Archives for category: Connection

Like the drawing in of a breath that allows the body to function, inspiration also refers to “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative.” A creative act is not simply limited to art or writing–each and everyone of us engages in creative activities on a regular basis, whether we are aware of it, or not.

We create experiences for ourselves and others with each thought and interaction.

Today I was obviously inspired. I listened to a recording from a respected spiritual teacher, which opened my awareness of my gifts and possibility. Before class, my colleagues and I chatted and caught up on happenings, feelings, and thoughts. It feels good to be part of a group of interesting, intelligent, and talented individuals. The professor and class content then lit the fire of my fueled and loaded rocket. Within minutes I was zooming out to an excitingly distant orbit! That energy spilled out into each interaction thereafter. Each conversation ended with both of us smiling. I was very productive and happy.

Flying high provides an expanded perspective of opportunity and possibility, which motivates action and positive emotion. This is reflected in your mood, behavior, and the way you relate to other people and events. This is the exact opposite of feeling stuck, unhappy, and tempted to procrastinate. This is being inspired to creativity.

You know what I mean. Don’t you just want to be around someone, who is happy and motivated? Doesn’t it make you feel good? Don’t you see more opportunity? Don’t you notice that you then run into more happy people that day and things flow smoothly?

Each of us has something completely unique that we can share with the world. It doesn’t matter if the world we directly reach consists of a spouse, a neighbor, 50 employees, or the nation. We each make an impact. Decide if you want to make that impact feeling unhappy and stuck, or happy and motivated. Either way, you are creating that experience.

You choose to what you listen, and with whom you surround yourself, to name a couple influences. Do you feel inspired by these people and thoughts? If not, find those that are inspiring. Be selfish. The world needs you to take care of you. The world needs you at your best.

If you started smelling a bad smell, you probably wouldn’t breathe deeply, right? If you don’t find fresh air, you will be depriving your body of the oxygen it requires, and its functioning begins to falter. Similarly, without mental inspiration, your emotional and creative well-being suffers, and the people around you are robbed of the optimal you. So, your responsibility is to find what makes you happy and do it–that is your “work.” By keeping yourself inspired, you inspire others, and around it goes.

Follow what strikes your chord, and that will get your world humming.

~SH

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Sound familiar? You are in a foreign country and your phrasebook query elicits smiles, whispers, and children’s wide-eyed fascination. The person, to whom you are speaking, gently tells you that instead of saying “Thank you,” you spoke of diarrhea. After a shocked moment, you all have a good laugh and end up discussing life over a bottle of wine.

I wish these moments on everyone. For me they represent the connection that can be possible anywhere, anytime, with anyone. How would you like to live in that kind of world?! A world, in which a miscommunication is simply that–and maybe even a chance to talk more, to clarify, to connect, to discover–yourself and others.

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What is different about communicating in a foreign country and communicating on your own turf? I believe it is the willingness to hear past the semantics, and to give the speaker the benefit of the doubt.

My assertion is that if we view each person as a Culture of One and if we communicate as if interacting with a foreign language and customs, we would have that connected world.

When dealing with an obvious difference of language or culture, the willingness to understand and to see the similarities in another person is more prevalent, despite the potential faux pas that can occur. This leads to a friendly or neutral interaction. It seems clear that if a person is raised with a different language in a different culture, her words and behavior may have a different connotation than mine. So, I don’t take things personally. I ask questions to clarify meaning and intent.

We each have a unique set of circumstances and experiences that gives rise to a very specific perspective that is reflected in everything we say, all our behaviors and reactions, and our interpretations. These interpretations fine-tune our perspective, and around it goes.

So, Jane Doe may have been born in 1983 in the U.S.A. with hundreds of other children, AND she was raised in New Hampshire, AND in the town of Bakersville, AND in the school district of Mount Washington, AND in the Family Doe, AND on Maple Street, AND…, AND in her own head. Each sphere represents an added layer of “culture.” The overlap of shared perspective is diminished with each layer. Jane Doe lives in her own unique point of view framed by her own unique set of beliefs. Her culture is, therefore, similar and yet unlike that of John Smith, also born in 1983 in the U.S.A.

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If you grew up using the same language as another person, it is easy to believe that she has the same connotations for each word as you do. That leads to arguments and being right about what another person said.

How often do you experience a person angrily saying, “But you said _______!” only to hear the rebuttal, “I never said that!” This is not communication, and it causes a disconnect.
Communication happens when the message that Person A sends, can be repeated by Person B, and Person A can say, “Yes, that is what I said.” This requires listening and being open to the meaning behind the words. It requires the willingness to understand a different perspective.

