Written by: Edwige Gilbert
Every year on December 31st, people all over the world make New Year’s resolutions. Millions of people wake up thinking, “This is the day I am going to do things differently!” They yearn for a new beginning and hate themselves when, after a few weeks, their resolutions fail.
Why do they fail? Because in trying to bring about change in their lives, people reach for the only tool they think they have: willpower, forcing themselves to change. Most often, unfortunately, the will fights back…and wins.
Look at dieting for example. In America, about 109 million dollars are spent on dieting and on diet products every day (Us department of Health and Human Services). Nearly two thirds of Americans are overweight. 25 percent of American men and 45 percent of American women are presently on a diet. Sadly, only 5 percent will lose the weight and keep it off.
What is wrong in the picture? Why is it so difficult to change?
Change is only possible when we begin to understand that it is futile to willfully struggle against our habitual patterns of behavior. You see, we are creatures of habit. Our mind does anything it can to keep us in our comfort zone, away from the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable. This is known as the ”pain/pleasure principle,” which is being experienced when the mind automatically moves us away from pain and toward pleasure and ease. When we tell ourselves, “I should go on a diet,” “I must…," or "I have to...,” immediately, our minds perceive it as painful and react by effectively stopping us from making our desired change. In other words, it is the mind’s protective mechanism that seeks to return us to our comfort zones, even when that acquired comfort zone is unhealthy and potentially harmful in the long run.
So what are we to do? Are we doomed to remain prisoners of our unwanted habits and behaviors? Not at all. The secret is to make our minds enjoy what we desire to change.
Change your focus and you shall change your reality. Simply choose to focus on your desired outcome, engaging the power of your imagination and of positive emotions. This means picturing having reached your desired goal, feeling good about yourself, feeling proud, in charge of your life again, liberated from the past and victorious.
It is strongly believed that the mind does not know the difference between what is real or just imagined. So take advantage of this, and begin to “think yourself changed!" The actual process is simple and is divided into three components:
First, develop a deep state of relaxation, called “Alpha,” an indispensable state to access the subconscious, which is also considered to be the only part of the brain where the seed for a new desired habit can be planted.
Second, in this peaceful state, get ready to project on an imaginary mental screen, which I call the “screening room,” all the vivid details of your new desired behavior. The more specific your visualization is the better. It will ensure the success of this practice.
Finally, in the last stage, remember to include powerful, positive words which I like to consider “declarations," that when repeated will not only create a hypnotic response, but will also, in the future, activate the memory of this joyful experience. The words I recommend to use are: “I choose to create this experience, I believe that I can, victory to me, victory is mine."
Be aware that repetition is critical to the success of the “screening room” practice. Neuroscience tells us that daily repetition for 21 days is what is recommended to create a new pathway to the brain, responsible for our new habitual pattern of behavior.
No doubt, this is powerful material to absorb and can be challenging at first. Realizing that transformation begins in our minds, knowing that thoughts create our destiny and that we have the power to become the master of our lives, can also be the ideal way to begin the year. For a change, prepare yourself to throw out the “gotta, oughts, should’s” part of your resolution, and instead decide to embrace the “I choose.. I desire... I can… I do...”. This will lead you to victory and success in your life.
Written by: Jacqueline Stahl
Side orders just for your enjoyment...
Stories of the Unfaithful...
For two years I led a woman's group focused on love stories, fulfilled and unrequited. The women shared the pain of their affairs, their lover's affairs and the prospect of ending what they thought was the real thing.
The boldest woman in the group was an actress in her early 30's, newly engaged to a shy and talented artist. Her daily schedule was earmarked for workouts, acting classes, therapy, and writing poetry. The group was formed shortly after her mother died of stage four lung cancer. Each week she arrived late, her face powdered with grief and her mouth firing nonstop about the unfairness of life. The other women didn't wilt under her feisty commentary about the "ugly bitches" she met at auditions and the vast amount of alcohol she put away on every shift.
They let her rip until she cried. After one of these emotional breakthroughs, she shared a story of a man that came into a hotel restaurant where she waited tables. He was from Florence, worked for a clothing retail company and traveled to New York every month for one week. Her description of him wasn't flattering, but his shortage of hair and his below average command of English didn't discourage her from venturing into danger.
Over the next few weeks, the women in the group leaned in as she read his emails and texts.
Everyone, including myself was captivated by this foreign Man.
He promised her, "I will wait for you till my last breath." He wrote that he fell in love with her laugh and beautiful eyes. "Do you accept my true sweet words?" He swore, "If I do not honor this divine and powerful force I may as well die. Ciao Bella un bacio!"
