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Repost: The 9 Qualities That Help You Thrive Under Pressure

This morning I found this wonderful article from Time about traits that make a person successful.  Here is that article, reposted in full:

———-

young plantIn new and challenging situations, some people fold under pressure and some manage to squeak by. And then there are the people who really thrive—blossoming in the face of uncertainty or adversity. Now, researchers say they’ve pinpointed a number of personality traits and external factors that, when combined, can predict a person’s chances of thriving.

For their recent paper, published in the journal European Psychologist, scientists from the University of Bath in the U.K. reviewed a wide variety of research on what makes people thrive in all types of circumstances—physically, professionally, athletically, artistically and academically, to name a few. From those studies, they came up with two lists of variables—nine personal traits and six outside influences—that are common among people who continuously grow, learn and succeed in life.

People don’t have to possess every component on these lists in order to thrive, say the authors, but a combination of a few from each list could certainly help. That formula could include any or all of the following:

Qualities

The person should be …

  • optimistic
  • spiritual or religious
  • motivated
  • proactive
  • someone who enjoys learning
  • flexible
  • adaptable
  • socially competent
  • someone with self-confidence and self-esteem

External factors

The person should have …

  • opportunity
  • support from employers, family, or others
  • a manageable level of challenges and difficulties
  • a calm environment
  • a high degree of autonomy
  • the trust of others

These lists may not be very surprising—but the authors say that until now, there has been no real consensus for exactly what characteristics and circumstances help people thrive, or what we can do to increase our chances of doing so.

To sum up their research, lead author Daniel Brown, now a sport and exercise scientist at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K., says that the act of thriving seems to come down to “feeling good about life and yourself and being good at something.”

While some people maybe more naturally prone to thriving than others, Brown says there are things we can do to cultivate these important traits within ourselves. For starters, he recommends relying on internal motivations (things that are truly important to you) rather than external ones (things society says should be important to you), and trying to always look at new situations as opportunities for gain and growth.

There may be ways we can encourage thriving in others, as well—like our kids, our partners, or our employees. “It’s likely to be important for individuals to feel they have a choice in what they are doing, that they hold close and supportive relationships with people around them, and that they perceive themselves having some level of competence in the tasks they are completing,” Brown told Health via email.

More studies are needed to determine which factors are most important for thriving in specific scenarios, and the differences between thriving under serious adversity versus everyday stress, the authors wrote in their paper. But they hope their research is a good stepping-stone for understanding the psychology behind what it takes to be our best selves, no matter what life throws our way.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

 

 

Language Switching and why I do it so much

If you are a fan of the Legendary Women of World History biographies or period dramas, you have no doubt noticed that I tend to bounce around languages a great deal, sometimes at the expense of being directly understandable in a given point in the book.  So why do I do it and why will I not simply put the whole damn thing in English like normal people do?

In a word, PARALINGUISTICS.  Paralinguistics is a social science term for the parts of verbal communication that are not inherent in the meaning of the words we use.  Paralinguistics is the HOW of our speech: its melody, its pace, its inflection and so forth.  Dialect and specific word choice is also paralinguistic. It conveys to listeners a great deal of information about a person and in particular information about gender, ethnicity, place of birth, place of residence, socio-economic class, even race sometimes.  Different places have different names for the same thing.

soda-pop

The labels we use for objects varies greatly with our geography and our dialect. A classic example of this is our word for a sweetened carbonated beverage.

One classic example I studied in university in my “non-verbal communication” class was the word we use to refer to a sweetened carbonated beverage. No, it is not the same word everywhere.  In the southern United States, the word “coke” is used to refer to such beverages, regardless of brand (I heard this myself during my stay in Louisville, Kentucky).  In many Midwestern states such as Nebraska where I was born and raised, the word is “pop.”  In New England the preferred word is “soda” which is the word I default to. In fact I often very purposely avoid the word “pop,” much to the annoyance of my now late mother who complained that I “didn’t talk like a Nebraskan.” That’s because I had so thoroughly adjusted my dialect to what is normal in the greater New York City metropolitan area that I no longer sounded like someone from the Midwest.

crawdad crayfish

Is it a crawdad, crawfish, or crayfish?  The word you use is largely determined by where you are from.

Beyond geography, our paralinguistics tell listeners a great deal about our socio-economic status and education.  A person with a third grade education talks differently than a person with a university degree.  A person who has traveled a great deal also talks differently from a person who has never left her own town or village. The languages one speaks is a powerful communicator of this information and how that person is perceived.  As a rule, speaking multiple languages is a mark of education, travel, and often class.  It tells you very concisely who that person is and what her or his background is.

No where is this more evident than in the use of honorifics.

What is an honorific?  It’s a word we use to convey respect to another person.  A classic example is when we address a judge “your honour” and a member of a royal family as “Your Majesty” or “Your Highness.” In medieval societies it was especially important to show proper respect with these honorifics which include “your grace,” “my lord/milord,” “my lady/milady,” “my liege,” “sire,” “master,” “mistress,” and so forth.

Honorifics in the Legendary Women of World History biographies almost always follow the person’s nationality or adopted nationality.  So Princess Nest ferch Gruffydd respectfully greets King Gruffydd ap Cynan with the Welsh “f’arglwydd” which means “milord.” Use of “f’arglwydd” (or its feminine form “f’arglwyddes”) instantly tells you the speaker is Welsh. Likewise French Princess Catherine de Valois (book two) periodically speaks French, both to her family members and to the monolingual King Henry V, particularly during their many arguments.

When Matilda of England returns to London after the death of her husband, Kaiser Heinrich V, her persistent use of German and German forms of people’s names is there to tell you very concisely that she identifies herself as “empress” (German, Kaiserin; Latin, Imperatrix).  This is absolutely historical and it is a major reason why the Anglo-Norman nobility found her impossible to work with. Using German powerfully conveys how Matilda saw herself and how she insisted on being treated.

The use of language therefore tells you who the person is and how s/he self-identifies.  The actual meaning of the individual words is far less important than what the use of them says about the person as a whole and in the given moment.  Queen Elizabeth Tudor spoke at least six languages and therefore very fluently moved across them as she desired and the situation merited.  The immediate descendants of William the Conqueror spoke both English and French with the same fluency as many Canadians do today.  By necessity they used English, French, and Latin in the day-to-day administration of their vast realms.  Medieval Europeans prayed in Latin so all of the prayers found in the LWWH are in Latin as well.

Language switching in the Legendary Women of World History series is therefore essential in accurately communicating who these people were and the societies in which they lived.  It might be easier to render a prayer in English from a reader point of view, but it would not be historically accurate to do so. It might be more comfortable for some readers if all dialogue were in English, but doing so would strip out all of the paralinguistics that we all use everyday when communicating with other people.  It would be akin to writers universally using the word “coke” to refer to a soft drink without considering if that word is what a historical person or character would actually label the beverage.  A person from the southern United States most certainly would — but not all people in the United States are from the southern region nor are all English speakers from that region either.

 

Whether we realize it or not our word choices are an essential part of our daily communication.  More than simply which words we use, our dialects and use of borrowed words from other languages communicates a great deal about who we are to people.  Fluency in many languages is driven by many factors in our lives:  social, economic, educational, and professional to name just a few. How we speak is a major part of the tapestry of our lives.  Embrace that tapestry in your own life and use your understanding of it to enhance your understanding of other people.

 

 

 

Death and Taxes: Lessons Learned

Death and Taxes are the two things no one can avoid. While taxes is something we face every year, the death of a parent is something we face only once or twice, depending on our family situation. As I found out with the 2016 death of my mother, our knowledge of how to handle taxes after the death of a parent or other close loved one is very limited.

