If You Could See Yourself the Way I do…

Mirror
“You have no idea how hard I’ve looked
for a gift to bring You.
Nothing seemed right.
What’s the point of bringing gold to
the gold mine, or water to the ocean.
Everything I came up with was like
taking spices to the Orient.
It’s no good giving my heart and my
soul because you already have these.
So I’ve brought you a mirror.
Look at yourself and remember me. “
~ Rumi

 

Yes – You Are the Center of the Universe!

“I use to believe that there was a you and a me.

Then I discovered that there’s no you, that in fact you are me.

There aren’t two to take care of, or three or four or a billion. There’s only ONE. The relief of that! It’s enormous!

“You mean there is nothing to do? That if Im okay, everything is ok?”

Yes, that’s exactly it. It’s self realization. Everything falls sweetly, effortlessly, into your lap. You are not only the center, you are the circumference. You are the whole circle, and your everything outside the circumference, too. Nothing can limit or circumscribe you.. you are all of it. Nothing exists that doesn’t come out of you. Do you understand? If it doesn’t come out of you it cannot exist.

photography-inspiration179

 

What are you manifesting? Stars? Universes? A tree? A bird? A stone? Well, who is the thinker? Take a look: Did anything exist before you thought it? When you’re asleep and not dreaming, where is the world?

When I first realized there was only me, I began to laugh and the laughter ran deep. I preferred reality to denial. And that was the end of sorrow”.  

Byron Katie

Beyond The Unquestioned Mind

“There is a perfection beyond what the unquestioned mind can know.

When mind understands that it is just the reflection of the nameless intelligence that has created the whole apparent universe, it is filled with delight.

you in Universe

 

It delights that it is everything, it delights that it is nothing, it delights that it is brilliantly kind and free of all identity, free to be its unlimited, unstoppable, unimaginable life.

 

 

It dances in the light of its own understanding that nothing has ever happened, and that everything that has ever happened – everything that ever can happen- is good.”

people dancing
-  Byron Katie

Are You Moving Towards the Life You Want?

Are You Moving Towards the Life You Want or Away From It?

Life doesn’t come with a rule book. With over 7 billion people living on earth, it would be impossible to determine a one size fits all formula for success and happiness. The ironic thing is, while most people don’t doubt that everyone’s definition of happiness is different, they still seem to be willing to sacrifice their own version of happiness in order to fit in with society’s version, or the version that their parents lived.

Many people are just going through the motions. As long as there is a paycheck coming in, they don’t think too much about what they really want out of life. They are content at just making a living. Unfortunately, in this quest to just make a living, many people forget how to make a life. In order to discover our own personal formula for how to make a life for ourselves, it is important for us to focus on one question: “What is my purpose?”

This question may be harder to answer than we think. It forces us to become self-aware which can not only be uncomfortable, but also difficult considering most of our decisions are happening so automatically that we don’t even realize the “why” behind them. However hard it may be, by doing this we allow ourselves to take a more active role in how our life will go instead of sitting back and watching it pass by. Here are some important questions to ask yourself to help you determine whether you are ultimately working towards your version of a fulfilling life:

1) How do I define Success?

The definition of success will vary widely amongst people and cultures, but it is important to determine whether or not we are relying on external factors to determine our success or internal factors. While it is not wrong or “bad” to desire financial abundance, or a big home or an expensive car, it is important not to depend on these things in order to feel “successful”.

Truly successful people know that health of mind/body/spirit is the true mark of a successful person, because with health in these three areas, they know they are happy. Happiness will naturally attract to us a job that we love, which will make us more prone to financial abundance, if that is what we desire.

2) What is my purpose for wanting a relationship?

purpose-of-life In order to attract a healthy relationship, we must examine the reason behind the desire for one. Many people make the mistake of trying to escape loneliness as the reason or maybe they think they need validation from another person. Either way, they open themselves up to a quantity over quality issue, which usually ends in disappointment. The happiest and healthiest of relationships start with two people who feel whole and complete on their own and decide to start building a life with each other because they actually enjoy one another’s company.

