Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Month: August 2010 (Page 1 of 2)

Energy medicine for a wacky immune system

“Unless massive changes are made in the way we relate to the environment—whose pollutants overwhelm the immune system until it begins to treat almost everything as the enemy—autoimmune disease is on the docket as the illness of the future.” -Donna Eden

This is the second article in a three-part series on Energy Medicine – methods for working with the invisible energies within your body to bring about vibrant health.  You will probably want to read part one, Vibrant Health through Energy Medicine, to understand what Energy Medicine is and how it might be able to help you.

Can Energy Medicine help immune-related conditions?

Can Energy Medicine help when the immune system goes ballistic – in allergies, autoimmune conditions, or chemical sensitivity, for example?  Yes!  Can it be of assistance when the immune system goes into retreat – in immune deficiency syndromes?  Yes!

I am writing this article because I am concerned by the dramatic increase in allergies, asthma, and chronic illness in young children, and the explosion of autoimmune disorders in young adults.  The incidence of autoimmune disease is now 1:31.

More than anything, I want to communicate:  there is hope, there is help.  You can find your way to better health as impossible as it may sometimes seem.

Gradually, we are connecting the dots and learning that environmental pollutants play a pivotal role in the onset and/or exacerbation of many cases of immune-related conditions.  As remarkable as it is, the immune system is not sufficiently evolved to keep apace with the enormous amount of toxic chemicals, pollutants, and electromagnetic pollution that has flooded the world in the last fifty years.

Add the phenomenal increase in stress levels to the equation and you almost have an epidemic of chronic illness.

Modern medicine is limited in its ability to treat immune-related illnesses. Often, the medications employed are ineffectual or trigger more problems than they solve.  What can be done?

Enter Energy Medicine.  You can use the conscious mind to support and reprogram the immune system by tracing meridians, holding acupuncture points, and opening energy blocks. You can use the mind itself to direct the energy in your body.  And, you can do this on your own at very little cost.

It’s no secret that the immune system can be re-programmed.  This has been proven through medical research time and again.  The techniques offered by Energy Medicine can help you re-program your immune system to operate efficiently but with discrimination.

An Energy Medicine view of the immune system

Fasten your seat belt for a quick tour of the immune system as presented by Energy medicine pioneer, Donna Eden, in her book Energy Medicine, Balancing Your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy, and Vitality.

According to Donna’s approach – which is just one approach to Energy Medicine – the immune system is ruled by two energy systems, which in Chinese medicine are named:

  • the triple warmer
  • the radiant circuits (the strange flows)

These two systems use vastly different approaches to bring about health in the body. The triple warmer mobilizes the body for war to counter foreign invaders.  It can be seen as the equivalent to the fight-or-flight response in Western medicine.  The radiant circuits, on the other hand, organize all the systems of your body through harmony and cooperation.

In this approach, auto-immune and immune-deficiency disorders are seen as internalized forms of the fight-or-flight syndrome.  In auto-immune disorders – the fight response – the triple warmer attacks one’s own body.  In immune-deficiency, it goes into retreat.

Allergies, autoimmune conditions, chemical sensitivity:  the fight response

The triple warmer then is the system that activates the fight response to foreign invaders. Donna’s sense of the triple warmer varies somewhat from the traditional description in Chinese medicine.  My own acupuncturist says even after acupuncture school the triple warmer and radiant circuits still remain somewhat of a mystery.

Donna considers the triple warmer to be much more powerful than has been traditionally reported in the literature.  Her ability to see the full potential of the triple warmer may be a special gift for this time given the extraordinary environmental factors we face.

Here are three key points about the triple warmer meridian:

  • it works in conjunction with the hypothalamus gland in the brain, the instigator of the flight-or-fight response.
  • it networks information to all the meridians and the organs they serve – the whole body.
  • It drafts energy from any other parts of the body to support its mission, so much so that important systems can become incapacitated.

In short, the effects of an overactive triple warmer are systemic and profound.  Because of its connection with the hypothalamus, an overactive triple warmer can keep your body in a state of perpetual alarm.  It’s connected with all the other meridians and organs and thus can impact any system in your body.  In addition, it drains energy from other body systems to support the war effort, causing knock-on effects.

