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8/4/18 7:50 P

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Body Language

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Tuning-in to the language of our bodies can be very enlightening, and increases our intuition.

So much can be revealed to us when we listen to the language of our bodies. Our bodies are always speaking, sending us messages through the way we move, the sensations that arise from within, and the gestures and expressions that we make when we are communicating with others. Tuning in to the language of our bodies can be very enlightening, especially as most communication is believed to take place nonverbally. It is also believed that the body never lies, and that if we want to know the truth about ourselves and others, then we should listen to what our bodies have to say. Anyone who has ever flirted with someone they are attracted to has probably, at one point in time or another, brushed their hands through their hair or found themselves leaning forward to get closer to that person. Someone feeling defensive will tend to cross their arms over their chest, while a person who wants to withhold something may look away when speaking.

If you want to know how you truly feel about a person or a situation, then it is a good idea to tune in to what you are feeling inside. Excitement, nervousness, anxiety, and fear are just some of the messages that your body wants you to hear. Your body can also be a very reliable compass.

Anyone who has ever been somewhere they don't want to be has probably experienced their bodies trying to move them away from that particular circumstance. And while it can be very easy to talk ourselves into and out of choices we may make with our minds, it isn't so easy to change the truth of our hearts that reside within our bodies.

To begin tuning in to this subtle form of communication, start taking the time to notice what your body is telling you. Greet each feeling or sensation as a message carrying wisdom from your body. Tune in to what your body is telling you about the situations and people you encounter and listen to what others are communicating to you through their bodies.

We already are subconsciously receptive to the language of our bodies, but when we choose to consciously pay attention, we hear and understand so much more about ourselves and the people around us.

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8/3/18 5:23 P

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Going Deep

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

To reach the depth we wish to access, we must dive below layers to the deepest parts of ourselves.

There are times when life urges us to seek more. Small changes to our comfort zone may fail to alleviate any sense of stagnancy or frustration, and we may need to examine our lives and ourselves more deeply to find the right place to start. Everything we need for success and joy lies within. But so often, life's debris accumulates, building layers around our core that makes it difficult to access the truth that resides within. To reach the depth we wish to access, we must dive below these layers to the deepest parts of ourselves.

The first layer can be found in our minds. Our to-do lists and busy work are usually less important than we think, so we must look past them to examine the thoughts that matter most to us. The next layer can be found in our hearts, where past hurts and disappointments can sometimes cover up our vulnerabilities, as well as the truth of who and what really stirs the love within us. We can choose to go even deeper – to our center.

If we can go beyond anything that has affected us to the point that it blocks us at the gut level, we can reconnect with our power, our raw instincts, our organic yeses. Here, at the core, lies our truth. Our core is our foundation that supports us and what we'd like to build our authentic life upon.

When we examine ourselves to these depths, we are able to find what we wish to bring to the surface and what we wish to let go. When we remember what lies beneath our layers, we can look at what was floating on the surface, causing blocks and pains, and understand the purpose that they served. Oftentimes, it is the built up debris that causes us to go deeper, so we can search for the truth.

Go deep, live life from your truth within, and watch your innate beauty manifest outward.

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8/2/18 6:23 P

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Everything is Relative

BY MADISYN TAYLOR
Fully experiencing our own hurt is the gateway to compassion toward other human beings.

Every day we hear stories of personal suffering and loss that far exceed our own. When we compare our situations to those of people living in war-torn countries or those who have lost their homes and livelihoods to natural disasters, it is tempting to minimize our own experiences of suffering. We may feel that we don't have a right to be upset about the breakup of a relationship, for example, because at least we have food to eat and a roof over our heads.

While awareness of the pain of others in the world can be a valuable way to keep our own struggles in perspective, it is not a legitimate reason to disregard our own pain. Disparaging your feelings as being less important than other people's emotions leads to denial and repression. Over time, an unwillingness to experience your own feelings leads to numbness. It is as if our internal systems become clogged with our unexpressed emotions. This in no way helps other people who are suffering in the world. In fact, it may do just the opposite because when we devalue our own sorrow, we become impervious to the sorrow in others.

Fully experiencing our own hurt is the gateway to compassion toward other human beings. Feelings of loss, abandonment, loneliness, and fear are universal, and, in that sense, all feelings are created equal. Regardless of what leads us to feel the way we do, our comprehension of what it means to be human is deepened by our own experiences. Our personal lives provide us with the material we need to become fully conscious. If we reject our emotions because we think our experiences are not dramatic or important enough, we are missing out on our own humanity. We honor and value the human condition when we fully inhabit our bodies so we can experience and feel life fully. Accepting our emotions and allowing ourselves to feel them connects us to all human beings. Then, when we hear the stories of other people's suffering, our hearts can resonate with understanding and compassion--for all of us.

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8/1/18 11:34 P

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comfort and utility first



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8/1/18 8:09 P

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Intuit Your Home's Decor

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Spend time in a room before decorating- feel it and consider using that room for a purpose that wasn't originally intended

When we decide the time has come to change the look or feel of our personal spaces, it is the spaces themselves that can provide us with the most useful guidance. Working with a single room, an apartment, or an entire house allows us to unearth the innate potential of these spaces and also better understand how we want to relate to them.

To be conscious of the possibilities of a space, we need to listen to, look at, and bond with that space in a deep and personal way. Just as no two people are alike, no two rooms, however similar, are identical. The more we know about the spaces we wish to change, the better equipped we are to make them both beautiful and functional.

Before you contemplate colors and layouts, spend some time in the rooms you plan to modify. Observe the way light moves through each space at different times of day. In the course of a week or so, note those times when you feel drawn to a particular space. You may naturally gravitate toward one room when you want to relax and toward another when you want to socialize.

Also, remember that not all rooms have to be used as originally planned, for example a dining room may make a wonderful sitting area. As you make these observations, think about whether the spaces under consideration remind you of anything or bring certain thoughts to mind. Writing your thoughts down can make the process of examination simpler. The discoveries you make regarding the rooms in your home can help guide you as you choose color schemes, furniture layouts, and decorative styles, so that you bring out the natural qualities of each using your creativity and eye for detail. Using the cues you pick up, you can design a beautiful room that is bright and exciting, or one that calms the soul and invites meditation.

By treating the layout and décor of your personal spaces in this mindful way, you can honor their natural rhythms while creating a cohesive and comfortable home through which energy can flow unencumbered. The design elements you subsequently choose will work together like the diverse instruments that come together to form a symphony orchestra. Each will resonate harmoniously with the next, ensuring that your home resounds with a lasting message of beauty, serenity, reassurance, and comfort.

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7/31/18 6:34 P

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Evenings

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Evenings can be a wonderful time to reconnect with loved ones over dinner and share in gratitude for your day.

From the beginning of time, a richly colored twinge of dusk touching the eastern horizon, the lengthening of shadows, and the appearance of the evening's first star have let us know that it was time to rest, relax, and retire from the pressures of the day. For human beings and other living things that tend to be most active in daylight, evenings can be less hectic and more relaxing, as we prepare for sleep and spend quality time with our loved ones. But evenings are about much more than dinner and the feel of a cool, soft pillow. Evenings are a wonderful time to catalog the events of the day without distraction, to revel in gentle solitude or silence, to end the day in serenity, and to commune with your inner self.

There are many ways to turn the evening into a nurturing and soul enriching experience. A simple stroll through the realms of dusk and darkness can show you two different worlds: one winding down and one just coming to life. In the evening, the sounds we humans make begin to diminish, and the sounds of earth's more nocturnal creatures and nature itself become more apparent.

As night slowly falls, scents change, and the smell of the soil and greenery become magnified. Sky gazing in the evenings can be a meditative activity – one that reminds us that we are only one part of an infinitely complex and vast universe. Each night, the different phases of the moon show us the passage of time and the waxing and waning of life, as its glowing visage – whether in the shape of a circle, crescent, or a smile –bathes the world in an ethereal, wistful glow.

As crickets chirp and night birds cry out, evening rituals and routines can make your day feel complete, help you unwind from the day's busyness, and pave the way for rejuvenating sleep. Rituals and routines help you say goodnight to the present day, so you can look forward to the next one. While the sun sets, try doing a series of stretches, lighting some candles, or watching the daylight fade. The soothing, natural beauty of each evening can be your backdrop, as you meditate, quiet your soul, and relax into the peace and stillness that can be found at day's end.

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7/30/18 7:24 P

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Finding Our Own Paths

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Beginning our spiritual path is highly personal and we all enter a path that speaks to us, even if it is different than our neighbor.

Entering into our own spirituality is a private journey. Each of us will be drawn to a different gateway to begin on our personal path to awakening to a greater experience of ourselves. Even though we may be taught certain philosophies or beliefs as children, we still need to find our own way of understanding and applying them in our lives. For those who are raised without a spiritual framework, they may not even know their process as a form of spirituality. But at some stage in their lives, whether in youth or adulthood, they are likely to recognize the resonance of their beliefs, the ring of truth in their philosophy, and their dedication to their chosen purpose.

