Please do your own research. The information I share is only a catalyst to expanding ones confined consciousness. I have NO desire for anyone to blindly believe or agree with what I share. Seek the truth for yourself and put your own puzzle together that has been presented to you. I'm not here to teach, preach or lead, but rather assist in awakening the consciousness of the collective from its temporary dormancy.
“I believe in everything; nothing is sacred. I believe in nothing; everything is sacred.” – Tom Robbins
Some say death is a compass. Others say it’s a crossroads. Some say death is the beginning of time. Others say it’s the end of the beginning. But no matter what people say, death is nonnegotiable. It is coming for us all. We ignore this knowledge at our own great peril.
Staring into the headlights of our own death, some of us are consciously aware of these lights, but a lot of us are unconscious to them. For some of us, the lights are speeding right towards us, and death is nigh. For most of us, the lights are far off, dimly lit on the horizon. But all of us will eventually be ran over by the vehicle of Death.
So, what is a stumbling, fumbling mortal to do? How do we square the circle of knowing that we will die? How do we navigate this Mobius Strip of doom? How do we loosen the noose so that we can at least live a decent life?
Knowing how to deal with the fear of mortality is probably the most important life skill that we can have. But it’s a two-sided coin. On the one side, the fear of mortality is the fear of death. On the other side, the fear of mortality is the fear of life. Both must be honored, honed, and humored before sublimity is ours.
The fear of death:
“The more unlived your life, the greater your death anxiety. The more you fail to experience your life fully, the more you will fear death.” – Irvin Yalom
Know this, right at the jump: There is no escape. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. A life well-lived is a life lived staring death in the face. You can’t be an adventurous artist or a drunken spirit and still be a law-abiding citizen or solid oak in a comfortable yard. If you want to get drunk, you have to accept the nausea and the hangover. If you want to say yes to sunlight and adventure, you have to say yes to filth and danger.
Everything is within you, demon and diamond, power and pain, the laughter of life and the trepidation of death. Say yes to it all, shirk nothing. Don’t try to lie to yourself. You are not going to live forever. You are not immortal. You are a butterfly in a tsunami. Don’t fight it. Surrender to it. Let it guide you. Let it drive you. Become one with the tempest. You have this one life. Make the best of it.
Reconcile your mortal fear, assimilate your existential angst, integrate your death anxiety. Defy death by confronting it head-on. Die inside it. Burn off the dross.
Lose your sentimental baggage, your naivete, your innocence. Then resurrect yourself into a person with the fortitude to handle the pain. For Pain is the ultimate teacher. Especially the pain that Death teaches. Learn from it. Let it shape you. Let it sharpen you into an instrument worthy of magnificence. As Atticus cryptically stated, “Let my death be a long and magnificent life.”
In the end, death makes philosophers of us all.
The fear of life:
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” – Louise Erdrich
Life will break your heart. Oh well. Let it break. Your heart was made to break open, suck the whole of experience into it — good and bad — and then come back together again. That’s what makes you stronger. Paraphrasing Samuel Becket here: Ever loving. Ever broken hearted. No matter. Love again. Break your heart open again. Break it better.
Life is less about receiving flowers, rainbows, and sunshine and more about how well you navigate thorns, storms, and darkness. Don’t avoid the thorns at the expense of the rose. Don’t avoid the storm at the expense of adventure. Don’t avoid the darkness at the expense of seeing beyond the light. Pain should not be avoided at the expense of wholeness; wholeness should be embraced at the risk of pain.
As James Hillman powerfully stated, “We are composed of agonies not polarities.”
It’s what you do with these agonies that will decide the wholeness of your life. Being whole is not never breaking. Not at all. Being whole is breaking and then coming back together again stronger than you were before. And it never ends. It’s a constant: get wounded, mend your wounds, and then transform them into sacred wounds. That’s a well-lived life.
Another way of looking at the life-death-rebirth cycle is in terms of wholeness. There is no point in the cycle that is not the beginning and the end of every other point in the cycle. That is what you are. You are wholeness perceiving fractured aspects of the whole as points along the way.
During dark times, when it feels like you’ve been buried in failure and pain, remember this feeling of wholeness, and then flip the script and imagine you’ve been planted instead. Now all there is left to do is to take this wholeness and bloom into sublimity.
Discover the Sublime:
“There are heights of the soul from which even tragedy ceases to look tragic.” – Nietzsche
When you assimilate your fear of life and death, you experience a state of cosmic sublimity. You rise above all the pains and pleasures, all the ups and downs, all the fear and angst and hunger.
All the heaviness of mortality slips away into lightheartedness. Amor fati overwhelms you and all you can do is step into the powerful role of being love itself. You fall in love with being in love with your fate.
In this state of cosmic sublimity, all the pain, all the pleasure, all the ups and downs, all the fear and love of life become mere ingredients for your own immortality project, your magnum opus, your ultimate work of art.
Where a plant blooms into a flower, a human blooms into a piece of art. When you’re in the throes of an artistic process, you are flourishing. You touch the Philosopher’s Stone. The transcendent shines through the art. The sublime shines through you. It all comes together in that sacred space between life and death: surrender.
The cosmic sublime is an ontological pivot point, a perspective in which death is also rapture and resurrection, and the death of the ego is linked to creativity. It’s a movement into psychological depth.
If you want to discover the sublime, meditate on death. Meditate on eternity. Meditate on interconnectedness. Meditate on pain and probability. When you become deeply aware of your mortality it gives you a sense of purpose and energy.
Find ways to transform this purpose and energy into vitality, creativity, and power. Seek expansion. Transform energy into synergy. Express the infinite in the tangible and bounded form of a work of art. Bring magic elixir back to “the tribe” and change the way the tribe sees the world.
There has never been more isolation than 2020. Already, we were collectively shifting into the 4th dimension of digital space, leaving 3D behind.