Despite all the information out there online on both subjects individually, I found it all extremely confusing as I tried to navigate that complexity of what happens with your taxes when someone close to you dies.  Tax law is very complicated and tax guidance is even more complicated. No one wants the liability of telling you anything just in case what they tell you does not apply to you. In most cases, people want you to spend massive amounts of money consulting with attorneys and tax professionals instead of giving you the most basic advice.  It’s akin to a nurse not telling me to run cold water on a burn and sending me to the hospital (at a delay of hours) when my hair caught fire blowing out candles when I was in university. The burn gets worse by not taking immediate action.

The following is what I learned filing my 2016 taxes.  My situation may be different from yours. You may have a more complicated tax situation than I did. What follows is some simple advice from my tax filing as equal beneficiary to my brother who was the executor on her estate.

Taxes to be paid:

  • The executor of the state must file Federal and State income taxes for the deceased. If the deceased has no tax liability, that is fine. But the returns must be filed on behalf of the deceased.
  • If deceased owns her home at time of death and it is to be sold, sell the home as quickly as possible to reduce tax liability and simplify your tax situation. Same for any other property that is usually taxed upon sale.  If you are not keeping the property for the long term, you make your life easier by selling it as soon as possible.
  • If you inherit any annuities or retirement funds, those funds are taxable by the Federal government if they were tax-deferred plans such as 401K, traditional IRA, etc. Pre-pay that tax before you receive any funds if at all possible.  It may not always be possible to pre-pay the taxes so ask the financial institutions involved about it.

The more you pre-pay taxes, the easier filing your return becomes. In this it is no different than when you choose fewer tax deductions as you are working and thus have more taxes taken out of each check as you earn. When the tax season hits, a refund is easier to handle than a big tax bill. Err on the side of caution and pay as much tax as you can before you receive funds from the estate so you don’t over spend and find yourself unable to pay those taxes when the bill arrives.

Now here is the good news:  what is NOT taxable:

  • Cash, savings, checking, and certificate of deposit funds.  That is because the deceased already paid income taxes on those funds.  You do not report these funds to the IRS.  It’s your money.
  • Proceeds from the sale of a home if the executor has paid all applicable taxes up front.  In the common case of a home being sold and its funds being dispersed to multiple beneficiaries, those beneficiaries do not pay taxes on it nor do they claim those funds as income because all taxes have already been paid.  For example:  a home sells for $100,000.  After taxes, attorney fees, and other closing costs the net sale is $80,000.  The Will specifies two beneficiaries which then each receive $40,000. The $40,000 received is not taxable because it’s the net after taxes are paid. The beneficiary does not pay tax on the $40,000; the money stays off the tax return.

 

good-morning-america-18-june-2001-002

My mother and me during a 2001 visit as part of the studio audience for Good Morning America.  This is us with anchor Charles Gibson, one of my mother’s favourite celebrities.

Now of course I’m not a lawyer.  I am not a tax professional. I’m a historian and an author from a humble background.  My mother was not a rich, glamourous person.  She was a teacher before I was born and a factory worker and retail clerk for most of her working life after I was born. She was very average, living paycheck to paycheck and doing creative things to keep us fed and with some sort of roof over our heads.  So her estate was not massive and there were no capital gains taxes that I needed to concern myself with.

Maybe this blog post is useless. But maybe it helps you too.  I stressed out for MONTHS over the tax consequences of my mother’s death. I smartly put 30% of my inheritance into a high yield savings account (I switched to Ally Bank to maximize those earnings) in part because I was terrified that I was going to have to pay nearly everything I inherited back to the government.  I did not. A tax professional explained to me what I just posted and set my mind at ease.  I hope this post does the same for you.

Rest in peace mom. May you find joy in your new incarnation and the love you never found in this life.

Repost: Don’t underestimate the life-saving power of urban trees

Health in Harmony is one of my favourite charities. HIH is dedicated towards rain forest conservation and tree planting efforts in critical south Pacific ecosystems where many of endangered plant and animal species make their home. Along with the Rain Forest Alliance they are doing vital work in combating global warming and numerous other environmental challenges facing our world.

Through these charities I found the following article regarding urban forestation and the importance of trees in our communities. Author: Matt Hickman

“Don’t underestimate the life-saving power of urban trees

Major new study details the pollution-scrubbing, temperature-lowering qualities of the urban canopy.

We already know that urban trees can help deter crime and prompt us to smile a bit more. We know that they mitigate stormwater runoff, sequester carbon and provide vital habitats to city-dwelling critters while lending invaluable visual appeal to otherwise foliage-starved concrete jungles. No argument here; urban trees are pretty much the best.

We also know that the health benefits attached to urban trees extend well beyond their uncanny mood-improving abilities. Urban trees are air scrubbers nonpareil, dutifully sucking up the pollutants that city dwellers release. This, in turn, helps the denizens of major cities breathe a bit easier — or, in more stark terms, breathe at all.

A comprehensive new study recently released by the Nature Conservancy titled “Planting Healthy Air” takes an eye-opening deep dive into the relationship between urban trees — or lack thereof — and public health, particularly potentially fatal respiratory diseases linked to dirty city air. The takeaway of the study — at 136 pages, there’s a lot to digest — is this: the planting of trees in cities cannot and should not be underestimated as it serves as one of the most cost-effective methods of curbing urban air pollution levels and combating the urban heat island effect. We’ve all taken refuge under the shady canopy of a tree to escape from the sweltering heat at one time or another, looked up and thought to ourselves phew, what a lifesaver. As the Nature Conservancy details, this is one hell of an understatement.

Nature Conservancy, the impact of urban trees on air pollution graphic (Graphic: The Nature Conservancy)

The lead authors of “Planting Healthy Air” conclude that by investing just $4 per capita in tree-planting efforts, cities could have a lasting impact on the respiratory health of residents. Additional trees planted in cities could potentially help reverse a truly troubling reality: more than 3 million people across the globe perish each year from air pollution-related illnesses brought on by the inhalation of fine particulate matter released by human activities that involve the burning of fossil fuels. Transportation-borne particulate matter — that is, the deadly air pollution released when firing up the engine of a car — is a biggie here. Trees can remove particulate matter released within their immediate vicinity by as much as a quarter.

What’s more, tens of thousands of city dwellers die each year from devastating heat waves. Given that canopies do a bang-up job of effectively cooling urban environments, their role in preventing heatwave-related deaths is also critical.

“Trees can have a significant local impact on pollution levels and temperatures,” notes Rob McDonald, the study’s primary author and a scientist for global cities at The Nature Conservancy, in a press statement. “Urban trees can save lives and are just as cost-effective as more traditional solutions like putting scrubbers on smokestacks or painting roofs white.”

Globally, a “conservative” investment of $10 million in urban tree planting activities could help 68 million people breathe cleaner, less deadly air and provide 77 million urbanites with the peace of mind that the next heat wave won’t be their last. As the study’s authors point out, trees are the only solution that can do both: cool and clean air.

Nature Conservancy, the impact of urban trees on urban temperatures graphic (Graphic: The Nature Conservancy)

Of course, certain cities would benefit more from per capita tree-planting efforts than others. Looking at 245 of the world’s largest cities, the study identifies which urban areas would reap the greatest return on investment (ROI) from more trees — and a lot of them. Obviously, densely populated cities that suffer from both high levels of air pollution and are often struck with deadly heat waves top the list.

A majority of the cities found to have the greatest ROI in terms of both cleaner air and cooling are (somewhat predictably) big, crowded, hot and located in South Asia: Delhi and Mumbai, India; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Karachi, Pakistan; Kathmandu, Nepal, and on. The African cities of Cairo, Dakar and Freetown, Sierra Leone, also make the study’s top-ROI list as does the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

While the study doesn’t provide case studies for all 245 cities taken into consideration, 15 cities across the globe with a desperate and not-so-desperate need for major tree-planting investments are further examined.

