Ah! Finally Spring has arrived in the northern hemisphere. A time for renewal; growth; rebirth; and rejuvenation is upon us! Gone are those short, cold, gray days of winter as they are replaced by the longer, warmer, sun-filled days of Spring. Now I realize that here in the northeastern United States we are enjoying more of a “winter-wolf in Spring-sheep’s clothing” situation and we are still due for those late March snowstorms, but hey, we are all about being mindful and living in the moment. So we will be thankful for any 60° day we can get!
While life struggles to break itself free from the frozen earth and reach for the sun, it is the perfect time for us all to do the same. Allow the warmth to trigger changes in us as well. How about we explore some self-care tips for Spring? Try one, try two, try them all and bloom in your journey toward happiness, joy and inner-peace this Spring season.
1. Take Time For Yourself
This is a great tip for any time of year, but it is especially helpful in Spring. Just 10 minutes per day for yourself can completely change your mindset and give you the feeling of mindful gratitude we all crave. You have been through a long and tedious winter. Your anxiety levels may be at an all-time high as you try to just hold out long enough to feel that first warm breeze on your cheek. Take a moment every day to relax and breath it all in.
2. Declutter And Clean Up Your Space
Just as your mind may have become jumbled and chaotic over the winter months, so has your living environment. It seems silly, but an orderly and clean space leads to an orderly and clean mind.
3. Take A Walk Outside
Wait for a nice sunny day. Lace up those sneakers and get outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. No more being locked up inside breathing recycled air! Oh…and leave the mask at home! Go ahead and breath deep.
4. Freshen Up Your Meal Plans
We all know that we are what we eat. So change up your meal planning to reflect the change in your attitude! Think fresh vegetables, fruits and salads. Out with the soda and in with lemon and mint infused water. Eat dinner on the front porch? Sure! Stay light; stay refreshing; and stay filled with Vitamin -D!
5. Redecorate Or Rearrange
You would be surprised at how much of a difference this small step can make for your mental health and wellbeing. Redecorate your favorite room. Switch it up. A bit too pricy? No problem. Just rearrange the furniture! Maybe a new throw rug; or new curtains. Throw open those blinds and let the sun stream in to light up the darkened corners.
6. Spread The Love
If you want the universe to smile on you, give a smile to someone else. Go out of your way to do something nice for a fellow human – friend, foe or stranger.
Limit the screen time! I know, I know – Your whole life is in your phone. But listen, there is a whole beautiful world out there filled with very interesting souls. Do not let the world, or this gorgeous season, pass you by. We have all been locked away inside for so long that we could all use a break from technology. Use Spring as the excuse to reconnect to nature and the people around you. Well, you know, except for keeping up with your favorite blog! *wink wink, nudge nudge*
Spring is a great time to focus on your happiness. Get outside as much as possible and let the warmth dry out all those winter blues. Surround yourself with health and positivity and just watch the universe return it to you in multiples! We are on our way to swimsuit season, so enjoy yourself today!!
Astral travel is an ancient practice in which the soul intentionally leaves the corporeal confines of the body and is dispensed to observe the natural physical world. The term “astral projection” was coined by Theosophists in the 1800s.
Astral projection is linked to the phenomenon known as out-of-body experiences or OBEs (a term coined by Robert Monroe). In the practice of astral projection, the individual is able to separate the mind from the body and travel to any destination in the universe, “heaven” or “hell” in any time they choose through hypnosis or deep meditation.
The ability to project one’s consciousness into the ether is considered pseudo-science, although it has been lumped into the same category as extra sensory perception and telekinesis, two subjects which have been studied endlessly by the public and private sectors.
There have been three schools of thought proposed by theosophists in regard to astral projection. First is that the consciousness can be sent out into the physical world to observe events taking place in any location in either the past, the present or the future. The second is that the separation of the consciousness from the corporeal body results in a mini-death allowing the astral body to explore either a “heaven” astral plain or a “hell” astral plain. It is this second theory which leads to the possibility of using astal projection to access the Akashic Record. The third school of thought is that projection of any form of consciousness is total bull crap. The theory here is that humans are able to tap into different plains of existence and send out power and intentions (manifestation), but the willful splitting of the consciousness and body for a joyride across dimensions is not feasible due to the difficulty inherent in finding ones way back when needed.
Which theory is the truth? Quite frankly, I don’t know. I have tried and tried to achieve astral travel, but never have I gotten a positive result. That is not to say that it cannot be done, but I myself have not been able to do it. I am fine with that. I am not a psychic either and I do not get mad when I cannot visualize the cards you are holding, so why be upset at myself for not astrally projecting! I will say, however that on the instances where I have tried astral projection, I did come away from the experience seeing that it even felt good and relaxing to try.
It is also widely considered in metaphysical circles that dreams may be a form of astral projection. What more relaxed state is the body and mind in than when fully asleep. We have all had vivid dreams, whether they be pleasant or nightmarish. Is it possible that these dreams were not the cleaning out of the mind at the end of a day, but were actually interactions between our consciousness and other plains of existence.
In conclusion, I honestly hope that astral projection is a true possibility. How amazing would it be to have the opportunity to visit and see wonderfully exotic locations across the universe! Or visit the after-death possibilities for joy! However, whether the phenomenon of astral pojection is real in a physical sense or is actually the result of an overactive imagination during times of extreme stress, does it really matter? Even if it is just your brain that experiences the hope that comes with successfuly meditating to this extreme state, perhaps the key is to enjoy it and to learn what either the universe or your own subconscious is trying to tell you.
My wife was reading back through my writings from the past couple of months and she made a very astute observation. She said to me, “Wow. Why does it have to all be so deep and serious? It feels like this writer needs to smile more.” I realized she was absolutely right. The majority of my posts and articles were so deep and straight-laced (pretty much the opposite of my daily persona). My default is a silly, often inappropriate, joke machine. Absolutely nothing makes me feel better than making people laugh. I was struck that many times we simply have no idea who the person is behind the written word, and that this exact situation probably translates in different ways to other people in their work and daily lives. So today, lets talk about why it is so important to lighten up!
