Category Archives: Balance

In Times of Stress

When my son was young I spent many an hour watching Mister Rogers with him. I loved Mister Roger’s slow and easy manner, his clear intention to instill great values, and strong self-esteem in young minds. I also loved seeing the many wonderful ways he conveyed his core statements: “There is only one you!” “I like you just the way you are!” “You are perfect every day and in every way.”

We all need to hear those words. Why? Because many of us live in a culture that teaches us from a very young age to look at what is wrong or missing in the picture. This conditioning then leads us to become adults who perpetually look for what is wrong with another person or situation and then try and change it. This is not living, nor is it a way to encourage our children, or us, to live a vibrant life.

So how can we change this pattern?

Begin by paying attention to your thoughts and what comes out of your mouth. Then at the end of the day rate yourself. What percentage of your day was positive and supportive and what percentage was negative and destructive. If you don’t like the percentage, make a conscious choice to change it. The subconscious mind learns through hypnosis, habit, and super-learning, so what I am proposing is using “habit” as a tool for changing your behavior and the end result.

If you would like to learn some other ways to change your beliefs then I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB art activities and videos for FREE.

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Release Yourself from the Stone

Imagine how different your day, or life, might be if everyone you met saw your full potential and inspired and encouraged you to fulfill that potential, instead of judging you or measuring you against some standard they hold in their mind.

Michelangelo has been quoted saying that inside every block of stone or marble dwells a beautiful statue, one only need remove the excess material to reveal the work of art inside. I feel this is true, not only with art but also with people.

I think it is pointless and even harmful to compare one child to another or one adult to another, and yet many of us learned to approach life in this way. Instead of constantly measuring others, I suggest we learn to refocus our mind so we can see the hidden gifts that lie hidden in every person we meet.

In our first six years of life we take on and internalize the beliefs and perceptions from our parents, siblings, and peers. If these beliefs and perceptions are not supportive of whom we are, they can become a cloak of stone, hiding our true being. This stone can weigh us down and encumber us in a manner that makes it difficult for us to learn, grow, and reach our full potential.

Even though many of us acquired inaccurate beliefs about life and ourselves in our formative years, our life now does not have to be a reflection of those beliefs. Instead it can be a celebration of our authentic nature and our potential. To make this a reality, we need to shift our perceptions and transform the responses and habits that flow from those perceptions.

With this in mind, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they are also wonderful way to activate your conscious mind, identify beliefs and patterns that don’t support your authentic nature, and subsequently release yourself from the stone.

If you would like to go deeper with the program, we are offering a 30% discount on both the I Create What I Believe! Deluxe Kit and the ICWIB Just Materials Kit between now and December 31. Use this coupon code: self30

Click here to order your kits now!

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Keep Your Eye On the Ball

Sitting on the bench for many years watching both my son and daughter play baseball and soft ball, I must have heard coaches say at least a thousand times, “Keep your eye on the ball!” I feel this phase can apply to many situations in life. When we let our minds wander, feel powerless, judge, blame, or trip over our fears, we can become ineffective, lose track of ourselves and what is really important. However, when we keep our eye on the ball we can maintain clarity and manifest our dreams.

The next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or lost, ask yourself, “Where is the ball?” and “What is important?” And keep it simple! This is not a time for long-winded philosophical statements; this is a time for action statements. Run! Jump! Slide! Get the ball! This simple approach will help you become more present, feel more confident, capable of coping with your current situation, and even find an innovative or creative solution.

Gandhi said, “…the pure love of one person can offset the hatred of thousands…”  I also feel that one balanced person can offset a great number of unbalanced people, not by what they say, but simply by who they have become. Be that person! And in the process, know you are making a difference in the world! This is how peace becomes a reality—one person at a time!

With this in mind, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they are also a wonderful way reduce stress, become more present, and help you uncover innovative solutions.

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Add More Happiness

Do you often see the cup as being half-empty instead of the half-full? Are you more focused on things that make you sad instead of things that make you happy? If the answer is yes, then you might have some inaccurate beliefs that are distorting your perceptions, as in the comic above.

If you want to add more happiness to your life, then you can accomplish it merely by spending more time in your conscious mind. Why? When you activate your conscious mind, you suspend the subconscious mind and the fundamental beliefs you acquired in your first six years of life. Also, when you activate your conscious mind, your brain automatically secretes oxytocin and dopamine into your blood stream. These are our “feel-good” hormones.

If you want to learn how to quickly and effectively activate your conscious mind at will—even when you are stressed—then I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they are a simple and scientifically sound way to activate your conscious mind.

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Go Where the River Flows Freely

I have come to the conclusion that nature is my best friend and teacher. It mirrors me, supports me, and constantly provides me with guidance if I am awake enough to hear it speak. Just going for a walk can clear my head, sooth the sadness in my heart, and lift weight off my shoulders. In its infinite way, nature provides me with continuous guidance that helps to keep me from being sucked into today’s crazy storyline. A river, a bird, even an insect can provide me with answers. I only need to be awake and willing to listen and observe.