Atlanta, for example, was found to have a low ROI thanks in part to one of the densest urban canopies in North America. With trees covering 47.9 percent of the sprawling southeastern metropolis (the national average for U.S. cities in 27 percent), Atlanta’s “city in the forest” nickname is more than well deserved. However, the study does point out that Atlanta’s densely populated — and only getting denser — downtown neighborhoods could benefit from additional street-side trees, particularly with regard to heat mitigation.

Urban TreesUrban trees aren’t just easy on the eyes. In densely populated cities with high levels of air pollution, they’re also a lifesaver. (Photo: Takyua ASADA/flickr)

Denver, touted as being a success story in combating rampant air pollution that once held the city in a sooty grip, is also noted as having an all-around low ROI that’s largely due to extensive sustainability efforts and a low population density. However, like Atlanta, Denver’s increasingly crowded downtown neighborhoods sport a high ROI.

And there’s Los Angeles. While drought-ravaged, car-dependent L.A.’s citywide ROI is moderate when compared to other major global cities, localized tree-planting action is suggested in denser neighborhoods of central L.A. along with the cities of Santa Monica and Long Beach. The study concludes that an annual investment of $6.4 million in new trees in targeted neighborhoods could bring temperature-decreasing relief (a 2.7-degree Fahrenheit drop) to more than 400,000 Los Angelenos during Southern California’s sweltering summers.

Click here to view “Planting Healthy Air” in full and to see how your city stacks up on the tree-planting ROI scale compared to other cities around the globe. While most North American cities do rank on the extreme low end of the ROI scale compared to let’s say, Ho Chi Minh City, there is of course, always room for improvement. After all, a few more trees never hurt anyone.”

 

 

Repost: Sexism Sucks for Everybody, Science Confirms

Last week the Smithsonian Magazine reported on a fascinating study about sexism.  In the study researchers discovered toxicity in traditional ideas of masculinity.  It is eye-opening stuff which I hope will help you in your life and your relationships. Author: Ben Panko.

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Donald Trump is a classic example of a man who needs to feel strong and more powerful than everyone else at all times in order to feel worthwhile as a person.

“You don’t need science to tell you it sucks to be a woman in a sexist society. While American culture may have progressed since the time of Mad Men, women today inevitably still encounter those who would demean their abilities, downplay their accomplishments or treat them as sex objects. In Sweden, women can even call in to a “mansplaining hotline” to report their experiences of having things condescendingly explained to them in the workplace.

But being sexist, it turns out, also sucks for the men themselves. That’s the conclusion of a meta-analysis published today in the Journal of Counseling Psychology that aggregates the results of nearly 80 separate studies on masculine norms and mental health over 11 years. The meta-analysis, which involved almost 20,000 men in total, found that men who adhered to these norms not only harmed the women around them—they also exhibited significantly worse social functioning and psychological health.

A Parrot Thanksgiving

2004-christmas-mithril-and-aragorn-in-tree

December 2004. Mithril (left) and Aragorn (right) sit in my Yule tree.  That year Mithril’s hobby was throwing the collector ornaments out of the tree — especially my Princess Leia from the original Star Wars.

Way back in 2004 the following circulated on social media.  I always call it “A Parrot Thanksgiving” but its original title was “How to Stuff Your Turkey On Thanksgiving.”

Whatever you call it, this is what nearly all of us with birds experience over the holidays.
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HOW TO STUFF YOUR TURKEY ON THANKSGIVING

Ingredients:
1 Turkey
Stuffing
Sweet Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Green Beans
Cranberry Sauce
Hot rolls and Butter
Relish tray
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
Hot Coffee

Get up early in the morning & have a cup of coffee. It’s going to be a
long day, so place your Parrot on a perch nearby to keep you company
while you prepare the meal.

Remove Parrot from kitchen counter and return him to perch.

Prepare stuffing, and remove Parrot from edge of stuffing bowl and
return him to perch.

Stuff turkey & place it in the roasting pan, and remove Parrot from
edge of pan and return him to perch.

Have another cup of coffee to steady your nerves.

Remove Parrot’s head from turkey cavity and return him to perch, and
re-stuff the turkey.

Prepare relish tray, and remember to make twice as much so that you’ll
have a regular size serving after the Parrot has eaten his fill.

Remove Parrot from kitchen counter and return him to perch.

Prepare cranberry sauce, discard berries accidentally flung to the
floor by Parrot.

Peel potatoes, remove Parrot from edge of potato bowl and return him to perch.

Arrange sweet potatoes in a pan & cover with brown sugar & mini marshmallows.

Remove Parrot from edge of pan and return him to perch. Replace
missing marshmallows.

Brew another pot of coffee. While it is brewing, clean up the torn
filter. Pry coffee bean from Parrot beak.

Have another cup of coffee & remove Parrot from kitchen counter and
return him to perch.

When time to serve the meal: Place roasted turkey on a large platter,
and cover beak marks with strategically placed sprigs of parsley.

Put mashed potatoes into serving bowl, rewhip at last minute to
conceal beak marks and claw prints.

Place pan of sweet potatoes on sideboard, forget presentation as
there’s no way to hide the areas of missing marshmallows.

Put rolls in decorative basket, remove Parrot from side of basket and
return him to perch. Also remove beaked rolls, serve what’s left.

Set a stick of butter out on the counter to soften – think better and
return it to the refrigerator.

Wipe down counter to remove mashed potato claw tracks.

Remove Parrot from kitchen counter and return him to perch.

Cut the pie into serving slices.

Wipe whipped cream off Parrot’s beak and place large dollops of
remaining whipped cream on pie slices.

Whole slices are then served to guests, beaked-out portions should be
reserved for host & hostess.

Place Parrot inside cage & lock the door.

Sit down to a nice relaxing dinner with your family accompanied by
plaintive cries of “WANT DINNER!” from the other room.

An Easter meditation learned from cockatiels

ostara altar

Ostara nest altar courtesy of Homes 4 Her. 

The egg you are laid in can either be your 1st shelter or your tomb. It takes strength to hatch, be true yourself. Most people will crack the shell just enough to stay alive in the egg. They don’t want to hatch; it’s easier to stay in the shell. But staying in the shell is ultimately fatal; a baby bird will starve to death if she does not fully hatch.

 

Until you hatch, you cannot nourish yourself with anything more than that barest amount of food that was provided for you when your egg was laid. To fly, to be the bird that you are requires you hatch. Being a baby bird is not easy. Yes you might falter and die young. But death is certain if you do not hatch.

You are you. Dare to hatch, to be fully born as the beautiful being you are. Take chances. Remember: you were meant to fly.

UK Holiday: UK rules for personal foodstuffs less strict than USA rules

The count down is on for my flight and the excitement is building.  I am making my food shopping list, checking it twice, and going to find out who is naughty and nice! (Couldn’t help the pun).

jerky

You can’t bring the beef jerky into the UK nor bring UK origin beef jerky into the USA. The trail mix is fine going into the UK, but must be declared at customs returning to the USA.

Time to really look at government websites and see what is and is not allowed.  Fortunately my post from yesterday seems to be spot-on with regards to what you can bring into the United Kingdom from outside of Europe.  As specified on gov.uk, the main restrictions relate to meat and dairy.  If you go through the page, HM government is very detailed and very explicit on the matter — which is good because no one wants problems at customs.  You can consume meat and dairy to your heart’s content on your flight from USA to UK — at long as you throw away the leftovers before you land.

The USA is apparently much more strict about food coming home from another country.  Looking at the US Customs and Border Protection site and their FAQ for travelers you cannot bring ANY fresh food of any type into the United States.  Anything you do bring with you (aka you didn’t throw away before you disembark from your plane into the USA) must be declared OR YOU FACE a $10,000 FINE.

