Saturday, February 8, 2014

Daily Inspirational Message for February 8, 2014

“Around us, life bursts with miracles – a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Start The Doing

Don’t be too smart for your own good. Don’t be too critical of your own work.

Prepare for what you intend to do, and plan how you will do it, but not to the point of obsession. Sooner rather than later, finish the planning and start the doing.

Even though you won’t get it perfect, focus all your energy on getting it done. Even though you may have your doubts, push on through them and keep going.

Achievement is never clean or linear. Great achievement is messy and inconvenient, daunting and often quite unpredictable, and it is worth all that.

You have great achievement within you, today, in this place, using what you have and what you know. What a shame it would be to never let that unique achievement see the light of day.

So get busy right now and begin to let it see the light of day, on this day. You have so much to give to life, and such exquisite fulfillment to savor from doing so.

— Ralph Marston

Are You an Empathizer or a Sympathizer?

Empathy and sympathy are not just two different approaches to confronting the emotional challenges of others: they are diametrically opposite responses in many important ways. Sympathy places another's problems at a distance from us, places us in a position of superiority, and "drives separation", says Dr. Brene Brown. Empathy, on the other hand, requires that one internalize the feelings of another. That shared experience drives interpersonal connection, she says. "What makes things better is connection." Watch this captivating RSA animation bring Brown's words to life.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Daily Inspirational Message for February 7, 2014

If giving leaves you feeling empty, you’re giving too much to the wrong person.

Periodically, I think we’re all wise to stop and ask ourselves who is most loving and devoted to us: who is always there for us, who always has the time for us, who actively reaches out to us in love and friendship, who we can really count on – and then ask ourselves if those are the people we focus our own time, energy, love and other resources on. Many of us unconsciously pursue people who are ‘hard to get’ in some way, which may lead to us to make some regrettable choices. If you keep chasing someone by pouring way more love and attention on them than they return, someone who loves you is probably getting shortchanged. For happy relationships in the future, reclaim some of that misspent energy so you can invest it more wisely.

Authentic Goodness

Give power to the goodness in your life by giving your gratitude, your attention and your efforts to it. Distance yourself from the negativity that comes your way by letting go of your attachment to it as quickly as you can.

Though there will always be negative influences in your life, you don’t have to let them negatively influence your thoughts. Give the energy of your thoughts and attention to those good influences that move you forward.

Spend your time focusing on whatever lifts you up, and you won’t waste your days hiding from what brings you down. Generously and genuinely give joy, and you’ll keep much of the sadness away.

Remind yourself often of how good life can be. Then live in a way that gives authentic goodness more prominence in your life from moment to moment.

Consider all the abundance that flows through your world each day. Commit yourself, again and again, to transforming that abundance into meaningful, positive value.

Right now, within your reach, there is real, authentic, fulfilling goodness to be lived. Do yourself and your whole world a big favor, and make that goodness a big part of your life.

— Ralph Marston

Three Lessons from a Kindness Challenge

In this first person account, author Thao Phi reflects on some of the unique and important things she discovered after partaking in a 30-day kindness challenge. For one, she learned that people must be courageous in their acts of kindness to strangers, and secondly, to never overlook doing good deeds to those that are closest to you. And last, but certainly not least, make sure you are kind to the one person you know best -- yourself. For as she came to understand, it is not only okay to be kind to yourself, but it is at times even necessary.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Daily Inspirational Message for February 6, 2014

“Look at the messages you put out to other people. Do you accept them lovingly, without criticizing or putting them down? Do you smile at them? Are you friendly? Do you allow them to feel good about themselves, or do you walk away without acknowledging them? If you accept them, even just telepathically (that is, in your own mind), you assist them in finding their higher selves. You will find other people accepting you more lovingly also.” – Orin (Sanaya Roman)

Each Little Effort

The way to achieve big things is to take care of the little things every opportunity you get. Instead of seeing yourself as too important to do some small task, see the task as too important to ignore.

Don’t worry about whether you’re making a big enough difference. Just keep your focus on making whatever positive difference you can.

