I recently began reading Arianna Huffington’s Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. The book was a Christmas gift from my future daughter-in-law, Colleen Leddy, who had attended a Thrive workshop earlier in the year. She had texted me about her wonderful experience, and I made a mental note to buy a copy of Huffington’s book. One thing led to another, and I never placed that order. Consequently, I was really pleased when I opened the gift box and found Thrive. Since I was right in the middle of reading London by Edward Rutherfurd, a book I highly recommend to both seasoned and aspiring writers for a study of Rutherfurd’s approach to historical fiction, I couldn’t start Huffington’s book when it arrived.
Over the past three days, however, I’ve read about 150 pages of Thrive, but I’ve already found so much to recommend that I thought I’d take this moment to reach out to all of you who are celebrating the beginning of the new year. For many of us the end of one year and the beginning of another is a time for reflection on what has gone before as well as what is to come in our lives. Not exactly resolution making, reflection is a way to take stock and to dream or plan. I was thinking as I read those first 150 pages that part of Huffington’s message speaks to reflection in our daily lives through the mindfulness practice she recommends.
The training I received at A Healing Place in Richardson, Texas, led me to incorporate mindfulness in my daily life through the practice of meditation. Living on a mountain, isolated at 8,000 feet, for nearly nine years after my introduction to mindfulness, or awareness, made that incorporation easy. Those of you who have read my book, Intentional Healing…or have been following my blog for a while know that I attribute my full recovery from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) not only to treatment at Dr. William J. Rea’s clinic in Dallas but also to the spiritual healing I received from energy medicine practitioners, Navajo medicine men, and the self-care awareness and energy balancing exercises I was taught at A Healing Place.
Obviously, my own experience with the health-enhancing benefits of mindfulness made me receptive to Huffington’s message that a successful life needs to be redefined from the current metric of working to career achievement through sleep deprivation and exhaustion to, instead, in the words of her subtitle, “creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.” And to make this point, Huffington backs up her recommendations with a great deal of research supporting the benefits of mindfulness, not just to us but to the organizations, businesses, and institutions for which we work. The data are convincing. I highly recommend you read Thrive.
What is mindfulness? If you’re new to the concept of mindfulness, you can think of it as paying attention to who you are and how you feel in the moment. It is as simple as paying attention to what you are eating and how you are eating it. A friend of mine attended a Natalie Goldberg writing workshop in France this past summer, where mindfulness was incorporated into every activity and task during the program. Eating in silence with mindfulness, paying attention to the scents of the foods, noticing how they felt on several levels as they chewed, allowed the writer participants to open their focus and their ability to write about the experience. Did I mention that they also had to be unplugged from social media—no smart phones, tablets, or computers except for a brief window each day? Something Huffington would have applauded.
Deborah Singleton, founder of A Healing Place, taught me that breath and thought are the two most important tools to enhance wellness in the bodymindspirit. Huffington has incorporated both of these tools in her approach to a successful life, one that is balanced between the planning and execution of tasks in the workplace and at home with living in the moment, which is what mindfulness is all about.
You can take the first step toward cultivating mindfulness by focusing on your breath. As I was taught at A Healing Place, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. Think of letting go of all that does not serve you. And relax. Feel into every part of you—head, mouth, nose, throat, shoulders, arms, hands, torso, legs, and feet— as you sit in a chair with your feet on the floor. Focus on your feet. Think: I let it all go. This is something you can do in the middle of your work day right at your desk. Even one minute in this focus will enhance health and improve concentration.
If you’re fortunate to be working at one of the companies mentioned in Thrive that provides meditation classes or quiet rooms for mindfulness, then spend a few minutes bringing yourself into balance by de-stressing through breathing. Enter the quiet room. Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in one of your favorite places. Is it in a garden? At the seashore? By a lake? On a mountain top? Notice your surroundings in your sacred space. Feel a soft breeze on your face. Experience the warmth of the sun.