$10,000 for not saying “I have some crackers in my bag.”

apricots

These apricots are allowed into the UK without any issues. But if I don’t eat them while on holiday and try to bring them back into the USA, I must declare them at customs — or face a $10,000 fine!

Absolutely NO fresh food is allowed into the USA at all.  According to the FAQ, most dried fruits and nuts ARE allowed — as long as you declare them.  Likewise, as long as you tell them, it’s not an issue if you save your pretzels from your flight to eat while you are waiting to change planes.

But it is a bit telling.  I really never expected the flight back to the USA to be more risky than the flight to the United Kingdom.

Well, maybe this is just the universe’s way of telling me something I already know about myself — and where I am happiest!

The US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment: Police, Not Guns in Every Home

American gun patrioticThe 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution is interpreted by the National Rifle Association to mean that every American is guaranteed the right to own and carry firearms anywhere, at any time, in any context s/he wishes.  Common sense is not part of their position.  Guns should be at the zoo, at Starbucks, at your kid’s playground, even in your child’s school.  Guns should be everywhere because the Constitution says so!

Except the Constitution doesn’t say that,  Instead the full text of the 2nd Amendment is:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

14th century Italian militias.

14th century Italian militias.

Now as I talked about three years ago on Yahoo Voices and reposted a year ago, the idea of the militia has a specific historical context grounded in Anglo-Saxon tradition.  It is, at its core, a feudal institution pre-dating professional armies where local men and women responded to local emergencies by arming themselves and protecting their towns and villages.  Mercenaries (soldiers for hire)  were for centuries rather unreliable folks with rape/pillage habits — something American colonists experienced with the Hessian mercenaries hired by the Crown.  Before the emergence of completely professional national armies, soldiers for hire had the habit of abusing the local population, of taking what they wanted.  So locals tended to maintain their militias to protect themselves against such abuse.

gun murder

Times have changed in the United States and United Kingdom. Professional soldiers are hometown heroes and heroines — not threats to the safety of civilian populations. Invasions from foreign powers on home soil is essentially unknown to most Americans and British — the main modern exceptions to that happened during the 2nd World War.  Our armies have professionalized and this is a good thing. Because since the beginning of professional soldiering, the professionals have always possessed superior skills, protection, and weapons compared to their civilian counterparts.

And that is what a militia is:  civilians responding to emergencies.  It’s volunteer police, volunteer fire department, and neighourhood watch organizations. I’ve seen arguments for including USA state national guard units under this umbrella — except those are trained and equipped much more similarly to the full time army, navy, and so forth — and they are paid to do so!

Two London constables on duty.

Two London constables on duty.

So what then does the 2nd Amendment actually guarantee Americans?  If you treat the word “militia” properly, what is the 2nd Amendment actually protecting?  In my analysis as a historian, the 2nd Amendment guarantees us POLICE FORCES and FIRE DEPARTMENTS which do the same job that our militias once did.  Police forces/constabularies and fire departments protect local populations from danger — from within our localities and from outside threats.  When a riot breaks out, it’s the police — not a Federal soldier — that is sent in to deal with it.  When Federal soldiers ARE sent in to deal with riots we habitually treat this much as our ancestors did with mercenary soldiers — and perhaps rightly.

In the Autumn of 2001 New York Penn Station was protected with Federal soldiers carrying high power weapons through the station to police it, a response to 9/11.  Believe me, that terrified me as I walked through the station to catch or depart from my New Jersey Transit trains!  A regular NYPD officer in regular uniform with regular equipment felt safe to be around.  But Federal troops?  Utterly terrifying!

gun murder 2We need our police officers and constables.  We need this modern form of our ancient militias.  We need to honour and respect the work our officers and constables do and trust them to do their job — rather than delude ourselves into thinking we can do their jobs better than they can and therefore arming ourselves.

Gun are not the solution.  As a matter of fact, they aggravate our problems.  A woman is 500x more likely to be shot/killed during a domestic dispute when firearms are kept in the home than she is when family firearms are kept in a neutral location such as a gun club.  There is a reason why the murder rate in the United Kingdom is so much lower than in the United States.  This twisting of the 2nd Amendment is why.

Some of you are likely to attack me for writing this.  That is fine with me.  Be my guest.  Because as a woman who was hurt in a gun “accident” as a child, I fiercely uphold that the gun laws in the United Kingdom are the best way to go.  I’ve seen what guns everywhere all the time can do and it disgusts me and terrify me.

Leave the guns to the police and the constables.  Leave them to the real modern militias. And please, in the name of sanity, stop thinking that having a gun around makes you safer!  IT DOESN’T!

The Law of Attraction: Sorting Facts from Fiction

In my last post I explained how in 2014 I was duped into joining whole cloth the Law of Attraction Movement.  It came to me at a time of fear of the future (especially concerning my financial health) when I felt most lost and vulnerable.  The person who insisted I watch “The Secret” claims to be an actual demon in human form.  This alone should have told me to run, not walk away, especially given my spirituality and past experiences with malicious spirits (aka “demons”).  Instead, the person’s glamour and misdirection of my own instincts (which were just starting to call me home to Wales) deceived me into trying to win his love and approval by making myself into the person he wanted.  The law of attraction movement was at the heart of that.

Background with a Planet, Moon and Star

Law of Attraction teachers like Abraham Hicks focus on emotion as the way to attain what you want in life.

The reason why the Law of Attraction Movement is so popular is because so much of it is based on solid psychology, social psychology, and sociology.  Most of it is actually good advice.  The problem is the 20-30% of it that is NOT solid and leads people into the wrong direction, often for the financial gain of the movement’s “teachers.”  It is for that reason that the Law of Attraction Movement (not the core idea itself) is a scam that predates on people’s worries about the future, the instinct to grow and improve oneself, and in the primal instinct to believe in something or someone greater and more powerful than oneself.

So what is the solid stuff worth listening to?  What parts of the advice given actually works?  Let’s take a look in detail:

  • Your assessment of a situation matters.  That is to say that how you look at something in your life or a potential future event is absolutely critical to your success or failure.  If you see a task as impossible then it will be simply because no one looks for solutions to problems that cannot be solved.  By contrast if you see a situation as easily dealt with then you will quickly find the actions that make this the case.  Your assessment forms a self-fulfilling prophesy.  You fail when you see no way to succeed and you succeed when you believe you can.

Law of Attraction teachers talk about situation assessment in terms of emotions.  It’s all about FEELINGS.  Your feelings need to be the barometer of everything because feelings work on a deeper level of the mind than your thoughts do.

The problem here:  all emotions are based on your thoughts and attitudes, not the other way around as the LoA teachers would have you think.  That is to say that if you want to change how you feel about something you need to change your mind about it.  Thoughts are the controlling factor here, at least once the ego/conscious self forms at around the age of six years old.  For example if you think all Muslims are terrorists then your feelings about Muslims will probably be categorically of a suspicious, fearful, or perhaps even hateful nature.  These feelings will then in turn alter how to behave when it comes to meeting someone or hearing about someone who is Muslim.

The Law of Attraction movement focuses on FEELINGS.  In particular, Abraham Hicks teaches that if you have any sort of "negative" feelings then you will only attract negative things to your life.

The Law of Attraction movement focuses on FEELINGS. In particular, Abraham Hicks teaches that if you have any sort of “negative” feelings then you will only attract negative things to your life.

Law of Attraction teachers tend to skip the attitude part of this when they focus on feelings.  In doing so, they take away your best and most effective tool for changing your life.  This is also why education is so vital to changing our lives.  Education empowers us with knowledge which then shapes our emotions and behaviours.

  • Barriers to success are in your mind.  When we assess situations we are quick to find the reasons why something cannot be done or is otherwise difficult/impossible to achieve.  This in turn blocks us from figuring out how to do something and achieve our goals.

