Ocean of Infinite Patience

November 30, 2010

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Patience: The ability to stay emotionally and physically calm no matter what action is taking place in your life.

Patience:  The ability to stay emotionally and physically calm no matter what action  is taking place in your life.

First and foremost, patience is a feeling of peace and surrender. We imagine God to have an ocean of infinite patience for each and every one of us in whatever chaos we create in our daily lives.  Each person also has the ability to create a space for infinite patience in their own inner selves.

Remember that it is not our job to stand in judgment of anyone’s choices—good or bad. This job is held by the Laws of the Universe, Karma, and God. If someone is unfair to you, it is not your job to pay that person their due. Instead, make the decision to drop the whole incident in the ocean of infinite patience:

Kerplunk!!!

For Example:

My ex-husband is not a good dad.  He is late picking up the kids.  He is impatient with them and breaks his promises constantly.

Developing a mindset that it is not your job to make him do right by the children relieves you of the responsibility of keeping track of his shortcomings.  What a relief to know he is no longer your concern!   Place his outrageous fate in God’s ocean of infinite patience:

Kerplunk!!!

There are times when patience will not be enough to contain an emotionally charged event.  Sometimes things just explode.  Handling the mess afterwards is just as important of a task.  Bad habits like shutting down for days with loved ones or carrying resentment for days, months, and years are useless. God is the only one who can manage that kind of emotional pain. The practice of patience can resolve these bad habits.

Finally, having patience is a difficult art. To master it, you must practice it daily. Try practicing your patience with the people and events in your everyday life:

  • Children
  • Husband
  • Traffic
  • Rude people
  • Family
  • Cleaning
  • Broken Machines
  • Friends
  • Receiving bad news

Practicing this exercise daily will bring a greater capacity for patience into your life. Awareness of your own patience is the goal.

Exercise:

1.    Find a quiet spot.

2.    Sit down. Get comfortable.

3.    Close your eyes.

4.    Clear your mind.

5. Say to yourself, “I have an ocean of infinite patience that trickles in all of my relationships and daily actions.”

6.    Repeat this phrase until you begin to feel like you are creating a space for infinite patience in your inner dialogue.

7. End the exercise by saying to yourself, “My work is done for now. Thank you. Peace.”

In times of impatience, say to yourself, “I have an ocean of infinite patience.” Practice patience daily.

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Practice “No Response”

November 30, 2010

Makeovers Meditation Exercises

Practice “No Response”

 

“Practice no response.” What do these words mean? A person can practice their math skills and go jogging to make their bodies stronger. How do you practice not responding? The Makeovers Life Meditation program has exercises to clear your mind, offers the ability to change your thought patterns, and to observe objects, plants, animals, and people instead of judging them. Once you’ve mastered these exercises, you can move up to this exercise-practicing no response.

 

It takes skill and patience to practice no response. It is not a concept that happens on the first try. It may not always work in every situation presented to you. Nonetheless, it is available to you to begin the journey of practicing no response. It is very powerful. It changes the course of events in a situation. It will give you time to think about an event and act more thoughtful and compassionate.

 

When someone says or does something to us that throws our emotions into chaos, the first thing our instincts tell us to do is to react. Wrong, very wrong. Instant retaliation is weak and automatic. The strength comes from not reacting. Allowing yourself the luxury to process the event slowly makes you more relaxed. Your mind learns to trust this process knowing you will do better when you deal with it using all your senses versus just the reacting ones.

 

Practicing no response is similar to the ocean of infinite patience exercise. In the exercise, the ocean of infinite patience, when you are presented with an exhausting situation, your first instinct is to lose patience. After all, this event has been driving you crazy for a long time.

 

Driving your thoughts away from the importance of the matter at hand and shifting them to your ocean of infinite patience allows you to realize that even though it’s exasperating, there is still work to be done. Calming down and finding more patience, which we all have when we find our ocean, is key.

 

In practicing no response, you learn to divert from the instant gratification of reaction into the powerful thought of “How about if I don’t react? How about if I take some time to think about it and get back to it when I am more prepared to act?” Introducing the thought, “practice no response” gives your mind a place to go-an oasis, a safe harbor in the storm of daily events. It brings your thoughts back into neutral. I don’t have to react. I can now just wait until I soothe myself and deliberate what just happened.

 

Give yourself the strength to not respond and watch the bridge of trust build in your life in action. Say to yourself in quiet times, “I have a choice. I decide. I can practice no response in any situation I choose.”

PREPARING GROCERIES FOR COOKING

November 29, 2010

The reason we eat at restaurants is because everything is prepared for us. The waitress comes to our table, asks us what we want to eat and drink, and serves us our meals hot and ready and to our specifications.

When we eat at home, all of the work has to be done by us. No help. No service. If we were to put “Eating at home” and “Eating at a restaurant” in a contest “Eating at a restaurant” would win 9 out of 10 times and twice on Sunday.

Unfortunately, there are consequences to eating out all the time. First and foremost, we have no control over the ingredients that go into making our food. Even though the food is delicious, it is not good for our bodies. Second, eating out gets very expensive for a family or a
one person income household. Also, the time it takes to drive to and from a restaurant and sometimes to wait in line is time consuming and tiring. Taking time away from the regular restaurant habit leaves time to prep, cook, clean up, and a little time to spare. The feeling of
satisfaction to eat clean, healthy meals is a reward in itself. Taking the time and effort to shop, prepare, and clean up meals can be organized
in such a manner that it is not overwhelming.