Is it any wonder that people with auto-immune conditions often acquire another or are plagued by co-occurring illnesses?

A key part of working with an overactive immune response is to sedate the Triple Warmer by tracing the meridian and related exercises. In her book, Donna reviews two patient cases – one patient with multiple sclerosis and the other with hay fever – to illustrate how Energy Medicine can help calm an overactive immune system and improve your health and well-being.

Several self-help energy techniques are explained to help you convert your immune system into a helpful, but not hyper-reactive friend. These include the Homolateral Crossover, Sedating Triple Warmer, the Triple Warmer Smoothie, Reprogramming Triple Warmer to Stop Attacking Friendly Forces (allergens), and Easing Emotional Overload.  A simple version of Alternate Nostril Breathing is  described to counter allergy headaches.

These self-help techniques can be used on your own and some can be performed by a partner.  Or you can receive treatments from a practitioner of Energy Medicine.

To begin reprogramming your immune system to stop attacking your body, Donna recommends adjusting your attitude as the first step:

  • practice letting go of of self-judgment;
  • cultivate compassion for yourself;
  • enter into a positive partnership with the body, instead of expressing anger or frustration towards it.

Immune system problems can rarely be corrected quickly.  It takes repeated retraining to subdue an overactive immune response, but it is possible.

Bear in mind that while you are trying to subdue your immune system, it is responding to a real threat – an increasingly toxic environment – not an imagined one.  Therefore, even if you do not have overt chemical sensitivity, it is equally important to reduce your exposures to toxic chemicals, which are abundantly found in everyday household products, personal care products, and cosmetics.  Exposure to toxic chemicals adds an extra burden to your immune system.  Understanding your stress patterns and reducing stress will also help to calm the flight-or-fight response.

Immune-deficiency disorders – the flight response

On the other end of the spectrum, the body goes into retreat in the case of immune-deficiency disorders. Six exercises are recommended to strengthen the triple warmer in this case.  These involve a 5-minute Daily Energy Routine, stretching, holding specific neuromuscular points and neurolymphatic points, balancing your chakras, and mobilizing the radiant circuits.

That might seem like an overwhelming amount to do in the case of immune-deficiency, but you can start with just one simple technique, with whatever you can manage, get help from a friend, or receive treatments from an Energy Medicine practitioner.

Hope and help

The very nature of hypersensitivities, autoimmune conditions, chemical sensitivity, and immune-deficiency conditions can make them seem impossible to conquer.  If anything, I hope this article encourages you and provides some new ideas.

I can’t guarantee that this approach will work for everyone, but I know it will work for some.  For example, my friend Libby had severe multiple chemical sensitivity and has been steadily improving using techniques from Donna Eden’s book along with other mind-body approaches.

As a postscript, let me add that I don’t find the theories presented in Energy Medicine in conflict with Martin Pall, Ph.D.’s Unified Theory of chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Gulf War syndrome or Ashok Gupta’s Amygdala Retraining for the same disorders.  I’ve seen all three approaches work for different people.  We are all different and need to find the approach that works for us. The proof is in the pudding, not the theory!

Part Three of this series on Energy Medicine, will discuss how to activate your “inner mom” to create more harmony and cooperation among your body energies.

Please be aware that I am not a medical practitioner nor offering medical advice.  I am only sharing research and information on approaches that have worked for me.  Also, I am not receiving compensation for recommending this book.

If you liked this article, please share the link with others.  Thanks very much! Sandra

Vibrant health through energy medicine

“…the next big frontier in medicine is energy medicine.” Mehmet Oz, M. D.

Do you have an open mind?

If so, there’s no need to wait for the future.  All the benefits of energy medicine are available to you right now.

In fact, you can even practice Energy Medicine on your own – free of charge – to stay healthy or feel better if you are already ill.

This 3-part series on Energy Medicine will:

1. Introduce you to energy medicine – what it is and how it can help you with a wide range of physical and mental complaints.

Donna Eden’s book, Energy Medicine, Balancing Your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy, and Vitality is used as the basis for this series. There are many models of Energy Medicine – this is just one.

