An Attitude of Gratitude – A Powerful Healing Force

jump sunrise
Maintaining Gratitude

What is gratitude? How can you be grateful during times of physical pain, financial suffering or emotional stress? Can gratitude help us be physically fit, emotionally strong and successful in our daily lives? What is the secret to having a happy, rich and fulfilling life?  New research shows that gratitude is scientifically proven to benefit not only our emotions, but our bodies, mind and spirit and significantly effect our overall health and wellness.
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The Benefits of a Healthy Romantic Relationship

Couple Heart Balloon LoveWhat is Emotional Health?
Holistic health has many components. The components are physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. Emotional health is a very important aspect of holistic health. It pertains to people’s emotions and feelings about the world around them and the events that take place in their lives. Emotional health is defined by Dr. Doris Jeanette as “the degree in which you feel emotionally secure and relaxed in Continue reading

Healing & Awakening the Heart: Animal Wisdom for Humans

happy loving couple outsideYou can find deep peace, love, and joy while you are healing. 

You can create a life that is much more fulfilling during the journey of finding the buried treasure in your heart. A heart full of longing and pain can actually lead to enlightenment. Once we enter our heartache entirely, rather than run from it or fight it, it can become a path to enlightenment.

In my case, heartache became my teacher of awakening into a peace that is all-pervasive and consistent. In the face of disillusionment and devastation, when a career-dream was temporarily jeopardized, three hawks arrived to assist me. The turning point was a climactic event in my life. The results have stayed with me.

As my career flourished and my life filled with wonders, a lifelong dream of producing three inspiring videos about awakening, animal communication, and miracles was close to realization.

There was one hitch in my emerging success. My DVD footage was being held hostage. I did not have the ransom funds. Sounds like a movie! But it’s a true story.

night skyI was so angry that I went outside kicking my feet as I sought peace under the night stars. My heart felt crumpled into a paper ball. Alone in my despair, I sat a moment by the compost pile, feeling a desire to be transformed into something more fertile. I got up, walked a ways, then made a left turn, unsure of why. I just followed my senses in the same way I follow what beckons.

There, late at night, under stars, sprawled below me, no longer alive, was one of my best friends, the hawk.

There had been three hawks that spent lots of time with me. They called to me each day, circled around me, attended my seminars in circles above, and guided me into the place where heart and sky were the same. What happened to this one?

I could not understand. I blamed myself. My negativity over this matter of the DVDs must have killed the hawk, I thought.

Hawk flying in sky“That is not what happened,” said the hawk, who was right above me, though her body was on the ground. “Please go inside, sleep, and listen,” she continued. By passing the feelings in her own heart into mine, she was able to give me this message.

Despair was literally extracted from my body in that moment. I felt comforted by the presence of my loving friend. Following her guidance, I went to bed. Lying awake most of the night, I felt flown. My heart was lifted into lighter and lighter contentment. Everything but love disappeared. I experienced myself flying in waves of blissful peace.

Some of you are now in suspense, while others may be thinking, “This isn’t the book for me. Animals don’t talk, and if they do I can’t hear them!” Read on and do not give up. The eight elements I learned from the animals’ promptings can be used anywhere and anytime with or without animals. They were given to me by animals, and so I credit them and share my stories here. You will use the information in your own ways. Those of you who love animals can deepen your understanding of the elements with animals. Those of you who are not in relationships with animals will practice the elements to achieve your desired results.  In the morning I was asked by my hawk friends to bury the hawk’s body. I was told exactly where to dig the hole.

Red-Tailed HawkWhen the last scoop of earth was deposited, my hawk friend remained in my heart.

Her body was protected as it returned to the ground of our living. I was given some information by the hawks and then they asked me a question.

“Why are you here on Earth?”

“For Peace.”

“Are you here for Peace or for your video footage?”

Sorrow ran through my throat and into my heart, and then drained right into a stream of joy that circled all through me.

“Peace.” Suddenly it was clear. My eyes teared up in love. The footage would come and the footage would go. Peace beckoned. In the arms of peace, joyful love swirled.

“Now, drive down to the company who has your footage. Go straight to their office.”

“I’ve tried. They are never there. The door is locked. They do not answer the phone.”

“Go. Go in Peace.”

Driving at NightI drove down the long winding road from Hidden Valley Sanctuary where I lived and taught my courses. Peculiarly, my car felt settled, like a baby in a nest, as I parked at the office of my producers.

Surprisingly, the door was open.

I walked in, right into Arthur, the company owner, who had my footage. Arthur had been handling his business by holding on to others’ belongings and asking for ransom fees. I was not alone. I had spoken to three other business owners in town who were experiencing similar troubles with Arthur. As it turned out, he had no background in DVD production, and no education in the skills he professed to have mastered. Arthur was a good talker, whose fraudulent business would soon be put to rest by the county. His earnings were not coming from rendering services he promised to provide. At this time he had many of us fooled. One woman was taking him to court. Another woman was on the verge of closing her business due to damage incurred from his involvement.

I had asked Arthur kindly to return the videos many times. I had pleaded with him. I had called an attorney. I had offered a compromise. For weeks, I had tried everything I could think of to resolve this problem. I was considering holding a peace vigil with many of the people who had contributed to creating the DVDs. The footage remained in his hands. But now, with my hawk friend guiding me, I understood that I had only one task. This task was not to get footage. Footage comes and goes.

Loving EyesI looked into Arthur’s eyes with complete love, needing nothing.

I experienced myself dissolving into a full love with nothing else required. Love of love alone flew my heart right into his. He received the delivery. I saw the love in his eyes too.My mission was accomplished and I turned to go.

“Wait, Laurie. I have been thinking. Just a moment.”

He reached down to his desk, picked up a box, and handed me all of my footage. A powerful peace seemed to clear the room and invite in a vast, spacious, neutral love. I left, feeling reverence for the hawks and all life.

After that, what was needed came. Someone who could finish the DVD project soon emerged. The videos were made by a new producer. Quickly after that, my work began drawing in people from all over the globe. People flew in from various parts of the USA, Asia, Europe, and Canada to receive assistance with their challenges. Person after person remembered the buried treasure of whole love within their heart. Peoples’ lives changed. Situations became more spacious so that solutions to troubles were born. Emotions mended. Years later, I reflected upon this natural and effortless journey in which I was well guided. My heart had been healed and I found a love that is real. The buried treasure in my heart was an ability to be in love anywhere at any time.

This love is inside me and goes with me wherever I am.

I realized that eight elements are at play: value, purpose, peace, subtraction, witnessing, addition, redesigning, and offering.
Excerpt with permission from the author from the book by Laurie A Moore: Healing & Awakening the Heart: Animal Wisdom for Humans  (2013) Available on Amazon and Kindle.  You can learn how to use each of these eight elements in the following chapters of the book.

