I recently made a commitment to a 21-day community phone-based meditation. I was a little concerned about making this commitment as the call was at 7am – a bit early for me. But I was excited about the meditation I’d experienced and was looking forward to joining the meditation community that was being created. So I jumped right in and began my 6:30am wake up time and 7am meditation. What I quickly remembered was that this was one of the things that I *hated* about working in the corporate world – alarm clocks! But I was committed and I was enjoying the meditation. At day 9 though – I hit a wall!! I woke up that morning tired, grouchy, resentful and pissed off at having made a commitment I wasn’t sure I could keep. I had no idea what to do about it but I had a plan formulating in my brain. The only problem was it felt like I was breaking my commitment. I felt icky. My brain started off saying what I couldn’t do and I focused on the “No’s”. The further I went down this path the more I felt like I was dropping out of my commitment. Finally I was asked one simple question: “What can you say ‘Yes!’ to?” I felt like a light bulb had gone off in my head. It was such a simple shift! So much of my life and work is about asking that simple question – “What can I say ‘Yes’ to?” It changed the whole feeling around this meditation. I wasn’t breaking my commitment I was just saying the parts that worked for me. When it came right down to there was only one part that I couldn’t say ‘Yes!’ to – the 7am phone call. But I had an alternative and I was ready and willing to use it! Everyone involved was excited to hear my plan and fully supportive too! The next day I woke up feeling refreshed and excited about my alternative plan and I used it for the best meditation yet! Saying ‘Yes!’ instead of ‘No!’ had shifted my entire energy around the project and I was ready to continue. When struggling with details and solutions I find it usually most helpful to focus on what I want or need and what I’m willing to do. This time around I just needed a little outside perspective to shake things up a bit and make sure that was my view. So how do you say ‘Yes’ instead of ‘No’? The simplest way to start is quite simply to listen to you body – is it energized or depleted? Now take that observation and switch it around if necessary – ask what would energize you. You might even seek some outside support or perspective to help you see the big picture. From there it’s as simple as finding out which parts make you shout ‘YES!!’ Then…well…say ’Yes!’ and proceed with the plan.
Oh the itchiness, the flakiness, the tightness! Dry skin is no picnic. Dry skin doesn’t just come with the dry air of a cold winter, but any time of year. There are many contributing factors to dry skin. The main factor for this is that people are just too dehydrated. Water is essential for the body and for the skin. Flaky dry skin is a signal that your body is getting dehydrated and it’s time to fill up again. 8-10 glasses of water a day is needed for optimum healthy skin. Another factor that contributes to a dry complexion is the use of harsh chemicals on your skin. Harsh cleansers strip the skin of all necessary oils and dries out the skin, leaving a tight uncomfortable skin that you just want to crawl out of. Using milder cleansers will clean your skin and still allow your natural oils to moisturize and soothe it. Moisturizers are essential, especially in winters, for keeping moisture within your skin. Moisturizers, cool, hot, tight skin, and provides a barrier against heat and water loss, as well as dirt, and makes your skin feel smoother…. although it’s temporary, until you re-apply the moisturizer again. Hot water irritates dry skin and provokes it into drying out more. Long, hot baths are a no-no, no matter how cold the winter is. Take shorter, lukewarm baths or showers, and try taking them every other day to maintain the moisture on your skin. Taking a hot shower everyday prevents natural oils from being present and helps skin look great. Once out of the shower, don’t rub skin dry, but rather pat it gently, even leaving skin slightly damp, and moisturize right away to look in the moisture. Moisturizing is so important for great skin, as it replaces lost moisture and the cream contains water-binding ingredients that help skin keep its moisture. Alcohol and caffeine has a drying effect on skin. Certain drugs, prescription or recreational, also contribute to the drying of the skin. Overexposure to the sun also increases the dryness of skin. Wearing sunscreen and limiting exposure to the sun is essential to keeping good skin, or any skin at all as skin cancer is a very real possibility for sun lovers. Using a humidifier will help skin, as well as patting skin dry when exiting the shower. Choosing natural fabrics that skin likes is also a helpful method. For dry skin that is not being cared for, it can lead to more complications than just dry skin. Eczema, folliculitis, and cellulites are complications caused when the skin’s natural defense mechanism is faulty. Eczema is a persistent condition that causes redness, cracking and inflammation of the skin. Folliculitis is the soreness of the hair follicles. Cellulites is a serious bacterial infection of the skin’s underlying tissues. On the aesthetics side, dry skin ages people a lot faster than other skin types. The flakiness and tightness is uncomfortable, and it disrupts with the application of make-up on women. The itchiness causes people to scratch, and can lead to redness, patchiness and scratches on the face. The easiest and quickest way to gain back beautiful skin is by drinking lots and lots of water, to replace all of the moisture that’s been lost. It is a simple but a method that will never fail.
