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The Wisdom Of Uncertainty

(category: Self-Improvement, Word count: 523)
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There is really only one certainty in life. Life is uncertain. We often live as though nothing will change, but it does. This continuous battle between wanting things to stay the same and finding that nothing does stay the same creates something inside us. This creation of constant change is a movement, a force of nature, and a guiding path.

This movement within us and outside us is the spirit of living, of which, we all take part in. None of us can predict the future. This creates uncertainty on the human level, yet we all learn to trust and even welcome change in the deepest part of who we are. No one is perfect, we wake up each day with the opportunity to create something different in every moment.

When we come to expect the unexpected, we are beginning to trust in a wisdom greater than knowledge to lead us through each day. Religious communities call this the path of God, science calls this higher consciousness, but for our purposes - let's call this the path we were meant to follow with certainty in uncertainty.

To move toward something we cannot see creates uneasiness. This part of us is our human nature. Our human nature wants things in life to be predictable. At the same time, there are things in human existence that we are also glad to leave behind and in the past.

Have you ever noticed how the heart and the mind feel like they are being pulled forward by a magnetic force when we follow what we cannot see or feel? It is as though our whole body/self is being drawn into an experience. This pathless path is one we all take each day and each moment.

Wonder what would happen if you were to live for these moments and find joy in them? I suspect you would find yourself becoming more and more living in the state of anticipated joy. This does not mean that nothing in the future will be sad, but you can begin to accept each moment with anticipated joy in knowing that the awareness of this anticipated joy will fill you. It will be the filling of your body with the joy of living. The joy of living fully in soul. And, the uncertainty of the future will be met with joyful trust that all will be known when the time is right for us to know.

Such a journey was known to us as a child. Do you remember laying on the ground and finding yourself breathing in the aroma of the ground and grass? As an adult, I suspect you don't have such clarity with your senses. Let us never forget that child inside us that knew how to play all day and never tire. Our creativity was endless and filled with anticipated joy in knowing that what was about to be created next would be fun.

Samuel Oliver, author of, "What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living"

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Internal Peace Finding Peace Of Mind

(category: Self-Improvement, Word count: 765)
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What does internal peace mean for you? Does it mean a place of sanctuary where you can come home from stressful situations and find that place of safety away from the 'cares of the world'? Does it mean a place where you can be yourself without the facade many of us wear throughout the day so that people won't know how we really feel? Or is this place (often our home) one more place where we need to defend ourselves from the ongoing onslaught of anger, hostility, and power games that are so often the measure of our lives in the 21st century?

The dictionary defines internal as: having to do with or situated inside of the body; of relating to, or existing within the mind. Peace is defined as: a state of calm and quiet; freedom from disturbing thoughts; and an agreement to end hostilities. For the purpose of this article I will combine these two notions and define internal peace as: the integration of our thoughts and feelings culminating in a state of tranquility and harmony. One of the most important keys for this tranquility and harmony or 'peace of mind' as it is often called, is to honour our emotional nature and find methods to express feelings in appropriate ways that allow us to release them.

Practical Steps to Releasing Emotions

1. Learn to listen to yourself. Many of us have been harried for so long that we are out-of-touch with how we feel. A situation will present itself and we will 'flip out' and find it unbelievable that we have lost control. This actually results from a build-up of emotions that we have not been aware of.

2. Accept responsibility for your feelings. No one makes you feel anything; rather you choose how you think and feel based on what you interpret the situation to be. Blaming others gives away your power and when you feel like a 'victim' you react with anger and resentment.

3. Talk to a trusted friend or counsellor. Finding a 'safe place' where you are able to express feelings without anyone judging you provides an opportunity to release pent-up emotions.

4. Accept yourself. You are not supposed to be perfect and learning to accept yourself with all your strengths and weaknesses creates feelings of peace within.

5. Don't judge yourself. Judging yourself means thinking you have to be perfect and creates feelings of not being 'good enough.' When feeling inadequate you judge yourself harshly and no matter what you do it will never be 'good enough.'

