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Monthly Archives

September 2012

Coming Home: Drop the Story and Declare Victory

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There are some people who get stuck in the retelling of their own life story. They are the ones who repeatedly remind anyone who will listen how bad (stressful) their life is. These stories are punctuated with a recapitulation of horrible events and much suffering. By repeating the worse chapters in their lives over and over again, they become a caricature of a victim. They wear the label of a victim on our forehead. Renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell reminds us that in every good story (and there are many bad ones) has three parts: 1) the departure (mild stress), 2) the initiation (lots of stress) and 3) the return home (resolution and celebration). The story of the prodigal son is a great example of the Hero’s Journey. So is the story of Pinocchio. The story of the victim is a bad story, yet it is a common one. Each of us in not only a character in our own life story, we are the author as well.
Stress Tip for the Day:
How do you turn a bad story into a good story? You can begin by dropping the label of victim; in essence, drop the story (the ball and chain of victimization) and head home. Coming home is a metaphor for returning to homeostasis or inner peace. So today, make a habit of eavesdropping on the conversations you share with people. Are you the victim or the victor? Do you see validation for your stress, but turn that validation into a whirlpool of anger/anxiety and dive in? Drop the story and come on home. Its time to celebrate the best parts of life, and there are many of them to celebrate. Come on home!
Links and Books Worth Noting:
 Here is a link on the topic of victimization;
http://joy2meu.com/Empowerment.html

Quote for the Day:
“Come down off the cross. Someone needs the firewood for heating their home.” —Anonymous.
Photo for the Day:
As I write this blog entry, I am in the region of Tuscany, Italy, where the endearing story of Pinocchio was created.  Enjoy!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Using Your Life Gifts

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One of the most profound questions you can ever ask yourself is this: Why am I here? The question begs to know what is our purpose in life. Perhaps the cornerstone of one’s life purpose is to express your special talent(s). That unique ability that allows you to make the world a better place and bring joy to your heart as well. Is it your sense of humor? Your sense of creativity (and if so, demonstrated how?). Renowned mythologist called this “following your bliss.” Anyone who has ever watched the myriad of talent shows knows that there are many people with some amazing talent (and not just singing). What is a wasted life? Luminaries will tell you it is someone who fails to use their unique gift to make the world a better place. Apathy, laziness and stress can derail one’s efforts. As the expression goes, it’s a combination of inspiration and perspiration. Talents and gifts don’t necessarily translate into cash or fame. They do, however, allow you to reach your highest potential and that after all is what we are all here for.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Using your unique gift is another way of being your authentic self; also known as living your truth. While many people say they cannot do this because their lives are too stressed, perhaps a better way to look at this is that stress becomes magnified when we fail to use our unique gifts. So… what are your gifts? Make a strategy today to express yourself at your highest potential (whatever that might be) to make the world a better place. Allow your spirit to fly and your soul to shine bright today.
Links and Books Worth Noting:
One of my favorite singers is Eva Cassidy. Eva is someone who never gave up on her gift, despite the fact that she could never get a recording contract. Ironically, after her death, her music has sold millions, reaching a level of fame that escaped her in life (somewhere here there is a message: do what you love and follow your bliss anyway).
Here is a link of Eva Cassidy singing The Tennessee Waltz. Enjoy!
Quote for the Day:
“Your life is God’s gift to you. How you choose to life your life, is your gift to God.” — Anonymous.
Photo for the Day:
While walking down the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, I saw this artist sharing his talented gifts make the world a better place (for everyone walking by.) Enjoy!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Distractions on the Spiritual Path

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The human experience has often been described as a journey, some call it a “spiritual journey;” an evolution of consciousness. It could be said that this evolution of consciousness is one in which one moves from a motivation of fear toward a motivation of love and compassion. Like any hike from point A to B, there are hills and valleys, just as there are obstructions or roadblocks.  Least we forget there are also distractions; things that pull off the path. In simplest terms, distractions begin as attractions. While we all know the merits of stopping to smell the roses, yet pulling off the side of the road indefinitely becomes toxic to the human spirit. In simple terms distractions become addictive behaviors or obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Experts suggest that the newest addiction to hit the culture are now known as “screen addictions;” the addiction to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, texting, Google, and countless other web activities. In Freudian terms, distractions are one big ego fest.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Time to take stock of your life for a moment: Being completely honest with yourself, ask yourself what are some distractions in your life? If you cannon come up with an answer, ask a friend or family member to help identify one for you. Here is a hint: start with your habits with TV watching, Internet use, Facebook updates, or video games. If this side of your life looks clean, examine your eating habits (is food a means to soothe your feelings… with comfort foods?) Honoring the concept of “Healthy boundaries” scale back on one activity/behavior (e.g., computer use, sugar consumption) today (with the hopes to make this reduction a new habit.  Rather than feeding your addiction, try fasting it today. Make a serious effort to move from fear to compassion. End the ego fest!
Links and Books Worth Noting:
Here is a nice on-line article on the topic of distractions.
The books, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water and Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart offer some great insights into the aspects of distractions.
Quote for the Day:
“Happiness can only be found if you can free yourself of all other distractions.” — Saul Bellow
 “Distractions begin as attractions.” — Brian Luke Seaward
Photo for the Day:
While I have many photos to use that will steal your attention, this image posted on Facebook seemed to be the most appropriate. Enjoy!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