When the purpose of the relationship is to enhance an already happy existence instead of filling some sort of void, we find that we only stay in relationships that are aiding in our self-growth. The purpose behind the relationship becomes more about companionship instead of co-dependency.

3) Do I have a vision for how I want my life to be?

To have a vision or a goal of how we want our life to ultimately be will help us out tremendously. It makes the everyday grind much more tolerable. For example, a person may have to work at a job they don’t truly love for a while but when they know deep down they are working towards their ultimate goal of let’s say, being an actor, they won’t begrudge their day job so much.

They know deep down that they only are doing this job until they get their big break so the mundane job they have now doesn’t seem so terrible. When we set a vision for our lives we subconsciously start working towards it every day. You can write down what your vision is for your ultimate dream life or even create a vision board that you look at daily, once you know WHAT you are working towards you, the HOW will start to reveal itself. Also, you will start to feel excited about getting there as opposed to just working mindlessly with no end in sight.

4) Am I doing things because I want to do them, or because I have to do them?
live-life-you-have-imagined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It may sound selfish to only do things you WANT to do, but it’s actually the best thing you can ever do for yourself and the people around you. When the purpose is fear, for example, “I’ll do this because I’m afraid so and so will be mad at me if I don’t” or “I’m afraid of how I will look to someone else if I say no, so I’ll just do whatever they want me to do,” we live a life that is not genuine.

We start being a people pleaser instead of paying attention to our own individual needs. However, when we start engaging only in activities that we truly want to do, or that will bring us joy, we allow other people in our lives the freedom to do the same.

Suddenly we find ourselves surrounded by friendships and relationships with people who actually want to be there for us, or help us out instead of people who are doing it out of obligation. Conversely we do the same. We start to help and be there for our friends because we get genuine joy out of it, instead of just doing it because we feel guilty not to.

An examined life is the best way to go about working towards our goals. If we have no inkling as to the reasons behind our behaviors how can we ever expect to change them? When we do start to bring awareness into our day to day actions we find that we hold the key to our own happiness. Yes it will require constant mindfulness and questioning of ourselves but in the end we will constantly be working towards the life we want instead of in the other direction.

Inspirational writer/blogger and lightworker, focused on self awareness and personal development. She is dedicated to helping others raise their vibration, discover their true selves and encouraging them to live a life that they truly love.
Follow her blog at ALifeThatYouLove.wordpress.com

Things to consider when you consider therapy

Let's Talk

The process of entering counseling can be very complex for people. For one thing, you want to know that the therapist you choose is someone who will connect with you, and knows the best path to get you where you want to go.

Rapport

Multiple studies have concluded that the single most important aspect responsible for successful therapy is the connection the person feels they have with their therapist. With good rapport, the client finds it easier to open up and tell the therapist what has gone on in his or her life. It needs to be present early in the therapeutic relationship so that the more important therapy goals can be accomplished. When rapport is not established, it is difficult to speak openly. If you do not feel a good connection after 1 to 3 visits, you owe it to yourself to try someone else. (see: The Therapeutic Process)

Qualifications

This initial assessment phase is actually a two-way street. During an initial consultation, the therapist is listening to you as you describe your issues and determining whether they feel competent to help. A good counselor can usually determine rather quickly whom they can and can’t help.  If they feel unqualified to help you, they will give suggestions for a more appropriate match. An example might be discovering your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder and the therapist is not properly trained in this area. But most therapists are qualified to help with the most common issues addressed in treatment. (see: Why People go to Therapy)

 Costs

Besides rapport and the qualifications of your therapist, you must consider the financial aspects as well. Whether considering full fees or co-payments, here are some things to you should know.