If a restaurant kitchen was to wait to start cooking when a customer walks in the front door, they would not stay in business long.
All the restaurants open early in the morning with lots of people in the kitchen preparing food ahead of time before it makes it to your plate. Salads are cut, meals are portioned, pastas are boiled, sauces are prepared, and bread warmed or even made.

Just like a commercial kitchen a private kitchen has to have “prep time” to be efficient and effective.

To run a household kitchen, set time aside to “prep” your food for a successful, time efficient cooking experience.

When you get home from the grocery store, put all the food in its rightful place. Everything in the kitchen should have its own home. The French call this “mise en place”. It makes the kitchen bearable and efficient.
*MAKE SURE YOU SQUEEZE THE BAG TO GET THE AIR OUT OF IT. PRODUCE LAST MUCH LONGER WHEN THERE
IS LITTLE OR NO AIR IN THE BAG.

CELERY:
• Cut celery into sticks and throw away the middle yellowish part. Store in a zipped plastic bag.
• Cut a few sticks of celery into chunks for salads. Put in a separate small plastic bag.
PEPPERS:
• Cut peppers into small chunks for salads, salsas, and sautéed veggies.
CARROTS:
• Peel and cut a few carrots into small chunks for salads and soups. Put into a separate small plastic bag.
• Keep the rest of the carrots in their store bag.
MUSHROOMS:
• Buy mushrooms whole. They last longer.
• Take them out of their store container and bag them in a zipped gallon size bag.
CUCUMBERS:
• Cut cucumber in half. Store it in a gallon size plastic bag.
ROMAINE LETTUCE:
• Take the romaine lettuce out of the store bag.
• Chop one head of lettuce. Store the cut lettuce in a zipped gallon size bag.
• The rest of the whole heads of lettuce, store together in a zipped gallon size bag.
TOMATOES:
• Leave tomatoes whole until you use them. Do not store tomatoes in the refrigerator.
CILANTRO:
• Cut the stems off the cilantro and store it in a zipped plastic bag. Same with parsley.
GREEN ONIONS:
• Cut green onions in half. Store in a zipped gallon size bag.
FENNEL:
• Cut stems off and store bulbs in a zipped plastic bag.
BROCCOLI/CAULIFLOWER:
• Cut stems away. Store florets in a zipped gallon size plastic bag.
FIELD GREENS/SPINACH:
• Take field greens or spinach out of its store bag. Store in a zipped gallon size plastic bag.It is very important to
squeeze the bag to get all the air out of the bag. If not, the field greens or spinach turn brown in a couple of days.
GREEN BEANS:
• Take green beans out of the store bag. Store them in a gallon size plastic bag.

ASPARAGUS:
• Keep the bunch together in the rubber band. Cut all the stems off a little bit. Store them in a zipped gallon size plastic bag.
POTATOES/SWEET POTATOES:
• Store at room temperature in a covered cardboard box.
Plastic boxes do not let the potatoes breathe and they rot quickly.

THE SALAD BOWL:

• Put the small bags of cut carrots, celery, and peppers
along with the big bag of cut romaine lettuce in a bowl
in the refrigerator. This will make salad assembly easier.

‘PREP’ FOOD:
• Make salsas, dips like spinach dip, humus, salad
dressings, berry sauce, and chocolate sauce on a
weekend day when you have about an hour to spend in
the kitchen.
• Make pancake batter on Sunday morning. Make enough
to last through Monday and Tuesday. Pancake batter
can also be used to make crepes. Pancake batter lasts 2-
3 days stored in a plastic container in the refrigerator.
• Make cookie dough in double batches. It stores well in
the refrigerator for about seven to ten days and you can
bake cookies throughout the week.
• Make one dessert or two desserts per week. Covered in
the refrigerator, they last seven to ten days.
• Make tomato meat sauce in double or triple batches. It
lasts five to seven days in the refrigerator and it makes a
great meal sprinkled with some Parmesan cheese.

The tomato meat sauce also makes a great chili when peppers are sauteed

and beans are added.

• Make soups on the weekend. They last in plastic
containers or zipped gallon size plastic bags four to six
days in the refrigerator.
• Defrost meat in the microwave or take it out in the
morning before you start your day. Defrosting meat in
the microwave is okay. Cooking meat in the microwave
is not so healthy. Never defrost meat at room
temperature. It is best to defrost it and cook it
immediately.
• It is not necessary to make a menu for the week on
paper. It is a good idea though to think that day about what food
you want to make for dinner ahead of time so that when
you get in the kitchen, your mind already knows what to
do.
• When you are cooking chicken, beef roast, pork roast,
meatloaf, etc., cook a few extra portions to be able to
use for other meals as well.
• Baked chicken for chicken salad or chicken noodle soup.
• Pork roast for barbecued pork or bean soups.
• Meatloaf for meatloaf sandwiches.
• Beef roast for roast beef sandwiches and soup.
• Steak for steak salad or beef stew.
• Shrimp for shrimp salad or shrimp bisque the next day.
• Salmon for salmon cakes the next day.

• The cook in the kitchen begins to think in a 360 degree
mindset. The parts of the meals you cook today, serve
another purpose for tomorrow’s meals. This is a skill
that’s get better with practice.