One of the women who had recently moved in with her girlfriend laughed out loud: "You have to sleep with him, you don't want his divine death on your conscience."
With every opinion and reflection shared, no one said "end" the relationship. Instead, they encouraged it. Everyone in the group remarked on how much happier she seemed and how radiant she looked.
The little Italian man continued to court her and plan cultural excursions on his days off. They went to the Met, the MOMA and drank champagne at the Peninsula. He planned to take her sailing in Croatia and Italia. Yet, they still had not consummated the relationship.
The fair skinned and provocative Violinist in the group told everyone that this little man was "poetically inserting himself into her life so he has something to look forward to. She's a safe bet, she's engaged, and looking for a distraction from her unsuccessful existence." Then she mumbled, "he probably has a really small..."
The lunging happened first and then a real fist and face slapping fight broke out in my 300 square foot office. Screaming, hair pulling and the C word vibrating off the walls.
"That is enough!" I shouted louder than I ever have in my life. "Sit down and don't say a word until I am finished. This group was not created so we can sit here week after week formulating judgments about one another. We are here to actively listen and genuinely share our lives with each other. We don't always agree with each other, because our personal experiences inform the way we analyze and perceive each moment. Feeling compelled to blatantly hurt or undermine someone is not only unproductive, it is cruel. We are also here so we can safely make mistakes and then apologize and move forward. Let's begin again."
The violinist stood up and walked over to the chair where the actress was sitting and reached out her hand. "I behaved like a little $h!t and I'm sorry. I think I'm jealous of you. You are engaged to a nice guy and you have this International unrequited love affair going on. I have such a boring life and I'm angry at myself...not you. I didn't mean what I said."
The actress nodded her head and said, "He does have a really small..."
The group roared and we were out of time.
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Written by: Steven M. Goldsmith
Isn't it amazing how we create stories in our lives and hold onto them? We create stories about situations and relate to those stories rather than what actually happened. And if you pay close enough attention, you'll notice that that's how you relate to people as well...to your story about them rather than who they are. Wouldn't this world be a better place if we had authentic relationships instead?
How do you let go of your stories of people and situations? You stay present; you catch yourself in the act. Try that next time you talk to someone. Look at them and pay attention to the voices that arise in your head. What you'll notice is that your story about them will come up: what they did or didn't do to you, what they're wearing, who you think they are in the world, what other people think of them, if you think they are ugly or pretty, so on and so forth. Do you really think you are relating to them with all this noise in the background? You can’t. It’s impossible.
We create so many stories about people, places and objects that we see everything through a filter. It’s like those Claritin commercials: the image on TV is ever so blurry until the person has taken Claritin, and then the image is crystal clear. Think of how much brighter things would be if we saw them for what they were. Think of how much more colorful nature would be, how much better food would taste, how much more you’d be able to actually hear what people were saying. It would be a world through a crystal clear lens. You would free yourself from the prison of your mind and truly experience life!
It’s time to start relating to each other this way or you will miss our lives completely. Get out of your head, catch yourself in your story and commit to letting go of the labels and words associated with everything. Stay present and enjoy life. Living in the world of what IS instead of the world of LANGUAGE is so much more exciting. It’s a life without fear (the fears that you’ve created that don’t really exist anyway). Everyone deserves a life like that. It’s called freedom! It’s called presence. It’s called LIFE!
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Written by: Betsy Karp
What are you NOT doing right now that you WANT to do? Procrastination is more fear based than anything else: fear of failure or fear of success. It’s amazing how you can do everything under the sun than do the thing you truly want to accomplish.
You can make an entire day out of errands and find five hundred things to do (laundry, going to a movie, naps, etc…), but you aren’t sitting down to complete that one specific goal. Maybe by putting some Orange in front of you, it will inspire your courage and creativity. As soon as you see the color orange it will raise your vibration into a positive state. You can also eat some orange foods like carrots and pumpkin squash. These foods give you energy. They have a lot of beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Ask yourself, “What is it that I really need to do and get done?” An easy way to help you in this process is to find an accountability partner. Find someone who will give you tough love and make you accountable, not someone that will lick your wounds. When we are accountable to someone other than ourselves we feel responsibility and we don’t want to dishonor our commitment to our partner and ourselves. This will help you with one stage of procrastination.
The second stage is about being disciplined. Make a schedule and find 30 minutes to work towards your goal each and every day. Persistence is what you need here. If you make this pact with yourself and honor it, everything starts to fall into alignment. Before you know it you will have completed the process.
So I’m really curious…what is it that you are going to do? Don’t procrastinate. Take charge, take action and surround yourself with orange. Let the courage and creativity of the color empower you to move forward. Aren't you ready to really start this new year?
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