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Monday, October 31, 2011

Turning Fear into Faith--A Tribute to a Life Well Lived

A Life Well Lived   
"The universe is the stage on which you dance, guided by your heart."
"The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment."
"Delight the world with compassion, kindness and grace."
"Grace brings trust, appreciation, love and compassion."
"Laugh because that is your purpose in life."
"Happiness is every human beings birthright. Be happy so long as breath is in you."
Yogi Bhajan
Today as I was contemplating the passing of a highly spirited, well-loved woman, Faith Sinanan, I came across these simple Yogi Tea messages from the Yogi Bhajan. As I read each one I was struck by how each described Faith's life all the way to her last breath. She embodied a life well lived and served as a model for all who knew her.

What does a Life Well Lived Mean to you?

When someone we know dies it moves us to contemplate the meaning of our own lives and how we want to live. What do we believe creates a life well lived? When we are gone, how do we want to be remembered by those left behind? In the end, what will others consider our legacy--how will they describe us?
  • What do you think of these words to live by?
  • Do you believe in guiding your life by such words? 
  • How would you rate your life at this moment?
  • How does it measure up to these guiding principles? 
  • If people were to examine your life after your death, could they say you were one of those rare people with a life well lived?

Faith Sinanan--A Life Well Lived 

Faith Sinanan drew her last breath on October 18th after a long battle with cancer. She was surrounded by family and supported by a vast network of friends.

Faith was one of those people with an effervescent quality that drew people to her. She was a warm, funny, high spirited woman who laughed often, enjoyed life, and delighted those around her with compassion, kindness and grace.

I loved that her name was Faith and her warm and fuzzy dog is named Grace.

Faith Sinanan (on right) with friends
 Want to help in the fight against cancer?
Faith's family asks for remembrances to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Attn: Donor Services, P.O. Box 650309, Dallas TX 75265-0309

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Feel Good, Be Good, Do Good

'Feel Good, Be Good, and Do Good.'  Yogi Tea Bag Wisdom

Giving--the Key to Feeling Good

Feeling low? Want a way to get out of your funk? Recent studies point the way--find a way to 'do good' by giving to others.

Giving to others makes us feel good. According to current studies, we are happier, more energetic and develop better friendships when we reach out to 'do good' for others.

 But apparently giving to others doesn't just make us feel good. In addition to decreasing our chances of getting depressed, giving to others improves our ability to think, strengthens our heart, lowers our stress and increases our lifespan.

In a nutshell, giving to others makes us happy. It is the doing for others that keeps us connected, provides our lives meaning, and extends our lifespan.

Do Good--Be Pro-Lactive!

 I admit some days I get discouraged when I see how poorly people in the workplace are treated or how poorly those without jobs are dealt with. There are plenty of 'equal opportunity employers' who discriminate against the unemployed, older workers, or employees who think differently from themselves.

I'm sure you've had your days too with things that get you down. But if we get stuck looking through the 'they outta treat us better' lens it ultimately leaves us feeling helpless, hopeless, and un-empowered.

We can regain our power and get out of the helpless, hopeless funk by being 'Pro-Lactive'--nurturing and giving to others.

Prolactin is a 'nurturing hormone' best known for its role in producing milk for nursing mothers. When you are 'Pro-Lactive'--you spread the milk of human kindness to nourish the spirits of those around you. The result of your 'Pro-Lactive Action' is better health and well-being for you too.

I Am Good--I Am the Change I Want to see

What we're talking about is social support. We've known for decades that the amount of social support you have in your life greatly affects your health and longevity.

Did You Know?
  • High levels of social support are as predictive of longevity as exercise, while low levels of social support are as detrimental to your health as high blood pressure?
  • There is a high correlation between the amount of social support you perceive you have and your level of happiness?
  • In the workplace the greatest predictor of your job satisfaction and engagement is the amount of social support you perceive you have. (And your productivity is directly related to your job satisfaction and engagement.)
  • The amount of social support you give is more important than the amount you get?

Yes, that last fact is new! Recent studies indicate the amount of social support you give is more important than the amount you get. This is great news! You do not need to rely on the actions of others to increase your happiness, job satisfaction and engagement at work or health. You can positively affect your own well-being by reaching out and supporting others.

"It turns out, that giving feels better, does more for you, and provides greater returns in the long run, than getting ever does."
Shawn Achor, researcher and author of the Happiness Advantage.
Be the change you want to see-- do good for someone else and give yourself an uplift too. Lend a hand, provide a listening ear, or give a moment of kindness.

'I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.'
Helen Keller

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Breathe Uplift into Your Heart and Calmness into Your Gut

Breathe, Just Breathe

Stressed? Can't get away from your stressor? Use what you've got to get a 5-Minute No Brainer Vacation from stress right when you need it. Breathe, just breathe.

The simplest, most accessible stress reliever is always just a breath away--slow, controlled breathing in and out. It doesn't matter where you are you can employ this easy-to-use technique--and no one else needs to know you're using it (so stop feeling silly about doing it).

When you're in the middle of a contentious meeting or anticipating a contentious meeting, take a moment to calm your energy and nerves through focused breathing.

Breathe Uplift into your Heart and Breathe Calmness into your Gut

You can't be stressed and relaxed at the same time. When you begin focused, deliberate breathing you signal your body to switch nervous systems from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic. With simple, focused breathing you take control and gently guide your mind to a more relaxed state.

 Grant Soosalu in Australia adds to this focused breathing by directing his breaths into his heart and gut. Grant writes:

'When things get too serious, I like to say to myself 'take yourself and life light-heartedly' then I take a 5 minute 'breather' in which I breathe 'uplifting' into my heart and breathe out calmness into my gut. Works like magic!' 