You do realize how absolutely hilarious it is to be a human on Earth, right? We are balls of energetic consciousness wrapped in a protective coating of meat, standing on a spinning rock hurtling through space at 67,000 miles per hour. We may have our beliefs, but none of us actually knows what we were before our first breath or what happens after our last. We are here for an average of 20,805 sunrises and sunsets. That is less than a cosmological eye blink. Oh, and there is a giant fireball overhead that is a million times bigger than our planet that we need for Vitamin D; if you stare at it too long you go blind; if you are out in it too long it gives you cancer; but if it isn’t showing you get sad! It is all ridiculous! And yet we tend to waste much of that time worrying or afraid or arguing. You want to make your soul feel lighter and more engaged in the world around you? You want to find meaning in being on the planet at this exact time and what it is all about? Here it is, the big secret: laugh more.
You know the old adage “Laughter is the best medicine”? Well, like most adages that stand the test of time, there is a whole lot of truth in that statement. According to the Mayo Clinic website, laughter enhances the intake of oxygen; stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles; increases the release of endorphins; lowers your heart rate and blood pressure; and aids circulation and muscle relaxation. But I don’t think any of us needs the Mayo Clinic to tell us that laughing makes us feel good.
See a professional
Like I said, I love making people laugh. However, I don’t know that I would enjoy doing it professionally! Stand-up comedians are an odd and amazing subculture to me. These are people who can sit down and write a joke or funny story broad enough to allow a wide audience to identify with it, yet specific enough that the audience believes it is something that actually occurred in the life of the comedian. Comedians are masters of the relatable. They teach us to laugh at ourselves by laughing at them. All while appearing to just be holding a spontaneous conversation with exact timing.
Can you tell I kind of geek out on stand-up comedians? Geeze, reign it in fanboy!
But when my world is at its most difficult and I am struggling to find relief, I turn to the professionals for a break. Great comedians, even just O.K. comedians, can help to put the world back into perspective. And most of the time, isn’t perspective what we are lacking when we feel crushed under the weight of the modern world? What exactly have we ever gained by worrying? As Joe Rogan said, “Maybe we all just need to chill out, have a pot brownie and get on an airplane”. Metaphorically speaking of course. Just relax and find something to think about that blows your mind. As long as there is no ill intent with the joke or prank, let it rip!
Learn to laugh at yourself
Have you ever had one of THOSE days? You overslept so now you are rushing to get back on schedule. As you come bounding out of your bedroom trying to get dressed while moving; you are trying to direct your sloth-speed children to hurry up before they are late for school; coral the dog so you can take him out before leaving; and then your foot finds the Lego in the hallway that you asked to be picked up the night before! This is the moment. You have a choice. If you could just pause time right there and think it through! But instead it all comes down to emotional reflex. Either you have trained yourself to devolve into nuclear meltdown mode, usually including a long and colorful stream of obscenities aimed nowhere in particular, or you have trained yourself to stop and look at yourself from the outside. How hilarious is the scene you are currently living through at that moment! If you were watching this unfold on a screen, would you be laughing?
Funny is funny whether it is happening to you or someone else. It is ok to see the humor. It is ok to laugh at yourself. No amount of worrying or hurrying is going to make you go back in time so you can wake up earlier. So chuckle it up buttercup. All the world is a stage and we are merely players.
Go ahead and be silly or goofy. It is the mental equivalent of shaking out your arms and legs to get the blood flowing. And, interestingly, the more responsibility you have, the more you need to laugh. Case in point: parenthood.
Parents are supposed to be serious…ly funny
Is there anything more jarring or initially more frightening than becoming a first-time parent? No. When I first realized that my wife and I were solely responsible for keeping a defenseless human alive AND to make sure it has everything it needs at all times AND to raise it to be a fully functional member of society, the sense of panic was overwhelming. I mean, the week before I had absent-mindedly put my car keys in the freezer and then spent a full day looking for them. And now a human was going to depend on me for literally everything? Obviously there had been some mistake. How did I qualify for this? I did not remember taking any kind of skills test to be a dad. I mean, I didn’t even change my own engine oil!
But one of the greatest gifts that becoming a parent can bestow on us is the realization that no human is an expert on being a human – we are all just trying to do the best we can. And there are a huge number of times we are going to seem like morons doing it. Have you ever tried to put zip-up jammies on a wriggling, still kinda wet from the tub, 3 year old? See. Trust me. That looked hilarious. Have you ever been changing a baby boy’s diaper when he went full sprinkler? Yep. Super funny to watch. But don’t panic parents, our time comes!
What is the number one responsibility of all parents once their children reach age 10? Exactly! Embarrass the crap out of them! Give those kisses when their friends are watching. Put that funny picture you have kept all these years on their 18th birthday cake. Walk with a fake exaggerated limp all the way through Walmart while loudly singing Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” at them because they picked on your singing in the car.
Or maybe you get a good deal on a bunch of blood capsules. You wait until both of your children (ages 8 and 11) are in one bedroom together playing. You ask your wife to get into the fetal position in the hallway and scream when you say “go”. Crouch over the love of your life, say go, bite the capsules and let the stage blood run. When you hear the door open to see what was going on, you turn and rush toward those kids snarling with your mouth wide. Watch them totally freak out and slam the door in your face. What? Just me? I don’t think it caused any major emotional trauma, but holy hell was it funny!
In The End
The point is, laughter, lightness, and fun is what makes life worth living. Those moments when you can see the preposterous locked inside the mundane are magical. We dare not ever let our humor be lost to the gravity of our being. At the end of our time on this plain of existence, do we want to reflect on all of the times we were staunch and serious? Do we really want the size of our bank account to be our legacy? Or do you want to be flooded with memories of laughter, walking through pain to find the funny, calling out the preposterous and showing its true face, and the sound of a loved one’s joy as they laugh beside you? Would you rather leave your children with a trust fund or a positive and, happy and optimistic outlook on life? As for me, I will always choose the lightness of laughter. I will forever err on the side of fun. And I hope you all will do the same. Because life is funny when you think about it.
On its face, self-care is not at all a selfish pursuit. There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, or de-stressing, or pursuing your joy or passions, or learning to love yourself. Self-care is a routine to keep yourself grounded and healthy. So why has some segments of society leveled the banner of “selfishness” toward those of us practicing self-care? Misinterpreted intent!