Take a deep breath in through your nose and gently blow it out through your mouth. Feel your breath move from the top of your head through your body and into your feet. Send your breath from your feet into the floor below and down into the earth. Don’t worry about what floor you are on. Just see and feel your breath moving through those floors and into the earth. Feel your connection with the earth.
Notice areas of tension in your body. Breathe through those parts of you and think: I let all tension go. Feel it move into your feet and down into the earth. When you feel relaxed, gently bring your focus back to your breath as you leave your visit to your favorite place. Within yourself, express gratitude for your moment in your sacred space. Remember that you can return there whenever you want.
When you are ready, open your eyes. Nurture your body with a cool glass of water and a healthful snack such as fruit or nuts. You will return to your tasks refreshed.
Every day take a few minutes to be in the moment, noticing how you feel and relaxing the tension in your body through breathing. Over time, this refreshing break will develop into an automatic reflex that kicks in when you are feeling stressed. As you continue to practice mindfulness, your awareness of who you are in any moment will enhance your health and allow you to see other people in a more compassionate light. The benefits for you, your employer, and the world at large will grow and grow.
Blessings to all!
My thanks to Google Free Images for the wonderful visuals in this post.
A recent article in the New York Times by Michael Wines reported on the collapse of honey bee colonies around the world. So called colony collapse disorder, which began to be reported in 2005, has pushed annual die-off rates from a norm of 5 to 10 percent of bees in a colony to 40 to 80 percent in some cases.
As someone who sees the earth and everything on it and in it as sacred, a part of the divine consciousness manifested, I was greatly concerned when I first read about this phenomenon in Wines’ article. I was even more dismayed to read further that beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups were convinced that these collapses could be traced to the growing number of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides used to control insect infestation, in particular to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, so named because they are derived from nicotine. Neonicotinoids, or neonics, began to be used widely in 2005, thus the suspicion that the colony collapse disorder is linked to their use.
To help readers understand the importance of bees to agriculture, Wines draws attention to the impact of pollination on annual harvests of fruits, vegetables, and nuts: “Fewer bees means smaller harvests and higher food prices.” For more information, you can check out “Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farm,” Michael Wines, New York Times, March 28, 2013.
What moves colony collapse disorder from a concern of limited stakeholders to that of our society at large, however, is the fact that neonicotinoids are only one of many pesticides judged acceptable for use on our food supply and in our homes, all of which do have toxic effects on people and pets, separately or in combination with the other “safe” toxins to which we are exposed in our foods, homes, gardens, water, personal care products, and even in the air we breathe.
In his April 13 article in the New York Times, Think Those Chemicals Have Been Tested?, Ian Urbina brought attention to the use of unregulated chemicals in personal care products and paints, as well as on clothing (stain-resistant treatments) and furniture, mattresses, in particular (fire-retardants).Urbana explained that the burden to prove or disprove safety is on the EPA, which doesn’t have the resources to monitor the 85,000 industrial chemicals now in use. He cites the fact that of all the chemicals in use, the EPA has succeeded in banning only five: chloroflurocarbons, dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls, hexavalent chromium, and asbestos. Yet scientists report that babies are being born with a myriad of synthetic chemicals in their blood.
If you haven’t yet gotten the point that we are unprotected from unregulated chemicals, then watch this video of interviews with Linda Chae, researcher and consumer advocate, and then go to her website for more information on what is poisoning us every day. Note: If you are concerned about the use of triclosan in everything from household detergents to shampoos, Chae’s video will provide the information you seek.
What can we, as consumers and parents concerned about the health and safety of our children and ourselves, do to shine the light on the unregulated and inadequately tested chemicals in our environment? Plenty. And in a positive way that will enhance our energies and set a good example for future generations.