Make bread in the bread maker. It takes about ten
minutes to put the ingredients in the bread maker and
about three hours later you have a wonderful loaf of
fresh preservative and chemical free bread.
• Cook more pasta than you would use for dinner. Pasta
stays good for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Store it in a
plastic bag or storage container.
• Having a ton of different plastic storage containers can
exasperate even the seasoned cook. The best thing to do
is to buy storage containers that are all medium size.
Store them in two different baskets in your pantry or
cabinet. One basket is for all the lids. The other basket
is for all the containers. Also, the big container that
Dannon yogurt comes in is dishwasher proof.

Empty jars with good lids also make good storage containers.
Keep the jars in a cabinet and the lids in a basket.
These containers make your food storage needs more
convenient.

HOW TO CHOOSE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AT THE GROCERY STORE.

November 29, 2010

MAKEOVERS LIFE FOOD

HOW TO CHOOSE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AT THE GROCERY STORE.

 

APPLES:

The sweetest, finest apples are Fuji apples.

Try all of the varieties and see which kind your family likes best. Choose apples that are not too big. The smaller ones have more flavor.

*store in the refrigerator.

PEARS:

Pears come in different varieties. The way to choose pears is to push gently on each fruit. They should be a little tender to the push.

*store at room temperature.

GRAPES:

Red or green. Grapes should be dry in their package. Smaller sized grapes have more flavor so choose the bag with the smallest bulbs.

*store grapes in a plastic bag for a longer shelf life in the refrigerator.

ORANGES:

Loose oranges sold by the piece are best. The ones sold in bags at the grocery store are not as sweet. Choose oranges with the brighter color and smaller size. Too firm or two soft is not the way. Choose oranges that are barely soft to the touch. *store in the refrigerator.

LEMONS AND LIMES:

Lemons and limes are best having a deep color of yellow or green. The smaller fruit have the most flavor. Too firm or too soft is not the way. Choose lemons and limes that are barely soft to the touch. *store in the refrigerator.

BERRIES:

Blueberries and blackberries have a longer shelf life than strawberries and raspberries. Eat the raspberries as soon as you get them home from the grocery store. They mold within one or two days maximum. Strawberries last two or three days, but no more. As they start to over ripen, use them in smoothies, make berry sauce out of them, or freeze them in a zipped freezer bag. Choose berries that are dry in their containers. Turn the container over when inspecting them. Also, store strawberries in a plastic bag for a longer shelf life in the refrigerator.

CANTALOPE/HONEYDEW/WATERMELON:

These melons are best when they are not overgrown. The smaller the melon, the sweeter the flavor. Choose melons that are deep in color especially watermelons. The secret to a good melon is when it has a bright yellow belly or spot on it. The more yellow the spot, the sweeter the fruit tastes. Even when these fruits are out of season, look for a yellow tint to their skin color. *store melons at room temperature.

NECTARINES/PEACHES/PLUMS:

Nectarines and peaches should have a deep color to them. Not too soft and not too firm to the touch. Nectarines are to be stored in a brown paper bag. They ripen in just a couple of days. Once over ripened you may peel them and make sauce, pie, or cobbler out of them. *store them at room temperature

BANANAS:

Bananas are best when they are smaller in size. Choose a bunch that have a tint of green. They ripen and turn yellow within a couple of days. Also, choose some that are already yellow so you can eat them the day you buy them. So buy some part green and some yellow.

*store bananas at room temperature.

KIWI:

Kiwi fruit ripen within one or two days. Pick fruit that is not too soft or too firm. *kiwis are stored at room temperature.

PINEAPPLES:

Pineapples should be golden. The bottoms mold fast so check before buying. *store at room temperature.

AVOCADOS:

Avocados take two to three days to ripen. Hard avocados are not ready to eat. Choose soft avocados at the store when you are ready to use them immediately. Choose firm ones when you don’t expect to use them for a few days. *store at room temperature.

 

Kitchen and cooking tips

November 23, 2010

Cooking Tips

 

1.      Put bowls, pans, and cooking ingredients like flour in the sink to mix or measure food. It helps to keep your counters and floors clean.

2.    Keep the refrigerator free of clutter. Organize your refrigerator into categories according to the Makeovers refrigerator organization plan. Store all of your prepared items like salsa, spinach dip, chicken salad, tuna salad, chocolate sauce, berry sauce, soups, and leftovers on one shelf. Also, store your cut vegetables in a plastic bag or bowl for easy access in and out of the refrigerator when making salads.

3.    Use parchment paper for baking to make cleaning pans easier.

4.    Have a sink or small tank of sudsy water to be able to drop dirty dishes into it as you are cooking. Also, when you have really caked on food on your cooking utensils, give them a quick rinse before dropping them into the warm sudsy water. Set knives aside in a tall glass or container so you don’t cut yourself when reaching into the warm sudsy water.

5.     Clean as you go. During down time in between making your meals, like while water is boiling or meat is defrosting or oven is preheating, start to clean away some of the clutter in the kitchen. Rinse cooking tools, put food back into the refrigerator and pantry, wipe countertops, clean up spills, etc. Leaving all the clean up until you are done preparing meals may become too big of a job. Done in small stages, the final clean up is a lot more manageable. You will be grateful later.

6.    Use small white kitchen towels (one wet, one dry) for clean up. It saves time reaching for a paper towel each time and wasting paper. At the end of preparing a meal, throw both towels in with your white laundry to be washed and bleached. Using white hand towels is a restaurant kitchen tip. All restaurants use white kitchen towels for easy clean up.

7.     Use a medium size tub or tray to carry dishes to and from the table when cleaning up after a meal. It saves time running back and forth from the table to the kitchen.