Connecting with nature quiets the chatter in my head and helps me reconnect with my true nature. Listening to nature reminds me I am not alone and I have never been alone. Partnering with nature empowers me to be my best and helps keep me on my chosen path. So when I feel lost and overwhelmed by the burdens of life, I try to reconnect with nature, even if it is just observing a spider weaving its web or a weed pushing it way through the sidewalk.

I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they are also a wonderful way to quiet your mind, sooth your heart, and reconnect with your true nature.

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Kid Magnet

What makes you laugh? What makes you feel wildly alive inside? What brings joy to the “kid” in you? It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of handling adult responsibilities, but if you forget to feed the kid inside of you, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed and unable to function effectively. Too often, unfortunately, taking time to play can feel like a guilty pleasure or a distraction from our “real” work and life.

Dr. Stuart Brown, the leading expert on play behavior and the author of Play, How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, explains that play is anything but trivial. It is a basic biological drive as integral to our heath and function as sleep or nutrition. When we play, we are open to possibility and the sparks of new insight and thought. Play provides the glue for our relationships and fuels our creativity. In short, we are designed by nature to flourish through play.

So do you make time to play? Do you even remember how to play? If you don’t have a favorite way of playing or if you do but would like to try a new way of playing, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they are a wonderful way open your imagination, reshape your brain, transform inaccurate beliefs, and invigorate your soul.

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How to Create a Happier Life

If asked, most people will say they would like to live a happy life, but how many people actually know how to create a happy life? Remember, many of our beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors on how to approach life were acquired before we were even born. They then became part of the default system that runs our body until we change it. If your parents knew how to create a happy life, then you most likely are able to do the same, and effortlessly. On the other hand, if they didn’t or couldn’t, then you might find yourself struggling with knowing how to create your own happy life.

If you want to increase the happiness in your life, where could you start? To begin with, I feel we are blessed to live in today’s world because science is now addressing this question and providing us with some simple steps for change based on their findings.

Let’s begin with what constitutes a happy life. Some people might think a passive, pleasure-oriented life would bring them the most happiness, but scientists are now finding that the phrases, “Do what you love,” and “To thine own self be true,” along with a focus on striving for excellence based on one’s talents, brings about a greater sense of wellbeing and happiness. “This type of well-being is much more robust and satisfying than the passive, pleasure-seeking happiness, and is good for the body,” says Richard J. Davidson, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 So what steps could you take to create a happier life? The research shows that just taking some time at the end of your day to write down everything you did and then looking at the percentage of things you did that you like and the percentage of things you didn’t like can help you get to the source of your discontent.

It is easy to get caught up in an automatic “check-things-off-my-list-mode” and forget that what we do during the day has a profound impact on how we feel and our level of happiness. Just changing one item from something you don’t like to do, to something you do like to do can have a significant impact on how you feel at the end of your day. Also, try approaching something you don’t like—but need to do—in a different or more enjoyable way. This can also have a significant impact on how you feel at the end of your day.

We don’t have control of things outside of ourselves, but we do have control of how we respond to the things there. I know my life changed radically when I began to allow myself to review, and remove, a “to do” item from my list if I was feeling overwhelmed. I found that removing just one item, and replacing it with something that gave me pleasure, could make a huge difference in how I felt in the moment and at the end of my day.

With this in mind, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they are a wonderful way get in touch with yourself, identify what gives you pleasure, and subsequently help you create a happier and more fulfilling life.

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Merry-Go-Round of Life

Around and around we would spin squealing with joy as our world became a dizzy blur. The runners would periodically jump off and pushed even harder––the adrenaline rush was thrilling but it also brought up ripples of fear, anxiety, and sometimes, even terror. If you were hanging on to the outer edge, the ride was even more intense. Sometimes it felt like you were going to be thrown off and flung into the stratosphere––maybe even thrown into oblivion! But if you moved closer to the center of the merry-go-round, the ride was still fun but slightly less riddled with fear.

The global upheaval and unrest life of today is creating an experience that feels vaguely similar to my childhood rides on the merry-go-round. I find that when I allow myself to get caught up in the anxiety and overwhelm of others, hanging on the outer edge, I lose touch with my center, and what is really important to me. This loss of centeredness can leave me feeling overwhelmed and dizzy with anxiety and fear. However, when I allow a deep instinctual part of me to crawl closer to my center, I am not only able to enjoy the ride more, but I also am able to keep my heart open and help others find more enjoyment in the ride.