- First, buy products that are safer for the environment. Many supermarkets now sell more eco-friendly products, such as Seventh Generation. Here is a link for Seventh Generation coupons. If you don’t live near, or can’t drive to, a supermarket that sells organic or non-toxic/less toxic cleaning and gardening products, you can buy them online. Just enter key words such as “environmentally friendly,” “ecofriendly,” “organic,” “non-toxic,” or “less toxic” products. Buy from manufacturers that recognize environmental concerns and produce products that are safer for us, our children, and the earth.
- Second, check out the shopping lists online at the Environmental Working Group’s website for advice on what organic fruits and vegetables are must buys and learn which conventional ones can be safely eaten. Buy as much organic produce as you can afford.
- Third, support grassroots efforts to clean up neighborhood parks and schools. Lobby for nutritional lunches and work actively to keep cell phone towers away from schools to shield children as they grow to maturity. Call for environmentally friendly cleaning products, paints, grouts, and sealers to be used in schools and community centers.
- Fourth, contact your state senators and encourage them to vote for legislation that would mandate that manufacturers demonstrate the safety of chemicals before they can be sold.
Last, take all of these steps with a positive attitude and love in your heart. Join your energies to the energies of those who seek change through positive means. When you keep positive thoughts around you, you attract the positive. Take a deep breath, send negative thoughts into the earth surrounded by light, and keep your heart open.
Instead of allowing what we love to be harmed by unregulated chemicals, let us join with the new consciousness of living on the earth with respect for everything on it and in it. All life is sacred. We are all connected. If we allow chemicals to harm the insect life on our planet, we allow ourselves to be harmed as well. If we continue to buy and use products that harm the environment, we harm ourselves and our children and grandchildren. Change the way you live on the earth, and preserve earth for future generations.
Make every day Earth Day!
Yes, my husband drew Susi’s name from the container, so an Amazon gift card is winging its way to Susi. A big THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by to leave a comment and enter the giveaway.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have followed my blog since its inception in January of this year. I am so grateful you think I have something worthwhile to say.
As a bonus, I am sharing another heart-healthy recipe based on a dish Grandma Jennie used to make. Here it is:
Jennie’s Chicken in Tomato Sauce with Pizza Spices and Crostini
one whole boneless, skinless chicken breast
one 28 oz. can Italian crushed tomatoes
three large cloves garlic
one to three tablespoons olive oil
pecorino romano cheese for grating
Italian bread or baguette, sliced
1. Remove skin from garlic cloves and cut cloves into thin slices.
2. In a medium to large sauce pan, sauté garlic slices in one tablespoon olive oil until slices turn golden but not brown (45 seconds to one minute). Remove pan to cool burner and remove all but one slice of garlic. Reserve other garlic slices for use later.
3. Place crushed tomatoes in a blender and mix, then liquefy, until tomatoes look creamy.
4. Pour tomato sauce into sauce pan and cook on medium or higher heat until mixture starts to bubble. Reduce heat to low. Place lid of pan at an angle to allow steam to escape. Cook for one hour, checking occasionally to make sure sauce does not boil.
5. When sauce is ready, set on cool burner.
6. Cut breast in half at connecting membrane. Remove all visible fat. On a meat-cutting board (washable), slice breast horizontally into scallopini-like slices. Place in baking dish that has a cover.
7. Ladle thin layer of sauce into bottom of dish. Place chicken slices in neat rows, covering each row with sauce, pepper and oregano. When finished pour remaining sauce over top. Season with pepper and oregano to taste. Grate cheese over top.
8. Bake, covered, at 375 to 400 (depending on your oven) for 30 to 40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
Chicken can be served over pasta with a side salad and crostini. Remember the reserved garlic? You can spread sautéed garlic with one to two tablespoons of olive oil over slices of Italian bread or baguette. Grate some cheese over slices. Toast briefly in oven.
Note: For those who wish to avoid cheese, no problem. Both the chicken and the crostini are equally good without cheese. Use your imagination for the crostini. Slices of tomato, mushrooms, bell peppers, all make tasty toppings. And don’t forget a little oregano for added spice!