Let’s take as an example the case of a woman I will call Mallory. Mallory was suffering from the eating disorder anorexia. Her self-image had become so polluted that she believed herself to be disgustingly overweight regardless of the fact that she was little more than skin and bones. As a 24 year old woman standing 5 feet 8 inches, an ideal weight range for Mallory would have been between 126 and 154 pounds. However, Mallory weighed just 98 pounds but still could not see herself as anything other than overweight. She was in danger of complete organ failure and death. After intense psychological therapy, Mallory was able t1o discover that her self-image had been negatively affected by a high school boyfriend who had mentally abused her by consistently referring to her as “chubby”, although she had been a perfectly healthy weighted, athletic young woman. When the boyfriend broke up with her because he wanted a “thin girlfriend”, Mallory internalized her feelings of inadequacy and they eventually surfaced as a life threatening disorder.
So…would Mallory’s psychological therapy be considered a selfish action? Would Mallory’s introspection be considered a selfish action? Would the time Mallory spent journaling about her feelings be considered time spent in a selfish manner? Of course not! They were lifesaving mental health steps! Well, then why should the ongoing regimen of Mallory’s self-care be considered selfish? Growing and learning is a lifelong process, so how dare society place a time limit on an “acceptable” period in which Mallory should be “cured”! What could be more pure than her intent to be healthy and happy!
In differing ways, we are all Mallory to one extent or another. Our repressed feelings may present themselves in a wide range of self-destructive behaviors and peace-stealing actions, but the repressed will ALWAYS find a way to the surface. If we are not prepared to accept and love ourselves, we run a high risk of being overcome when they bubble up inside of us. A routine of self-care is battle preparation, intelligence gathering, and post-battle rebuilding all in one.
The Carrie Underwood Factor
For many years, country music superstar Carrie Underwood has been a vocal advocate of her unflinching Christian faith; and the conservative Christian base has held her high as an example of of “good God fearing woman”. And I believe that she still is, although her support structure has recently begun to turn on her. The controversy is rooted in Underwood’s new fitness apparel line, Calia.
Television ads for Calia have featured Underwood with the tag lines “Choose you” and “Put yourself first”. As a result, she is coming under scrutiny from the Christian Right for selfishness and promoting a message in conflict with Biblical teachings. In the Bible, the message is conveyed that only service to others is righteous, while any service to self is inherently selfish.
“Choose you” is most certainly not an inherently selfish statement, nor is “Put yourself first”. To be the best and most mindful version of ourselves, we need to choose ourself sometimes, and from time to time we all need to put ourselves first just to avoid burnout and losing our sense of identity. Modern daily life can be chaotic and hectic. We face a huge range of stresses and the expectation to stretch our time thin in order to fulfill the many roles demanded of us. Ms. Underwood needs to be a wife; mother; musician; role model; business manager; media personality; Christian woman; and a normal human with anxieties and emotions…all while under the constant public gaze of those waiting to pounce on any mistake. I do not have any doubt that she has a difficult time finding time to just de-stress and be herself; to put herself first. It is unfair for anyone to think that Carrie Underwood, you, me or your neighbor should not need reminded to practice self-care. We all give our everything on a daily basis. The moments that we are able to take for ourselves are special, hard to come by, and completely necessary. This is why it is so important that self-care actually become part of our routine. If we are able to build it in, we are less likely to forget to do it or to feel guilty about it.
3 Considerations When Making Self-Care A Routine
It is the small things 》The busier we are, the easier it becomes to let our self-care slide. We may feel like there is simply no time for it. Or if we decide to practice self-care when this or that agenda item is completed, it never fails that 10 other “musts” will pop up before we get to our self-care. But if we make our swlf-care routine a high priority portion of our day, we will be able to reap the cumulative benefits of repeated self-care.
Not a one-size-fits-all activity 》 Self-care activities are widely individual and customizable. Anything that de-stresses you and feeds positivity into your life can be considered self-care. From playing a board game with your children, to painting, to assembling model train kits, to aerobic exercise, to baking cookies can be examples of self-care (although if you ever see me out running, I suggest you run fast the same direction, because something MUST be chasing me)! Find what works best for you and do that.
I Authorize Me 》 Give yourself permission to use time for your personal growth and self-care. Yes, there will always be something else you can be doing, but is that actually going to different than any other time? We are all constantly busy and thinking ahead to the next task. Remind yourself that you are being creative and doing something good for yourself.. Enjoy it!
How Do I Implement This?
I suggest that you pick one activity that has a high impact on your mental health. Put an appointment with yourself on your calendar so you do not forget or become distracted when it is time. Just call it an event after dinner. Then work on coming up with a detailed and schedulable routine…and stick to it!!! YOU HAVE GOT THIS!
So here is the thing. You have fed yourself a line of bull about your own body. You have convinced yourself that because you can only see two eyes on your face, that you are a two-eyed being. Well, surprise…you have a third and it is hidden deep in the middle of your brain. We are talking about a very small region of the brain, the pineal gland.
A (VERY) Short History Lesson
The pineal gland was the last inter-cranial gland to have its function discovered. In 1640, Renee Descartes identified the small gland as the “Pineal Gland”, referring to it as the “seat of the soul”, but offered no explanation as to its biological function. That explanation would take more than 300 years!
It wasn’t until 1958 that the function of the pineal gland was discovered. American dermatologist Aaron Lerner discovered a molecule produced exclusively by the pineal gland, a molecule he named melatonin.
The pineal gland is a tiny pinecone-shaped gland seated on the bridge between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It is located approximately 1/2″ above the center point between your eyes and straight back to the center of your brain.
This tiny gland serves some integral functions in our daily lives. It is responsible for the regulation of our circadian rhythm through the release of melatonin. The pineal gland is responsible for making us tired at night and awake during the day. The gland is photo sensitive and, as such, releases melatonin based upon the amount of sunlight present during a day. As such, it can be affected by a sustained lack of sunshine, such as in the winter months. The lack of sun can lead to an overproduction of melatonin, which itself leads to a sluggish and depressed mental state diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder. As an aside, Seasonal Affective Disorder happens to have been the very first mental health diagnosis I ever received. Winter in Pennsylvania is just that much fun!
