OverComing Obstacles

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Let’s face it, obstacles are a part of life and none of us have the playbook on how to overcome them. As ideal as it may sound, dodging obstacles isn’t possible; although you can learn how to work with the energy that creates them and overcome the notion that you are somehow at their mercy. Let’s first identify what obstacles are, why it’s important to overcome them, and where they might trip you up.

Identifying Obstacles

An obstacle is anything that gets in your way of achieving your goals and living the life you truly desire. Obstacles present themselves the moment you set your sights on something you want.
Think about this: Have you ever been interested in someone romantically and then you just gave up without making your first move for fear of making a fool of yourself? What about the area of well-being? Do you ever find yourself wanting to make healthier food choices only to be derailed when the waiter brings the dessert menu featuring a warm chocolate lava cake? Or, maybe you hit the snooze button a few times too many and you keep missing your window of opportunity for exercising before work. These are just a few of the typical, day-to-day obstacles that can throw you off track and out of whack.
Why is overcoming obstacles important? Obstacles derail you. They keep you stuck in the past by preventing you from taking action. They root you in fear, convincing you that you aren’t good enough, you don’t know enough, you don’t have enough time or money, and you’re out of options. If you don’t learn how to overcome obstacles, you run the risk of being ruled by them.
In many cases, obstacles are physical or blatantly obvious, whereas some are non-physical and less discernable. In some ways they can show up as limiting beliefs you have about yourself or others, and on some days they appear as other people or circumstances preventing you from being, doing, or having the things you want. Obstacles show up in many forms and are experienced throughout the energetic (spiritual), mental, emotional, and physical bodies.

Energetic Obstacles

Energetic obstacles are things that give you the feeling of being depleted or exhausted all the time. They show up as day-to-day choices that you are making in your life that lead to an imbalance in energy output versus energy input.
Spending 75 percent of your time working and leaving very little energy to put toward healthy nutrition, exercise, or downtime will result in lethargy, complacency, or total burnout. Many of us tend to give more than we receive and at some point, the inequality will take its toll.
Try the following exercise to help you overcome energetic obstacles:
  • Spend some time looking at the areas in your life where there is a lack of harmony.
  • Make a list of the things you are doing that you are giving too much of your time and energy. Jot down an approximate percentage of time you spend for each.
  • Look at the areas of life or things you do that give you more energy and indicate an approximate percentage of time you spend doing these things.
  • At the end, see where you can minimize things that take away from your energy levels and increase things that give you more energy.

Mental Obstacles

Mental obstacles often revolve around a lack of goals, motivation, or focus. If you don’t have a goal, you don’t have any direction. It’s near impossible to get to where you’re going if you have no idea where it is you want to be.
Another mental obstacle is absence of motivation. Motivation requires a level of passion in order to sustain forward movement toward the goal. If there is no motivation, mental obstacles will show up in the form of resistance and excuses.
An inability to stay focused on the end result can be a huge obstacle. “Chasing squirrels” in your mind—another term for being easily distracted—is a common theme for many people as we live in a world where multi-tasking has become glorified. When you’re scattered and not able to maintain your focus, you start to spin out and are easily thrown into overwhelm.

Emotional Obstacles

Emotional obstacles show up most frequently in the form of daily stressors: irritation toward other people, limiting beliefs about your own self-worth, thoughts around your inability to accomplish certain things, and negative emotions based on past experiences.
Not taking enough down time to become present to—and experience—love, joy, gratitude, and happiness in your daily life may leave you ambiguously feeling as though life itself is the obstacle.
Mental and emotional obstacles are where we tend to point the finger outward, blaming other people or circumstances for the way things are rather than taking responsibility for our choices.

Physical Obstacles

Physical obstacles tend to show up as a lack of time or money, behavior patterns, and physiological responses. For example, if you are someone who struggles with managing your time effectively, you will have difficulty getting things done in an efficient manner—if at all. If you aren’t in a financial bracket that supports your needs and goals, this will show up as a very real challenge for you.
Sudden illness and injury experienced in the physical body are obstacles that can temporarily throw you off course. If you’re not quick to heal—mentally or physically—it may derail you for months or even years. In other cases, obstacles may show up as behavioral choices like sleeping in because you feel energetically, mentally, or emotionally exhausted.