In conjunction with “My Writing Process” blog tour, I will be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one of the readers of this post who leaves a comment. Here is how it will work. At the end of this week, I will write the name of each person who has left a comment on this blog on a slip of paper. All slips will go into a hat, and I’ll have my husband draw a slip from the hat. An Amazon gift card worth $10 will go to the person whose slip he draws, so be sure to leave your email address for possible delivery. The giveaway will close at midnight on Friday, April 4, 2014.
My Writing Process Blog Tour.
I was fortunate to be asked by my friend Kathryn C. Treat, author of Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope, to join “My Writing Process” blog tour. Kathy and I met in 2003 at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas. Our friendship began as we supported each other through the rigors of testing and treatment at the Center and developed long-distance by telephone and email. Little did we know, all those years ago, that one day we’d support each other as authors. I have admired Kathy’s strength and determination to recover from environmental illness. She applies those same qualities to her new tasks as an author, and she has taught me a great deal about social media and promotion. I have her to thank for my WordPress site, which she helped me construct after my book website was hacked. To find out more about Kathy and her journey through environmental illness, you can check out her website or her blog. Here, thanks to Kathy, are my thoughts on my writing process.
What am I working on?
From 2004 through 2012 while we were living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I visited Navajo country, the Jicarilla Apache reservation, and Northern New Mexican pueblos, attending sacred dances and visiting sacred sites in a three-state area. On many trips, I was fortunate to have the company of my friend Christine Gregg, a sacred pipe carrier and sweat lodge keeper, who is a member of the Katala Okolakiciye, a traditional Lakota women’s society. Sometimes, Christine’s apprentice, Esther Maria Lindner, accompanied us. On one of our trips we traced the journey of the Jemez maidens, who were sent by their elders under cover of night into Navajo country. This is only one of the historical events I researched for a book I envisioned that would tell the story of a remarkable Navajo headman who lived in the first half of the nineteenth century and played the dual role of encouraging his people to go into captivity and then, through negotiations with one of the U.S. Army’s ablest generals, of leading his people out of captivity, not to a U.S. Indian reservation but to their homes within the sacred boundaries of Navajo country. I am developing this story line now. At the same time I’ve been developing the theme of the Authentic Self–Higher Self or Soul–through my blog posts, sharing what I’ve learned about getting in touch with that side of ourselves through breathing and visualizations and developing awareness of the human energy system.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I wear many hats as a writer. While some of my blog posts fit neatly into the bodymindspirit genre, many of the topics I choose to pursue identify me as a writer in the field of public health, a calling I’ve followed since 1989. Whereas in earlier years I wrote and worked with experts primarily in the fields of substance abuse and cardiovascular disease about topics assigned to me through the consulting companies for which I worked, now I write about the environment and its effects on health, not surprising since my health was affected by exposure to environmental toxins. I still accept commissions for public health and medical science editing with my husband, Roger, who is a retired physician and epidemiologist. We’ve had the privilege of supporting the Initiative for Vulnerable Populations, based at the University of California Berkeley, editing journal articles, a book chapter, presentations, and press releases.
Why do I write what I do?
I write to make a difference–a difference in the lives of the people I reach, a difference in the fields of public health and medicine through facilitating the communication of ideas and findings from research. I write about things that matter to me greatly. Isn’t that a part of man’s need? To make a difference somewhere? Or at least to think we are making a difference, part ego and part Authentic Self, reaching out to fellow travelers.
How does my writing process work?
My process varies with what I am doing, but usually the basics include (1) an idea or concept, (2) research, (3) consultation with an expert, if appropriate, (4) a rough draft, (5) review by others, and (6) final draft. For my next book I am venturing into historical fiction, with lots of room for imagination, but even for that work, a retelling of the life of Barboncito and his ancestors, I spent years researching and visiting the areas to be included in the settings.
