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Monthly Archives

October 2012

Why Do People Lie? A Question of Trust

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Simply stated, people lie out of fear (stress) often in a state of panic. Sometimes they lie because of frustration, but mostly out of fear. In either case, stress-prone lying is inappropriate behavior. At the highest levels, it’s unethical…and immoral. At best lying is a form of insecurity. When lying is done as an act of deceit (for personal/selfish gain), it’s despicable. And while everyone has lied at some point in their lives, it doesn’t make it right. The repercussions of lying undermine everyone’s level of trust. When trust is lost, it is extremely hard to regain one’s confidence. No one likes being lied to. Lies come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from white lies (an effort to honor a sense of confidentiality) to big fat whoppers; those are the worst, because they tend to put stress on others.  People who make a habit out of lying are called pathological liers and stress governs their lives. Plain and simple, lying is a distortion of reality. Plain and simple, lying is wrong.
Stress Tip for The Day:
Make a habit of placing a filter over your mouth before you speak. Ask yourself if you are distorting reality (yours and others).  Do your lies hurt others? Equally important, are the words that leave your lips a short term effort to appease your level of stress?  As the metaphor goes, lies become an inescapable web. As the saying goes, “the truth will set you free.”  Opt for the truth every time. Take time to honor the concept of honesty. It IS the best policy.
Links and Books of Note:
M. Scott Peck has a wonderful book called, People of the Lie. I highly recommend it.
Quotes of the Day:
“It’s better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” — George Washington

“Tell the truth, it’s easier to remember.”—Mark Twain
Photo of the Day
With an abundance of examples of lies in the news today, I decided to play it safe with a photo from my trip to Tuscany, Italy, the home of the renowned fable Pinocchio and let you read between the lines.
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.

The Art of Atonement; Making Amends

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I heard a story on NPR’s Fresh Air last week based on an article in the New Yorker, titled, Atonement. It involved a story of a US Marine who shot and killed several innocent people caught in an ambush in Iraq. Learning the survivors of the incident had moved to California, not far from where he lived, he made an effort to contact and eventually meet the surviving members to make amends. Making amends begins with an apology to others, but includes an apology to yourself. More than just seeking forgiveness, making amends is an exercise in seeking inner peace. Making amends is one of the hallmarks of the AA program, and in fact, a hallmark of most addiction and recovery programs. Atonement is also the hallmark of a great many religions. As one of my Jewish friends described to me, “Atonement is returning to the SOURCE… at-one-ment., but you can only do this once you have cleansed through the shower of forgiveness.”
Stress Tip for The Day:
Is there someone whom you need to make amends? Now is the time. One of the best ways to start the process is to write a letter (even if you never mail it). Peace on earth first begins with making peace with yourself. Even if the person with whom you wish to reach out to is out of reach, begin with a letter and trust that the message will be delivered heart to heart. Life is short. The time is now. Time to enter the shower of forgiveness.
Links and Books of Note:
Here is the link to the Fresh Air interview…
PS. Last night I went to see the movie Cloud Atlas. It’s about the topic of reincarnation, with a subtext that until we work toward resolutions, we keep spinning our wheels on the wheel of life. I highly recommend the movie!
Quotes of the Day:
“I want to try making things right because picking up the pieces is way better than leaving them the way they are.”— Simone Elkeless
“Making amends with some people just for the sake of it is a sign of maturity.” — Anonymous
Photo of the Day:
Today’s photo of the day was taken in Death Valley. I took this photo in the early morning light, reflected in the stillness of dawn.  It seems to fit the theme of today’s blog. 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.