The Spiritual Link
The concept of the “third eye” as a spiritual manifestation is ancient, having been traced back as far as the Sumerians.
The Hindu God, Shiva, is depicted with a third eye in the center of his forehead representing his wisdom and enlightenment. According to Hinduism Today, the dot worn on the forehead of Hindu women, known as the bindi, “represents the third eye of spiritual sight”.
The Chinese Taoist belief includes “third eye training”. This tradition involves entering a meditative state while focusing all of your attention on a point slightly above the center point between your eyes. The belief indicates that the third eye can be used to tune into the appropriate vibration of the universe and to gain a solid base to enter the deepest states of meditation.
There is even a theory that ancient humans had a literal third eye located in the back of their head which, over centuries, atrophied and sunk into our skulls eventually becoming the pineal gland. There is absolutely zero scientific or even literary evidence for this theory mind you, but it certainly does raise a creepy visual!
We have a Russian woman named Helena Blavatsky (known as “Madame Blavatsky”) to thank for the current Western New Age understanding of the third eye and its role in spiritualism.
Madame Blavatsky traveled extensively in her teen and young adult years collecting religious and spiritual teachings, eventually ending up in the United States in 1873. She co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875, claiming the new discipline was to delve deeper into the synthesis of religion, philosophy and science. It is from her various writings and treatises that the current Western understanding of the third eye is derived.
Madame Blavatsky was, and remains, a highly controversial and eccentric figure. Her cobbling together of teachings and beliefs from different regions of the world and throughout different time periods is fascinating and will undoubtedly become the subject of a future post here on Musings From The Universe. But for now…
The third eye is associated with religious visions, clairvoyance, precognition, the ability to observe chakras and auras, and astral projection. It is believed that it is through the third eye that spiritualists experience the true outer universe and gain access to the Akashic Record. It is seen as the “mind’s eye” which maintains the connection of the soul to the universe.
What I believe is telling is the fact that the histories of belief and science find such a perfect nexus in this tiny gland tucked away deep in the center of the human brain! Evolutionarily speaking, the location of the pineal gland makes absolutely no sense. Why would a light-sensitive gland develop in the CENTER of the brain? Why would it not be located near the light-bearing optic nerves if its sole purpose was to produce melatonin?
Then there is the fact that ancient peoples appear to have been aware of the presence of a light-dependent organ (easily misunderstood as an eye) located in the middle of the forehead just above the convergence of the eyebrows…exactly where the pineal gland is found. We are talking about stone-tool age humans here, carving images of deities with a third eye located where the pineal gland is found to exist many hundreds of years later! It seems undeniable to me that there is an ancient knowledge of the existence of the pineal gland, the third eye, the mind’s eye, which was lost to humanity and is only recently re-emerging.
Art Imitates Life and Science Imitates Religion
My heart swells anytime a spiritual understanding or religious belief is confirmed by science. Metaphysics is, after all, a discipline defined as the philosophical study of occurrences beyond natural physics. So watching science catch up to an understanding held by the “fringe” spiritualist and ancient masters gives me hope that science may eventually provide evidence for the subjects, theories and mysteries metaphysicists ponder on a daily basis. With all of our technological breakthroughs, we have just recently been able to point to the third eye depicted in art from ancient Sumeria.
What Is Up Next:
In the next post, Musings From The Universe will be diving into one of the spiritual functions of the third eye…Astral Projection!
Wouldn’t it be nice to spend your entire life with someone that you love; someone who you know inside and out; someone you respect and truly care about? You can! They are waiting for you on the other side of the mirror! We will never spend as much time with a person as we do ourselves – so why do we spend so much of that time beating ourselves up? Let’s stop hating and hiding from ourselves and start a relationship with the beautiful soul that we have seen every day of our lives.
Us humans have a strange relationship with ourselves. We all have a voice in our heads that reads our thoughts aloud to us. Our inner voice; our consciousness. But sometimes, what we hear in our own heads is negative and mean about us! It can be like having your very own anti-cheerleader whispering in your ear at all times of the day and night. Or it can be only when you try to spread your wings and try something new. Either way, that voice…our own inner-dialog is completely full of lies. We can absolutely convince ourselves that we are worthless; or that we have no chance at attaining a goal we have set; or that we are not good enough or worthy of being loved. These thoughts are crippling to our self-esteem and feed into our greatest hidden fears.
So what can we do about it? How do we put a stop to a repeating pattern of pain that we place on ourselves? The long-term answer is: introspection. Take the time to get to know who you truly are. No more lying to ourselves or repressing emotions or hiding pains/fears or making excuses. Open yourself to yourself. You will find a soul who is good and kind and loving; it has just been beaten and quieted by mental health issues, societal pressures, addictions, and low self-esteem for a long long time.
But introspection and releasing the negative circumstances in our lives takes time. In the short-term, there are ways of gaining a bump of self-esteem, a hit of self-love. We can actually begin the process of rebuilding ourselves in positivity before we even breakthrough and release the negative! Here are a few ways to start improving and showing love for yourself right now!
1. Speak Kindly of Yourself
If you don’t have anything nice to say, well, say something nice anyway. You need to stop cutting yourself down; stop speaking negatively about yourself. You are a beautiful, unique soul. Treat yourself as such. Do not allow those negative thoughts to hold any power over your life. Turn them around into a positive and remind yourself just how special and perfect you are…just as you are. Speak to yourself the way you would speak to someone you deeply love.
2. No Comparisons
Do not compare yourself to other people. Everyone is different. Everyone has unique virtues and values, strengths and weaknesses. To compare one soul to another is like comparing a sun ripened, fresh from the tree orange to a crisp and sweet apple. They are both wonderful, but in their own way. So do not worry about holding yourself to a standard set by another individual. Live for your own standard because, at the end of the day, you are the only person you need to impress.
3. Learn To Say “No”
So many of us are people-pleasers at heart. We want to make those around us happy and absolutely hate the thought of disappointing someone. But listen, sometimes you just have to say “no”. People-pleasers spread themselves too thin, make decisions that are not in their own best interest, and allow people to use them. Well, no more. Set and stick to your boundaries. Boundaries help to show others in your life that you expect and deserve their respect. And it breeds a level of self-confidence that will serve you well in your self-care journey.
