Friday, October 29, 2010

A Happier You by Eckart Tolle

A Happier You
By Eckhart Tolle
The greatest goal you can set this year is to make peace with your life, no matter your circumstances. These 10 powerful insights from Eckhart Tolle will get you started.

Don't seek happiness. If you seek it, you won't find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it.

The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is. There is the situation or the fact, and here are my thoughts about it. Instead of making up stories, stay with the facts. For example, "I am ruined" is a story. It limits you and prevents you from taking effective action. "I have 50 cents left in my bank account" is a fact. Facing facts is always empowering.

See if you can catch the voice in your head, perhaps in the very moment it complains about something, and recognize it for what it is: the voice of the ego, no more than a thought. Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it. In fact, you are the awareness that is aware of the voice. In the background, there is the awareness. In the foreground, there is the voice, the thinker. In this way you are becoming free of the ego, free of the unobserved mind.

Wherever you look, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence for the reality of time—a rotting apple, your face in the bathroom mirror compared with your face in a photo taken 30 years ago—yet you never find any direct evidence, you never experience time itself. You only ever experience the present moment.

Why do anxiety, stress, or negativity arise? Because you turned away from the present moment. And why did you do that? You thought something else was more important. One small error, one misperception, creates a world of suffering.

People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness. They don't realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. They look upon the present moment as either marred by something that has happened and shouldn't have or as deficient because of something that has not happened but should have. And so they miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, a perfection that lies beyond what is happening or not happening. Accept the present moment and find the perfection that is untouched by time.

The more shared past there is in a relationship, the more present you need to be; otherwise, you will be forced to relive the past again and again.

Equating the physical body with "I," the body that is destined to grow old, wither, and die, always leads to suffering. To refrain from identifying with the body doesn't mean that you no longer care for it. If it is strong, beautiful, or vigorous, you can appreciate those attributes—while they last. You can also improve the body's condition through nutrition and exercise. If you don't equate the body with who you are, when beauty fades, vigor diminishes, or the body becomes incapacitated, this will not affect your sense of worth or identity in any way. In fact, as the body begins to weaken, the light of consciousness can shine more easily.

You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you and allowing that goodness to emerge.

If peace is really what you want, then you will choose peace.

Exerpted from Oneness with All Life by Eckhart Tolle. Published by arrangement with Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copywright © 2008 by Eckhart Tolle

Friday, October 22, 2010

Are You Alkaline?

Friday, October 8, 2010

What You Don't Have to Accept

What You Don't Have to Accept
Written by Gina Lake
Acceptance is an important spiritual teaching because the ego is so unaccepting of the way life is. Therefore, acceptance can move us out of the ego and into Essence, which accepts whatever is going on. Acceptance is a spiritual tool that counteracts, or neutralizes, the ego and drops us into Essence. Acceptance, however, doesn't mean doing nothing about whatever is going on; it means that you accept whatever is going on, and then you respond to that from Essence. Not accepting what is going on keeps you identified with the ego and its solutions to whatever is going on. That's why acceptance is important—because it drops us into Essence, which knows how to respond kindly, compassionately, and wisely to any situation. If you don't want the ego making your decisions about what to do about whatever is going on, then first accept that it's going on, then see how Essence moves you in the moment to respond.

People often assume that accepting a situation means not attempting to change it or not removing yourself from it. That is a key misunderstanding. For instance, if someone is criticizing you or acting unkindly or abusively to you, you accept that that is happening (because it is!), and then you respond from Essence. That response is likely to be a rational one, not an emotional one, since the ego is the generator of emotions. Essence might express compassion or say something to the person who is being unkind or abusive to calm him or her or bring peace to the situation. Or Essence might remove you from the situation without saying a word. Or perhaps there is something to be learned from the situation that will register within you intuitively, which you will be able to catch if you aren't caught up in a negative emotion. But I want to be very clear that Essence doesn't accept abuse or unkindness. It accepts that unkindness is happening, but it doesn't allow it to continue, although it doesn't respond abusively or unkindly to it. This is an important distinction.

The ego responds automatically to unkindness and abuse in primarily two ways, both of which are dysfunctional: It responds by getting angry and judging, criticizing, or in some other way trying to hurt the abusive person. Or, if your ego has a self-image of unworthiness or of being a victim, then you accept the abuse, blame yourself for it, feel sad and worthless, and do nothing to stop it or remove yourself from the situation. If your parents or other people in your childhood have been unkind to you, then you probably have an egoic mind that is unkind to you (i.e., you have a lot of negative thoughts about yourself), and you are likely to accept unkind treatment from others because that's what you are used to and what you expect or think is normal or what you think you deserve.