2. Take a look at the energy systems that impact immune function, according to the unique view presented by Eden.

3. Explore how Energy Medicine can help immune related conditions: auto-immune disorders, allergies, environmental sensitivities, chemical sensitivity, and immune-deficiency syndromes.

4. Discuss how to activate your “inner mom” to create more harmony and cooperation among your body energies.

Let’s move on to part 1, an introduction to Energy Medicine

Energy medicine – what’s that?

A flow of invisible, interconnected energies courses through and around your body day and night.  Like the wind cannot be seen but is surely felt, these subtle energies are not apparent to most people, but their impact is undeniable.

These energies include various combinations of:

  • electrical energies
  • electromagnetic energies
  • “subtle” energies

Illness occurs when energy flow in and around the body becomes obstructed.

Energy Medicine understands the body as this interconnected system of energies.  It works directly with the body’s energies to sustain health, prevent illness, and treat illness when it does occur.

A variety of modalities come within its purview.  These include using the hands and the energy that flows from them, tiny needles or fingertip pressure, movement and exercise, the mind and imagination, and others.  Even modern electromagnetic and imaging technologies can be seen in the context of energy medicine.

Invisible energy systems are the basis of many ancient healing arts including the traditional medical systems of China, Tibet, and India, the methods of acupuncture and acupressure, and exercises like Yoga, Tai Chi, and Chi Gong / Qigong.  There are many modern applications of energy medicine too – like Touch for Health.

Donna Eden explains:

“Energy medicine is the oldest, safest, most organic, most accessible, and most affordable medicine there is.”

You can learn and apply the principles of Energy Medicine on your own and at very little cost.

Or, you may choose to work with an Energy Medicine practitioner.  If you do so, self-care techniques remain important, especially to support the reversal of long-standing patterns.  Energy Medicine can be used to complement Western medicine or on its own.

Energy Medicine:  the book

Donna Eden’s book is acomprehensive guide to Energy Medicine.  It is so packed with useful information that I’m on my second read, and know I will return to it again and again.  It’s a self-help book that shows you how to apply the techniques of Energy Medicine to yourself or use them with a partner.

Fortunately, you don’t need to read the cover-to-cover.  As Donna points out, if you have chronic pain, you might want to go to directly to the chronic pain chapter.  If you are healthy, you may want to read just Part 1 to acquire an overview of Energy Medicine and learn a 5-minute daily energy routine to optimize your health.

The handy “How-to boxes” are like having an energy first-aid kit at your fingertips.

Donna’s book is divided into three sections.  Simply sharing the outline of the book’s contents, I hope, will give you a good feel for the breadth, depth, and potential of Energy Medicine and how it might help you.

Part 1 – Awakening the Two-Million-Year-Old Healer Within You

This section includes Donna’s background and story, an overview of Energy Medicine and energy testing, a simple 5-minute Daily Energy Routine to keep your energies “humming.”

Part 2 – The Anatomy of Your Energy Body

Donna reviews – in detail – nine energy systems existing within and around the body.  These include:

  • Meridians – your energy transportation system
  • Chakras – your body’s energy stations
  • Aura – contains your energy
  • Electrics – connect your energy systems with one another
  • Celtic weave – provides patterning that balances and strengthens your energies
  • The Basic Grid – provides their foundation
  • The Five Rhythms – the drummers to which you march
  • Triple Warmer – the energetic arms of your immune system, along with the  Radiant Circuits
  • Radiant Circuits – the energetic arms of your immune system, along with the Triple Warmer

Part 3  – Weaving It All Together

If that all seems like a lot, don’t worry.  Remember, you don’t need to read the entire book – you can zoom in on what’s useful for you.  Plus, in Part 3, Donna shows us how to weave it all together.

This section focuses on how to overcome illness and pain, including a step-by-step strategy for getting well and energy techniques for relieving pain. Donna also touches on optimizing electromagnetic environments and setting your habit field.