Molecules were steadily getting replaced with pixels, and physical bodies by selfies and avatars.
However, this year really passed the tipping point into full-blown, solitary confinement where the ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ could truly be questioned.
There are many ways to spin this year’s tumultuous events, but every coin nonetheless has two sides. One person’s lockdown is just another’s home retreat.
On the bright side here, many of us have realized renewed focus as we’re when denied our usual outs.
In essence, we as a society were prescribed a global Vipassanā, a time to take a literal breather from the routine rat race and allow our perpetual motion hamster wheels to run themselves out.
This time, if take mindfully, is a chance to take stock, recharge, and possibly reinvent ourselves for the future
Vipassanā is just one traditional form of mindfulness meditation that cultivates insight. By remaining still and quiet for long durations, one’s psychological house of mirrors is illuminated and cards collapse.
As reflections and reactions are extinguished from their actual origins within, we can stop the endless feedback loop that runs our lives like a tiresome treadmill.
We’re left standing in an empty boxing ring with no opponent left to fight… but our inner darkness. But the truth is just beyond the shadows. This is liberation in a nutshell! What an opportunity!
Of course, there are many types of meditation, and Vipassanā is just one.
All forms of meditation aim to release blockages and restore full flow, proper alignment, and coherence across all spectrums of spirit, mind, emotion, and the body. It is not uncommon for these to have degenerated through millennia.
Meditation allows for deeper brain states, deprogramming, an increased lifeforce and abundant donor electrons, trauma release, detoxing, and the reawakening of our primal natures.
Various meditation methods may incorporate different focuses to attain openings and activations but in essence, they all clear the dross and dirt from our inner selves.
The end result is generally a more inspired flow state, and less egoic resistance to that state.
Whichever meditative style you chose, the effects can often be further amplified by practicing meditation with others, creating unified force fields. We are all fractal parts of All, and this connection is innate.
Meditation just reminds us that we are part of a larger, conscious organism. We are both particles and waves, with the ability to choose how our world next materializes.
In Nature, we can physically see this waveform connection with mycorrhizal networks linking entire forests together through their roots and fungal hyphae.
In physics, we find remote connections between quantum-entangled particles infinitely far apart. And technologically, what good would computers or cellphones be without the internet or cloud?
We have also been united this year by the shared experience of crisis, and while it has been an unsettling experience, all experience can drive us back to the path of enlightenment.
While individual meditation may largely change your life, mass meditation may also change the world at large. Therein lies its greater power, that of a force-multiplier.
Transcendental Meditation’s Maharishi Mahesh has actually proven the measurable effects of mass meditation since the 1960s.
Over 600 studies conducted with more than 125 independent research institutions have scientifically-documented its validity now.
Maharishi’s studies show that when at least 1% of a community’s population meditates on a specific outcome like love, peace, or harmony, the coherence of the group’s energy field impacts the collective consciousness of others.
Even violent crime including homicide rates can be significantly reduced with mass meditation.
When a 1993 study measured mass meditation’s effects on crime in New York City, a notorious hotbed for murder, race riots, and theft, it was found that crime dropped more than 23%.
In short, this demonstrates how powerful collective consciousness can be! Not only for each participant, but their focus as a whole. Individual meditation is life-changing, but mass meditation may be even better!
In light of these facts, why not join forces and meditate together with synchronized intent? It requires no more individual effort, yet may bear greater results, for both you and the planet.
All outer change starts within. And this is just an easy win-win for all involved that we could sure use more of right now.
We’ve talked about why homeschooling is an excellent choice from an academic, independence, and character-building standpoint in previous articles. In this discussion, we’ll talk about protecting your children from indoctrination.
Distance Learning Is Starting To Show Some Of The Cracks With Schooling.
Reports are starting to surface of parents uncomfortable with the political patina of their children’s online classrooms. Police visited one family because a boy’s BB gun was visible behind him in an online classroom session, and the teacher reported the “gun” to the police.
Another teacher caught a glimpse of a 12-year old’s Nerf gun, and instead of asking him or the parents about it, she reported it to the sheriff. The child was accidentally suspended for a week for having a toy gun at home during a Zoom class!
One teacher expressed that he has to be more careful with his words now that parents can listen to online class sessions. Some school districts have gone so far as to ask parents to sign a disclaimer that they will not watch class sessions with their children to protect other children’s privacy in the online classroom.
Could it be that teachers, their unions, and school administrations are concerned about being exposed as rhetoric spreaders in the classroom?
Have We Forgotten Our Children Are Our Responsibility?
Rearing them, teaching them, caring for them, and loving them is our responsibility. In this country, it seems we have abdicated that responsibility and ceded it over to the state.
We believe the government owes our children free education, free medical care, and even free meals.
I don’t know about you, but I suspect there is a string attached when I hear something is free. That string is the ability to mold our children’s minds.
I’m not comfortable with people I don’t know taking full responsibility for my children’s care, their thoughts, and their beliefs.
Don’t we suspect that this current civil unrest was born in the classroom some years ago? While “it takes a village” has a nice familial ring to it, do we want the state to be that village?
Do We Want Our Children To Have Our Values Or Someone Else’s?
If you’re a person of faith, you will undoubtedly want your children to share your faith and not that of a secular system. Teach your children how to think and help them to develop good character.
I know many teachers who take their jobs seriously, who go to work faithfully every day and try to do a good job.
The best of them end up being frustrated by a system that doesn’t support them and is heavily influenced by the teacher’s unions and political correctness.
They don’t want to be responsible for both their children and yours. They want to educate your children in reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Still, their latitude in teaching has been severely limited by common core standards, teaching to the test, and political correctness.
Their job performance is now dependent upon how much your children learn from the required curriculum and how well they can perform on a standardized test.
Children spend countless hours preparing for these tests that show only memorized information regurgitated onto the bubble-filled page. Do we want children who can memorize or do we want critical thinkers?