  • Using insurance benefits

When you make the important decision to see a therapist, you may find the perfect provider, or were referred to a specific therapist by someone you trust, only to find out that the therapist does not take your insurance. You may spend hours getting a referral from your doctor; calling the insurance company to find a provider; authorization numbers and letters; figuring out and paying copays; and calling the insurance company to check on problems. Choosing not to use your insurance gives you the freedom to find the therapist you would like to see and begin work, without these added complications.

When you use your health insurance, your therapist must justify your need for therapy, which means giving you a ‘mental disorder’ diagnosis and sharing sensitive personal information about your therapy. This information will go into health insurance files and a computer database that can be accessed by numerous people and for multiple reasons, i.e., insurance companies and, possibly, to future employers. It is also a consideration if you think you may want to be self-employed in the future. Past mental health diagnosis and treatment records may be treated as a pre-existing condition, which will make private insurance more difficult and expensive. Bottom line, when you apply for any insurance in the future – medical, disability, or life insurance – your diagnosis will be a factor in determining your acceptance and your rate. This is a real problem. I have had clients turned down for insurance because of a diagnosis and others bumped to a higher premium.

Also, more and more skilled, qualified mental health therapists are choosing NOT to take part in Managed Care Networks – reimbursement rates are too low, the paperwork time-consuming, and the coverage tightly managed.

  • Paying out-of-pocket

I often hear people complain that therapy is too costly. But consider the gains and the investment you’re making. Take a moment and calculate the amount of money you spent last year on things that you thought would help you feel good about yourself – cars, clothes, food and alcohol, gadgets, vacations, hair and nail salons, gifts, etc. Think about how much more you’d enjoy those things if you reached your full potential and were able to set aside all the obstacles holding you back. Yes – that is what therapy can do for you.

What+would+you+do+if+you+had+no+fear

Or compare the cost of therapy with taking a college course. This course can be titled: “My Life – What works and what doesn’t work, and how to get there”. Depending on how often you go, you may be able to forgo some immediate pleasures for the long-term gain of mental health. And many times rates can be negotiated – something in between what your insurance company would have paid and the full fee for your therapy can be arranged.

Which ever way you choose pay, you are worth the investment.

Time Commitment

In general, most psychotherapists schedule weekly. But sometimes it is more prudent to schedule more, like twice a week, or less, like twice a month. In order to build a good connection, however, once a week should be the minimum, at least for a while.

 

Cultivating Gratitude: Beyond Narcissism and Toward Connection

 

Worth Reading from Off the Web

By 

 

gratitude“No doubt, our parents worked tirelessly to get us to say “thank you” when someone offered a gift or did us a favor. Most likely, they succeeded in getting us to mouth these words. But while we internalized proper etiquette, did we understand the purpose behind uttering thanks? To what extent did we develop an inner sense of feeling and conveying genuine gratitude?

Gratitude is a corrective to our sense of entitlement. One aspect of narcissism is the belief that we deserve to get without having to give. We feel that we’re entitled to fulfill our needs without being troubled by perceiving another’s world and responding to others’ needs. Our attention is fully absorbed within a limited and narrow sense of self.

The capacity to experience gratitude means that we’re extending attention beyond ourselves to perceive what someone has given us or done for us. During a moment of gratitude, our eyes open to the existence of the other. Simultaneously, we register how their eyes opened to recognize our existence as separate from their own.

They did something positive for us or with us. During that moment, they saw us, appreciated us, cared about us — and perhaps even loved us. Rather than take these precious gifts for granted, gratitude signals an appreciation for their generously extending attention beyond themselves and into our world.

As explained in Dancing with Fire: A Mindful Way to Loving Relationships:

When someone offers a compliment, expresses gratitude, or reaches out to touch us, do we allow it to seep deeply into our body and being? Are we mindful of how we are touched by it? Perhaps our stomach relaxes or we notice a warmth in our heart. Can we permit ourselves to savor that precious moment?