Our inner guidance will lead us, so that we will be drawn to the right doorway for us--a doorway that only we can recognize by the way it makes us feel inside. It could be a picture of an angel or the gift of a crystal. We may meet someone special who shares their experiences with us in a way that we find intriguing. While visiting the home of an admired friend, we may notice a book or statue of a diety, and ask why they chose those tools. Or a word or phrase may catch our attention in a song, or a lecture. For some they may find their way by walking through the experience of illness before they begin the search for what will help them to truly heal, while others may seek physical improvement and stumble across yoga or meditation--only to find that it leads them to an unexpected place beyond the body.

As we awaken to ourselves and to life, we will become more attuned to what is right for us. The universe speaks to all of us through infinite channels, but we each have our own frequency. Others may share what worked for them, but only we can decide what truly makes us feel inspired, awakened, connected, fully conscious, aware and alive. Whatever our path, it is perfect and is meant especially for us.

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7/29/18 7:03 P

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Enlightenment At Home

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Spiritual growth can take place anywhere, if you are open and ready to learn and receive.

Many spiritual seekers feel called to far-flung places across the globe in the interest of pursuing the path of their enlightenment. This may indeed be the right course of action for certain people, but it is by no means necessary to attaining an enlightened consciousness.

Enlightenment can take root anywhere on earth, as long as the seeker is an open and ready vessel for higher consciousness. All we need is a powerful intention, and a willingness to do the work necessary to moving forward on our path.

In terms of spiritual practice, at this moment, there are more tools available to more people than at any other time in history. We have access to so much wisdom through the vehicles of books, magazines, the Internet, television, and film. In addition, the time-honored practice of meditation is free, and sitting quietly everyday, listening to the universe, is a great way to start the journey within.

There is further inspiration in the fact that the greatest teachers we have are our own life experiences, and they come to us every day with new lessons and new opportunities to learn. If we look at the people around us, we may realize that we have a spiritual community already intact, and if we don't, we can find one, if not in our own neighborhood, then on-line.

Meanwhile, if we feel called to travel in search of teachers and experiences, then by all means, we should. But if we can't go to India, or Burma, or Indonesia, or if we don't have the desire, this is not an obstacle in terms of our spiritual development.

In fact, we may simply be aware that our time and energy is best spent in our own homes, with our meditation practice and all the complications and joys of our own lives. We can confidently stay in one place, knowing that everything that we need to attain enlightenment is always available right where we are.

Edited by: CD18045457 at: 7/29/2018 (19:03)
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7/28/18 8:50 P

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as the sparkpeople birthday message said
dont count the years
make the years count

cheers richard



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7/27/18 10:30 P

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Enjoying Your Age

BY MADISYN TAYLOR
Wishing to be younger or older is a denial of the joys that have been and the joys yet to be, as well as the beauty of your life in the present.

In each stage of life, there are wonderful experiences one can savor and valuable insights one can absorb. Every new decade and, in fact, every new year brings with it wisdom, transformation, and growth, as well as ends and beginnings. Many people, however, believe that there is one age that eclipses the others. They expend energy trying to reach it and, once it has passed, trying to retain it. But wishing to be younger or older is a denial of the joys that have been and the joys yet to be, as well as the beauty of your life in the present.

Holding on to one age can make it difficult to appreciate each new milestone you reach. Taking pleasure in the delights of your age, whether you are in your 20s, 40s, 60s, or 80s, can help you see the magnificence and usefulness of the complex seasons of your life.

Each new year gifted to us by the universe is replete with exciting and unfamiliar experiences. In our 20s, we can embrace the energy of youth and the learning process, knowing it's okay to not have all the answers. As we move through our third decade, we grow more self-assured as the confusion of our young adulthood melts away. We can honor these years by putting aside our fears of aging and concentrating instead on solidifying our values and enjoying our growing emotional maturity. In our 40s, we become conscious of the wisdom we have attained through life experience and are blessed with the ability to put it to good use.

We are not afraid to explore unfamiliar territory or to change. In our 50s, we tend to have successfully navigated our midlife reevaluations and have prioritized our lives. In the decades beyond, we discover a greater sense of freedom than we have ever known and can truly enjoy the memory of all we've seen and done.

Try to enjoy the age you are at now, for each age presents its own unique wisdom to savor.

Edited by: CD18045457 at: 7/27/2018 (22:30)
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7/26/18 6:37 P

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Energetic Motion

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

In the span of a single second, our lives can change, as energy moves at a pace more rapid than anything we can fathom.

Since our lives are constantly in motion energetically, change is a constant element of our existence. As dynamic as that energy is, it is not random or haphazard in nature -- the shifts in energy that are constantly taking place are the result of our choices. The formulation of intention, a change in perspective, or the creation of a goal can transform our lives in blink of an eye. We think positive thoughts and the world becomes a brighter place. Or we decide who we want to be and become that person. With each passing moment, we are given innumerable opportunities to create change using nothing more than our awareness.

In the span of a single second, our lives can change immeasurably because energy moves at a pace more rapid than anything we can consciously fathom. Though we may not at first be sensitive to the vibrational shifts taking place, our choices are ultimately at the heart of these transformations. We can typically recognize the consequences of key decisions because we anticipated the resultant energetic shifts. But many, if not most, of the choices we make each day are a product of instantaneous reactions, and these still have a significant impact on the energy of our existence. It is for this reason that we should learn to wield what control we can over these shifts. If we bear in mind that all we think and all we do will shape the existence we know, we can deliberately direct the energetic motion of our lives.

Each day, you make an infinite array of decisions that cause energy shifts in the world around you. In many cases, these transitions are almost imperceptible, while in others the change that takes place is palpable not only to you but also to those in your sphere of influence. Your awareness of the immediate energetic consequences of your thoughts and actions can guide you as you endeavor to make the most of the autonomy that defines you as an individual. The myriad choices you make from moment to moment, however inconsequential they may seem, represent your personal power, which sanctions you to transform the energetic tide of your existence with nothing more than your will.

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7/25/18 7:15 P

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Knowing When to Let Someone Go

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Knowing when to end a relationship and acknowledging that the pain will pass can often prevent greater pain in the long run.

Just as a good relationship can have a positive impact on your life, stressful, draining, or imbalanced relationships can have negative effects on your health and well-being. It's common to maintain a relationship because we feel the other person needs us or we believe that they will eventually change. We may also be afraid of hurting the other person or feel insecure in our ability to find new relationships. But knowing when to end a relationship and acknowledging that the pain will pass can often prevent greater pain and feelings of loss in the long run.

If you're in a relationship that isn't satisfying or one that has become unhealthy for you, rather than spending energy attempting to fix the problem or complaining, ask yourself what you really want from the relationship. Consider whether the other person truly considers your feelings or if they are willing to change their behavior. Ask yourself if you've often thought about ending the relationship or if you feel your bonds have atrophied. While every relationship has ups and downs, when there are more downs than ups or the two of you are bringing out the worst in each other, it may be time to sever the connection. Be honest with yourself and your answers, even if the truth is painful.

Relationships thrive on honesty, communication, mutual caring, and time spent together. When one or more of these elements are missing, it may be that the relationship, no matter how passionate, simply isn't worth it. It's far better to end a relationship that doesn't feel right than to hold on to it and languish in feelings of anger or resentment. Moving on without struggle, on the other hand, can be the door that leads you to a more nurturing relationship in the future.

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7/24/18 5:23 P

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The Changing Nest

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

As the nest empties, parents can alleviate the sadness by rediscovering themselves and honoring the strides their children have made.

Once individuals become parents, they are parents forevermore. Their identities change perceptively the moment Mother Nature inaugurates them mom or dad. Yet the role they undertake when they welcome children into their lives is not a fixed one. As children move from one phase of their lives to the next, parental roles change. When these transitions involve a child gaining independence, many parents experience an empty nest feeling. Instead of feeling proud that their children have achieved so much--whether the flight from the nest refers to the first day of kindergarten or the start of college--parents feel they are losing a part of themselves. However, when approached thoughtfully, this new stage of parental life can be an exciting time in which mothers and fathers rediscover themselves and relate to their children in a new way.

As children earn greater levels of independence, their parents often gain unanticipated freedom. Used to being depended upon by and subject to the demands of their children, parents sometimes forget that they are not only mom or dad but also individuals. As the nest empties, parents can alleviate the anxiety and sadness they feel by rediscovering themselves and honoring the immense strides their children have made in life. The simplest way to honor a child undergoing a transition is to allow that child to make decisions and mistakes appropriate to their level of maturity. Freed from the role of disciplinarian, parents of college-age children can befriend their offspring and undertake an advisory position. Those with younger children beginning school or teenagers taking a first job can plan a special day in which they express their pride and explain that they will always be there to offer love and support.

An empty nest can touch other members of the family unit as well. Young people may feel isolated or abandoned when their siblings leave the nest. As this is normal, extra attention can help them feel more secure in their newly less populated home. Spouses with more leisure time on their hands may need to relearn how to be best friends and lovers. Other family members will likely grieve less when they understand the significance of the child's new phase of life. The more parents both celebrate and honor their children's life transitions, the less apprehension the children will feel. Parents who embrace their changing nest while still cherishing their offspring can look forward to developing deeper, more mature relationships with them in the future.