Energy Medicine how-to’s:

Interspersed throughout are 33 “How-to Boxes” – short, simple-to-use, practical guides that address an assortment of common body-mind complaints, for example:

  • How To Get Your Kids Out of Bed in the Morning
  • How To Release Neck and Shoulder Tension
  • How To Rid Yourself of an Allergy Headache
  • How to Overcome Digestive Problems
  • How to Keep Your Memory Sharp
  • How to Relieve Lower Back Pain
  • How to Feel Joyful More of the Time

Success depends on you

Energy Medicine is not a miracle cure – although miracles do occur in all systems of medicine.  It is an empowering and systematic way to work with the body’s energies to stay well or feel better.  I highly recommend this priceless self-help guide to anyone who is open to new possibilities.

Like all self-help approaches, its success lies in direct proportion to your own willingness, determination, and regular use of the techniques.  But the process doesn’t have to be full of struggle by any means!  These techniques are fun, empowering, and energizing.

Energy Medicine series:  part 2

In Part 2 of this series on Energy Medicine, I look at Donna’s approach to working with a wacky immune system and how this relates to auto-immune disorders, allergies, environmental sensitivities, chemical sensitivity, and immune-deficiency syndromes. I am fascinated by Donna’s unique presentation of the “energetic arms of the immune system” – which differs somewhat from the traditional interpretation in Chinese Medicine.

Please be aware that I am not a medical practitioner nor offering medical advice.  I am only sharing research and information on approaches that have worked for me.  Also, I am not receiving compensation for recommending this book.

If you liked this article, please share the link with others.  Thanks very much!  Sandra

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Leo Babauta: Can minimalism save the world?

Recently, we had a dynamic – even passionate – discussion at Always Well Within about Everett Bogue’s minimalist solution to the problem of oil dependency.  If you missed the first post, take a minute to look at his 4-point solution for overcoming our oil addiction.

This discussion serves as a wonderful example of how vital it is to continue the dialogue, learn from each other, and inspire one another as well.  Here are a few highlights from the comments:

  • “My first question is does this guy have a family and if so how many children does he have?”
  • “It’s always easy to tell other people what to do.”
  • “You’ve got my neurons spinning.”
  • “It really takes a village to make a change.”
  • “Everett’s position is interesting….simplistic and unrealistic, at least for me.”
  • “I do agree with Everett for the most part because I think we are at a critical enough time that drastic measures need to be taken.”
  • “I find I disagree with Everett on several points. First is that he lets BP and the government off the hook completely.”
  • “He’s right.”
  • “Lifestyles will have to change if we want to be truly sustainable… But at the same time, it is not the only important factor in turning our society around.”

A few days later, thanks to a tweet by @UpcycledLove, I found these remarks from Leo Babauta – a lucid exponent of minimalism – on the question of whether minimalism can save the world.

Leo Babauta says minimalism is just the start

Leo Babuta

In his article, Leo says he has received criticism that his “minimalist philosophy of downsizing our lives is too individualistic a solution.”

In response, Leo says “minimalism is just the start.”  He feels it’s worthwhile to pursue solutions that will improve your life and that you believe are better for society as a whole regardless of whether the entire world follows suit.

Leo says that minimalism is beneficial because,

“It can change your life, for the better, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.”

“But will it change the world? Will it solve poverty and global warming? Obviously not, if it’s only adopted by a small number of people. For it to work, it would have to be widespread.”

It seems Leo is hinting that minimalism does have the potential to impact worldwide problems like poverty, climate change, and oil dependency if it’s adopted by large numbers of people.

Minimalism is an organic solution that can have an unpredictable and exponential impact because it transforms internally.  It can make you dig down deep and really think about the world and your place in it. In any grassroots process there is the power to unleash a new, powerful, and far-reaching paradigm.

I believe motivation is also an important factor.  Some people embrace minimalism only thinking of themselves and how to streamline their own life, when, in fact, it makes far more sense to be wisely selfish by thinking of others.  But even with less than altruistic motivation, the inner effects that occur may have serious eye and heart opening repercussions.  

Leo closes his article with this jewel of inspiration:

“Once we have shown that a minimalist life is not only possible, but a good thing, it will become a shining example to others. We can move others with our very lives. As Gandhi also said, “My life is my message.”  Let your life be your message to the world, your example for a better life, and let that be the start. From such small beginnings, great things can be born.”

