Have you contemplated your death?

Have you contemplated your own death?

skull and crossbones by antmoose @flickr

Have you ever contemplated your own death?

DEATH… it’s not a subject that many people want to contemplate, but it is inevitable and none of us get out of this life alive! 

Due to my profession and the community work that I have chosen to be engaged in death is a subject that I regularly encounter, but over the past day a couple of things have crossed my path that led to me asking you the question about contemplating your death, so I thought I would share them with you…

from the Dhammapada…

Firstly a section of the Dhammapada, that deals with ageing and death:

“Look at the body adorned, A mass of wounds, draped upon a heap of bones, A sickly thing, this subject of sensual thoughts! Neither permanent, nor enduring!

The body wears out, A nest of disease, Fragile, disintegrating, ending in death.” 

from an outstanding blogger…

yet another timely and astounding piece from Jessica Hagy that she has titled “The Crux of Deathbed Regrets”

from a set of lessons which help guide my life..

“… a time will most assuredly come when death that great leveler of all mankind, reduces us to the same state and the best and the brightest of us knows not when…”

Your death?

If you contemplate your own immortality, and the reality that your time is limited but you just don’t know how limited, what does your own death mean to you?

Now that this thought is in the forefront of your mind… what people matter most in your life and what are you going to do about showing them how much you appreciate them?

Share your thoughts in the comments…

Discover who you are – When it really counts

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they are supposed to help you discover who you are” Bernice Johson Reagon

This post is going to be broken up into a couple of parts, this first part is going to examine the situation of life challenges and how they can lead into a situation that paralyzes us and why

Live Events

At some point in your life you will be confronted with a major challenge that will bring you to a screeching halt and leave you in a situation where you feel paralyzed and unable to find a way to move forward.

An assault on your core values

These situations have the power to bring you to your knees (either physically or metaphorically) because they are either an assault on your core values or beliefs to such an extent that our very existence seems challenged, or they create a conflict between your core values and beliefs.

In either case the situation demands decisions, and often decisions that you are unaccustomed to making or a choice between multiple options each of which may have uncertain or less than optimal outcomes. The need for these decisions can lead you into a psychological condition called decision paralysis or analysis paralysis.

What is decision or analysis paralysis?

There are a wide range of descriptions of decision or analysis paralysis but essentially it refers to a situation where your decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too may detailed options so that you cannot make a choice, rather than you trying something and changing if a major problem arises. You might be seeking the optimal or perfect solution upfront and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution.

The paralysis is caused by a number of common distortions in your thinking while you are contemplating a decision.

  • All or nothing thinking – thinking in terms of absolutes
  • Over generalization – using isolated examples to make wide generalizations
  • Creating a mental filter – focusing on usually negative or upsetting aspects while ignoring positives
  • Disqualifying positives – dismissing positives for arbitrary or ad hoc reasons
  • Jumping to conclusions – drawing (usually negative) conclusions from little or no evidence
  • Magnification – distorting aspects of the situation so that they do not correspond with objective reality by making them more significant than they really are
  • Minimization – distorting aspects of the situation so that they do not correspond with objective reality by making them less significant that they really are
  • Emotional Reasoning – making decisions based on intuition rather than objective rationale and evidence
  • “should” statements – statements about the way things should or ought to be that ignore the situational reality
  • Personalization – attributing personal blame or accountability for events over which you have no control

In the next part of this series we will continue to explore how you can really discover who you are when life throws crap at you, but for now

Can you identify any situations in your life where these thinking distortions have occurred? What did you do to overcome these distortions?  Share your response in the comments it might help some-one else experiencing a similar circumstance.

Image by Gurdonark @flickr

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How to spot a miracle?

What miracle is in here?

What did you fail to notice today?

When you woke up this morning did you miss the sound of the birds singing?

Did you miss the sounds of your partner breathing quietly alongside you all because your mind was immediately filled with all of your have to’s, shoulds etc?

