Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nietzsche on Hardship 3 of 3

Nietzsche on Hardship 2 of 3

Nietzsche on Hardship 1 of 3

Food for thought????

Why do we buy designer brands? Do they actually make us look and feel better or is it because they make us look better in the eyes of our peers?

I have been pondering over this question and yet often have succumbed to the advertisers and marketers strategy to make me part with unjustifiably large amounts of money with the promise of making me feel and look better.

Last Saturday was one of those days!

I decided to go for some shopping in a swanky mall in Delhi. Had no intention of making a major purchase, but a wonderful marketing strategy (50% -70% discount on all women’s wear accompanied by cheese and wine )by a store called Collective seemed too tempting an offer to just let slip by.

Jostling my way amongst the throngs of women who could not wait long enough to part with cash and in many cases –husbands credit cards, I too managed to find myself right in front of the queue with my husband’s credit card getting hotter with every swipe.

I walked away much heavier in weight and debt. Smile across my face at the huge savings that I had so proudly made. It was totally irrelevant that I had actually spent many zeros on a couple of dresses and a pair of sun glasses. What I was focusing on was the great deal that I had been privy to.

As soon as I got into the car, it hit me that I had recklessly spent a huge amount on things I really did not need.

I was still thinking about my insane purchase when suddenly I heard knocking and saw tiny hands on my car window. Standing outside was a tiny (barely 4 or 5) boy with his front tooth missing gesturing towards his mouth and his belly in a sign that I understood very well. I ignored him at first but the persistence of his gesturing and the inability of the car to move a few centimeters in the traffic made me press down my window and speak with him. He told me he was very hungry as he had not eaten the whole day! A part of me knew this was not true and that this was HIS marketing strategy to make me part with yet some more money. I was enjoying our little conversation and I think he was a step ahead of me as he kept playing along with me and being impertinent yet funny. He kept looking at the traffic light and started to get a bit impatient when he did not see my hand going into my purse. Eventually I gave him a 50 rupee note (just over 1 USD) and he scuttled away with a huge smile on his face and a massive thank you.

With the guilt factor having gone up a few notches , I got back to my reverie and now felt really miserable for having spent an obscene amount of money on dresses and eye wear. How could I spend so much money when 75% of my country was living in extreme poverty? How could I ever justify wearing a garment that could have probably fed a family of 4 for an entire month?

These thoughts led me to analyze my impulsive purchase followed by intense remorse.

Why do we really buy expensive designer wear or any of the status symbols for that matter? What is it that we really crave for?

I think it all boils down to attention and approval. It’s simply a matter of wanting to get noticed and admired. Unfortunately our self-esteem is not really SELF-esteem; it is more a case of peer opinion. If our peer group gives us their stamp of approval we feel good about ourselves. If we manage to incite any kind of envy, that too is a feather in our cap.

Our self-worth is very often related to our net worth and our confidence in ourselves moves with our bank balance. We judge others by the clothes they wear, the car they drive, and the house they live in and so on. By default we judge ourselves by the very same criterion.

I am often conflicted in my thoughts. Part of me hates this attitude of over indulgence and consumption beyond basic necessities and yet at the same time I am pained when I cannot satisfy my hedonistic desires.

Our comforts and incomes have gone up drastically but so have our demands and desires. There is always that gap which never seems to get filled however much we try.

Overconsumption is no more a disease of the west. So called third world countries are fast catching up with the notion that more is better and many of us are guilty of living up to that maxim.

Why, when once I would just dream of buying a small car and being able to travel at least once to a faraway land do I today I scoff when I have to travel at the back of the plane or my ‘nice’ car is out of action?

What is it about us humans that never gets satisfied?

What do we really crave for?

Why do we always want more?

Is it wrong to aspire for more?

Should we all just become desire less?

But then if there was no desire, would there still be growth? Is it not desire that prompts drive which then leads to growth?

My question has not yet been answered and am still looking for that eureka moment when it will come to me.

Till then I leave you to ponder and share what you think??

Much love and happiness and a very happy and PROSPEROUS 2011

Status Anxiety Pt. 1 (5 of 5)

Status Anxiety Pt. 1 (4 of 5)

Status Anxiety Pt. 1 (3 of 5)

Status Anxiety Pt. 1 (2 of 5)

Status Anxiety Pt. 1 (1 of 5)

Monday, November 8, 2010

I miss my mother

The Soul never dies, it’s only the body that leaves, is what I hear and read. We are spiritual beings having a human experience is what we are told. I understand all this intellectually and even talk about it and discuss it and try and help people in their pain when a loved one leaves the physical body and merges with source.

So why today on the 11th anniversary of mothers passing away, my tears cannot stop. Why am I hurting so much despite knowing that it’s only the physical, the tangible that is gone? My mother’s spirit or soul still exists. I am in constant communion with the soul, I am told.

But I want more than that, I want to see her, touch her, scream at her, love her, go for movies with her, share a meal with her, have her read stories to Inara. I want the physical, the tangible, the touchable, the huggable but I can never have that back. I have to convince myself that her spirit is watching over me, loving me and looking after me.

All I can do is light a candle in her memory and shed tears, wondering when the pain will lessen or hopefully cease completely. It somehow does not. Thoughts of my father who left his physical body over 3 decades ago still hound me and the memories of my 8 years shared with him come flooding back. So how can I expect the pain of my mum passing over to lessen in 11 years? I guess it will always be a part of me and I just have to learn to live with it.

What I am finding ironic is that when people come to me sharing their pain of bereavement and betrayal, I can offer such great words of advice that sometimes I wonder where they are coming from. I have been told that somehow speaking with me calms them down and they can cope better. Why then am I not able to calm myself down? Why are the tears continuing to flow? Where are all the words that I speak to others? Why am I not able to calm myself down and have faith and belief that my mother is in a better place and that she is happier?

My intellect knows this to be the case, but my feelings and my mind are unwilling to accept the loss of the physical form. I am going to allow myself the luxury of pain and allow the tears to flow and I know that my mum is watching and will wipe those tears away.

I love you mom and I wish you were here, but I am going to let you go and not be like a spoilt child who keeps calling the parents when they are on a vacation. I will let you enjoy your new home and wish you all the best and hope that I will be able to see you again and tell you how much I love you.