Students are encouraged, “get a good night’s sleep, and eat a good breakfast” on test days, as if this is not important on every other school day.
The teacher’s ability to advance to the next performance level or pay grade depends on your child’s test performance. That’s a lot of pressure for both the teacher and your child.
Don’t we want our kids to be able to read, write, and do the math, and when they’ve learned that, to be able to think critically?
As A Parent, You Have Tremendous Influence And Responsibility
You create an atmosphere of helping your children understand and make sense of the world around them by just listening and having a conversation.
Could you do that over breakfast? How about around the dinner table?
I’ve seen variations on the family meal. Some families discuss the events of the day. Others will pose a question and ask everyone’s opinion before the parent gives his/her view.
Others recite memorized poetry or Bible verses, and others use the time to pray. Mealtime can become a sacred time – a time for the family to lift one another, work through difficulties, and talk about what was essential to each one.
We didn’t realize how important mealtime was until my son had a group of friends over. When it was dinnertime, my son called them to the table. They said they’d come in to eat later.
My son explained that we all eat together in our house. Reluctantly, they all came in to eat. At the end of the meal, my son’s friends said they enjoyed eating together.
The only time they did that in their homes was during the holidays. I think they wished their own families did the same.
You have the power to create a safe and comforting place in your home at mealtime, not just for your children but also for their friends.
Even if the food is simple, or God forbid, scarce, don’t discard the opportunity to reconnect.
What About Homeschooling?
The decision of whether to homeschool – or even if they’re qualified to do so – has been a difficult one for many parents.
I’ve read that parents are concerned about the cost of homeschooling, hiring a tutor or a teacher for their micro-school or learning pod of children. They are desperate to keep working and earning to pay someone else to educate their children and maintain their same lifestyle.
If you can afford to hire a teacher, even part-time, to educate your and your friend’s kids in a one-room schoolhouse in your converted garage, more power to you. Many don’t have that financial flexibility to hire someone else to teach.
My advice to you would be to join forces with other parents, share the load, learn to teach your children, and teach them to learn from you. Here are some tips to help you do so.
Be flexible. Some parents may be able to teach during part of the day, and some may be available for tutoring at night. Another parent may teach archery, bushcraft skills, gardening, food preservation, or backpacking on the weekend.
Be creative. Pull together something that works for you and the other families. A kitchen table is all you need.
Divide the work fairly. I belonged to a babysitting co-op, and we created laminated cards to exchange babysitting services.One card for one hour of babysitting for up to two children was the baseline. We all started with the same number of cards and exchanged and received them as we used and provided babysitting to the other co-op members. Parent educators could design a similar system — one card per adult for two hours of teaching for up to four children.
Using an established system, you could help one another in other ways. Perhaps one family gardens, another knows how to do car maintenance, another has an abundance of chicken eggs, and another has skills in the medical field.
Could you exchange what you have or know for what another family has or knows? Could you save money by exchanging for needs?
Think about it because this kind of system could help you navigate not only homeschooling, but also a collapse in the supply chain, rapid inflationary pressures on food or medicine, or securing neighborhoods from civil unrest.
Why Do I Push Homeschooling?
Homeschooling can form the baseline for all other thought processes.
Homeschooling creates solid values in your children, supporting one another through thick and thin, and finding others who are like-minded.
Homeschooling can be your lifeline, not just for your children, but also for your entire family.
It’s also the best way I know to have a stable and fulfilling relationship with your grown children.
Homeschooling is just part of a mindset that is undergirded by a belief in self-sufficiency. And by self-sufficiency, I don’t necessarily mean going it all alone.
I mean figuring out a way to make it a win-win for others with a similar mindset to you and getting what both you and they need.
Some people find a group of like-minded people in a church, within your own family, and others find them on a blog like this.
Find your people and figure out a way to help one another, not just in homeschooling, but also in doing life together.
I used to say it was time to leave this country if homeschooling was outlawed because I believed that was the final step in indoctrination and in limiting our freedom.
While it is not outlawed, it may become more and more regulated. I urge you to take this time to explore your options, to understand what you want for your family’s future, and to take action now to achieve that.
I believe we have a window of opportunity that may close in the years ahead. Learn to protect your children from the indoctrination of others who don’t have their best interests in mind.
In a time of disconnection, deep conversations can make all the difference.
David Brooks, the opinion columnist for The New York Times, wrote an article last month titled “Mental Health in the Age of the Coronavirus,” describing how the anxiety and isolation of the pandemic were impacting everyone in some way. He quoted Bonnie Badenoch, an expert in trauma, who felt one antidote to this stress was a need to have “deep reciprocal attunement (with others) that makes you feel viscerally safe,” and Martha Welch, a professor at Columbia University, who stressed the need to connect with others by having “vulnerable,” deep conversations.
Deep conversations may be an important way to connect with those we care about in these difficult times, but they are always a good idea. They are the foundation of strong intimate relationships — those “we talked all night” conversations when dating, or those seemingly rare but cherished, heartfelt times when you lowered your guard and spoke from your heart with someone you trust. They connect you to the human race, to those important in your life, in some way to yourself.
Good idea, but often easier said than done. Here are some tips of going deeper into your conversations:
Make sure it’s a good time to talk
This is a matter of logistics. It’s hard to have a deep conversation when someone is on their cell phone driving to the grocery store or when they are trying to get their three kids to bed. These times are for quick check-ins — how-you-doing, catch-you-later speed conversations. For those deeper conversations you need time; find out if the other person has some. Simple question: Is this a good time to talk?
Set the tone
Because you’re the one initiating this, you need to be the one to set the tone, the one to let the other person know that you’re interested in having more than a how-you-doing check-in. There are two ways of doing this.