Sadly, we often permit these precious moments to zoom by. We don’t pause long enough to let them enter a tender place in our heart. We may remain armored, cut off, and disconnected from ourselves and the other person.

How often do we let potential moments of connection evaporate because we’re not mindful of their precious nature? Does this lack of recognition contribute to our loneliness, our sense of disconnection and isolation? Feeling and conveying gratitude allows us to hold these moments a little longer as we receive more consciously, deeply, and intimately.

This movement beyond self delivers us to a deeper sense of connectedness with our world. It might be gratitude for an old-fashioned birthday card or a phone call from a friend who asks how we’re doing. Or, it might be as simple as being more mindful when someone holds a door open for us, pausing a moment until we reach the door.

We might think it’s just a basic courtesy that’s expected. And perhaps their main motivation was to avoid the embarrassment of seeming to be self-centered. On the other hand, maybe they looked back at us, making friendly eye contact, while offering a warm smile.

If so, we’re being offered more than the gesture of an open door. We’re getting a little bit of their heart as well. Do we notice this? Do we let it in? Do we notice appreciation for their kind attention? If so, perhaps this adds some delightful zest to our expression of thanks.

Oftentimes, our rote “thank you” is limited to the realm above our neck rather than infuse our entire being. What needs to happen to actually experience the gratitude and appreciation that would inject a richer meaning into our words of thanks?

The next time someone offers a gift or a word or gesture of recognition, notice how you feel in your body. Take a deep breath and allow the good feeling to register not just in your head, but throughout your entire being. Notice if a sense of gratitude and appreciation wells up inside you — and experiment with allowing words of gratitude to bubble up from this deeper wellspring of your being.”

 

Cultivating Gratitude: Beyond Narcissism and Toward Connection | World of Psychology.

Why do people seek therapy?

Every thing you wanted to know about therapy but were afraid to askcouch

You’re bound to have the wrong idea about therapy if you’ve never been. And you’re not alone. But for starters, it’s not about being sick, being crazy, weak, or self-obsessed.

Therapy helps with the problems of living through  collaboration with a trained professional.

People pursue therapy for a variety of reasons, but typically  for the common everyday issues  of living that are causing distress – things they haven’t found answers for through other means. Psychotherapy  may come in the form of support, information, guidance, self-understanding, or a safe place to learn and practice new skills.

Many people believe that the support of a good friend can substitute for therapy. While social support is important for everyone, therapy is very different from relationships with friends and family.  For one thing, therapists are highly trained professionals who’ve spent years learning and practicing how to  treat cognitive, emotional, behavioral and relationship issues.

Secondly, social relationships are reciprocal – friends go back and forth discussing each other’s issues. Also,with friends you’re more likely to censor yourself, either because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or portray yourself or others in a bad light.

And, lastly, therapy is confidential. Therapists are legally mandated secret-keepers.And finally, when you’re in therapy, you can share that same issue in a safe environment, uncensored, where the focus is entirely on you.

People seek therapy for:

Self-Exploration: Some people come to therapy to gain a deeper understanding of self. They want to know why they do what they do, why they feel what they feel and determine how much control they have over those areas.

Support in Coping: Loss is a common reason for people to seek therapy. Therapy can provide a safe, supportive place for people to talk about grief, the end of a relationship or job, abuse issues, or any change in life circumstances that cause distress.

Help alleviating anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.

Learning new coping skills like better communication for dealing with conflict and frustration, managing emotions, or mindfulness.

Learning a process for overcoming pain, working through loss, and adding meaning to your life.

 

If you would like to change your life, therapy is a good way to do it. Get suggestions from friends, or do some on-line research!

 

Next topic -  Questions to ask a therapy-candidate before you go.

The Work of Byron Katie

The Work by Byron Katie (we call her Katie).