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7/23/18 10:16 P

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a poisonous environment in the workplace can be particularly debilitating



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7/23/18 6:12 P

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Emotional Attacks

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

You cannot control other people's emotions, but you can control your own.

Hurtful confrontations often leave us feeling drained and confused. When someone attacks us emotionally, we may wonder what we did to rouse their anger, and we take their actions personally. We may ask ourselves what we could have done to compel them to behave or speak that way toward us. It's important to remember that there are no real targets in an emotional attack and that it is usually a way for the attacker to redirect their uncomfortable feelings away from themselves. When people are overcome by strong emotions, like hurt or anguish, they may see themselves as victims and lash out at others as a means of protection or to make themselves feel better. You may be able to shield yourself from an emotional attack by not taking the behavior personally. First, however, it is good to cultivate a state of detachment that can provide you with some protection from the person who is attacking you. This will allow you to feel compassion for this person and remember that their behavior isn't as much about you as it is about their need to vent their emotions.

If you have difficulty remaining unaffected by someone's behavior, take a moment to breathe deeply and remind yourself that you didn't do anything wrong, and you aren't responsible for people's feelings. If you can see that this person is indirectly expressing a need to you--whether they are reaching out for help or wanting to be heard--you may be able to diffuse the attack by getting them to talk about what is really bothering them.

You cannot control other people's emotions, but you can control your own. If you sense yourself responding to their negativity, try not to let yourself. Keep your heart open to them, and they may let go of their defensiveness and yield to your compassion and openness.

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7/22/18 7:48 P

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there are delightful snippets on facebook showing how
music, companion animals and students can bring out the best in our oldies



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7/22/18 6:12 P

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The Elderly Population

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Our elderly population are our mentors and wise folk that came before us and paved the way for our future.

In tribal cultures, the elderly play an important role. They are the keepers of the tribe's memories and the holders of wisdom. As such, the elderly are honored and respected members of tribes. In many modern cultures, however, this is often not the case. Many elderly people say that they feel ignored, left out, and disrespected. This is a sad commentary on modernization, but it doesn't have to be this way. We can change this situation by taking the time to examine our attitudes about the elderly and taking action.

Modern societies tend to be obsessed with the ideas of newness, youth, and progress. Scientific studies tell us how to do everything – from the way we should raise our kids to what we need to eat for breakfast. As a result, the wisdom that is passed down from older generations is often disregarded. Of course, grandparents and retired persons have more than information to offer the world. Their maturity and experience allows for a larger perspective of life, and we can learn a lot from talking to elderly people. It's a shame that society doesn't do more to allow our older population to continue to feel productive for the rest of their lives, but you can help to make change. Perhaps you could help facilitate a mentorship program that would allow children to be tutored by the elderly in retirement homes. The elderly make wonderful storytellers, and creating programs where they could share their real life experiences with others is another way to educate and inspire other generations.

Take stock of your relationships with the elderly population. Maybe you don't really listen to them because you hold the belief that their time has passed and they are too old to understand what you are going through. You may even realize that you don't have any relationships with older people. Try to understand why and how our cultural perception of the elderly influences the way you perceive them. Look around you and reach out to someone who is elderly – even if you are just saying hello and making small talk. Resolve to be more aware of the elderly. They are our mentors, wise folk, and the pioneers that came before us and paved the way for our future.

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7/20/18 7:35 P

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How Fear Blocks Creativity

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

When we feel safe, our creativity unfolds like a beautiful flower.

To understand how fear blocks creativity, take a moment to imagine yourself telling a story. First, imagine telling the story to someone you love and who loves you. You probably feel warmth and energy as you fill in the details of your tale to your friend's delight. Now, imagine telling the same story to someone who, for whatever reason, makes you uncomfortable. The wonderful twists and turns, the fine points and colorful images that unfolded in your mind for your friend probably won't present themselves. Instead of warmth, energy, and creativity, you will probably feel opposite sensations and a desire to close down. When we feel unsafe, whether we fear being judged, disliked, or misunderstood, our creative flow stops. Alternately, when we feel safe, our creativity unfolds like a beautiful flower, without conscious effort.

Knowing this, we can maximize our creative potential by creating the conditions that inspire our creativity. In order to really be in the flow, we need to feel safe and unrestricted. However, achieving this is not as simple as avoiding people who make us feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we can be alone in a room and still feel totally blocked. When this happens, we know we have come up against elements in our own psyches that are making us feel fearful. Perhaps we are afraid that in expressing ourselves we will discover something we don't want to know, or unleash emotions or ideas that we don't want to be responsible for. Or maybe we're afraid we'll fail to produce something worthy.

When you're up against fear, internal or external, ritual can be a powerful--and creative--antidote. Before you sit down to be creative, try casting a circle of protection around yourself. Visualize yourself inside a ring of light, protective fire, or angels. Imagine that this protective energy emanates unconditional love for you and wants to hear, see, and feel everything you have to express. Take a moment to bathe in the warmth of this feeling and then fearlessly surrender yourself to the power that flows through you.

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7/19/18 6:55 P

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Raising Our Consciousness

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

From the peace at our center, we gain distance from our emotions to connect to intuitive wisdom.

Albert Einstein said, "No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew." A Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein's scientific theories transformed the world's understanding of the universe and its workings, so we can believe that these words come from his personal experience and helped him to explore both science and life itself. He offered us an example of what can be learned by looking deeply into nature to reach a deeper understanding of all life and by following our ideas to their logical conclusions in our minds before acting upon them in the world.

When we apply this quote to our lives, we can see that we cannot create abundance by staying in a consciousness of poverty, nor can we gain a sense of power in our lives while identifying ourselves as a victim. Situations begun from anger or fear can have little chance of reaching a state of peace and trust unless someone involved can conceive of that possibility and act upon it. We need to find ways to step outside of our limited understanding in order to seek a bigger picture. One way to do this is to shift our perspective to see the situation from another's point of view and ideally the perspective of all others involved. Even if we can't truly know another's motivations, by imagining what they might be, we open ourselves up to numerous possibilities and an expanded vision. This alone can shift our feelings of anger to compassion and the desire for a positive solution for all involved.

Once we have opened our mind to greater possibilities, we can connect to our higher self for inspired solutions. From the peace at our center, we gain distance from our emotions to connect to intuitive wisdom that offers us understanding of the underlying causes and the inspiration needed to guide our steps in a new direction. Albert Einstein showed us the impact that can be made when we raise our consciousness and allow ourselves to imagine the possibilities.

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7/18/18 5:34 P

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Co-Creating with Nature

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

To co-create, we must first begin with a foundation of mutual respect.

Gardens offer us a perfect opportunity to reconnect to our true selves and remember our place in the natural world. Rather than approach our gardens as mere investments of energy, we can look at the entire process of gardening, from planting seeds to harvesting food, as a way of deepening our conscious relationship with the creative force of the universe. If we are willing to shift our intention from dominating, or at least directing nature, to co-creating with nature instead, we may discover a deep peace and renewed sense of wonder.

To co-create we must first begin with a foundation of mutual respect. As you create your garden in partnership with nature, you can respect the earth, water, insects and animals by using organic seeds, soil and fertilizers. You can also communicate with the plants, insects and elements involved in your garden, and create a regular practice of stillness to listen for any messages they may have for you. When it comes time for harvesting fresh vegetables or picking beautiful blooms, you might even ask permission first. If you ask with an open heart, you will always receive an answer.

Imagine what it would be like to surrender certain aspects of your human world to the precision and surety of the natural environment. You might decide, for example, to forego your calendar and plant in rhythm with the cycles of the moon. Or, you might choose to ignore clock time and water your garden when the sun hits a certain position in the sky. By opening your garden experience to more of nature's input, you can become available to witness a whole universe of miracles, while engendering a greater sense of honor between the two worlds.

When we recognize ourselves as allies, co-creators, with the earth and the natural world, our relationship to our environment begins to change. We no longer feel the need to control the circumstances around us and can relish in the perfection of all that is.

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7/17/18 5:06 P

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The Ego

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

The ego is simply a way for us to understand and attend to ourselves, at the same time as we understand and attend to the world around us.

In most spiritual circles, the ego gets a pretty bad rap. The reason for this is that the ego, to some extent, is the principle in our psyches that separates us from one another, while spirit is the principle that shows us that no such separation exists. Sometimes the ego is depicted as an almost demonic figure that keeps us from realizing our true nature. But at its most basic, the ego is simply a tool that helps us organize the various aspects of our personality so that we can function in the world. In this sense, the ego is simply a way for us to understand and attend to ourselves at the same time as we understand and attend to the world around us. The ego is a tool that we use to navigate the world.

Perhaps the problem is that the ego sometimes gets out of control. This happens when the higher self loses control of the psyche. The psyche then falls under the leadership of the ego, an entity that was never meant to lead. The ego is meant to be definitively in the service of the higher self. When this relationship is functioning, the ego is a useful intermediary representing the whole self but not thinking that it is the whole self. Then, it is almost as if the ego is the self playfully pretending to be the separate entity called "I." Like an actor, the ego plays the roles that the world asks us to play in order to be part of the program. In this way, the ego can be a tool enabling us to be in the world but not of it.

