner self—the place where love resides. Those external accomplishments may temporarily boost our ego or bring a shot of happiness, but they won’t give us what we need to feel loved and fulfilled in life.
It’s easy to understand why so many of us feel such a disconnect from the deeper parts of our being. If you feel as if you have lost a part of yourself, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your life. Start by asking yourself some questions: Is life working for me? Does it reflect how I envision it? Am I feeling passionate, inspired? If the answers to these questions are “no,” it’s time for a change.
Losing Your Connectedness Hurts
We pay a steep price for focusing most of our time and attention on external goals: We lose sense of what’s truly important—the relationship we have with ourselves, our partners, family, friends, pets, nature and Spirit—the very things that help make us feel whole. This leaves us feeling separate from everyone and everything, ultimately leaving us lonely, restless and lost. Initially, we might not even realize what we’ve sacrificed and how lightly we live, skimming across the surface instead of diving into the rich engagement we long for.
As people continue to succumb to the pressure to earn more, buy more and look younger, some begin to sense that something is missing. Others may not awaken until an unexpected crisis shocks them into clarity. The fact that so many are feeling disconnected explains why we’re seeing such an insurgence of self-directed practices such as yoga, meditation, journaling or spending time in nature as we all seek clarity.
Everything Is Interconnected
One of the many benefits brought out by these practices is a quieting of the mind, leading to increased self-awareness. As you learn to observe without judgment, you may become aware of two selves: the one chattering away with ever-changing thoughts; the other, an unwavering deeper self.
Many spiritual practices such as the Vedic tradition teach that we are part of, and woven together in, one energy field or consciousness. Many physicists also believe that a field of energy exists in all things, connecting everything. This has been seen in what they call the holographic universe, where they have observed a complete pattern of the whole within the smallest stream of light.
In indigenous cultures, rituals play a dominant role in strengthening the bonds between individuals and the spiritual world. The vision quest, a Native American practice, helps young men transition into manhood by connecting them to the Great Spirit so they can gain insight into their higher purpose. Because our culture is lacking in such traditions, make it a priority to schedule time for introspection and for practices that help you nurture your inner self and connect to an infinite source of love.
Practice Our Nine Guides for Living
Below are . Practicing them faithfully will help you connect more with your deeper self, as well as remind you that your life is shaped by the thoughts and emotions you choose. To help put these guides into practice, use the exercises suggested, or have fun creating your own!
1. Self-Awareness — Develop the practice of observing your thoughts, emotions and actions without judgment. Doing this will help you gain insight into how you perceive and respond to life. When we become more self-aware, we create the opportunity to make adjustments that improve the way we relate to ourselves and others.
2. Inner Guide — Your inner guide (aka intuition) is a valuable resource. Learn to trust its voice—however it comes to you. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Give yourself quiet time every day to create the space for your inner voice to be heard.
3. Accountability — You are the author of your life: It’s what you do with what you’ve been given that counts. Write down and reflect upon where you may not be taking full responsibility in your life. Consider that you always have a choice, whether it’s having the power to change outside circumstances or your perception about them.
4. Acceptance — Life is unpredictable, filled with surprises and unexpected turns. Change is the normal state of life. Instead of resisting something you can’t alter, try surrendering to it. Sitting by a stream and observing nature can help remind us that everything is constantly moving, adjusting and transforming to accommodate the next phase of growth.
5. Gratitude — Make a conscious effort to feel grateful. It will help you develop the habit of looking at the bright side, leading to a life filled with more joy. One way to embrace this practice is to start a gratitude journal. Or, for families, each member can write down what they’re grateful for on pieces of paper, which are then collected in a jar. At week’s end, the family comes together to share what they’ve written.
6. Intention — Setting an internal intention for the day sends a message to your subconscious about how you want to be. Do you want to be less overwhelmed, centered, or patient? Give your intention more power by setting it in the morning and writing it down. Then place the note in different locations throughout your home or office to remind yourself throughout the day.
7. Forgiveness — Holding on to anger only leads to stale, pent-up energy. Releasing that anger is not only freeing but, ultimately, invigorating. Start with yourself. Is there something you need to forgive yourself for? Write a letter granting you permission to forgive yourself. Read it. Two weeks later, pick it up again or even mail it to yourself. When you reread it, do you feel different? Were you able to fully forgive yourself? Is there anyone else you need to forgive?
8. Letting Go — When you release what no longer serves you, you create space for new good things to come into your life. Make a list of what you want to let go of. Explore what the attachments are…. Is it fear? Guilt? When you’re ready to let go, create a ceremony where you take your list and burn it. You can do this alone or with others, so everyone shares in the experience.