Spiritual But Not Religious? You’re not Alone…

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A news brief last week cited a recent poll highlighting the fact that over 30 percent (nearly one-third) of Americans claim no affiliation to an organized religion.  While some experts find this alarming, others who dig deeper into the facts find (as I have talking to many college students) that many of these people claim ‘they are very spiritual, but not religious.’ The topic of human spirituality is colossal (and complex). Wisdom keepers will explain that cornerstone of human spirituality is comprised of relationships, values and a meaningful purpose in life, all of which can not only become stressors, but shake the very foundations of our lives. Under the black cloud of stress, many people begin to look for answers, often times beyond the confines of their own backyard. Experts call this a “spiritual hunger.” As the saying goes, “spiritual hunger leads to spiritual exploration.”Today, many religions are under fire for a great many reasons (fill in the blank here _________) but one thing they serve well is a sense of community. There are those who say the spiritual path cannot be measured. It surely cannot be measured in miles or years and certainly not in possessions, though God knows, people try. Others say the spiritual path is between 12-14 inches… the distance from your head to your heart.
Stress Tip for The Day:
You can be spiritual, yet not religious and you can be religious, but not spiritual. And of course you can be both. Regardless of what comprises your belief system what matters most is being true to yourself and strive to reach your highest potential. When the ego eclipses the light of the soul, spiritual growth is stunted. What feeds your spirit? For some it’s getting back to nature. For others it is serving the less fortunate. For everyone it is the realization that we are part of something oh so much bigger than ourselves. We are seemingly insignificant, yet essential to the divine universe. Take time today to realize your connection to the divine, whatever you conceive this to be.
Links and Books of Note:
There are many great books on the topic of spiritual growth: Here are some of my favorites:
1.    The Four Agreements (Ruiz)
2.     Care of the Soul (Moore)
3.    The Road Less Traveled (Peck)
4.    Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water (Seaward)
5. Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart (Seaward)
And I highly recommend viewing the new documentary, Finding Joe (on the topic of The Hero’s Journey.)
Quotes of the Day:
“The purpose in life is to bring light in the darkness of mere being.” — Carl G. Jung
Photo of the Day
Nature is considered by many to stir the soul (it stirs mine). The sunsets in Colorado this past week have been nothing less than spectacular (it was hard to select THE best image for today’s blog) but this one caught my eye… 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.

Personal Power: Don’t Give It Away

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Spiritual luminaries the world-over have a common message: You are a beautiful soul. As much as we hear this message we tend to forget it, ignore it, or simply don’t believe it. Our personal power, often described as our personal energy (some say our self-esteem), is dynamic, but like a leak in a canoe that takes in lots of water, we continually hemorrhage our power giving it away to others (all kinds of people from physicians and professional athletes to movie stars and politicians).  Here is an example: Last week’s cover story of Newsweek: Heaven is Real: A Doctor’s story. To be honest, if we need a Harvard physician to confirm our spiritual beliefs about heaven we are all in trouble. Personal power is greatly diminished when we give our power freely to others (many of whom don’t even want it). While it is nice, and sometimes necessary to seek validation of your thoughts and perceptions, giving your power away is never a good idea. It only degrades your self-esteem and robs you of your personal power. Time to take back your power and keep it.
Stress Tip for The Day:
Time to take inventory of where you might have leaked your personal energy. Do you give your power away to other people (spouses, sports teams, friends,  or colleagues). Take an honest look to see if you have knowingly or more likely unknowingly, given your power away. Giving your power away happens in many ways, from repeatedly “dropping names” to being all too consumed with the lives of others rather than living your own life.  Taking back your power includes building your self-esteem, seeing your own true worth and knowing that you, being yourself, is essential to the integrity of humanity. As the expression goes, “Be yourself. Everybody else is taken.”  So take back your power today… and keep it. Remember the wisdom of the sages: You are a beautiful soul. Let light shine through your heart each and every day.
Links and Books of Note:
Here are a few links with more information on the topic of preventing the loss of personal power:
Quotes of the Day:
“You are perfect. The only time you are not perfect is when you compare yourself to others.” — Rose Pere
Photo of the Day
The fall colors in Colorado are amazing this time of year. This photo was taken near Aspen, Colorado; mountain peaks called the Maroon Bells. 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.