 Can You Be Influenced? 

I love to connect with, and be influenced by people I've never met who live in other parts of the world. Today's less-than-five-minute No-Brainer Vacation, and the 'Breathe Uplift and Calmness' heart art is my response to the simple wisdom of my blog buddy, Grant Soosalu in Australia.

What about you? Can you be influenced to try out this simple breathing technique to put you in a calm, alert state to better help you move through your day? Are you willing to give it a try?

One-Minute of Slow, Relaxed, Conscious Breathing

I breathe in 'uplifting' into my heart; I breathe out 'calmness' into my gut.

Check out Grant Soosalu's Life Enhancing Blog

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 Minute No-Brainer--Take a Break

Spend more time focused upon your dream than upon the reality. The reality gives birth to the dream—but the dream is where you want to put your attention. Abraham
Had Enough?
Sometimes I hit a moment in time when I've had enough. I'm tired of thinking. I'm tired of reaching out to others. I'm tired of preparing for the future. And I'm tired of being productive.
At those times I want to be irresponsible and self-centered--and I want a mind-reader to appear to offer me the perfect high-paying opportunity that fully utilizes my creative talents. That's when I know I need to take a break to revitalize my spirits.
Stop Working so Hard at Life
Let's face it--sometimes we just need to unclog the congestion in our brain. We need to stop working so hard at life, and let the present moment gently unfold without any prodding from us. Our brains need to be freed from reality so our minds can wander, and we can relocate our dreams, refresh our spirits and regain our vitality. But how do we do that in the midst of our busy days?
Minute Vacations
Remember the song 'Girls just want to have fun' or the saying, 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'? It's true. Our brains just want to have fun--and all work and no play makes for dull brains and dull boys and girls.

Be kind to your mind--give it 1-5 minute vacations at least once an hour. You'll do better at whatever you're working on and stay healthier by taking frequent minute vacations--with no purpose but to relax and perhaps enjoy a quick chuckle.

What You Need is a No-Brainer

When you're on overload and need to take a break you need to treat yourself to a no-brainer activity:
  • Take a 5 minute walk.
  • Sit quiet and do nothing for 5 minutes except consciously focus on slowly inhaling and exhaling.
  • Go into the No-Brainer Zone.
What's a No-Brainer Zone?  It's a place where you've compiled a collection of your favorite funny YouTube videos, email jokes or funny photos or music.

Yeah, I know you haven't set up one of those yet. But you know all those funnies sent to you on facebook or email that you've held on to, but haven't organized? Take the time to organize them under favorites or bookmarked into a No-Brainer folder. If you feel like sharing, send me some of your favorites. I like to laugh.

Enjoy One of my No-Brainers
To get you started, here's a couple of no brainers from my file. Kick back and listen to a bit of British humor, dog owner humor--or the answer to life from B.B. King.

Warning: You will not grow smarter by watching and listening to these clips-- but you may regain your sense of humor, smile and relax.

B.B. King 'Better Not Look Down'

Dog Owner Humor

British Humor

 'Stop living for reason,
Time to start living for rhyme.
I'm on a spree and I'm...
Gonna make sure it's a perfectly good waste of time!'

Monday, October 3, 2011

Make a Mistake? Belief in Yourself is Key to Correct Errors

Happy People Make Happy Mistakes
 'Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.'
William James

 Do You Believe You Can Learn From Your Mistakes? 

Mistakes happen. It's what happens after you make the mistake that's interesting.

When you make a mistake, which path do you choose?
  • Do you move forward to problem solve and figure out how to correct your error--and ultimately bounce back from making the error?
  • Or do you feel stupid, inept and give up?

Whether You Believe You Can Grow Smarter or Not Determines How You React to Mistakes

It turns out whether you believe you can grow smarter or not determines how you'll respond to making mistakes--whether you'll take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes or  just give up.

According to a recent study looking at brain activity in response to making mistakes, people who believe they can learn from their mistakes have brains that pay more attention to mistakes--and they share a belief that intelligence isn't fixed--it can be shaped (i.e. we can learn from our mistakes).

If you believe intelligence can be shaped you think 'I learn from my mistakes', 'happy mistakes', or 'a mistake is just a learning experience'.  But if you believe you either have the smarts or you don't (you have a fixed intelligence) you fail to take actions to learn from your mistakes and just give up.

Act As If  is the Key to Overcome Belief Preventing You Learning from Mistakes

Okay, so now you know. You hold the key to bouncing back from making mistakes in your head--If you believe you can grow smarter you can make happy mistakes and learn from them. But what if you're one of the people who simply believes you're not smart?  Then you Act As If--and step over the invisible belief barrier to taking action.

When you make a mistake or error-- don't think, act as if
Act As If:
  • You can learn from your mistakes and grow smarter. 
  • You have confidence in yourself.
  • You can correct your mistakes.
  • It matters that you know the correct answer to perform better in the future.
  • You are coachable.

Beliefs Follow Actions

Why does 'acting as if ' work?  Research shows if you want to change a belief, take action. When you experience a discrepancy between what you believe and how you act, you will change your beliefs to follow your actions. Acting as if you can grow smarter will result in you believing you can --and improve your ability to learn from your mistakes.

We all want to be the best we can be and therefore hate making mistakes and looking stupid. But our brains are wired to make mistakes so errors are going to happen. When you make a mistake, stop thinking and step into problem solving instead. Get the most out of your life--show yourself you're someone who learns from you mistakes.
 'There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.' The Buddha

Many thanks to Grant Soosalu in Australia for sharing the study in his Life Enhancing Blog. Please visit Grant's post @