8.             Run the dishwasher only after all of the clean up for the day is finished. Try to empty the dishwasher before going to bed. It is so much easier starting the day without having to empty the dishwasher with dishes from yesterday.

9.             Keep your kitchen organized by wiping bins and drawers as they get disheveled one little bit at a time versus a few hours it would take to do major kitchen reorganization. Also, refill your containers as needed of sugar, flour, pasta, etc.

10.    Have a bowl for scraps to put meat and vegetables in rather than running back and forth to the trash can or to the sink garbage disposal. Throw away the bowl of scraps when you are done cooking. Voila! Only one trip to the trash can.

11.           Sharpen one knife at a time as you begin cooking a meal. It is much easier to sharpen one knife at a time as needed versus having to sit in front of the sharpening machine and sharpen 10-15 knives at once.

12.          At the end of the day, have a regular routine for “shutting down your kitchen for the night.” Restaurants have very specific instructions for the process of closing. Here are some of those guidelines:

 

  • Clear the table and wipe it down or change the tablecloth.
  • Put all dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
  • Clean all countertops with a wet white dish towel. Dry the counter tops with a dry white dish towel.
  • Wipe stove with a wet white kitchen towel. Use a heavy duty sponge to remove the tough stains. Wipe stove with a dry white kitchen towel.
  • Put away all leftover foods in plastic storage containers or plastic baggies. Put away the rest of the cooking ingredients used during cooking in their rightful place (pantry, drawers, etc.)
  • Sweep kitchen floor.
  • Wipe appliances like front of dishwasher, microwave, and stove with stainless steal cleaner or glass cleaner.
  • Clean out sink and run the garbage disposal.
  • Empty trash can. Wipe trash can.
  • Empty dishwasher when it’s finished.
  • Take white kitchen towels to the laundry. Put out new ones for the next day.

Eat…Pray…Love. Why the book ‘gets’ us, but the movie missed it by a long shot.

October 30, 2010

Eat…Pray…Love…Why the book gets us, but the movie missed it by a long shot.

When I read Eat Pray Love I instantly fell in love with it and Liz Gilbert. When I was young, my father used to place books in my hands and say, ‘If you don’t love it in the first few chapters, don’t bother with it.”
• Liz is a work in progress. She is also a student of life long past her college years. She wants to understand life. It’s important for her to grow her soul. She is also not confined to traditional roles of what a woman is supposed to be by the milestones in her life. Her questioning the timeline of ‘do this and do that’ by a certain age makes her strong and defiant like most heroines are in our classic novels.
• There are 4 principles in Liz’s book. One, that life is not about what others want for us, but what we dream for ourselves. Sometimes when we veer off in the wrong direction, it is our higher compass that drives us mad with signs to get back on track. Two, for those of us who question authority and convention, depression and anxiety are just details of the big process…process versus the details and hardly the main event. Three, meditation and anchoring to our core will get the job done in our daily efforts only when we surrender ourselves to it. The only part about meditation that we need to ‘get’ is the ability to clear our minds. Of course, this simple concept has many complicated grueling steps to get there. Fourth, food and cooking starts in the mind and not in the kitchen. Having a passion for everyday food is synonymous with having a passion for life. ‘Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.’ is a quote from one of the greatest chefs of all time, Savarin. Once Liz surrendered her spirit to these principles, she was able t find herself, ‘cradled in the palms of the universe.’ Only then did she empty her cup of arrogance and was able to fully give herself a chance to find love even in the oddest of places.
• Life is not about convention when you decide that the traditional roles do not fit, finding your inner voice becomes the first step to enlightenment. When her inner voice finally spoke to her in the bathroom late at night, Liz was ready to listen. The message was simple and honest. ‘Go back to bed, Liz.’ From that point, she could trust herself to make an honest choice about her future which did not include her current marriage. Her second relationship broke her heart in a necessary slap from the universe kind of way. She knew she needed to take a journey inward. So she did what most of us have dreamt about every time the laundry is piling up and the kids are due home any minute from yet another day of school. Italy, India, and Bali. Wow. Most of us just need to sit on a counselor’s couch, have dinner out with some childhood friends, and reconnect with our spouse to get the same healing wave of peace.
• So off she went to Italy. Food is an art. The mind game begins long before our appetite tells us we are hungry. We are defined by our likes and dislikes. Food is not about taste. It’s about feeding the body so the soul is peaceful. You know that when you rip open a bag of chips, the ego is giggling while the spirit is cringing. ‘Where is my nourishment?’ the spirit asks. You stifle that inner voice long enough and it stops asserting itself. Liz awakened her spirit with food. Fresh vegetables, meticulous desserts, and lots of bread made by Italian artisan hands. Each of us can do that here at home. Ignore your inner child’s whining for gross food and let your taste buds discover adult food life spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, good cuts of meat cooked in delicious spices and fresh herbs, quinoa or brown rice, opt for cut fruit as a snack and plain yogurt, unsalted walnuts and really good cheese, deep rich chocolate in small amounts makes your spirit dance and say’ Oh my, my, my! It’s finally the present moment. My taste buds have finally made it to the year 2010 instead of 1980 something…
• Mental anguish when nothing obvious is really wrong automatically spells anxiety and depression. The two ‘thugs’ follow Liz all the way to Italy. Lonely and questioning her choices, she wonders like she has so many times if her sanity is in jeopardy. However, this time she has new tools in her shed. Her soul has tasted maturity and silence in her thoughts. No more need to suppress her problems with medication. She has found the real deal…her core…her connection to her higher spirit that she created there in all those late nights on her bathroom floor…the thread is now a rope and her soul has grown.
• India with the contrast of gender inequality and social class division, strikes her as quite a paradox. The women in the colorful jewel toned saris doing road construction is a vivid picture of how beliefs are relative and what you tell yourself is who you become over time. All of a sudden, her dependence on romantic love and dysfunction is curbed by a new and deeper connection with herself. ‘When you let go, the universe rushes in.’ Her meditation peels years of chatter from her inner dialogue and she finally arrives at her core. Those of us who have been there are very familiar with the feeling this safe harbor creates in our chaotic lives. The more times you visit this center, the shorter the ladder becomes to get there at will. So we begin to house our spirits here and navigate our lives from a different point of understanding.
• Bali, I believe was closure and the prize-her meeting the Brazilian. Bali was her bridge between her now outdated inner dialog and the fresh habits that are shaping her womanhood.
• The movie missed all these points. It was sad to watch. Scenes of Julia Roberts eating pizza and pasta is not a soul searching experience. And besides, Julia is too happy with her children and ordinary husband to play the spectrum of what Liz is. Julia is a Georgia peach and Liz is a New England preppy…wow, to say the least they are not a match…more like a clash. Surely, Hollywood thought that Julia could play a tortured soul. And maybe she could if given a forum. Pizza and pasta and superficial scenes from the India journey …not! Where was the mosquitoes scene?…the pivotal point that stripped Liz of her New England preppy costume and replaced it with the neutrality of her spirit.OI!!!!
• Julia is a Scorpio and Liz is a Cancer. Quite a harmonious relationship. Both water signs…However, Cancers tend to absorb the qualities of other parts of their zodiac chart making it difficult for the individual to ‘just be the Cancer’. For example, being on the cusp of Gemini or Leo, Cancers tend to attract people that are compatible with these two signs and not to their true Cancer natures making and creating relationships that feed their alternate personalities sharpening these traits rather than their gentle Cancer ones. Cancers need lots of wide open spaces for they waddle side to side before making any decisions. If you’ve ever seen a crab walk on the beach you understand the waddle I’m talking about. When there are too many influences in the Cancer personality, the Crab is bumped around and it takes years for him or her to reach its own fulfillment. Scorpios are either clear or not…not much in between. If they are clear, life becomes a series of simple stepping stones to planned goals and successful unions with family and friends. If cloudy, the brooding and plotting takes center stage and fulfillment is always a far out of reach goal and the magic of everyday pleasures is totally missed. These two women representing each other in this wonderful story could have been a match made in Hollywood heaven. Unfortunately, the Scorpio was not given a chance to play the Cancer from a spiritual connection and the supernova was missed.
• I walked out of the movie. I suppose I will catch it on a weeknight on Pay per view. Liz’s analogies are tickles for the mind and I love rereading it over and over again…