As long as we are in touch with our higher selves, our egos are not a threat. They are simply useful tools in the service of spirit. We keep our egos in check when we continually nurture our awareness of who we really are. Then our egos are free to serve without trying ineffectually to rule. It is healthy to have ego, but like all things in life, ego functions best when it is in balance and harmony with your whole self.

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7/16/18 5:35 P

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Editing Your Life

BY MADISYN TAYLOR
You have the choice to accept your life script you've written thus far, or edit it so you can create a life that fulfills you.

Our lives can be compared to an ongoing movie script over which we have complete creative control. Within us lies the power to examine what works or isn't working in our lives and make "edits" to our life's script, accordingly. Choosing to actively edit your life can be incredibly empowering. As you evolve, you have the choice to accept the script you've written thus far or edit it so you can create a life that fulfills you. You can cut out from your life's script what is no longer working for you. Acknowledging that you are responsible for the experience you create gives you the ability to create the life you've always longed for.

Granted, editing your real life isn't always as easy as erasing a line of text. If you've carried emotional baggage or held on to an unhealthy relationship for a long time, these may be difficult to edit out. But when you do cut out what isn't working from your life, you'll feel lighter and more alive. Editing out activities that you find stressful, disassociating yourself from people that drain your energy, and letting go of your emotional baggage are all beneficial cuts you can make. In the empty spaces that are left behind, you can add in anything you like. Just as you have the power to edit out negative situations or beliefs that you no longer wish to have as part of your life, you can now include the kinds of positive experiences, people, and beliefs that you would like to fill your life with. The manifestation of these thoughts and images as realities in your life will inevitably follow. As you make changes to your life, you can also add in the bits where you choose more intimate, healthier relationships, seek out adventure over tedium, and are no longer negatively impacted by old experiences.

To begin editing your life, simply think about your positive and negative experiences. When you determine what parts of your life are no longer serving you, make the commitment to remove them – though, it is important to remember that there is no proper timing or way to do this, and patience and compassion for yourself are always important during this process. Then, ask yourself what has brought you profound bliss and consider how you can make those experiences and beliefs part of your life now. With a little editing, you'll be able to clear out what is no longer serving you and make room in your life for more happiness, love, and wisdom.



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7/15/18 5:42 P

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Performing Daily Ceremony

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Having daily ritual or ceremony in our lives is very important to keep us connected to what really matters.

When we perform or participate in rituals and ceremonies, we enter into a state of mind that is different from mundane consciousness. Ranging in significance from bedtime stories to weddings, ceremonies and rituals are acknowledgments that an event or period of time has special meaning. As a result, they can have the effect of drawing us into the moment, inviting us to pay closer attention and tune into the subtle energies that are always present but that often go unrecognized. In addition, as we perform the same actions we have performed before and will perform again, we immerse ourselves in a river of continuity that extends back into the past and forward into the future.

Many of us have distanced ourselves from rituals that may have seemed too constricting or too attached to an organized religion we have chosen not to follow. However, we can reclaim the practices of ceremony and ritual to good effect, imbuing them with our new consciousness, and we do not have to wait for a big event to do it. We can engage in daily practices that include ritual and ceremony, reminding ourselves throughout the day of the sacredness of this life.

In fact, if we look closely, we will see that our days are already made up of rituals, from the time we wake up to the time we retire. So we do not need to change anything except our perspective to imbue our day with an air of ceremony.

Most of our daily rituals revolve around nourishing and cleansing, both of which have always been sacred acts. With this in mind, we may pause before each meal, close our eyes, and say a silent thank you to the universe that provides. If we want to get more elaborate, we can light candles or bless our food. Similarly, as we wash ourselves in the morning and evening, we can choose to see the grace in this act of cleansing and purification as we release what has past and prepare ourselves for the new. We can be as simple or as complex as we like, so long as our attitude is one of reverence for this sacred moment in this sacred life.

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7/15/18 5:22 A

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Seeing The Bigger Picture

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

We have created imaginary boundaries, sectioning ourselves into countries and states, forgetting that in reality we are all living together.

Seeing an image of the planet Earth taken from space inspires awe in many of us, since we can clearly see the connectedness of all of us who live upon this planet. We have created imaginary boundaries, sectioning ourselves into countries and states, forgetting that in reality we are all living together, breathing the same air, drinking from the same water, eating food grown from the same earth. We share everything on this planet, whether we are conscious of it or not, with other people, and those people are our brothers and sisters. Keeping a photograph or painting of the planet Earth in a prominent place in our homes can be a positive way to remember our interconnectedness.

Meditating on the fact that any sense of separation we have from one another is truly an illusion, we will naturally begin to make more conscious choices in our daily lives. The simple act of preparing food, or determining how to dispose of our refuse, can be done with the consciousness that whatever we do will affect all our brothers and sisters, no matter how far away they live, as well as the planet herself. When we foster this kind of awareness in ourselves out of a feeling of awe, it becomes easier to be conscious than to fall back into old habits of thinking of ourselves as separate.

When we contemplate the earth in her wholeness, we attune ourselves to the truth of the bigger picture, which is the Earth, and all of us, every one of us, living on her body. We are connected to one another in the most intimate way, because we literally share our living space. As more people become aware of the reality of our interdependency, things will shift in a positive direction, and much of the discord that we see now will give way to a more cooperative, loving conscious. This is happening already, so as our consciousness grows, we can join with the many other minds working to live in the spirit of togetherness.

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7/13/18 5:24 P

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Know Your Food

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Eating close to the earth, connects us to her as we allow her to nourish our bodies.

The food we eat is a multidimensional aspect of our lives. Food provides us with the energy that enables us to grow and prosper. Yet it can be, and frequently is, much, much more. Our food can be an experience in and of itself if we allow it to be. The dishes we remember from childhood offer unmatched comfort. The act of preparing meals can be an art form of the highest caliber. And the nourishment we derive from this fare promotes wellness within us. But many of us, distracted by daily affairs, forget that the profound pleasures of eating go beyond simple sustenance. We eat foods that are convenient or we eat unconsciously, snacking on whatever happens to be on hand. To understand the true value of food and the impact it can have on our lives, we should acknowledge and honor it by eating close to the earth.

If you have ever shelled and eaten garden-grown peas or bitten into a sun-warmed apple freshly plucked from its tree, you likely understand that there is a marked difference between these foods and those that are processed and stacked on supermarket shelves. Food recently picked contains more of its original life force and thus has a greater store of energy and nutrients. You can ensure you are eating close to the earth--and enjoying the many benefits of doing so--by shopping at a local farmers market and getting to know the individuals who grow your food. If you make the experience of shopping in this way enjoyable, you will be more apt to reject more convenient canned, packaged, and frozen foods in favor of the real delight you feel while browsing stalls of fresh foods nourished by the same soil you can find in your own backyard. You will soon learn what foods are in season in your area and how to prepare them.

As you savor the vivid flavors of juicy ripe fruits and the hearty crunch of unprocessed vegetables, you can also take pleasure in the fact that, by eating close to the earth, you are supporting farmers in your region, connecting with your local ecosystem, discouraging those who would waste precious fossil fuels by carting produce cross-country, and helping to preserve healthy culinary traditions that have existed for centuries.

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7/12/18 12:12 A

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7/11/18 11:34 P

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Having It Easy

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Everyone must overcome difficulties, and everyone has been granted a distinctive set of talents with which to do so.

Our lives are an exercise in facing challenges. We dream the grandest of dreams as youngsters only to discover that we must cultivate copious inner strength and determination in order to meet our goals. Our hard work does not always yield the results we expect. And it is when we find ourselves frustrated by the trials we face or unable to meet our own expectations that we are most apt to take notice of those individuals who appear to accomplish great feats effortlessly. Some people's lives seem to magically fall into place. We can see the blessings they have received, the ease with which they have attained their desires, their unwavering confidence, and their wealth. But, because we can never see the story of their lives as a whole, it is important that we refrain from passing judgment or becoming envious.

Throughout our lives, we glimpse only the outer hull of others' life experiences, so it's tempting to presuppose that the abundance they enjoy is the result of luck rather than diligent effort. In a small number of cases, our assumptions may mirror reality. But very few people "have it easy." Everyone must overcome difficulties and everyone has been granted a distinctive set of talents with which to do so. An individual who is highly gifted may nonetheless have to practice industriously and correct themselves repeatedly in order to cultivate their talents. Their myriad accomplishments are more likely than not the result of ongoing hard work and sacrifice. You, no doubt, have natural abilities that you have nurtured and your gifts may be the very reason you strive as tirelessly as you do. Yet others see only the outcome of your efforts and not the efforts themselves

Our intellects, our hearts, and our souls are constantly being tested by the universe. Life will create new challenges for you to face each time you prove yourself capable of overcoming the challenges of the past. What you deem difficult will always differ from that which others deem difficult. The tests you will be given will be as unique as you are. If you focus on doing the best you can and making use of the blessings you have been granted, the outcome of your efforts will be a joyous reflection of your dedication.