Guided Meditation for Overcoming Obstacles

Depending on how you deal with the obstacles that present themselves will determine the frequency and intensity of which you experience them. Following is a guided meditation for helping you to overcome obstacles in any area of your life. As you move through each self-reflection question, allow yourself a minute or two for contemplation.
  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  • Begin to take slow deep breaths, in and out through your nose.
  • Allow your shoulders to relax and your torso to soften with every exhale.
  • Bring into your awareness an area of your life where an obstacle is present.
  • Think about when, where, and how this obstacle began.
  • Ask yourself who or what triggers the problem. What thoughts and emotions are prevalent when the obstacle is present?
  • Now bring your attention to the cost of this obstacle. How does it affect your ability to be, do and have the things you want in life? How does it affect those around you?
  • Next, see what can be available to you if you overcome this obstacle and are able to move powerfully forward in your life.
  • Consider anyone you know who has already overcome this kind of obstacle. Who was it? What approach did they take?
  • Now think about how you might do things differently than the way you have been up to this point, perhaps including some approaches others have taken.
  • Next, invite in an intention for a creative solution to come forth. Ask your Self or the Universe for guidance in how best to navigate and overcome this obstacle.
  • And now, imagine your life as if the obstacle was dissolved and you are now standing in the life you have created by design.
  • After you have a positive internal representation (an image, sound, or feeling) of being free from this obstacle, spend a few moments in quiet contemplation before slowly coming out of your meditation.
Upon coming out of your meditation, you may want to jot down any thoughts into a notebook or journal so that you have some tangible details to then turn into actionable steps. It’s important to take a compassionate approach to this process and really allow yourself to feel into your emotions, listening for your internal guidance to bring forth the insight you need.
Remember, obstacles are the opportunities that have been put on your path to challenge you to move beyond your perceived limitations. Identifying them is just the first step in creating lasting change in your life. The follow-through and taking action to overcome them is where the real gold is. 







Source: @DepokChopra 

How to Deal With Fear and Emotions

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Your entire experience and quality of life hinge on your ability to clear and control the mind.
Many of us believe that our happiness is dependent on outside factors and on what happens to us. This, however, is not true. Rather, our happiness depends on the way we react to what happens to us. And the same goes for every other aspect of our experience too: your stress levels are a result of the way you react to events, and your ability to be productive depends on your reactions too.
Don’t believe me? To prove it, let’s imagine that you’re in a caravan and it’s hanging over the edge of a cliff. If you move too much then it’s going to topple over the edge into a ravine.
If you are aware of this situation, then in all likelihood you will be riddled with fear. Your heart rate will increase, your blood vessels will dilate, your muscles will contract and you will start breathing quickly. You’ll sweat and your mind will be all over the place.
But now let’s imagine that you’re in the very same situation but you believe that you can fly. In that case, you’ll probably sit happily reading and not worry all too much about your precarious position!
As you can see here, your belief about the situation and about the events is what is in control of not just your mood – but your very physiology. And guess which person is more likely to survive this situation without letting the caravan fall?
Now don’t get this twisted: I am not here to tell you that holding completely deluded beliefs is the way forward! And nor should you convince yourself you can fly.
But this is merely a demonstration of the power of the mind and of your beliefs. Now if you imagine yourself in another more realistic setting you can see how your beliefs can change the way you react.
Let’s say you’re standing up on stage and you’re about to give a speech in front of lots of people.
Some of us don’t believe we can fly. Some of us think that we’re going to say the wrong thing, that we’re going to stutter and that people are going to laugh at us! We thus begin to panic and guess what? Our blood vessels dilate, our muscles contract and our heart rate go up. Our mind begins to race which makes us more likely to make mistakes and our throat becomes dry and hoarse. The irony is that the speech is much more likely to go wrong simply because we’re worried that it might!
And now imagine the same scenario but where you believe it’s going to go well, or where you just aren’t bothered about what other people might think. This kind of calm mindfulness is going to help you to act as though there isn’t even an audience there!
Again, it is your reaction to the event that is going to keep stress at bay.
And it’s not just these acutely stressful situations that can benefit from mindfulness and calmness either. Imagine for example that you come home from work and you can’t stop thinking about the last thing your boss/client/colleague said to you. Then you wonder if you sent that important last email...
How present are you going to be when you get home? How much are your family likely to enjoy spending time with you?
Imagine that you are on a great holiday but all you can think about is whether or not you left the oven on at home. How much do you think you’ll enjoy the incredible views of the mountains going past your window?
Imagine that you’re in the gym and your mind is thinking about the computer game you were playing last night, or X Factor. Do you really think that you’re going to be capable of exerting maximum force in that workout?