How to sleep well

October 27, 2010

MAKEOVERS LIFE MEDITATION EXERCISES
SLEEP
We spend one third of our lives sleeping. Well, at least we
should. Eight out of every twenty four hours, we lay our
bodies down and we are off to dreamland. Newborn infants
sleep fourteen to sixteen hours a day. As their bodies and
brains grow, they begin to stay awake longer. Children need
about ten to twelve hours of sleep per night. Adults should
get at least seven hours and ideally eight hours per night.
Why is sleep so important? Science and research
has proven that our bodies heal and renew while we
sleep. Without enough sleep, our bodies break down and we
do not function properly. Getting less than eight hours of
sleep breaks down our ability to think clearly and our organs
don’t get the necessary “down time” they absolutely need to
do their job efficiently.
There are people who feel they need a lot less sleep than
eight hours. This is not likely correct. Everybody’s human.
Period.
Some people experience sleep problems from stress. It is
very important to manage the chaos in daily life so that we
can get some rest.
Alcohol, caffeine, and certain drugs interfere with
our circadian clocks. Stay away from sleeping pills of any
kind. They only suppress your sleeping problems and don’t
really help you to get to what is really causing your
sleeplessness. Get to the source of why you are not sleeping.
Only from there, will you be able to rest at night again.
Our bodies have an innate mechanism that lets us
know when it’s time to go to sleep. This wonderful
mechanism in our bodies is upset quite easily. If you stay up
late at night trying to steal a few more hours from the day,
you are knocking your inner clock off balance.
In the evening, begin to wind down at a reasonable time so
that you can go to bed and get your eight hours of sleep. Set
your bedroom up for sleeping. Have lamps by the bed so that
you can turn them off right before you go to sleep. Do quiet
activities like watching television, reading, meditating, and
talking on the phone as you wind down.
It is also very important to sleep in total darkness.
Your body needs the peace that only darkness can give. Light
interferes with your sleep cycle. If you must have light, put it
on in a different room so that your bedroom is still dark
enough so that you may sleep peacefully.
What you wear to bed should be comfortable. Wear
breathable fabrics like cotton. Clothes made of synthetic
fabric like polyester or acetate do not let your skin ‘breathe’
and make you sweat, which also upsets your sleep pattern.
Having a good mattress and cotton bedding also aids in a
good sleeping routine.
We all have trouble sleeping at some point in our lives.
Getting stressed out about not being able to sleep is not a
good thing. The best thing to do when you have
trouble sleeping is to lie in bed with your eyes closed.
Clear your mind and know the only thing you have to do is
relax and let yourself drift off. The worst thing you can do is
to get up and start moving around or to get busy thinking.
Your inner clock gets more messed up. Cut out caffeine and
alcohol altogether. These two are very upsetting to your
body’s ability to sleep.
Some people love to sleep. They’ve made sleeping into an
art form. They can fall asleep quickly- anywhere/anytime. So
what we can learn from these people is their view on sleep –
their mindset. If you dread sleeping, your brain is going to
have a really hard time falling asleep and staying asleep.
Change your attitude about the importance and the
sheer pleasure of laying your body down at night
and falling asleep. Know that sleep is a gift from the
Universe. You are an animal first and foremost. It is dark
outside. The moon is above. Your home is cozy and safe.
Your family and friends are all asleep. Everybody’s in their
own beds and it is time for you to relax and let your body rest.
Let go of the day’s events and just go to sleep.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some people sleep
too much. This is not good either. When you get too much
sleep, your brain gets foggy and cannot function well. Your
body needs time to get tired. Exercise and a busy life makes
you tired–a good kind of tired. Also, if you’re sleeping during
the day, you’re not going to be tired enough at night to get
good sleep. So stay awake to reset your inner clock.
We need eight hours straight of uninterrupted sleep to
function properly – not five or six hours during the night and
one or two hours during the day. Your body’s natural
ability to heal and regenerate works at its peak level
between the sixth, seventh, and eighth hours of each
sleep cycle. When your schedule permits, and you do want
to take a little nap during the day, take a short nap of twenty
to thirty minutes before 2 pm and not after. That way, your
body will still have plenty of time to get tired.
In conclusion, sleep…… sleep….. sleep….. It is your right
as an animal on this planet. It is the best thing you can do for
your body.