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4/12/18 12:29 A

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this was from a sparkfriend
an easy way to refresh oneself each day




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4/9/18 7:14 P

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Chakra Clearing Exercise

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Just as the spaces we inhabit need to be cleared of clutter, our energetic fields must also be cleared of the old.

Just as the physical spaces we inhabit require that we clear them periodically of clutter, the energetic fields that are a vital part of our being must also be cleared of old thoughts, energy, and emotions. Clearing your chakras and your aura restores and strengthens your connection to yourself and your divine inner wisdom. Unfettered by energetic baggage masquerading as fear, pain, and self-hatred, your consciousness is once again free to grow. If you find the thought of clearing your energy fields disconcerting, simply think of it as cleansing the energy that surrounds you and releasing any stagnancy. You may not be able to see the results of your efforts, but you will experience a lightness of being and clarity of mind.

You can begin by sitting or lying down on a comfortable surface. Take a series of deep breaths and allow your soul to connect with Mother Earth and the vast expanse of the Universe. Visualize your first chakra, situated near the tailbone, and imagine if you will, a valve opening there, much like a faucet. Imagine a cord dropping from your tailbone deep into Mother Earth and let everything that is stagnant within you flow through it. Let go of old energy, inactive thoughts, and anything else that no longer serves you. Ask the earth to accept what you are offering by turning this old energy into light. Continue to let old energy drain out of you until you feel like you've released all your energetic baggage. When you are done, imagine the valve closing. Before moving on to clear your next chakra, let vibrant terra cotta light travel upward from the earth and through the cord into your first chakra. Repeat this process with all seven of the body's chakras. The second chakra is orange, the third is yellow, the fourth is green, the fifth is blue, the sixth is indigo and the 7th is violet. Afterward, visualize your crown chakra and draw beautiful, golden-white light from the universe flowing down through the top of your head. Release any worries or fears that you have been holding on to. Draw this light into your aura and enjoy the resultant feeling of peace.

To finish clearing your energy and ensure that you have rid yourself of the last vestiges of clutter, take a bath infused with one cup apple cider vinegar, one cup Epsom salt, and one cup sea salt. After completing this exercise, be sure to thank Mother Earth and the universe for their help.


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3/26/18 5:01 P

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Now Is the Time

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

The time to blossom is now, not sometime in the future when you believe the stars will be aligned for you.

Having a vision for our future that differs from our current circumstances can be inspiring and exciting, but it can also keep us from fully committing to our present placement. We may become aware that this is happening when we notice our thoughts about the future distracting us from our participation in the moment. We may find upon searching our hearts that we are waiting for some future time or situation in order to self-actualize. This would be like a flower planted in North Dakota putting off blooming because it would prefer to do so in Illinois.

There are no guarantees in this life, so when we hold back we do so at the risk of never fully blossoming. This present moment always offers us the ground in which we can take root and open our hearts now. What this means is that we live fully, wherever we are, not hesitating because conditions are not perfect, or we might end up moving, or we haven't found our life partner. This can be scary, because we might feel that we are giving up our cherished dreams if we do not agree to wait for them. But this notion that we have to hold back our life force now in order to find happiness later doesn't really make sense. What might really be happening is that we are afraid to embrace this moment, and ourselves, just exactly as we are right now. This constitutes a tendency to hold back from fully loving ourselves, as we are, where we are.

We have a habit of presenting life with a set of conditions--ifs and whens that must be fulfilled before we will say yes to the gift of our lives. Now is the time for each of us to bloom where we are planted, overriding our tendency to hold back. Now is the time to say yes, to be brave and commit fully to ourselves, because until we do no one else will. Now is the time to be vulnerable, unfolding delicately yet fully into the space in which we find ourselves.


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3/25/18 5:16 P

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The Danger of Repression

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

When negative thoughts arise, it is best to address them rather than pushing them down where they will surface again.

For the last several years, there has been a lot of focus on the power of positive thinking. Many people have come to misinterpret this wisdom to mean that it is not okay to have a bad mood or a negative thought or feeling. This can lend a kind of superficiality to their relationship with life and relationships with other people. It can also lead them to feel that if a negative thought or feeling comes up, in themselves or someone else, they must immediately block it out. When they do this, they are engaging in the act of repressing a part of themselves that needs to seen, heard, and processed.

When we repress parts of ourselves, they don't go away so much as they get buried deep within us, and they often come out when we least expect it. On the other hand, if we allow ourselves to be fully human, honoring all the thoughts, feelings, and moods that pass through us on a given day, we create a more conscious relationship with ourselves. Instead of blocking out thoughts and feelings that we label as negative, we can simply observe them and then let them go. They only get stuck when we react to them negatively, pushing them down and out of sight where they get lodged in our unconscious minds. A healthier solution might be to develop a practice of following any negative thought we may have with a positive thought. This works well because positive thoughts are many times more powerful than negative thoughts.

Rather than setting our minds up in such a way that we become fearful of the contents of our own consciousness, blocking out anything that is less than 100 percent positive, we might resolve to develop a friendlier attitude toward ourselves, trusting in our inherent goodness. When we recognize our true inner worth, a few dark clouds passing through our minds will not intimidate us. We will see them for what they are--small, dark figures passing through an expansive sky of well-being and truth.


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3/24/18 6:16 P

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Silliness


BY MADISYN TAYLOR
Giving yourself permission to be silly will nourish your creativity, and is a good exercise in letting go.

Children appreciate all that is silly as a matter of course. Their grasp of humor is instinctual, and even the smallest absurdities provoke joyous gales of earnest laughter. As we age, this innate ability to see the value of silliness can diminish. Work takes precedence over play, and we have less incentive to exercise our imaginative minds by focusing on what is humorous. When we remember childhood, we may recall the pleasures of donning funny costumes, reciting nonsense poems, making up strange games, or playing pretend. This unabashed silliness nourished our vitality and creativity. We can take in this nourishment once again by giving ourselves permission to lighten up and be silly.

Too often we reject the wonderful silliness that is an inherent, inborn aspect of the self because we believe that it serves no purpose or is at odds with the grown-up culture of maturity. We play yet we do not lose ourselves in play, and our imaginations are never truly given free reign because we regard the products of irrational creativity as being valueless. Yet silliness itself does indeed constitute a vital part of human existence on a myriad of levels.

Our first taste of ethereal bliss is often a consequence of our willingness to dabble in what we deem outrageous, nonsensical, or absurd. We delight in ridiculousness not only because laughter is intrinsically pleasurable, but also because it serves as a reminder that existence itself is fun. Skipping, doodling, and singing funny songs are no less entertaining than they were when we were children. We need not lose all interest in these cheerful and amusing activities, but to make them a part of our lives we must be ready to sacrifice a little dignity and a lot of fear.

It is precisely because so much of life is inescapably serious that silliness should be regarded as a priority. Through the magic of imagination, you can be or become anything--a photographer, a professional athlete, a dancer, a pilot. Whether you take hundreds of silly pictures, revel in the adulation of your fans as you make the winning catch, boogie down rock-star style in front of your bedroom mirror, or turn your desk into a cockpit, the ensuing hilarity will help you see that lighthearted fun and adulthood are not at all incompatible.


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3/22/18 6:33 P

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Blaming Others

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

We cannot insist that someone else take responsibility for their actions; only they can make that choice when they are ready.

As we begin to truly understand that the world outside of us is a reflection of the world inside of us, we may feel confused about who is to blame for the problems in our lives. If we had a difficult childhood, we may wonder how we can take responsibility for that, and in our current relationships, the same question arises. We all know that blaming others is the opposite of taking responsibility, but we may not understand how to take responsibility for things that we don't truly feel responsible for. We may blame our parents for our low self-esteem, and we may blame our current partner for exacerbating it with their unconscious behavior. Objectively, this seems to make sense. After all, it is not our fault if our parents were irresponsible or unkind, and we are not to blame for our partner's bad behavior.

Perhaps the problem lies with the activity of blaming. Whether we blame others or blame ourselves, there is something aggressive and unkind about it. It sets up a situation in which it becomes difficult to move forward under the burdensome feelings of shame and guilt that arise. It also puts the resolution of our pain in the hands of someone other than us. Ultimately, we cannot insist that someone else take responsibility for their actions; only they can make that choice when they are ready. In the meantime, if we want to move forward with our lives instead of waiting around for something that may or may not happen, we begin to see the wisdom of taking the situation into our own hands.

We do this by forgiving our parents, even if they have not asked for our forgiveness, so that we can be free. We end the abusive relationship with our partner, who may never admit to any wrongdoing, because we are willing to take responsibility for how we are treated. In short, we love ourselves as we want to be loved and create the life we know we deserve. We leave the resolution of the wrongs committed against us in the hands of the universe, releasing ourselves to live a life free of blame.


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3/20/18 6:20 P

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Making Life Work for You

Home : Inspirations : Making Life Work for You

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Running your life and your household is a bit like running a business, for which some things can easily be delegated.