My name is Meglena Ivanova. I’m Bulgarian author, blogger and essayist. I live in NYC with my husband, bearded dragon /lizard/ and abnormally strange cat. When I’m not writing, reading or blogging, I enjoy gaining insights into the psychologies of other cultures and times. I’m also into dancing, movies, and Apple products. Occasionally I like to write short (usually about mystical, mythological creatures and old but sacred objects that are described in ancient legends) fiction stories.
• Website – http://meglenaivanova.com
• Blog – http://meglenaivanova.wordpress.com
• Twitter – https://twitter.com/
• Linkedin – www.linkedin.com/pub/meglena-ivanova/44/110/630/
• Pinterest –http://www.pinterest.com/megidivam/
• Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MegiIvanova
February 2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of Proclamation 3566, a document signed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson designating February as American Heart Month, which succeeding presidents have signed every year since. The American Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, active advocates for heart health, feature heart health information on their websites year round. Since the beginning of the month, the AHA has sponsored heart health workshops and held events to raise funds for continued research into the number one killer of men and women in the U.S.
Research has pointed to a number of factors that can increase or decrease the risk of coronary artery disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. They include
- the use of tobacco products,
- high cholesterol,
- high blood pressure,
- exercise levels,
- obesity, and
While we can’t change our genes, we can take charge of our heart health through the choices we make. We can choose what I call the joyful heart lifestyle.
The joyful heart lifestyle supports the bodymindspirit in its wholeness and includes a Mediterranean diet, regular exercise, medication–if prescribed by a physician, meditation for profound relaxation, and a heart-centered approach to ourselves, the people in our lives, the work we do, and the communities in which we live.
The Mediterranean diet has been in the news lately, since research has shown that it reduces the risk of heart disease. Incorporating whole grains, nuts, vegetables, fruit, olive oil, spices instead of salt, fish, and chicken, it provides a wide range of foods that can delight the senses and the spirit. Especially if you bring to food preparation the wisdom of my Italian grandmother, Jennie, for whom I was named. I would sit in her kitchen as a little girl and watch her prepare meals. One of the first lessons she taught me in her halting English was this: “the finger…puts the love into the food. Don’t be afraid to use your hands.” And my grandmother demonstrated by rubbing a bowl with love to receive the ingredients she had chopped for the salad she was preparing for dinner that night.
She would remove the outer covering of a garlic clove, cut the clove in half, and then, cut side down, rub the clove all over the salad bowl until every inch had been covered. My grandfather, Adamo, liked the taste of garlic, but he didn’t like to eat the clove. Every time my grandmother prepared food for him, she incorporated a little act of love. And, of course, she was serving both him and their family a salad, prepared in the Mediterranean style with olive oil and vinegar, a dressing which has been recognized to be part of a heart healthy diet.
Not everything my grandmother cooked was heart healthy, given her southern Italian heritage. Several of those dishes, including mouth-watering chicken parmesan and its eggplant counterpart, begin with breading and frying, and frying needs to be kept to a minimum or not used at all in a heart-healthy diet. The basics of healthy eating, however, were there in my grandmother’s approach to food for following generations to cull. Over the years, I’ve modified many of the dishes I learned at my grandmother’s side with, according to my husband, more than successful results. I’ll be sharing those recipes from time to time, including one at the end of this post, so check back for updates.
Incorporating regular exercise routines into our daily lives has been shown to have benefits for the cardiovascular system. You can think of it this way: since the heart is a muscle, it will benefit from staying fit. Exercise increases the heart rate and makes the heart work harder, thus increasing its capacity for work. It may also have some benefits for the aging brain. Studies have shown that exercise can increase the production of brain cells, as reported by Gretchen Reynolds in an article in the New York Times, April 18, 2012, to mention only one of numerous articles reporting this benefit. However, if you are thinking of starting a regular exercise program, the most important thing you can do to protect your heart and brain is to consult your doctor to see which kind of exercise program is right for you, especially if there is a history of heart disease or stroke in your family.