Read what she says about Then, and Now:

Katie on: "How I Learned To Stop Suffering"</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>When I was in my early forties, I slept with a loaded gun under my bed. I'd become severely depressed in my thirties, and for almost a decade I spiraled down into paranoia, rage, self-loathing, and thoughts of suicide. I weighed more than two hundred pounds (I'm 5'5"), and for the last two years I was often unable to leave my bedroom. Then, one morning in February 1986, out of nowhere, I experienced a realization. In an instant, I discovered that when I believed my stressful thoughts, I suffered, but when I questioned them, I didn't suffer. I also discovered a simple way of questioning stressful thoughts. I call it "The Work." I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Suffering is optional. The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with reality. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>If you want reality to be different than it is right now, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, "Meow." You can spend the rest of your life trying to teach a cat to bark.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>If you pay attention, you'll notice that you're continually trying to teach cats to bark. "People should be kinder." "My children should be better behaved." "My husband (or wife) should agree with me." "I should be thinner (or prettier or more successful)." These thoughts are ways of wanting reality to be different than it is. If you think that sounds depressing, you're right.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>People new to The Work often say to me, "But it would be disempowering to stop my argument with reality. If I simply accept reality, I'll become passive. I may even lose the desire to act." I answer them with a question: "Can you really know that that's true?" Which is more empowering, "I wish I hadn't lost my job" or "I lost my job; what can I do now?"</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>The Work reveals that what you think shouldn't have happened, should have happened. It should have happened because it did, and no thinking in the world can change it. This doesn't mean that you condone it or approve of it. It just means that you can see things without resistance and without the confusion of your inner struggle.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>No one wants their children to get sick, no one wants to be in a car accident; but when these things happen, how can it be helpful to argue with them and think of ourselves as victims of reality? We know better than to do that, yet we do it, because we don't know how to stop.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>I don't ever want anything to happen except what's happening. For example, my ninety-year-old mother was dying of pancreatic cancer. I was taking care of her, cooking and cleaning for her, sleeping beside her, living in her apartment twenty-three hours a day. (My husband took me out for a walk every morning.) It was as if her breath was the pulse of my life. I bathed her, I washed her in the most personal places, I medicated her, and I felt such intimacy with her. There was no separation. That's me over there, dying of cancer, spending my last few days sleeping and watching TV and talking, medicated with the most marvelous painkilling drugs. I am amazed at the beauty and intricacies of her body, my body. And on the last day of her life, as I sat by her bedside, a shift took place in her breathing, and I know: it's only a matter of minutes now. Our eyes locked, and a few moments later she was gone. I looked more deeply into the eyes that the mind had vacated, the mindless eyes, the eyes of the no-mind, and because I can no longer believe thoughts like "Death is a bad thing" or "I've lost her," I feel only love and gratitude for her. There's not a trace of sorrow. And in the three years since her death, I'm still waiting for sorrow to happen.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>A man sticks a pistol into my stomach, pulls the hammer back, and says, "I'm going to kill you." I am shocked that he is taking his thoughts so seriously. He doesn't understand that the thought of killing causes guilt, which can lead to a life of suffering, so I ask him, as kindly as I can, not to do it. I don't tell him that it's his suffering I'm thinking of. He says that he has to do it, and I understand; I remember believing that I had to do things in my old life. I thank him for doing the best he can, and I notice that I'm fascinated. Is this how she dies? Is this how the story ends? As the joy continues to fill me, I find it miraculous that the story is still going on. You can never know the ending, even as it ends. I am very moved at the sight of sky, clouds, and moonlit trees. I love that I don't miss one moment, one breath, of this amazing life. I wait. And wait. And in the end, he doesn't pull the trigger. He doesn't do that to himself.
Katie on: “How I Learned To Stop Suffering”
