Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What to do When Motivation Disappears

Ever had a day when you just didn’t feel like doing anything? I’m had one of those last week. January is hectic. I have been swamped with people interested in getting their lives on track. I got a lot done in the last couple of weeks. The rush is over. My energy is sagging. I’m feeling a bit let down. What do you do when you don’t have anyone to keep you going?

First I said “I just don’t feel like it. I don’t want to write. What’s the point? Everything I’m thinking is so uninspiring. I wouldn’t even want to read it.”  Then rather than giving up I decided to blog about what I was going through.

It can be a blog, or a journal. You can sit and think about what’s going on for a while. Give your mood some apace so that you can understand it better. Taking action starts revving you up. My energy picked up as I wrote this.

This process may help someone get over the occasional bout of the blues. Really. I wasn’t feeling positive or hopeful  that day. Don’t deny your feelings and push on. Don’t collapse. Get curious about your experience and explore what’s going on. Exploration carries the seeds of the cure. I felt better just expressing this. It gave me an opportunity to look at myself more objectively.

It won’t always be easy, or quick.  If you can get curious about the emotion you’re facing, you’ll start focusing on solutions instead of the problem. You probably won’t suddenly have an amazing day, but, at least you’ll be able to face what needs to get done.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Truths to Live By: Good Character

In Ifa we believe that good character is the key to positive results. This week we’ll explore what good character is about.

The first element of good character is common to Ifa, and our culture. It involves being honest and ethical. This comes down to being a good person and to treating others, and yourself, with respect.

The second is about understanding what it means to be alive. See yourself and the role you play in a bigger, and bigger, context. Understand that every action you take, plan you make, and even thought you think, has an impact on the whole. This isn’t about sacrifice for the greater good. It is about realizing that creating win-win situations is the only correct approach.

The third element is caring for your world. Start with yourself.  Include your loved ones. Support the communities that you’re part of. Contribute to the world. Play your part in the Universe.

The fourth element of good character is long-term orientation. See the big picture in terms of time. This can be as simple as not sweating the small stuff. It can be as complicated as looking at your actions.  What  impact are you having on the  world? Let go of just wanting to feel good all the time.

Living in good character isn’t easy in our “get it now at any cost” culture. The Yoruba said that it is easier to change a man’s destiny than his character. The strength of our character determines how good our life will be. In the long-term, people of good character live healthy, happy, fulfilled lives. Those with questionable character eventually suffer. Bad character always finds its way home to roost.

Strengthening our character is part of life’s journey. What was once a flawless demonstration of character becomes a daily habit. The Universe gives us opportunities to better ourselves as we move through life. This is particularly true for those of us on a spiritual path. The work of building our character brings us growth, joy and fulfillment.

Do you believe that good character determines our results? I’d love to hear why, or why not.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Keeping Your Resolutions

We’re heading quickly towards the middle of January. How are your 2013 resolutions working out for you? If you’re like many people your resolve is fading.

New beginnings can be inspiring. It is natural to look to the year ahead and think of  things  we’d like to improve. All of them are good ideas. The issue is trying to tackle too much at once.

I’m certainly familiar with giving up on an impossible goal. The resolutions themselves are fine. Shifting your approach can make all the difference. Take a good look at what you took on for the year.

Remember that every journey is a series of small steps. The bigger the change, the longer the journey. The longer the journey, the more you need to preserve your attention for ongoing work. You’ll only accomplish real change with sustained interest.

Look at the work you’ll need to do all year. On December 31st you want to be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

You have twelve months. Is that realistic? If it is then break the goal down into its monthly parts. Your goal will start to feel doable as soon as you take the pressure off this way.

Once that’s done break each month down into a goal for each week. Do this at the start of the month. Adjust based on how much you accomplished in the previous month.

You can take it a step further and identify what you need to do each day. For most people this won’t be necessary. If you like a lot of structure, daily goals will help keep you going.

At the end of each week, and month, take a look back and see how far you’ve come. Then take a look at any slack you may need to pick up. You may discover that your goal isn’t as realistic as you thought. Don’t give up, adjust it and carry on.

I started to work on my yearly goals in early December.  It’s been working pretty well for me this year. Having to stay focused over the holidays was good for me. Now, I’m even more excited about the changes I’m making.

Have you been making resolutions, and keeping them? I’d love to hear why, or why not.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Truths to Live By: Our Symbioitc Relationship

Happy New Year everybody! All the best for 2013.

In Ifa we see ourselves as part of the greater whole of our lives, and of the Universe. We are a piece of all that is. We depend on it, and it depends on us. This week we’ll explore the implications of that perspective.

From our personal perspective we are dependent upon the rest of creation for our existence. Have you ever stopped to think about it? Having what we need for human life is nothing short of a miracle.

We have the right temperature to live in and grow food.  We have water to sustain us. We have an atmosphere that we can breathe. If even one of these things was out of whack we would not survive.

The gift comes with responsibility. We need to preserve the world that we are part of.  We are completely dependent on it. It has been here since long before our species was born. It is easy to take for granted.

Symbiosis is simple. Two organisms naturally work together in a non-competitive way, to support one another. Our free-will, makes it more complicated. We have to choose to work with the Universe and to act on its behalf. If we don’t then we risk destroying ourselves.

The bigger picture is also dependent on us. The Universe needs us, and our unique insights and contributions, in order to stay in balance. The Universe evolves through consciousness. We must understand our role as conscious beings, and step up to it.

We may be the first, and only time, that the Universe has become aware of itself through the consciousness of its own creations. It needs us to move that process forward by fulfilling the destinies, consciously evolving, then sharing our learning with our entire ancestral line iso that the process can continue.

As inspiring spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen puts it “Throughout history when we were in need we would pray to God for help. Now at the beginning of the twenty first century God needs our  help.” Do you feel like you’re in a symbiotic relationship with the Universe? I’d love to hear why, or why not.

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