Do you find that we’re living in interesting, some may even call it, crazy times? Adolescent-like politicians, rigged sports-events, cheating auto-makers and an unprecedented inequality of wealth distribution are just a few examples that can make us wonder, whether the world is going topsy-turvy.
Almost 20 years ago, one of my great teachers, Yogi Bhajan, predicted that we will go through a time, where human mankind seems to be divided between those who are striving for power, profit and control – and those who are living from a place of compassion, equality and care.
He reminded us that although it may be tempting to react, resist and forcefully reject those we don’t agree with, the most important thing we have to do right now is to stay calm, centered and peaceful within ourselves.
I know, this may sound easier said than done, which is why I invite you to listen to this episode of Empowerment Radio with the amazing Debbie D’Aquino, best-selling author of “Calm is the New Happy, How to get there in 5 minutes.” Join Debbie and me to learn more about how you can have peace and calmness on a daily basis.
Listen to this episode on Empowerment Radio
No one likes to be called a victim or seen this way, but let’s be honest, how many times during the course of a week do you feel like a victim? As our lives are overtaken by busyness and obligations, and our to-do lists get longer and longer, a sense of uneasiness creeps in.
Regardless of how hard we try, the mountain of unfinished tasks seems to grow only larger, increasingly overshadowing our lives. At some point everything becomes too much and too difficult to handle, and we don’t know where to begin or what to do. From there, we’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away from feeling we’re a victim of circumstances. We interpret small mishaps and incidences—spilling a glass of milk, misplacing a bill, being cut off in traffic—as personal attacks by life or the universe that push us over the edge into the abyss of despair and powerlessness.
The inner victim, which is a part of our subconscious mind, gets triggered, when we feel powerless and unable to change the situation we’re in. We may feel victimized by our jobs, the economy, the government, the dog next door, our parents or our kids. Even our own emotions or our body, if they don’t comply and change, can become perpetrators, who assault and imprison us. It could be argued that there is a difference between imagined and real victimization. Every day countless people become the victims of child-abuse, domestic violence, bullying, harassment at work etc. The millions of refugees, who desperately search for a safe place to exist, are victims of brutal regimes that have no regard for human life.
Considering the suffering of others, it may be tempting to ignore and dismiss the victim aspect of our psyche as weak and pathetic. But assuming that our mind has evolved to serve us, the victim part must also have some purpose. The fact is, that no matter how easy or difficult, how safe or traumatic our lives have been, the intention of the inner victim is to protect us. It avoids danger by making us appear powerless and small, similar to a puppy that is rolling on its back to show its belly in the hope this gesture of submission will stop the aggressor from harming it. The victim can turn us into pleasers and martyrs, securing safety and acceptance through overdoing and over-giving to others. And it can protect us by quickly judging others as perpetrators that need to be pushed away through defensiveness, blame and accusations.
The problem with these protective patterns is that they can ultimately lead to self-victimization. We continuously give our power away to the past and those, who did us wrong. We become rigid and righteous in how we treat others and ourselves. We stay stuck in the notion that life isn’t fair and that we are bound to get hurt and betrayed again. Eventually, we may lose trust and hope for the future. Yet, the good news is, that if we identify and address its core-needs, we can to transform, empower and integrate the inner victim.
Listen to my Empowerment Radio Show and learn more about how you can heal this integral and yet often rejected part of your subconscious mind. Call in at 888-418-6890 or use the chat box to ask any questions or share any insights you may have.
I don’t know, if it is because my star-sign is cancer or if it has to do with growing up with parents, who were filling their house to the brim with admittedly beautiful things, but letting go hasn’t been my fortitude. I stayed in jobs and relationships longer than I should have; I stuck with routines, although I didn’t really enjoy them any more; I even once thought we should buy the house we rented, although it was too small and had a lot of problems, just because somehow I had become used to it.
Over the years and with the help of Danielle, who prefers a more Zen-like simplicity in life, I began to appreciate that everything needs at some point to come to an end.
I have been with the Dr. Pat once per month for almost 10 years. It has been a wonderful journey. I so appreciate Dr. Pat and her team for all the great shows we did together. While being on her show has allowed me to share my work with countless people around the globe, Dr. Pat’s warmth and ability to make her co-hosts feel welcome and special, has always been an inspiration to me. So you can imagine that it was difficult for me to decide, that now is the time to let go.