Unplugged: The Sound of Silence

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Think about it. When is the last time you sat in complete silence?  The world is a very noisy place today. From television and radio to Ipods and Pandora selections (and a million other electrical sounds) we are rarely in the presence of a quiet environment. The word used to describe loud noise is “cacophony” and since the invention of the electrical outlet, the air has become filled with all kinds of noises. Truth be told, a walk in nature has its share of noises too, mostly birds and perhaps some frogs and let us not forget the wind or the claps of thunder. Yet nature has its quiet times too. Electronic environments do not. All of this high tech world noise tends to have an ever-increasing negative impact on your nervous system, which, at times, craves quiet solitude, also known as homeostasis. Periods of quiet are good for the brain. These same periods are also good for the heart and soul.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Some people are afraid of silence. They turn the TV or radio as the first thing they do when they walk into their house. Some even fall asleep with the TV or radio on. Silence is your friend, learn to make it so. If you have never sat in silence for 10 to 15 minutes at a stretch, this may feel weird, but give it a try today. Become aware of the level of noise in your life you are one step closer to achieving inner peace. Learn to find comfort in moments of silence. And when you can learn to silence the ego for these moments you are living the art of silence. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
Links and Books Worth Noting:
Here is an article from Psychology Today on the  Power of Silence:
Here is another article on the Power of Silence: Enjoy!
Quote for the Day:
“I have begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn form it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.” — Chaim Potok, author, The Chosen
 
Photo for the Day:
Today’s image is a photo I took while on vacation in Scotland’s Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides. It’s a magical place with beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The only sound is the gentle ocean surf, and even that is quiet. Enjoy!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and Your Mouth: Good Dental Hygiene

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Last week I had my teeth cleaned and with the retirement of my dentist, I had quite the conversation with my new dental hygienist.  Here is what I learned: Your mouth contains over 400 bacteria, most of which are used in the initial digestion of foods, but some that are just trouble makers (stress).  Best to remove these. Brushing and flossing not only remove food and the beginnings of plaque buildup, they also remove unwanted bacteria. Gargle and rinse! You should brush and floss your teeth twice a-day, but people who are stressed often skip brushing due to time constraints. Not good! Chewing gum isn’t not a good substitute for not brushing. Coffee and tea stain your teeth. Unless you know how to use a toothbrush properly, an electric brush is easier on your gums (gum tissue recedes with the aging process, but is accelerated with pour (rapid) brushing). Most surgeons (particularly cardiologists) won’t operate on patients until they have good dental work done first due to all the germs that can quickly migrate from the mouth via the capillaries to the heart. Stress (in the form of anger) can also result in TMJ (teeth grinding) which will ultimately result in bone loss. Not Good! A night guard may help the symptoms of TMJ, but not the cause.  I am happy to report a clean bill of health with my teeth. As I walked out I saw a poster that said, “Ignore your teeth and they will go away.” Good advice!
Stress Tip for the Day:
Good dental hygiene is essential, not just for your teeth, but for your overall health. Brush often (twice daily) and slowly. Brushing doesn’t remove all food particles, which why you need to floss as well. Avoiding (minimizing) sugar is always ideal as sugar and teeth enamel are not good friends. Sugar also can suppress the immune system. Remember, a smile is one of the best gifts you can give anyone.
Links and Books Worth Noting:
The following article from the Mayo Clinic provides some more information on this topic: Enjoy:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00001
Quote for the Day:
“Every tooth in a man’s head is more valuable than a diamond.”  —Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote
Photo for the Day:
While in Hawaii in August last month I was able to photograph a rare (endangered) monk seal on the beach near my hotel in Oahu. I took many photos but his yawn  revealing his teeth was the most appropriate for this blog today. Enjoy.
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Organic Food Choices: Eat for a Healthy Immune System

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An article just published by researchers at Stanford University looked at the benefits of eating organic foods. Their results concluded there really is no benefit. This came as a bit of a surprise to the researchers.  Others too! Commentators on NPR this morning had an interesting take on this. The meta-analysis looked at studies two years in length. Most chronic diseases (including cancer) caused by the bio-accumulation of toxic petrochemicals (used in fertilizers and pesticides) take years if not decades to manifest.  I am reminded of the sage wisdom that states, “Just because you’re not sick doesn’t mean your healthy.” For foods to be labeled organic, a few things need to be followed through: first, the soil has to be clean of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for a three-year period. Secondly, foods cannot be grown with these chemicals. Thirdly foods cannot contain genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). Commentators on NPR stated that one benefit the study failed to look at was that farmers who don’t use these chemicals also don’t have this toxic runoff into streams and lakes, where we tend to get our water supply.
Stress Tip for the Day:
The benefit of eating organic is not a daily exercise so much as it is a choice in the quality of your life; choosing to make healthy choices. The quality of food you eat is an investment in your health. Indeed, organic foods ARE more expensive,  mostly because the farmers who grow organic foods are not subsidized by governmental loans. What they didn’t say in this study was that the increased bio-accumulation of chemical toxins will compromise your immune system. So if nothing more, eating organic helps to promote a healthy immune system. Remember this advice too: error on the side of caution.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Here a link which looks at the Stanford Study:
Quote for the Day:

“Organic foods are richer in nutrients. This means they improve satiety and naturally help to regulate body weight. Plants produce antioxidants to protect themselves from pest, like insects, and to withstand harsh winters. When they are treated with chemicals such as pesticides, they don’t need to produce as much of their own natural defenses so the levels are lower.” — Cynthia Sass
Photo for the Day:
Today’s photo was taken at my local Farmer’s Market where these farmers grow their crops organically, mostly because the people where I live demand better quality food. Enjoy!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net