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Archive for the ‘Healthy-Thinking’ Category

Have you ever felt like a cactus, you know, able to thrive in the harshest of climates with very little sustenance?  Perhaps we all feel that way from time to time.
This insight came to me recently when, in the midst of accepting many requests to professionally link with others, responding to numerous emails, and reading through countless tweets, I realized that it was all meaningless, empty activity pretending to be “connections with others.”
My Twitter followers probably never actually read my tweets; the ratio of personal email messages to professional and/or junk is minimal, and most of the people in my professional network honestly would probably not even notice if I dropped out of their network and stopped posting in discussions.  Furthermore, because I am one of the many people who has put herself out in the public domain so to speak, like others, I am subject to attacks.  It is perfectly expected and reasonable that not everyone will agree with me professionally and/or will know more than I do; however, when the attacks become personal and are without provocation, that is where I draw the line.  Lastly, it sometimes seems arbitrary how these professional and social networking sites impose rules.  I had one message on Craig’s List that was posted under “Books – For Sale By Owner”  flagged and removed because it was too commercial – really?   And on Twitter, people like Guy Kawasaki can post a tweet literally every 1-3 minutes, yet my account gets suspended because I posted one “thank you in advance for reading my book” message [without any links] to 50 or so different book clubs on Twitter.  By the way, that same day, I received a direct tweet from one of my followers asking me if I “wanna f*ck?” but apparently, that is allowed.
There are many positive aspects to social and professional networking sites, but there is also a downside and a dark side.  Many recent stories about young people committing suicide in large part due to cyber-bullying is one stark example of these negative sides.
My life philosophy and approach is to be kind.  It’s just sad when someone with good intentions who strives to be kind while earning an honest living by sharing inspirational writings can be persecuted, attacked, and blocked.  So, to answer the question that was posted at the beginning of this post, ‘Yes,’ sometimes I do feel like a cactus, but I am deeply grateful for the handful of people in my life with whom I enjoy genuine, loving relationships who provide enough sustenance to thrive in this harsh environment we call life.
May we all find our way to be kind, accepting, forgiving, and compassionate as we navigate our way through social and professional networks.
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Recently, two bombs struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon turning a beloved event into a bloody scene of destruction.  After this recent bombing in Boston, Massachusetts USA for which there was constant and extensive media coverage that continues to this day, a colleague pointed out that a near identical situation also occurred in eastern Afghanistan, without so much as a blip on our American conscience.

My colleagues’ point will no-doubt resonate with many, and will also serve to once again highlight the fact that we Americans can be quite ego-centric.  The perception is that Americans tend to focus on what happens to us and how we suffer, without much thought about the suffering of others in the world.  While we rally after an earthquake in Haiti or a tsunami in Japan, our attention and concern is not long-sustained.

On the other hand, it would be emotionally painful and ultimately unhealthy and counter-productive to focus our attention on all the pain and suffering around the world because it is heart-breaking and never-ending.

Do the people of other countries focus their attention on the pain and suffering of everybody in all other countries around the world?

Do people in Afghanistan worry about the Americans who were affected by the bombing in Boston?  Probably not any more or less than the people in America worry about the Afghanis in Kabul where insurgents killed six police officers at a checkpoint and a suicide bomber killed three civilians at a shopping bazaar in separate attacks.

Perhaps the best people in any country can do is focus on that for which they can do the most good and with which they have the most connection – which is focus their concern on people and events closer to home.  And that does not make us insensitive or uncaring.  It just makes us human – with limitations and imperfections.

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Hey – if you like this blog, then you’ll love the book!

Finding_Your_Way__Cover_for_Kindle

                       

Finding Your Way: Lessons from Life

by Valerie Galante, Ph.D.

From the Introduction:

If you have ever found yourself asking, “Is this all there is?” or “What is my purpose?” then listen carefully because that inner voice asking those questions is the whisper of your spirit trying to awaken you.  Your spirit is always present, guiding you through life and reminding you of lessons yet to be learned.  How can you hear and listen to your spirit calling?  And how do you respond to this calling?  The answer is by Finding Your Way…

Book Description:

Finding Your Way: Lessons from Life serves as a guidebook to navigate the path of life by providing inspirational, insightful, and informative lessons from diverse sources to the reader for the purpose of encouraging, engaging, and empowering you to make the most of yourself and your life.