4. You CAN Handle The Truth
This one may well be the most difficult to master. We all have a tendency to lie to ourselves as a coping mechanism. We may minimize our role in an event; repress the memory of an event all together, or blatantly convince ourselves that the event never actually occurred.
Think of your self-care routine as a relationship builder. Your conscious and sub-conscious mind are going to be living together now in harmony. They have not really hung out together very much before. So honesty is going to be essential. Clear, truthful, concise honesty with yourself. There is no reason to hide who you are from yourself. So be honest and open with yourself.
5. Give Yourself Some Slack On Small Mistakes, And Forgive Yourself On The Larger Mistakes
Let me say it again for the people in the back, stop being so hard on yourself! We are all human. Humans by our nature are imperfect creatures. We make mistakes both large and small. Some of us (like yours try) are damn near mistake machines! And that is O.K. Small mistakes happen in the universe. A small fender bender? Not the end of the world. Accidently end up washing a blue shirt with your load of whites? Enjoy the new baby blue sheets. Small mistakes are just life’s learning experiences. Relax, it turns out you are just human.
For life’s larger mistakes, I suggest a vigorous scrub in the review and release tub. Perhaps you have made life changing mistakes in the past. If you haven’t, you probably have yet to risk very much on a single decision. Quite frankly, not everything works out in your favor everytime. Cheating in a relationship, developing an addiction, falling into financial crisis…all of these things begin with making a single poor decisionand then snowball from there; a big mistake. It is completely unfair to judge yourself for past transgressions using knowledge you have today. Hindsight is 20/20. Would you have made the same mistakes if you knew then what you know now? Of course not! So you have learned two lessons; the consequence of the big mistake and how to live your life after making it through the turmoil it caused. Now, forgive yourself for making the mistake in the first place, tuck the lessons into your back pocket and move on.
6. Life Is Supposed to Include Fun
This is often overlooked in our fast-paced, work until you drop society. Your life NEEDS to include fun! Don’t skip it, don’t delay it, don’t marginalize it. You deserve to feel good, to smile, to laugh. Schedule something that is fun FOR YOU every week. Not going to the arcade and watching the kiddos have fun. Something fun for you. (Wow, did I just date myself by using the word “arcade”!)
7. Show that backbone
Much like setting boundaries, standing up for yourself will show you and those around you that you understand your value and can effectively communicate your wants and needs. Users will use you. Bullies will bully you. That is what they do. Sometimes you need to plant your feet in the ground firmly and stand up for yourself. Being assertive will have a huge impact on your self-confidence level.
Learning your worth, raising your self-confidence and bringing only positivity into our internal dialog are extremely effective ways to change your perceptions of yourself, as well as the actions you take regarding your self-care. What you do is not who you are. You are a being of light inhabiting a meat suit for a comparative blink of an eye. Do not waste your time with negativity. Embrace yourself for all that you are and allow your soul to show its unconditional love. You are worth it. You DESERVE it.
“I’m kicking my ass! Do ya mind?” This hilarious line from the movie Liar Liar, delivered by Jim Carey, is a surprisingly accurate microcosm of how many of us act within ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I am definitely my own worst critic. I have kicked my own ass for mistakes, shortcomings and weaknesses until it literally nearly killed me.
I have been known to hold myself to a ridiculous, unsustainable standard; pushed myself to achieve more than I was possibly capable of; and beat myself up over even minor mistakes. If another person were treating me the same way, I would define it as a toxic relationship and emotionally abusive! But because it is just me-on-me abuse, it isn’t seen as anything horrifying. I have tried to numb the emotional pain caused by my own inner narrative with food, alcohol, sex, and drug use. Of course, those attempts to cover my pain just led to increased self loathing. Why? What is it that propels so many of us to treat ourselves so harshly? The first steps in ending the cycle of self abuse is to understand the why and when of our self judgment. So let’s take a look at some of the most common circumstances leading to a long running negative self-narrative.
1. We Do Not Measure Up.
We have this picture in our heads of who we should be and what our life should look like at certain stages and we blame ourselves if the reality is anything less than our expectation. As if we were the only factor involved in where we are right this moment in our lives!
Society has taught us that we should crave success and then defined it for us. We should be good little consumers, working constantly to gain money and status; we should be self-made by “pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps”. The truth is that society’s definition of success may very well not be our definition; or it may be too far to reach given our strengths and weaknesses. Oh, and by the way, no one is actually “self-made”! On every lifted bootstrap there are hundreds of fingerprints of people who have helped along the way, but we don’t hear about that because it is not considered inspirational!
The next time you are tempted to compare yourself to the standard which you and/or society holds for you, remember that success and happiness are two completely different and distinct entities. Would you rather live a happy and fulfilling life or live miserably while amassing a fortune and producing a stream of perfect selfies? If happiness were linked to success, there wouldn’t be so many of the rich and powerful elites struggling with depression or addictions.
We each define success in our own lives. Personally, I view success as a multi-generational goal. I visualize a ladder stretching up into infinity. Each rung is a level of wealth and happiness. We were born on a rung set by our parents. My hope is that I am able to live a life which allows me to end up one rung higher than where I started. Then my children can stand on my shoulders and reach one rung higher still. If I am able to instill the same attitudes into my children, then each generation will be more traditionally successful AND, more importantly, happier than the last. But I am not going to whip myself for not running hand over fist up the ladder at the expense of my peace.
2. When We Believe We Are Not Good Enough, We Operate From A Position Predisposed To Failure.
Perhaps you developed this belief that you are not good enough early in your life, perhaps through parents or other family members, or teachers. Recognize that this belief is not a fact and has absolutely nothing to do with who you are. This type of belief has become somewhat normalized and common because we tend to repeat patterns we experience growing up. But it is a damn dirty lie.
There has never been, nor will there ever be again, a you existing on this planet. How special and amazing is that?! Throughout all of time, the years you inhabit your meat suit are the only seconds that you will ever exist on Earth. You are a one-time offer. You are an immortal soul wrapped in biological matter, not biological matter inhabited by a soul. That is why wasting even a moment of your existence here is an affront to that which created you.
