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personal growth

101 articles in personal growth

Health From Your Core

Health From Your Core

Within each human lies an essence, a truth, a core of self, with one and only one intention - that it may be fully expressed, wholly manifested in material form while we live on this earth. Each year I become more aware that illness, lack of energy, a sense of confusion or lack of meaning in one’s life stems from a basic frustration of the expression of this essence. These things are often calls from the soul, asking you to become more aware of who you are at the deepest level and live out your unique soul nature in your day to day life. True healing is a transformation. Energy, power and authentic freedom grow as we engage in the process of connecting with our true essence and soul’s purposes and express them in our lives. To do this we need to call on all sorts of tools and techniques, from detoxifying body and mind, to herbs and natural treatments, to exercises for expanding awareness. Take energy for instance. Being able to live out your energy potential depends on how well you nourish yourself - physically, emotionally and spiritually - day by day. This means developing a lifestyle which incorporates exercise, good food, restorative sleep and the myriad of other possible factors - from hydrotherapy to super nutrients - that help support your own brand of vitality at peak efficiency. But energy too depends on living from your core, not by other people’s rules. It depends on living what you love most in some way, what feeds you most at the deepest levels. In discovering this and living more and more in this way, you not only fulfill your own life more richly than is possible in any other ways (after all we can only collect so many PhDs, BMWs and lovers). You also bring the very highest gifts that you have to give to your family, your community and the earth as a whole. Live your soul’s passion and you call on virtually endless energy. For health not only depends on how you eat and what exercise you get, and how you deal with the stress. All of these things are important. Each of us needs to develop a way of living unique to our needs and that calls for our body and psyche. But real health doesn't stop here. For ultimately, health is nothing less than the process of unfolding which each one of us goes through to become more fully who we really are. To empower this process we need consciousness expanding techniques such as meditation, autogenic training and prayer, for instance. All these things can be useful. But so far, the most useful spiritual tool of all I have ever found is the most ancient practice in the world: shamanism. These 30,000-years-old simple practices can not only be useful for healing, divination and creativity. Shamanism can also play a major part in your unfolding. Practical, simple to learn and easy to use, shamanic techniques can enrich your creativity, heighten your energy, and bring your outer life progressively in line with your soul’s purpose, enhancing your own and others' in the process. I created my Journey to Freedom books, tapes and other workshops to help people learn shamanic skills and reestablish a sense of connection with their own authenticity as well as the universe as a whole. This invariably brings great joy in its wake. It can bring you face to face with the only true guru for health, healing and spiritual guidance that exists: the guru within you. That is where the greatest power lies. Once you begin to align your life with your own truth, the universe supports you in a way you may never have dreamed possible. Working with people through their own health process, helping them discover whatever is most appropriate to their needs on both a physical and spiritual level, and teaching them how to work with these things, is the most exciting thing in my life. For each person is totally unique. Each of us carries a divine spark of soul which we are here to live out to the full, bringing our own individual brand of spirit into material form as we walk the earth. The beauty of watching this happen in those I work with is for me like walking in a garden and seeing flowers and plants, trees and rocks that I have never seen before. I am dazzled by their beauty.