6. Let go of the past. The past is over and you did the best you could with what you knew at the time. If the past evokes memories of painful experiences for you, release the memories and find forgiveness for yourself and/or others. This doesn't mean you condone these behaviors. It means you release the memories and feelings to find your own inner healing and peace.

7. Learn to relax. Many methods exist that contribute to staying in balance and harmony. Practicing meditation as a daily ritual, reading, exercising, walking, or creating a sacred space where you can spend time feeling a sense of renewal and refreshment are all methods that take you away from focusing on 'what is wrong' to seeing yourself as having 'control of your life.'

8. Practice gratitude. What you pay attention to increases as you give energy to your thoughts. Thoughts of peace, love, and abundance increases the inner healing and peace and leads to living lives that feel more balanced and harmonious.

9. Keep a journal. People have used journaling for many years in order to release emotions and make sense of what is going on. This journal or notebook is for your eyes only and allows you to say anything you want without anybody seeing it except you. Once expressed, emotions tend to dissipate and you will find they are released through this exploration. If this process doesn't totally release them the first time, repeat the exercise.

10. Spend time in nature. We are part of nature and when we re-connect with the natural world we touch our inner self/ spiritual connection to something more. That something more is our connection to the Universal Energy whether we call it God, Goddess, All That Is, or Higher Power. Whatever we call it, when we feel connected to the 'Whole' we recognize our place in the world and feel a sense of peace and harmony and that 'all is right in our world.'

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How To Improve Brain Function

(category: Self-Improvement, Word count: 479)
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How to improve brain function? Start with a few questions.

Is problem solving easy for you? Do you learn new things quickly? Can you improve your brain function? Your answers to these questions will have an effect on your brain function, because brainpower and psychology are intimately connected.

Brain Function and Expectation

1. A friend spent his childhood with wealthy kids and their families. He now makes more money than most of us. Coincidence? Did rich friends give him money? Did they help him in business? No to all three questions. He just grew up with an expectation of a certain level of income. His mind will always push him to take actions towards that level.

2. The book said there was a checkmate in four moves, so I looked until I found it. I used to think those elegant solutions to chess puzzles were very rare in real games. I eventually realized they are there, but that without the expectation of finding them, I settled for less worthy moves. Now I find the elegant moves more often.

Do you see how expectation and belief expands or limits your mind and your life? Now, to apply this to better brain function, you need to adjust your expectation and unconscious beliefs about your brainpower.

What you think certainly affects what you accomplish. When you believe you can improve your brain function, you are far more likely to do what's necessary to get that result. So how do you adopt the most useful beliefs and expectations?

Okay, don't worry. I won't tell you to stand in front of a mirror making positive affirmations. I have an easier way.

Affirmation or Evidence?

Try this experiment: Watch for polite drivers for two days, making a mental note to yourself each time you see one. Notice the polite ones, ignoring the rest. By the way, this will change your experience of driving in a positive way. Then watch for rude drivers for two days, and you'll see them all over.

Do the exercise above, and you'll understand that you experience the world not just according to what is there, What you pay attention to is the more important part of your experience. Ready to apply this to your thinking process?

Notice your success. When you learn something new, make a mental note, or write it down even. Point out your problem-solving successes, and you'll have more of them. When you're thinking clearly and effectively, tell yourself, "Look at that brain go!"

Go ahead and make those affirming statements, but why not make them when you are looking at the evidence? Evidence is more convincing than affirmation. Watch, and you'll find examples of progress, however large or small. Focus on these, and remember them. You can start doing this right now. That's how to improve brain function.

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Using Conscious Creation To Improve Your Life

(category: Self-Improvement, Word count: 594)
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You've probably heard the phrase, "Idle hands are the devil's tools" - meaning if you don't have something to keep you busy, you're likely to get into trouble. That can be argued of course, since the intent to cause trouble probably has to be present also.

However, the concept itself does hold some truth regarding what we create in our lives. If it's true that we get back what we put out (into the universe), then it's easy to see why "idle hands" would be a bad thing for us. Life on this planet is an exercise in creating our own reality. Moment to moment, we are making decisions. Whether we act or don't act, we are putting forth our intent.