One is to set the tone by talking about yourself more deeply than you usually do. You want to move beyond the standard, “I’m good,” to more honest statements about how you are really doing – I’ve been feeling down lately; I don’t know about you, but my kids are driving me crazy; I had been doing okay until Tom and I had this argument last night. This is about self-disclosure and revealing more of you and your feelings. With this introduction, you are letting the other person know what kind of conversation you want to have, what emotional level you are comfortable talking about. You can then turn the conversation towards them.
The other approach is to ask hard questions at the start: Not the “Doing okay?” but “Have you been having a hard time?” “Have you been feeling depressed or worried?” “Are your kids driving you crazy or struggling?” People only know what is safe to talk about based on what you talk about and what you ask. By drilling down into specific, more emotionally difficult conversations, you are letting the other person know that you are ready to hear what they have to say, that you are ready to go there.
Ask about details
Good therapists do this instinctively. They try to move from broad statements (“I’ve been feeling anxious“) to the details: What about, what thoughts have you had, how do you talk to yourself? You don’t need to be a therapist and try to deconstruct the other person’s psychology, but you want to ask about details (about an argument they had or about how the kids are driving them crazy) because emotions ride on content. Broad questions yield broad, bland emotions; detailed questions stir deeper, more poignant feelings. And expressing these deeper emotions and having them accepted glues people together.
Give space between emotions
And when these emotions arise, you only need to acknowledge them (“That must have been hurtful; that sounds so frustrating”) and then stop and be silent. This can be hard—our instincts are to repair, to fix, to make it better by saying the right thing right then to calm the waters. Don’t. Take a few deep breaths, allow room for you both to absorb what has been said (or for them to finish ranting or crying).
Slow down, focus on them
In the same vein, you want to slow the conversation overall. Move through the conversation like a turtle, not a jackrabbit. Keep the focus on them, give them the room and attention they need, and resist using their stories as launchpads to talk about your own. Only when they are done is it time to turn the conversation towards you.
You know if you are moving into more vulnerable and intimate territory if what you want to say makes you feel uncomfortable, you get those butterflies of anxiety. Intimacy is not about disclosing some big, dark secret, but saying anything that is, for you, difficult to say. Take that risk for yourself, and listen for it in the other person. They may say “I’ve never said this before or thought about this before,” or there may be a hesitation or an unfinished sentence and a sigh. Ask them to finish the sentence. Give them space to say what is hard to say.
Use your anxiety as a sign that you are emotionally plowing new ground. Go deeper to connect.
While mass media is steadily encouraging fear and panic, we actually need to calm down and take a deep breath. Here are some things to remember in these trying times.
In these past weeks, we’ve witnessed a series of major historical events of a magnitude that is still difficult to fathom. With these events came a wave of panic that is palpable both on a local and a global level. And, in some ways, that panic is understandable. The specter of an invisible yet deadly disease spreading at an exponential rate has terrified humans for centuries.
At the time of writing these lines, we’re at this strange period of uncertainty where we have no idea where this is going and what kind of impact it will have on humanity. How long will this last? How many people will die? Will the world economy collapse?
This unprecedented situation has triggered in many individuals a great deal of fear and anxiety – steadily fed by a constant influx of alarming news by mass media. Meanwhile, while the masses are physically confined in small spaces and mentally paralyzed with fear, things are happening behind the scenes.
In these trying times, vigilant citizens need to be more vigilant than ever. And that means taking a step back, taking a deep breath and remaining clear-headed.
With that being said, here are a few things we need to remember now and always.
1- “This Too Shall Pass”
If COVID-19 is causing in you feelings of fear, panic, and anxiety, please repeat to yourself this timeless saying: “This too shall pass”. Because it will.
In 1858, Abraham Lincoln famously recounted:
“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!
Often found in wisdom literature of the ancient Near East, the adage “this too shall pass” aptly sums up the unconditionally temporary nature of human condition. It is a reminder that every single event in human history, whether it is a negative or a positive one, inevitably becomes a thing of the past. And, although there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel right now, this virus will also inevitably become a thing of the past.
The only question is “when?”. Not unlike all other living things in the world, epidemics rise, peak and decline. Sooner or later, this thing will peak and it will decline. In the past decades, SARS and H1N1 caused a great deal of panic. However, the only thing they are infecting now is history books.
While current world events might seem overwhelming, we still have full control of ourselves and our surroundings. Which leads me to my next point.
2- You Don’t Need Up-to-the-Minute News Updates
If you can take away one thing from this site is that critical thinking is required when dealing with mass media. Sometimes, it doesn’t have our best interest at heart and, sometimes, it is even outright toxic. As people are confined to their homes with little to do, the urge to keep up with the news is constant. However, not all news is good to consume. Some of it actually is vile, toxic crap.
For instance, an article in Canada’s National Post titled What might our lives look like when Canada is in the full grip of COVID-19? dug up an obscure report dating from 2009, quoted its grimmest parts and linked them to what is happening now. I will spare you the details, but the article talks about things such as “stockpiling body bags, choosing a central place where people bring corpses of family members and identifying hockey and curling rinks cold enough to be temporary morgue sites”.
The article brought forth no useful information, just wild speculations that poke on people’s latent fears. Gladly, not every reader lapped up the unnecessary fear-mongering. Here are two comments from the article.
Another article from another Canadian publication titled Cancel your March Break straight-up begins with these words:
“Fear is the right reaction to the coronavirus”.
I’m sorry, but no. The only time that fear is the “right reaction” is when a bear is chasing you and you need the adrenaline boost to outrun it. In the case of a global crisis with lots of moving parts that require careful planning, fear is not the “right reaction”. Fear leads to panic-induced, irrational decisions. And a prolonged state of fear can be extremely damaging for one’s mental health.