Sometimes we have so many varying responsibilities in our lives, ranging from work obligations to caring for children to running a household, we feel we cannot possibly make it all work. We may feel overwhelmed in the face of it all, ending each day feeling hopelessly behind schedule. However, regardless of how frustrating this can be, these are the parameters that make up our lives, and we owe it to ourselves to find a way to make it work. Rather than buckling under the pressure of an impossible to-do list, we might take a moment to view the larger perspective.

Like the president of a large organization, we must first realize that we cannot do every job ourselves. The first step to sanity is learning how to delegate some of the responsibility to other people, whether by paying someone to clean our house or trading childcare duties with another parent. In addition, we might find places where we can shift our expectations in ways that make our lives easier. For example, expecting ourselves to create a healthy home-cooked meal every night after a full day of work, errands, or caring for an infant or toddler may be a bit excessive. We might allow ourselves to order in food once in a while without any guilt. Accepting the adjustments needed to make our lives work is an essential ingredient to being at peace with our situation.

At the end of the day, we must come to terms with changing what we can and accepting what we cannot change. Sometimes the laundry piles up, a sick child demands more of our attention than usual, and we temporarily get behind with our schedule. Accepting this momentary state of affairs and trusting in our ability to get back on track when the time is right, we gracefully accept our life as it is, letting go of perfectionism and embracing life as it stands.

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3/19/18 6:09 P

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The Black Sheep

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

When we move beyond comparisons and accept our differences, we appreciate the significance of our upbringing and socialization in each of our unique life's journey.

Many of us have had an experience in which we felt like the lone black sheep in a vast sea of white sheep. For some of us, however, this sense of not belonging runs more deeply and spans a period of many years. It is possible to feel like the black sheep in families and peer groups that are supportive, as well as in those that are not. Even if we receive no overt criticism regarding our values, there will likely be times when it seems that relatives and friends are humoring us or waiting for us to grow out of a phase. Sometimes we may even think we have been adopted because we are so different from our family members. These feelings are not a sign that we have failed in some way to connect with others. Rather, they should be perceived as the natural result of our willingness to articulate our individuality.

Many black sheep respond to the separateness they feel by pulling back from the very people to whom they might otherwise feel closest and embracing a different group with whom they enjoy a greater degree of commonality. But if you feel that your very nature has set you apart from your peers and relatives, consider that you chose long ago to be raised by a specific family and to come together with specific people so that you could have certain experiences that would contribute to your ongoing evolution. You may be much more sensitive than the people around you or more artistic, aware, spiritual, or imaginative. The disparate temperament of your values and those of your family or peers need not be a catalyst for interpersonal conflict. If you can move beyond comparisons and accept these differences, you will come to appreciate the significant role your upbringing and socialization have played in your life's unique journey.

In time, most black sheep learn to embrace their differences and be thankful for those aspects of their individuality that set them apart from others. We cannot expect that our peers and relatives will suddenly choose to embrace our values and offer us the precise form of support we need. But we can acknowledge the importance of these individuals by devoting a portion of our energy to keeping these relationships healthy while continuing to define our own identities apart from them.


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3/18/18 6:08 P

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Bitterness

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Bitter feelings allow us to become perfect victims, in that we no longer feel obliged to work toward healing.

It is natural to feel resentment or anger when life does not unfold as expected. We consciously or unconsciously anticipated one experience, and we grieve for the loss of it when the universe puts something else in our path. Most of the time, we work through these feelings and they pass. Occasionally, our anger and resentment do not fade and are instead transformed into bitterness. Bitter feelings allow us to become perfect victims in that we no longer feel obliged to work toward healing and choose instead to identify with our pain. Yet as unwholesome as bitterness can be, it is also a natural element of our emotional palette. When we acknowledge that it is okay to feel bitter, we reconnect with our hurt in a constructive way and can begin the process of working through it.

The nature of bitterness is rooted in the fact that the pain we feel provides us with a rationale. We may feel that we deserve to embrace our bitterness to its full extent. And to be bitter is, in essence, to cut ourselves off from all that is positive, hardening our hearts and vowing never to let go of our hurt. But just as bitter feelings can be self-defeating, so too can the release of bitterness be life-affirming in a way that few other emotional experiences are. When we decide that we no longer want to be bitter, we are reborn into a world filled with delight and fulfillment unlike any we knew while in the clutches of bitterness. The veil it cast over our lives is lifted, letting light and warmth touch our souls.

Divesting yourself of bitter feelings can be as simple as truly forgiving and moving on. Even when your bitterness has no concrete object, you can forgive situations too. Healing pain can be challenging but may be easier if you remind yourself that you are the only entity truly affected by your emotional state. In time, you will discover that letting go of your bitterness frees you to initiate the healing process and allows you to once again celebrate the possibility of the more wonderful life you deserve.


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3/16/18 7:58 P

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Witnessing Nature through Meditation

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

When it becomes too cold to be outside with nature, bring her inside through your meditation.
When the weather gets colder it can be more difficult to get in touch with the marvel of nature as it exists around us. Finding innovative ways to really connect with nature brings us closer to the wonders that envelop our lives. One way to do this is to perform a meditation with our feathered friends, the bird kingdom.

Just by taking a few moments each day to watch the bird activity that goes on in our backyards through our windows can bring a sense of calm and well-being to our lives. Watching and being with the birds that we share our garden space with us allows us to experience greater feelings of relaxation and gratitude for the diversity that is always present around us. Simply watching, without judgment or expectations, heightens our awareness of the beauty of nature. If you watch the birds for a long enough period of time you will begin to feel a great sense of deep joy within you knowing we are all truly divine. Doing this with our family members will in turn introduce a meditative practice that can easily be shared and appreciated by all, as well as create deeper bonds with each other through the joy of experiencing the healing power of nature.

Looking through our windows and placing a feeder and bird bath in our gardens to attract the birds is a way to call forth beauty into our lives. As we consciously connect with our outer world--even when the weather inhibits us from physically being in it--we see that the splendor we view outside of our windows is simply a reflection of what lies within us.


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3/15/18 5:53 P

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Why We Are Not Shown the Big Picture

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Often, we want to be shown the big picture but it is not always in our best interest, as we can easily become overwhelmed.

Sometimes, we may find ourselves wishing we knew what our lives are going to look like or what gifts and challenges are going to be presented to us in the coming months or years. We may want to know if the relationship we're in now will go the distance or if our goals will be realized. Perhaps we feel like we need help making a decision and we want to know which choice will work out best. We may consult psychics, tarot cards, our dreams, and many other sources in the hopes of finding out what the future holds. Usually, at most, we may catch glimpses. And even though we think we would like to know the whole story in all its details, the truth is that we would probably be overwhelmed and exhausted if we knew everything that is going to happen to us.

Just think of your life as you've lived it up to this point. If you are like most of us, you have probably done more and faced more than you could have ever imagined. If someone had told you as a child of all the jobs and relationships you would experience, along with each one's inherent ups and downs, you would have become overwhelmed. With your head full of information about the future, you would have had a very hard time experiencing your life in the present moment, which is where everything actually happens.

In many ways, not knowing what the future has in store brings out in us the qualities we need to grow. For example, it would have been difficult to commit yourself to certain people or projects if you knew they wouldn't ultimately work out. Yet, it was through your commitment to see them through that you experienced the lessons you needed to grow. Looking back on your life, you would likely be hard pressed to say that anything in your past should not have happened. In fact, your most challenging experiences with their inevitable lessons may have ultimately brought you the greatest rewards. Not knowing the future keeps us just where we need to be--fully committed and in the present moment.


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3/14/18 5:25 P

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Bowing

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Bowing has the quality of consciously evoking spirit, and conveys a sense of reverence for the people involved.

Bowing is a universal gesture of respect and reverence. In many cultures, it is the predominant form of social greeting, and most religions incorporate it into their rituals of worship. In many cases, bowing signifies not only respect but also an acknowledgment of the shared divinity between the bower and the recipient. Bowing can also be a turning in toward our own divinity when we bow our heads in prayer, contemplation, or meditation. Bows range in form from a slight forward nod of the head to a full body prostration on the ground, and range in meaning from a simple greeting to a complete giving over of the self to the divine.

If you have ever bowed or been on the receiving end of a bow, you know that it is different from a handshake or a hug. Bowing has the quality of consciously evoking spirit and conveys a sense of reverence for the people involved. The word "Namaste," which accompanies bowing in yoga, actually translates as "The divine spirit in me acknowledges the divine spirit in you." When we greet one another with this kind of awareness, we can't help but be more conscious that we are deeply connected to one another and to everyone, because this divine spirit resides in all of us.

There are simple bows and complicated bows, and subtle variations carry different meanings depending upon where you are, who you are, and a number of other factors. But we can all practice bowing by simply bringing our two hands together in prayer and pressing the thumb side of our hands lightly into our chests. Keeping a long spine, simply bend your head gently down so that you are looking at the tops of your fingers. Close your eyes and breathe consciously, paying homage to your spirit, the same spirit that resides within all of humanity.