3. We Believe That Perfection Is What Makes Us Lovable And That Any Mistakes Can Lead To a Loss of Love.
A child’s bad behavior is often today met with a parent scolding them and placing them in a “time out” chair, effectively punishing them by withholding affection when we are displeased with their behavior. There is really no mystery as to why we, as we mature into adulthood, are prone to believing that good behavior equates to happiness, love and universal justice. And bad behavior (whether for a good reason or not), will result in the loss of love or friendship.
There are just no two ways around it: some people are just not going to like or accept us unless we meet their expectation. So the key is not to change their mind; not to panic for fear of losing affection. Instead, we need to love even when others do not show us any attention or affection.
4. We Believe That Self-Judgment And Self-Punishment Are Effective Ways To Motivate Ourselves To Improve.
Society and our childhood experiences have conditioned us to believe that improvement stems from punishment. (Bad behavior 》Punishment 》Expectation of improvement).
For me at least, this approach is the exact opposite of how I become motivated. When someone tries to improve me by breaking me down first, my stubbornness kicks in and I immediately regress into a spite-filled “screw you” cocoon. My approach toward motivation has become to picture my “inner child”, really just a visualization of me at about 5 years old. I motivate 5 year old me through care and gentle guidance…which is the type of motivation I respond to now as an adult. So if I don’t make Little Gordon cry, then Adult Gordon should have just become self-motivated to move his ass. Your visualization may be different. Just try to pick someone you would never want to hurt or see cry.
5. We Have Bought Into Social Stigmas That Mental Health Is a Bunch Of Touchy-Feely Bullshit And Addicts Are Just Mentally Weak – Leading Us To Beat Ourselves Up Over Our Mental Or Addiction Troubles.
Questioning social stigmas (socially accepted marks of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person) can be extremely difficult in the modern world. It feels like trying to swim upstream during a flood. You run the risk of being singled out and castigated for holding an opinion opposite the majority. Stigmas come and go from population to population and from time period to time period.
For example, I live in North-Central Pennsylvania. It is a very rural, farming-heavy area where the social stigmas against mental health disorders is very strong. As such, many of the individuals in the area who do suffer from anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, etc stay quiet about their issues and attempt to ignore them as much as possible. When the issues become too much to hide, they are usually whisked away to see a doctor in a larger nearby city as opposed to speaking with their local primary care physician. This feeling that a mental health disorder is something to be hidden and ashamed of leads to inevitable negative thoughts and associations for the person suffering; usually they blame themselves for being different or not being under control like everyone else. Although that is not the commonly accepted view or stigma placed on mental health disorders throughout the Commonwealth, nation or world, small social circles often have their own beliefs and social stigmas.
Overcoming a lifelong habit of self-judgment and resultant emotional abuse is not something that is going to happen overnight. It took years to drill the habit into our heads and it will take time and hard work to recognize and replace the patterns. But it CAN be done.
Celebrate your victories, small or large. Learn from your mistakes, small or large. Both are important steps along your journey to joy, happiness and inner-peace. Love yourself – YOU DESERVE IT!
Stop thinking and get things done. Could becoming more unfocused actually improve your ability to attract what you want and manifest positivity in your life? Recent research, along with thousands of years of shamanistic evidence, says yes!
There are 5 types of waves produced within the brain differentiated by their speed (frequencies): Delta Waves; Theta Waves; Alpha Waves; Beta Waves; and Gamma Waves.
Delta waves are the slowest. Delta waves are produced during deep, sleepless dreaming when the brain is at its most relaxed. Delta waves are measured between 0.5 and 4.0 Hz.
Theta waves are produced most frequently when we are sleeping lightly in a dream state or when we are extremely relaxed. The ingestion of LSD has also been shown to increase Theta wave production. This correlation was studied extensively by the United States military between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Vietnam War in an attempt to produce “psychic soldiers”. Lets just say that when you mix military and metaphysics, things are bound to go wrong, and they did. Theta waves are measured between 4.0 and 6.0 Hz.
Alpha waves fall directly in the middle of the range of brainwave frequencies. Alpha waves occur most frequently when we are in a calm and relaxed state, not really focused on any particular problem or issue. The Alpha wave is what I refer to as the “Meditation Sweet Spot”. During meditation, a measurable increase in the output of Alpha waves from the posterior portion of the brain is evident through EEG. I believe that this increase in Alpha wave production is indicative of the conscious mind accessing the subconscious, the repository for many of the answers we seek in our lives. Alpha waves are measured between 6.0 and 8.0 Hz.
Beta waves are the day to day waves. They are produced when we are awake and focused, going about our daily tasks and making conscious decisions. Beta waves are measured between 8.0 and 35.0 Hz.
The highest speed waves our brains produce are Gamma waves. Gamma waves are produced when we are extremely focused; learning; processing complex information or solving complex problems. Gamma waves are measured above 35.0 Hz~100.0 Hz.
Alpha Waves Are The Calming Secret!
Alpha waves are the indicators of calm mind. In a beautiful feedback loop, Alpha waves are produced by a calm mind AND cause the mind to calm itself. Just another example of how the Universe and our souls are inextricably linked to each other. Calm produces calm produces calm produces calm…
Increases in Alpha wave production are seen during meditation; unfocused rest and during massage. Not surprisingly, individuals with the ability to enter a state of increased Alpha wave production are also among the most creative. These waves remove the roadblocks we build between the conscious and subconscious and allow for a free-flow of information and data between the two. The interaction between the conscious and subconscious leads to greater inner peace, increased creativity and seemingly miraculous thinking. It has been postulated that it is the Alpha state that has lead to many of mankind’s greatest technological advances, although I believe the Akashic Record crowd may have different opinions on that one. Until, that is, these two theories are able to meet at a point where access to the Akashic Record is granted through the manipulation of Alpha waves within the subconscious. Perhaps someday we will see a coming together of these two factions.
Metaphysical Benefits of Alpha Waves
Beyond the lowering of blood pressure, stress levels and anxiety, Alpha waves also hold promise in the Metaphysical realm as well. Because manifesting positivity, love and light in one’s life is based on access to the subconscious, Alpha waves are the key.
While in an Alpha state, the subconscious is opened and is much more apt to manifest the thoughts; visualizations and feelings of the individual. Therefore, if one is meditating on a specific thought; visualization; or emotion, it is most likely that the desired change in reality will occur once the individual reaches the Alpha state. So, it is Alpha waves that trigger an increased ability to manifest desire into reality!