Building upon her background as a highly experienced Licensed Clinical Psychologist and ordained Interfaith Minister, Dr. Galante uses humor, cultural references, and every day events to enlighten readers about the nature of being human and how to live their lives with meaning and fulfillment.

From the Publisher:

We are proud to announce the publication of this new book, Finding Your Way: Lessons from Life by Valerie Galante, Ph.D, which is now widely available in two hard-copy versions from Amazon.com – a Black & White Edition and an Exclusive Full-Color Collector’s Limited Edition.  The electronic edition is available from Kindle.

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Hello and Welcome to Another Beautiful Day,

To start the New Year off well, apply these 22 Laws of Wellness from cancer survivor Greg Anderson:

  • The Law of Esprit: The joy you feel is life!
  • The Law of Personal Accountability: If it’s going to be, it’s up to me. – Robert H. Schuller
  • The Law of Unity: The part can never be well unless the whole is well. – Plato
  • The Law of Physical Activity: Use it or lose it.
  • The Law of Nutritional Frugality: A little with quiet is the only diet. – Scottish proverb
  • The Law of Minimal Medical Invasiveness: The art of medicine is generally a question of time. – Ovid
  • The Law of Stress-Hardiness: It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do about it. – W. Mitchell “survivor”
  • The Law of Emotional Choice: Learning to be aware of feelings… is an essential lifetime skill. – Joan Borysenko (author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind)
  • The Law of Developmental Motivation: Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. – Henry Van Dyke
  • The Law of Human Dignity: God created man in His own image. – Genesis
  • The Law of Win/Win: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. – The Golden Rule
  • The Law of Present-Moment Living: Be here now. – Ram Dass
  • The Law of Mindfulness: The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven. – John Milton
  • The Law of Creativity: Imagination is the eye of the soul. – Joseph Joubert
  • The Law of Lifetime Growth: We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden. – Goethe
  • The Law of Life Mission: He dies every day who lives a lingering life. – Pierrard Poullet
  • The Law of Purpose Through Service: Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. – Albert Einstein
  • The Law of Stewardship: If you want happiness for a lifetime, help the next generation. – Chinese proverb
  • The Law of Forgiveness: Forgiveness restores our hearts to the innocence that we knew – an innocence that allowed us the freedom to love. – Robin Casarjian (author of Forgiveness: A Bold Choice for a Peaceful Heart)
  • The Law of Gratitude: Affirm the good things.
  • The Law of Personal Peace: Without inner peace, it is impossible to have world peace. – The Dalai Lama
  • The Law of Unconditional Loving: … and the greatest of these is love. – Saint Paul
  • May you find your way to wellness.

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    In honor of the spirit of Christmas, I share this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with you…

    I heard the bells on Christmas day
    Their old familiar carols play
    And mild and sweet the words repeat,
    Of peace on earth, good will to men.

    I thought how as the day had come,
    The belfries of all Christendom
    Had roll’d along th’ unbroken song
    Of peace on earth, good will to men.

    And in despair I bow’d my head:
    “There is no peace on earth,” I said,
    “For hate is strong, and mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
    The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good will to men.”

    ‘Til ringing, singing on its way,
    The world revolved from night to day,
    A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
    Of peace on earth, good will to men!

    first published in 1863

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    Hello and Welcome to another Beautiful Day,

    There is a difference between compromising and settling.  In my mind, a compromise is an agreement in which each side gives up some demands or makes concessions without negating one’s own integrity, values, rights, or hopes.  The two parties arrive at a figurative place somewhere midway between their two positions without neglecting the things that matter.

    Contrastingly, when one settles, one accepts something in place of what is hoped for, requested, or desired and this settling often involves giving up something of great intangible value such as a principle, or one’s integrity, values, rights, or hopes. Don’t settle; don’t sacrifice yourself.

    Think of the difference between these two concepts as an analogy from the SAT’s…

    Compromise is to settle as assertive is to aggressive. 