The beauty of Leo’s approach to minimalism is that it’s non-prescriptive.  Leo says,

“There are no set rules. There’s no one way. What I suggest for living minimally isn’t what someone else would recommend, nor is it how you would live your minimalist life. In general, however, you want to live simply without too many unnecessary possessions, distractions, clutter, or waste. You want to live frugally, debt-free, sustainably, naturally.”

Patrul Rinpoche: the ultra minimalist

Throughout the ages, great sages have warned us about the troubles inherent in amassing wealth and possessions.  The illustrious 19th century master Patrul Rinpoche was the ultimate minimalist.  At his death, it is said that he had just three possessions.

“Throughout his life Patrul Rinpoche emulated the uncompromising simplicity of his master.  …he spent his life wandering from place to place, camping in the open, in the guise of an ordinary beggar.  If he was offered gold or silver he would often just leave it lying on the ground, thinking that wealth was only a cause of trouble.  Even when he became a famous teacher, he would travel around unrecognized, living in the same simple and carefree manner.” -from The Words of My Perfect Teacher

Patrul Rinpoche tell us,

“Our sufferings are in direct proportion to the extent of our possessions.  For example, if you owned a horse you would worry that it might be carried off by an enemy or stolen by a thief; you would wonder whether it had all the hay it needed, and so on.  Just one horse brings plenty of trouble.  If you owned a sheep, you would have one sheep’s worth of trouble.  If all you had was a bag of tea you could still be sure of having a bag of tea’s worth of trouble.” -from The Words of My Perfect Teacher

Just replace “car” for “horse” and you know for yourself how time consuming and money-eating watching out for possessions can be!

Patrul Rinpoche advises:

“So reflect and meditate on how important it is to live in peace, following the old adage ‘without wealth, there are no enemies.'” -from The Words of My Perfect Teacher

From a spiritual perspective, over-entangling oneself in the accumulation of possessions and wealth is an obstacle to using this life for its most meaningful purpose – the expression of love and compassion and the realization of your true nature. That doesn’t mean you have to be an ultra minimalist.  Of course, we need some things to get by and be effective in the world.

The key point is this – it’s not the possessions that are the fundamental problem, but our attachment to them. Why else would we go into a tailspin just at the very mention of minimalism?

Plenty of great spiritual masters have lived in comfortable surroundings.  But they lived consciously and often simply – without attachment to all the stuff. They understood that lasting happiness never comes from possessions nor wealth.

I agree with my readers who say that minimalism is not the entire solution to oil dependency or any world problem for that matter.  Collective action is also essential.  But as Leo Babauta says, it’s a start – in my eyes a beautiful start.  Living simply can transform and enrich your life, infuse your existence with meaning, and be a contribution to the betterment of the world.

You may not be able to live with only 50 or 100 items, like the most avid minimalists, but that’s OK.  Just start and see what you might let go of today. There’s a very good chance you will be happier for having done it.

I will let your in on a few minimalist secrets.  Those 50 or 100 items they list on their blog as their possessions are only personal items; the number doesn’t  include items you share with your family or cohabitants.  And most minimalists seem to count their socks and underwear as one item each  Now, I’m not suggesting cheating!  But maybe it’s not quite as scary as it seems.

Give it a think. There’s no better time to start than right now as the world is at a critical crossroads.

Have you started to declutter?  I would love to hear how the process has been for you.

If you liked this article, please share the link with others.  Thanks so much!  Sandra

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Expert advice on writing faster blog posts

I know I am a good writer. Now, I aspire to be a faster writer!  Is that possible?

There are plenty of bloggers who claim they can write 20-minute blog posts.  Are they delirious?

While following 30 Days of Getting Results the Agile Way, a free online course offered by Microsoft manager J. D. Meier, 20-minute blog posts were offered as an example of setting boundaries.  I respect J. D. and know he’s not delirious so I asked him, “Is it really possible to write 20-minute blog posts?”

Lessons from J. D. Meier on writing faster blog posts

J. D. says you can write an excellent blog post in 20 minutes.  This is his advice in a nutshell with my added commentary.

1.  The key is to get clarity on one specific problem you want to solve. J. D. focuses each post on sharing one useful nugget that solves a problem, answers a question, makes you feel, or makes you laugh.