 

Laurie MooreThis article is written by Dr. Laurie A. Moore, a Health and Wellness Educator for the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. Laurie is a licensed therapist (LMFT), certified hypnotherapist (CHT), a certified animal communication specialist, published author, public speaker, and accomplished workshop presenter. For more information about Laurie Moore and her workshops visit her website at www.animiracles.com  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website atwww.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Best Rumi Quotes – Jalal ad-Dīn Mohammad Rumi: A Spiritual Legacy

Rumi

Jalal ad-Dīn Mohammad Rumi

WHO IS RUMI? Rumi, Jalal ad-Dīn Mohammad Rumi جلال‌الدین محمد رومی  was born September 30, 1207 –  and died  December 17,  1273.  He was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic. The English translation of his original Persian poetry  is considered to be the most popular and best selling poetry in the United States.  It has also been translated into many other different languages, including Russian, German, Urdu, Turkish, Arabic, Bengali, French, Italian, and Spanish, and is being presented in a growing number of formats, including concerts, workshops, readings, dance performances, and other forms of artistic expression, touching the hearts of people of all ages around the world. More than half a million copies of  Coleman Barks’ English interpretations of Rumi’s poetry have been sold worldwide.

“When I am silent, I fall into that place where everything is music.”  ~Jalal ad-Dīn Mohammad Rumi

Whirling Dervishes

Whirling Dervishes

Rumi wholeheartedly believed in using music, poetry and dance as the most direct way to experience God, and his most favorite instrument was the ney, or reed flute, although he was also a notable robāb musician.  Rumi was buried in Konya, where his shrine has now is a place of pilgrimage.  After Rumi died, his son, Sultan Walad, and his followers founded the  Mevlevi Order, or the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for their Sama ceremony and Sufi dancing.

WHY IS RUMI’S POETRY SO POPULAR? Within Rumi’s poetry can be found very clear and direct messages about life and love. His writing does not offend anyone and is accepted and quoted in churches, monasteries, synagogues and in public sectors by people of all cultures, including ministers, atheists, agnostics, philosophers, protesters, activists, enthusiasts, and revered by people of all ages, philosophies, and cultures.  He teaches people how to live together in peace and harmony with one another, how to choose love above hatred, fear and hostility and how to live and practice global peace.

WHAT HAS RUMI WRITTEN? Rumi has written both poetry and prose. His poetry is generally divided into categories: the quatrains (rubayāt) and odes (ghazal) of the Divan, the six books of the Masnavi. The prose works are divided into The Discourses, The Letters, and the Seven Sermons.  Probably Rumi’s most well-known major work is the Maṭnawīye Ma’nawī (Spiritual Couplets; مثنوی معنوی), a six-volume poem , containing approximately 27,000 lines of Persian poetry.  It is considered by some Sufis as one of the greatest works of mystical poetry and regarded by some as the Persian-language Qur’an.

RUMI QUOTES  Here are some of our most favorite quotes by Rumi:

Mother and Child

“We are born of love; Love is our mother.”  ~Rumi

We are born of love; Love is our mother.  ―Rumi

Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.  ―Rumi

The wound is the place where the Light enters you. ―Rumi

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ―Rumi

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. ―Rumi

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. ―Rumi

Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom. ―Rumi

Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely is made for the eye of one who sees. ―Rumi

beautiful field sun

“I’ll meet you there.” ~Rumi

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about. ―Rumi

The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along. ―Rumi, The Illuminated Rumi

What you seek is seeking you. ―Rumi

woman flying

“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky” ~Rumi

This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet. ―Rumi

Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it. ―Rumi

If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished? ―Rumi

Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form. ―Rumi

Dance

“Dance when you’re broken open.”  ~Rumi

Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free. ―Rumi

You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life? ―Rumi

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. ―Rumi

Knock, And He’ll open the door. Vanish, And He’ll make you shine like the sun. Fall, And He’ll raise you to the heavens. Become nothing, And He’ll turn you into everything.
―Rumi

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth. ―Rumi, The Essential Rumi

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.  ―Rumi

Ignore those that make you fearful and sad, that degrade you back towards disease and death. ―Rumi

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art. ―Rumi

It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it at home. ―Rumi

Bird soar sky

“Oh, bird of my soul, fly away now. ~Rumi

Oh, bird of my soul, fly away now; For I possess a hundred fortified towers.  ―Rumi

My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.  ―Rumi

There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you? ―Rumi

I have no companion but Love, no beginning, no end, no dawn. The Soul calls from within me:  “You, ignorant of the way of Love, set Me free.” ―Rumi

Why should I be unhappy? Every parcel of my being is in full bloom. ―Rumi

Rain on Flowers

“It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” ~Rumi

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.  ―Rumi

If you find the mirror of the heart dull, the rust has not been cleared from its face. ―Rumi

That which is false troubles the heart, but truth brings joyous tranquility. ―Rumi

RESOURCES

The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry, Reynold Nicholson, San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1996 ISBN 978-0-06-250959-8; Edison (NJ) and New York: Castle Books, 1997 ISBN 978-0-7858-0871-8.

Franklin Lewis, Rumi Past and Present, East and West, Oneworld Publications, 2000. ISBN 978-1-85168-214-0 The Illuminated Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks, Michael Green contributor, New York: Broadway Books, 1997 ISBN 978-0-7679-0002-7.

La luz iIuminada Poesia de Jalal al-Din Rumi (Spanish Edition), by Jalal Al-Din Rumi, Elvia Ardalani (Translator), Paperback, 108 Pages, Published 2013 by Libros Medio Siglo, ISBN-13: 978-0-615-79391-7, ISBN: 0-615-79391-6

Majid M. Naini, The Mysteries of the Universe and Rumi’s Discoveries on the Majestic Path of Love, Universal Vision & Research, 2002, ISBN 978-0-9714600-0-3

The Masnavi, Book One, Bk. 1 (Oxford World’s Classics) by Jalal Al-Din Rumi, Jawid Mojaddedi (Translator), Jawid Ahmad Mojaddedi, Paperback, 304 Pages, Published 2008 by Oup Oxford, ISBN-13: 978-0-19-955231-3, ISBN: 0-19-955231-2

The Masnavi, Book Two (Oxford World’s Classics), by Jalal Al-Din Rumi, Jawid Ahmad Mojaddedi, Paperback, 304 Pages, Published 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA, ISBN-13: 978-0-19-921259-0, ISBN: 0-19-921259-7

Mawlana Rumi Review mawlanarumireview.com. An annual review devoted to Rumi. Archetype, 2010. ISBN 978-1-901383-38-6.

Mystical Poems of Rumi, by Jalal Al-Din Rumi, JA Rumi, Arthur John Arberry, Franklin D. Lewis, Ehsan Yarshater, Paperback, 356 Pages, Published 2008 by University Of Chicago Press, ISBN-13: 978-0-226-73162-9, ISBN: 0-226-73162-6

Rumi (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets), by Jalal Al-Din Rumi, Peter Washington, Jalalu’l-Din Rumi, Hardcover, 256 Pages, Published 2006 by Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, ISBN-13: 978-0-307-26352-0, ISBN: 0-307-26352-5

“Why is Rumi the best-selling poet in the US?”. BBC Culture. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-05-23

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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  Her writings can be found at www.findinggodslove.com   The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website atwww.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

How to Overcome Barriers to Forgiveness

What Barriers Stand in the Way to Forgiveness?

