A Thought From M. Scott Peck

In his famous book “The Road Less Traveled,” M. Scott Peck has this to say about the work of attention:

“The principal form that the work of love takes is attention. When we love another we give him or her our attention; we attend to that person’s growth. When we love ourselves we attend to our own growth. When we attend to someone, we are caring for that person. The act of attending requires that we make the effort to set aside our existing preoccupations and actively shift our consciousness. Attention is an act of will.”

One of the greatest gifts we can give to our loved ones is to attend – to be able to listen to understand, to be able to set aside quality time together, to be able to be mindful of their needs and act in forethought to show them love. One of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves is to attend – to our own needs, to what brings us joy, to what feeds our comfort system, to that which makes us whole.

As Mary Oliver reminds us “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” 

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Thought from Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman is a best selling author, well known for his books on Emotional Intelligence. He often writes about how having an EQ is just as important as your IQ; and how our emotional abilities are an important part of growth and strength in relationships. He writes:

“In a very real sense, we have two minds; one that thinks and one that feels.” 

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

When we have a greater capacity for understanding our emotions; whether that be a tendency to over react 0r a tendency to suppress, we can begin the work of moving to a higher state of emotional intelligence. Goleman notes that empathy is a high water mark of EQ:

For a greater exploration of emotional intelligence, you can link into a past series on just this topic:

EQ 1,





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A Thought From Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman is a psychologist who is considered the father of modern positive psychology. This is what he has to say about what we choose to focus on:

“When we take time to notice the things that go right – it means we are getting a lot of little rewards

throughout the day.” – Martin Seligman

Think about how many times we tend to focus on what goes wrong, on how the weather is not co-operating, on how someone else’s behaviour has the ability to sway our mood. We often take for granted the things that we expect will go right, so when something creates a roadblock, or isn’t exactly as we hoped it would be, it can set us off and we can follow the slippery slope to a negative mindset.

When we purposefully decide to notice what goes right, we give ourselves permission to feel good about ourselves. When we notice and give credit to our loved ones, we give them the gift of appreciation. By acknowledging the good, we temper the bad. 🙂

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From Thought to Action

Yesterday’s post featured a helpful tip in dealing with negative thoughts that came from Russ Harris and his book “The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living.” Based on ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) principles, Harris also featured a term that resonated by way of adding a layer to action.

We know and can appreciate the importance of movement forward in order to live a life fulfilled. We can sense when we are feeling stuck or lost, or when we have chosen to feed the dysfunction. Action, then, is an important element in our growth. Harris features the term “effective action” when speaking about improving the quality of life. He notes that effective action is based on values and when we can live from the position of what brings us integrity, we build character.

Essentially, it isn’t enough to simply choose something, but rather to choose it based on the question “Is this action effective in living up to my values?” It is only from this question can we begin to set goals that line up to our values; thereby creating a more decisive and confident structure to our own sense of contentedness; to a sense of being grounded and safe in ourselves.

“The Happiness Trap” by Russ Harris is filled with many thoughtful principles and has exercises to better cement the material. It is a book not just worth reading, but worth doing 🙂

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A Good Tip for Negative Thoughts

 Because we feel the most secure when we are safe, our brain is designed to look for danger. This was great when we lived on the plains and every day was a matter of survival; today, we live with a negative bias, which can lead to an automatic lean into negative thoughts. In the book “The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living” by Russ Harris, he writes:

“Whether a thought is true is not that important. Far more important is whether it’s helpful. Truthful or not, thoughts are nothing more than words. If they’re helpful words, then it’s worth paying attention to them. If they’re not helpful, then why bother?”

This stood out to me as an important tip when trying to deal with an automatic thought that is taking up too much energy and space within us. When we lean into guilty thoughts that have no merit,  thoughts of self-blame, insecure thoughts tied to core beliefs or worries that we have no control over, we help to feed the loop often generated by negative thought. Our brain is ‘searching’ for a way to solve the danger that the negative thought implies. Harris notes that by asking ourselves “Is this thought helpful?” we begin to question the validity of the thought, relying more on fact and less on perception.

If we find ourselves ruminating or leaning into an automatic thought, we can begin to ask ourselves “Is this thought helpful?” And if it isn’t, we can move towards a thought or action that better promotes the mindset we wish to create.

Tomorrow’s post will look at another good tip from Russ Harris about action.