Having expert knowledge at your fingertips clearly makes it possible to write more quickly.  Without expertise, posts will take longer.  Therefore, it makes sense to focus on topics you have already mastered, at least part of the time.  Take a minute to review your previous posts to see if they have one focus or whether they meander.  If you are a wanderer, try practicing one focus per blog article.

2. Write with might. The faster you go, the more you will flow, unleash, and surprise yourself.

This is excellent advice for improving both speed and quality of writing.  Write for 20 minutes straight without stopping to review, edit, or make corrections.  If you find writing for a full 20 minutes too challenging, start by experimenting with 5-minute free flow sessions. Use this approach for every draft and see if you can pick up speed over time.

3. Use a plain text editor.

J. D. has taught many people on his team  to write quickly and not let tools or their inner-critic get in the way.  His team members have been surprised by how much faster they write in a plain text editor.

4. Another approach is to aim for 20-minute blog posts progressively by shaving off 10 minutes each time you write a post.

If the idea of a 20-minute blog post is too intimidating, a gradual approach like this might be an effective alternative for you.

5. Each post is an opportunity to practice.

Speed increases with practice.  Professional bloggers often advise writing 1,000 words or more each and every day as a means to improving both speed and quality.  It takes practice to perfect any skill.  This doesn’t mean publishing every word that you write, but practicing daily to get better.

6. Capture your main ideas when they flow, scribble them quickly into a plain text editor or a notebook if you are on the go, and then let them percolate.  Go back to an idea when you are in the “zone” and flesh it out.

Speed and quality will always be best when you are in the “zone.”  Do you know your optimal times for writing?  Do you have methods for getting into the “zone”?  Do you write when you are inspired or do you push yourself to soldier on?

7. Finish with a quick pass. When you are done writing your draft in a plain text editor, paste it into your favorite editor or your blog editor, and then make a quick pass to sweep your writing, add links, and tune it up.

Simply being aware of efficiency can help you to find shortcuts for all the steps involved in fine-tuning your first draft as well.

The caveat

Almost everyone agrees that it’s realistic to aim for a 20-30 minute first draft.  Those who have perfected the prowess like Jim Estil are able to write 400-500 word blog posts in 20 minutes.  J. D. outshines them all with his capacity to write even longer posts in 20 minutes.

Here’s the caveat: most bloggers find that it’s the additional proofreading, editing, creating links, finding an image, and initial research that take up an extra meaty chunk of time.  However, by following and practicing J. D.’s tips, you will be able to reduce the amount of time it takes to write a good first draft.  Chances are, you will also find the process more enjoyable.

Reality check with Jon Morrow and James Chartrand

Remember, we are all different. Don’t be disheartened if it takes you longer to write a blog post.

In an article on getting more blog traffic by writing less, Jon Morrow from Copyblogger says,

“Some writers are faster than others, but in general, if you’re spending less than two hours on most of your posts, you’re probably going too fast. Cut back the quantity, and focus on quality.”  The 1200-word article that contains this quote, took Jon four hours to write and he said “…that’s pretty fast for me.”

In a comment on Jon Morrow’s article, James Chartrand from Men With Pens says,

“I can write about 500 words in 15 minutes, and it can be good enough to go without an edit.  That said, good enough is relevant to where it’s being posted and for what reason. “How to make peanut butter” $5 content mills? You betcha. A leading blog with 100k readers? Truly great blog posts take me a minimum of 2 hours and often around 4, when all the editing, reading aloud, double-checking and extra stuff is factored in.”

Not all of us will win the Olympic medal for the fastest blog post, but we can all improve.  Here’s my strategy.

My strategy for writing faster blog posts

My question to J. D. arose from his advice on “Sloughing Off” from 30 Days of Getting Results the Agile Way. He says, “letting things slough off simply means either letting things go from your plate either by design or as a natural process of focusing on higher priorities.” He goes on to explain that this involves creating boundaries and then letting go. Boundaries can be determined by quantity or time.

To achieve my goal of writing faster, I decided to use J. D.’s advice on setting boundaries in addition to practicing his writing tips.  I am limiting the total amount of time I spend on blogging each weekday and also keeping an eye on word count.  Limiting word count is a great way to reign in a tendency to be wordy or complicated – and your posts will automatically take less time.