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3/13/18 8:05 P

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Doing the Best You Can

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Try not to expect perfection when starting out on a spiritual path or attaining inner peace.
It isn't always easy to meet the expectations we hold ourselves to. We may find ourselves in a situation such as just finishing a relaxing yoga class or meditation retreat, a serene session of deep breathing, or listening to some calming, soul-stirring music, yet we have difficulty retaining our sense of peace. A long line at the store, slow-moving traffic, or another stressful situation can unnerve you and leave you wondering why the tranquility and spiritual equilibrium you cultivate is so quick to dissipate in the face of certain stressors. You may feel guilty and angry at yourself or even feel like a hypocrite for not being able to maintain control after practicing being centered. However, being patient with yourself will help you more in your soul's journey than frustration at your perceived lack of progress. Doing the best you can in your quest for spiritual growth is vastly more important than striving for perfection.

Just because you are devoted to following a spiritual path, attaining inner peace, or living a specific ideology doesn't mean you should expect to achieve perfection. When you approach your personal evolution mindfully, you can experience intense emotions such as anger without feeling that you have somehow failed. Simply by being aware of what you are experiencing and recognizing that your feelings are temporary, you have begun taking the necessary steps to regaining your internal balance. Accepting that difficult situations will arise from time to time and treating your reaction to them as if they are passing events rather than a part of who you are can help you move past them. Practicing this form of acceptance and paying attention to your reactions in order to learn from them will make it easier for you to return to your center more quickly in the future.

Since your experiences won't be similar to others' and your behavior will be shaped by those experiences, you may never stop reacting strongly to the challenging situations you encounter. Even if you are able to do nothing more than acknowledge what you are feeling and that there is little you can do to affect your current circumstances, in time you'll alter your reaction to such circumstances. You can learn gradually to let negative thoughts come into your mind, recognize them, and then let them go. You may never reach a place of perfect peace, but you'll find serenity in having done your best.


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3/12/18 7:46 P

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Coming Back to Center in a Relationship

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

In a long-term relationship, it is often necessary to get back to basics and come back to center with each other.

Anyone in a long-term relationship knows that the dance of intimacy involves coming together and moving apart. Early in a relationship, intense periods of closeness are important in order to establish the ground of a new union. Just as a sapling needs a lot more attention than a full-grown tree, budding relationships demand time and attention if they are to fully take root. Once they become more established, the individuals in the union begin to turn their attention outward again, to the other parts of their lives that matter, such as work, family, and friendships. This is natural and healthy. Yet, if a long-term relationship is to last, turning towards one another recurrently, with the same curiosity, attention, and nurturance of earlier times, is essential.

In a busy and demanding world full of obligations and opportunities, we sometimes lose track of our primary relationships, thinking they will tend to themselves. We may have the best intentions when we think about how nice it would be to surprise our partner with a gift or establish a weekly date night. Yet somehow, life gets in the way. We may think that our love is strong enough to survive without attention. Yet even mature trees need water and care if they are to thrive.

One of the best ways to nourish a relationship is through communication. If you feel that a distance has grown between you and your partner, you may be able to bridge the gap by sharing how you feel. Do your best to avoid blame and regret. Focus instead on the positive, which is the fact that you want to grow closer together. Sometimes, just acknowledging that there is distance between you has the effect of bringing the relationship into balance. In other cases, more intense effort and attention may be required.

You may want to set aside time to talk and come up with solutions together. Remember to have compassion for each other. You're in the same boat together and trying to maintain the right balance of space and togetherness to keep your relationship healthy and thriving. Express faith and confidence in each other, and enjoy the slow dance of intimacy that can resume between the two of you.


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3/11/18 5:32 P

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Blessing Space

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

We can bless each space we enter, leaving a sweet energetic footprint behind.
Physical space acts like a sponge, absorbing the radiant of all who pass through it. And, more likely than not, the spaces we move through each day have seen many people come and go. We have no way of knowing whether the energy footprints left behind by those who preceded us will invigorate us or drain us. Yet we can control the energy footprint we leave behind for others. In blessing each space we enter, we orchestrate a subtle energy shift that affects not only our own experiences in that space but also the experiences of the individuals who will enter the space after us. While we may never see the effects our blessing has had, we can take comfort in the fact that we have provided grace for those that follow after us.

When you bless a room or an entire building, you leave a powerful message of love and light for all those who will come after you. Your blessings thus have myriad effects on the environments through which you pass. Old, stagnant energy is cleared, creating a vacuum into which fresh and invigorating energy can freely flow. The space is thus rendered harmonious and nourishing, and it becomes a hub from which positive feelings are transmitted. Intent is the key component of the blessings you leave in your physical wake. If your intent involves using your own consciousness as a tool for selflessly spreading grace, your blessings will never go awry. Whether you feel more comfortable performing a solo blessing or prefer to call upon your spirit guides for assistance, visualize each space you enter becoming free of toxins, chaos, and negativity as you speak your blessing. Then imagine the resultant emptiness being replaced by pure, healing white light and loving energy. Even a quick mindful thought of love can bless a space.

This type of blessing is cumulative and will grow each time you bestow it. Try blessing every home, business, and office you visit for an entire week and observing the effects of your goodwill. Your affirmative energy footprint will help brighten your day as you contemplate your blessing's future impact on your siblings in humanity and your environment.


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3/10/18 6:42 P

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Actions Speak Louder than Words

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Words carry a lot of weight in this world, but it is through our actions that we bring things into being.

Words carry a lot of weight in this world, from how we say them to what we say with them, but it is through our actions that we bring things into being. This is what we mean when we say to one another that actions speak louder than words. In many cases, what we say doesn't necessarily line up with what we are doing, and it is here that it becomes clear that it's easier to talk about doing something than it is to actually do something. At the same time, it's easy to keep doing something that we don't necessarily acknowledge ourselves doing verbally. It's good for all of us to take a look every once and a while to make sure there is alignment between what we say and what we do.

For example, it's easy to talk about our dreams, but it takes a lot more energy to take the many small steps that lead to bringing our dreams into reality. If all we ever do is talk about it, we begin to lose faith in ourselves because nothing changes on the external level. In this way, being all talk and no action is actually a form of self-sabotage. It's also useful to examine our actions to see if, through them, we are following through on our words. For example, in expressing concern about the environment, we can look to make sure that we are taking the simple steps we can take to put that concern into action.

It's always helpful to observe what we talk about and who we say we are, and then to observe what we actually do in the world. Sometimes we realize our actions haven't caught up with what we are saying, and at other times we see that we might change our words in a way that it will more adequately reflect what we do in the world. Either way, the more we align our words and our deeds, the clearer we are in expressing our truth in the world, and the more powerful we are in bringing it into reality.

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3/10/18 6:57 A

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DAILY OM

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Your home will be infused with supportive energy if you take the time to create a stress-free home.

Sometimes our lives are so busy that we treat our homes as if they were impersonal places that we merely pass through. But we can make certain that our homes truly feel like our sanctuaries by taking the time to tend to them like gardens, which need care in order to offer us the beauty of their blooms. When we take the time to treat our homes like beloved treasures, we can shift their energy from being merely places to being wellsprings for the replenishment of our energy.

Consider that homes are the outer reflections of those who live within. If we feel that the current appearance clashes with how we'd like to see ourselves, it can keep us from fully allowing our light to shine. Updating our homes to reflect our inner landscape need not involve massive redecorating or a large outlay of money. Small things can make a big difference, like simply moving items so that we constantly gaze upon the things we love the most, liberating the treasures we've hidden in our closets, using our best dishes and making small repairs.

Organizing and cleaning is a no-cost way to remove chaos from our homes and introduce more calm. Lovingly rejuvenating our personal space can become a creative project that increases the flow of good throughout all aspects of our lives and increases our feeling of connection. We can give old things new life by donating them to charity, opening space for newness to enter. Removing stress from our homes can be as simple as putting our bills into pretty boxes and choosing a specific time to deal with them, or removing clutter so that we and our energy can move freely throughout our space.

Simplifying our space lets our imagination and energy roam free. We can choose to prioritize our homes, making them the true heart of our family's activities. Then we are free to focus on what really matters--time to ourselves, to share with loved ones, and to replenish our energy so that we have more to share with each other and with the world.

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3/8/18 4:08 P

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Be Open

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

As we live, we will go through the processes of opening to new information, integrating it, and stabilizing our worldview.

Living in an information age, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the constant influx of scientific studies, breaking news, and even spiritual revelations that fill our bookshelves, radio waves, and in-boxes. No sooner have we decided what to eat or how to think about the universe than a new study or book comes out confounding our well-researched opinion. After a while, we may be tempted to dismiss or ignore new information in the interest of stabilizing our point of view, and this is understandable. Rather than closing down, we might try instead to remain open by allowing our intuition to guide us.

For example, contradictory studies concerning foods that are good for you and foods that are bad for you are plentiful. At a certain point, though, we can feel for ourselves whether coffee or tomatoes are good for us or not. The answer is different for each individual, and this is something that a scientific study can't quite account for. All we can do is take in the information and process it through our own systems of understanding. In the end, only we can decide what information, ideas, and concepts we will integrate. Remaining open allows us to continually change and shift by checking in with ourselves as we learn new information. It keeps us flexible and alert, and while it can feel a bit like being thrown off balance all the time, this openness is essential to the process of growth and expansion.