After a whole lot of fear-mongering, the article ends with these words:
“Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
I’m sorry, but no. Now, more than ever, we need to remain calm, rational and level-headed. And limiting our daily intake of “panic news” is a great start. Trust me, I know that it is difficult to resist the urge to grab one’s phone and look-up news articles about the virus. I sometimes find myself doing it without even realizing it. But it is simply not healthy or even necessary to do so.
You don’t need to get a mild panic attack each time the number of confirmed cases goes up a notch. You don’t need to mildly despair each time an artist cancels a world tour. More importantly, if you have children, they don’t need to see you turn into a panicky shell of a person. Which leads me to my final point.
3- Life Goes On
If you look outside, the sun is still rising and birds are still chirping. You are still on this Earth and you still have one life to live. Even if you are in lockdown, quarantine or whatever else, you are still in control of yourself and your surroundings. You still need to sleep well, eat healthily and exercise regularly. If you’re stuck at home, put down your phone for a while and use this time to take care of your people, read a good book, work on creative projects and, if possible, go outside and seek the healing presence of nature. Coincidentally enough, in my annual end-of-year articles, I constantly suggest readers to do these exact things. That’s because, despite the constant noise of mass media, the most important things in life happen outside of it.
While this advice might sound extremely boring and generic, this is what needs to be done right now in order to remain vigilant citizens. We need to remain sharp and focused, not weak and fearful. Because, at this point, it doesn’t matter where this virus comes from, what (or who) is behind it and how dangerous it really is. It already managed to shut down the entire world.
Soon, we will need to ask some important questions: Who benefited from this situation? Who went for a power grab? What kind of companies weathered the storm? Where did the world economy shift to? What kind of local and global policies were introduced?
To properly answer these questions, we need to remain strong and watchful. Because, no matter what happens in the next months … this too shall pass.
How to Invite Spirituality in Your Life: 8 Simple Methods
Sometimes we can associate spirituality with magic or think that it is something that can only be practiced by conscious or educated individuals.
But in reality, it’s not as complex as that, we still live the same everyday experiences, only our way of seeing them changes.
Invite spirituality into your life: 8 ways to achieve this if you want to connect more to your inner self:
We are all born with what we call intuition. Nevertheless, the more years pass and the more we begin to ignore it because we give more importance to logic and reasoning. Pay more attention to your intuition, so you can get in touch with your inner being.
Learning new things every day is the best partner you can have in your spiritual quest. If you realize that learning is infinite, it will take you far.
The mindfulness is the art of focusing only on the present moment. Thus, you do not hang on at past times, because you are aware that they belong to the past.
The meditation is the art of concentration. It requires great discipline, but the benefits it brings are well worth it. When your mind is managing many things at the same time, meditation allows your mind to rest by letting it focus on one thing at a time.
Nature is the most powerful tool that exists. Meditating in nature, in pure air, is really inspiring.
You may not know it, but you can be thankful for many things in life. And unless you count your blessings and be thankful for what you already have, you would never open the doors of all you can have.
When you open your mind to possibilities, you realize that your life was actually constrained. Everything you experience happens for a reason, and once you wake up to the wonders of life, you begin to see miracles manifest in your life.
Make spiritual friends.
The awakening process is really an individual one, but having friends who already have gone through this journey might surely ease the pain of this path. So try to make new conscious friends with whom you can share your experiences and learn from theirs. The spiritual social network may help
Much has been written about the attributes of high-achieving adults, and what makes them different from everyone else. But if you’re a parent, a more compelling question may be: “What can I do to make sure my kids succeed in life?” Here’s what researchers say.
Researchers have previous found that children of older parents tend to have fewer externalizing behavior problems than children of younger parents. But common traits are being discovered in successful adults that appears to affect the way we interact with our children.
1. Don’t Tell Them They Can Be Anything They Want.
According a survey of 400 teenagers, conducted by market research agency C+R Research, young Americans aren’t interested in doing the work that will need to be done in the years to come. Instead, they aspire to be musicians, athletes, or video game designers, even though these kinds of jobs only comprise 1 percent of American occupations.
In reality, jobs in health care or in construction trades will be golden in future decades. Why not steer them into well-paying professions in which there will be a huge shortage of workers?
2. Eat Dinner As a Family.
According to a nonprofit organization operating out of Harvard University, kids who eat with their families roughly five days a week exhibit lower levels of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, obesity, and depression. They also have higher grade-point averages, better vocabularies, and more self-esteem.
3. Enforce No-Screen Time.
Researchers have found that the brains of little kids can be permanently altered when they spend too much time using tablets and smartphones. Specifically, the development of certain abilities is impeded, including focus and attention, vocabulary, and social skills.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says children younger than 18 months should have no screen time at all, other than video-chatting. For kids ages two to five, it recommends limiting screen time to one hour a day.
For older kids, it’s a matter of making sure media doesn’t take the place of adequate sleep, exercise, and social interaction. The AAP also says parents should make the dinner table, the car, and bedrooms media-free zones.
There are certainly familial benefits to having a stay-at-home mother, but researchers at Harvard Business School have found that when moms work outside the home, their daughters are more likely to be employed themselves, hold supervisory roles, and make more money than peers whose mothers did not have careers.
5. Make Them Work.
In a 2015 TED Talk, Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult and the former dean of freshman at Stanford University, cites the Harvard Grant Study, which found that the participants who achieved the greatest professional success did chores as a child.
The classic Marshmallow Experiment of 1972 involved placing a marshmallow in front of a young child, with the promise of a second marshmallow if he or she could refrain from eating the squishy blob while a researcher stepped out of the room for 15 minutes.
Follow-up studies over the next 40 years found that the children who were able to resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow grew up to be people with better social skills, higher test scores, and a lower incidence of substance abuse.
They also turned out to be less obese and better able to deal with stress. To help kids build this skill, train them to have habits that must be accomplished every day — even when they don’t feel like doing them.