Wednesday, January 20th will be the last show with Dr. Pat, which fittingly will be all about letting go and opening up to new opportunities and beginnings.
For me that new beginning is to start my own show –Empowerment Radio: Breakthrough Solutions for Confident Living. It will air every first and third Wednesday of the month from 11 to noon Pacific time. I am very excited about this new endeavor and will share more with you before the first show on February 3rd.
Today is the beginning of a brand-new year. How do you enter into 2016? With hope and good intentions? With dread and worry, feeling already weighed down by last year’s baggage? Or are you just indifferent, because you don’t expect much to change?
Although in reality not much changes on January 1st, the transition from one year to the next offers us an opportunity to reflect on the past and create goals for the next 12 months. This day also invites us to remember the impermanence of life and the preciousness of every moment.
Imagine you had $29200 to spend for the rest of your life, without the possibility to increase that amount? What would you do? You probably wouldn’t carelessly waste your money, but instead value each dollar and deliberately choose how to use it. You may also be more mindful on what you are able to purchase and savor those things with greater appreciation. An average life-span of 80 years consists of 29200 days, which to me doesn’t seem like a lot. But how mindful are you with spending this most precious commodity in life, called time?
Most of us prefer to ignore the fact that our lives have an expiration date. Rather than considering each day as a gift and a privilege, we go through the motions often driven by stress, anxiety and obligations. Overwhelm and over-stimulation makes us want to shut down and become numb. The fear of not being good enough or fitting in, makes us focus more on other people’s expectations than our own dreams and desires. As a result life becomes a matter of just getting through it, rather than taking ownership of it. Or as someone once said: “Everybody tries to kill time, but no one wants to die.”
So today, on you could ask yourself these simple questions:
- How can I bring more joy and purpose into my daily life?
- What am I putting on hold or not allowing myself to do, have or be?
- If my life would be over tomorrow, what would I regret the most?
- Which aspects of my life need more attention to make it more meaningful and fulfilling?
Be kind and compassionate with yourself; these questions aren’t meant to beat yourself up, but to inspire you to make 2016 the year where you started to reclaim your birthright to live and embrace YOUR life.
I have decided to make some significant changes in my life, which I will tell you more about in the near future.
My team and I wish you a blessed new year, with an abundance of health, joy, peace and love.
Is the holiday season also one of the most stressful times of the year for you? You spend an inordinate amount of time and money at the shopping malls hunting for gifts that at the end of nobody remembers. You to get the house ready and decorated before the extended family arrives. You live on cookies, coffee and hot cider. Sleep is an afterthought. You feel more and more stressed, irritated and overwhelmed. And secretly you cannot wait for “the most special time of the year” to be over.
This was pretty much how my mother used to prepare for Christmas until she was in her seventies. Only one year, she allowed her children to help her – and herself to not have everything perfect. That Christmas time seemed to have slowed down, probably because we were more in the present. Whether we cooked, ate, cleaned or just sat together, for some reason we all were conscious of the preciousness of each moment. We shared old stories, laughed about each other’s annoying and yet endearing quirks. And at times we just remained silent, listening to Christmas carols and the wood crackling in the fireplace. This was the first time since my childhood that I had felt the magic of the season again. And this was the last Christmas we all spent together, since my parents both died just a few months later.
You may have watched the Christmas commercial of a German supermarket chain. If not here it is – just make sure to have tissues ready. Although a bit controversial, the story tries to remind us, how quickly we can get our priorities wrong. We take busyness as a sign of worthiness. Perfection and consumption replace purpose and connection. The pressure of pleasing others lets us forget the pleasure of just playing together.
The question is: how can we stop this cycle? We can’t just cancel the Holidays or quit our life? Is stress during the Holidays truly unavoidable? Here are a few tips that can help you to make the holidays less stress- and more meaningful:
- Set your intentions: Take some time and think about your personal theme for this holiday season. This could be to appreciate the people that are in your life; to celebrate yourself with doing things you enjoy; or to practice acceptance of those, who used to push your buttons in the past.
- Go deeper: While the holidays are often about eating, drinking and being merry, try to choose a focus that will bring more meaning to you. You could pick a person, who you want to connect with on a deeper level; you could show interest in the lives of others and share more authentically about yourself. Or you may choose to explore your spiritual connection.