Perhaps the key is realizing that we are not going to finally get to some stable place of having it all figured out. Throughout our lives we will go through the processes of opening to new information, integrating it, and stabilizing our worldview. No sooner will we have reached some kind of stability than it will be time to open again to new information, which is inherently destabilizing. If we see ourselves as surfers riding the incoming waves of information and inspiration, always open and willing to attune ourselves to the next shift, we will see how blessed we are to have this opportunity to play on the waves and, most of all, to enjoy the ride.


Edited by: CD18045457 at: 3/8/2018 (16:08)
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3/7/18 5:08 P

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Self-Body Scan

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

We can detect subtle changes in our own bodies, by performing our own energy scan on a regular basis.
As the living vehicles for our spirits, our bodies deserve loving attention and care. We can positively affect our health, prevent illness, and heal injuries by regularly focusing our mental and spiritual energy on the workings of our bodies. This can be done by performing a body scan on yourself.

Begin by lying in a comfortable position and taking three deep cleansing breaths. Imagine, if you will, a sunbeam entering the top of your head. Feel this light slowly scanning each part of your internal body. Allow it to scan every cell in your body and keep breathing. Every time you exhale, blow out negative energy you may feel. Notice any changes in your body. Sensations may vary from person to person. You may feel a shift in body temperature, see a color or flash of light, or hear a voice offering you guidance. If you feel a block in a certain area of your body, sit with that block and feel into it. Ask your body why that block is there and what you need to do to release it. Try not to judge or analyze the wisdom that comes to you. Often, we experience energy blocks in our body because our body is trying to tell us something. You may want to breathe into that area until you feel the block dissolving. When you have finished your scan, take one last deep breath and exhale any energetic residue that you are ready to release.

The body doesn't lie, and it has much wisdom to share with us. Any injuries or blocks that exist in our bodies are there so that we can learn from having them in our bodies. An existing injury can teach us to slow down or help us recognize that something is out of balance in our bodies. The more you scan your body, the better you will become at it. If you sense that something is not right in your body, you may want to visit a doctor and tell them about your experience. When you have finished your scan, don't forget to thank your wonderful, amazing body.


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3/6/18 3:58 P

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The Gift of a Positive Image

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

It is important that we all find people that believe in us, just as we believe in others.

There are times in our lives when we may find ourselves facing challenges that can seem overwhelming. The situation or task we are struggling with seems hopeless, and it is easy to stop believing in ourselves, our goals, and our dreams. It is during these moments that it can be reassuring and reaffirming to turn to the people in our lives who do believe in us, especially when we are finding it hard to believe in ourselves. An encouraging word, a reassuring look, or hearing the words "I believe in you" from someone who matters can help us turn our situations around in an instant.

Everybody has someone who believes in them, whether this person is a teacher, parent, friend, loved one, or an employer. Often their belief can wrap us in warmth, bolster us, and offer us a supportive hand to grab onto until we can regain our own support. Having that special person who believes in our abilities and our worth is a wonderful gift. But when we are feeling unworthy, it may be difficult to take in something so precious. We may even feel like we need to do it all on our own and that we shouldn't be asking for help. However, in letting their belief and support impact you, you are acknowledging the part of yourself that knows you are worthy of trust and esteem. By allowing them to believe in you, your own belief in yourself and your abilities will start to emerge again. Borrow their vision, and you can make it your own.

If your special someone is not there to spur you on, you also can lift yourself up with the gift of a positive image. When you feel uncertain, you can create a vision of the future you desire that will serve as a beacon of light. To do so, simply imagine a future that is exactly as you'd like it to be. Imagine in detail how you feel, what you are doing, and how others are responding to you. Make your vision as real as possible, and allow your doubts to recede so you can focus solely on the goal you seek. The more intently you focus on the image of what you want, your belief in yourself will step to the forefront, making it easier for the universe to open up a path and guide you.

Edited by: CD18045457 at: 3/6/2018 (15:59)
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3/5/18 3:16 P

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Being Alone

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

The most important relationship we will ever have in our life, is with our own self.
The most important relationship we have in our lives is with ourselves. And even though we are the only ones who are present at every moment of our lives--from birth onward--this relationship can be the most difficult one to cultivate. This may be because society places such emphasis on the importance of being in a romantic partnership, even teaching us to set aside our own needs for the needs of another. Until we know ourselves, however, we cannot possibly choose the right relationship to support our mutual growth toward our highest potential. By allowing ourselves to be comfortable with being alone, we can become the people with whom we want to have a relationship.

Perhaps at no other time in history has it been possible for people to survive, and even thrive, while living alone. We can now support ourselves financially, socially, and emotionally without needing a spouse for survival in any of these realms. With this freedom, we can pursue our own interests and create fulfilling partnerships with friends, business partners, creative cohorts, and neighbors. Once we've satisfied our needs and created our support system, a mate then becomes someone with whom we can share the bounty of all we've created and the beauty we've discovered within ourselves.

As we move away from tradition and fall into more natural cycles of being in the world today, we may find that there are times where being alone nourishes us and other periods in which a partnership is best for our growth. We may need to learn to create spaces to be alone within relationships. When we can shift our expectations of our relationships with ourselves and others to opportunities for discovery, we open ourselves to forge new paths and encounter uncharted territory. Being willing to know and love ourselves, and to find what truly makes us feel deeply and strongly, gives us the advantage of being able to attract and choose the right people with whom to share ourselves, whether those relationships fall into recognizable roles or not. Choosing to enjoy being alone allows us to fully explore our most important relationship--the one with our true selves.


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3/4/18 2:56 P

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Becoming Your Parents

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

We may honor some traits from our parents, while rejecting others and becoming our own person.
Heredity plays a role in almost all human development, whether physical, mental, or emotional. We tend to look like our parents and are subject to the same sensitivities they have. We may even be predisposed to certain behaviors or preferences. As we grow older, we become increasingly aware of the traits that exist within us and the clear history of the traits of our mothers and fathers. Our response to this epiphany depends upon whether the inclinations, tendencies, and penchants we inherited from our forebears are acceptable in our eyes. We may honor some of these shared traits while rejecting others. However, there is no law of nature, no ethereal connection between parents and children, that states that the latter must follow in the footsteps of the former. We are each of us free to become whoever we wish to be.

When we accept that our parents are human beings in possession of both human graces and human failings, we begin to regard them as distinct individuals. And by granting mothers and fathers personhood in our minds, we come to realize that we, too, are autonomous people and in no way destined to become our relations. While we may have involuntarily integrated some of our parents' mannerisms or habits into our own lives, conscious self-examination will provide us with a means to identify these and work past them if we so desire. We can then unreservedly honor and emulate those aspects of our mothers and fathers that we admire without becoming carbon copies of them.

Though many of the tempers and temperaments that define you are inherited, you control how they manifest in your life. The patterns you have witnessed unfolding in the lives of your parents need not be a part of your unique destiny. You can learn from the decisions they made and choose not to indulge in the same vices. Their habits need not become yours. But even as you forge your own path, consider that your parents' influence will continue to shape your life--whether or not you follow in their footsteps. Throughout your entire existence, they have endeavored to provide you with the benefit of their experiences. How you make use of this profound gift is up to you.


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3/3/18 8:00 P

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Natural Cycles of Sleep

BY MADISYN TAYLOR



Our bodies are naturally encoded to respond to light and dark, and sleeping with the rhythms of Mother Nature.

The human body evolved to fall asleep soon after the descent of night's curtain and to wake with the appearance of the dawn. Sleep cycles were governed by patterns of light and darkness for thousands of years, meaning that for much of history, humanity has enjoyed nine of more hours of sleep each night. Our bodies are naturally encoded to respond to light and dark and sleeping with the rhythms of Mother Nature. In the present, artificial light has changed the way we schedule our day-to-day lives, and most of us slumber for less than seven hours at a stretch. It is possible, however, to come back to natural sleeping cycles by making a few small changes. When our bodies and minds are attuned to the world's natural rhythms, we feel calmer, more centered, and more energetic while awake. Sleep is more satisfying because we afford ourselves more than enough time for restoration and rejuvenation.

Our reliance on indoor lighting further compounds our disassociation from the natural cycles of light and darkness that would otherwise preside over our sleep. You can mimic the passage of the day by changing the quality of the light. Sleeping without heavy drapery or shades is best so you can wake up with the sun. If sleeping by a window without a curtain is not an option, a dawn simulator lamp imitates the sun by growing steadily brighter with the coming of the height of morning.

You will likely discover that changing your sleep patterns to be in sync with the daily cycle of light and darkness is easy and that you feel more alive when your sleeping and waking rhythms are in alignment to those of the earth. Nature's own phases will be your guide to wellness, granting you more waking hours in the summertime when you will benefit greatly from spending time outside and ensuring you get plenty of sleep in the winter when you likely need it most.

Edited by: CD18045457 at: 3/3/2018 (20:23)
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