INTRODUCING CBT

Our aim is to help you to take back control over your mind and in doing this, you’re also going to be taking back control over your emotions and your feelings.
The end result is that you’re going to be able to become completely present in any given moment and completely ‘mindful’, thereby abandoning unhelpful concerns, stressors and emotions.
There’s a school of psychology that can help us to do this called CBT. CBT stands for ‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’ and it’s all about taking control of your thoughts. What’s more, is CBT actually starts out using a form of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation means that you are meditating in such a way as to become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings. In other forms of meditation – such as transcendental meditation – ask the user to try and completely clear their mind, often by focussing on a single point in space, or perhaps a sound or a word (this is called a ‘mantra’ and it is why we imagine Buddhist monks to hum as they meditate!). The difference with mindfulness is that you aren’t trying to eradicate your thoughts but rather you are trying to simply ‘watch them’ as they float past you. The idea is that you are becoming aware of the kinds of things you normally think but you aren’t engaging with them and you aren’t letting them affect you. The description is often that you should watch them pass by ‘like clouds in the sky’.
Do this for a while and then write down the content of some of those thoughts. Look at the things you stress about and worry about on a regular basis and reflect on them in an objective, disconnected manner – nonjudgmentally.

Cognitive Restructuring

The CBT professional would next instruct you to begin breaking down and analyzing those thoughts. Some of these will be things that you are going to worrying about and stressing about and which are going to stop you from enjoying yourself at the moment.
You’re going to practice dismissing them but to help, you’re also going to disassemble them using restructuring techniques.
One example of this is called ‘thought challenging’ which is going to teach you to challenge the validity of your worries or your distractions.
For example, let’s say that you’re worried you didn’t send an email at work. Thought challenging is going to help you overcome this. First, you ask yourself if there’s anything you can do about it. If not, then what is the good in worrying? In fact, it is more important that you relax and enjoy yourself so that you can be fresh and well to handle the challenges tomorrow.
Next, you ask how much it really matters. What is the worst case scenario? Everyone makes mistakes and in all likelihood, your boss isn’t going to be furious – they’ll be understanding.
Does some small part of you think that you’re going to get fired? Then just remind yourself that this is incredibly hard for any business to do legally and it would be worse for them than it would be for you.
And after all, if your workplace would fire you so readily, would you really want to be there anyway?
Are you worried that people will be mad at you? You made a mistake! So what? And since when do you need to be best friends with your work colleagues?
This is the logical and reasonable reaction to this concern and once you can learn to deconstruct your worries this way, it will allow you to simply forget them and go back to enjoying whatever you’re doing – or remaining calm when you’re under pressure.