Stress Is A Gift

Stress Is A Gift

The idea that stress is all bad is patent nonsense. As human beings we would be little more than vegetables without stress in our lives. Also, and most important, the more committed we are to the lives we are leading and the more right they are for us, the less likely we are to suffer the ravages of stress. Nevertheless we worry about stress, wonder about it, and wish it would go away. Yet seldom do we even stop to ask what it is. Little wonder. For stress is complicated even to define. YOU NEED STRESS TO LIVE The word stress comes from the language of engineering, meaning “any force which causes an object to change.” In engineering the specific change caused by stress is known as strain and there are four possible kinds: torsion, tensile, compression and sheering. In human terms the strain is you body's response to physical, chemical, emotional or spiritual forces, asking in some way that you adapt to them. As we learn this art, we also discover a great secret: How stress can become the spice of life, the exhilaration of challenge and excitement, the high of living with heavy demands on you and and thriving. For, like the tempering process involved in the production of a piece of good steel, once you make a friend of stress, forces which had seemed to be working against you become positive energies that define you, strengthen you and help you express your own brand of creativity and joy. This is one of the great gifts that stress has to offer. Without physical and mental challenges your body would become feeble and you would never feel the excitement and creative energy which are such an important part of wellbeing. But too much stress can be a killer since stress, or rather the inability to cope with it, is the common denominator in all disease states. It is also a strong contributing cause in almost every illness to which we are susceptible. Develop methods for neutralizing the negative effects of stress and you can begin to thrive on its positive aspects. TOSS OUT THE PILLS Drug-based therapy is not the answer: the a million tons of Valium swallowed each year, as well as sleeping pills and other tranquillizers, produce unpleasant and dangerous side-effects ranging from addiction to acute rage, withdrawal, long-term worsening of anxiety symptoms, sub-clinical vitamin and mineral deficiencies, aggressiveness and even acute psychotic episodes. New evidence indicates that taking tranquillizers may also encourage the growth of tumours, impair neuromuscular coordination and make takers more prone to road accidents. Quite apart from the detrimental effects these drugs exert on mind and body, the fact that they treat only the symptoms of overload and do absolutely nothing towards eliminating the causes, means they can never make a positive contribution to wellbeing. What’s worse, relying on pills weakens your ability to cope with life and undermines your autonomy and your self-esteem. QUICK ENERGY NOW It is actually possible to breathe in energy whenever you feel burdened with worry and fatigue. Try this for a couple of minutes: Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply from your diaphragm, so your stomach (not your chest) swells with each in breath. Imagine that you are breathing in vitality from the air to fill your whole body through your solar plexus. As you breathe in, feel that your whole body is becoming more and more relaxed. Imagine it as a centre of immense light radiating outward in all directions, as though you are taking in energy through the solar plexus itself, transforming it into light and radiating it out again everywhere. YOUR FEELINGS MATTER Emotional stressors in your life can take their toll. But f most emotional hurdles can be overcome. Take a look at what continues to trigger off the stress response in your own life. Ask yourself whether it is something which prevents you from turning a lot of your energy to more constructive use. Some stressors provide challenges from which we can grow. Others are simply habitual. They lead nowhere and bring little in terms of increasing awareness or your ability to make better use of your energy. If there are any of these in your life see if you can eliminate them. For instance, take a look at the work you do and ask yourself if you find it really satisfying. Are the financial responsibilities you have taken on really necessary? Can you reduce them in any way? If so, have the courage to drop them and to accept the changes this will bring about; this too can make you stronger. We humans have a tendency to hang on to the status quo at all costs - and often the cost is in terms of lost adaptive energy - occasionally even life. Regardless of whether you learn the world's finest techniques for meditation to counteract stress, if you are in a job you hate year after year or are faced with a relationship that no longer has meaning for you, they will do little good. To make stress work you must not only face up to its demands, but also take responsibility for removing it wherever it is no longer useful and relevant to you. GET INTO JOY Each of us needs to develop our own personal ways of throwing off stress. A walk in the woods for clearing consciousness is something quite specifically ordered by Tibetan doctors to patients who suffer from rapid swings of mood and worry. Or you could try sailing, running, dancing, gardening, listening to music or some other form of hobby. I have a passion, verging on an addiction, for good movies. Explore them all. Find out what works best for you and make it an important part of your day-to-day life. By eliminating unnecessary stressors from your life, practising relaxation and exercise, and becoming more and more aware of which challenges are important to you and which you are better off without, you will develop a way of being which will keep you free from unnecessary illness. You will soon be tapping the kind of vitality and enthusiasm a child has which most adults have long forgotten. A special bonus too - you will quite automatically preserve your good looks and vitality decade after decade. THE ART OF SIGHING When you begin to unwind and let go the muscles' tension, the release is often accompanied by a very slow deep breath - in fact, a sort of sigh. You can use sighing throughout the day to calm your nerves and prevent tensions building up. Think of a stress producing situation which occurs fairly frequently at work, e.g. the telephone ringing and each time it happens, take a deep breath and let it out again, then answer the phone. Be sure to let your shoulders drop as you inhale and breathe deeply down into your belly and lower back. Let the lower ribs expand away from your spine as much behind as in front. When you exhale, don't collapse, but think of your head and spine lengthening upwards. THE BLISS OF BALANCE Stress and relaxation are like two sides of a coin. Learn to move easily from one to another and you will begin to experience your life as a satisfying and enriching challenge like the ebb and flow of the tides. Then you will never again have to worry about getting stuck in a high-stressed condition which saps your vitality, distorts your perceptions and can even lead to premature ageing and chronic illness. The secret of getting the right balance between stress and relaxation is threefold. First, take a look at the kind of stress that is part of your life, eliminate unnecessary stressors and discover new ways of working with the others. Second, learn one or more techniques for conscious relaxation and practise them until they become second nature. Finally, explore ways of expanding your mind, honouring your individuality and for creating an environment that supports both. Not only will this help your body stay in balance and increase your level of overall vitality, it can bring you a sense of control over your life that is hard to come by any other way.