Every action has a consequence, either good or bad. Remember the concept, "like attracts like." Imagine that every bit of energy you put out is traveling the universe, gathering similar energy, and eventually being returned right back to you. It makes you think more carefully about what type of energy you are putting out every day, doesn't it? If we do nothing, we get nothing back (or at least nothing very good). Our lives become boring, empty shells. The very act of not moving, not doing, not creating causes stagnation.

Does that mean that as long as we keep busy, we'll have lots of prosperity and joy? Not necessarily. Remember that we need to focus our intent on what we're creating. We need to engage in the act of conscious creation every day, putting out positive, purposeful energy. What we get back is more positive energy, more abundance and more joy.

Conscious creation means thinking about what you want to do with your time, moment to moment. There are 24 hours in a day - 1,440 minutes - 86,400 seconds. Some of it has to be put aside for work, sleep, family, errands, housework, and the like. What are you doing with the rest of that time? Are you wasting it on mindless pursuits, or focusing it into purposeful activities? I'm not referring to just hobbies here, either. This is a process that can be applied to every aspect of our lives. Whether we have a lot of time to devote to hobbies or not doesn't matter. What matters is that we consciously focus our intent on building our circumstances, one minute at a time.

Some of us live our lives on autopilot. It's not that we don't want to do anything, we just don't know what to do. We have no direction, no passion, no purpose to work toward. We get up each morning, go to work, come home and lose ourselves in the television for the rest of the night. In the process, we are creating more of the same stagnant energy. If this describes you, it's time to shake things up! Develop some passions. Get excited about something. Turn your idle hands into busy hands and create something magical. The very act of moving will put energies into motion and begin pulling more favorable circumstances into your life.

Keep in mind this is a cumulative process and it takes time to fully transform your circumstances. One day of activity and purpose won't change everything around. Remember that you probably have months or years of stagnant energy built up that has resulted in your life the way it is today. By consistently working at it and keeping that positive energy in motion, it will begin to feed on itself and create even more positivity.

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Improve Your Life Naturally

(category: Self-Improvement, Word count: 435)
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There's always room for improvement. We've all heard this phrase; some of us may have been given this advice by well-meaning friends or family. Do you need to make changes in your career, your love life, your health? Whatever your need, there really is room for improvement for most of us. One area that you can make immediate changes, and feel results is in your health.

With all of the ads in the media bombarding us with quick fixes to everything that ails you, many people fall prey to the lure of pills and other concoctions that make promises that few actually keep.

Natural supplements and healthy foods is your first line of defence against germs or viruses that will inevitably try and attack you on the inside. It is never late to start making improvements to your lifestyle. These changes will make you feel better inside as well as looking better on the outside. Natural health is one of the best ways to keep your body going and to keep it in good working shape.

When faced with an illness that requires some form of medication to alter symptoms or cure a disease, make sure to do research and become well informed on all of the alternatives that are available to you. Discuss these with your physician, and do not eliminate the idea of going with a natural alternative if at all possible. Rather then taking some form of drug that will probably make you well, but severely destroy your body's immune system in the process, seek instead a healthy alternative to bypass the forced chemical reaction you will get with traditional medicine-and instead facilitate your body's healing at its own pace.

In general, however, these natural supplements will not instantly eliminate all of your symptoms, as chemical medicines do; instead, they will facilitate the healing process and at the same time infuse you with essential vitamins to fortify your body against future attacks. Natural health alternatives are not a quick fix all.

What about your everyday life and making improvements naturally that will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle; preventing potentially life altering diseases and symptoms? Natural vitamin and mineral supplements are a great alternative if you are not getting enough of the required amounts in your daily food. Remember to follow the recommended guidelines as overdosing is a waste and possibly hazardous to your health.

There is always room for improvement in our lives, and making positive changes in your health is one of the best places to start, and where you can take charge and feel results.