Fifty Shades of Earl Grey: The Art of Tea

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Get your mind out of the gutter. OK! Now that I have your attention, can we talk about tea? Of all the many, if not countless ways to relax, one should not forget to include sipping a nice cup of hot tea. There is an art to preparing tea. It takes time to heat/boil the water (never use a microwave to do this!) There is a message here.  Slow down. It takes time for the essential oils which carry the flavors of the tea to seep into and diffuse into the water. There is a message here as well. Slow down. One doesn’t guzzle tea. One sips tea… slowly. Once again, there is a message here. Slow down. The art of tea is the art of slowing down and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. Slowing down. Now there is a novel concept in this fast pace world we live in! When done right, the art of tea is almost sensuous. Of course, we have all heard about the benefits of green tea (antioxidants that fight free radicals), white tea (with less caffeine) and herbal teas (with some great natural flavors), but the real secret to great tea isn’t just in the tea bag. It’s the quality of water. Soft water has many salts, whereas hard water has many minerals both of which can greatly affect the taste.
Stress Tip for The Day: Tea drinkers will confide that any time of day is a great time to relax, but early mornings and late in the evening (we recommend herbal teas without caffeine, after 6:00 p.m.) My preference is Early Grey after breakfast, but I drink licorice herbal tea at the start of my day to meditate. If you don’t have a water filter in your kitchen, this would be a great time to look into one, as fresh water makes for much better tea. Also the best tea is made from the freshest herb (those with essential oils. Essential oils are destroyed by light and heat, so consider throwing away any old tea bags and start fresh. Finally, take the hint and slow down today with a cup of tea. Master the art of tea…. The art of slowing down.
Links and Books of Note:
You may have heard about all the tea in China, but the Japanese have a wonderful way to celebrate life through tea as well. Here is a link to learn more. Enjoy!
http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/02/06/mastering-the-art-of-tea/
Quotes of the Day:
“Where there is tea, there is hope.”—Author Pinero
“Tea to the British is really a picnic indoors.” —Alice Walker
“I can never find a tea cup big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C.S. Lewis.
Photo of the Day
This summer while on a group tour to Ireland, a few of us sat down for a cup of tea at the Ashford Castle. Simply marvelous, indeed!
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.

With Malice Toward None

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Have you noticed how “stressed” people are today?  Anger and frustrations seem to be on the rise. When people carry this anger in their persona, it acts like a virus. Others who are upset with minor things quickly become vulnerable to the anger virus. With egos in defense, the “anger virus” can become a communicable disease. In the role of observer, I have noticed that angry people are quick to lash out at others (mostly verbally, including a lot of sarcasm) when expectations are not met (remember: every anger episode is the result of unmet expectations). A closer examination often reveals that while people can be clueless, selfish, and possibly rude, rarely are they malicious. Translation: the reasons for your anger are often unjustified. Don’t take things personally.
Stress Tip for the Day
How often do you get angry per day? Estimates suggest the average person demonstrates some form of anger (from impatience and guilt to rage and hostility) 15-20 times per day.  While the feelings of anger may be valid, often the reasons for loosing it are not. Take a moment to step outside yourself and ask WHY are you angry? Try to look at the situation from someone else’s perspective. Try to gather a bit more information. Most likely you will end up offering an apology, particularly when you realize the world doesn’t revolve around you. Finally, remember that while anger is a healthy emotion (it’s a survival emotion), holding it in isn’t healthy. Take a deep breath and let go of your anger. Don’t take things personally.
Links, Books and/or Movies Worth Noting:
One book I highly recommend for everyone’s personal library is Harriet Lerner’s, The Dance of Anger. Another book worth noting is Ruth King’s Healing Rage.
Quote for the Day:
“He who angers you, conquers you.”—Elizabeth Kenny
Photo For the Day
While walking the streets of Venice a few weeks ago, I observed a street vendor show frustration with the weather as she covered her artwork with plastic and ducked for cover to make a phone call. 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.