Creativity Is Yours

Creativity Is Yours

In Sanskrit they call it lîla. The word means play. Yet not in the limited sense of our word. Lîla is free play, deep play, wild play carried out in a timeless NOW. It speaks of divine play. It’s the kind of play that sets us free to be who, in essence, we already are, even though we may not yet know it. Lîla is also the kind of creative play that brings new worlds into existence. FROM CHILDLIKE TO GENIUS In its simplest form, lîla describes the spontaneous activity of children so absorbed in what they do that they don’t even hear you when you speak to them. One morning my three-year-old friend Marina came to visit. Scrambling onto the four-poster bed where I was writing in a state of intense concentration, she told me the story of how she had climbed to the very top of a pirate’s ship as high as the stars. Like all still-innocent children, Marina entered into her imaginal world with ease—a magical realm in which creative sparks can be seeded then begin to grow. The imaginal world is a place most of us adults have lost touch with—a powerful realm in which the joys and fruits of lîla reign supreme. At a deeper level, lîla speaks of the all-encompassing absorption out of which Beethoven, then dangerously ill and nearing the end of his life, nonetheless created the most remarkable music of the 19th century: The Late Quartets. Or the obsession of Van Gogh, which led to his having painted 900 pictures and turned out 1100 drawings pictures during a lifetime. This kind of lîla is far more complex and committed than child’s play. It can produce achievements that enrich the way we look at life, that connect us to the deepest levels of our own being. Some fruits of mature lîla even transform the world. A big deal? You bet. This is play of the highest order—nothing less than an outpouring of the most intimate and essential nature of each unique human being. Living your creativity as fully as you can while you walk the earth, in whatever way most satisfies your unique nature, is the most exciting and enriching process any individual human being can experience. It brings a sense of meaning and purpose to your own life that nothing else can. CREATIVE PASSION Creativity is not a problem to be solved or a subject to be picked apart in psychologists’ laboratories. Those who try end up wandering in an endless maze of moribund words and phrases which miss the point. Meanwhile, the wrinkled fiddler on the city street plays on—smiling. He is lost in the excitement of improvisation, magically blending movement, feeling and sound—making music never heard before, that touches his heart and awakens the senses of all with ears to hear. We have grown up with some weird ideas about creative power. We’ve been taught that creativity belongs to a few select human beings whom history labels as genius. Nothing could be further from the truth. Creating is not a rare privilege—it is a right, even a necessity for all of us, if we are to live a fulfilling life. Creating anything, from cooking a healthful meal to writing poetry or playing games with children reminds us all what life is about. From this place we learn to live and work, to imagine, invent, and finally give birth—not only to things that have never been seen, heard, felt or touched before, but to a way of living more wondrous and exciting than most of us would ever have imagined. A passion to be lived, a lîla to be danced, the wild creative power within us urges us to tell the truth and shame the devil. It demands that we express our love, our obsessions, and the fascinations which pursue us. It asks that we live out life from the very core of our being. “Genius,” as late American writer John Gardner used to remind his students, “is as common as old shoes. Everybody has it.” CREATIVE RELEASE A few years ago, I began to explore not only the power and dimensions of creativity in you, me, and all of us. I wanted to discover how each of us can gain greater access to it, and how best we can live out our own creative power in our day to day lives as scientists, professional artists, musicians, writers, dancers, actors or as businesspeople, parents, teachers, lovers, gardeners, healers, craftsmen and thinkers. I was sure that on a larger scale, the way we as a group choose to use our collective creativity determines whether or not we will be able—in the wake of having laid waste to so much of our planet—to emerge as a sustainable species in a sustainable world. A lîla of enormous proportions; what could feel more powerful or more daunting? Yet the creative power on which it depends springs from the same source within each person as Marina’s imaginative play. PRIMORDIAL POWER Mysterious, enigmatic, spontaneous, occasionally even frightening, in essence creative power is the power of life itself. It is the force that gave us birth which continues to give birth to universes. It is what created us and brought each of us our own lives. It originates from a place within each one of us where we can touch and tap into the numinous energy of the Cosmos: God, Being—call it what you will. No words can adequately describe it. In truth, it is far more an experience of aliveness than a place at all. And, although we may never describe it adequately, we are perfectly equipped to enter this locus of creative power within us and find out how to live ever more of our lives from it. For the majority of artists, creativity pours forth most easily when they have intimate support for it. Shakespeare had his actors and a Globe Theatre eager for his plays, Virginia Woolf entered a room of her own and there wove tapestries of words. Emily Dickinson wrote out of the intimate community of a family who adored her, admired her and made sure she was given the space and time to carry out her imaginative work. For others who are highly creative, there is no such intimate support. Many have suffered childhood abuse, loss, illness or intense suffering. The creativity of such people can be monumental. Each man or woman is brought to the exploration and expressions of their creative power through suffering in just the same way that, so often, we discover what is most important to us by having what we believe to be of greatest value—a loved one, a job, a title—taken from us. Painful as such experiences are, often they turn out to be great gifts when it comes to freeing our creative power. Caught up in our lives of work, children, and householder duties, few of us live in such fortunate circumstances as Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson. But that does not matter. What has not been given us we can make for ourselves. Art is not the province of the privileged few. It belongs to all people—those of us who spend our days in front of computers, cooking, sweeping streets, running errands, caring for children, handling the stupidities of bureaucracy, and living our constantly changing lives in a world that is ever less secure. THE WAY AHEAD We are alive at a moment in history where one age is dying, yet another has not yet been born. We are, each one of us, faced with a choice: As we sense the foundations of our world shaking, do we withdraw in anxiety, trying in desperation to hang on to what we once believed to be “true”? Do we become paralyzed, and try to cover our fear with apathy? Or do we summon the courage offered us by a Universe in flux, honor our personal sensitivity and consciousness, then choose to face the challenge of entering the realm of creative power within? Then, trusting our individual capacity for lîla, do we begin to play in ways that may help bring forth a new world for all? Regardless or age, background, or limiting notions about what’s possible, each one of us has a choice to make. It’s a choice between continuing to conform to established belief systems that stifle the human spirit, or trusting in ourselves. Are you willing courageously to explore your intrinsic creative gifts and make use of them? “That which we give birth to from our depths is that which lives on after us. That which is inborn in us constitutes our most intimate moments—intimate with self,” says Theologian Mathew Fox, “intimate with God the Creative Spirit, and intimate with others. To speak of creativity is to speak of profound intimacy. It is also to speak of our connecting to the Divine in us and of our bringing the Divine back to the community.” Personally, I urge you to begin connecting ever more deeply with your own brand of creativity. Discover new ways of living. Leave automatic assumptions about who you think you are and learn to respond to each moment and each day of your life with new eyes and an open heart. The more you do, the richer your life can become. Such is the joy of lîla. Such is the power of lîla. If you have not yet explored it, you have an exhilarating, wondrous adventure ahead of you. Take it. Trust it. It’s the adventure of a lifetime.