This is the reason for the commonly misunderstood meditative phrase, “Clear your mind”. It has only been through the relatively recent invention of EEG technology and the identification of Alpha waves, that the more appropriate phrase, “Increase your Alpha wave production” could have possibly arisen. And that doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it! But to the individuals who become frustrated with meditation because they do not know how to stop their continuously running mind, literally RELAX. A watched pot never boils and a forced mind never clears. Just relax and stop worrying about whether you are “doing it right”. Let your mind relax and slip into a state of increased Alpha wave production.
Debunking Brainwave Training
There are many companies out there who are happy to sell you a load of crap when it comes to brainwave frequency training. If only it was as easy as they claim! These companies will advertise that they will sell you audio tracks that will effortlessly “tune” your brainwaves for specific goals, such as manifesting; battling depression; reducing stress; astral projection; etc. The problem is that these “goals” are all simply side effects possible through increased Alpha wave production. If there was a specific “depression-destroying” frequency, Pfizer would be making tiny transmitters you swallow. It just doesn’t work that way.
Now, I am not saying that listening to frequency-tuned audio tracks is worthless! Those tracks can be very handy in effectuating a meditative state by calming the listener through increased dopamine release. However, focusing on a frequency and mentally searching for that sense of calm is counterproductive. Use the frequency-tuned tracks as a background sensation, in the same way we use incense.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that the human brain is an amazing energy producing bio-machine. The Alpha waves which are most prominently produced during the state of rest, calm and meditation are the medium on which rides the sense of peace, balance, manifestation and happiness we all crave. And through meditative and mindful practices, humans have the ability to control the production of these waves. So get out there; relax; and ride those Alpha waves on your journey towards joy!
The constant drive to seek perfection is actually a one-way ticket to failure. A debilitating fear of failure is the end result for perfectionists. However, the fear of failure can impact the lives of many different types of individuals and can be traced back to many different types of events of origin. Perhaps you were raised by hypercritical or unsupportive parents; perhaps you were raised by hypocritical (my child is perfect and that is why they receive my love) parents; perhaps you were picked on or mocked by peers early in your childhood. Some individuals internalize these incidents and a fear of failure arises.
Truthfully, at the root of the fear of failure is a deep aversion to shame. Failing becomes mentally and emotionally linked to the feeling of shame; of not living up to the accepted standard; or letting yourself and loved ones down. No one likes feeling shame in one’s actions or lack of actions. However, individuals who develop a fear of failure take the fear or aversion to shame to its extreme. They allow the fear of failure to paralyze their mind and halt the growth of their soul. It may stop them from finding love; advancing in their career; starting a family; or experiencing joy and inner peace. But this fear does not need to hold power over our lives! Our fears have only the amount of control that we have allowed them. Perfection does not need to be the only goal that matters. Lets take a look at how we can take our power back from fear.
A large part of my adult life was spent living for the approval of others. The more perfect I was in the eyes of those I respected, the closer I felt to gaining that unshakable acceptance I craved. Any shortcoming threw me into immediate fear that I had disappointed the largest figures in my life. It was an unsustainable pace while trying to reach an unobtainable goal.
The best and most mind-blowing advice I ever received to address my personal fear of failure was one word, “So?” When asked what was holding me back from taking a career leap and starting my own business, I responded with, “Well, what if I don’t make it and I fail!” My therapist responded with, “So? So what if you do? At least you will have tried.” That hit me hard. In that moment, I understood what had limited my life and my potential…my own fear. That was when I promised myself that I would never allow fear to rule me again. If I was ever going to soar with eagles, I would need to jump from the cliff. I now carry the word “So?” in the back of my mind into my daily decision making process.
So much of self-awareness is individualized. What works for one person may not have any effect at all for someone else. “So” was what I had needed to hear at that moment. But it may not be the perfect moment for everyone. So I have compiled a list of 6 ways to reduce the fear of failure that are rather universal and can be adopted into any self-awareness routine. That way, when your moment is right and your mind is ready to overcome that fear, you will have the confidence to jump.
6 Ways To Reduce The Fear OfFailure
Address the problem. There is never a reason to hide your feelings or fears from yourself. You cannot hope to overcome a fear or limiting factor until you acknowledge that it exists.
Learn from your mistakes. Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Each attempt is an experience to learn from.
Get it out. Talk to someone you trust and has a supportive ear. Like many fears, the closer you examine your fear of failing the less power it has over your life.
Question the rationality. Take the time to examine whether the fear is irrational and highly unlikely to come to fruition. Your fear may just be a habit of doubt you have developed and not an actual fear at all.
Focus on what you can control. Many of the worries, doubts and fears we hold are linked to circumstances we have no actual control over. Once you have done all you could and the situation is out of your hands, what is the point of worrying or fearing?
Consider a redirection. Each attempt at bettering our lives or doing anything of importance offers lessons. Sometimes those lessons point out a slightly different path which may be more correct for us. Do not ignore the push toward adjusting and redirecting your intention. It is not accepting failure if you use information gleaned to succeed on a slightly different path.
Giving your all to any endeavor you attempt is, of course, the proper way to approach things. However, if you are constantly chasing perfection, you are cheating yourself out of enjoying the victories along the way. And you are actually lowering your self-worth by making every task an “all or nothing” proposition in that the only confidence boost you allow yourself is by completing a task to perfection.
The Key Is Self-Confidence
How is this for a brainteaser: Those who are only content with perfection actually tend to lack self-confidence. You see, they have gone for long stretches of their lives never feeling accomplished for anything except perfection. These are the athletes who feel like failures for finishing a race in 2nd place. “If you are not first, your last.”
Instead, a self-aware individual will gain confidence from the journey and not just from the destination. Never underestimate the importance of self-confidence. It is what will differentiate between the individual who sees opportunity in coming up short of a goal, and the individual who sees only failure. We are all humans. Falling from time to time is inevitable. The difference is having the self-confidence to catch yourself or just wallowing in the failure and continuing to fall.