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Our Possibilities

Something that I recently heard Oprah Winfrey say is

“You are not your circumstances. You are your possibilities.” – Oprah Winfrey

It struck me that we can fit this thought into just about any context:

It can be in reference to childhood and how many people have come from a painful and chaotic past. We can choose to heal from the trauma that accompanied it, creating resiliency and spiritual strength.

It can be in reference to a break up or separation. Sometimes when in the midst of heartache, we doubt we will ever feel happy again. And yet the possibility of love is forever present; both internal and external in nature, both to give and to receive.

It can be in reference to grief. As we move through the very important process of grief, we can allow our sorrow to infuse joy into our daily life again.

In any circumstance, we can move to focus on the blessings we have in our lives; we can choose love over fear, we can hold hope to light the darkness.

We are not our circumstances, we are our possibilities.

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Let’s Talk About Walking

I often talk about the benefits of walking – not only from an exercise perspective, but also from one of movement – as well as the mindful and purposeful seeking of peace. This is what Sarah Ban Breathnach has to say about walking in her book “Simple Abundance;”

“My desire to walk increases a hundredfold by beautiful settings – particularly rural ones.”

She goes on to explain how she felt when moving from the charming English countryside to the Western landscape of New Mexico:

“I understood why pioneers pushed past everything to find their promised land. I also understood that the Great Creator wanted me to understand that there was a  landscape larger than the one I could see at the moment. I needed to trust and continue on in faith, one step at a time, until I arrived at wherever I was supposed to be.”

And reminds us that regardless of our landscape:

“There are different reasons for walking – to increase the heart rate and build strength, to solve a creative problem, to finish that argument with yourself or someone else, to saunter and wake up to the world around you, and to meditate……I suppose it doesn’t matter why we walk, just that we do.”

Thank you for the lovely reminder 🙂

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A Thought From Gary Zukav

In his best selling book entitled “The Seat of the Soul,” Gary Zukav has this to say about intention:

“When an intention comes from your heart, it brings the energy of your heart into your action and creates experiences for you. When your intention is not from your heart, it brings fear into your action and creates your experiences. You must be aware of what you are feeling and thinking in order to recognize the difference.” 

He goes on to mention that we can ask ourselves this question as a mini checklist:

“Is my heart open? Is it clear, grounded and inclusive?”

If your answer is yes, your heart is open and your intention “keeps you in touch with the whole.”

What a great reminder when we are unsure of our intention. If our fearful feelings are potentially leading us to an action urge that we may regret, we can ask ourselves about our intention and whether or not it is being driven by fear or by love 🙂

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A Thought from the Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama and spiritual leader of Tibet has said:

“When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.” – Dalai Lama

How many times are we quick to perceive that someone or something is to blame for our misfortune? How many times are we quick to make a judgement about someone else, especially in our perception of that person in relation to us? How many times do we linger in our suffering, or treasure a wound?

It is in our nature to focus on these things because of our negative bias. In order to keep ourselves safe from danger, we catalogue the wrong doings, the painful experiences; we are attuned to the hurt so as to avoid them again in the future.

Yet it is also in our nature to seek peace. We desire to feel calm, content. We have an inherent pull to forgive; to let go of the suffering and feel its release from the weighted space it has taken up in our hearts.

If we understand the Dalai Lama’s wise words, we recognize that we can hang on to the hurt and linger in our misery as to what has wronged us or we can move towards peace through forgiveness. The choice is ours. 🙂

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A Thought About Healing from the Inside Out

Dr. Will Cole is an American functional-medicine expert who specializes in the underlying factors that cause chronic disease, autoimmune conditions, and the like. In a podcast episode I was listening to, he made two very enlightening comments about our intention to heal. He noted that:

“You can’t heal a body you hate.”

“You can’t shame your way to wellness.”

Isn’t it so true that when we think about our bodies or our appearance, we often focus on the things we don’t like? We walk past a mirror, and we immediately focus in on the part we wished looked somehow different, thinner, better? By doing so, we immediately shame ourselves – reinforcing what we have perceived to not be ideal or perfect for us.

We can begin to recognize that, in order to heal, we must do so from the inside out. That may include the foods we put into our body and the movement we increase to optimize our body’s ability to function well – but it can also include how we speak to ourselves. We can add to our gratitude list that we are thankful for the beating of our heart, the ability our bodies have to eliminate toxins, the miraculous system that is our physical self. We can also stop by that mirror and admire the things we love about our appearance; we can thank our body for serving us well, we can reinforce our commitment to it – that we will endeavor to heal ourselves from the inside out. 🙂

To visit Dr. Will Cole’s website: https://drwillcole.com/

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