    When a person behaves in an assertive manner, s/he acts in a positive, confident manner that empowers her/him to achieve the result or outcome s/he desires without compromising her/his own or another’s integrity, values, or rights.  Whereas, when a person behaves in an aggressive manner, s/he acts in a negative, bullying manner that ultimately disempowers her/him and the other person even if s/he achieves the short-term result or outcome s/he desires because her/his actions violate her/his own or another’s integrity, values, or rights.  Being aggressive is not worth it.

    In my experience, aggressive people are unassertive and insecure with a limited repertoire in their behavioral bag of tricks from which to choose.  Sometimes, if you can reach their hearts or soul, they will see the light and change their ways by expanding their behavioral choices to include kinder, gentler strategies for expressing themselves and achieving desired outcomes.  Sadly though, many aggressive people do not have this insight into themselves and they are firmly locked into their behaviors thereby lacking the motivation to change.  They’re trapped.

    Aggressive bullies who ‘force’ you to settle and who disregard your integrity, values, or rights will only contribute to your unhappiness (and their own).  As you find your way in life, do not settle for a bully as a friend, colleague, or partner.  Find people who are able to be assertive and who are willing to compromise, for they will contribute to your happiness by respecting your integrity, values, rights, hopes, and dreams.    

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    Hello and Welcome to another Beautiful Day,

    In 1943, a young psychologist attempted to explain what motivates humans to act.  He believed that human motivations could be categorized into two basic groups; first a motivation to act in order to replenish a deficiency and second, a motivation to act in order to grow.  His name was Abraham Maslow and his theory came to be known as Maslow’s’ Hierarchy of Needs.

    According to Maslow, humans will focus their attention and intention upon the growth needs if and only if the deficiency needs have been satisfied. First things first, so to speak. 

    After basic physiological needs such as the need for air, food, water are secure, when one’s survival is no longer an issue, and that person feels loved and valued for who they are, then s/he may begin to focus on developing her/his cognitive abilities and satisfy the ‘need’ to know, to understand, and explore; satisfy the ‘need’ to experience aesthetics – symmetry, order, and beauty; pursue self-fulfillment and realize one’s potential by becoming self-actualized.  In later years, Maslow added another level to his hierarchy, the ‘need’ to connect with something that is beyond one’s personal ego as well as to help others find their way to self-fulfillment, which is the highest desire and highest good known as self-transcendence.

    Transcendence is a state of being or existence above and beyond the limits of material experience, beyond the limits of emotions and usual understanding; to exceed beyond the ordinary.

    For those of us on a spiritual path to enlightenment and transcendence, it can be a kind of ‘living Hell’ to get stuck at a ‘lower level’ and feel stifled in our life progression.  When this happens, how do we get ourselves unstuck?

    The only answer is by faith, hope, and persistence.  You just have to believe that there is cohesiveness and a purpose to your life and that if you persist in your desires, then you will transcend your current situation, state of being, and level of ‘need.’

    I believe that as one progresses up the pyramid, the motivation to achieve becomes greater.  As each level of ‘need’ is satisfied, people’s sense of mastery becomes stronger spurring them on to higher goals.  As people get nearer to the top, the motivation becomes so strong and their sense of mastery so certain, that it can be temporarily devastating to get stuck and become frustrated by not being able to achieve that next highest level.

    Having been there myself, I firmly believe that in the end, it is only our own selves that hold us back.  In part, it may be remnants of ego that get in the way; but more likely, it is negative self-talk and all of the “I cant’s”  and “I don’t want to’s” that become our greatest obstacles.

    That which we resist, persists.  That which we give energy to, will grow.  So, the way to overcome these self-induced obstacles is to let go, go with the flow, be accepting, and focus your energy, attention, and intent on what you want rather than what you do not.

    Believe me, this is easier said than done, yet it is how you and I will find our way to salvation and transcendence.

    I hope we all find our way to the top of the pyramid.    

    I’m gonna make it by any means, I got a pocketful of dreams
    Baby, I’m from New York
    Concrete jungle where dreams are made of –
    There’s nothing you can’t do
    Now you’re in New York
    These streets will make you feel brand new
    Big lights will inspire you
    Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York!

    ~ Empire State of Mind, Alicia Keys


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