Most Law of Attraction teachers focus on emotions.  The barriers to your manifesting the life you want are not in your thoughts but in the emotions you feel.  It says that “good” emotions attract good things and bad emotions attract bad things.  That in turn makes us judge ourselves quite harshly because no one can be euphoric or feel good all the time about absolutely everything — and if you do, there’s probably something unhealthy at work there!

In truth, the barriers we put between ourselves and our goals tend to be psychological and mental, not emotional.  We say, “I cannot ____ because _____.”  That because can be anything, but usually a situation or a feeling about a situation.  The feeling is not the problem because the feeling changes the moment we change our minds about something.  And genuinely there are some emotions we really do need.  We need to be angry when someone rapes someone.  We need to feel sad when someone we love dies.  We need to feel outrage at an injustice.  These feelings motivate us to make changes and set new goals.

For example, I feel disappointed and upset at the results of the 2015 Parliamentary Election in the United Kingdom; I adore Ed Miliband and really wanted him to become prime minister.  Negative emotion.  Except that in those feelings I have a determination to fight harder, to get more involved in politics, and to actually stand for MP once I become legally eligible to do so.  Negative feelings about David Cameron staying in office has made me decide to chart a new career path!

And that is the value of negative emotions, the very emotions that Law of Attraction teachers tell you will only bring more negative experiences into your life.

  • Focus on what you want to achieve, not how or when you achieve. There is always more than one way to achieve a goal.  A former friend of mine put this as the number fourteen.  How many ways can you reach the number fourteen in arithmetic?  If you see just seven plus seven then you are missing the other fifty plus ways to reach that number.  That is what we tend to do though.  We think that each goal or challenge can only be accomplished ONE WAY.  What is worse:  we tend to set specific time perimeters for achieving this.

Here the Law of Attraction teachers are dead on right.  Too often we do say “this is the way to get what I want” or “I have to have x goal by y date.  Reality is that the universe has its own way and own timing.  Everything happens the way it does in the timing it does because that is the best and easiest way for it to happen.  The key here is to keep your mind and heart open so you can take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.

  • You reap what you sow.  This is the actual law of attraction.  It is the principle that like attracts like that is well documented in social psychology.  Contrary to the popular cliche, opposites repel, not attract. At its core it says, correctly, that your attitudes, emotions, and behaviour have consequences which are similar to whatever the original attitude, emotion, and/or behaviour was.  If you smile, people will smile back at you.  If you yell at someone, that person is likely to yell back at you.  If you hurt someone, you will be hurt back.  If you show interest in someone else’s accomplishments, they will be or at least much more likely to be interested in yours.

The law of attraction itself is not the problem with the law of attraction movement.  The law is solid social psychology explaining the nature of the consequences for our behaviour. The problem with the law of attraction movement is its focus on just the feeling side of this instead of the action side.  If I feel good about something, something good is automatically going to come out of it.

Feelings are great.  But it’s not feelings in isolation that makes things happen.  It’s action.  In the law of attraction movement feelings are put above everything else.  But if you never act on your feelings, you stay where you are.  Things do not change.  Those in the movement with things to sell will say the problem is that your feelings were not lined up correctly — and we can fix that when you buy this item or experience.  Read that SCAM.

Though Law of Attraction teachers do tell you that action is important, this part of the equation is downplayed and rarely discussed in favour of emotions and how to fix your emotions.

There is a solution

But the real key to success in life is taking ACTION.  Not just any action though — it’s easy to get on the hamster wheel and tire yourself out — the hamster wheel is usually what makes us vulnerable to the scam in the first place.  Instead it is INSPIRED ACTION that makes everything happen.  That is to say ACTION WITH CLEAR DIRECTION. It’s relaxing about the how and when in a situation, quieting your mind, and letting your mind solve the problem.  Do not force it.  Do not struggle.  Your mind is expert at solving puzzles; that’s what the human brain does best.  Relax, let the answers come to you, and then act on the answers.  That is what inspired action is.  That is what brings you true success in life.

And best of all, you don’t need to buy a book, a seminar, a cruise, or anything else.  The answers actually lie within your own mind, your own heart, and within your own existing abilities.

The Human Touch: Thoughts about the Teachings of Esther/Abraham Hicks

I am really into the Law of Attraction.  I believe in and the power that our thoughts make on our reality and what comes to us.

negative emotion is

One of the best known lecturers on The Law of Attraction is Esther Hicks who is allegedly channeling a group of beings collectively known as “Abraham.”  While the advice given is generally sound, I do confess a certain unease at the whole channeling thing; it smacks of a scam, especially given there are books, DVDs, CDs, cruises, seminars, and so forth for sale in great abundance.  People pay lots of money for an audience with Abraham and to get a personalized reading of sorts from them in the hopes of turning their lives around.

In such a context it becomes a bit of a minefield as one searches for truly helpful affirmations and advice from all the clutter.

Abraham Hicks emotionKey to the philosophy taught is that emotions are on a sort of hierarchical scale ranked from good to bad.  These are allegedly arranged by vibration — a high vibration emotion is certain to attract what you really want in the LoA while a low vibration emotion is said to greatly hinder you in manifesting it.

In  general there is a measure of common sense to it.  Obviously if you are hateful and vindictive, you are not going to attract love.  Like attracts like.  So hate bring more hate.  This really is common sense.  It speaks to the core of the law of attraction — you reap what you sow!

But a side effect inevitably comes when you rank order your emotions:  you repress the ones that you judge wrong or inappropriate.  That is to say you still have the emotions because they are part of the human experience. They make us Sentient spiritual creatures.  There is no capacity to love if there is absolutely no capacity to hate as well; the capacity for BOTH is what defines each on both a psychological and practical level.

So to love you have to also be able to hate.  To trust, you have to be able to not trust.  To be honest, you have to possess the ability to lie.  This is also what I find troubling and unrealistic about the ways that Christians talk about God.  If God is ONLY LOVE, COMPASSION, FORGIVENESS, ETC and CANNOT experience those other things as well then is God truly a Sentient and living being and therefore objectively existing at all?  No wonder it is easy for atheists to argue that God was created by humankind and not the reverse!

And so we are brought back to this organization of emotions.  What happens to you psychologically when you tell yourself “I’m only allowed to feel THESE emotions?”  Answer:  you repress the other ones.  This in turn means you put up walls within your mind and spirit which, intentional or not, naturally grow into walls between yourself and other people.  You end up FEELING LESS.  Empathy wanes.  You lose the ability to understand and relate to other people.  This in turn makes you LESS LOVING, LESS COMPASSIONATE, LESS HAPPY.

In cutting yourself off from the emotions Abraham says are bad for you, you ultimately destroy your own humanity and the best parts of yourself. This in turn makes it easier for you to harm yourself and harm others.  It is, after all, the person who feels the least, who is cut off from her or his emotions that is most capable of destructive behavior — to self and others.

permission to walk away

And this is the danger point with Abraham and why it would be perhaps correct to label them as demons or manipulative spirits.

That is not to say that they are completely wrong.  But each assertion needs to be thought about and weighed for its value with a focus on balance.  Instead of arranging emotions from “good” to “bad” recognize that all emotions all important.

I am no longer a Christian, but I see the wisdom in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Abraham would have us believe that if we experience both sides that we are harming ourselves.  In reflection I disagree.  We are only harming ourselves if we 1) repress emotions instead of embrace them or 2) focus our energy on hurtful emotions (and therefore attract more hurt to our lives).

Tulips Bouquet

There are many sources of wisdom and inspiration.  The human experience has no limit to these.  Balance comes from applying wisdom from MANY sources of inspiration — from Christianity, from Judaism, from Islam; from Wicca, from Buddhism and Daoism, from Shamanism, from Asatru, and a thousand voices from across time and space.