J. D.’s tips are helping me to write more efficiently and more effectively.  This is freeing up time for other high priority activities—blog related and otherwise—without sacrificing quality.  It’s also a great way to avoid writing fatigue and instead keep the joy flowing.  Many thanks to J. D. Meier.

I’m curious: How long does it take for you to write a first draft?  A complete a post?  I would love to hear your advice on writing faster, please share.

If you liked this article, please share the link.  Thanks so much!  Sandra

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30 days of getting results with J. D. Meier

I’ve been following 30 Days of Getting Results the Agile Way, a free 30-day online program presented by J. D. Meier, a Principal Program Manager on the Microsoft patterns & practices team.

The results have been fantastic, the program easy to follow, the approach inspiring and fun.  I highly recommend it to you.

The program is about finding and following your path to becoming an “unstoppable, creative force for your best results.” Here’s a brief overview from J. D.,

“In a nutshell, Getting Results the Agile Way is a simple system for meaningful results.  To put it another way, it’s a personal results system for work and life.   The personal piece is important.  It’s about empowering YOU to be YOUR best.

It’s time to get skilled in the art of results and learn proven strategies and tactics for making the most of what you’ve got.   This will help you make important shifts.”

Over the first week, I learned an extremely simple planning process that is applicable to any and all aspects of life or work.  For me, some of the greatest gains are coming from learning about boundaries:  what they are, how to create and implement them, and how to let go of everything else.

J. D. is guiding us through the process with day-to-day instructions, simple homework, and clarification via comments.  His explanations are crystal clear and his examples highly illustrative.  J. D.’s  playful spirit brings a sense of enthusiasm, relaxation, and joy to the endeavor.

If you are interested in meaningful results, fresh starts, flexibility, action rather than over-planning, and boundaries instead of burnout, you might like to recharge and renew yourself with this program.

Although the process has been underway for a week, it’s not too late to jump in. As J. D. says,

The system is designed to be easy to get started, and easy to get back on, if you fall off.  Just showing up is the first step.

Get a taste of 30 Days of Results by reading the initial overview (link above), read the first week of articles starting with the Day 1 Tour, and join us on tomorrow (Monday, August 9)  for the remaining three weeks.

I’m finding this a remarkable opportunity, one not to be missed!

If you liked this article, please share it with others.  Thanks so much, Sandra

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Overcoming a Challenge – 6 Easy Steps

"Catch me if you can!"

The kittens—my favorite personal development coaches—are at it again!  It seems they have endless teachings in store for me.

My husband is a natural with animals of all types and sizes.  Not so me.  I usually cringe whenever an animal gets anywhere near to me. So in the beginning, my husband nurtured our understandably apprehensive six-week old kittens splendidly.  I remained the awkward bystander, making occasional gestures of friendliness while also being easily put off by any small sign of cringing or turning away.  “I’m not good at this” was my standard and reinforcing mantra.

When my husband went away on a trip, I was suddenly flung into the role of “mom.” Even worse, I was faced with the nerve-wracking prospect of taking the wild ones to the vet.

I began to stress a full week ahead. Now you might find stressing out about this ridiculous.  But seriously, these two masterminds often refuse be caught.  All I could see was visions of cats running all about.  Maybe years of high-stress living have rewired my brain, but getting the kittens into the pet kennel seemed an insurmountable act.  At least, Penelope Trunk will understand.  Navigating the lines and bureaucracy at the DMV is enough to cause her a near panic attack.  You see, we each have our own set of vulnerabilities.  It’s far better to know what they are so you can learn to work around them and succeed.

As the anxiety began to grow, I suddenly realized I needed a fix and I put on my thinking cap.  I instituted the following strategies, which can help you too when you are in a tight spot. Whenever you encounter a challenge of any size, just tick through these six easy steps.  You can transform any difficulty with practice and perseverance.

Overcoming a challenge in 6 easy steps

1.  Attitude adjustmentJonathan Wells at Advanced Life Skills tells us to “expect success and nothing less.”  Because what you expect is what you get.