“Top performers in every field — athletes, musicians, CEOs, artists — are all more consistent than their peers,” writes James Clear, an author and speaker who studies the habits of successful people. “They show up and deliver day after day while everyone else gets bogged down with the urgencies of daily life and fights a constant battle between procrastination and motivation.”
7. Read to Them.
Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine have found that babies whose parents read to them have better language, literacy, and early reading skills four years later before starting elementary school. And kids who like books when they’re little grow into people who read for fun later on, which has its own set of benefits.
That’s according to Dr. Alice Sullivan, who uses the British Cohort Study to track various aspects of 17,000 people in the U.K.
“We compared children from the same social backgrounds who achieved similar tested abilities at ages five and 10, and discovered that those who frequently read books at age 10 and more than once a week when they were 16 had higher test results than those who read less,” she writes for The Guardian.
“In other words, reading for pleasure was linked to greater intellectual progress, in vocabulary, spelling, and mathematics.”
8. Encourage Them To Travel.
The Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) surveyed 1,432 U.S. teachers who credit international travel, in particular, with affecting students in a myriad of good ways:
• Desire to travel more (76%) • Increased tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities (74%) • Increased willingness to know/ learn/ explore (73%) • Increased willingness to try different foods (70%)
• Increased independence, self-esteem, and confidence (69%) • More intellectual curiosity (69%) • Increased tolerance and respectfulness (66%) • Better adaptability and sensitivity (66%)
• Being more outgoing (51%) • Better self-expression (51%) • Increased attractiveness to college admissions (42%)
If sending your son or daughter abroad or bringing them with you overseas isn’t feasible, take heart. The survey also asked teachers about domestic travel and found similar benefits for students.
9. Let Them Fail.
While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s one of the best things a parent can do. According to Dr. Stephanie O’Leary, a clinical psychologist specializing in neuropsychology and author of Parenting in the Real World: The Rules Have Changed, failure is good for kids on several levels.
First, experiencing failure helps your child learn to cope, a skill that’s certainly needed in the real world. It also provides him or her with the life experience needed to relate to peers in a genuine way. Being challenged also instills the need for hard work and sustained efforts, and also demonstrates that these traits are valuable even without the blue ribbon, gold star, or top score.
Over time, children who have experienced defeat will build resilience and be more willing to attempt difficult tasks and activities because they are not afraid to fail. And, she says, rescuing your child sends the message that you don’t trust him or her.
“Your willingness to see your child struggle communicates that you believe they are capable and that they can handle any outcome, even a negative one,” she says.
12 Morning and Evening Routines That Will Set Up Each Day for Success
You wake up an hour before work and rush to get ready. You shower at lightning speed and grab an energy bar and coffee before running out the door. Still, work leaves you feeling discombobulated and overwhelmed. Long before the week is over, you’re burned out and know you won’t hit this week’s goals.
How do you get out of this miserable rut? One word: Routines.
Morning and evening routines prime you for success. They help you achieve more, think clearly, and do work that actually matters. They keep you from stumbling through your day and make sure you get the most important things done.
All it takes is a bit of discipline, along with routines that will set you up for success. Here are the what and why of routines, along with 12 morning and evening routines you can implement to create more perfect days.
12 Morning and Evening Routines That Will Set Up Each Day for Success
The Science of Habits and Creating Routines
First, let’s define what routine means: A routine is a sequence of actions that you do repeatedly.
Brushing your teeth nightly and getting ready for bed is a routine. Waking up at 6:00 AM and exercising every morning is a routine. Purchasing a bagel and reading the news before you head to work every morning is a routine. Even eating chips while watching Netflix is a routine. They’re all actions that happen again and again, a rhythm in your daily life.
That doesn’t make them all good routines—they’re simply routines by virtue of being done regularly. Helpful or not, every routine is powerful.
Routines Create High Achievers
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”- Aristotle
In his book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, Mason Currey writes about the habits, routines, and rituals of hundreds of artists, including Frederic Chopin, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, and Ernest Hemingway. Even though their routines varied wildly, each individual had steps they followed to put them in an optimal state of mind.
After studying the great artists, Currey came to this conclusion:
In the right hands, [a routine] can be a finely calibrated mechanism for taking advantage of a range of limited resources: time (the most limited resource of all) as well as willpower, self-discipline, optimism. A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.
Productivity guru and experimenter extraordinaire Tim Ferris has five morning rituals to get him into a productive state of mind: making his bed, meditating, exercise, drinking tea, and journaling. Performance coach Tony Robbins also uses a morning routine, which includes a cold shower, breathing exercises, and meditation to prepare him for each day.
High achievers tend to find routines that work for them and then stick to them—it’s typically something they credit as a core to their success.
Habits vs. Routines vs. Rituals: Wondering what the difference is between habits, routines, and rituals? Habits are things that we do automatically–things like checking your email first thing in the morning or putting your keys in a specific spot when you get home. Routines are usually a collection of habits or actions you do on a regular basis to bring order to your day—checking your email, then writing your day’s to-do list, then checking your team’s project management tool as a way of getting the day started. Rituals are like routines. The main difference is the attitude behind the actions: Taking a walk everyday at lunch could be considered a routine if you think of it as something you need to do for your productivity. Or it could be a ritual if you think of it as a way to break out of the mundane and enjoy nature. While we’re focusing on habits and routines here, most routines could be turned into rituals with a change of perspective.
Routines Put Our Brains on Autopilot
But what makes the routines of high achievers so powerful? As it turns out, we’re creatures of habit and can use that to accomplish whatever we want. In The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, Charles Duhigg details how habits put our brains into an automatic state where little or no willpower is required.
It works like this:
Step 1: Something happens that serves as a cue to your brain, putting it into “automatic” mode. A simple example is waking up. When I wake up, my brain immediately knows that it’s time to turn on the coffee machine. This habit has been ingrained in my brain over years.
Step 2: Execute the routine. This is where I actually turn on the coffee machine, wait for it to brew, pour it into my favorite mug, sit in a chair by the kitchen window, and finally drink the coffee.