- Practice self-care: Just like with my mother, overdoing and over-giving may be a part of your holiday tradition. This year make sure to remember what is important to you to keep your balance and sanity. Nourish yourself with food that make you feel good; exercise or meditate to stay centered and flexible; take some time alone, when you feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle. And try to remind yourself, that you can’t make anyone happy on the back of your own depletion and unhappiness.
Listen to my empowerment radio show and learn effective tools, which allow you to stay relaxed, get more done and truly enjoy this special time of the year.
I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and health, peace and happiness for 2016.
The recent acts of terror in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and France have left many of us in shock and disbelief. We can’t fathom the ruthless violence against innocent people, who just returned from a vacation, went shopping in the market or enjoyed a Friday night out. Considering, that these are only a few of the most recent terrorist attacks, we may start to wonder if the world is no longer safe.
Some react with anger and call to force and retaliation. Others with grief and a sense of hopelessness. But the majority of people feel more anxious and afraid. Vacation plans get cancelled, since traveling abroad seems too risky. People of different faiths and cultures are eyed with great suspicion. And some even demand to shun the hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees that are fleeing from the terrorists themselves.
Of course it is understandable that fear and worry are running rampant these days. But let’s not forget that this is exactly the agenda of terrorism – to make us feel small, powerless and unsafe. To quote Salman Rushdie “To prove terrorists wrong, we must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons.”
Tragic events can make you worried, vigilant and guarded to keep yourself safe. The problem is that constant fear and anxiety drain your energy, cloud your judgments and diminish your confidence, which is the opposite of helping you to stay safe. Here are a few tips that can help you overcome your fears and anxieties and regain a greater sense of calmness and centeredness.
Stop the negativity spiral
Making assumptions is one of the major anxiety triggers. Any thoughts starting with “what if” should give you a clue that you’re about to venture off into a fictional reality. You can get lost thinking through the consequences of terrible disasters or painful losses without realizing that they’re all based on one, frequently unrealistic “what if” assumption. Although you may know that the likelihood of dying in a car crash, drowning in your bathtub or being struck by lightning are significantly higher than becoming the victim of terrorist attack, your mind makes generalizations, ignores certain facts, and over-interprets others, all to concoct stories that are detrimental to your inner peace and well-being. Instead of spiraling into an anxiety triggering negativity spiral, take a deep breath and ask yourself the following three questions: Is this thought true? Does this thought make me feel good? Does this thought help me reach my goals? Each question acts as a reality check and will help you appreciate that entertaining the thought is not only hurtful, but it’s also getting you nowhere.
Counter-balance negative thoughts
I am sure you agree, that your mind is in general active and likes “to move,” which is why stopping a negative thought isn’t enough. What works best is to re-direct the mind with at least three counter-balancing thoughts, that shed light on the opposite, positive points of view. For example, if your negative thought was Something bad will happen, counterbalances could be: Right now I am OK. There’ve been many times I was worried and everything turned out well. I have the strength and abilities to handle anything that comes my way.
Positive counterbalancing is training your mind to search for and find uplifting and empowering perspectives for any given situation. However, rather than starting your own inner debating club, engage your heart in the process. For this, consider the source of your anxiety as a vulnerable inner child that just tries to keep you safe. You will notice how much easier it is to speak in a calm, reassuring, and comforting way when you visualize addressing an inner child. By counterbalancing your negative thoughts with kindness and compassion, you automatically shift your consciousness and attitude from “I’m powerless” to “I’m taking charge.”
Keep perspective and your heart open
The mind, especially the subconscious mind, can’t easily distinguish between reality and fiction. This allows you to get completely engrossed in movies, books and daydreams about the upcoming vacation. On the flip side, when you are glued in front of your TV, following every “breaking story,” your mind may also perceive you in the middle of a war zone or as victims of a disaster. Therefore, limit your time watching the news to a minimum, and try to stay more present with your immediate environment.
Times like this can put life into perspective. Rather than getting upset about minor imperfections or sweating the small stuff, you can take this opportunity to remember what and who is truly important to you. Make spending time with your friends and family a priority. Embrace even the smallest moments of joy and pleasure, such as a delicious cup of coffee, a warm hug or soft bed. Appreciate the daily blessing of your health, your home and your loved ones, which you may at times just take for granted. Show your humanity and reach out to those who are lonely or need a helping hand. And practice forgiveness and compassion, especially with those you disagree with.
I believe the best way for us to respond to those, who seem to have no regard for life, peace and freedom, is to stay calm, centered and not let anxiety and panic dictate our lives. Or to quote Salman Rushdie again: “Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them.”