Holding HandsIt’s hard to let go of the suffering caused by someone else’s wrongdoing. What barriers stand in the way of forgiveness, and how can we overcome them? We all know how painful it feels to suffer hurts, betrayals, or abuse-and to have this pain harden into lasting grudges or resentments.


Forgiveness is essential, even when there is good reason to resist.

Indeed, study after study has suggested that being unable to forgive past wrongs can wreak havoc on our mental and physical health. Forgiveness is the practice of letting go of the suffering caused by someone else’s wrongdoing (or even our own). It does not mean excusing, overlooking, forgetting, condoning, or trivializing the harm or jumping to a premature or superficial reconciliation; it doesn’t necessarily require reconciliation at all. Instead, it involves changing our relationship to an offense through understanding, compassion, and release.

Two decades of social psychology research have repeatedly demonstrated the psychological, physical, and social benefits of forgiveness. True forgiveness repairs relationships and restores inner well-being.  Yet we often find it hard to let go, forgive, and move on. According to research, even when we can feel compassion and empathy for the person who harmed us, we can remain stuck in fear or hostility for days, months, even years.


Why is something so good for us so hard to do?

Friends huggingThat’s the questions Williamson at New Mexico Highlands University and Marti Gonzales at the University of Minnesota have explored through research on the psychological impediments to forgiveness. In a recent study published in the journal, Motivation and Emotion, Williamson, Gonzales, and colleagues identify three broad categories of “forgiveness aversion.” Traditionally, ideas for helping one person to forgive another have implied either expanding one’s empathy or compassion for the offender or “distancing,” not taking things so personally. But their research on forgiveness aversion suggests another approach: Forgiveness comes not necessarily by appealing to kindness or compassion but by addressing the victim’s fears and concerns. Williamson and Gonzales’ research suggests how to work with perceived risks to forgiveness and to move toward forgiveness in a safe and genuine way. Below is a brief tour of the three barriers to forgiveness, along with ways to overcome them, drawing on clinical research and clinical experience with hundreds of couples and individuals.

Understanding these barriers to forgiveness can be very useful to anyone who has ever struggled to forgive-in other words, most of us.

 

Barrier #1: Unreadiness

woman and man fightingThe first block is “unreadiness,” which Williamson and Gonzales define as an inner state of unresolved emotional turmoil that can delay or derail forgiveness. People can feel stuck in a victim loop, ruminating on the wrongs done to them by another person or by life, and be unable to shift their perspective to a larger view, to find the meaning, purpose, lessons, and possibilities for change from the events.

  • Who is most likely to experience unreadiness?

Williamson and Gonzales found that people’s tendencies to be anxious and ruminate on the severity of the offending behavior reliably predicted an unreadiness to forgive. People showed more reluctance to move toward forgiveness especially when they held a fear that the offense would be repeated,

  • How can we overcome the barrier of unreadiness?

Williamson and Gonzales’ research validates the folk wisdom that “time heals all wounds” and establishes the importance of not rushing the process, not coming to forgiveness too quickly. Certainly the passage of time is an important factor in helping people get some distance from the initial pain, confusion, and anger; it helps the offender establish a track record of new trustworthy behavior and helps the victim reframe the severity of the injury in the larger context of the entire relationship.

  • Tips to Overcome Unreadiness

1. Recall the moment of wrongdoing you are struggling to forgive. “Light up the networks” of this memory by evoking a visual image, noticing emotions that arise as your recall this memory, notice where you feel those emotions in your body as contraction, heaviness, churning. Notice your thoughts about yourself and the other person now as you evoke this memory. Let this moment settle in your awareness.

2. Begin to reflect on what the lessons of this moment might be: what could you have done differently? What could the other person have done differently? What would you differently from now on? When we can turn a regrettable moment into a teachable moment, when we can even find the gift in the mistake, we can open our perspectives again to the possibilities of change, and forgiveness.


Barrier #2: Self-Protection

Sibling RivalryThe second block to forgiveness is “self-protection”-a fear, very often legitimate, that forgiveness will backfire and leave the person offering forgiveness vulnerable to further harm, aggression, violation of boundaries, exploitation, or abuse.

  • Who is most likely to experience self-protection?

People who have experienced repeatedly harmful behavior, and lack of remorse or apology for that behavior, are most likely to resist forgiving the offending party, according to the research by Williamson and Gonzales. In fact, they found that even the strongest motivation to forgive-to maintain a close relationship-can be mitigated by the perceived severity of the offense and/or by a perceived lack of sincere apology or remorse. Refusing to forgive is an attempt to re-calibrate the power or control in the relationship.

According to their study, one of the hardest decisions people ever face about forgiveness is: Can I get my core needs met in this relationship? Or do I need to give up this relationship to meet my core needs, including needs for safety and trust? The ongoing behavior of the offender is key here. If the hurtful behavior continues, if any sense of wrongdoing is denied, if the impact of the behavior is minimized, if the recipient’s sense of self continues to be diminished by another, or trust continues to be broken, or the victim continues to be blamed for the offender’s behavior-if someone experiences any or all of these factors, then forgiveness can start to feel like an impossible, if not a stupid, thing to do.

  • How can we overcome the barrier of self-protection?

“Victims may be legitimately concerned that forgiveness opens them up to further victimization,” write the researchers. “Intriguingly, when people perceive themselves to be more powerful in their relationship, they are more likely to forgive, perhaps because they have fewer self-protection concerns in their relationships with their offenders.”  

In other words, people sometimes have understandable fears that offering forgiveness will be (mis)interpreted by the offender as evidence that they can get away with the same behavior again. People very often need to learn they have the right to set and enforce legitimate boundaries in a relationship. Forgiveness can also involve not being in a relationship with the offender any longer or changing the rules and power dynamics for continuing the relationship.

 

  • How to Set Limits

Older man and woman hugging1. Identify one boundary you’ve been reluctant to set with the person you are struggling to forgive.

2. Clarify in your own mind how setting this limit reflects and serves your own values, needs, and desires. Reflect on your understanding of the values and desires of the other person. Notice any common ground between the two of you; notice the differences.

3. Initiate the conversation about limits with the other person. Begin by expressing your appreciation for him or her listening to you. State the topic; state your understanding of your own needs and of theirs.

4. State the terms of your limit, simply, clearly, unequivocally. You’ve already stated the values, needs and desires behind the limit; you do not have to justify, explain or defend your position. State the consequences for the relationship if this limit is not respected.

5. Negotiate with the other person what behaviors they can do, by when, to demonstrate that they understand your limit, the need for it, the benefit of it.