The Professional Face-Polish your image and climb the ladder towards success

October 21, 2010

Each one of us acts differently with different people. At home with our families we are relaxed and ourselves. At work, with our bosses we try to act competent and dependable. With strangers like a gas station attendant and a waitress, we try to come across as nice and with a smile. Each side of our personalities is in response to the appropriate case at hand. However, not all of us know what to say or how to act in certain situations. Do you talk the same way to your best friend on a Friday night over a drink as you talk to your boss on Monday afternoon about an upcoming meeting? When the answer is yes to these two questions, this exercise is meant especially for you. Having the social skills to know what to say and what not to say in every situation is a tool of life.

So many people go to work diligently and efficiently, day after day, week after week, only to blow a hard earned reputation at the company holiday party by getting drunk and making a fool of yourself.

Life presents us with many lessons to master. Having a professional face to pull out as needed is key. Wherever you go and whoever you talk to, being appropriate is a lifelong skill to strive towards. Have you ever found yourself spilling your most personal details to a total stranger standing in line at the bank? Details hurt people. They get overwhelmed by too many details and view you as off balance and antisocial. While you are trying to be social, your behavior is viewed as antisocial.

Having a professional face is a skill. Teach yourself this skill. Practice it every chance you get. Know what is appropriate and what is not. Being a victim in your conversations with people does not offer any healing. As a matter of fact, it has the opposite effect. When you meet someone that shares things with you that should really not be shared, don’t chime in with your personal stuff as well. Instead, listen to what that person tells you. Offer little or no advice. Know that it is not your place to help that person in any way. You don’t even know him or her. Be gentle and kind. Don’t be rude.

Turning off the faucet of spilled secrets is not easy especially when you’ve been doing it for years. It is a habit. However, today is a new day and so is tomorrow.

Cleaning up your reputation is hard work. You cannot take back the personal things you’ve already shared with the people from your office or your neighbors. But you don’t have to tell them anything anymore from here on forward. New developments of your lifestyle can be kept to yourself. People will continue to ask personal questions because you’ve given them permission to do so all this time. Diversion works when you practice it. They will eventually stop asking if you are consistent with your privacy.

Learn to talk about less personal things. Learn to connect with people by offering inspiration about neutral topics like how your nephew said “mama” for the first time this weekend. Tell people about how your best friend came in from out of town and that you had a nice dinner at the new restaurant you’ve been excited to try and that you went dancing. Leave out the juicy details about having too much to drink and spent Sunday in bed to recover.

Learning to talk appropriately may seem like you are not really connecting or satisfying your audience. Actually, the opposite is true. People look forward to a good conversation. You will attract a different audience when you change your style. Your new audience will be the kind of people you want to attract into your life. You may lose some of the old gossips and that is a good thing.
Here are some topics to practice that will help you establish a professional face. Family: “I went to lunch with my brother and his new wife. We reminisced about old family trips to Cape Cod, and how he talked me into jumping the big hill near my parents’ house to prove to the neighborhood kids that I was the strongest of all. His wife comes from a really big family of seven kids. That is so different from how we grew up”.
What not to say: “I went to lunch with my brother and his new wife. Boy, do I hate her. The more time I spend with her, the more I can’t see how my brother could’ve married her.”

Office conversations: What not to say to the boss: “Patrick in the finance department is such a piece of work. He’s dated three of his coworkers and he’s left them all in his dust. People say he is taking money from the company. Isn’t he awful? I hope they fire him.”

What to say: “I am really looking forward to our next project. This new client seems like a really determined person. I want to come up with some great ideas that will really impress him. We will work hard. I know we can do a good job.”

Find your professional face. Polish it and watch it shift your career and your personal life into a new direction.

Polish your image to attract more positive people at work.

Living in the moment. What does that really mean?

October 13, 2010

Living in the moment…what does that really mean?