Embrace your humanity.  Feel your feelings.  Keep your focus on what you want and always phrase everything positively.  Look honestly at your life and think about what barriers your mind projects between the direction you choose for yourself and achieving it.  Believe and have faith and confidence in your ability to achieve and reach what you focus.  Say “I WILL” instead of “I want.”

The law of attraction is powerful. It is common sense. But even as mindfulness about it offers the potential to bring great good and joy in our lives, how we go about it also makes a difference.  For when we wall up part of our emotions in our pursuit of happiness we ultimately destroy our ability to feel, to connect, and therefore be truly happy.

Honoring Ostara, Easter: Simple Ways to Honor the Goddess of Spring and the Dawn

Originally published March 20th, 2012, this is a practical guide to the spring equinox celebration of Ostara.

 

Honoring Ostara, Easter: Simple Ways to Honor the Goddess of Spring and the Dawn

 

Wicca is a predominately reconstructionist religion. That is, one of its aims is to redact the Old Religion practiced in pre-Christian Europe. One key way we do this is by recognizing the European cultural and religious traditions that were preserved-even if altered-through Roman Catholicism. A simple example of Old Religion traditions preserved by the Church and our culture at large include wearing costumes at Halloween, decorating with evergreens in December, and sunrise services for Resurrection Sunday (a better and more accurate name for “Easter,” the Christian version). These are all customs most people in the western world recognize; far fewer recognize their roots in pre-Christian European cultures.

No other holiday, besides Yuletide, has been preserved in regards to the old ways and the old stories as the holiday called Easter by Christians. The name Easter is a simple Anglicization of the Anglo-Saxon name “Ëostre,” the high German form being “Ostara.” As witchvox tells us (seehttp://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usma&c=holidays&id=1991), both forms of this name reference the idea of “East” in Germanic languages (modern German, Osten-note the connection with the Ostara form of the name), the direction of the dawn. Ostara is both goddess of the vernal equinox and goddess of the dawn.

But beyond simply telling the story about Ostara and her magical egg bearing hare and the gifts of flowers she bestowed on the faithful, beyond all the ideas so commercialized and so taken over by Christianity, how can we, who wish to honor the Old Religion, do so as we welcome spring this year? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Greet the morning in which the equinox arrives by getting up at sunrise and watch the sun at dawn for some quiet time with nature.
  2. Meditate and pray for balance and harmony-for yourself, those around you, and the world. This is a good day to pray for divine help in preserving endangered species and reversing global warming. The optimal time for this: the five minutes leading up to and after the exact moment of planetary equinox when the planet is in “the moment between moments and hour between hours” as I pray every year as part of this prayer. Pray outside touching a tree or plant if you can.
  3. Bring in some colored flowers to your home and place in a spot where everyone will see them regularly.
  4. Wear pastel clothing on the day of the astronomical spring equinox
  5. Make and eat at least one colored boiled egg. Skip the commercial egg kits; a few drops of kitchen food coloring in boiling water with vinegar and extracted with a spoon is all you need!
  6. Spend at least thirty minutes outdoors communing with nature.
  7. Leave food offerings of thanksgiving for Ostara; the animals near you will be thankful!
  8. Plant a tree, herb, or shrub
  9. Drink a cup of lavender or lemon balm tea. Both herbs are associated with the holiday. Be sure you brew from culinary (aka English) lavender. If your preferred herb, spice, or tea retailer does not sell it, ask for it!
  10. Integrate marjoram, lemon balm, culinary lavender, thyme, and/or sunflower seeds into a special holiday meal.

For more information on Ostara/Easter please consult: http://www.pagannews.com/cgi-bin/sabbats1.pl?Ostara , http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usma&c=holidays&id=1991, and http://earthwitchery.com/ostara.html.

Repost: 5 Simple Ways to Say No

Women/ValidationA few days ago I received this fantastic article in my email about how to say “no” to people.  As women, most of us are trained to NOT say “no” no matter how badly we need to say it.  We are told we are selfish, arrogant, and so forth.  But “no” is the most important word any woman can say.

 

Here is Dharma Rose’s Advice on the matter:

“Do you find it hard to say “no”?

If so, you’re not alone.

Many people find themselves saying “yes” to things they don’t really want to agree to out of fear they’ll appear selfish or rude… or in an effort to avoid conflict or hurting another person’s feelings.

Saying “no” isn’t always easy, but it IS vital to your own self care.

You see, healthy people have healthy boundaries, and part of being healthy is occasionally saying no to requests, situations or people that you can’t or don’t want to accommodate.

Here are 5 simple ways that you can say no with ease, power and grace:

Tactic #1: The Full Plate

If you’re way too busy to accommodate the person’s request, let them know you’re slammed and that you simply have no time to fit what they’re asking you to do into your schedule.

“I’m sorry, I’d love to help you, but my schedule is crazy today/this week/this month and there’s no way I can fit this in.”

Tactic #2: The Think-About-It

If you’re not sure if you can fit the person’s request in, or if you’re dealing with someone who is super pushy, consider buying yourself a little time to think about what they’re asking of you and to get back to them on your own terms.

“Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”

Tactic #3: The Boomerang

Are you super busy? Or in the middle of something else? You can ask the person to come back to you later on when you have more time to listen to and consider their request.

“I’m in the middle of juggling a few things right now. Can you please ask me again in a couple of hours/days/weeks? I’ll have a bit more headspace then to consider what you’re asking.”

Tactic #4: The Counter Offer

If you can’t or don’t want to agree to the person’s request for whatever reason, but you’d still really like to help them out, consider making a counter offer for a lesser commitment that works better for you.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you move on Saturday. But I CAN come by for a few hours to help you pack on Friday evening. Does that work?”

Tactic #5: The Firm No

The simplest way to say no is to simply… say no! You can be direct and let the person know that what they’re asking of you just doesn’t work for you, and you’ll be surprised how often people will respect a firm, direct no.

“No, I’m sorry, I can’t.”

As you practice declining requests that don’t align with your schedule, values or needs, you’ll find that saying no becomes easier and easier…

And that you’ll have more time for yourself, the commitments you already have and the things that are most important to you.

Rock your day!

Dharma Rose
Abundant Entrepreneur

Reblog: All Ailments Resolve Themselves

Today’s message from Abraham Hicks looks at health and healing.

 

“All Ailments Resolve Themselves. 

All things do resolve themselves, if allowed. All things do. 

ALL things do resolve themselves — if allowed.

You say, “Some things resolve themselves,” and you believe that. 

And when we say all things resolve themselves, you don’t really believe that. 

You want to, but you don’t have personal proof about it.

There’s the belief that says, 

“Well, I really don’t believe all things resolve themselves,” 

and as you activate that vibration, all kinds of people start showing up with un-resolved things. 

But that’s not the evidence you’re wanting to attract. 

You’re wanting evidence that says, “All things can resolve themselves.”

Bridge your locked off statement by saying, 

“Well, I don’t know how I’ve been disallowing it. 

I’ve been doing it without knowing I’m doing it. 

But now I am aware that negative emotion means I’m doing it, 

and I’m going to start watching for those moments when I’m not allowing it.”

If we were standing in your physical shoes, 

we’d lie in bed every night and talk to the cells of our body, 

and expect the recovery, and we would feel the sensation of it. 

We would put ourselves in as much comfort as we could, as often as we could — for about a week — 

aligning Energy, relaxing into the discomfort, talking to the cells, 

knowing that they are summoning and that Source Energy is answering, 

knowing that we are receiving and allowing; and acknowledging, 

“In this moment, I’m not doing anything that’s causing any discomfort in my body. 

I feel perfectly comfortable. 

I feel such appreciation in this perfectly comfortable moment. 

In this mode of distraction, or in this mode of focused comfort, 

I’m in this place of appreciation — I’m in this place of allowing.” 