When I was in my early forties, I slept with a loaded gun under my bed. I’d become severely depressed in my thirties, and for almost a decade I spiraled down into paranoia, rage, self-loathing, and thoughts of suicide. I weighed more than two hundred pounds (I’m 5’5″), and for the last two years I was often unable to leave my bedroom.
Then, one morning in February 1986, out of nowhere, I experienced a realization. In an instant, I discovered that when I believed my stressful thoughts, I suffered, but when I questioned them, I didn’t suffer. I also discovered a simple way of questioning stressful thoughts. I call it “The Work.” I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.
Suffering is optional. The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with reality. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is, is what we want. If you want reality to be different than it is right now, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, “Meow.” You can spend the rest of your life trying to teach a cat to bark.
If you pay attention, you’ll notice that you’re continually trying to teach cats to bark. “People should be kinder.” “My children should be better behaved.” “My husband (or wife) should agree with me.” “I should be thinner (or prettier or more successful).” These thoughts are ways of wanting reality to be different than it is. If you think that sounds depressing, you’re right.
more-byron-katie-quotes-52016-740x348
People new to The Work often say to me, “But it would be disempowering to stop my argument with reality. If I simply accept reality, I’ll become passive. I may even lose the desire to act.” I answer them with a question: “Can you really know that that’s true?” Which is more empowering, “I wish I hadn’t lost my job” or “I lost my job; what can I do now?”
The Work reveals that what you think shouldn’t have happened, should have happened. It should have happened because it did, and no thinking in the world can change it. This doesn’t mean that you condone it or approve of it. It just means that you can see things without resistance and without the confusion of your inner struggle. No one wants their children to get sick, no one wants to be in a car accident; but when these things happen, how can it be helpful to argue with them and think of ourselves as victims of reality? We know better than to do that, yet we do it, because we don’t know how to stop.
I don’t ever want anything to happen except what’s happening. For example, my ninety-year-old mother was dying of pancreatic cancer. I was taking care of her, cooking and cleaning for her, sleeping beside her, living in her apartment twenty-three hours a day. (My husband took me out for a walk every morning.) It was as if her breath was the pulse of my life. I bathed her, I washed her in the most personal places, I medicated her, and I felt such intimacy with her. There was no separation. That’s me over there, dying of cancer, spending my last few days sleeping and watching TV and talking, medicated with the most marvelous painkilling drugs. I am amazed at the beauty and intricacies of her body, my body. And on the last day of her life, as I sat by her bedside, a shift took place in her breathing, and I know: it’s only a matter of minutes now. Our eyes locked, and a few moments later she was gone. I looked more deeply into the eyes that the mind had vacated, the mindless eyes, the eyes of the no-mind, and because I can no longer believe thoughts like “Death is a bad thing” or “I’ve lost her,” I feel only love and gratitude for her. There’s not a trace of sorrow. And in the three years since her death, I’m still waiting for sorrow to happen.
A man sticks a pistol into my stomach, pulls the hammer back, and says, “I’m going to kill you.” I am shocked that he is taking his thoughts so seriously. He doesn’t understand that the thought of killing causes guilt, which can lead to a life of suffering, so I ask him, as kindly as I can, not to do it. I don’t tell him that it’s his suffering I’m thinking of. He says that he has to do it, and I understand; I remember believing that I had to do things in my old life. I thank him for doing the best he can, and I notice that I’m fascinated. Is this how she dies? Is this how the story ends? As the joy continues to fill me, I find it miraculous that the story is still going on. You can never know the ending, even as it ends. I am very moved at the sight of sky, clouds, and moonlit trees. I love that I don’t miss one moment, one breath, of this amazing life. I wait. And wait. And in the end, he doesn’t pull the trigger. He doesn’t do that to himself.
______________________________________
For more on  “The Work” of Byron Katie, go to http://thework.com.
You can also click on the images below.
The Work sheet -
Judge Your Neighbour Worksheet
Suggestions to answer Question 3 – How do you react when you believe that thought?
3.How do you react when you believe that thought?
Suggested responses to Question 4 – Who would you be without that thought?4.Who would you be without that thought?