Mind Body Connection

Mind Body Connection

Your body is an incredibly complex, dynamic system. Mind and body are not separate entities as we have been led to believe. They are opposite ends of the life continuum and they need to be experienced this way. For how you think is at the core of tapping into the kind of vitality and aliveness that fuels charisma. Does this sound like some old wives' tale or one of those 'growth techniques' that urges you to 'smile in the mirror every morning and think positively'? Far from it. What I am talking about is hard core science. The latest research in one of the most exciting fields of scientific study taking place today, psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), has a lot to tell us about charisma. PNI has begun to quantify scientifically a lot of the things which we as human beings already 'know' somewhere deep inside but which, as a result of the mechanistic paradigm or world view implicit in our Western 20th century culture we have all but forgotten. PNI studies the complex bi-directional interactions between the central nervous system and the immune system. Leading researchers in the field such as Dr. G.F. Solomon at the University of California, have discovered that the human mind (which includes our conscious thoughts, unconscious impulses and our transcendent or superconsciousness as well as our emotions) is elaborately interwoven with all the functions of our bodies via nerve pathways and chemical messengers such as the endorphins, intestinal peptides and hormones. A hormonal-nerve relationship exists between endocrine glands such as the pituitary (the master gland regulating the actions of all others), the adrenals (which deal with stress) and the hypothalamus which is called the hypo-thalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. It links thoughts and emotions with physical responses. This may sound complex and high faulting but what it all means is simply that how you think, feel, the way you see yourself, how you respond to the world around you powerfully influence the levels of vitality you experience, how slowly or rapidly you age, and whether or not you resist infections from colds and flu to the viruses behind such conditions as AIDS and ME. Despite a proliferation of articles, books and television programs for popular consumption which speak of the body as the 'human machine', in reality it is nothing of the sort. Use a machine a lot and it wears out. Use your body a lot with respect for its needs and it only becomes stronger. Leading edge research is also amassing evidence that through our consciousness we are linked via extremely complex energetic interfaces both with other living organisms and with planet itself. Becoming aware of these interfaces - connections which are now being mapped by brain researchers, biologists and high level physicists - can be fascinating. Coming to make use of them is another highly subtle yet tremendously potent and exciting aspect of living with charisma. Throughout history the basic unity of mind and body has formed an integral aspect of man's belief systems and healing practices - from ancient Egyptian medicine and Ayurvedic medicine (the oldest known system of healing in the world from India) to Chinese Medicine, homeopathy and spiritual healing. But, during the eighteenth century and especially from the onset of the industrial revolution this awareness was largely replaced by a dominant paradigm or world-view which sees man as a blend of mechanism and egotism. A world-view is a dominant way of looking at reality which remains unconscious in a culture but which tends to govern the judgments one makes whether large or small. Ours holds first that all phenomenon in the universe, even life itself, are nothing more than a complex yet ultimately explainable series of chemical and physical reactions, second that differences between organic and non-organic life are only in degree, and finally that the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts. This mechanistic paradigm has been useful. It has enabled us to study and organize experience scientifically and it has been responsible for our technological development. But no matter how useful, every dominant paradigm has its limitations. Ours for instance has led us to ignore the organic interrelatedness of nature in favor of the notion that it is man's task through science and technology to 'harness nature' for his own ends - the results of which we are having to wrestle with in the increasingly unstable weather conditions, the dangerous thinning of the ozone layer, and unprecedented ecological disruptions so serious that many believe they could herald the end of human life on the planet. Our mechanistic world view has also contributed to a sense of human alienation which is expressed in our art and our literature and in our destructive social behavior. Now however our dominant paradigm has begun to explode around us thanks to findings in high level physics, PNI and the new biology. Energetic links are being established between the inner and outer world of man and the complex nature of interactions between consciousness and material reality are being mapped. The scientists and the philosophers now know that a mechanistic world view is no where near big enough to explain reality. As a result, new world views are rapidly evolving all of which, strange as it may seem, can play a powerful role in the development of charisma, in no small part because they enable us to break down the barriers of the self-limiting images each of us hold. (How often does one think thoughts such as, 'Oh I could never do that' or 'I am too small... too stupid... too afraid.) Coming to terms with them may seem a long way from deciding what kind of lipstick you wear or how you look after your hair and skin yet an understanding them can lead to as great an expansion of self-expression in those areas as it can in how you think, dream, behave and choose to direct your ambitions.