(Our attitude would be, “Let me see my physical progress.”)

Just allow yourself to receive what the Universe is offering. 

Before you know it, your body will be back in alignment.

Every bit of allowing is going to bring you greater and greater results. 

Give the cells of your body an opportunity to make their request; 

give yourself the opportunity to receive what the Universal Forces are offering — 

and before you know it, your body will be back into alignment.

So many people are convinced that their physical bodies are in a state 

— once you reach a certain stage of life — of steady decline. 

It is amazing the amount of expectation that is wrapped around that. 

And it is absolutely opposite of what you’ve intended,

of what your cells know how to do — 

and of what Source Energy is supplying.

You do not need to decline. 

It is only your negative expectation — or your worrying about this and that, and the other — 

that pinches off the Energy. 

You don’t decline because your body wears out. 

You decline because you disallow more of the resources that keep you feeling good. 

That’s all. Every single time. There are no exceptions to that.

Abraham Hicks

Photo: It’s all in the attitude

923544_522633857793764_2029061548_nI found this fantastic photo on facebook that says it all!

 

Attitude is everything!  How you choose to interpret events, how you choose to feel about each event in your life decides your future.  You can see either setbacks in your life — or opportunities.  You decide for yourself whether to hold the vision of what you want and trust in the process — or let yourself be discouraged when things develop differently than your expectation.

 

Remember that the law of attraction finds the EASIEST AND MOST JOYFUL way of doing things.  It knows things your conscious mind does not.  It is like water.  It is the Great River we all live in, carrying us through our lives.

 

Trust, believe, and know everything is as it should be.  Do not let fear hinder you.  Relax and trust in what the universe is doing and how.

Mid-night musing: I watch in horror at human complacency

America Poverty CoverI watch in horror the way that human life and human creativity‬ are regarded as worthless. Not since just before the black death swept the world in the 13th to 17th centuries have we seen such a poor regard for life, for human dignity. Books that take years to write are sold for pennies. Music that take 10,000 hours to craft are not even acknowledged as worth paying for. We have an epidemic of complacency, where no one relates to anyone, where everyone takes everything for granted. There is no more thanksgiving to our cultures. There is no more any sort of appreciation for the hardship of others. We are all calloused. We simply no longer care. We want to each live, but few around us respect who we are nor that we should continue to live.

In Star Wars episode I, Anakin Skywalker said, “The problem with this universe is that no one helps anyone.” He was right.

Instead of treating everyone else as “surplus population” we need to understand that there is abundance all around us. We only need to come together, to care about each other, to help one another instead of judging people to find it.

When I was a child, we did a little play called “stone soup” about a traveler who tricks a community full of people only concerned for themselves into working together as a community, of sharing what they had with those around them.

We need some stone soup. We need to care about each other once more.

Purging Negative Vibration

The Johnstown PA troll is back!  Yes, he sent me MORE TEXT MESSAGES — a couple of them clearly sexual harassment.

No, I’m not calling the police or even telling my landlord w/ public housing.  There is no point.  All doing that does it maintain the negative vibration — which is rather his point.  Make me SO DESPERATE that I am willing to whore myself with him — quite literally and in direct opposition to my clearly stated desires.

Not happening.  Because what we focus on with our thoughts and feelings really is what we attract into our experiences.

 

So the key to the situation is to IGNORE IT.  The catch with ignoring it is that we as humans in the 21st century are rather conditioned to COMPLAIN.  Instead of focusing on what we DO WANT we focus on whatever we lack, whatever we do not like or want around us.

 

Can we wonder why we end up in vicious negative cycles?

 

Fortunately we have control over our minds.  As Bob Proctor repeatedly reminds us, our conscious minds possess a powerful filter for information.  We choose what information to accept and what information to reject.  We choose which ideas we will feel through, understanding that all feelings are based on our thoughts.  Change your thought and you change your feeling.

 

So how then do we best combat these intrusions into our positive thinking, our positive energy, and our focus on what we want?

 

Why music — of course!

Which piece of music is less important than the affect the music has on our feeling, the direction of our thoughts, and our vibration.  Here we are looking for something, anything that feels REALLY GOOD and RETURNS OUR FOCUS TO WHAT WE WANT.

 

Right now my primary vibrational focus is IMMIGRATION TO GREAT BRITAIN.  I want to move to England.  I want a nice house near London with a beautiful garden and a tranquil work space for my writing and research.  I want to work with Future Legend Media in Bedfordshire and I want more collaborations with Richard Mann whose work on the audio edition of Boudicca is by far the best audio book I have ever listened to as a low vision person dependent on audio books.

So today, I’m playing videos on youtube that return me to that focus, starting with the above rendition of “God Save the Queen.”

I am also listening to Rolling Stones Now music videos (Richard Mann fronts RSN as “Mick”) like the above “You Got Me Rockin’/Brown Sugar” because I really enjoy watching that particular video.

 

The point is to put yourself in not only a positive mood, but to focus so much on what you do want and do like that you completely put aside any and all thoughts that are detrimental to your vibration.

 

Focus on what you WANT.  Nothing less, nothing more.  Reject attempts by others to get into your boat of life and control your direction.  No one has the right to do so.  Take charge of your thoughts and feelings and you take charge of your life.

 

 

Money mind holes — why getting too specific hurts Manifestation

If you are following anything related to The Secret or the Law of Attraction, you have probably heard the mantra of “be specific about what you want.”  When it comes to attracting money in particular, the experts tell you to get very specific, to meditate “I want fifty million dollars by December 2014.”

 

This is great if numbers make sense to you on a subconscious level.  But what if they do not?  What if in saying out a number, you actually block your meditation from moving from your conscious, intellectual self to your subconscious emotional self where the Law of Attraction actually does its work?

 

On this blog and across the internet, I am very open about both my violent upbringing and about the consequences of the traumatic brain injury I suffered in November 1985 when a right turning automobile struck me in the left temple as I was crossing the street on my way home from school.

Besides the sight loss and the chronic migraines suffered ever since, the most prominent residual from that TBI remains my dis-connection with numbers in the arithmetic sense.  Show me a regular value in a ledger, a bank statement, etc. and my brain does not connect to it.  Shift that from a regular numeral value to a spatial value — a gram of weight, a unit of time, a temperature, a quantity of milk or fabric or other everyday object and I understand just fine.  Or thought of another way, I can still and rather expertly relate to concentrate numbers specifying an amount of something I can see, feel, hear, experience with my senses.  But when it comes to straight numbers, especially applied to something even more abstract — like money — and neither my intellectual mind nor my emotional subconscious understands.

 

If something does not exist to your subconscious mind, you simply cannot manifest it through the Law of Attraction.  You cannot feel yourself already in possession of that which does not exist to you.

 

And this is the problem with a lot of the goals we try to set for ourselves, where fear and doubt easily creep in.  What we are asking for only exists to our intellect; it doesn’t exist to our hearts.

This summer when I tried using Napoleon Hill’s meditation telling me to specify the amount of money I want, when I want to receive it, what I will give up to receive it, and the plan to obtain it my meditation became, “£50 million is mine and shall be in my account before 31st December 2014.  Everyday I am marketing and selling my books and shall give up my time in order to sell so many books that I earn £50 million.”

What I realize today is there is not one, but two flaws in the meditation.  First, as I outlined already, I have no emotional connection or concept of what £50 million is.  My mind, let alone my heart, doesn’t really understand the concept of money.  I understand tangible things bought with money, but not the money itself.  I do not connect to money; only to what it buys.  Second, the pathway specified is upstream to me.  I actually HATE marketing.  I hate begging people to buy my books.  And I especially hate the current financial pressure I am under — wondering if I am about to go bankrupt because there is not enough money in my checking account to cover September’s credit card payment (quite literally).