Speaking the same language obscures the fact that we each have a unique perspective and subtly different connotations and interpretations. It is BECAUSE we believe we are speaking the same language and meaning the same thing, that we feel justified in our position, and communication breaks down.

Applying the concept of Culture of One would allow us to step back. In the space we create, there is room to seek clarification and hopefully to deepen connection.

~SH

PRISM for your Mind: NSA, WikiLeaks and Israel

Brilliant white light filters through a prism,
To emerge redirected, refracted as ROYGBIV,
RedOrangeYellowGreenBlueIndigoViolet.
The colors of the rainbow.
The colors of the chakras.
The colors of peace, joy, and happiness.
The arc leading to the proverbial pot of gold,
Lighting up the sky and children’s faces,
As the sun reaches out to catch a raindrop.

What color are you?
How can you be limited to just one?
Are we not each composed of ROYGBIV,
Regardless of how red-blooded, true-blue,
Or green with envy we may seem?
Categories of separated wavelengths,
Walls dividing light give permission to compare,
Form fractional factions, fear.
Division serves to isolate, dissociate, weaken, kill joy.

Remember from whence the colors come.
Trace your steps to the beginning.
Wholeness—not a splitting or splintering into individual pieces—
Is our true nature.
Acknowledge and accept all parts of yourself;
See similarities with others, find common ground;
Barriers dissolve like cumulus clouds after a storm.
Remember. Redirect. Reverse-refract. Reconnect.
Rainbows reconnected emerge as brilliant white light.

~Sarina

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I am going to go out on a limb—or a flagpole, as it were. I just heard again some coverage regarding South Carolina and the flag. The person being interviewed said that it should not be at the State Capitol, which is a place for everyone, and no one should have to drive past there and feel pain. But rather it should be in a museum where it can be honored appropriately.

First of all, what is appropriate? For whom? At what time?

Second, how are you going to affect that someone honors the flag in whatever way is deemed appropriate?

In addition, if someone feels pain, is it because of the symbol or is it because of what they tell themselves, what story they have about that symbol in their mind? So, what should be changed: The story or the symbol?

What are symbols anyway? Isn’t it just something that evokes a story in our mind? So, what is it that has the power: The symbol or the story?

I remember a while ago hearing a story about a black man, who adopted the Confederate flag, or whatever it’s called, because it is not just the Confederate flag, it was a flag before that and there is a name for it (I must research this further). He adopted it as his own; he had it proudly waving on his car. As you can imagine, some Blacks on one side, and some Whites on the other side, had different reactions to his adoption of that symbol.

He owned that flag. He refused to let someone else tell him what story to make up about it. It was amusing to see how, on the one hand, some people were horrified that he could adopt it. But he realized it was just a symbol, and he hoped others would embrace the same philosophy towards this symbol. It was amazing how some of the white men he encountered all of a sudden rejected the symbol; they wanted to have nothing to do with it. So, he helped them change their story about it. He might not have changed their way of thinking immediately, but at least the symbol they had wielded like a weapon was relinquished. This can ultimately diffuse the hate and fear behind a symbol, because it no longer has one rationale on which to cling or one single story which to propagate. Rather than upholding mental bondage, a symbol is slowly sapped of power.

Is that not the more effective way of honoring a symbol? To see it for what it is?

The more we uphold what it stands for—the story based on one time frame, based on hate and fear—the more that is real. And directly or indirectly, even if you don’t want to, that upholds it, that honors that story of hate and fear. What he was doing was turning it into love—seeing the reality occluded by the fear. He was seeing it for the symbol that it was—nothing more and nothing less.

In the same way, that is the lesson we can implement in our every day lives: to take behaviors that we see from our friends, family, and colleagues as symbols. We are the ones, who write the story about it. We are the ones who interpret it, attach meaning to it for ourselves. They are just symbols and we make of them what we want to make of them.

The person in traffic who …, the friend who didn’t …, or the colleague who …

What story are you telling yourself? Is it based on Fear, or is it based on Love?  ~BlinkNFlow

Idiom: Whistling Dixie–If someone is whistling Dixie, they talk about things in a more positive way than the reality. [Whose reality? ;-)]

There are definitely times when I just let myself operate on autopilot–arriving by car at my destination and having no recollection of the trip, for example. This is okay sometimes–just the other day, I had an insight into an Acupuncture question while driving on autopilot. But, in general, I don’t feel enlightened by the experience, often I am just tired, feel my senses are dulled, and feel disconnected.

I invite you to try tuning in.

Start your day by consciously perceiving your environment. Imagine you are from a different planet, sensing your surroundings for the first time. Take a different route to work or the store. Park in a different spot. Make one little change in your perspective and notice what you experience. Do you notice something–either internally or externally–that you haven’t noticed before?