Every major achievement is filled with countless minor details. Get the small details right, and you’ll get the big achievement done.

Now is the time you have in which to act. So do what you can do now.

A molecule of water is so small it cannot be seen by the naked eye, and the ocean is so vast it cannot be seen all at once. Yet the vast ocean is nothing without the tiny molecule.

Each little effort matters. So make one every chance you get.

— Ralph Marston

The Marriage of Love & Power

Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a non-profit that raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty. In this interview, she talks about her revolutionary approach to philanthropy that has impacted the lives of over 100 million people, what moved her to leave her safe world of banking to work with the poor, and the importance of humility and deep listening for anyone hoping to create deep change. Read on to learn about the journey of this self-proclaimed "relentless, pragmatic, determined optimist" who deeply believes in people and in human potential.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Daily Inspirational Message for February 5, 2014

We are but visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.
– Dalai Lama XIV

I often counsel people who are looking for a greater sense of meaning and purpose. Ultimately, I think what they’re really seeking is a way to feel like they are making a difference in the world. You don’t have to be a doctor or a minister or join the Peace Corps to feel this way – there are endless opportunities to cultivate a deep sense of meaning and purpose all around you every day. You can volunteer to work with the homeless, the poor, the ill, the elderly or the abused, or you could simply ask Spirit to guide you to at least one thing you could do that would change someone’s life for the better today, be it a favor, a small kindness, a smile, a helping hand, or simply some words of encouragement.

Magnificent Possibilities of Now

This place, right here, is a very good place to be. On this day, in this moment and situation, all kinds of great possibilities exist.

You are at the right place and the right time to truly make a difference in the world. Let go of the worries and fears, of the judgments and old assumptions, and feel the magnificence of what’s now possible.

You have a powerful combination of awareness, ability, love, passion and presence in this place. Just imagine all the great things you can do, beginning right now, with all that.

Where you are, there is great value to be created. Who you are, is the person who can create that value in ways that are meaningful and beautiful.

You have what it takes, for what it takes flows from your authentic being. You have what it takes, so do what it takes.

Give yourself to the magnificent possibilities of now. And give your life, and all of life around you, the best moment yet.

— Ralph Marston

What Is Empathy?

"The term "empathy" is used to describe a wide range of experiences. Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people's emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. Contemporary researchers often differentiate between two types of empathy:: "Affective empathy" refers to the sensations and feelings we get in response to others' emotions; this can include mirroring what that person is feeling, or just feeling stressed when we detect another's fear or anxiety. "Cognitive empathy," sometimes called "perspective taking," refers to our ability to identify and understand other peoples' emotions." This article explains why practicing empathy is essential, and ways to cultivate it in your everyday life.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Daily Inspirational Message for February 4, 2014

Experience life in all possible ways – good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.
– Osho

As I write this, we’re in the thick of winter here and have had record setting low temperatures and snow fall. School has been canceled all week long and many people are housebound. I just saw someone on Facebook who lives in tropical Florida say that she would trade her year-round warm weather for ours because she misses the change of seasons. While some may say she’s crazy, I know where she’s coming from: it is by living a wide variety of experiences that life feels richest; it is winter that makes summer feel so precious; it is loss that reminds us to love and appreciate all we have today.

No Need For Frustration

Frustration is a painful, debilitating feeling that can often cause you to do things you’ll regret. So choose to quickly let it go.

Frustration, as automatic and overpowering as it may seem, is a choice. And you can always make a different choice.

The habit of reacting in frustration is just that, a habit. Like any other habit you’ve developed, you can get rid of it when you choose.

Yes, life regularly presents you with difficult dilemmas for which frustration is a perfectly understandable reaction. Other than grabbing your attention, however, your frustration never does accomplish much.

So once you’re aware of the frustrating situation, make the choice to find a more useful, effective response. Step back from the desire for instant drama, and work on creating some long-term positive results.