Do you have the ever alluring habit of comparing yourself with others? Maybe you are envious of a colleague at work, who gets one promotion after another, while your efforts seem to be ignored. Or you wonder how your neighbor can afford that brand-new car, which makes your 5 year old sedan look like a beater. Or maybe you are stalking “the ex” on Facebook, only to find out that he or she has so much more fun since your relationship ended. Isn’t it true that comparing ourselves with others is one of the surest ways to feel bad about ourselves and our lives? So why do we keep on doing it?
I don’t know about you, but when I grew up, my parents used to point out to me the kids that were better in school, played better piano, or were just nicer all around. If they really wanted to get to me, they compared me to a boy from our little village, who was born in the same hospital just a few minutes after me. They speculated, half-jokingly, there must have been a mix-up after delivery since this boy was so much politer, smarter and more diligent – you name it – than me. Thus early on I learned that in order to measure up and please those I cared about, I needed to keep an eye on the ”competition.”
I used to believe that comparing myself to those, who were doing better than me, would motivate me to work more and push harder. Yet, since there was always someone who performed better than me, it was difficult to celebrate my own successes. So not surprisingly, comparing myself with others, did more damage to my sense of self-worth and confidence than it helped building it.
I heard a man from India once saying that one of the reasons why people in the western world are more miserable than his compatriots was that we have learned to compare ourselves with those, who are “above” us, while Indians tends to measure themselves with those that are less fortunate. I’m not sure if this kind of comparison is preferable, unless it leads to a sense of gratitude and also compassion for those, who are struggling.
However, what about using comparison as a way to learn from the mastery of others? Neuro-linguistic programming calls this approach modeling. The keys to successful modeling are open-mindedness, curiosity about the success strategies others are employing and most importantly a non-judgmental attitude. So next time, when you are tempted to entertain your mind with a round of comparing yourself to others, rather than letting yourself feel less than or inadequate, ask yourself, if there is anything about this person, you can learn from and model. I believe that we are here on earth to learn and evolve – which is why we are ultimately all students and teachers for one another.
Join me for my next empowerment radio-show and more about how you can use self-comparison as leverage for growth and empowerment.
It is happening so quickly, that I still can’t fully wrap my mind around it. But this week I will celebrate my 50th birthday. I can vividly remember when my father turned fifty and I started to see him as an older man. Not because he looked or acted like it, but because at that age most people have fewer years left in front of them than behind them. For me aging brings up an important question– should we resist the forces of nature or should we surrender?
Whether you like to be in control and freak out when things aren’t going your way, or are known to bang your head against the wall until you break through it, surrendering may have never felt like an option for you. Personally, I believed for a long time what I was taught as a child: no matter how high the obstacles and difficult the problems, I should be able to reach my goals. And most of the times I was able to succeed, which gave me a great deal of confidence and satisfaction. However, what I didn’t consider was, whether there could have been an easier way to success or even more importantly whether my goals were worth pursuing.
Over the years I learned to let go a bit of my “dog with a bone” approach and to listen more to my wife Danielle, who has been a great proponent of the “ease and grace” approach to life. Have you ever noticed that things frequently unfold more smoothly and quickly, if we give up control and allow them to happen instead of making them happen?
To surrender isn’t defeat, giving up and admitting powerlessness. When we surrender we stop paddling upstream and no longer battle ourselves and our lives. To surrender is to let go of resistance to the circumstances we can’t and shouldn’t change, and instead focus our attention and energy towards that what flows more easily and naturally. This doesn’t mean that we should become inactive and complacent, to the contrary. As we are yielding to the flow of life, we still need to do our part to stay on course and pursue our dreams and goals. However, being in alignment with the natural current, allows us to get there faster and with much greater ease.
Hitting fifty will not stop me pursuing my passions and purpose, from working out and eating healthy. And I am sure that at times, I will still take that bone and clamber over obstacles, rather than letting the current take me around them. Yet, I am committed to practicing the art of surrender by embracing more the pause between my intentions and their manifestations; by choosing trust over control and acceptance over resistance; by cherishing more mindfully the present moment and being openly receptive to how the next 5 decades will unfold for me.
Or in the words of Joseph Campbell: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
Join me for my next empowerment radio-show and how surrender can be the greatest gift in your life.