Sometimes your doctor will prescribe medication for you to control high blood pressure, one of the risk factors for heart attack, stroke, and much more. The Mayo Clinic’s website on the dangers of high blood pressure provides clear information on just what can result without treatment. I know from speaking to many physicians and from firsthand experience that taking medication daily can greatly improve the health outlook for someone with high blood pressure. Don’t be discouraged if the first medication you try doesn’t agree with you. I had to try several medications before finding one that controlled my blood pressure without intolerable side effects.
Meditation can induce profound relaxation of bodymindspirit. Meditation, as I’ve pointed out in previous posts, can be as simple as closing your eyes and breathing from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet while visualizing light moving through your body and into the earth. These seconds-long visualizations keep you in touch with the primary flow of energy that nourishes the human energy system and moves from the spine through meridians to every cell in the body. Free flow of energy supports the natural healing and regenerative processes in the bodymindspirit and is the focus of practitioners of acupuncture and energy balancing.
Meditation with visualization is an easy introduction to stillness meditations, which can be frustrating and sometimes intimidating, and breath work with color visualization is the easiest of all. Sit in a comfortable chair with your hands resting in your lap, palms turned up. Imagine a light above your head and while inhaling see that light enter your body and move through to your feet. While exhaling, see the light pool in your feet and send roots of light deeply into the earth until your light reaches a place of great light. You may see this place as a cave of light crystals or a garden of light. Look around this place of light until you see a source of red light. Connect your light to that red light. While inhaling, see the red light move through your roots of light and into your feet. While exhaling, see the red light move into your root chakra, coming up your legs as well, into your body and out the top of your head. Inhale again, and while exhaling see the light in your aura all around you and expand your light six to eight feet. Now see yourself in a cocoon of red light. You have grounded your energies, one of the first steps in balancing your energy system, and you have supported your root chakra.
You can continue working with color, moving through each chakra in turn. See my earlier blog on color meditations.
A heart-centered approach to ourselves means knowing when to say no when demands of family or work begin to overwhelm our ability to give from the heart. Love needs to inform everything we do in life, whether it is writing to inform or persuade, relating to those with whom we think we have little in common, coping with a fussy child or an angry partner, or healing on many levels. The key is learning to love ourselves so that we can truly love others. That may mean setting boundaries to protect our energy levels when people ask too much of us. If we give more than what is comfortable for us to give, whether to family, work, or community, then love turns to resentment, and resentment harms both the giver and the receiver.
As February ends and March begins, the lessons of the joyful heart lifestyle can inform this next month and every month of the year. Adopt a heart-healthy diet and an exercise program (after consulting your physician), take medication if prescribed for you, meditate a few seconds daily and longer weekly, and approach the people in your life through your heart. Your heart will love you.
Disclaimer: All healing paths, while they share certain things in common, are unique to the individual. Nothing I write in my blogs should be construed as medical advice. All decisions about physical and mental health should be made in consultation with your physician or other licensed or certified health care practitioner.
Jennie’s Pesto Sauce
2 cups basil leaves
1/2 to 3/4 cup walnuts
1 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 heaping teaspoons Grey Poupon mustard
Place above ingredients into a blender. Mix for at least 12 seconds. Then liquefy for an additional 12 seconds. Adjust ingredients to taste. This recipe eliminates animal fat, thus the absence of cheese, which is a standard ingredient in a pesto sauce. This sauce can be used on pasta, baked potatoes, chicken, and fish or used as a dipping sauce for Italian or French bread. Remember that a little goes a long way. Both walnuts and olive oil have high caloric counts per tablespoon, but are high in monounsaturated fats, which are heart healthy. Buon Appetito!