When you went on your trip to work, did you fail to notice the colour of the sky, the way the light was reflecting of buildings, did you fail to notice the smile from the person who served you your coffee?

Every day we encounter a million opportunities to notice the small things in life, the things that we often take for granted, but things that when we really stop to examine them are evidence of untold miracles occurring around us every day. Think about the complexity of light and reflections, think about the complexity of bird song, think about the complexity that results in someone smiling at you.

A brilliant mind like that of Albert Einstein realised that this was an issue when he said “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

Which way are you going to live your life?

Think back about yesterday……what was the miracle you spotted….. make someone’s day…share it with everyone in the comments.

Image by Just Me @flickr

Are you suffering self development overload?

Self Development overload and achieving your goals

There is SO much great information available on setting goals, getting where you want to go and achieving what you want to achieve. BUT….how many people are really actually close to achieving their goals? How many people are still off course and just devouring material without putting it into practice? How many people are really just suffering from self-development overload?

The Simple Message

When you really examine a lot of the self-development material there is really a few simple messages that emerge with a lot of different ways of looking at those messages.

One of those messages is just how close we are to really being able to achieve what we want to do, and how simple the process of implementing the necessary changes can be if you really want to.

Great examples of delivering on this simple message

Life often throws up serendipitous moments…..(Despite the fact that I hate him.. ;-}  )  I have been working my way through Tim Brownson and John Strelecky’s How to be rich and happy, [if you don’t know about their great Million Book project, go check it out {after you finish reading this of course}.

Tim and John do a great job of cutting through a lot of material to provide clear steps you can take to examine what really drives you, and actions you can take to live in alignment with what drives you.

Another person who has done an AMAZING job of examining what drives us is Dan Pink, and this RSA Animations is entertaining but hits home….. what is your PURPOSE.

There are also classic examples of a clear message about altering course to achieve your goals and this piece by Viktor Frankl, the famous author of Man’s search for meaning is a prime example.

Ben Lumley over at Six Aliens has put together a great compilation of pieces by Anthony Robbins, Jim Rohn and a real blast of a video that shows how a great mindset can (and should) start really early in life. You can check out his compilation over at his Friday’s Personal Development Homework post.

The simple message is really clear… figure out your values, live your life in alignment with them, realize just how close you are, and don’t be afraid to alter course by a millimetre or two to REALLY achieve your goals!

What do you think?

Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

A glass - Half empty of half full?

Half Empty?

This is a quest post by Ben Klempner from over at Effective Family Communication. Ben is an accomplished Social Worker with a couple of books under his belt and experience helping people deal with a wide range of issues including; anger management, addiction recovery; marriage, family and career counselling, depression, grief and anxiety.  So over to you Ben……………….

Last night as I was lying in bed I got around to thinking what to write for a blog that’s about “turning life’s crap into fertilizer.” Then it came to me….. Here it is.

Ten negative affirmations turned positive

“Life’s so unfair”  can be turned into “life’s full of interesting turns of events”

“The sky’s overcast” can be turned into ” The cloud formations are dark and beautiful”

“It looks like it is going to rain” can be turned into “The reservoirs and vegetation could really use some rain”

“I’m miserable” can be turned into “I’m ready to make some changes”

“My job stinks!” can be turned into “It’s time to start connecting with the people I work with on a more meaningful level”

“I have no friends” can be turned into “I need to start meeting new people”

“My family life is the pits” can be turned into “My family life could use some improvement”

“I’ll probably fail this test” can be turned into “I wonder what I will learn from this test about myself and my knowledge?”

“My friends and family are all sick and tired of me” can be turned into “My friends and family care about me and would like to see me putting my best foot forward”

“My television broke and now I have nothing to do” can be turned into ” My television broke. Now I have time to walk outside and breathe some fresh air.

Go ahead… in the comments section below let us know some of your own negative affirmations turned positive.

image by Globe Visions