Always Well Within

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

Month: November 2012

Words In Focus: November

Welcome to my monthly collection of interesting articles, books, and resources plus a mini-monthly review.

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10 Ways to Remember What Really Counts

“Begin each day with the blueprint of your deepest values FIRMLY in mind then when challenges come, make decisions BASED on those values.” – Steven Covey

In recent years, shocks have jolted me wide awake.  In those unsettled moments, days, and weeks, a raw clarity permeated my being, exposing what really counts.

You too have probably been shaken by dramatic events: the death of a loved one, an unexpected separation from a spouse or close friend, a natural disaster, the termination of your work.

After lightning personally strikes us, we often promise to never forget, to never be the same or fall into our old ways.

But isn’t the dilemma staying awake?

As strongly as these events may have touched us, time seems to own the power to gradually wash their intense yet essential impressions away.  Delusion – confusing our projections for reality – ambles along diluted by not entirely dissolved.

So how do we remember what really counts in this fast-paced world dominated by material distraction and the illusion of getting ahead?  How do we resist the lure of our own tumble of habitual thoughts and emotions that brings us suffering again and again?

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A Simple Way to Feel Happier, Healthier, and More Optimistic

Research has consistently shown that cultivating gratitude can lead to greater happiness, more optimism, and even a reduction in physical symptoms.

Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis explains:

“We’ve discovered scientific proof that when people regularly work on cultivating gratitude, they experience a variety of measurable benefits: psychological, physical, and social. In some cases, people have reported that gratitude led to transformative life changes. And even more importantly, the family, friends, partners, and others who surround them consistently report that people who practice gratitude seem measurably happier and are more pleasant to be around. I’ve concluded that gratitude is one of the few attitudes that can measurably change peoples’ lives.”

Simple, inexpensive, doable.  Here’s how:

  • Kickstart or reboot your personal happiness revolution with 100 rays of gratitude, a simple list of all that you feel grateful for right now.  Check out my own 101 rays of gratitude for inspiration.
  • Continue to cultivate gratitude by keeping a daily gratitude journal.
  • Express your gratitude, appreciation, and love to friends, family, and anyone your encounter as you go about your day.

Today, I’m deeply grateful to each and everyone of you, dear readers.  Thank you for being a part of my life and allowing me to write for you and encourage you in my small way.  Thank you for supporting Always Well Within, sharing my articles on social media, and encouraging me as a writer.   May you always be well, happy, and safe!

Thank you so much for reading and sharing.  If you liked this article, please subscribe for free updates by email.  With love,  Sandra

Source:  Pay It Forward by Robert Emmons / image credit

Are You Holding On?

Floating Houseboat

In her memoir  – A Three Dog Life – Abigail Thomas recounts the heart-twisting process of weaving a new life after her husband sustains a whopping traumatic braining injury, causing his personality to undergo dramatic, irreversible changes.

About “control”, Thomas muses:

“I was on a small island once, in the middle of a great big lake, mountains all over the place, and as I watched the floating dock the winds kicked up, the waves rose from nowhere, and I imagined myself lying there and the dock suddenly breaking loose, carried away by the storm.  I wondered if I could lie still and enjoy the sensation of rocking, after all I wouldn’t be dead yet, I wouldn’t be drowning, just carried off somewhere that wasn’t part of my plan.  The very thought of it gave me the shivers.  Still, how great to be enjoying the ride, however uncertain the outcome.  I’d like that.  It’s what we’re all doing anyway, we just don’t know it.”

Ultimately, she concludes:

“…now I know I can control my tongue, my temper, and my appetites, but that’s it.  I have no effect on weather, traffic, or luck.  I can’t make good things happen.  I can’t keep anybody safe.  I can’t influence the future and I can’t fix up the past.

What a relief.”

Here’s  a personal reflection for you to consider this week:

What are the ways that you hold on?  Do they bring you happiness or suffering?  Is control an illusion?  Would you find relief in letting go?  And just exactly how will you get to letting go?

Thomas’ words struck me deeply.  In particular, all the ways I want to protect and keep others safe, when, in reality, I have little if any control.  How do these thoughts impact you?

Thank you so much for reading and sharing.  If you found this article inspiring, please subscribe for free updates by email.  With love,  Sandra

Image Credit

Dissolving the Heartbeat of Grief

Flowers

Grief seems to have its own heartbeat, a very life of its own.  We might want to control grief – to banish it entirely, push away the pain, and dissolve the unrelenting tears.

But, despite our desperation, the heartbeat of grief throbs on. Grief seems determined to have its own life, its own voice, its own say.

Yet there is a potent countermeasure to grief, a way to heal our troubled spirit, which we can find in the the balm of love and compassion.

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