The Stress of Politics & The Politics of Stress

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As we enter the countdown round of Double Jeopardy: The 2012 elections, take a deep breath and consider taking a political fast: Turn off the TV, radio and Internet news for a 24-48 hour period (longer if you can). Political marketers and spin-masters have learned long ago that both fear and anger (negative campaigning and soundbytes) sell. What you may not know is that (unless you meditate) your primary instincts of fight or flight rule your behavior), making you most susceptible to this nonsense. Simply stated, you walk around all day more anger and more anxious. NOT GOOD! Having just returned from a group trip abroad (the Spirit of Italy Tour), I instituted a few ground rules the first day, including no political conversations about our national elections (everyone joyously agreed). As the expression goes, “opinions are like belly buttons. Everyone’s got one. ” No one needs any negativity on vacation (at least that kind). I am delighted to report that everyone happily complied the entire duration of the trip. But you don’t need to leave the country to make your own ground rules (also known as healthy boundaries). Fasting promotes the health of the human spirit.
Stress Tip for the Day
Take a fast from the news, negative ads and political rhetoric for a 24-48 hour period; longer if you can. Stay educated on the issues, but stay clear of the negativity. Consider implementing some healthy boundaries with your intake of news. Renowned physician, Andy Weil, even suggests NOT to watch TV while eating, as it tends to impact the even flow of your digestion.Through it all, learn to rise above the fray!
Links, Books and/or Movies of Note
What are you going to do with all of that free time on your hands by not watching television? Pick up a good book. Here is a recommendation. OPEN, by Andre Agassi. Here is another: Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward. And I highly recommend the movie, Brother Son, Sister Moon (about the life of St. Francis)
Quote of the Day
“Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful harvest.” — Ovid
Photo of the Day
While in Tuscany, Italy last week, our tour group took a side trip to Assisi, the famed town of St. Francis. Assisi is recognized as an international City of Peace, as expressed in the first line of St. Francis’s most famous prayer: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”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.

Eat a Variety of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables!

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By and large, Americans don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. Not only do fruits and veggies contain a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals, they also contain fiber (roughage). Moreover, fresh (and let’s include organic) fruits and veggies contain countless other ingredients including antioxidants and bioflavinoids (both of which help fight cancer and give a boost to the immune system). Specifically, antioxidants destroy free radicals (and free radicals, an oxygen molecule with an aberrant electron, are known to destroy cell membranes, RNA, DNA and cell mitochondria—Not Good!) Colon cancer is quite prevalent in the USA (suggested to be the second most common form of cancer). The daily intake of fiber is suggested to be 30-40 grams. Most Americans consume less than 10 grams per day. Fiber acts like a broom to clean the gastro-intestinal track, most notably, the colon. Toxins that don’t get swept out can cause problems (e.g. colon cancer). Whenever possible opt for organic produce which contains markedly less petrochemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides). So… do like your mother suggested and eat a variety of fresh fruits and veggies.
Stress Tip for the Day:
You may have heard a lot about the raw food diet these days. While the jury is still out on eating exclusively raw (uncooked) foods) this much we do know: heat is known to destroy vitamins. Moreover, plopping veggies in water to cook leaches the vitamins and minerals out into the water, which then gets thrown away. Steaming veggies is the best approach). Regardless of how you cook veggies, the real message here is to consume a variety of fresh fruits and veggies.
Links and Books Worth Noting:
I would highly recommend reading Michael Polan’s book, In Defense of Food. Polan gained deserved recognition for his best selling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which is also a good read.
Quote for the Day:
“When in doubt, eat dark green leafy vegetables.” — Anonymous
“When you realize all of the petrochemicals on our foods, saying grace before a meal takes on a whole new meaning.” — Brian Luke Seaward
Photo for the Day:
I had a chance to roam the fresh food markets in both Florence and Venice this week; quiet the sensory experience, and a photographer’s delight.  Rumor has that Moldovia had the best Veggies in the world, but I for one LOVED what I ate in Florence and Venice. 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.