1. Step out of the comfort of routine. Routine is a two edged sword. It serves a good purpose when it works. However, it serves a wrong purpose when we seem to be stuck. Do you always travel to the same places? As exciting as trips to big cities may be, even big cities get mundane when we go to the same places too much. A good way to learn about ourselves is to go to places outside of our interests. Memphis has Beale Street, The Peabody Hotel, and Graceland. B.B. King, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley all got their starts in this great city. Going to Memphis is exciting if you let it.

2. Don’t compare people and things against one another. Let’s say someone is telling you a story about how they are very excited about the project they’ve just finished. You can say two things to yourself: “Oh wow! How exciting. He/she must’ve worked so hard to get this far. I am so impressed for this person to have such passion for this project.” OR you can say to yourself: “Wow! He/she thinks that what he/she did is so special.

I know people who have done the same thing on a much bigger scale. Big deal. Why is this person so filled with excitement? It’s really just a drop in the bucket.”

Giving credit to a job well done no matter how small or insignificant it may be in the big picture is an amazing way to live in the moment. Hard work is hard work no matter if it’s on a small scale or a global gesture. There are always be people who can do it better and bigger.

That truly should not matter to us. Creating an idea and making our dreams come true is one of the greatest gifts in life. Sharing inspiration with a friend, family member, or even a stranger is always a welcome treat. Judging that person harshly takes away from being a positive force in the world.

So revel in someone’s excitement as if it’s the greatest thing ever. Share their moment with them with integrity and genuine interest. It is a lovely way to be in the moment.

3. Appreciating where you live and what you have. Living in the United States, we are afforded luxuries that the rest of the world simply does not have. A spacious home filled with luxury items like bathrooms, running water, appliances, electricity, plenty of storage, and the local store or supermarket to get what your family needs. Luxury items? Yes, luxury. These things we all take for granted are the very reason that our country is the best in the world.

3. The day teaches the day. There is a Latin phrase: “Dies Diem Docet”. The day teaches the day. It means that each day teaches us something new and the only way to learn our lessons is to be in the moment with our cup of learning empty in order for us to fill it with new knowledge that keeps us balanced in life in action.

Sometimes life is very exciting. We meet fabulous people, visit exotic places and experience great success in our endeavors. Most days are not that way. They are routine and filled with ‘to do’ lists that have to be completed. These types of days are our biggest gifts in life.

Sure we can be our best selves when the pastures are fun and full of laughter. The real test of passion strength, and faith is in the ordinary moments.

It is easy to be nice at an event to the top important people. What about the rest of the crowd? The volunteers who stamp your ticket, the wait staff, the older guests, and the rest of the guests who are just part of the crowd. Try to walk around the room and chat with everyone. Listen intently to all the people. Everyone has a story to share.

Listening and giving the highest regard to every person you talk to is creating space in your life for being in the moment. When we compare the importance of the waiter to that of the company president, the outcome is obvious. The difference is that in life we all have the basic right to learn no matter of our differences. The learning begins when the skill is mastered to be social with everyone and treat people with the same respect whether they are a celebrity or another person providing a service.

4. Inner dialogue. Appropriate inner dialogue is simply the most important life skill to master in order to create a balanced life in action. What we say to ourselves determines the outcome every single moment as we take the journey from sunrise to sunset. Learning to speak to yourself with the utmost respect takes practice. Every emotion has a beginning and an end. What lingers is the feelings of how we handle happiness, anger and everything in between.

5. Family and friends. Some people wish that they had a different life partner, mom and dad, or friends. Being in the moment means appreciating the people in our lives just as they are.

If you want your spouse to be more romantic and attentive, lead by example. Don’t give up if he or she doesn’t catch on the first few times. Try…try again.

If friends call you to complain, divert the conversation to more positive topics. Learn to give and take compliments with a simple response of ’Thank you‘.

Our families are who they are. The better approach is to ’live and let live’…not try to change people. Place your attention on the good qualities of your family members and learn to overlook or rather forgive their shortcomings. You decide what topics you want to discuss and what topics to steer clear.

6. Element of surprise. After a certain age, life begins to take on a routine. We go to college, begin our careers, get married, buy a home, have children and then what? The excitement of new milestones become ever more subtle.

The baby’s first steps, a trip, and awards for excellence in your career, etc. Maintaining an excitement for the everyday small moments is no small task. Building the life you want is only the beginning of the journey. The main event is to maintain it… love it and nurture it so that it thrives long term.

We all have setbacks and life comes at us at 100 miles per hour. The power lies in how we manage it. Living in the moment means that we allow fate’s laughter to perfume our lives with the ‘element of surprise’. It visits us like a good friend in the big moments, but lives like family in the small seemingly insignificant ones. Next time life surprises you, notice it and let it smile inside your heart. It is its own reward…here in the moment.

7. Keep learning. Life, classrooms, people are all essentials to create a cozy environment for learning and evolving academically and spiritually over a lifetime. How do we continue our education long after we leave the halls of our alma maters?

There are a few useful tools to reference. Surround yourself with people that are passionate about their lives. These types of people have mastered a mindset that keeps life fresh and exciting. It is catching and inspiration feels great to share.

Next, read and reread the classics. These types of novels from years past are the best of the history of man as a thinking and aware being. We learn how to reason and feel like we are a part of humanity’s most memorable moments.

Last, listen to people from all walks of life. The art of small talk in average everyday situations keeps life interesting. Turn around and pay a compliment to the mother at the grocery store who is patiently managing three small children and a cartful of groceries. “Your managing the whole scene here quite heroically.” Let the lady at the bank tell you a story about how her son got into the college of his choice. Tell your best friend that her now ex boyfriend was just a lesson to be learned and never repeated.