6. At the end of the specified “test” period, discuss with your person the changes in the relationship if the limit was respected, or the next step in consequences if the limit is not respected in the next test period. You may have to repeat this exercise many times to shift the dynamics in your relationship.

 

Barrier #3: “Face” Concerns

Forgiveness - Daughter and motherThe third block is “face” concerns  – what we might call the need to save face in front of other people and protect one’s own public reputation, as well as avoid threats to one’s own self-concept-i.e, feeling that “I’m a pushover” or “I’m a doormat.”

As social beings, we’re primed to not want to appear weak or vulnerable or pathetic in front of other people. We will protect ourselves from feeling inner shame in many ways, which may include a reluctance to forgive. Researchers have also found that hanging on to a grudge can give people a sense of control in their relationships; they may fear that forgiveness will cause them to lose this “social power.” If our concerns about saving face foster a desire to retaliate or seek vengeance rather than forgive, we may need to re-strengthen our inner sense of self-worth and self-respect before forgiveness can be an option.

  • Who is most likely to experience face concerns?

People who feel their self-worth has been diminished by the offense, or who experience a threat to their sense of control, belonging, or social reputation, or even feel a need for revenge, are more likely to experience the face concerns that could block forgiveness. “To the extent that victims fear that they may appear weak by forgiving, and are concerned with projecting an image of power and interpersonal control, they should feel more averse to the prospect of forgiving,” write the researchers.

  • How can we overcome the barrier of face concerns?

Very often people who have been hurt by another need to recover their own sense of self-respect and self-worth to create the mental space where forgiveness looks like a real option. We need to develop and maintain an inner subjective reality-a sense of self-that is independent of other people’s negative opinions and expectations of us. Good friends, trusted family members, therapists, or clergy can be very helpful in functioning as a True Other to someone’s True Self-they’re figures who can help generate a more positive sense of self.

Forgiveness is not easy. It takes sincere intention and diligent practice over time. But overcoming reluctance, even refusal, to forgive can be facilitated by understanding these specific aversions to forgiveness, and by implementing strategies to address these barriers skillfully.

  • How to See Yourself

How to See Yourself1. Sit comfortably, allowing your eyes to gently close. Focus your attention on your breathing.

2. When you’re ready, bring to mind someone in your life in whose presence you feel safe. This person could be a dear friend, a therapist, a teacher, a spiritual figure, your own wiser self.

3. Imagine yourself sitting with this person face-to-face. Visualize the person looking at you with acceptance and tenderness, appreciation and delight. Feel yourself taking in his or her love and acceptance of you.

4. Now imagine yourself being the other person, looking at yourself through his or her eyes. Feel that person’s love and openness being directed toward you. See in yourself the goodness the other person sees in you. Savor this awareness of your own goodness.

Happy elderly couple kissing5. Now come back to being yourself. You are in your own body again, experiencing the other person looking at you again, with so much love and acceptance. Notice how and where you feel that love and acceptance in your body – as a smile, as a warmth in your heart – and savor it.

6. Take a moment to reflect on your experience. You are recovering a positive view of your own self again. Set the intention to remember this feeling when you need to.

 

 

Reference
Williamson I, Gonzales M, Fernandez S, Williams A, Forgiveness aversion; developing a motivational state measure of perceived forgiveness risks,Motivation and Emotion, June 2014, Volume 38, Issue 3, p 378-400, SpringerLink, Retrieved: 6/29/2014

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Linda GrahamLinda Graham  has submitted this article as a Health and Wellness Educator volunteer writer for the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. This article first appeared on the Greater Good Science Center website on May 13, 2014.   Linda is a psychotherapist in full-time private practice in Corte Madera, CA and a long-time practitioner of vipassana meditation. She integrates modern neuroscience, mindfulness practices, and relational psychology in her nationwide trainings and in her local Deepening Joy groups. She is the author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, which won the 2013 Better Books for a Better Life award and the 2014 Better Books for a Better Worlds award. Linda publishes a monthly e-newsletter, Healing and Awakening into Aliveness and Wholeness, and weekly Resources for Recovering Resilience, archived at www.lindagraham-mft.net.   The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

 

 

12 Health Benefits of Sex

Couple feet in bedIf you are eating right, getting plenty of sleep and practicing safe sex, sexual activity can be very healthy for mind, body and spirit. Research has shown that those who have a sexually active life, are generally healthier and happier. Here are some of the benefits backed up by research:

    1. Increased Immunity – According to a  2004 study by Charnetski and Brennan, published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “Sexual frequency and salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA),” frequent sexual activity might boost immunity.  The saliva of 112 college students was studied in three groups of college students. Those who engaged in sex frequently (three or more times a week) had a higher level of salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA), than the two other groups who engaged in sex less often (1. less than once a week or 2. once or twice a week). Frequent sexual activity may result in increased immunity. 
    2. Releases Anxiety –  Professor Stuart Brody, Ph.D., conducted a research study at the University of the West of Scotland. The study revealed that people who had sexual intercourse at least once over two weeks were better able to manage stress.  Endorphins and oxytocin are feel-good hormones that are released during sex and activate pleasure centers in the brain. If you are looking for a way to release stress and anxiety, sexual activity creates a natural chemical bodily reaction that eliminates or reduces anxiety.

 

  • Improved Bladder Control

Bladder ControlThe muscles used in achieving orgasm are the same muscles used in bladder control. Frequent sexual activity can strengthen muscles of the pelvic floor and  help women and men avoid incontinence and premature ejaculation. You can strengthen these muscles by practicing Kegel exercises.  If you not certain how to flex these muscles, the best way to discover the muscles it to practice stopping the flow of urine. A Kegel squeeze is performed by drawing your lower pelvic muscles up and holding them up high and tight.

 

 

  • Lowered Blood Pressure
    Blood pressure cuff
    A study by Brody, Veit and Rau,  showed that sexual intercourse among cohabiting partner subjects, resulted in a greater heart rate variability (HRV) and a lower resting diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in  51 healthy adults aged 20-47 .  The diastolic blood pressure was not lowered  when sex was practiced alone or  with the  group of  non-cohabiting subjects.  Researchers looked at the bonding created between couple pairs as an important role in lower blood pressure levels. Those who lived together and knew one another well had lower blood pressure after sexual activity. 
  • Burns calories – Canadian researchers at the University of Quebec studied 20 couples aged 18 to 35.  They were instructed to have sex once a week for a month and jog on a treadmill for 30 minutes. The study showed that at certain points during sex some of the men were actually expending more energy than they did when on the treadmill. 
  • Relieves pain
    Brain and Oxytoxin
    Sexual activity increases
    oxytocin. Research consistently shows that oxytocin increases emotional connection, increases a sense of calm and well-being, and reduces the effects of stress (as measured by lowered blood pressure and cortisol), which results in relaxation and reduces the perception of pain. Orgasm also releases endorphins, a natural opiod painkiller that reduces the awareness of pain and creates a feeling of euphoria.  Studies have shown sexual activity to help reduce or block back and leg pain, menstrual cramp pain, arthritis and headaches. One study found that sexual activity can lead to partial or complete relief of headache in some. 
  • Antidepressant
    Orgasm produces natural body antidepressant chemicals such as serotonin,  phenyl ethylamine (also found in chocolate) which activates the brain’s pleasure center; and endorphins, one of the body’s natural opioid feel-good chemicals.
     