9. Manifestation — Creation emanates from within. Pay close attention to your thoughts. What story are you telling yourself about who you are and what your life is all about? Your thoughts are like seeds. The emotions created by those thoughts are the fertilizer. Together they create the outer world of form. Master your mind, master your life.
Growing takes a lot of courage, patience, determination and kindness to yourself. To welcome more peace and joy into your life, we hope you do more of what’s essential to your well-being and let go of what’s not. You’re worth creating the space in order to reconnect with and deepen the relationship with your authentic self and expansive love. This is your journey. Enjoy it!
About the Author
Lynda D’Amico is an artist and healer. She is also co-founder of InnerGuide, a personal-development company that creates planning guides for success. Using self-directed coaching strategies, its tools help you deepen self-awareness, increase productivity and live with a greater sense of purpose. To learn more, visit www.inner-guide.com.
The holidays are almost upon us and you know what that means- incessant holiday music, extended shopping hours, super sales and endless social obligations. From Halloween to New Year’s Day it can be a joyous season filled with delicious food, festive cocktails and reconnecting with family and friends. It can also be a season that triggers extreme stress and anxiety.
Stress triggers are as diverse as those afflicted- seeing family members, catching up with high school friends, completing the shopping list, traveling to family, or completing those home DIY projects. Stress could ruin your holidays, however with a few tips and some help, the holidays can turn into the most wonderful time of the year.
When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past. Here are five tips that can help you get through the season:
1. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
2. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress too.
3. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
Try these alternatives:
- Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
- Give homemade gifts.
- Start a family gift exchange.
4. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
Try these suggestions:
- Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
5. Seek natural remedies to manage stress symptoms. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently anxious, there are natural remedies such as CBD that can help relieve heightened levels of stress. A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial in 15 humans demonstrated that CBD (cannabidiol) reduced measured anxiety. 1 Elevate CBD is one of the few companies in the field that offer several consumer options including gum, lozenges, dissolvable strips, dab and oil to meet your lifestyle and dosing needs.
So bring on the holidays, the shopping, the cooking and the family. Elevate CBD has your remedy.
1. Witkin JM, Tzavara ET, Nomikos GG. A role for cannabinoid CB1 receptors in mood and anxiety disorders. Behav Pharmacol. 2005 Sep;16(5-6):315-31.
For more information:
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by John C. Robinson
People who dwell in God dwell in the eternal now. There, people can never grow old. There, everything is present and everything is new.
As our aging experience deepens, it becomes our classroom, delegating us individual and collective homework assignments that guarantee our wisdom – if we undertake them with sincerity and determination. These amazing assignments include releasing the identity and roles of middle age, deep life review, understanding and appreciating the inner world, discovering the language and guidance of the aging body, finding the hidden meaning and value of change, learning to grieve and survive, forgiving self and others, making amends for our mistakes, transforming self and consciousness, finding meaningful work at every stage, mentoring others, deepening friendships, clarifying religious and spiritual beliefs, recognizing the sacredness of Earth and her inhabitants, opening the heart, learning to say goodbye, accepting dependence graciously, preparing for death, staying involved in the world, and caring for others. What a remarkable and always personalized curriculum!
If we do this work with diligence, courage, patience and grace, we will be initiated into a realm of untold realizations of life’s nature, purpose, and processes. No wonder we grow wise! But that’s not the end. Eventually we graduate to the next curriculum, the awakening of mystical consciousness that will transform us even further. Now we see through time and illusion to the mystery and magic of the metaphysical world, evolving into Divine Humans bringing gifts that transcend ordinary space-time conditions. As mystics, seers, saints, sages, crones, and enlightened Elders, we access the divine consciousness creating, holding and permeating the world.
All the while, however, we must be brave and know that the unexpected and challenging events of aging will find us. We remind ourselves that these events – illness, loss, decline, and incapacitation – are pregnant with meaning, opportunity and enlightenment if we face them with honesty and consciousness. We try not to compare or lament our given assignments in the curriculum of aging, for each is individually tailored to advance our psychological and spiritual development. If we can stay centered, we become new beings and our deepening presence moves through the world. Life is our school, aging our graduate work, and mystical consciousness our final transformation into divinity.