Since we aren’t riding on a merry-go-around right now, how can we apply this metaphor to our lives? Ask yourself, “What can help me reclaim or move more closely to my center?” If the answer is stillness—then find a way to be still even if it is just for five minutes. If the answer is doing something fun, even if you can’t do something at that moment, you can probably take five minutes and recall something you did that was really fun. That alone can change your mental state and subsequently have a positive impact on your body, mind, and spirit. If the answer is movement or exercise—even if you can’t go for a long run, hike, or bike ride, you can get up and walk for a few minutes with the intention of pulling yourself more into your center. We always have a choice! We can move through life centered and clear or anxious and overwhelmed.

With this in mind, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they are also wonderful way to pull yourself more fully into your center and subsequently create a more joy filled life.

If you enjoy these messages, Like us on Facebook and share it with others to enjoy. If you would like to read previous posts, you can find them under resources.

My Daily Canvas

I sat quietly as the first light of the day filled the sky. I wasn’t in a hurry—my whole day lay before me like a blank canvas. In fact, as I sat there watching the day emerge I imagined a blank canvas in my mind and allowed the Universe to paint my upcoming day for me. There was no planning, suggesting, or agenda passing through my mind. I only sat with a blank white canvas in my mind and invited the Universe to delight me with its plans or the theme of my day. I felt having this information would allow me to move more gracefully and more intentionally through my day.

An outline of the distant hill etched a line across my canvas, which was twice as long as it was tall. The low hanging fog then found its way onto the canvas in a softly eluding manner. This was my first clue! This fog will serve as a metaphor that I shouldn’t take things too literally and there might be less clarity than I want.

Over my shoulder a crow “cawed” and crossed my canvas. Clue number two! There will be messengers—so move slowly so you can pay close attention to details.

The crow crossed my canvas three times. I think that is another clue, but I am not sure the meaning right now. So I decided to remember the number three and the dark shadow cast by the crow.

My mind was taking on a new level of alertness as my eyes jetted back and forth trying to take in as many details as possible as it was trying to make sense of the fragmented clues and grasp their meaning. Would the painting dissolve before I gained the full understanding that was being offered? Could I hold onto the painting long enough to grasp its meaning and then secure it in my heart so it would guide me effortlessly throughout my day?

I took a deep breath and let it out as slowly as possible. The image on my canvas began to fade, but simultaneously the colors and lines found a way into my heart. I let out my breath and smiled because I was certain that my canvas would guide me whenever I felt lost or disoriented today.

I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB art activities and videos for FREE because they are also a wonderful way reduce stress and subsequently create a lovely day.

If you enjoy these messages, Like us on Facebook and share it with others to enjoy. If you would like to read previous posts, you can find them under resources.

Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

Change—even global change—starts on the individual level, and then if it contains clarity and vitality, can spread to the hearts and minds of many. This is important to remember because acts of anger and conflict seem to have become part of our everyday life. Unfortunately, this makes it too easy for these daily events to erode our mental, emotional, and physical stability, which makes it difficult for us to maintain internal clarity and vitality. When this happens, we can become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

How did we get here? Is there something we can do to change this situation? I think we need to remember that things don’t just appear out of thin air, but are rather the by-product of thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors—sometimes conscious and sometimes unconscious. I also think there tends to be a natural human tendency to sweep things under the rug when we don’t know—or don’t want to know—how deal with something difficult and painful. Unfortunately, when we don’t deal with these situations, we will eventually find a large elephant under the rug in our living room.

So what are three things we can personally do to bring about change?

  1. Get in touch with yourself, your feelings, and your beliefs. Then ask yourself honestly if your life really reflects those beliefs. If it doesn’t, then step-by-step work on making small changes in your life so it becomes a reflection of your beliefs. You may be surprised on how quickly your life can change to be an accurate reflection of your own—not another person’s—beliefs.

 

  1. Decide if you like what is inside your head. If there is significant negativity in the news, observe how this information affects your inner wellbeing. I am not suggesting you ignore the elephant in the room, but what I am suggesting is that you pay attention to your personal tolerance level for external chaos and upheaval. How does your body tell you that it has reached its tipping point? And, do you listen and disengage when you reach that tipping point? Every day, each of us has the choice to remain centered, clear, and to move from our heart. When we do, we can be positive and productive human beings. When we don’t, we can become part of the problem.

 

  1. Invest in yourself—or to put it another way—pay attention to where you put your energy, and where and how you use your time. Our sanity, clarity, and ability to be conscious, contributing members of society is dependent on us maintaining a high level of vitality and clarity. To do this, we need to put good gas in our tank (nutrition), drive our vehicle well (exercise regularly) and keep our windshield clear (make sure our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors don’t cloud or distort our vision).

If you do these three steps, I think it is possible to remain balanced, even under the stress and upheaval of the day, and to become part of the solution—not the problem.

With this in mind, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they are also a wonderful way reduce stress and increase your internal clarity and vitality.

If you enjoy these messages, Like us on Facebook and share it with others to enjoy. If you would like to read previous posts, you can find them under resources.