    Pain Drugs in Brain
    The brain produces more than 50 identified active drugs. Some of these are associated with memory, others with intelligence, still others are sedatives. Endorphin is the brain’s painkiller, and it is 3 times more potent than morphine.

     

  • Prostate Cancer Reduction A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed data on 29,342 men and found that those who had 21 or more orgasms a month were about 30% less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who had about 4-7 orgasms a month.However, more research is needed in this area before research can be determined to be conclusive. Critics of the study say that there were other contributing factors. 
  • Induces Sleep Hormones are released after orgasm. Prolactin creates a variety of physical responses, including sleepiness. Prolactin suppresses the effects of dopamine, an arousal hormone. Animals injected with the chemical become tired immediately. Intercourse orgasm releases four times more prolactin than masturbatory orgasm, according to a recent study. Researchers found that the hormone oxytocin, released during orgasm, also promotes sleep and is known as the “love hormone” as it results in a “feel-good” emotional bond with your partner. 
  • Increases Self Esteem Researchers have found that the chemicals released after orgasm increase self esteem, reduce stress and elicit feel-good hormones. Those who engage in sexual activity more frequently are better able to cope with stressful situations that require confidence boosting, such as public speaking, according to the research of Professor Stuart Brody, Ph.D, of Scotland. 
  • Live Longer, Healthier Life

    Sexual Activity by Age

 

 

Researchers have found that the more often one engages in sex, the more likely they are able to live a healthier longer life, and/or vice versa. The healthier one is, the longer they are able to engage in a healthier sex life. In a study entitled, “Sex, health, and years of sexually active life gained due to good health: evidence from two US population based cross sectional surveys of ageing,” researchers Stacy Tessler Lindau, Associate Professor  and Natalia Gavrilova, Senior Research Associate concluded:“Sexual activity, quality of sexual life, and interest in sex were positively associated with health in middle age and later life.

 

  • Increased Emotional Love Bond Senior loveStudies show that the hormone oxytocin is increased after orgasm and creates a chemical reaction in the brain resulting in the feeling of an emotional bond of love between sexual partners. This allows partners to better experience compassionate, caring, emphatic connection with one another. 

 

Resources:
Charnetski and Brennan,”Sexual frequency and salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA),” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

Brody, Veit and Rau, “A preliminary report relating frequency of vaginal intercourse to heart rate variability, Valsalva ratio, blood pressure, and cohabitation status,” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

Julie Frappier, Isabelle Toupin, Joseph J. Levy, Mylene Aubertin-Leheudre, Antony D. Karelis Energy Expenditure during Sexual Activity in Young Healthy Couples, Public Library of Science, October 24, 2013

 
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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
 Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

 

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Self-Care During the Holidays

Old Fashioned Winter HolidayAre You Feeling Stressed?
Guess what?  The holiday season is here.  Bodhi Day, Pancha Ganapati, Hanukkah,  Winter Solstice, Yalda, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve is right around the corner.  As children we get very deeply conditioned about what it means, all the expectations, ‘shoulds,” and “should-nots.” As much as you may be looking forward to the holiday gifts and festivals, it can also be a traumatic experience. Do you remember hoping, praying for your favorite gift, so excited for weeks… then you open the gifts and you got something else? How sad and disappointing it was!

Holiday StressThe Role of Childhood Experiences 
Very often when the holidays are approaching we feel stress, without always consciously knowing why. One of the main reasons is lack of self-care. We tend to be very outwardly focused, thinking about what is expected of us, how to do the “right” actions, find the “right”  gifts for our family and friends, neglecting our own wants and needs. If you didn’t get the  gifts you had really wanted as a child and teenager, that sets up another layer of tension and stress today, because childhood experiences create an assumption in the subconscious that the same experiences will happen today.

Happy HolidayHow to Have a Stress-Free Holiday
Here are some of the ways to take care of yourself, so that you can experience more relaxation and joy during this holiday season than you had before.

1. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths into your belly. Ground yourself first. Get a sense of your feet on the ground, connected to the earth. Feel your tail bone, and imagine that from the tip of your tailbone a strong grounding cord is coming out, like a tree. Your grounding cord is moving deep into the earth, all the way into the very center of the earth, and is anchoring itself there. Feel yourself deeply connected to Mother Earth, grounded in this moment in a peaceful and relaxed way.

2. Realize that this is your life, you come first. Say to yourself out loud: “This is my life. I come first.”

3. As a child your survival depended on your caregivers, you didn’t have much choice. Now as an adult you have choices you didn’t have back then. Feel in your gut the fact that you can choose to take care of yourself now and ask for what you want. “I deserve to ask for what I want.”

4. Take a few deep breaths, all the way down into your belly.

5. Ask yourself what you want in this holiday season. Imagine the possibility of a stress-free holiday.

6. Making mistakes is part of being human. We can learn from our mistakes, apologize, and forgive ourselves. Realize that who you are is always lovable no matter what mistakes you have made.

7. Your Self-Love Chamber is in the middle of your chest. Put both of your hands there and send yourself unconditional Love. Feel it spreading through your body.

8. Say to yourself: “I love myself exactly as I am.”

9. Imagine your ideal holiday. Write it down. Say to yourself: “I deserve to receive a joyful holiday.”

10. Write down two-three self-care actions you can do for each of these holidays.

 

Rabia ErdumanRabia Erduman is a Health Educator for the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. She was born in Istanbul, Turkey and later spent ten years in Germany before arriving in the United States in 1983.  Rabia utilizes Psychology, Transpersonal Hypnotherapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Polarity Therapy, Reiki,  and Trauma Release to assist clients in their process of self-discovery. Rabia also teaches Tantric and spiritually-oriented workshops. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance and/or to find out how you can have your health article printed here on our blog site, contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com

60 Random Acts of Kindness

What are random acts of kindness?  How do I know if I’m being kind or if I’m being selfish? 

What is Kindness?

How can we be more kind? Kindness is the highest form of wisdom. Kindness also makes us feel better and improves our health.

WHY SHOULD I BE KIND?
Studies show that acts of charity and kindness improve the health of our body, mind and spirit.  When you are kind to yourself and others, your energy level improves, your circulation improves, pain decreases, digestion improves and a general sense of well-being in heightened.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M BEING KIND?
True kindness comes from deep within the heart.  You will know when you are being kind or when someone is being kind to you because you feel a warmth, a stirring within  you  as Soul. You feel appreciated, valued, cared for and loved. You feel grateful.  When you are being kind to someone else, you are not thinking of your own personal agenda, you are acting selflessly for the greater good of another person or of a community.