So in the end, the only thing we have to fear is not failure, but a lack of action. Perfection should not be the only goal, but just one of many victories along any path. Allow yourself to build confidence through the journey and not only at the destination. Self-awareness, happiness, joy and inner-peace do not require perfection. They only require a soul unwilling to abandon the journey.
The concept of evil seems to be as old as human consciousness. Throughout the historical record, depictions of evil can be found as often as, if not more than, depictions of good. However, as mankind (meant to include womankind as well, so relax) has evolved and our understanding of the laws of nature have changed so has our concept of evil. You are hard pressed today to find anyone who believes that sundown is a battle between a giant evil alligator creature attempting to devour the great turtle egg we call the sun. Still, many today believe that the very concept of “evil” is an outdated and unnecessary misnomer. Philosophers and religious leaders have struggled with the concept of evil for centuries, so obviously it should be simple enough to cover in a blog post! Well, lets get into it.
2 Types Of Evil? How About 3!
Currently, philosophers and theologians separate the larger concept of evil into two separate types: natural evil and moral evil. Natural evils would be what we commonly refer to as natural disasters, including floods; hurricanes; plagues; tsunami; lightning; winds etc. Moral evils are the events perpetrated on humans by other humans which purposefully cause pain, terror, hardship or distress. I believe that a third type of evil is being left out of the discussion – supernatural evil. “Supernatural” is a term meaning “beyond nature” or “beyond our understanding of nature”.
Natural evil is a concept that I am surprised is still discussed. The events in this category are all scientifically explained and understood as being a part of the natural processes of our planet. Quite frankly, these events are only even detrimental due to our relative position in the scheme of the Universe. We are physically tiny, insignificant creatures when seen on a planetary, galactic or universal scale. To an ant, I am a giant god-like creature with the power to either benevolently bestow a piece of donut upon his tiny minions or to punish them with my great shoe of justice! We humans tend to have a high opinion of our status which leads us to believe that the only power greater than us would have to be the creator of all things; when in reality we are particles of dust compared to even the galaxy, let alone the vastness of the universe. So when perfectly natural events occur which cause us turmoil and show us just how little control we hold, we ascribe them to evil. These events would be occurring whether we were present or not. The truth of “natural evil” can be summed up succinctly as: sometimes Mother Nature is a bitch.
Moral evil is a much trickier concept to pin down because it’s definition is constantly changing. Morality itself is a moving target. As an example, how about a simple test? Simply choose which of the following is the most immoral:
Cheating On Your Spouse
Stealing a Cow From a Farm
Your answer to the above question is absolutely dependent on where you live, your religious beliefs, and your time period. All three choices are or were deemed immoral enough to call for the death of the perpetrator(s). In America today, stealing a cow is the only accepted immoral act, and certainly not punishable by death (since cattle rustling was removed as a capital crime in 1902); the other two options are simply daily occurances. However, in some Middle Eastern countries, stealing a cow is the only one today which is NOT punishable by death. So if the human concept of morality can vary so greatly just by physical location, how can we possibly ascribe any action to “evil”.
There have certainly been atrocities committed by humans upon other humans, and there continue to be. The Holocaust; rape; physical injury, death or disfigurement of a child to name a few. However, history has shown us that the principles of morality are fluid over time, so who is to say whether future generations will see these events as immoral. We may currently label rape as an evil, but will it be seen as an evil in 200 years? We can hope, but who knows! Morality, and the legislation of moral principles, is the ultimate gray area of human evolution.
Supernatural evil is a concept accepted by the vast majority of humans over time, up to the present day. The existence of evil is in direct correlation to the belief in a higher power, a belief held by 89% of Americans according a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2017.
Much like the definition of “dark” is “the absence of light”, I define “supernatural evil” as “the absence of spiritual goodness”. We can think of this type of evil as that which negatively affects the soul. It is more a force than a tangible person or object. This evil would include things like the self-depricating thoughts we have (“I am not enough.” “I am too fat.” “I am too skinny.” “I am not worth loving.” “I do not deserve better.”; suicide; the emotion of hate; demons; evil spirits; any force whose sole purpose is destruction of the life and peace of an individual. There are no redeeming qualities to supernatural evil. There is no gray area. There is literally no good which can come from this evil.
We do not need to believe in a “God” or “Goddess” per se to believe that supernatural evil exists. We need only believe that the existence of good means there is inevitably evil; where there is love, there must also be hate; where there is light, there must also be darkness. How can a person who has never experienced the dark have any concept of light. And, quite frankly, evil does not care whether or not you believe it exists. You can ascribe its effects on whatever you like, but it is still evil. This evil attacks the strong and the weak alike, exploiting any and every physical; mental; emotional; or spiritual crack to gain a foothold.
How Can We Battle Supernatural Evil
Evil is not a necessary or inevitable part of life. Battling against the force of evil begins with vigilance. If we do not recognize evil we are doomed by it. When we see an example of evil attempting to infiltrate us, as in the sudden onset of self-depricating interior dialog, we need to shut it down and shut it out. This can be as simple as acknowledging that the dialog is coming from evil and replacing the thought with positivity (repeating the exact opposite of what we hear in our thoughts). More intricate steps to removing evil from our lives includes meditation, smudging with sage, and even exorcism.
Recognizing spiritual evil is not difficult. It is any emotion, thought, or action which does not further our journey towards true joy, happiness and inner peace. I have my personal motto tattooed on my body to constantly remind myself of my motivation to search out and destroy evil before it is able to overcome me. The tattoo reads: “Protect the weakened. Reap the wicked.” That is the phrase which gives me purpose and gets me out of bed in the morning.
In conclusion, there are two official types of evil – natural and moral. However, I would propose that we use a third type- supernatural. It is my belief that supernatural evil is the greatest threat to us as natural evil may cost us our meat sack; moral evil may be seen by society as a taboo now and cost us our freedom, but taboos are constantly being rethought. However, supernatural evil aims to crush us and our soul; it looks to extinguish our light; and cost us any chance at true joy, happiness and inner peace. We must remain aware of its existence and vigilant against its attacks.
So, to answer the question posed by the headline, “Is ‘evil’ an outdated concept”, I propose that evil will never become outdated. Evil will exist as surely as light cast on an object will produce a dark shadow. However, it does not need to be, nor should we allow it to be, a present or prevailing force in our lives. Victory is in the struggle.