Caterpillars To Butterflies

Caterpillars To Butterflies

Quite apart from all the mind-boggling new research into how the right kind of exercise can rejuvenate your body,  I have discovered for myself that exercise is a great deal more than something you do to counteract aging or protect yourself from heart disease. It can be used to fan the flames of creativity and help make you more true to yourself. It can also foster personal metamorphosis of the deepest order - physical, emotional and spiritual. Not only is such transformation possible, it is virtually guaranteed - provided you are patient, and provided you are willing to put real muscle behind it. I have always been fascinated by the idea of transformation - you know the kind of thing: Frogs into princes, Cinderella becomes belle of the ball. Most people believe that in real life, transformation is not possible. They have obviously never learned to work with muscle. Some time ago I made a decision to explore just what kind of transformation was possible for me by working intensively with muscle.  I had come to understand the enormous importance of enhancing Lean Body Mass (LBM). I knew that skillful weight training (not the slap-about kind you see carried out in most gyms) is the fastest and most efficient way to do this. So I searched out someone who could work intensively with me as a trainer to shift the LBM to fat ratio in my own body. I found a Welsh champion weight lifter, Rhodri Thomas, who said he would take me on. When we began to work together I was scared to death that after the first two hours I would collapse in a heap. After all I am no athlete. However, I was keen to find out for myself just how change happens through muscle, so we trained six days a week. Every day we would work with weights backed up by aerobic exercise such as running, swimming and cycling interspersed with other activities like squash and tennis - just for relaxation. I found to my amazement that I did not collapse. Instead I watched as all sorts of deep changes began to take place. Muscles I didn't know existed slowly and quietly began to surface through my flesh. I discovered that the psycho-physiologists are right - feelings, thoughts and past experience is indeed held within our own flesh. All sorts of old memories, feelings, fears, I discovered seemed to be encoded in some mysterious way in my muscles. As you work muscle intensively, sometimes these rise to the surface to be lifted off - much as the body is detoxified of physical toxins on a fast. Frequently I found myself pushed to my absolute limits. Then the gym floor would be covered equally with my sweat and my tears. Still, thanks to Rhod's presence and a will that came out of somewhere deep inside me, I kept working. I was glad that I did. I discovered that working with muscle in this way transforms the body in an outer way by changing LBM to fat ratio and reshaping your body, which has all sorts of wonderful rewards including more energy, freedom from aches and pains, and a lean, firm body, as well as better hormonal balance. In many ways even more wonderful, it helps develop from within you a slow but steadily growing sense of self confidence, clarity and independence. For many - myself included - this was a deep change which had been virtually impossible to come by any other way. It now seems to me that working with muscle slowly and steadily day after day builds a powerful bridge between one's inner and outer world, so that with each passing week you become freer to live the truth of who you are. So now when I think back to all those fairy tales about transformation, about frogs and princes, for the first time in my life I feel I am beginning to understand them and to understand what real transformation through the body is about. It is not all glitzy, like they say in the movies. It is slow and inexorable. Yet it brings in its wake gifts far beyond our wildest dreams. Now I wonder, would Cinderella have been prepared for union with her Prince Charming had she not for many years before strengthened her body and purified her spirit through hard work?