Let me know your results!

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Looking over old notes, posts, and even bits of coaching sessions with different clients, I see that the sought-after goal, the dream outcome invariably revolves around the desire for purpose and connection.

If you have been fortunate to experience connection in life. You know, these are the more positive, productive, happy times. Things flow. You are on top of the world. There is no thought of “should” or “can’t.” You just are. Opportunities present themselves.

I want everyone to experience this.

Connection is being in a relationship or association, which can provide a context or meaning. We often think of it as feeling loved, having a sense of belonging. This connection—having it or not—will affect every aspect of our lives, including our health. If the need for connection is not satisfied, we remain unsatisfied no matter what we acquire, ingest, or do in an attempt to fulfill our need.

Food, drugs, work, toys, sex, …—anything—of itself has its value and is not necessarily harmful. Taken or used as a substitute for connection, however, these things can become a weapon turned upon oneself. There is no substitute for true connection. A substitute will fall short of satisfaction. It may distract or comfort us for a short while, but when that effect wears off, we are once again faced with a void. Our results depend on how we attempt to fill the void. And how we attempt to fill the void depend on our beliefs—beliefs of what we need to have, to do, or to be.

This idea is by no means new.
This quest is a big reason that we have philosophy, religion, meditation, yoga, exercise, Facebook, obesity, drug abuse, etc. Depending on how we use these tools or anything in our lives, we will either be connected and happier, or we will continue relying on substitutes and just gain more weight, take another pill, or spend more time by ourselves, living vicariously through posted images.

The evidence that connection is the key to health is also all around us.
Studies have shown, for example, that
• A regular family dinner with authentic and caring interaction will have a beneficial effect on asthma patients, i.e. fewer and less severe visits to the ER;
• After having suffered heart disease, patients who not only followed the dietary restrictions, AND also came together to prepare meals as a group, showed marked improvement in health over a longer period of time;
• A Mediterranean diet leads to greater health and longevity, NOT due to the diet (as the researchers wanted to show), BUT due to the togetherness of the small, close-knit communities in which the participants live.

In our society, we are so disconnected despite all our “Friends” on Facebook, and our staying in touch via Text and Instagram. Being together with other people, face-to-face, and being part of a community is the first step. Please don’t misunderstand me; technology can be valuable when used as a means to an end, but it is not an end in and of itself.

First, go out and play. Step outside and be aware of who and what is around you. Stop to smell the roses, enjoy the beauty all around you. Make eye contact and talk to the cashier or the person you pass on the street. Do what you enjoy, or start a new hobby. Get together with friends. Reach out to family. Invite the neighbor over for dinner.

In this way, you will get out of your own head. Interacting with others can help you gain a new perspective. It can help you realize who you are. Maybe it will even show you in which ways you are important, how you contribute. Your friends and family members can learn from you. You can help them. You might even find some of your own answers by helping and listening to others. Interactions with others allow for new opportunities to present themselves.

It is like the old joke: Week after week, a man begs and prays to the statue of a saint to let him win the lottery. Finally, in frustration, the statue springs to life and speaks sharply, “Go buy a [bleeping] lottery ticket!”
Motto: If you are not making yourself available, opportunities cannot find you. Step into the game.

Next, change your beliefs—those thoughts around what will satisfy the craving of the void you perceive. I’m not saying this is easy, and it will also not be completed immediately, but you can see a shift instantly. It is like those optical illusions, you know, like the young woman/old hag, the two profiles/vase, or the one with the cubes projecting out of/into the page. Automatically, upon first viewing, you only see one aspect of the image. Suddenly a shift occurs and you are able to see the other image. Eventually, with practice, you are able to easily move back and forth between the two. And you can never just see one aspect again. This shift occurs because you allow a new perspective, a new belief to be your guide. Both possibilities were always there, you just chose to see differently.

The steps to changing a belief:
1. Become aware of the belief.
Reflect on where you are and where you want to be. What thoughts need to change to bridge that gap? What is your limiting belief? What thoughts keep you stuck?
2. Articulate a new belief you want as a replacement.
What will be your new, empowering belief? State that belief clearly.Keep the new belief present, visible.
3. Consciously search for evidence to confirm your new reality.
4. Build the case for your new belief.
5. Visualize the new belief working.
Very importantly, visualize the outcome as real—sense the difference. How does it look, feel, taste, sound, smell?

Keep doing this, and you are on your way to living the difference.

To help in this process, seek support. Surround yourself with people, who help you build your case for the new belief. Work with a coach. And know that it is a process. Be kind to yourself. If you are willing, you can make changes.

Being Between Heaven and Earth