No one can succeed at hurting you if you don't allow it. That is the good news. People can and do criticize and judge us all the time. But if it is the primary way someone is interacting with you, then acceptance means accepting that is happening and then also accepting that you don't like it and aren't willing to allow yourself to be abused and then giving yourself the gift of getting out of that environment.

When I talk about acceptance in my book Loving in the Moment, I'm talking about accepting other people's differences and conditioning (how they do things differently from you), not accepting criticism, blame, anger, judgment, or abuse on an ongoing basis. Yes, some of this negativity occurs in every relationship, but if that is what is primarily going on in your relationship, then Essence is wise enough to choose a more loving environment, even if it means being alone. Essence accepts that egos can be mean and nasty, but it does whatever is necessary to create an inner and outer environment in which peace and love can thrive. Essence moves, always, in the direction of love, and that means loving yourself enough to not accept unkindness and abuse.

By the way, not accepting negative behavior is also in the abusive person's highest good because that person needs to understand the impact of such behavior and not have it reinforced by you. This is why we send children to their room when they misbehave, isn't it? In doing this, we say, "I love you and accept you, but this behavior is unacceptable." We want to distance ourselves from a child who behaves badly by isolating them, and this accomplishes two things: The behavior is not reinforced and we are saying no to participating in a negative environment and yes to creating a more loving one.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cut Your Calories in Half

5 Easy Ways to Cut Your Calories in Half
By Liz Brody

Getting Started: For one week, keep a food diary: Every time you put something in your mouth, record the time, the food, how much you ate, and how you felt afterward (still hungry, full, satisfied, etc.). Most people don't realize how much they're eating until they write it down.

In an ideal world: A woman eats only when she's hungry. She has no obsessive tendencies toward food. And her diet is 15 to 25 percent protein; 20 to 30 percent fat, of which no more than 10 percent is saturated fat; and 45 to 60 percent vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, with small amounts of white starches like pasta and sugar.

Let's get real: That woman is a rare species. So if you're not hitting all the marks, don't beat yourself up; at least you've got a lot of dinner companions. If you tend to feel really guilty when you eat a "bad" food (ice cream, chocolate) and maybe even punish yourself by doubling your workout or skipping dinner that night, Alice Domar, PhD, director of the Mind/Body Center for Women's Health at Boston IVF, suggests trying to develop a kinder attitude toward food—for the sake of your mind as well as your body. One strategy is to follow an 80/20 plan of eating. "If 80 percent of what you eat is the really good stuff—fruits, whole grains—the other 20 percent can be the foods you really want," Domar says. "In other words, one Krispy Kreme is nothing to feel guilty about. It's in your 20 percent."

Take a step: Domar suggests trying to make one change in your diet this month. That's one—not two or three. The idea is to make that change in increments, each week building on the last, so it's as painless as possible. Pick from the following:

If you take cream in your coffee: Week one, switch to whole milk; week two, use 2 percent fat milk; week three, 1 percent; week four, nonfat.

To increase your grains: Go from white bread to sourdough or Italian bread, then to fortified bread, then to whole grain bread.

If you cook a lot with hamburger, switch from full-fat meat to lower fat, then lean, then mix in some ground turkey, and finally use the turkey with very little or no beef.

For ice cream addicts: Switch from your premium scoop to a supermarket brand, then low-fat ice cream or yogurt, then sorbet.

Instead of drinking soda: Fill a glass three-quarters full with your favorite juice and the rest seltzer; then mix them half and half, then one-quarter juice and three-quarters seltzer, and finally try no-calorie flavored bubbly water.

More ways to cut calories:
The skinny on Alli: Does it really work?
What diet is right for you? Take our diet quiz
Dr. Katz's 10 easy food switches

Welcome to Weight Loss Coach Sherrie's Blog!

I am currently trying a new way of eating (forget about that nasty "D" word!). I am following the "Schwarzbein Principle" and learning ways to focus on creativity and taking care of ME. I am currently in Body Blissmas, a program started by Jill Badonsky. As I learn to focus on healthy eating and being happy and creative, I would like to help you do the same.

Are you currently trying to lose weight?