If a person is able to receive your gift of kindness, often that person lights up with appreciation and gratitude. That person softens and the true light from within shines much brighter.   Be honest with yourself.  Are you being kind or are you trying to control others by helping others? No one likes a “do-gooder” who is trying to help, when no help is wanted. This is not an act of kindness.  This is an act of power.   If you make a mistake (and we all do) and realize that your efforts were  unkind, love yourself and forgive yourself. You can choose to learn valuable lesson and start over.  Learning how to be kind is worth the effort, for yourself and others.

WHAT IF A PERSON DOESN’T ACCEPT MY KINDNESS?
Sometimes people are not able to receive gifts of kindness and love. Check in with yourself and trust your intuition. One of two situations might be occurring:

  1. Maybe you are not doing  what the person wants and needs, but instead you are doing what you think is best for them.
  2. Maybe that person truly is grateful but feels depressed, ashamed and is unable to receive your kindness, compassion and love.  If a person doesn’t accept your kindness, allow that person freedom to live life in their own way, but check in with yourself.  Make sure you are being truly kind.
Comforting Young Adults

Sometimes kindness is just quietly listening.

How do you know whether you are being kind or whether your actions are self-motivated? It is important to be honest with yourself.  A truly kind person knows how to listen and gives from the heart. Sometimes kindness means just quietly listening.  If you trust your intuition and truly act from the heart with love, you will soon discover how to be kind.

WHAT DOES RESEARCH TELL US?
A 2013 study, “A Functional Genomic Perspective on Human Well-being” by researchers Barbara Frederickson, Stephen Cole, and others at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of North Carolina found that people whose happiness was based on helping others, rather than on aquiring materialistic objects, had lower inflammatory markers and improved levels of antibodies, needed for fighting off disease. Researchers analyzed the blood of 80 healthy volunteers.  The volunteers were surveyed to determine what made them happy and gave them a feeling of satisfaction in life. The volunteers whose happiness was more eudaemonic, or based on a sense of higher purpose and service to others had profiles that displayed augmented levels of antibody-producing gene expression and lower levels of the pro-inflammatory expression. They concluded that “the human genome may be more sensitive to qualitative variations in well-being than are our conscious affective experiences.”

A May 2013 study, “Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering” by researchers at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that adults can be trained to be more compassionate. The report is published in the online journal  Psychological Science, and is the first to investigate whether training adults in compassion can result in greater altruistic (kind, selfless, and generous) behavior. After the training in compassion, there was an increase in altruistic “redistribution of funds.”  Researchers Weng, Fox, and others, concluded “These results suggest that compassion can be cultivated with training and that greater altruistic behavior may emerge from increased engagement of neural systems implicated in understanding the suffering of other people, executive and emotional control, and reward processing.”

60 RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
You most likely are practicing random acts of kindness every day. Being kind can be as simple as smiling.  Here are a few ideas for random acts of kindness.  If you don’t see an act of kindness that you have tried, please share and add to this list by making a comment below.

  1. If you drive through a toll booth, pay the toll for the next person behind you.
  2. If you live in an area with snow, shovel the sidewalk for your neighbor.

    Shoveling Snow

    Everyone is grateful for help with the snow.

  3. Pick up litter in the community at parks, playgrounds, parking lots, sidewalks, etc., without being asked to do so, or without joining a community service organization.
  4. Offer to help your family members or friends with a project they are working with.
  5. Bring in a neighbor’s trash cans from the street.
  6. Write a poem for a loved one and read it to them.
  7. When you go to a public library and see books placed on the self crooked or shoved back too far, straighten the books on the bookshelf to be helpful to the next person (let the librarian be in charge of shelving, but you can do your part to straighten).

    Young Woman Book

    Straightening library shelves can be a great way to show kindness and give community support.

  8. If you see someone who looks lost, take time to give directions.
  9. If you see someone struggling with carrying packages to their car, offer to help carry the bags for them.
  10. Leave a book or magazine at a laundromat or waiting room for the next person to read.
  11. If you see a parking meter that has expired, put coins in the meter for the person.
  12. Write motivational messages or inspirational notes on “sticky notes” or “PostIts”  for your family members, such as “You make me smile,”  or “I’m grateful for you in my life,”  or “Thank you for being so kind,”  and leave them in little places around the house where they will be sure to see them.

    You Are Beautiful

    Leave positive or uplifting messages on sticky notes for family members or friends.

  13. Buy extra dog food or dog treats and donate it to a local animal shelter.
  14. Write a letter or mail a package to a person in the armed forces.  Find out more by visiting www.military.com
  15. Write letters of encouragement on friendship note cards  and deliver them to a senior center, such as “You are beautiful and shine with love,”  “Have a wonderful day,”  “Sending you warm showers of love today.”
  16. When you leave a public bathroom that is not well-kept, take a paper towel and wipe off  the counter for the next person.
  17. Buy a box of  holiday cards and sign  them with holiday love and best wishes.  Deliver them to a homeless shelter, hospital, or nursing home.
  18. If you have a secretary or assistant who helps you, bring that person a special gift, food treat, or favorite beverage first thing in the morning.
  19. Stick a thank you note outside the door for the newspaper carrier.
  20. Bake cookies or create healthy food baskets (such as raw fruits) to give as “gratitude gifts” and drop them off to public servants such as firefighters or police men or women.
  21. When you are mowing your yard, and you know that your neighbor wants their yard mowed, mow your neighbor’s yard as well.
  22. Send thank you cards to people who help you every day, such as the hairdresser, the dentist, the apartment manager etc.,  thanking them for their service.
  23. Stop by a florist shop and buy flowers or pick flowers from your flower garden.  Then listen inwardly for guidance and give the flowers to the first person you see who is in need of receiving love.

    Girl gives flowers

    Giving flowers is a loving gesture that says, “You are special. I care about you.”

  24. If you go to church, put a note in the collection plate along with your offering, thanking the minister and staff for the love they put into the service.
  25. Begin to collect coins or bills in a jar each day, and then donate the collection to charity.
  26. If you happen to walk or drive by a home that is well-kept, with a beautiful garden or yard, write a little note and put it in their mail box telling them how much you appreciate the love they put into their home.
  27. Buy a bird feeder, or put a plate or pan outside in the yard to provide birdseed for the birds and squirrels.

    Person Feeding Bird

    All creatures on earth respond to kindness.

  28. Write a letter or note to a very old friend, classmate, or someone you haven’t seen for many years, and tell them why you appreciate them and what a difference they have made in your life.
  29. If you are shopping at a grocery store and a person is checking out in front of you, doesn’t have enough change handy at the register, offer your coins to them.
  30. If someone owes you money, let it go, forgive them and never think of it again.
  31.  Say, “I’m sorry” to someone when you’ve made a mistake.
  32. When you are leaving a restaurant, pay for someone else’s meal without them knowing about it.
  33. If you see someone on the street asking for money, give a donation to them.
  34. When you use a vending machine, leave your change for the next person.
  35. If you are in a crowded bus, offer someone your seat.