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Thank You Very Much Turning Problems Into Gifts

(category: Self-Improvement, Word count: 312)
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I am a martial artist and black belt in aikido, a practice that continues to teach me about life, both on and off the mat. For example, at the end of each aikido practice, I express gratitude to my partners by bowing and saying: "Thank you very much." I've found over the years that sometimes I have obvious reasons to say thank you - working with that person was exhilarating and fun. However, sometimes the reasons are not so obvious - my partner was stiff, rough, unconscious, or generally difficult to work with.

Still, I say thank you, because we're supposed to. Over the years, because I like to be congruent, I have learned to look for something to be grateful for. With my stiff partner, I find I have learned to be more flexible. With the rough opponent, I learned to take care of myself by speaking up or falling more carefully. In each case, I look for the gift. It's become fun to do this, and fun to apply this learning off the mat as well.

How might you incorporate this simple but effective practice in your daily life? Who are your attackers, and where are the unexpected gifts? After an encounter with the pokey driver ahead, if you had to say, "Thank you very much," what would you see as the gift? With a dismissive coworker or boss, if you had to look for the gift, what would it be? In each "difficult" relationship, where's the gift?

There are certain times of the year when we are more aware of being grateful for all of our blessings. My hope is that you might be grateful all year round, and not only for the obvious gifts but for the unexpected ones as well. Wishing you many of both kinds . . .

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Our Christian And Patriotic Pursuit Of Happiness

(category: Self-Improvement, Word count: 607)
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Throughout our recorded human history great people such as Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato all suggest that we personally play a pivotal role in our own happiness. Our right for the pursuit of happiness was also written by Thomas Jefferson in our Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies; but what we use as our guide to obtain happiness is essential to truly achieving happiness.

If one reads the beginning paragraph and the first sentence of the second paragraph of our Declaration of Independence, you will have, what I feel, is a realistic guide to how to achieve happiness. I have copied the beginning parts of our Declaration of Independence below for you to read for yourself, and I have underlined what I feel is our clue to what is our guide to this pursuit.

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I also read and see these patriotic words and their meaning from a Christian viewpoint. How you interpret these words maybe different than my interpretation.

Our Father in Heaven's first wish for us is that it is that we develop and have a deep, meaningful relationship with Him. His second wish is regarding our treatment and actions towards our fellow man be the same as we would do for ourselves. These are the primary commandments of our Father, but because of Him also granting us (free will) He does not make us do them, it is up to each of us as God's children to follow His wishes. Just as us as parents we can instruct and guide our children, but we cannot make them follow our wishes, we only hope that they will see their importance and meaning as adopt them as part of their character in their own lives.

If each of us does not respect and treat our fellow man with the respect and dignity as an equal, life can be hell on earth. Also, if each of us does not have a continuing and growing relationship with our Father in Heaven life can be hell on earth and beyond into the afterlife.

People from different walks of life, stature and income levels have made the statement that they feel something has always been missing in their lives, and not until they initiated an ongoing relationship with the Father in Heaven did this void seem filled. These constant reminders throughout history and in our daily lives themselves should be a neon sign for our guide as to what we need to do in the pursuit of happiness, but as the adage goes "History repeats itself." Why is this statement true? Because many people seem to not learn from history and others mistakes, hence we repeat them!

I can only pray as a patriotic Christian that to those who read this article will wake up and smell the coffee, and indelibly take them to heart.

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Do You Have This Bad Habit

(category: Self-Improvement, Word count: 654)
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It's likely that all of us have this bad habit to some extent, and I nominate it for the title of the worst habit one can have. What is it? Fighting reality rather than accepting and dealing with things the way they are. Here are some examples, and a few suggestions as to how to break this habit.

Are You Fighting Reality?

Fighting reality is a subtle habit, expressing itself in everything from blaming others for our problems to getting angry at traffic, to wishful thinking. How do know when you are doing it? Watch for these clues.