HOW TO USE THE BODY SCAN MEDITATION

Generally meditating is one of the most important ways to promote mindfulness, calm and self-control.
In his book Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss looks at the habits and routines of the world’s most successful people. What he finds is that they have a lot of things in common and one of the most prevalent of these commonalities is that they all meditate! Everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger, to Tony Robbins, to Elon Musk describes meditation as being a key tool that helped them achieve everything they did.
When you meditate, you learn a method to forget your worries and to simply let your mind ‘be’. More importantly, though, you develop greater concentration and greater focus which prevents your mind from getting into an anxious mess to begin with!
So how do you begin meditation?
One useful strategy is to start with the body scan technique. To get started, sit somewhere comfortable with your legs crossed and your hands on your knees. Keep your back straight, your chin up and forward and your eyes closed – but make sure you aren’t in a position where you can fall asleep!
Now you’re going to simply ‘scan’ your body by focussing on each part one at a time and then making a note of how it feels and relaxing it. Before that though, you begin with your senses. Listen carefully to the world around you. You’ll find that there are sounds that you have completely blocked out until now and you’ll notice birds tweeting, cars honking, children playing and wind howling.
Feel the temperature of your skin, notice if you’re on a slight gradient and even look at the light as it dances through your eyelids.
Okay, now focus on the top of your head and start to take your attention down to your cheeks, jaw and then neck and shoulders. Stop at each point and make a note of how it feels: are you carrying any tension? Are you feeling any pain? Release tension in the muscle and then keep moving.
Eventually, you’ll reach the very bottom of your body. At which point you can begin to concentrate on your breathing for a while. Breathing should be ‘belly breathing’, which begins with the gut expanding and then fills the lungs all the way up. Breathing steadily and rhythmically will slow the heart rate via the parasympathetic nervous system and put you in an even calmer state. Finally, bring your attention to just below the navel and hold it there. This is your center of gravity and concentrating here will ground you.
Throughout this process, you might notice your thoughts start to drift from time to time. If this happens, don’t let it concern you. It is normal and not the end of the world – just quietly dismiss those thoughts and then return to the focus.
Finally, repeat the steps in reverse order and bring yourself back around. That was a body scan meditation!
This is a powerful tool because it is forcing your to direct your attention and to ignore the outside thoughts. More importantly, it is engaging you with your own body, physicality and surroundings. And when you do this, your sensations become richer and more vivid.
Eventually, if you keep practicing this skill, you should get to the point where you can begin to become more mindful and more present at will – even while moving and engaging in other tasks. That means just taking a moment to actually look at the world around you. Pausing to see what you can hear. And fixing your posture. It means not getting so caught up in your own thoughts that you let life pass you by, or that you live in a constant state of stress and anxiety.
Once you can do this, then you will find that nothing can stir you in quite the same way unless you want it to. You can always just enjoy being in the moment and forget the past and the future for a time. You can enjoy living and taste the amazing taste of that chocolate biscuit while that email sits there in your outbox completely unsent.
This is the key to happiness: you can choose to react positively instead of negatively. You can choose to view things as a challenge or an amusing hiccup instead of a serious threat. But it is also the key to unlocking your full potential so you perform better and achieve more!

Do You Want To Be A Winner

Let’s take a moment and examine the nature of using powerful thought to WIN.
Do you know anyone who always wins? Sure you know that person, everything just works out for them. They go into business and they are an instant success. They enter the dating scene and their phone rings off the hook. If they were in the Olympics, you just know they wouldn’t settle for anything less than the gold. It seems as though they always win.
Why is it that some people just have IT and others seem not to? Want to learn the secret to their success? Ready? Here it comes….the secret to unstoppable success…drum roll please….
Winners EXPECT to win!
That’s the big secret. Simple, huh?
But, think about it for a moment…Winners actually SEE their success BEFORE it happens! Do YOU expect to win?
BEFORE you have even entered a situation…or do you assess your chances AFTER you are already in the situation? Or, even worse, do you imagine failure?
BEFORE selling a piece of real estate, winners EXPECT to get their asking price. BEFORE buying a car, winners EXPECT to get a discount. Before running an Olympic race, winners EXPECT TO WIN the gold, so they do win! This one small thing gives winners a tremendous advantage over others.
Want to be a winner?
Try this exercise…
Close your eyes for a full minute and THINK about achieving a goal in your life…go ahead, close your eyes for one minute and really THINK about achieving it.
OK, now close your eyes again for one full minute and EXPECT to get it.
Did you notice a difference? When we simply THINK about getting something, our thoughts tend to be vague. There are also two options…getting it or not getting it (winning or losing). But, when we EXPECT to get it, there is only one possibility…getting it (winning).
So now that you know the secret, the next step is applying your powerful knowledge and getting yourself to that point where YOU ALWAYS EXPECT TO WIN. I suggest that you take a full minute pause right before entering any challenging situation. During that minute, close your eyes, and imagine winning.
See it, feel it, hear it, imagine yourself already having won. Guess what…you will have programmed your mind to pull you powerfully in the winning direction. When you do enter that situation, your words and actions will be generated from a winning mindset. Your path will be straight to victory…you will already know the way and EXPECT to get there…so you WILL get there.
Keep moving forward!
Sincerely,
Dr. Steve