Step #3: Reap the rewards of the routine. The delicious flavor and high-octane caffeine reinforce the routine so that the next morning I repeat it again.
Making coffee is just one small routine, but the daily consistency of it helps keep me going. Imagine if other, more powerful tasks that can empower you to accomplish big things came as easy as making coffee?
This is the power of routines. The small repeated actions can have an exponential effect. By implementing routines in the morning and evening, you can prime yourself for maximum productivity each day.
Morning Routines to Help You Start the Day Off Right
If you win the morning, you win the day
Ferris’s and Robbins’s morning routines both include meditation, while the routines of many others include starting the day off with a fresh cup of coffee. Regardless of your morning schedule, here are some of the best ways to start your day and prepare for success.
There are exceptions, such as Winston Churchill who liked to say in bed until 11:00 AM, but many high achievers rise early in order to prepare for the day. In those early hours, they can execute their routines while the rest of the world is asleep.
Consider these examples:
Square CEO Jack Dorsey rises at 5:30 so that he can go for a six-mile jog.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson wakes at 5:45 to exercise and eat a proper breakfast.
GM CEO Dan Akerson rises between 4:30 and 5:00 so he can talk to GE Asia.
Apple CEO Tim Cook gets up at 4:30 so he can send emails and be at the gym by 5:00.
Even if they aren’t naturally morning larks–the opposite of night owls–they’ve trained themselves to wake up early for the many benefits an early rise can bring. Those include increased productivity with fewer distractions in the early morning, greater creativity because you can work when your mind is fresh, and less stress if you use that extra time for meditation or quiet contemplation. It could make you happier, too: Researchers in one study found that morning-type individuals reported higher levels of positivity and well-being.
If there’s one habit you should adopt to improve your life, it’s making your bed every day. That, at least, is the advice from Navy Seal Admiral William H. McCraven:
If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.
Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
It’s all about the small things.
Affirmations are positive statements you can use to reframe how you think about yourself and the day to come. They are a way of visualizing the good things that will come to you that day and overcoming negative self-talk.
When you actively design and write out your affirmations to be in alignment with what you want to accomplish and who you need to be to accomplish it—and commit to repeating them daily (ideally out loud)—they immediately make an impression on your subconscious mind. Your affirmations go to work to transform the way you think and feel so you can overcome your limiting beliefs and behaviors and replace them with those you need to succeed.
Some simple affirmations you could use are:
I will do great things today
I will make $XXX this year
I am a highly respected [insert occupation]
I am achieving [big goal]
Your aim is to affirm and visualize the things you want to happen. As you focus on these things, you begin to believe that you can and will achieve them, which then enables you to take action on them.
Although it might sound New-Age-y to some, affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement. As clinical psychologist Dr. Carmen Harra says. “Much like exercise, they raise the level of feel-good hormones and push our brains to form new clusters of ‘positive thought’ neurons.”
Get some exercise
There are few things more transformative than exercise. Exercising in the morning increases blood flow, releases endorphins, and strengthens your body. It prepares you for the coming day, increases your overall energy levels, and helps you remain in optimal health. Numerous studies have shown that exercise is key in fighting depression and anxiety, and a Finnish study suggested that exercise is even correlated with increased wealth.
Implementing a daily routine of exercise will prepare you for maximum success through the day. And it doesn’t even have to be a full gym workout to reap the benefits: A brisk walk in your neighborhood, a 7-minute workout, or a quick yoga session could get you going.
Need more motivation to get moving? Try tracking your activity automatically with Zapier, an app automation tool. With logs of your runs or workouts, you can see your progress and challenge yourself to keep at it.
12 Morning and Evening Routines That Will Set Up Each Day for Success
Eat a proper breakfast
The fuel you consume in the morning has a significant effect on your ongoing performance—and thus, it should be the best fuel possible.
These might seem like minor things–waking up early, making your bed, saying your affirmations, exercising, eating a good breakfast, and taking a cold shower–but taken together into one consistent routine you do every day, you’re well prepped to face anything that happens after. A morning routine takes the stress out of the start of the day and puts you on the best footing from the get-go.
Of course, customize your morning routine for your own preferences. The SAVERS graphic above from James Altucher’s article and podcast with Hal Elrod can help you remember a few other things you can add to your morning routine: silence, visualization, reading, and scribbling. For more inspiration, My Morning Routine offers 200+ examples of morning routines you can adapt and adopt for yourself.
Evening Routines That Set the Tone for the Next Day
The close of each day is just as important as the start. By implementing evening routines, you ready yourself for the next morning, recharge with a restful night, and minimize the resistance you encounter in getting things done.
Prepare goals for the next day
Determining your objectives for the coming day does two things. First, it allows you to identify your most important tasks in advance—before all the pressures of the day arrive on your doorstep. Ideally, the first few hours of each day should be spent conquering your most challenging task. This idea has been given various names, such as “eating the frog” and “slaying the dragon.”
Identifying daily priorities might seem like an obvious or insignificant step to take, but writing your most important tasks down the previous night turns your subconscious mind loose while you sleep and frees you from worrying about being unprepared. You’ll probably find that you wake up with great ideas related to the tasks or conversations that you hadn’t even considered!
Reflect on the day’s achievements
It can be easy to lose sight of victories after a long day. Taking just a few moments at the end of the day to reflect on and celebrate your wins puts things into the proper perspective and gives you encouragement for the coming day. It helps you overcome the discouragement that often comes with setbacks.
In addition to asking at the start of his day “What good shall I do this day?”, Benjamin Franklin asked every evening “What good have I done today?”.
If you reflect on the things you did right, on your successes, that allows you to celebrate every little success. It allows you to realize how much you’ve done right, the good things you’ve done in your life.