Quantum Healing Via Consciousness

Quantum Healing Via Consciousness

Harvard professor and expert in cardiology and behavioral medicine, Herbert Benson MD, began the first scientific studies into the effects of meditation almost 40 years ago. Ever since, Benson and his colleagues at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital have continued to conduct clinical research and to map the benefits of regularly practicing the relaxation response: In Benson’s own words, "a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress.” The relaxation response can enhance brain function, slow age-related changes, stabilize heart beat, alleviate anxiety and dissipate stress. What is even more remarkable is this: When ordinary people with no training of any kind practice the relaxation response once or twice a day, it brings about cognitive restructuring and rapidly alters the expression of their genes. When it comes to rejuvenating, regenerating and healing the body, these findings are nothing short of revolutionary. WHAT IS GENE EXPRESSION? Uninformed people as well as many mainstream scientists believe that our health, biological age and death are written into the genes we inherit at birth. They view genetic inheritance as something akin to a dour clairvoyant prediction of our future—something which we remain powerless to alter. It is true that the genes we inherit may indeed define our “risk” of early aging, degeneration and disease. But whether or not this “risk” becomes fact, so negative events actually happen to us, has far less to do with our genetic inheritance than it does with how we choose to live our lives—in effect, on how our genes are expressed. Gene expression is the scientific term for how well or poorly we manage our genetic inheritance. For instance, how do your own genes express themselves? Do your genes provide you with great vitality? Clarity of mind? Creativity? Freedom from illness? Or are they expressing themselves in negative ways, like creating obesity, sagging skin and spirit, early aging and degeneration? HOW’S YOUR OWN GENE EXPRESSION? You see, there are many possible versions of you tucked within your genes and chromosomes. Which versions become expressed—which potentials become “facts”—depends almost entirely on the way care for and use your body, handle stress, and orient yourself spiritually and creatively. Here’s where the food you eat, the exercise you get, and practicing Benson’s relaxation response really come into their own by helping to prevent degenerative conditions: Alzheimer’s disease, many forms of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, obesity—even overt signs of skin aging, to mention only a few. And there is even better news: Once signs of degeneration have already appeared, practicing the relaxation response daily can reverse them while rejuvenating mind and body, halting stress damage and setting your spirit free. All you need to tap into it to use a method to turn it on. The possibilities are many. They range from relaxation response meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, zazen, silent repetition of a word and autogenic training to steady aerobic exercise and even biofeedback. Some will work better for you or be more enjoyable than others. It is worthwhile trying a couple of different techniques so you discover which you like best. My own favorite method is “relaxation response meditation.” I am happy to be able to share with you a simple and fun video so you can do the exercise along with me. Click here to watch the video FREEDOM’S DISCIPLINE We live in an age where discipline is looked down on as something which interferes with our spontaneity and freedom. So we tend to rebel against it. But the kind of discipline needed for a daily relaxation response practice—far from stifling your ability to be involved in the spontaneous business of life—actually frees it. At first it may take a little effort to get up fifteen minutes early each morning to practice the technique and (if you can manage the time) take fifteen minutes out of your afternoon or early evening to practice again. You will find it is well worth it. The most common objection most people make is that they don't have time. The reality of the situation is this: Even if you practice this technique once a day for fifteen minutes, it will expand time for you. You’ll find you can do everything with greater efficiency and enjoyment, and far less of your energy is wasted on fruitless activity. Every minute you spend in this deeply relaxed meditative state will bring you a fourfold return in the energy you have to use in the rest of your life. LIVING STRESS-FREE Herbert Benson first described the relaxation response as the physiological opposite of the stressed fight-or-flight response. Working with his team, he then went on to pioneer the application of mind/body techniques to a wide range of health issues and meditative practices. They charted the measurable physical benefits which accrue from practicing any form of meditation, including those that rely on the silent repetition of a mantra—a word-sound. Meditation using a mantra has a long tradition. Some mantras are considered “sacred words” that hold particular sound vibrations to transmit particular powers. Each spiritual tradition has its own mantras, such as Guru Om, Om mani padme hum, La ilaha illa 'lla or, in the Catholic religion, Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Whether their magic aspects are true or not, these techniques work beautifully to replace the habitual chatter that runs through one's mind, worries about things past and things yet to come. BENSON’S QUANTUM LEAP To learn a relaxation response meditative practice (which I have recorded on video so you can do it with me), Benson suggests you choose a word that is pleasing to you. It could be anything, say, “flower”, “peace”, or “love”. He likes the word “one”, as it is simple and has the connotation of unity about it. Here's how to do it: Find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed for fifteen to twenty minutes and a comfortable chair that supports your back. Sit down and close your eyes. Give yourself a moment to settle in and you are ready to begin. Simply sit there, feet on the floor and eyes closed, quietly repeating your word over and over to yourself: “one...one...one...” Whenever your mind wanders or you are disturbed by a sound or thought, simply turn your mind gently back to repeating the word again. That is all there is to it. After fifteen to twenty minutes, stop repeating the mantra and get ready to open your eyes. Open your eyes, stretch, and go about your everyday activities. This is a particularly useful technique once you have practiced it a few times because you can do it in so many different places, such as in a waiting room or on a commuter train or bus. THE RACE IS ON We live in exciting times—times when the breach between science and spirituality originally ushered in 400 years ago by the Copernican Revolution is rapidly narrowing. We need to make use of the gifts that the closing of this gap brings us. Even if you have neglected yourself over the years—most of us have, by the way—it is never too late to change. Making simple alterations in the way you live can regenerate your health and rejuvenate your body and mind. In my opinion, practicing the relaxation response once or twice a day is a powerful way to begin. Collectively, we are involved in a race against time. It has no precedent in human history. The stakes are high—ultimately the future of our planet. Scientific discoveries about the relationships between mind and body, and about life changes which can alter our genetic expression, are here to be understood and used. Experiential methods of self-exploration, healing and personal transformation emerging from humanistic and transpersonal psychologies offer enormous potential for taking control of our lives and creating the future we want. Making good use of what is already tried and tested can transform the whole way you experience life. Living can become a process of growth and joy, instead of one of degeneration and disillusion. If a sufficient number of us undergo a process of deep physical and spiritual transformation, we may in time reach a critical mass that enables us, working together, to envisage another finer and more just way of living together on the planet. Two things are certain: Now is the time. We are the people. May your own life be blessed.