    Offers a Seat on Bus

    Kindness is thinking of others with loving care, and demonstrating that with thought, word and deed.

  36. Offer to babysit for your friend’s children so that the parents can have a special “date night” out.
  37. Take time out to really listen to a loved one or friend.
  38. If there is a donation box at the checkout in a store, add some money to the collection.
  39. If you see a shopping cart out in the parking lot, return the shopping cart back to the store or to its storage area.
  40. If you notice that a neighbor is moving, walk over to their house and offer to help pack or lift boxes.
  41. If someone is explaining themselves and talking for a long time and your mind begins drifting to other thoughts about your own life, stop yourself from drifting and just listen and let them talk.
  42. Check your phone book for local animal shelters and volunteer at the animal shelter (walk  dogs, pet kittens,  help with cleaning cages, or feed animals).
  43. If you enter or leave a building and notice someone behind you, hold the door open so they can walk ahead of you.

    Holding the Door Open

    Holding the door open for someone is a simple, compassionate gesture.

  44. If you see a homeless person on the street and you’ve just left the grocery store, give them a bag of groceries, and go back for more.
  45. Say hello, good morning or good afternoon when you see people on the street.
  46. Offer to let someone step ahead of you when you are waiting in line.
  47. If you have elderly neighbors with dogs, offer to walk their dogs.
  48. Begin the habit of buying two or three extra cans or packages of food when you go shopping.  Check your local area for food banks or the Salvation Army and donate to food banks regularly.
  49. Call the local schools and volunteer to be a tutor or mentor.
  50. Write a thank you note to your teacher or coach and tell them how much they helped you.
  51. When you are driving your car and another car is trying to merge into traffic, let them merge into your lane.
  52. If you take the city bus, be extra kind to a bus driver. Say hello, tell them how much you appreciate what they do.
  53. Call friends or family members whom you do not see often and tell them what you appreciate about them. Ask them to share how they are doing.  Listen and be a good friend.

    Happy Phone Call

    Your uplifting, kind words on a phone call to a family member or friend might be the highlight of that person’s day, and something they might treasure for a lifetime.

  54. Donate toys to children in need.
  55. If you are living with another family member, do chores or errands for them that they ordinarily do for themselves or others (such as the laundry, dusting, cooking, etc.).
  56. If a friend or family member looks tired, offer to fix them a cup of tea or give them a foot massage or something to eat.
  57. Be friendly to new neighbors and bring them a food basket.
  58. Sort through all of your clothes and donate clothes you don’t use anymore to a used clothing store or homeless shelter.
  59. Offer to “pet sit” for friends who are going vacationing.
  60. Smile at everyone you see and everyone you don’t see (even when you are talking on the phone).  Remember that kindness starts in the heart and is felt from one person to another across the miles.

RESOURCES
NY Times – “Looking to Genes for the Secret to Happiness”
PNAS – “A functional genomic perspective on human well-being
NY Times – “Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?”
University of Wisconsin Madison – “Brain Can Be Trained in Compassion, Study Shows
Psychological Science – “Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering”
Random Acts of Kindness (www.randomactsofkindness.org)

_______________________________


Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
  Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

20 Best Gratitude Quotes

Grateful thoughts to you, our friends!

It's not happiness that brings us gratitude, it's gratitude that brings us happiness.  Click, copy, download, save and share.

It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude, it’s gratitude that brings us happiness.

What is gratitude? How do we stay grateful when times are difficult?

Gratitude can shift a negative moment into a positive in an instant but it’s not always easy to find something to be grateful for when times are challenging…..or is it?

Even in the darkest times, those who are considered saints, martyrs, great philosophers and spiritual teachers have mastered the art of a “gratitude attitude.”   Can you?   Here are 20 gratitude quotes to brighten your day and open your heart to the blessings in life.

20 BEST GRATITUDE QUOTES

  1. GratitudeGrace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.  It’s a way to live.  ~Attributed to Jacqueline Winspear
  2. Praise the bridge that carried you over.  ~George Colman
  3. If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.  ~Robert Quillen
  4. The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes.  It has enough lush forests, flowered fields and sandy beaches.  It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day.  What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it.  ~Michael Josephson, whatwillmatter.com
  5. Gratitude is the memory of the heart.  ~Jean Baptiste Massieu, translated from French
  6. All that we behold is full of blessings.  ~William Wordsworth
  7. man in praiseAs each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. ~Terri Guillemets
  8. I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.  ~G.K. Chesterton
  9. Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  ~Marcel Prous
  10. We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder
  11. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.   ~John F. Kennedy
  12. At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.   ~Albert Schweitzer
  13. The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.
   ~WIlliam James
  14. Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.   ~Oprah Winfrey
  15. Grateful old manHe is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.   ~Epictetus
  16. Thou hast given so much to me, Give one thing more, – a grateful heart; Not thankful when it pleaseth me, As if Thy blessings had spare days, But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise. ~George Herbert
  17. Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.  ~Kak Sri
  18. If you have lived, take thankfully the past.  ~John Dryden
  19. Gratitude is an opener of locked-up blessings.  ~Marianne Williamson
  20. There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude.  It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance.  ~Joseph Addison

Best wishes and gratitude to you for your friendship.

_____________________________

Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

20 Ways to Love Yourself

YOU are lovable and valuable.  How do you love yourself? How do we give yourself love without being selfish?

Love Yourself

Love yourself. You are lovable and valuable.

WHAT IS SELF-LOVE? Self-love is not the same as selfishness. Self-love is not vain. Self-love is important for our preservation and existence.  If we do not love and care for ourselves, then we are not taking responsibility for ourselves.

We cannot expect others to care for us when we can care for ourselves. If we do this, we can be guaranteed to be disappointed, because another Soul cannot love us the way that we can love ourselves.  Of course, sometimes we need help from others, but we must do what we can to love and care for ourselves, even if it is just inwardly being responsible for not allowing negative thinking to dominate our lives.

Studies show that those who have not learned how to love themselves, are more prone to disease, and even death.  Self-love is how we keep the mind, body, and spirit, free from disease and charged up with positive healing energies.


20 WAYS TO LOVE YOURSELF

    1. Make a list of all of your talents and positive qualities and post it up on the wall or refrigerator where you can see it, or for those more modest, put it on the inside of closet door, or a place where only you will see it everyday.  If you are having trouble making a list, ask a trusted friend to help you.  Try to use a variety of words, not just “nice.”  Do a word search for “positive characteristics.”  Try some other words like, “determined,”  “easy-going,” “imaginative,” “trusting,” etc.

      Man Looking in the Mirror

      Do you love yourself? Can you look in the mirror and feel good about who you see?