Consider how rarely you complain, or are angry or annoyed because rocks are hard and water is wet. Your easy acceptance of the facts of nature is due to clearly seeing this is simply the way it is. You have no ideas that rocks should be soft or water dry. In other areas of life, however, you probably do have ideas about how things "should be." This is the first clue that you may be "fighting reality."

Of course you can work to make the world a better place, but you don't need to deny or fight reality to do that. I once failed in business because I felt that there "shouldn't be" regulations and complicated tax systems. I used these ideas as excuses for not doing all that I had to do to succeed. Entrepreneurs may agree with that laissez-faire viewpoint, but successful ones also accept that things are how they are, and deal with it.

A great way to excuse ourselves from taking responsibility, and one of the subtle ways of fighting reality, is to blame. Seeing the role that outside factors and other people play in our problems is honesty, but focusing more on assigning blame than on how to deal with the problems is just a bad habit. It's like a child screaming "I don't want it this way!" thinking that complaints will change reality. It isn't very productive, as you may notice in friends who find many things and people to blame in their lives.

Breaking A Bad Habit

Blame the person who chooses to be cruel to you, but you are also to blame if you choose to be abused repeatedly by spending time with this person. It's a bit like sticking your hand in a fire repeatedly, hoping it will one day stop being hot. Almost, I say, because a person CAN change. However, how often do they? Be realistic here, or you are fighting reality as surely as when you put your hand into a fire.

A person can wait for his "ship to come in," or can face the fact that people create most of the "luck" they have in life, and start working toward his goals. I can work for political change or just complain and wish things were different. You can watch people succeed, while talking about the "reasons" for your failures, or you can see what they are doing to succeed and try that.

Sometimes we don't want to see the truth. To really want to see it we may need to look at the futility of fighting reality. Who is more likely to find happiness in this world, a man who demands it should be the way he wants it, or one who accepts things as they are, changes what he can, and does what he needs to do? Who will more likely succeed, a man who knows all about how things "should be," or one who sees only what is there and deals with it?

Do you need motivation to change? Start watch complainers and blamers and those who say "should" and "shouldn't" too often. Watch closely, and you'll see how they suffer for their demands on reality. This is a bad habit upon which many other bad habits are based, but it can be broken.

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The Power Of Concentration

(category: Self-Improvement, Word count: 422)
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If you had the power of concentration whenever you wanted it, imagine how much more productive you could be. Good news! Not only can learn how to concentrate better, but you can do so right now.

Concentration Power Is Automatic

Start working on something, and concentration is automatic, until you are distracted. Usually these interruptions are your own thoughts, and they may come every few seconds. If there was nothing interfering, you would have easy and complete concentration. What you need is a method to remove the distractions, to control your wandering mind.

Here it is: Start paying attention to what is going on in your head. Maybe there's a phone call you need to make, that has been quietly bothering you, just below consciousness. You could be worried about an upcoming meeting, or a family matter. Start tuning into your mind today, and it will become easier by tomorrow.

Then, as you become aware of these stressors, do something with them to let them go for the moment. Make that phone call, or make a note about it, and your mind will usually let go of the concern for now. Do whatever you can quickly do to let these "mind irritation" go. Sometimes just telling yourself something like, "There is nothing I can do about this problem until Friday," will stop unconscious worrying.

Do this exercise a few times, and you'll find it becomes easier to recognise what is just below the surface, irritating you and sapping your power of concentration. Set these mind irritations aside, and you will think more clearly.

Why Concentration?

Another simple technique is to honestly ask why you want to concentrate. Concentration is difficult if you're bored. A cure for this is to stop and consider why it's important, if it is. Answer the question, and visualize the benefits clearly, and it will be easier to focus your mind.

Obvious Distractions

I have read that Stephen King writes with loud music on. What distracts each of us, or doesn't, is obviously personal and somewhat unique. Do something about whatever it is that takes your mind away from the task at hand. Turn off the TV, feed your empty stomach, or turn your desk away from the window.

When you take care of the external and the internal distractions, you'll be able to focus your attention and brain power like a spotlight. Watch a child building a sand castle sometime, and you'll see that the power of concentration really is natural.

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