The Electric Universe: Thunderbolts Of The Gods

The Electric Universe: Thunderbolts Of The Gods

This Documentary is a remarkable eye opener to the nature of our universe and the power of electricity. This is a must see for everyone but particularly for anyone who is interested in learning about the nature of the magical universe we live in. Details of the Electric Universe Thunderbolts of the Gods by David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill introduces the reader to a former age of planetary instability and earthshaking electrical events. The 108-page full-color monograph, based on the life’s work of the two authors, offers a revolutionary synthesis of historical investigation and the newly discovered “Electric Universe.” Talbott and Thornhill claim that cosmic upheaval occurred so recently as to have profoundly affected early human cultures, provoking “incomprehensible” myths, symbols, and commemorative practices. Through a synthesis of ancient testimony, high-energy plasma experiments, and space age discoveries, the authors bring the ancient world to life. If their hypothesis is correct, it will surely alter many paths of scientific investigation as well. The little-known study of powerful electrical discharges in plasma is a new and exciting development in plasma cosmology, with profound implication for space age astronomy. Talbott and Thornhill have followed these developments because they see plasma science as a bridge between the ancient and modern worlds. To advance their case, they present side-by-side comparisons of laboratory plasma experiments and globally recurring symbols of the ancient sky. The evidence, they report, shows an ancient obsession with extremely violent electrical discharge formations in the heavens. At the core of this reconstruction lies the unique behavior of plasma. Plasma, often called the “fourth state of matter,” has been studied for less than a hundred years, and only in the recent decades of the space age have some physicists begun to realize its importance to the understanding of structure in space produced by electric currents. All stars and astronomical objects ranging from supernovae to beautiful filamentary nebulae are now known to be constituted of plasma—a conductive medium that permeates the near-vacuum of space. Charged celestial objects move within insulating cells of plasma that may discharge spectacularly upon close encounters. The plasma discharge currents take complex filamentary forms resulting in the panoply of astonishing structures seen by Hubble and other new telescopes. From these discoveries, a new approach to the understanding of the physical universe is emerging. This approach is called plasma cosmology. Through unimaginable labors, our ancestors carved unexplained pictures on stone, numbering in the tens of millions. But what inspired this massive endeavor around the world? The laboratory experiments make clear that the ancient artists were copying spectacular electrical phenomena in the heavens. Indeed, the global correspondence between laboratory discharge forms and the pictographs on stone is so detailed that same-scale images.