You can do this in a variety of ways, including jotting things down in a blank Moleskine notebook, a gratitude journal, or an app on your phone. You can automatically track your productivity with RescueTime and Zapier as well:
Clear your Head
Its easy to take your work to be, making it difficult to fall asleep as you mull over job-related problems. Clearing your head before sleep allows you to put aside the challenges of the day and ready your mind to shut down. There are numerous ways to do this, including:
For me, this is going for a 20-minute walk every evening at 9:30 p.m. This is a wind-down period, and allows me to evaluate the day’s work, think about the greater challenges, gradually stop thinking about work and reach a state of tiredness.
Your goal is to engage your mind in something completely non-work related.
Prepare for the next morning
In order to minimize the amount of thinking you need to do in the morning, take time to prepare things. Pick out the clothes you’ll wear, prepare the food you’ll eat, prep the coffeemaker, and organize any work related materials you need to bring. If you’ll be going to the gym, lay out your workout clothes and water.
The less time and mental energy you expend on inconsequential things, the more you’ll have for the things that matter.
Waking up to a messy home isn’t the most motivating way to start your day. Without regular sessions cleaning up and putting things away, you’ll find your place quickly in disarray.
Thankfully, spending just 10 to 20 minutes a night tidying up will help reduce stress in the mornings and help you avoid marathon cleaning sessions on the weekends. If there’s only one thing you do,clean and shine your sink. Like making your bed in the morning, this one task will give you a sense of accomplishment. Housekeeping guru FlyLady says:
This is your first household chore. Many of you can’t understand why I want you to empty your sink of your dirty dishes and clean and shine it when there is so much more to do. It is so simple; I want you to have a sense of accomplishment! […] When you get up the next morning, your sink will greet you, and a smile will come across your lovely face. I can’t be there to give you a big hug, but I know how good it feels to see yourself in your kitchen sink. […]
Go shine your sink!
Also, if you have children, you know the importance of setting up solid routines with them. They can help out too!
Practice proper sleep hygiene
Very few people practice proper sleep hygiene and their sleep suffers as a result. Generally speaking, you should:
It can be easy to minimize the importance of sleep, but it’s absolutely essential for optimum performance. In fact, sleep is so crucial that Arianna Huffington devoted an entire Ted Talk to it.
It can be really tough to build routines into your life. It takes intention and discipline. Sometimes it feels simpler to just get the day started and then after a long workday crash into bed.
But the good thing about routines and habits is that the more you do them, the easier they become. They become ingrained in your day to the point where you find it harder to not do them.
So stick with it. You may find it tedious at first, but you’ll find your days will flow much more smoothly when you’ve bookended them with quality morning and evening routines.
To create your morning and evening routines, you can write up a checklist that you can walk through every day until it becomes ingrained in you or set up a schedule, a la Ben Franklin. For example:
6 am: wake, make the bed, get coffee started 6:15: drink coffee and read the news 6:30: exercise 7: eat breakfast 7:15: shower 8-5: work 6: dinner 7:30: tidy up 8: time with family, TV, or other form of relaxation and entertainment 9:30: journalism or meditation 10: bedtime
Here’s some wisdom gleaned from one of the longest longitudinal studies ever conducted.
Prioritizing what’s important is challenging in today’s world. The split focus required to maintain a career and a home, not to mention a Facebook feed, can feel overwhelming.
Enter the science of what to prioritize, when.
For over 75 years, Harvard’s Grant and Glueck study has tracked the physical and emotional well-being of two populations: 456 poor men growing up in Boston from 1939 to 2014 (the Grant Study), and 268 male graduates from Harvard’s classes of 1939-1944 (the Glueck study).
Due to the length of the research period, this has required multiple generations of researchers. Since before WWII, they’ve diligently analyzed blood samples, conducted brain scans (once they became available), and pored over self-reported surveys, as well as actual interactions with these men, to compile the findings.
The conclusion? According to Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one thing surpasses all the rest in terms of importance:
“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
Not how much is in your 401(k). Not how many conferences you spoke at–or keynoted. Not how many blog posts you wrote or how many followers you had or how many tech companies you worked for or how much power you wielded there or how much you vested at each.
No, the biggest predictor of your happiness and fulfillment overall in life is, basically, love.
Specifically, the study demonstrates that having someone to rely on helps your nervous system relax, helps your brain stay healthier for longer, and reduces both emotional as well as physical pain.
The data is also very clear that those who feel lonely are more likely to see their physical health decline earlier and die younger.
“It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship,” says Waldinger. “It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”
What that means is this: It doesn’t matter whether you have a huge group of friends and go out every weekend or if you’re in a “perfect” romantic relationship (as if those exist).
It’s the quality of the relationships –– how much vulnerability and depth exists within them; how safe you feel sharing with one another; the extent to which you can relax and be seen for who you truly are, and truly see another.
According to George Vaillant, the Harvard psychiatrist who directed the study from 1972 to 2004, there are two foundational elements to this: “One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”
Thus, if you’ve found love (in the form of a relationship, let’s say) but you undergo a trauma like losing a job, losing a parent, or losing a child, and you don’t deal with that trauma, you could end up “coping” in a way that pushes love away.
This is a very good reminder to prioritize not only connection but your own capacity to process emotions and stress. If you’re struggling, get a good therapist. Join a support group. Invest in a workshop. Get a grief counselor. Take personal growth seriously so you are available for connection.
Because the data is clear that, in the end, you could have all the money you’ve ever wanted, a successful career, and be in good physical health, but without loving relationships, you won’t be happy.
The next time you’re scrolling through Facebook instead of being present at the table with your significant other, or you’re considering staying late at the office instead of getting together with your close friend, or you catch yourself working on a Saturday instead of going to the farmer’s market with your sister, consider making a different choice.
“Relationships are messy and they’re complicated,” acknowledges Waldinger. But he’s adamant in his research-backed assessment: