Radical Inner Peace

During the past few months, I have been surrounded by death: a relative, a friend and two acquaintances. While feeling sad for those who have died and those who are left to grieve, I also had a realization: The dying process is a time to let go, whether we want to or not. With commitment, courage and acceptance, we are able to face death, let go and allow grace to carry us forward. If we resist the inevitable, we can get stuck in negative emotions, conflict and inner turmoil.

The deaths mentioned above occurred while I was working on letting go of the righteous judgments and negative emotions that disrupt my inner peace. These deaths had something to teach me about letting go: If I could pretend I was facing my own death, I might be able to let go more easily. Instead of getting stuck in emotional turmoil about something or someone that wasn’t functioning according to my “plan,” I practiced letting go.

I find that the letting go process is deepening my spirituality: It changes my perception of what really matters; eliminates the need to be right; and opens my heart to more love and gratitude. With more acceptance, I am able to let go of negative feelings, rigid beliefs, past grievances as well as trying to control the present moment and future outcomes. My willingness to see through the eyes of the objective observer allows grace to change my perception and neutralize my emotions.

This mindful approach enabled me to judge less and accept more. For example:

  • When the news made me grumble and complain, I asked myself if this would matter if I were dying.
  • When someone’s actions disappointed me, I asked myself if this would matter if I were dying.
  • When I felt attached to having it my way, I asked myself if this would matter if I were dying.

You get the picture. I was surprised to find that I began letting go of my judgments and negative emotions with surprising ease. So, I thought this technique might help others move away from their emotional attachment and inner turmoil about people, things and events. (This does not apply in a life crisis or abusive situation.) The more I practice this technique, I notice that the perceived big “stuff” in my life is becoming smaller or no “stuff” at all. Of course, this is a work in progress.

When you make a commitment to have inner peace and are willing to do all that you can to achieve it, you are ready to practice the following:

  • Notice when you are being pulled into a situation that causes you inner turmoil.
  • Ask yourself if you are willing to let go of this judgment and turmoil in the moment: If you do not have the power to change anything, choose peace instead (the serenity prayer). Or, ask yourself: “Would this matter to me if I were facing death.”
  • Create a mantra that will help you change your thinking: “Right now my inner peace is more important to me than this turmoil, and I am willing to let it go.” Notice how you feel. You might feel relieved and calm.
  • Imagine your negative emotions and rigid thinking being lifted from your shoulders by a Power greater than yourself. (Once you release what felt like a part of your identity, you might even feel grief. Turn that over too.)
  • Celebrate the small successes. They will inspire you to practice letting go and inviting more inner peace into your being.

Working with this letting go technique, I noticed that I had more energy to be productive and my body felt more relaxed. I went from thinking that I know what is best to letting it be what it is. Instead of being “right” or doing the “right” thing, I accept what is and go with the flow more often. I am making choices that support my desire for inner peace. I invite you to do the same.

When we have the courage to emotionally let go of the mindsets that we have identified with and the outcomes we would like to control, our perceptions and emotions shift. Facing our “own death” gives us an opportunity to look at life differently. With an open mind and heart, we are on our way to achieving radical inner peace. As we let go, grace enters and enables us to trust that all is evolving toward some greater good.

To live well longer, make inner peace a top priority in your life and be willing to “let go” more.

Click the words “Leave a Comment” at the top of the page under the title.

If this information has been helpful to you, please share it with your friends.

Three Life Strategies to Prevent Dementia

Improving brain health is becoming as important as preventing heart disease. Actuality your vascular health affects your brain health. However, there is much you can do to keep your brain fully functioning. Recently, I went to a class on improving brain health, and I learned that three things will safeguard your brain against declining with age: novelty, challenge and learning. When you create a lifestyle that includes all three, your brain will step up its efforts to grow, not deteriorate.

Dementia affects memory, thinking and behavior. It is a chronic progressive disease with a high prevalence in the elderly. Today, an estimated 5.5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease, one form of dementia (www.alz.org/facts). An estimated 5.3 million are age 65 and older (one in 10). In 2015, an estimated 47 million people worldwide were living with some form of dementia, according to the World Health Organization.

In order to take charge of your brain health, be sure you include novelty, challenge and learning in your activities. It is not enough to do crossword puzzles or play cards to exercise your brain. Mix it up with other activities, such as, visiting a new place, meeting new people, learning a new hobby, taking a course, driving to a place a different way, and so much more. Challenge your brain to create new neural pathways. Diversity is king!

My recent trip to Prague, Vienna and Budapest in Europe met the criteria for all three of these elements. I had a fabulous time and exercised my brain too!

Novelty: My husband and I visited these cities on our own without a tour guide. I did some research before we left about things to do, but through trial and error, a map of each city, and booked reservations through a concierge, we visited historical sites, found restaurants, ate delicious new foods, and went to concerts and museums. A few blocks from our hotel, my husband spotted a sign for a raw food vegetarian restaurant. It was hidden in a courtyard, and the food was delightful.

Challenge: The entire trip was a challenge for two “elderly” people traveling on their own. Some of the highlights: We missed our connecting flight to Prague from Amsterdam and had a 10 hour layover. With only a few hours of sleep, we solved the problem by getting a hotel room at the airport and sleeping for five hours. We arrived in Prague feeling refreshed instead of drained. We took trains between cities with our luggage. We rode trolleys, buses and subways—I hope my brain was happy with all of the challenge that provided. (I am very thankful that most people speak English in the cities.

Learning: We had to learn three different currencies; each country had its own money. We taught ourselves to follow city maps; learned new words; and learned about the history of the people and their culture. On a subtle note, I even learned that music is the great unifier. I felt at home listening to great music with people from other countries on foreign soil. At a small (100 people) Gershwin and Broadway show tunes concert, I felt as though I could be in the US.

Whether you are taking a trip or staying close to home this summer, do things that will bring you joy as well as improve your brain health. The key is to 1) do something that is new and different – novelty; 2) requires you to think and act outside of your comfort zone – challenge; and 3) process information that teaches you something new – learning. One activity, like playing bridge or visiting a new place, can incorporate all three elements.

Research continues to support that your lifestyle not only improves your health, but also may prevent your brain from developing some form of dementia. The good news: You are already doing all of the three things mentioned above. Now that you understand how they benefit your brain, do more of them. Your quality of life as you age is connected to the choices you are making today. Awareness and mindfulness pay off!

To live well longer, be mindful of how you are using your brain and continually stretch it by becoming a life-long adventurer and learner.

Click the words “Leave a Comment” at the top of the page under the title.

If this information has been helpful to you, please share it with your friends.

Live with Purpose and Passion

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso

A few days after working with an energy worker, I had a revelation: I understood that as a young child, I was captivated by people. I observed and empathized with them. It was natural for me to help them in whatever way I could. I can remember giving my little four year old hand to an older blind girl to help her down the steps. I even closed my eyes and walked around to feel what it was like to be blind.

I believe that at the cellular memory level of the body we not only hold repressed emotions and trauma, we also hold the innate gifts, talents and desires of the authentic inner child—knows who we are and why we are here. Before this core essence got diminished through parenting practices and cultural norms, we were in touch with what preferences and activities made us feel ALIVE—our life purpose. Some of us got disconnected from the joy of our purpose but lived it anyway, and others had to squelch it in order to survive.

During my revelation, I realized that my inner child loves reaching out to others to understand and inspire them—to make a difference in their lives. It was quite a shock to realize that in my profession as a helper and writer, I give this curious, open hearted little girl the opportunity to do her thing. Now, I must recognize and reconnect with the joy of living it. On paper what I experienced sounds like nothing; at the time I had this epiphany it was earth shattering.

If you are fulfilling your purpose but are not feeling the joy in it or if you are not sure what your purpose is, many resources are available to help you to live your core truth—Internet, books, workshops, coaching, etc.. At any age, you can design a lifestyle that is filled with purpose and passion.

Life Purpose – What is it?

  • Your life purpose is a statement of truth about who you are and why you are here. It aligns you with your authentic self.
  • Your purpose fills you with passion when you do it.
  • Your purpose is your beingness: You lived it in the past, live it in the present, and will live it in the future.
  • Your mission is your doingness. Your mission represents the way in which you express your purpose.
  • Your purpose does not change; it is your essence. Your mission changes over time; it is based on the phases of your life and your resources.

Questions that lead to discovering your purpose:

  • What am I doing when I feel the most alive?
  • What gives meaning to my life?
  • What have others said they value about me?
  • What are my natural gifts and talents?
  • When do I feel the best about myself?
  • What would I make better in the world if I could?

Once you think you have identified your life purpose, look back to your childhood to see how you were expressing it then. You may recognize that you have been living your purpose since you were a young child. However, once you consciously connect with your purpose and take action to honor it, you will feel passionate about life at any age, and your relevance will never diminish.

Your Life Purpose serves you in many ways. It gives meaning to your work and your life. It guides your choices and shapes the direction of your life. With your purpose firmly in mind, you can make moment-to-moment choices with real integrity. When you are “on purpose,” you feel fulfilled and make a difference to yourself and/or others.

To live well longer, live a purpose-filled life. The joy and wonder of your inner child will be your companion on this grand adventure.

Click the words “Leave a Comment” at the top of the page under the title.

If this information has been helpful to you, please share it with your friends.

Inner Stillness in the Fast Lane

Whether we are raising children, working in a job, running a business, or retired, we cannot escape the fast pace, stress induced life that surrounds us. Life has lost its simplicity: I need three to five gadgets to work my TV; it takes six steps to download an ebook from the library; and I still do not know how to use my new cell phone. When we add busy schedules, medical appointments, whole food preparation, commuter traffic, and multi-tasking, we are off to the races. This kind of stressful lifestyle plays havoc on our health, sleep, well-being, relationships and soul. If we do not make inner stillness a priority in our lives, we pay a high price. Read more »

Super Spices and Herbs Promote Radiant Health

Super herbs and spices as well as superfoods go hand in hand to promote optimal health. Do not wait until you are diagnosed with a degenerative disease. Be proactive and prevent illness by eating foods that promote health and longevity. In general, the conventional medical establishment does not research the healing properties of food, spices and herbs because it promotes drugs. However, thousands of studies in journals on nutrition throughout the world confirm the profound effect food, herbs and spices have on our health. Read more »