On Valentine’s Day we send flowers and cards to those with whom we have relationships. The motivations that prompt those gifts and missives are as varied as the people who send them and the relationships that spawn them. If they have anything in common, it is that longing from the heart for closeness to another and a desire for happiness. In reaching out for happiness, we oftentimes look to other people, as if they had the power to grant that which we seek, thus making everything right in our lives. Consider the following.
I’m sure you’ve read some version of this instructive story. A man goes to a spiritual counselor to seek advice: “I’m very unhappy here and I want to seek happiness elsewhere. Will I find it?”
“What is it about your life here that has brought you unhappiness?”
“All of my relationships with women end in failure. I don’t get along with my co-workers. My neighbors treat me like an outcast. I have no true friends.”
“Why do you think this is so?”
“No one understands me or values me.”
“Seek not for happiness elsewhere. You will not find it.”
Crestfallen, the man leaves.
What did the spiritual counselor recognize that the man could not? Is happiness a destination to which other people take you? Or do we attract happiness through what we cultivate within?
The key to why this man could not find happiness lies in his answer. Instead of looking within to the kind of interior life he was cultivating, with its potential to attract or repulse others, he was looking outside himself. His answer clearly places the blame for his lack of happiness on others.
Sound familiar? Isn’t this something we all do from time to time? Isn’t our first impulse to deny the role we have in our unhappiness? For most people a cooling off time brings rational thought and the ability to recognize the part they play in the success or failure within their relationships. For others, however, deep-seated needs and fears block recognition of what they attract to themselves.
For the next week or two, try this experiment. Call upon your “silent observer” to be a witness to the conversations you have with others. Carry a little notepad with you. Make three columns. Head the first column “Relationship,” the second “Outcome,” and the third “Feelings.” The next time you have a conversation with someone, record information in the columns immediately afterwards. Be brief. Under “Relationship” note with whom you spoke. Was it a co-worker, your spouse or partner, your parent, your sibling, your child, a neighbor? Under “Outcome” note whether the encounter was generally positive or negative. Be honest. This is for your eyes only, and when you look through the eyes of your “silent observer” you look without judgment. Under “Feelings” make a brief note about what feelings you brought into the encounter and what feelings you took away from the encounter. At the end of the experiment, look over your notes. Can you pick up any patterns? Were the conversations more positive than negative, or just the reverse? Were your feelings and expectations positive before the conversation or negative? How did that affect the outcomes? The law of attraction in personal interactions is quite simple: in general, we attract to ourselves what we hold within. This is not an easy concept to grasp or accept, especially when we look only through the eyes of the wronged person we consider ourselves to be.
Try for a moment to look through the eyes of a loved one with whom you have just had a negative encounter. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet firmly on the floor. Call the light to yourself. See a cone of light above your head and breathe deeply through your nose. See the light come into your body. As you exhale through your mouth, see the light move through your body to your feet. Ask Mother Earth to accept your light and send it deeply into the earth. You are connecting with the healing energies of the earth and aligning yourself with a consciousness that can allow you to be in a space of non-judgment.
Breathe deeply—in through your nose and out through your mouth as if blowing out a candle. Just be in this space. Now see the encounter as an observer. Can you feel what your loved one felt during that exchange? If you had spoken differently, could you have had a more pleasant discussion, even about a difficult topic? We all have triggers that bring forth emotional reactions that are sometimes not at all appropriate for the moment. Are you feeling tense? Let the feelings of tension drain through your feet. Don’t worry if you can’t let them go completely in the moment. There is no success or failure in this space. There is only exploration and recognition.
Becoming a “silent observer” is the first step toward developing a more transparent interior life, one that allows us to see more clearly what we attract to ourselves. The next steps are up to us.
Disclaimer: All healing paths, while they share certain things in common, are unique to the individual. Nothing I write in my blogs should be construed as medical advice. All decisions about physical and mental health should be made in consultation with your physician or other licensed or certified health care practitioner.