Reminisce with family and friends about endearing times you’ve shared. There are lessons to be learned at every age. Let the knowledge flow through you like a river. Pay it forward by sharing what you’ve learned, too.

8. Being in the moment by looking ahead. Being in the moment does not mean that we don’t plan for the future. Quite the opposite. When your current circumstances are not where you wish to be, take time out of your busy day to plan ahead.

When your current job is a means to an end, sit down and make a plan of what kind of job would fulfill your needs and desires. Start to work towards the future by chiseling things off of your ’to do’ list. If you are currently working in a field and are trying to change professions, take night classes to complete a new degree. Go on job interviews to land a new career.

Is your current relationship off balance? Make a ’to do’ list of what it would take to bring it back. Initiate change for yourself and then ask your partner to join you.

Is your business in trouble? Make a ’to do’ list on how to create new opportunities for growth in public relations, advertising, or curbing spending habits to generate more income. Planning for the future today gets new inspiration to work for the future.

The Questions-10 Points to Consider Before Entering in a Relationship

April 19, 2010

Dating is fun as a teenager. As we get older and we look towards the future to find a life partner, dating takes on a whole new path. We start to make a mental list of an ideal relationship. We all look for someone with whom we are compatible. Getting our own lives in order is key long before we meet that special someone.

Knowing what to look for in a partner is kind of tricky especially when we meet someone and genuinely like them just as they are. Is this person suitable or is this just infatuation? In the Makeovers Life Lessons exercise, we have devised a list to help the process of finding a good match. Pay close attention to each category on the first few dates and phone conversations after you meet someone. Ask a lot of questions. This is the time to get to know someone and not later after you get attached to each other.

Family. The single most important aspect.  When you have a very tight-knit family and really enjoy being together life is a happy place.  Someone that comes from a different type of environment may not have the patience or desire to really see the magic a close loving functional family serves. Coming from a good family means respect for a mother; a father; children. The key is to really have fun together and enjoy each other’s company…concentrate on the good side of everyone and harboring no resentment for their shortcomings.

Friends. Having a close group of friends is priceless. People with fluid lives that you respect in the utmost sense of the word. Also, some loose cannons left over from childhood, teenage years, college and 20’s always adds to the flavor of the pack of friends.  New friendships that you nurture and will eventually grow into seasoned friendships are a must.

Career. A passion for the work ethic. It does not matter what career path you choose for as long as you are passionate about it  AND you live within your means. If you are a millionaire, live within your means and share the rest of your fortune with less the privileged.  If you are a worker, live within your means and share your free time with the less privileged.   Wish to live a life of service.  That means to enjoy serving a bigger cause than the me, me, me, me, me, me’s.  Someone that has aligned themselves with their higher purpose.

Food and Nutrition. Food is a passion.  It is quite a gift to be aware of what goes to nourish you everyday.  Most of the time, having fresh food for your family takes front and center.  Someone who eats processed food often and the planning for a meal is to say, ”I’m hungry now. Wow. What shall I eat?” sounds like a pretty hard way to go through life.  What a waste it would be to spend so much time in the kitchen if someone really couldn’t care less about food and actually preferred junk food.

Spirituality. There are basic principles in every person’s view on existentialism. Enjoy exploring art, literature(especially the classics), philosophy, psychology, politics, nature, parenthood, business, real estate, and an all time favorite meditation and life lessons…karma…the boomerang effect of all actions.  A good match means two people who take turns being the student and the teacher in a relationship

Looks. We all have a certain type.  Some people are pretty easygoing about who they find attractive. For example, someone who really likes the intellectual type; not so much the athlete or vice versa.. Liking brown hair and eyes versus blond and blue eyes. Liking really tall men or preferring someone more proportionate to your own size. Chemistry matters in the beginning and over the span of a relationship. When you truly like the way a partner looks, it makes life so much more fun.

Romance. The moment we meet, there is a synchronicity of the stars…the whole karmic world just shook and at least one of us felt it…ideally we both felt it.  AAAND the boy/girl dance begins.  You smile when you think about him, the emails and phone calls flow, work and responsibilities are easier to flow through and everything in life seems brighter because the person you want to be with has arrived and will stay indefinitely. Being together has the same effect like craving chocolate.

Intimacy. We are completely comfortable naked and are so every chance we get. We are also comfortable with each other’s shortcomings and never prey on them during times of disagreement.  Fights are contained and both of us have learned the art of practicing no resentment. We share each other’s families and respect EVERY member in that family whether they deserve it or not.  We are aware of our differences and know which buttons to push for love and which ones not to push in fear.

Friendship. A good relationship is based on things we have in common.  Choices in parenting, standard of living, social outings, travel, children close in age, hobbies, fitness level, how to spend free time. If life preferences are way different someone always has to compromise. When two people have parallel lives before they meet, it is easier to merge than if everyone has to sacrifice their own needs and desires to share time together. If you’re raising teenagers and my kids are a decade younger…well, it’s obvious that everyone is going to have a harder time.

The pinky promise. When a budding romance starts out with two people sharing sheer magic between them, it has incredible potential to last because they both feel right for each other.  This makes nurturing and enjoying a relationship easier than if  your union starts out shady. When bumps in the road arise The Pinky Promise will carry us through because we both want to be together…versus one person pushing while the other is pulling.  Life is about ebbs and flows…love being no exception.