All this “Elder work,” however, takes patience, acceptance, and clear vision. As the layers of identity, time, and story fall away in the aging process, as losses mount, as the mind empties of action-oriented goals and ambitions, as the physical energies of sex and aggression diminish, as the Elder begins to sense the coming of death, a mystical transformation of self and consciousness begins. The movie film of our lives wears thin and the light of eternity shines within and through us. We realize, then, that we are not who we thought we were; we are beautiful translucent designs in the sacred fabric of reality, beings of light, purveyors of cosmic consciousness. Melting into this timeless eternity, we locate the divine Self in our deep center and embrace the sacred energies’ conscious being. In this way, aging is a gift of gradual enlightenment, a death-and-rebirth transformation, and the longer we live, the greater our awakening can be. We are meant to become sages, mystics, and enlightened Elders in our final years. As we learn more about the nature of the sage and its numerous expressions, we’ll better understand the task we have undertaken.
The qualities of sage, mystic and enlightened Elder ripen from wisdom earned in a lifetime of personal growth mixed with the new, spacious and infinitely loving Presence flowing through us in conscious aging. In this rich mulch of awakening, we enter the greatest chapter of our lives. We grow into Divine Humans because we have worked to understand self, other, God and life for decades, because we surrender the Ego’s need for identity and superiority, and because we steadily descend from True Self to Soul to divine Self. No longer dependent on books, theories, or experts, we act from the deep and the sacred oneness of the present moment where the divine is everywhere. To serve as sages, mystics and enlightened Elders, we give up the pursuits of the middle years, take off the clothes of importance, and source our “work” not from Ego-driven doing but from the consciousness found in divine being.
John C. Robinson is a clinical psychologist with a second doctorate in ministry, an ordained interfaith minister, and the author of nine books on the psychological, spiritual and mystical potentials of the New Aging. He is the author of The Three Secrets of Aging, Bedtime Stories for Elders, What Aging Men Want and Breakthrough.
You can find out more about John’s work at http://www.johnrobinson.org
The Divine Human: The Final Transformation of Sacred Aging is published by O Books, ISBN: 978-1-78099-236-5 (Paperback) £9.99 $15.95, EISBN: 978-1-78099-335-5 (e-book) £3.99 $5.99.
Dr. Hilda Dulin Lee’s latest book, “In the Labyrinth of Binge Eating,” not only breaks down the neurochemical factors behind binge eating disorder (BED) and explores how highly restrictive dieting compounds the problem, but also offers compassion and understanding to the more than eight million Americans diagnosed with the disorder. Dr. Lee takes a scientific approach to dispelling the harmful misconceptions that surround this condition, an eating disorder more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. That approach includes a thorough review of all the latest insights into the causes of and treatments for binge eating disorder. “In the Labyrinth of Binge Eating” is available today on Amazon.
Early changes in brain chemistry brought on by childhood trauma have been identified as one of the leading factors in the development of binge eating disorder. Early trauma can trigger a cycle in which the individual is constantly hypervigilant and stressed, hijacking the brain’s normal mechanisms for regulating the fight-or-flight response. These profound alterations in brain chemistry can predispose the person to binge eating, among other psychological conditions.
“Most people are surprised to learn that genetics can also play a role in the development of BED,” says Dr. Lee. “Some individuals have a gene mutation that wipes out certain of the brain’s neurochemical receptors controlling satiety – the sense of fullness. While most people do not have this mutated gene, its discovery has contributed greatly to our understanding of binge eating disorder, and is helping to find solutions.”
Yet another cause of binge eating, and certainly the most harmful accelerant of bingeing, is chronic, highly restrictive dieting. Low calorie diets not only leave people feeling deprived and hungry, but can mimic the effects of the mutated gene described previously, altering neurochemicals in the brain, thus interfering with innate signals of hunger and fullness. When restrictive dieting is coupled with negative emotions like low self-esteem – which is too often the case – people are even more likely to find themselves bingeing.
Dr. Lee brings personal experience to her study of binge eating. She was diagnosed with BED in 1998, after which she become so interested in researching the science behind this disorder that she sold her dental practice and returned to graduate school. Her mission with “In the Labyrinth of Binge Eating” is to eliminate the shame and blame so often associated with the condition, and to give hope and practical solutions to those battling BED.
One recovering binge eater said of Dr. Lee: “Hilda Lee has the mind of a scientist, the soul of an artist, and the voice of a gifted storyteller. She infuses the story of her own journey through binge eating with the latest research to produce a work of practical, useful art.”
About the Author
Hilda Dulin Lee, a dentist and writer, received her BA in literature and did post-graduate work in the sciences before attending dental school where she received her DMD degree. After years of practicing dentistry and teaching management seminars, she returned to graduate school where she studied binge eating and creative writing. She was selected as a national finalist in Sequestrum’s 2015 New Writer Award.