What is a True Friend





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Tyler Perry is a famous actor and comedian based in Atlanta, Georgia.  Growing up, he was raised predominately by southern African-American women, and that’s who many of his characters are based upon.  His most famous character, Madea, who is played by himself dressed in women’s clothing, is a combination of everyone’s mother and grandmother.  Madea says that friends and relationships are like trees.  Some friends, Madea says, are like leaves.  They drink our water and hang out on our branches, but they’re gone with the wind.  We have thousands of those types of leaves.  Some friends are like branches, they’re there for the majority of the time but when things get rough and the storms come, they’re breaking off.  We have a couple dozen of those. But our true friends, our brothers and sisters, are our roots.  They come few and far between, and they’ll never leave us no matter what happens until our dying day.

The end of a relationship or marriage can feel like death

The end of a relationship or marriage can feel like death. Grief is an appropriate response. This means anger, sadness, denial might all arise.
It’s visceral. Breathing is hard. You can’t sleep. For the person being left it can feel like the end of the world. You wonder if you’ll even survive. To say you’re hurt and confused or angry is too little. It feels much bigger; like everything has been turned upside down and shaken, like the ground has disappeared under your feet.
Along with negotiating urgent practical matters like finances, housing and parenting, you might also come face to face with abandonment, rejection and self-esteem issues, some of which may have been dormant and are arising for the first time.
This is a very, very tender spot to find yourself. It’s immensely uncomfortable. In my work as a counsellor I notice patterns and common tendencies in my clients. I’ve also identified opportunities and choice-points for moving forward in a healthy way. Here are five principles that can help –
1. Feel what you feel
Feelings aren’t negotiable. They can’t be wrong. They simply are. It’s important to feel what you feel. When we deny uncomfortable emotions they come back to haunt us, or they drive our behaviour from underneath consciousness, without our active consent. Rule of thumb – there’s no need to either encourage or deny feelings. Notice them, name them (“I feel sad”) and watch them change over time. Note – Anger is a feeling. Fear is a feeling. Sadness is a feeling. “S/He’s a control freak” isn’t a feeling. (More on that in a future article.)
2. Take thoughtful action
We don’t necessarily choose our feelings, although we choose how we act on them. As much as noticing our feelings is important, it would be a mistake to act on them without consulting our rational, thinking self. The trouble is, when strong feelings are present we don’t have much access to the part of our brain that makes well-considered choices. Take some time. Let feelings settle before you make important decisions around child custody, financial agreements or emails to the inlaws. Breathe.
3. Get support, but not from your (ex)partner
The person who is leaving the relationship is almost certainly not the person to help you cope with the pain you feel. You might feel extremely needy or drawn to this person right now. Do not give in to the urge to seek comfort there, especially if it is not offered. If you are holding out hope for reconciliation, say so, but then get support elsewhere. Seeing you pick yourself up, brush yourself off and take support from others is the most attractive thing about you right now in your (ex)partner’s eyes. Turn to friends, family and community for support. Tell them what helps, and what doesn’t. Find a counsellor or therapist that you trust.
4. Stay open, even when it hurts
When we feel hurt and angry we look for an explanation. We want to understand. We assume we shouldn’t feel this way, that it’s a big problem. And so we search for a reason. The reason we find is almost always some version of I’m bad or They’re bad or The world is bad. What these three positions all offer is a way out of the confusion. Assigning cause (blame) does relieve some tension. The problem is that each of these three beliefs locks us into an adversarial relationship – with self, with other, or with reality (the world). I’m not saying that your relationship ending wasn’t caused by you or them or the unfairness of the world. But getting too fixated on any of those causes makes you rigid and closed to possibilities that might be just around the corner.
5. Help others
This piece of advice was given to me by a friend over a decade ago when a relationship was ending and I was in deep pain. His simple and wise words led me to the act of writing this for you now. Helping others gets us out of our own head and puts us in direct contact with the universal experience of suffering. Everybody hurts. Help someone. Share their pain, and feel your own soften.
Also see 7 Stages of Greif