When we’re depressed, usually we feel we aren’t accomplishing much. We may be making an effort, but we have a tendency to give up easily. Unfortunately, after a time we start to doubt we can count on ourselves to do what we say, or we may become reluctant to agree to meet with anyone or promise to do anything because we don’t know how we’ll feel when the time comes. This usually spirals downward because the more often we break a promise or avoid one, the more that seems to prove to us that we aren’t reliable. So how can we change this? How can we become reliable again, not just to others, but more importantly, prove to ourselves we will do what we intend? Because if we can’t count on ourselves even to go to an appointment, how can we believe we can accomplish our dreams? We can’t. And that would depress anyone. But if instead you practice making promises to yourself and keeping them, you can gradually rebuild confidence in yourself. For a moment, think of yourself as a juggler, and the things you want to do in a day as the balls you balance. You may not be a very good juggler at the moment, but with practice, you can get better. So let’s say at present you are a two ball juggler. This means in the night or week before you can say, “what two things am I going to do on that day?” and be 90% sure you will get them done. And this would be great because you would know you can count on yourself to do two specific things. You can get anywhere with that. Knowing you can count on yourself is actually more valuable than the things you do or how many of them you can get done. It is the reliability that helps you restore your confidence and dependability and let’s you move forward in the direction you wish to go. Even if you can only do a couple of things a day, but you can count on yourself to do them, you can accomplish much! So wherever you are at the moment, start seeing if you can make a commitment to what you will do tomorrow, and the next day, and each day this week. Begin small, maybe planning one or two things a day, and accomplish those things for certain. Your goal is to do 90% or better of what you set out to do. Anything else you get done, is extra. That’s wonderful. But don’t neglect those two things. You want to know if you say you’ll call two people, for instance, that you’ll do that. You’ll get it done. Once you have established that you can count on yourself to do two planned things a day, you can try for three a day. But the main thing is if you can count on yourself to do what you set out to do, you can make progress at anything in life. You can prioritize what is important to you, and say no before you take on too much.
Who said learning the French language has to be boring? If you have not noticed yet, there had been so many movies and animated films which were made under the influence of French culture. These films have remained to be our favorites. Kids who grew up watching it over and again never forget what the story is all about and most importantly, the fun characters that made the story very believable. Just to name one, the Disney Feature Animation have made several cartoon animations that show the French culture and speaks the French language. For instance, an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast was such a great hit back in 1991 and even up to now, we still remember Lumiere, the talented candlestick singing and dancing to the song “Be our guest” with French words such as cherie, Soup du jour, Hot hors d’oeuvres and many others. To simply put it, you can learn French in any way possible. There is really no such thing as learning it with difficulty or boredom. Probably, you will experience few disappointments at first but as long as you stick to how you should be having fun while learning the language, you will soon realize that it’s not all about how you accomplish the tasks; and when you start to enjoy, its hardly considered a task any longer. And do not laugh at this idea. You may think that it’s a very childish approach to how you should learn the French language which is actually a very special language. Think of how children are able to learn a second language. Though, children do have their very own skills in adopting a second language, learning the way they learn is a good approach. It’s easy to remember French words the way they are presented in a children’s book or cartoon because the words are always presented with a story or pictures. And because this is the type of approach that children are used to, they learn how to remember French words; when and where it should be used by retaining the pictures or scenes that are associated with the words. Try this and see how well you are going to enjoy learning this way.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines intuition as “the immediate apprehension of an object by the mind without the intervention of any reasoning process”. Isaac Asimov said of it, “Intuition is the art, peculiar to the human mind, of working out the correct answer from data that is, in itself, incomplete or even, perhaps, misleading.” How is your relationship with this aspect of yourself? Can you find your own way through a situation with incomplete data? Are you able to balance the left and right sides of your nature–instinct and logic–in order to create maximum persuasion? We all have the experience of gut feelings, most likely in the form of danger. . . Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is an unpleasant reminder of our intuitive natures. Or maybe you’ve experienced it in a romantic situation. We’ve all heard stories of a man or woman meeting their mate for the first time and thinking to themselves, ‘This is the person I’m going to marry. I can feel it.’ Intuition is a muscle that can be strengthened. It is an aspect of emotional intelligence and with study, attention and patience, can be grown and used to further aid your persuasion skills. Hunches, gut feelings and intuitions are entirely acceptable to apply in business matters as well as life in general. Following these are signs that our other than conscious Gentle Giant is flawlessly guiding our lives as we’ve requested. When I experience a moment of intuitive clarity, I feel it in the back of my stomach, radiating sharply. Other people experience it as a jump in their chest. Others still, feel a hardness in the backs of their throats. By paying attention to these physical shifts, the world of self-calibration opens up to us. These shifts can sometimes me huge differences in the things we do and measures we take to close a deal or get out of a dangerous or difficult situation. As a small disclaimer: Following hunches shouldn’t negate logic and reason, but act in concert with them. The ability to pay attention to hunches and intuition is sometimes relegated to new age followers and is often neglected or mocked in business situations. Think about military personnel or police officers (especially ones in the line of danger) who rely on these abilities to keep themselves safe. Or think about business mogul Lee Iacoca who once said, “The only mistake I ever made was not listening to my gut.” Think back to times when you had these feelings and didn’t heed the warning. What unpleasantness could you have avoided if you had (a broken heart, a stolen purse. . .)? By checking in, centering, and gaining clarity, our persuasion is enhanced immeasurably in all aspects of life. A really great resource on intuition is Laura Day’s book, ‘Practical Intuition,’ which contains some amazing exercises to strengthen and stretch the “sixth sense” or really, what I like to think of as our relationship to and messages from our gentle giant.