Look Great

Look Great

The word charisma literally means "talent, grace, a favor specially vouchsafed by God". The charisma approach to good looks focuses not so much on specifics as on the over-all impression you create - an expression of your personal and idiosyncratic feeling for who you are and what looks best on you. The charisma approach to good looks is bold, assertive and often witty. And, contrary to popular opinion, it is not the exclusive province of the special elect - women with perfect size 10 bodies and not a wrinkle on their faces. Far from it. Charisma is ageless. It exists in every culture. It is the icing on the cake - the external expression of your unique authenticity which gives you panache, boldness and humor, and transforms physical limitations like wide hips or giraffe necks into assets. It can make a wonderful statement out of a nose that by conventional standards is too big. Charisma makes you stand out in a crowd. Developing charisma of your own can not only be a lot of fun and have a dazzling effect on your outside world, it can even empower you to live more and more from your core. Charisma is something of far greater value than a docile conformity to conventional notions about fashion and beauty. affirming what's authentic What gives you charisma? The Chanel suit you wear? The car you drive? The way you have been taught to use your body or speak your words? Not really. For, stylish or charming as these things may be, they are more often than not chosen without any consideration of whether or not they have a connection with the individuality of the woman who wears them. It is rather like hanging Christmas baubles on a willow tree. As such, they offer little more than the appearance of charisma. And like pastiche, appearances never deceive a discerning eye. Developing your own charisma is first a question of acknowledging that how you look matters. Second, you need to make time to care for yourself and to explore who you are. Finally you have to rediscover the art of play. Your unique nature can be expressed in a myriad of ways, from the most simple and playful to the most profound: In the colors you like best, in the way you choose to wear your hair, the kind of make-up you wear, as well as how you think and talk, and in the deep values you embody; even in the dreams you dream and in the things you do and make - whether they be creations of art, intellectual or physical feats, or your simple day-to-day ways of being. That is why at its essence, charisma is both disarmingly simple and immeasurably complex - neither more nor less than living day by day from a full and honest outpouring of your individuality - that spirit which is unique to you.

Addicted To Beauty

Addicted To Beauty

Anyone familiar with my work knows that I am a sucker for beauty. I always have been. It’s no accident that I’ve spent years of my life working with beauty, writing about it, researching it, exploring it in every form. Here’s the news: I have recently become totally addicted to the marvelous new (only a year old) ‘Pinterest’. It’s a unique social network which I stumbled into almost by accident, and I’ve become completely besotted with. So much is this the case that I find myself awakening in the night to look at what is new on the site—and it is truly wonderful. It is also a very far cry from Facebook, Twitter and the rest. I predict that, if you explore it, you too will become trapped in this web of beauty. Pinterest covers everything from ancient artifacts to street fashion, health, and just about everything else that makes up our lives. PINTEREST—WHAT IS IT? How do I begin to describe it? It’s a pinboard-style photo sharing website that lets you create and manage all sorts of theme-based collections of images and events which interest, dazzle and delight you, plus lots more. Once you join Pinterest—and you can only become a member by invitation—you have access to pinboards belonging to other people all over the world. You can re-pin images in your own collections (called your “boards”), or you can “like” the photos that they present. You can save, sort, delete and resort all of your images—these are known as “pins”—enabling you to post all sorts of media content in your boards. Your boards usually follow a theme so that your pins can be easily organized, found and enjoyed by other users. There are all sorts of quick links to Pinterest, as well as “Pin It” buttons to go on the top of your browser—so that whenever you find an image or piece of information that fascinates you, you can press the Pin It button. This will immediately take you to your Pinterest account, and let you put it on one of your boards then and there. I love Pinterest’s mission statement, which is “to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting”. Surprisingly enough, you will find no advertisements on Pinterest, and—though it’s only been around for just over a year—it is the fastest growing social service in the world. FEED YOUR SOUL In the world we live in, with all of its chaos and concerns about economic and political disorder, Pinterest for me—and many others—has become a place where one can nourish one’s soul with whatever fascinates, brings you joy or a sense of spiritual uplifting, or all of the above. I love boards that inspire me. My own Pinterest pages are filled with information about health, the sea, animals, spiritual renewal, healing herbs, ancient cultures, and of course beauty of every kind. The only way to appreciate Pinterest is to take a look at it for yourself and see what you feel. As you’ve probably figured out, I am over the moon about the magnificent life-enhancing beauty that you can find here. I strongly suggest that you check it out. I predict that it will inspire you too. This year, Pinterest won the “best social media app” and the “people’s voice award” for their best-functioning visual design at the Webby awards. It would be impossible for me to sing the praises of Pinterest too highly. Happy pinning!

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 12,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 12 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 25th of October 2020 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.70 lb
for women
-1.06 lb
for men
-0.70 lb
for women
-1.06 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 25th of October 2020 (updated every 12 hours)

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