My anxiety was beginning to mount because I was creating all the wrong pictures in my head…  Kittens in inaccessible places like under the sofa or low glass shelves.  Kittens giving me the “look,” which says in no uncertain terms, “You are not getting anywhere near me.”  Me endlessly chasing after the kittens as they gleefully elude me.

In less than one moment’s time, I made a simple but critical decision:  I am smarter than two small kittens!  I will indeed succeed! This new confidence alone saved me from a week of low-level anxiety and failure to complete the task.  Whatever your challenge, start by deciding you will indeed succeed.

Of course, knowing your vulnerabilities provides the foundation for overcoming them.  When you see the pattern, you implement the new approach or the new message. Over the next days, whenever an old picture of failure came to my mind, I replaced it with a new image of success.  It takes determination to do this, but it may be easier than you might think. What a relief to believe in success!

2. Create a plan. Confidence is critical to success, but you can’t bank on a positive attitude alone.  Confidently leaping ahead without a good plan is a recipe for falling flat on your face.  Taking the time to visualize a coherent strategy is necessary to obtain a positive result.  Otherwise, you end up winging it and far less likely to succeed.

I needed to think out exactly how I would get the kittens into their pet taxi and not just hope for the best.  All the following steps constituted my plan.  They same ones are likely to be key in your plan of attack too.

3. Perfect timing. As the saying goes, “timing is everything.”   The kittens are most vulnerable in the afternoon when they are sleepy or totally asleep.  I timed the vet appointment accordingly.  How will timing effect your results?  You may not always be

Sleepy and unsuspecting

able to control the timing, but when you can, plan so that timing is on your side.

4. Make friends with the enemy. As long as I viewed the challenge as “me vs. the kittens,” I was bound to fail.  This view alone creates a baseline of tension.  Banish the idea of “enemy” from your mind.  Find common ground and visualize cooperation.  Learn and respect the “opposition’s” idiosyncracies.

My next step was to get over my own insecurities and establish a sense of trust and friendship with the kittens. In that regard, feeding them automatically put me in their favor.  I also spent time every morning and evening relaxing on the lanai (deck)—the kitten’s penthouse—allowing the pair to set the pace and gradually get closer to me. After just a few days, they were both clamoring to sit in my lap, climb all over me as though I were a tree, and play at my feet during my daily Qigong routine.

Bodhi, the mellow one, warmed up quickly. Chitta still retains her wild streak.  She loves to lounge in my lap, but doesn’t like to be picked up or petted.  And both will still play uncatchable whenever they wish.   But I am even getting trickier and better at catching them!

5. Practice. A plan is just a conceptual model.  You have to try it out in advance or conduct a rehearsal to see if it will really work.

The kittens love the pet taxi, which is a regular part of their furniture.  As the vet appointment drew close, I practiced picking up the wilder kitten during her afternoon siesta and placing her in the pet taxi.  These successful trials built up my confidence.  I can do this!  This is a breeze! I also examined the pet taxi to learn how to close and latch the gate properly to avoid any fumbling and potential quick escapes.

6. Know the key leverage point. Take time in advance to suss out the key leverage point for any problem or situation.  Never enter into a situation without an effective back up plan or secret weapon.

There’s no question about it: when it comes to the kittens, food is the key.  Any time of night or day, food functions like a magnet that will draw them right into my trap. Food was my ultimate backup plan should all else fail.

The strategy worked!

The happy ending was a far more relaxing week for me, great fun and relaxation with the kitties, and an easy trip to the vet.

When the big day came, I orchestrated a quiet and uneventful afternoon.  Granted my heart did pound rapidly as I approached the moment of “capture.” I strongly remind myself to breathe deeply.  Luckily, Bodhi was already sleeping in the pet taxi!  A bit more than coincidence, I think.   Then it took just a moment to scoop up the wild one and swiftly place her inside.

The combination of confidence and an effective plan sent the right message to the kittens.  They cooperated beautifully and the whole affair was far easier for them too.

I’m completely in love with these two kittens (another whole story), and enormously grateful for all the life lessons they constantly bring my way.

If you liked this article, please share the link with others.  Thanks very much! Sandra

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