Whether you call it a gut feeling, inner voice or intuition, we all have an undeniable guidance system within us, which operates outside logic and reasoning. Did you ever “just know” that you should check on someone, only to find out that they needed your help? Or have you ever had a strong sense on your way to work, that you should go back to your house, and then discovered that you had forgotten to turn off the iron?
It was the 26th of September, 1983. Business as usual for Stanislaw Petrow, a high ranking Russian officer, who was in charge of a military section, which analyzed satellite images to detect and then if necessary respond to potential missile attacks from other countries. Then the unimaginable happened; a Sputnik satellite showed clearly that several rockets had been launched from the East Coast of the US, heading straight towards Russia. This was the sort of crisis situation Petrow had been prepared for and he knew what was expected of him: to immediately push the infamous red button and launch a nuclear counter-attack.
But something inside of this highly trained officer told him that they were dealing with a false alarm. He realized, that if he was wrong millions of his fellow countrymen would die – but he also knew, that a counter-attack would cost the lives of millions of innocent Americans. Nevertheless, he chose to trust his gut—his intuition. After 13 minutes of anxious waiting he finally received confirmation that no hostile rockets were visible in the Russian sky. It turned out that reflections of the sun on low hanging clouds had created the false alarm.
There are many stories of people who are convinced that their inner warning voice had saved them or others from disaster. The problem is, how do you know when to listen to your intuition and when to listen to your rational mind? And how do you distinguish between your gut feeling and the anxious voice, which has been crying wolf way too often?
Join me for my upcoming empowerment radio show and learn more on how you can strengthen and harness your intuitive sense to navigate through life with greater ease and confidence.
Do you ask yourself sometimes “who am I, and what is my purpose?” Or do you feel torn between how other people perceive you, and what you sense is your authentic truth. I’m invited to speak at the The Power of Inner Connection Tele-summit, a free 10 Day event, which focuses on how to tune into your inner wisdom and access the potential of your essence.
Let’s talk about your essence, the core energy of who we are. This idea of a core essence may appear a bit esoteric and a bit “woo woo.” Believe me, my scientific mind was ruffled by this concept when I first got in touch with my own essence. However, what truly astounded me and confirmed my own experiences was that no matter how open minded or skeptical my clients were, when I guided them to connect to their essence, the overwhelming majority described sensing it in the same way—as a brilliant light in their heart.
People commonly associate qualities such as love, compassion, and goodness, as well as strength, joy, and passion, with this core energy. Although the news these days might lead you to believe that human behavior is largely defined by greed, self-righteousness, and a disregard of the greater good. There is at least as much evidence testifying to an inherent goodness in all of us. It’s that powerful force that makes us jump into the freezing river to save another human being, or even an animal from drowning. It’s that natural instinct that drives us to reach out and support each other when disaster strikes, as countless stories described people doing after the events on September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, or just now after the horrific earthquake in Nepal. It’s that inner source that rewards selfless service with a deep sense of joy and fulfillment. It’s a place from which we can draw love, compassion, and forgiveness, even for those we don’t know or who hurt us the most. This is our core essence.
OK, so maybe you still aren’t sure about the goodness of your essence, because you haven’t saved anybody’s life, you don’t volunteer, and you still can’t forgive your ex. Believe me, you’re being far too hard on yourself. Here’s a way to recognize that you’ve actually been in touch with your pure essence more often than you previously realized.
Take a pen and paper, and write down events of the present and past where you have:
- Accepted and loved a person or animal without expectations or conditions
- Forgiven someone out of a sense of kindness and compassion
- Put your own needs and desires aside and focused solely on another person’s well-being
- Been completely open and willing to listen, consider, and understand a different point of view
- Admitted with humility (not shame) that you were wrong
- Felt touched and inspired by another person’s generosity, patience, acceptance, or selflessness
- Embraced and appreciated the beauty and the gifts of your life
- Been in complete peace and harmony with yourself―and the world and people all around you
While you’re revisiting your past, make sure that you’re gentle with yourself. Focus on your potential, and keep in mind that even if these experiences of compassion, love, or peace passed rather quickly, they can still help you find your way back to a deeper connection with the source of those emotions and energies―your essence.
The question is, how can you create a closer relationship with your essence and its powerful resources and make it to your foundation of self on a subconscious and cellular level? The fabulous teachers, healers and authors of the upcoming FREE The Power of Inner Connection Telesummit, will provide you with powerful insights, tips and techniques on how to stay connected and live from and through your inner truth.
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