Your Loving daughter who never really did tell you how much she loved you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions | Video on TED.com

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions | Video on TED.com

Top 10 Things Religious Leaders Say about Happiness by Mary J. Loftus

One of the things that most irritated me about Sunday school -- and there were many, including the fact that I had to wear tights, keep quiet and not ask why God wasn't a girl -- is that we were told, however covertly, that happiness was selfish.

Religion, I came to believe, was all about self-sacrifice. How could we be happy when babies in Angola were starving (or being sent to purgatory by the Pope)? How could we be happy when already we bent so readily toward sin? How could we be happy when we had to constantly be on guard against greed, pride, sloth, lust and gluttony (i.e., cool stuff, bragging, hanging around, casual sex and cookies)?

Can I really ditch the guilt and go for the gusto?

According to spiritual leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist traditions, the answer is yes -- with a few conditions.

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, the star of the show, has said that the very purpose of life is to be happy, so long as "one person or group does not seek happiness or glory at the expense of others." He didn't disappoint at the summit, sticking up for happiness as well as world peace at every opportunity, and laughing or chuckling fairly consistently throughout the event.

The Dalai Lama was joined on the panel by Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth and Islamic scholar Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr of George Washington University.

They agreed wholeheartedly that faithfulness and happiness were not mutually exclusive.

Here are the top 10 things I learned about true spiritual happiness:

1. Happiness is radically subjective.

"How wrong Tolstoy was when he wrote in the beginning of Anna Karenina that all happy families are alike ... happiness isn't like that. It comes in many forms," Sacks said. "We are enriched by the sheer multiplicity of ways in which human beings have flourished."

2. Happiness, contrary to conventional wisdom, can't be purchased.

"The consumer society is constantly tempting us all the time to spend money we don't have to buy things we don't need for the sake of a happiness that won't last," Sacks said.

3. Happiness involves the mind and the body.

"It is important to us that God took physical form," said Jefferts Schori. "We are made in the image of God and reflect the divine. Our bodies are a blessing."

"This body is something precious," said the Dalai Lama. "It needs shelter, food and sleep. When the body is fit, mental function is more effective. But mental pain cannot be subdued by physical comfort."

4. Happiness is generated internally, not by fame or fortune.

"It is a happy human being who creates a happy ambience, a happy ambience does not necessarily create a happy human being," said Nasr.

"Real happiness must come from within," said the Dalai Lama. "When I say happiness, it is mainly in the sense of deep satisfaction."

5. Happiness can be found here on earth.

"God's presence and blessings can be found in the form of this-worldly 'goods.' Those goods include food, drink, shelter, clothing, liberty, peace, family, meaningful work, community and a general state of well-being," said Jefferts Schori.

6. Happiness occurs in communal celebration.

"To sit together, drink together, share one another's songs and stories, that is beautiful," said Sacks.

7. Happiness is not all about us.

"Jesus' ministry, his public work, is most essentially focused on feeding, healing and teaching people -- in that order," said Jefferts Schori. "Using the blessings of this world for the benefit of all."

"Once it was asked of a great Sufi master, 'What do you want?' and he said, 'I want not to want,'" said Nasr. "We must transcend the stifling prison of the ego."

8. Happiness can be developed through practice and repetition, prayer or meditation.

"The five daily prayers pull us out of time to a place that is sacred," said Nasr. "Punctuation in a life that goes faster and faster. During Ramadan, even the tempo of big cities slows down."

9. Happiness comes through perspective.

"When we face a sad thing, if you look very closely, it looks unbearable, but if you look from a distance, it is not that unbearable," said the Dalai Lama.

"Like Jacob wrestling with the angel," said Sacks, "I will not let go of the bad thing until I find the blessing."

10. Happiness can be found in beauty.

"There is a remarkable predominance of beauty in nature," said Nasr. "To be virtuous is to be beautiful. Our souls were created in beauty, we are drawn to beauty."

I'll admit that, deep in my soul, I knew that true happiness didn't come from selfish pursuits (see: the Grinch, Bernie Madoff). I will say, however, that I still distrust anyone who says happiness is a bad thing, and am reassured that even highly evolved and informed spiritual leaders believe that a bit of it can be found sipping Bordeaux at the beach with friends while watching the sun set -- awe and gratitude intact.

Mary J. Loftus is associate editor of Emory Magazine

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pema Chödrön - Turn Your Thinking Upside Down

A great article from the Shambhala Sun collection of articles on working with pain and suffering.

We base our lives on seeking happiness and avoiding suffering, but the best thing we can do for ourselves—and for the planet—is to turn this whole way of thinking upside down. Pema Chödrön shows us Buddhism’s radical side.

On a very basic level all beings think that they should be happy. When life becomes difficult or painful, we feel that something has gone wrong. This wouldn’t be a big problem except for the fact that when we feel something’s gone wrong, we’re willing to do anything to feel OK again. Even start a fight.

According to the Buddhist teachings, difficulty is inevitable in human life. For one thing, we cannot escape the reality of death. But there are also the realities of aging, of illness, of not getting what we want, and of getting what we don’t want. These kinds of difficulties are facts of life. Even if you were the Buddha himself, if you were a fully enlightened person, you would experience death, illness, aging, and sorrow at losing what you love. All of these things would happen to you. If you got burned or cut, it would hurt.

But the Buddhist teachings also say that this is not really what causes us misery in our lives. What causes misery is always trying to get away from the facts of life, always trying to avoid pain and seek happiness—this sense of ours that there could be lasting security and happiness available to us if we could only do the right thing.

In this very lifetime we can do ourselves and this planet a great favor and turn this very old way of thinking upside down. As Shantideva, author of Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, points out, suffering has a great deal to teach us. If we use the opportunity when it arises, suffering will motivate us to look for answers. Many people, including myself, came to the spiritual path because of deep unhappiness. Suffering can also teach us empathy for others who are in the same boat. Furthermore, suffering can humble us. Even the most arrogant among us can be softened by the loss of someone dear.

Yet it is so basic in us to feel that things should go well for us, and that if we start to feel depressed, lonely, or inadequate, there’s been some kind of mistake or we’ve lost it. In reality, when you feel depressed, lonely, betrayed, or any unwanted feelings, this is an important moment on the spiritual path. This is where real transformation can take place.

As long as we’re caught up in always looking for certainty and happiness, rather than honoring the taste and smell and quality of exactly what is happening, as long as we’re always running away from discomfort, we’re going to be caught in a cycle of unhappiness and disappointment, and we will feel weaker and weaker. This way of seeing helps us to develop inner strength.

And what’s especially encouraging is the view that inner strength is available to us at just the moment when we think we’ve hit the bottom, when things are at their worst. Instead of asking ourselves, “How can I find security and happiness?” we could ask ourselves, “Can I touch the center of my pain? Can I sit with suffering, both yours and mine, without trying to make it go away? Can I stay present to the ache of loss or disgrace—disappointment in all its many forms—and let it open me?” This is the trick.

There are various ways to view what happens when we feel threatened. In times of distress—of rage, of frustration, of failure—we can look at how we get hooked and how shenpa escalates. The usual translation of shenpa is “attachment,” but this doesn’t adequately express the full meaning. I think of shenpa as “getting hooked.” Another definition, used by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, is the “charge”—the charge behind our thoughts and words and actions, the charge behind “like” and “don’t like.”

It can also be helpful to shift our focus and look at how we put up barriers. In these moments we can observe how we withdraw and become self-absorbed. We become dry, sour, afraid; we crumble, or harden out of fear that more pain is coming. In some old familiar way, we automatically erect a protective shield and our self-centeredness intensifies.

But this is the very same moment when we could do something different. Right on the spot, through practice, we can get very familiar with the barriers that we put up around our hearts and around our whole being. We can become intimate with just how we hide out, doze off, freeze up. And that intimacy, coming to know these barriers so well, is what begins to dismantle them. Amazingly, when we give them our full attention they start to fall apart.

Ultimately all the practices I have mentioned are simply ways we can go about dissolving these barriers. Whether it’s learning to be present through sitting meditation, acknowledging shenpa, or practicing patience, these are methods for dissolving the protective walls that we automatically put up.

When we’re putting up the barriers and the sense of “me” as separate from “you” gets stronger, right there in the midst of difficulty and pain, the whole thing could turn around simply by not erecting barriers; simply by staying open to the difficulty, to the feelings that you’re going through; simply by not talking to ourselves about what’s happening. That is a revolutionary step. Becoming intimate with pain is the key to changing at the core of our being—staying open to everything we experience, letting the sharpness of difficult times pierce us to the heart, letting these times open us, humble us, and make us wiser and more brave.

Let difficulty transform you. And it will. In my experience, we just need help in learning how not to run away.

If we’re ready to try staying present with our pain, one of the greatest supports we could ever find is to cultivate the warmth and simplicity of bodhichitta. The word bodhichitta has many translations, but probably the most common one is “awakened heart.” The word refers to a longing to wake up from ignorance and delusion in order to help others do the same. Putting our personal awakening in a larger—even planetary—framework makes a significant difference. It gives us a vaster perspective on why we would do this often difficult work.

There are two kinds of bodhichitta: relative and absolute. Relative bodhichitta includes compassion and maitri. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche translated maitri as “unconditional friendliness with oneself.” This unconditional friendliness means having an unbiased relationship with all the parts of your being. So, in the context of working with pain, this means making an intimate, compassionate heart-relationship with all those parts of ourselves we generally don’t want to touch.

Some people find the teachings I offer helpful because I encourage them to be kind to themselves, but this does not mean pampering our neurosis. The kindness that I learned from my teachers, and that I wish so much to convey to other people, is kindness toward all qualities of our being. The qualities that are the toughest to be kind to are the painful parts, where we feel ashamed, as if we don’t belong, as if we’ve just blown it, when things are falling apart for us. Maitri means sticking with ourselves when we don’t have anything, when we feel like a loser. And it becomes the basis for extending the same unconditional friendliness to others.

If there are whole parts of yourself that you are always running from, that you even feel justified in running from, then you’re going to run from anything that brings you into contact with your feelings of insecurity.

And have you noticed how often these parts of ourselves get touched? The closer you get to a situation or a person, the more these feelings arise. Often when you’re in a relationship it starts off great, but when it gets intimate and begins to bring out your neurosis, you just want to get out of there.

So I’m here to tell you that the path to peace is right there, when you want to get away. You can cruise through life not letting anything touch you, but if you really want to live fully, if you want to enter into life, enter into genuine relationships with other people, with animals, with the world situation, you’re definitely going to have the experience of feeling provoked, of getting hooked, of shenpa. You’re not just going to feel bliss. The message is that when those feelings emerge, this is not a failure. This is the chance to cultivate maitri, unconditional friendliness toward your perfect and imperfect self.

Relative bodhichitta also includes awakening compassion. One of the meanings of compassion is “suffering with,” being willing to suffer with other people. This means that to the degree you can work with the wholeness of your being—your prejudices, your feelings of failure, your self-pity, your depression, your rage, your addictions—the more you will connect with other people out of that wholeness. And it will be a relationship between equals. You’ll be able to feel the pain of other people as your own pain. And you’ll be able to feel your own pain and know that it’s shared by millions.

Absolute bodhichitta, also known as shunyata, is the open dimension of our being, the completely wide-open heart and mind. Without labels of “you” and “me,” “enemy” and “friend,” absolute bodhichitta is always here. Cultivating absolute bodhichitta means having a relationship with the world that is nonconceptual, that is unprejudiced, having a direct, unedited relationship with reality.

That’s the value of sitting meditation practice. You train in coming back to the unadorned present moment again and again. Whatever thoughts arise in your mind, you regard them with equanimity and you learn to let them dissolve. There is no rejection of the thoughts and emotions that come up; rather, we begin to realize that thoughts and emotions are not as solid as we always take them to be.

It takes bravery to train in unconditional friendliness, it takes bravery to train in “suffering with,” it takes bravery to stay with pain when it arises and not run or erect barriers. It takes bravery to not bite the hook and get swept away. But as we do, the absolute bodhichitta realization, the experience of how open and unfettered our minds really are, begins to dawn on us. As a result of becoming more comfortable with the ups and the downs of our ordinary human life, this realization grows stronger.

We start with taking a close look at our predictable tendency to get hooked, to separate ourselves, to withdraw into ourselves and put up walls. As we become intimate with these tendencies, they gradually become more transparent, and we see that there’s actually space, there is unlimited, accommodating space. This does not mean that then you live in lasting happiness and comfort. That spaciousness includes pain.

We may still get betrayed, may still be hated. We may still feel confused and sad. What we won’t do is bite the hook. Pleasant happens. Unpleasant happens. Neutral happens. What we gradually learn is to not move away from being fully present. We need to train at this very basic level because of the widespread suffering in the world. If we aren’t training inch by inch, one moment at a time, in overcoming our fear of pain, then we’ll be very limited in how much we can help. We’ll be limited in helping ourselves, and limited in helping anybody else. So let’s start with ourselves, just as we are, here and now.

~ Excerpted from Practicing Peace in Times of War, by Pema Chödrön. © 2006 Pema Chödrön. Reprinted with permission of Shambhala Publications.

Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun in the lineage of the renowned meditation master Chögyam Trungpa and resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners. Her many popular books include When Things Fall Apart and The Places That Scare You. This teaching is from Practicing Peace in Times of War, from Shambhala Publications.

Turn Your Thinking Upside Down, Pema Chödrön, Shambhala Sun, May 2007.

The Shift - Part 13/13

The Shift - Part 12/13

The Shift - Part 11/13

The Shift - Part 10/13

The Shift - Part 9/13

The Shift - Part 8/13

The Shift - Part 6/13

The Shift - Part 5/13

The Shift - Part 4/13

The Shift - Part 3/13

The Shift - Part 2/13

The Shift - Part 1/13

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Destiny And Karma

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Church of Open Mind

Saturday night a very dear friend invited me for drinks. This particular friend is a woman of great substance and has done extremely well, spiritually; financially and intellectually. She had invited a few friends and each one was pretty much on top of their game, but not without their fair share of pain, sadness and desires.

The conversation that ensued the wine took an interesting turn and veered towards religion, logic, dogma and fanaticism. The question that came about was, why do highly intelligent; highly analytical people who question everything and anything in life take 2000 year old religious teachings at face value? These are the same people who will turn everything and question it and try and come to cognitive conclusions, but when it comes to faith they follow blindly what has been laid down .

We no more question the geometry of earth. For the longest time it was believed that the earth was flat and now the whole idea seems ludicrous. No one thought that we could fly in air and now we fly at supersonic speeds and of course how can we deny the internet that has opened our minds to inconceivable ideas. Then why are we still stuck in the religious relics? Why do people still try and convince each other to conform to their religious ideologies? Why do they denigrate another’s faith and try and impose their own on the others. Why do some people follow blindly the traditions and teachings that were laid down thousands of years ago?

Rather interesting questions, but very dangerous when combined with alcohol and testosterone.
As is rightly said, never combine alcohol with a discussion about religion and politics. Fortunately the conversation did not reach a point of no return. In fact it ended in a very civilized manner talking about acceptance of interfaith and being open minded about faith.

I guess this was because each one of us was coming a place of acceptance and although we could have all indulged in intellectual masturbation and put forth our points of view we decided to let go and enjoy the wine instead.

However when I got home and started thinking about the questions, it did dawn on me that we are all extremely tightly married to our idea of religion and GOD. We often believe in the superiority of one GOD over another and try and impose our faith and beliefs on another. After all there is power in numbers and the more people who think like me the better!

Isn’t that strange that we go out shopping for shoes and try many pairs before deciding which one, but when it comes to faith we allow ourselves to be swayed by others .

One size does not fit all so why not try what works for you. 6.5 billion People in this world. Can you imagine the confusion and ridiculousness if all looked the same, ate the same, spoke the same and wore the same, so why do we become so parochial when someone from another faith shares his or her beliefs with us.

Any faith that makes you happy and brings joy to you and to the people around you is a faith you should follow. Be it Jesus, Allah, Krishna, Shiva, Nanak, Buddha, Amun, Ra, Zeus, Aphrodite, Apollo, Sun, Moon, water, etc.

How does it matter who or what you believe in if it makes you a better person. (I know that the definition of a better person stands to debate, but I shall, leave that for another time)
There is no denying that the basis of religion is love and compassion, but what happens to the love and compassion when someone disagrees with another’s faith. The very people who preach unconditional love and acceptance pick up arms and get ready to kill and we conveniently call it faith killing. What gives anyone the right?

I just spoke to friend on the phone and discussed with him the idea of a church of open mind and he very rightly pointed out that people who want you to follow their faith are doing it out of love for you. Because they have been saved by their particular faith they want you to partake in that joy and happiness. In a way it is an expression of their love for you and by denying their advances you are rejecting their love.

He is probably right. Is it not true that when we experience something wonderful we feel like sharing it with our loved ones? I remember having had an amazing dessert in a restaurant and insisted on ordering the same for my husband, but sadly he is not a chocolate fan and he did not find it as mouth watering, finger licking good as I had painted it to be. Of course I got offended! How could he not love what I thought was the best dessert in the world? He preferred an apple turnover over warm chocolate melted cake. Just the thought of the cake is enough to take me to orgasmic delight, but here he was rejecting it completely and preferring the apple turnover.

Did I kill him over his choice of dessert?

Much as I would have liked to (for other reasons than the desert ;-) ) I did not and he lives to tell.
Then why do we always expect the other person to love the same GOD/faith? Isn’t life wonderful because of the diversity in all its color and richness?

If something or someone works for you go after it, share it, talk about it but be open minded enough that they may prefer something else. Just because they have a different call connection does not mean they cannot dial GOD directly. Imagine the confusion at GOD’s home if there was only one number to call. We would be put on hold for ever.

Find you direct connection with GOD and follow your own heart. Seek help if and when it is offered.

At times we are to weak and vulnerable to really find the strength, so if friends and well wishers are offering you their way of salvation, accept it , but then really go within yourself to find the answers you seek . The answer lies within and all you need to do is listen to it in silence.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It’s OK to be SAD!

About two years ago I was given a book titled “Happy for no reason” by Marci Shimoff. It went on to become a best seller and sold over 25 million copies. Happiness has become a rather serious subject and I must admit that I too have joined the bandwagon of happiness researchers and am a huge proponent of Positive Psychology (the legitimate child of positive thinking). I have been researching, practicing and preaching happiness for the last 5 years and have looked into pretty much every aspect of positivity and happiness. Having delved into the psychological, the spiritual, the philosophical, the scientific and the inexplicable new age theories, I thought I had covered every aspect of “Happiness”.

But yesterday try as I might I could not feel happy, and then I realized that this was not the first time I was experiencing such emotions.

I thought to myself could I be Sad for no reason?

I woke up feeling rather down. I felt that I was wasting my life and not really striving hard enough to reach my not yet defined goals! I felt like a failure and wondered if I would ever follow through on my desires and commitments. I wondered if I was all talk and no action and one negative thought led to another.

I started to question my role as a mother and a wife. I started looking for reasons that made me feel that I was not being a good wife or a good mother and then of course I started to wonder if it was my husband who was in the wrong. All possible explanations and justifications started to hone into my psyche.

Next I knew, I was crying and missing my deceased parents and lamenting over lost loves and lost opportunities. This was getting pretty serious.

All my years of search for happiness had come to naught.

I don’t know what inspired me to do what I did, but it seemed to have worked wonders. I shared my sad status on face book and within a few minutes there were amazing messages sending me hugs, smiles, love and encouraging me and complimenting me on my achievements. I suddenly started to feel better and felt loved and appreciated. Many shared their own experiences and made me realize that it was OK to be Sad. After all I was human and well within the confines of sanity.

All at once I was being reminded of all the things that I had been suggesting for the past few years on how to get out of a funk and pull oneself out of sadness. Although I had no major underlying cause to make me sad, I was still feeling pretty miserable. I somehow could not bring myself to practice what I had been preaching.

This was a huge reality check. Here I was with no major issues and still feeling sorry for myself. What if there really was a major reason for my sadness; such as hearing about a life threatening illness, losing a loved one, being fired from a job and having kids to feed, and so on… …Would positive thinking still help?

I seriously doubt that thinking and denying the reality of a painful situation would make the problem go away.

So, what is one to do?

Should we keep going down the abyss of sadness and pain and allow it to expand or try and nip it in the bud? Should we go into denial and paint a rosy picture and refuse to face reality?

I could not come up with an answer, so I decided to go for a walk instead.

I picked up my iPod, put on my headphones, turned the volume really loud and started to walk. About 15 minutes later I was feeling a bit clear headed. Then I saw a group of gardeners beautifying a roundabout. They were diligently de-weeding the garden. I stood there watching. I saw them take out the weeds, prune the flowers, put in the fertilizer and move on to the next patch. What was interesting was that the maximum time was spent de weeding! Apparently, gardening is five percent planting; 10 percent watering, fertilizing and pruning; and 75 percent fighting weeds.

Isn’t that interesting?

Even nature needs help to sustain its beauty and perfection. If allowed to run rampant weeds would take over and we would not see the wonderful flowers bloom.

There was my answer.

Of course, one cannot deny the existence of sad events. Things will go wrong from time to time. Life is not a bed of roses; it comes with its thorns and weeds. Just as a beautiful rose is accompanied by spiky thorns, life comes forth with its ups and downs.

Just as a gardener spends 75 percent of his/her time de –weeding, it becomes our responsibility to de-weed and prune the garden of our thoughts.

So getting back to my original question; Is it OK to be Sad?

Of course it is OK to be sad; we would not be human if we did not experience the rainbow of emotions. What is not OK is to allow the sad/negative thoughts to run amok and take over our lives. Often we keep over analyzing a situation instead of accepting and then facing it with courage and determination.

Sadness just like happiness is a part of our reality and will appear from time to time. What we need to be aware of is how to keep it in check and how to de-weed it from our thoughts?
So de-weed your mental garden often.

A few suggestions that worked for me

Share your sadness and be ready to take help if offered….. ( thank you facebook and Myspace)

Indulge in some sort of Physical activity preferably something you enjoy.

Listen to your favorite music….

Get a foot or a head massage, better if you can use some uplifting aroma oil

Start writing or thinking of all the wonderful things that are still around. Force yourself to come up with at least 3….

Go on a rampage of appreciation. Start listing everything that is going well in your life……

If you have children, play with them….

Go to your wardrobe and pick out something that makes you look good, wear it and admire yourself in the mirror….

Get a hair style change…..

Drink lots of water and eat a banana….

Go on feel sad, but remember to not stay sad for too long, lest the de-weeding becomes too hard.


Shveita Sethi Sharma.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Climb your way to happiness

I must have driven past the rock climbing wall at the YMCA a few hundred times, but not till yesterday did I notice a group of climbers hauling themselves up.

I stopped my car and stood outside watching with great curiosity how the climbers were trying to reach for the artificial stones to find the right protrusion to support their hands and feet. The moment they found something that they could hold on to, they hauled the rope over and pulled themselves up to the next higher point.

I stood there awestruck at the grace and agility with which these climbers were moving from one stone to another. When I saw the huge straight wall I wondered why do people subject themselves to such pain and anguish in the name of sport. Vicarious pleasure was good enough for me. I had no intention of trying it for myself!

Ten minutes later I was back in my car driving to the club to catch up with a friend and a cool glass of wine.

As we were sitting at the bar, my friend told me that her husband had lost his job and they would have to move out of their house to smaller house and she may have to change the children’s school.
She was upset and really scared that her husband was going into a state of depression. He was starting to blame himself for not seeing it coming and berating himself at not being the ideal husband/father. He was being extremely hard on himself.

She on the other hand was trying to be optimistic and encouraging him to look at the various options. Even though she was upset, she was handling it quite well. Being a student of Vedanta and Positive Psychology had given her the inner strength to cope with external turmoil.

Her husband on the other hand had spent all his time building up his career and the lifestyle. His self worth was totally dependent on his net worth. The very thought of not being able to support his family in the manner they had gotten used to was making him extremely nervous and all he could focus was on the lack that was apparent.

We chatted for a while and then I shared with her my observation of the rock climbing wall.
When one is standing at ground level and staring at the wall/huge rock, the odds of climbing seem insurmountable. All one needs to do is take the first step, find that first footing and haul him/her- self up to the next safe point. You need to let go of the previous protrusion to safely hang on to the next. You cannot continue to hold on to the first and hope to reach the top. Only when you let go can you find the next safe footing.

She understood the analogy and we agreed that I would meet with her husband and share some thoughts and see if we could help him with the transition to a new life.

This is how the dialogue went. Let’s call him Jack.

“Hi Jack” ,
“Hey Shveitta, what’s up, All well?”
“Yup all wonderful, but hey I am sorry to hear about the job” .
“Yes that was a bit of a bummer, I sort of expected it, but never really thought it would happen. Those bas….. have no idea who they have let go. They will regret it to the hilt.”

(This was good. His sadness was now turning into anger. On a vibrational scale* anger is better than guilt and shame. )
He went on to use some expletives to describe his employer and how he had been wronged and how he would get even.
Underneath this entire macho charade I could however see the pain and sadness in his eyes. He was very afraid and very insecure.
I ordered us two glasses of red wine, even though alcohol is a depressant and not really recommended during therapy, in this case it seemed appropriate (we were not in therapy…we were in a bar) as it really helped Jack lower his inhibitions and really come forth with his pain and fear of survival.
It’s quite interesting how the male and female brain is wired. The Human male is generally more left brained while the female tends to adopt a more right brain approach.

Left Brain
Looks at parts

Right Brain
Looks at wholes

Jack’s logical, sequential, rational, objective brain could not see the big picture. All he could focus on was the loss of the job that would lead to a loss of life style. He felt worthless and started to visualize scenarios where he felt unwanted and useless. Suddenly all his accomplishments meant nothing. He started to focus on all the things that could go wrong with this one event. Suddenly he transformed into a psychic and started seeing his ‘self created’ very bleak future.

However at this stage the only thing that he had lost was his job and that too with 6 month pay intact. He had bonuses and stock options with his company that he could cash in and live extremely comfortably for many years to come.

But his ‘part focused’ brain refused to see and acknowledge that this was in some strange way the opportunity that he had been waiting for. He would finally get to spend time with his family, indulge in his various passions, cooking being the main one and finally take that trip to Tibet.
If one changes the color of the glasses the whole picture changes.

Like the rock climber who focuses only on one step at a time, one need’s to keep in sight only the things that can help pull oneself out of the quagmire.

The glass of wine had helped us both. Before I got ready to order another one Jack and I did an exercise.

I asked him to right down on a piece of paper all the things that were going well in his life. As he started writing and his list became longer and longer he realized that he had a lot going for him and his job was such a minor part of his life. It really was not the job that he missed; it was the meaning that he had given to the job. Now he had to find that meaning in his life.

What really is the meaning of life?

Now that’s a whole new chapter

Shveitta Sethi Sharma

See below for the vibrational scale explanation……………………..

In his book Power vs Force, David Hawkins calibrates people's emotions from vibrational levels 20 to 1,000 with anything below 200 considered energy draining and below integrity.

Here's some of the levels:

• 20 = Shame: A perilously proximate to death. It's destructive to emotional and psychological health, and makes us prone to physical illness.
• 30 = Guilt
• 75 = Grief
• 100 = Fear
• 175 = Pride: People feel positive as they reach Pride level. However Pride feels good only in contrast to the lower levels. Pride is defensive and vulnerable because it's dependent upon external conditions, without which is can suddenly revert to a lower level.
• 200 = Power: Courage is the zone of exploration, accomplishment, fortitude, and determination. People at this level put back into the world as much energy as they take; at the lower levels, populations as well as individuals drain energy from society without reciprocating.
• 310 = Willingness
• 350 = Acceptance
• 500 = Love: This level is characterized by the development of a Love that is unconditional, unchanging, and permanent. It doesn't fluctuate - its source isn't dependent on external factors. Loving is a state of being. This is the level of true happiness.
• 700 to 1,000 = Enlightenment: This is the level of the Great Ones such as Krishna, Buddha and Jesus. It is the peak of the evolutionary consciousness in the human realm.
The concept and theories behind these experiments were conducted over a twenty-year period using a variety of Kinesiology tests and examinations. Kinesiology has an almost certain 100 percent accuracy reading every time. It will always reveal Yes, No, True, and False answers.
Collective Consciousness: These experiments reveal that there is a higher power that connects everything and everyone.
Everything calibrates at certain levels from weak to high including books, food, water, clothes, people, animals, buildings, cars, movies, sports, music, etc.

Did You Know

• 85 percent of the human race calibrates below the critical vibrational thought level of 200.
• The overall average level of human consciousness stands at the vibrational level of 207.
• The power of the few individuals at the top counterbalances the weakness of the masses.
• 1 individual at level 300 counterbalances 90,000 individuals below level 200.
• 1 individual at level 500 counterbalances 750,000 individuals below level 200.
• 1 individual at level 700 counterbalances 70 million individuals below level 200.
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Search for meaning

Natural remedies for mild depression

I recently gave a talk on how to lead a happier more fulfilling life to a gathering of over a 100 people and one of the questions that came about was about depression.

Q. Does one need to seek medical help if one is suffering from depression?

A. Of course by all means one should seek help if one feels that he or she is suffering from depression. Often we don’t know whether the cause of depression is clinical or environmental. If the cause is clinical, medical intervention is necessary.

In some cases an external factor, such as a loss of relationship, child, job, health may lead to extreme sadness which if not checked in time will lead to depression. It is therefore imperative that we try and pull the person who is going through extreme pain/sadness out of his or her misery.

Living with a person who is going through depression can be very distressing and often as a means of self preservation we tend to repudiate their feelings by trying to tell them to snap out of it. For those of us who are not experiencing the same emotion it is unfathomable how a person can be so low and not have jest for life. When such a situation occurs we need to adopt a caring attitude instead of becoming judgmental.

People often end up in depression because they blame themselves for a particular outcome. They feel if they had done things differently the particular outcome could have been avoided. Anger and guilt towards the self is what leads to depression. For this situation to be avoided it is important that we as well wishers support the aggrieved person in any way we can.

A listening ear and a supportive attitude do wonders.

Try and gently insist on some kind of physical exercise. It helps if you can accompany them on the exercise regime. Long walks in nature do wonders for both the body and the spirit. Walk with awareness and appreciation. Try and get out of the mind and bring a child like wonder into the walk. Look out for butterflies and notice the smell in the air. Take long and deep breaths and thank your body for being alive. Regular exercise is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to improve mood. Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, releases mood-elevating chemicals in the brain and can decrease stress hormones. Even though one of the best options to bust the blues is taking a brisk walk outside each morning for at least 30 minutes five days a week, what's important is that they choose something they enjoy and will stick with, whether it's going to the gym, signing up for dance classes, playing tennis, or gardening.

The added advantage of morning walks is getting enough sunlight which has been shown to be effective for seasonal mood changes that happen in the darker winter months. Exposure to light in the morning helps the body's sleep/wake cycle work properly. Production of serotonin, a brain chemical that is key in influencing our mood, is turned on in the morning upon exposure to light.
Involve them in various activities; take them out for light movies/comedies/concerts.

Add omega 3 fatty acids and St. Johns wort in their dietary supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of good fat needed for normal brain function. Our bodies can't make omega-3s on their own, so we must obtain them through our diet. Studies have linked depression with low dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
The herb St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) has long been used in folk medicine for sadness, worry, nervousness, and poor sleep. Today, the results of over 20 clinical trials suggest that St. John's wort works better than a placebo and is as effective as antidepressants for mild to moderate depression, with fewer side effects. Studies suggest that St. John's wort is not effective for major depression. It's available at health food stores, drug stores, and online in the form of capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, or tea.

St. John's wort may take 4 to 6 weeks to notice the full effects. Side effects may include dizziness, dry mouth, indigestion, and fatigue. St. John's wort increases photosensitivity, so extra caution should be taken to protect skin and eyes from sunlight. Although St. John's wort appears to be reasonably safe when taken alone, it can interfere with the effectiveness of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as antidepressants, drugs to treat HIV infections and AIDs, drugs to prevent organ rejection for transplant patients, and oral contraceptives.

St. John's wort is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with bipolar disorder, liver or kidney disease.

Magnesium and vitamin B6 are also natural mood lifters.

Create an atmosphere of joy and happiness, but I understand that in some cases of extreme loss, this may not be possible. What I recommend is to have soft music and some sort of aroma (lavender, jasmine, rose and clary sage have been found to be beneficial) in their place of abode. Certain musical frequencies, especially mantras have a very uplifting effect.

Always remember that if a person is really depressed, he or she will need to see a qualified person. The above are just a few things that we can do to help our loved ones come out of extreme sadness or pain caused by an external factor.

Shveitta Sethi Sharma

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Is Passion Overrated?

I just got back from conducting a happiness workshop in Tokyo. It was an intimate gathering and I think I learnt a lot more than I shared. The attendees were all masters in their chosen fields, coach, professor, general manager, entrepreneur, director and the likes. They were all from different countries and different backgrounds.

When I received the name cards, I wondered what I could say to such a diverse and august group that would have an impact and make them happier.

I had shared some esoteric concepts such as power of words and thought on the body and how rice reacts to different words (based on Emoto’s water crystal experiment)
For some people however the left logical brain did not seem to accept the truth in these experiments such as speaking to rice and speaking to plants and I completely understand as I was one of the skeptics who scoffed and laughed at the very idea of speaking to inanimate objects. I tried the rice experiment just for fun and for something to do with my daughter. When the same results showed up three different times, I had to believe in the power of words.

Is there any truth in it, or was it my expectation that brought forth the desired result? I don’t know . I do understand however why the rational brain refuses to accept esoteric concepts such as faith, God, power of belief and so on. But in my case I’d rather believe than disbelieve as I have personally witnessed the affects of a changed vocabulary and changed thought process.

The other question that came about was on the topic of Passion.

Does one need to be passionate to achieve a fulfilling and a happy life? Do we need passion in our lives or is it OK to be OK?

What really is Passion?

Dictionary definition of Passion is “a powerful or compelling emotion or feeling such as love or hate. Strong sexual desire. A strong or extravagant fondness, desire or enthusiasm for anything.”

Is passion overrated?

The opposite of passion is apathy or indifference. Would you rather go through life with indifference and apathy or with passion, excitement, concern and motivation?

I do agree that at times the word Passion is used out of context and we are made to feel incomplete and wasted if we don’t claim to have any passions. Through the thousands of interviews that I have conducted, the one thing that differentiates the players from the bystanders is passion. Having said that, I think everyone has some kind of passion or another. Passion does not necessarily have to be for a job, but it certainly helps if one can feel passionate about the job.

I just finished watching a TED talk by Mike Rowe – host of Dirty Jobs, where he talks about jobs involving castrating sheep and picking up road kill. Anyone in their right mind could not be passionate about castrating sheep, picking up road kill or driving a dump trucks interstate, but the job needs to be done and someone sure is doing it and they are rather happy doing it.

Do these people have to be passionate about the job? I doubt it. The job could just be a means to an end, but am sure they have passion for something or someone that motivates them to get out of bed and do the job.

Yes, at times we are made to feel incomplete and America especially Hollywood and various self help gurus have successfully added to our feeling of inadequacy by propounding Passion to be the Panacea for life’s banalities .

Do we need to be passionate about our work or is it OK to just do the job, get a pay check and go home to start all over again the next day? It is a subjective assessment, but finding something, anything to be passionate about in the chosen work makes work and life more interesting. According to Positive psychologists, people who try and find something to be passionate about in their work and feel that their work is making a difference in someone’s life are much happier than those coming to work just for a paycheck.

Money is a good enough motivator, but if we could find something in our jobs that makes us spring out of bed and look forward to the day, life would be much more fun.

There is always something that we can find in our daily work that although we may not be passionate about we can in some way relate to fulfilling a passion. Maybe if we were to focus on how our work helps us to support our lifestyle, how it helps to indulge in ones hobbies, how it helps one be a better provider, how it helps one come in contact with others and so on, I am sure we can find ways and reasons to become passionate about work.

Passion does not necessarily have to be about work, one can be passionate about art, music, dancing, cooking, children, clothes, shoes, money anything for that matter can become a passion. A fine line however needs to be drawn between passion and obsession. A healthy passion can very quickly turn into unhealthy obsession.

The debate at the workshop started when people claimed that one did not really need to have any passions or be passionate about what they did. It was OK to be Ok with ones work and life. One does not need to feel an overwhelming need to find a passion or risk a life unfulfilled.
I personally believe that each one of us has a passion; it does not necessarily have to be a life altering, world peace creating kind of passion, but within each of us is a tiny seed that needs to grow and come into its own. It may take a bit of inner work to really find and nurture that passion, and there is absolutely no harm in enjoying life as it is.

It’s just that when we change the way we view life, life actually changes. If we start to bring passion in everything we do, life becomes more meaningful and fulfilling.