    2. Look in the mirror and give yourself a compliment (for example, “You are a good listener,”  or “You’re reliable and dependable,”  “You have very good complexion,”  or “You are very talented at drawing.”   Truly mean it and be grateful for the positive traits you have.
    3. Make a list of things that you love to do (for example, listening to French music, watching old movies, playing cards, going for a walk in the park, sitting with the dogs, etc.) and plan time on your calendar or daily planner to schedule at least one or two hours every day, doing something that uplifting or fun that brings joy to your heart.

      Woman shrugging shoulders

      Learn to take your time to make decisions. It’s O.K. not to know what to do and to take time until you are certain.

    4. Learn to say, “I’ll get back to you,”  or “let me give that some thought.”  Don’t say “yes” or “no” too quickly.  Learn to trust your own judgment and inner direction, by giving yourself some time alone to make your own decisions.  This might mean going against a decision made by a group of friends.  Know that this is an important step in loving yourself. Take time to make decisions and know that it is perfectly fine to not know what to do.
    5. Make a list of your favorite foods that are healthy for every part of you – body, mind and spirit, (not just a long list of junk food that might be good for the emotions but bad for the stomach and heart). Put some thought into this “healthy food” list.  Make some effort to throw out foods that are not nourishing to you and replace them with healthy and fun foods that you enjoy such as fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, organic foods and juices, etc. 
    6. Hug yourself.  Give it a try. Nobody is looking and it feels really good.  Hug yourself every day.
    7. Shift gears and lead a balanced life.  Make sure that you are getting enough exercise and enough rest so that you lead a balanced life.  If you stay inside and work on a computer all day, get out of the house and get some exercise. If you do physical work all day, stay inside, relax, put your feet up and snuggle with a loved one or the cat in front of a cozy fire. Take care of your body by eating healthy foods, exercising, and relaxing.
    8. Imagine that someone is telling you something negative about yourself and you are strong and unaffected. Practice being detached and saying. “O.K. fine,” and not caring about what others think.  Practice seeing yourself in a good light, even when others see you in a negative way.  Keep practicing until you honestly are not bothered by these kind of statements. You can do it!
    9. Make a list of people whom you admire or who inspire you.  Now that you have a few names, think of the character traits that they have that you like.  Write the character or personality traits next to the person’s name such as confident, relaxed, wise, affectionate, humorous, honest, trustworthy, fun, talented, etc.   Then take this list and compare it with a list of your traits.  Which traits do you have?  Which traits do you need to work on? Next spend time each day in quiet contemplation imagining that you are this trait.  If it is “friendly,” then close your eyes and go on a little journey, imagining a little “drama” or “play” in which you are a very friendly person.  Do this every day.

      Writing Goals

      One way to love yourself is to take time to listen, and write down your goals and dreams.

    10. Use a journal every day before going to sleep. Write down in the journal what you choose to accomplish or how you wish to be.  This is your true self.  For example, write:  “I am kind.  I am patient.  I am loved. I bring joy and happiness to others.”   Write these statements several times in the morning, throughout the day, and before falling asleep.
    11. Spend some time alone with yourself every day. Turn off the TV, cell phone, computer and just listen. Get a pen and paper and write down your hopes and dreams.  What is it that you’ve always wanted to do?  Close your eyes and imagine it so.  Now start breaking it down into goals.  Write down five, ten or more steps to achieving your goal.  What is standing in your way? Start taking action by writing each goal step on your calendar.  Forgive yourself if you have to reschedule, but be persistent and don’t give up.
    12. Learn how be yourself.  Who are you? What do you like?  Find out what your favorite music is, your favorite clothes, your favorite foods, etc.  Spend time alone and sort this out so that when you are with others you are not just copying what they do.  Then when you are certain who you are and what makes you uniquely YOU, be true to yourself.  Find friends, or groups of people (classes, clubs, organizations) who enjoy being with you just the way you are, and who enjoy the same things you do. Join groups. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and hold the same values.
    13. Pretend that you are your best friend.  When you are planning what to do for the day and you start to contact your best friend, stop yourself and ask, “Is there anything that I am choosing to give my best friend, that I’m not giving to myself?”  Do you treat your best friend with kindness, trust, respect, flattery,  time, patience, understanding, forgiveness and tolerance?  It’s great to give to your friends and make time for them, but be sure to balance it out with time, forgiveness, love, and gifts for yourself.
    14. Don’t compare. If you find that you are comparing yourself to another person or a group of people, stop yourself and say, “I don’t make  comparisons.”  Remember that each person is unique.  Each person is lovable and valuable. The trick is to find your uniqueness, your sparkle, and not to focus on differences. This holds true for others also.  Hold onto the image of each person’s value and uniqueness in life. Stop looking at how people (yourself included) don’t measure up to certain standards or expectations. Throw out expectations.  When you compare, you hurt others and yourself. and separate yourself from the world. Remember that love doesn’t put itself on a scale to be measured out by comparisons.

      Physical Exam

      Scheduling yearly physical exams is one important way to show our love for ourselves.

    15. See a doctor or trusted practitioner regularly.  Schedule basic health exams, blood work, and other tests and screenings to make sure you are in tip top shape.
    16.  Treat yourself.  Get a massage, sauna, facial, pedicure, manicure, new haircut, paint your room, buy new curtains, buy new clothes, etc.  Do something loving for your body and/or your home. Treat yourself and have fun.
    17. Explore aromatherapy.  So maybe you cleaned up the house, bought nice clothes, went to the doctor and you are feeling fine…did you think about fragrances?  What does your place smell like and what do you smell like?  Find out which fragrances make you happy and relaxed.  Buy shaving lotions, aftershave, men’s cologne, women’s perfume, deodorant, incense, fresh flowers, air fresheners, or essential oils to bring amazing fragrances into your life that bring out the best in you.
    18. Forgive yourself and others for past mistakes.  Close your eyes, listen to your heart and discover any past regrets, disappointments, shame, fear, guilt, anger, that is still gripping your heart and preventing you from moving forward.  Imagine surrendering this over to a higher power and letting go.  Practice tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance, faith and trust in higher wisdom and a higher plan.  Know that more will be revealed to you.  You or those you love, may not have all the skills needed at the moment, but accept that you and others are learning and evolving spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Write and say out loud, “I forgive myself. I forgive others.” Let it go.
    19. Thank your negativity. Every time you hear yourself thinking a negative thought about yourself or others, such as “I am ugly,” talk to your emotions or your mind and say, “Thank you for providing me with this information.”  Be grateful for the negative thought.  Then let it go, saying to yourself. “I’m grateful and I’ve heard you, and I don’t need to think of this anymore. Thank you.” Send it away and replace it with a positive thought, such as “I am radiant.”
    20. Give to others.  Do something good, kind, loving and/or charitable each day for someone else without them knowing that you have done something, or without any expectation of recognition or reward.

_______________________________

Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.