Channel the high-powered energy of frustration into intentional, focused, positive action. Give yourself the option to act effectively and appropriately, and you’ll find you have no need for frustration.

— Ralph Marston

10 Scientific Insights That Could Change Your Year!

The tide of psychology, which has traditionally probed into the dysfunctions of the human mind, has been shifting to a rigorous examination of its virtuous aspects. The "positive psychology" movement is unraveling universal human behaviors and experiences such as altruism, empathy, meaning, and happiness. For instance, in the past several years, researchers have found that a meaningful life is healthier than a happy life. Mindfulness meditation has been observed to benefit us by bolstering our immune system, increasing resilience, and increasing productivity. Thinking of others and cultivating empathy can even help individuals with severe forms of mental illness lead a better life. Yet these findings are only the tip of the iceberg, riddled with nuances and contextual factors that researchers continue to explore in depth. This article summarizes some of the key 10 scientific insights in the positive psychology movement that will make you think, wonder, and perhaps even weave some of the insights into your daily life.

Monday, February 3, 2014

How to Know if You’re an Empath

“Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. If you want heart, empaths have got it. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you as world-class nurturers.”

Tips to Cope with Personal Space Intruders

“Sometimes it’s more aggravation than it’s worth to confront intruders you’ll never see again: the motor-mouth woman in the airport ticket line, the guy who steals your parking space. One mellow friend told me, ‘No one cuts me off in traffic anymore because I let everyone in!’ When faced with a ‘Let it be’ scenario, your sense of equanimity is the greatest victory.”

How to Intuitively Make Smart Decisions

“Intuition offers a direct line to your life force, and also, as I experience it, to a divine intelligence. We can’t afford to remain deaf to intuition’s messages. Its expertise is energy; its job is to know every nuance of what makes you tick. A master at reading vibes, intuition is constantly tallying: what gives positive energy, what dissipates it. Who you meet, where you go, your job, your family, current events, are all evaluated – crucial data that you can learn to interpret and apply.”

Daily Inspirational Message for February 3, 2014

“Times of turbulence, in which things are changing, offer much opportunity for growth. You might think of a bird trying to fly; if there is no current of air it is more difficult to take off. Like the bird, you need just the right amount of movement and change to grow. Although you do not need crises to grow, many of you only make changes and seek spiritual growth when things get stirred up or when the old is no longer working as well as it used to.” – Orin (via Sanaya Roman)

The More Life Changes

Life moves quickly and changes at a relentlessly rapid pace. Sometimes that can be frightening, but it doesn’t have to be.

After all, every good thing that has come into your life has been the result of a change. You have the proven ability to deal with the changes and in fact to transform them into fulfillment.

With each new change comes the opportunity for new value. Even if the change seems to be overwhelmingly negative, you can find a way in which to add new goodness to your world.

The more life changes, the more new possibilities it brings. Rather than cursing the changes, explore the possibilities.

Each day brings many opportunities for you to successfully adapt and prosper in the face of change. You can use the changes to grow stronger and more capable, and to move your world in a positive direction.

With a true and generous love for life, there is no need to fear change. Embrace life as it continues to change, and give so much of your love that life continues to grow in richness and fulfillment.

— Ralph Marston

Insights From Photographing Spiritual Giants

"I may not have the most wonderful bank account, but my spiritual bank account is overflowing," says Jane Feldman of her career as a social justice photojournalist and author. Working for the Peace and Justice Ministry of New York's Riverside Church led her to photograph Nelson Mandela. She's traveled with the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation and met the Dalai Lama. Enjoy her words on earning the trust of beloved world leaders and her photographs which capture their laughter.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Daily Inspirational Message for February 2, 2014

“In life, at the beginning you are born and at the end you die. Similarly, in your days, in the morning you wake up and at night you go to sleep. But what you do in between those daily periods determines, in a very real way, whether your life will be one that is well lived or wasted. Never forget the importance of each and every one of your days. As you live your days, so you live your life. Don’t waste even a single one of them. The past is history and the future is just a figment. This day, the present, is really all you have.” — Robin Sharma