Passion is the most contagious emotion and as Socrates said at his trial for heresy, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I would dare to say that a passion less life is not worth contemplating.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Secrets to a Happy and Motivated Life by Dr.Annette Colby

Whether you want to lose weight, end emotional eating, overcome stress, or move beyond sadness and depression, creating any major change in your life can create feelings of discomfort. You are here, and you want to be there. As enticing as the outcome of your goal appears, you cannot instantly jump into a happy, motivation filled life.

Instead, achieving happiness and success means that you have to venture out of your comfort zone into an unknown journey. On your path between here and there, you will most likely face many obstacles, experience setbacks and failures, feel emotions you don't want to feel, and discover you must learn strange new ways of thinking, acting, and behaving if you want to reach your outcome.

One-step at a time you walk across the middle ground between where you were and where you are going. This middle ground tends to feel shaky and unknown. You may stumble along with unsure footing wondering if you will ever feel confident again. One of the secrets of achieving a happy outcome requires acknowledging and understanding that the changes you are asking yourself to make will be uncomfortable. Your success rests on planning ahead to give yourself the tools and support you need to make yourself feel safe even in the midst of change and uncertainty.

The following strategies are designed to help you find that trust and self-assuredness when you are in the midst of creating your happy and motivated life.

Acceptance of Your Journey

Whenever you are feeling uncertain, stop and take a moment to breathe deeply. Take several deep, slow breaths. When you breathe, you allow yourself to come back to center and your inner resourcefulness. From center, you can regain your larger perspective about the importance of the changes you want to make. You can remind yourself that you are in transition because you made the conscious choice to experience more happiness. You are not a victim of this change, and no one forced you into this decision. Although your journey from here to there may not be an easy journey, remind yourself that the joy and success you want to experience is important to you.

It's Okay to Fall, But Get Back Up Again

When you are walking across the transitional middle ground between where you were and where you want to go, there will be times when you may feel uncertain and doubtful about your ability to have what you want. Perhaps you encounter a roadblock or obstacle, or perhaps the amount of effort you must put forth on a daily basis was more than you bargained for. You will consider quitting. The question becomes, when you want to quit, will you curl up, tell yourself you can't have what you want, or desperately pray that someone comes along to rescue you? Or are you going to gather up all your courage and find some way to gain motivation move forward once again? It's okay to stumble and fall, we all do it at one time or another. It is even okay to lie in the dirt for a while. What is important is that you remember that you are still on your path, still facing forward, and you can still have what you want. What is the one step you can take right now that will serve to raise your level of motivation higher?

Choose Faith

Have you ever heard the expression, "Feed your faith, not your fears." I love how this phrase can boil down a complicated situation into a very simple choice. Use this phrase to perform a reality check on yourself. When you feel doubt or fear, are your thoughts and actions helping to build your self-confidence that you can have what you want, are they causing you to go further down a dark spiral of negativity and despair? The issue is not whether or not you will experience fear. Fear is a natural by-product of going on your goal journey. The issue is how you will deal with fear when it shows up - will you feed faith or will you feed fear?

Get Support

Your journey between here and there is your own unique experience that you must navigate on your own. No one can take the journey for you, and no one can pick you up and drop you off on the other side. The journey itself is what offers the strengths, insights, wisdom, and joy that you are looking for. Therefore, you must walk our own path - but that doesn't mean you can't hold hands with some friends for a awhile. Meet with a nutrition therapist, life coach, friend, or advisor on a regular basis to keep you motivated. Your support people can help you though periods of self-doubt and instability and remind you that being able to feel more happy and motivated is what you want most.

Words Are Powerful

Be acutely aware of the words you use. Do the words you speak to yourself empower you or leave you feeling powerless? Are your thoughts self-supporting or self-defeating? Do you encourage yourself when things are going well and when things are difficult? Learning to motivate your self with positive, self-affirming, resourceful, and loving language is what allows you to feel happy and gain motivation to take each next step. Look into your own eyes in the mirror and speak kind, persuading words. It is up to you to provide the motivation you need to achieve success.

Take A Risk

Change requires you to move from your smaller, confined circle of comfort to one that is larger and more expansive. To achieve ultimate success, you will need to move beyond the edges of your comfort zone. Like Columbus sailing off to explore the edge of the ocean, you too are exploring unknown new territory. Allow yourself to be a beginner again - this is how you grow and transform. If you take a risk and fail, learn from the experience and adjust your actions. Just don't give up!

Create A Ritual to Honor the Change

Symbolically acknowledge your journey by creating a ritual to honor the growth and changes you have been making. A ritual can be anything metaphorical that has meaning to you. Perhaps it might be burying your scale, donating all your larger clothes, giving your diet books to the local library, a celebration of your journey with friends, or even listing all the things that have been holding you back on little strips of paper and burning them. Take some sort of physical action to acknowledge the path you are moving along. Doing this creates a deeper sense of meaning and importance to your daily actions, and raise your motivation level. You develop respect for the transition that you are engaged in. A ritual may help you close a door that you are ready to close.

Get a Transitional Object

Your ability to feel happy and keep motivated can also be increased when you carry a transitional object. Your transitional object can remind you of your successes so far, and keep your vision on your overall goal. The object could be something that reminds you of your journey, or it could be an item that provides comfort.

Link your sense of touch to the feeling of being happy or motivated. For example, think of how a toddler is able to comfort itself with a stuffed animal or blanket, or how rosary beads can help move thoughts back into love. Find your own transitional object that you can touch, stroke, or hold to remind you of the importance of your journey and provide you with motivation to continue forward. Below is a list transitional objects you could easily carry in your pocket or on your body:
Small smooth stone
Special necklace
Ring for your finger
Sea shell
Symbolic lapel pin

Your goals to end overeating, lose weight, overcome stress, or move beyond sadness and depression are important goals. Congratulations on your courage to move forward and make a better life for yourself. Use these tips and suggestions to keep yourself motivated, feeling happy about the changes you are making, and believing in yourself. Although your path may seem shaky at times, you truly can live the life of your dreams.

Want to make your world brighter and more exciting? Want to leave feeling exhausted, stressed, depressed, or overweight behind forever? Subscribe to our wonderful weekly free Loving Miracles newsletter at www.AnnetteColby.com and learn how to wake up each morning energized and glad to be alive.