 

If you have followed anything from Abraham Hicks, you know that negative emotions take you AWAY from what you want.  Forcing yourself to do anything is paddling upstream.  It is the opposite of allowing.  It’s conflict, drama, worry, strife, all the things you must abolish from your life in order to attain what you want and need in life.

 

So after stressing and wrestling overnight, after enough tears of “oh my god my life is over” (no really it is not!) and so forth, it occurred to me that the problem was this meditation itself.  So I re-wrote it to this:

“ALL THE MONEY I NEED TO IMMIGRATE AND ESTABLISH MY NEW LIFE AND NEW CAREERS IN MY NEW HOUSE NEAR LONDON IS MINE AND SHALL BE IN MY ACCOUNT BEFORE 31ST DECEMBER 2014.

EVERYDAY I SHALL CREATE SOMETHING NEW AND TELL THE WORLD ABOUT HOW GREAT MY WORK IS.

BY DECEMBER I SHALL FILE MY IMMIGRATION PAPERS AND LEAVE JOHNSTOWN

FOR NYC AND FOR HOME IN ENGLAND.”

 

Let me tell you, the vibrational difference in this is HUGE — even though the core is exactly the same.  How?  First, it reassures me that everything is okay — because it is — taking that upstream pressure off me.  Second, it focuses on the CORE VALUES motivating me.  Money, being too abstract to me, does not have much independent meaning for me.  But where I live, the politics around me, the way people talk around me, my interactions with my landlord, the quality of my everyday life, now THESE ARE CONCRETE TO ME.  Third, I can easily see myself in possession of all of this.

I can see myself in a lovely house in the south of England (and yes, I have a good idea how much such a house costs) with my modest flower and vegetable garden sanctuary.  I can see myself hosting small dinner parties attended by friends and colleagues.  I can smell the English rain.  I can see myself taking the train into London to see a play.  I can hear Rolling Stones Now as I attend one of their concerts in person, cheering on Richard Mann as “Mick” during the concert.  And I can see myself walking in these fantastic historical places I have so far only explored in books, making history much more real for me.  Oh the pleasure I shall feel the first time I walk in London and can finally understand these places are REAL. There are a thousand places in England I want to explore.  I can feel the light from the eyes of my British-born friends as they watch me discover what each of them have always taken for granted.  It will be this amazing experience across the board, my enthusiasm touching everyone around me as I finally find myself at home.

 

THIS IS WHAT IS REAL TO ME.  THIS IS WHAT I CAN SEE/FEEL MYSELF IN POSSESSION OF.  It’s not the £50 million I concretely want — though yes, I know that buying my dream house is expensive, so is just legal immigration and moving to England in the first place, something I cannot do until my credit cards and my education are paid off.  But the money is the means to the end.  That is all it is to me, not the end unto itself.  Money frees me to leave the United States.  Money convinces London to grant my application for permanent residency.  Money buys my home and everything in it.  Money brings my most cherished possessions across the ocean and hires those skilled at filing the paperwork to bring my precious cockatiels out of the United States and into the United Kingdom (this costs about £2000 to £4000 for those unaware).  Yes, the financial needs to achieve what I really want are quite high.  This is not cheap.  The Law of Attraction knows this and is abundantly providing all of it to me.

But first I must allow it to be.  First I must put my emotions where all of this is achieved.  I cannot feel the money.  But I can feel my house.  I can feel my home office.  I can hear the parties.  I can see myself relaxing in my garden, a pen/paper in hand to write out ideas that come to me.  And I can feel that famous English rain.

 

I know it will be.

Meditations on “It’s the Doubt”

On August 30th, I received another great Abraham Hicks quote about the Law of Attraction and how to manifest positive things into your life.

http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/abrahamhicksquote256.html?awt_l=MxTFA&awt_m=3s71y_ds.wJARSt

You have to understand that it´s the DOUBT,

that you are trying to find your way out of,

Not the accomplishment of whatever it is, 

that you doubt you can accomplish!

Did you hear that??

The work is to work your way out of the feeling of doubt,

NOT into the feeling of having whatever it is that you´re feeling doubtful about!

That´s so big!”

Women/Validation

So what does all this really mean for us?

 

Thinking about my own habits about constantly seeking validation from other people, it occurs to me that seeking validation is a terrible (yet common) social impulse.  When we seek validation from someone, we are essentially saying that we do not feel confident in our own point of view, that we need to be agreed with in order to feel it is okay to see the world the way we see it.

The mind hole (to use a popular Law of Attraction term) here is that when we seek that “yes, you are right; yes this is the way to go” from other people, we open ourselves up to being COMPLETELY TALKED OUT of our own point of view.  We take on the other person’s point of view, telling the Universe that we changed our mind and really DON’T want whatever it is.

 

And then we wonder why we remain unhappy and do not get what we want!

 

Using the river and boat metaphor I published in my earlier blog post, what we have done is let SOMEONE ELSE into our boat of life and let THAT PERSON turn it up stream (away from our goals) for us.  What is worse, the small doubt we started with has grown dramatically.  It is no longer a small insecurity.  It is now a full rejection of what we really know in our hearts means a lot to us.

Instead of living our own lives and following our own inner sense of morality, we’ve assimilated something else, someone else’s point of view.  We lose our voices and miss out on golden opportunities for true joy.

 

So perhaps the answer is to stop asking others what they think, especially when it comes to something important to us.

 

It is not easy.  But it is essential for inner peace.

A few inspiring quotes from Abraham Hicks

Most of you know by now that I believe in the Law of Attraction as introduced to me in the movie, “The Secret.”  While I disagree with the whole channeling thing, I do find wisdom from the being(s) calling themselves “Abraham” who speak through Esther Hicks.  Whatever the objective (is there one) reality is, the quotes and youtube videos offer useful meditations designed to help us change our attitudes about life and change the paradigms that often bind our choices.

 

Here are some of my favorite and most useful quotes from http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/ and from youtube.

I love the above video because of the way it makes the Law of Attraction make sense, using a river metaphor that everyone can relate to.

 

And another one that really puts the first video into application

 

Moving from videos, here are some very useful quotes:

 

 http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/abrahamhicksquote250.html

“So, how do you remove unwanted from your experience?

By not putting it on your plate, by not focusing upon it.

By making the best of things, by not beating the drum of unwanted.

By not taking something you know you don’t like and putting it on your plate and then putting it in your mouth and then complaining about it.

In other words….by not exaggerating it, but by making lighter !!”

 

 

“If you can practice the art of vagueness on subjects that make you
feel negative emotion ….

and the art of specifics on subjects that DO make you feel good…

you will have figured Deliberate Creation out precisely because that
really is all there is to it.”

 

http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/abrahamhicksquote257.html

If it is a struggle, you are going about it the hard way.

This is the thing we want you to understand.

The path of least resistance is a fun path.

The path of least resistance feels good.

The path of least resistance is clarity.

The path of least resistance is ease.”

 

Here is an excerpt from http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/abrahamhicksquote275.html that I really like!

 

“All Ailments Resolve Themselves. 

All things do resolve themselves, if allowed. All things do. 

ALL things do resolve themselves — if allowed.

You say, “Some things resolve themselves,” and you believe that. 

And when we say all things resolve themselves, you don’t really believe that. 

You want to, but you don’t have personal proof about it.

There’s the belief that says, 

“Well, I really don’t believe all things resolve themselves,” 

and as you activate that vibration, all kinds of people start showing up with un-resolved things. 

But that’s not the evidence you’re wanting to attract. 

You’re wanting evidence that says, “All things can resolve themselves.”

Bridge your locked off statement by saying, 

“Well, I don’t know how I’ve been disallowing it. 

I’ve been doing it without knowing I’m doing it. 

But now I am aware that negative emotion means I’m doing it, 

and I’m going to start watching for those moments when I’m not allowing it.”

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