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Triumph of the Human Spirit

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Like many of you, I have been quite engrossed with the 2012 summer Olympics (hence the tardy blog entries). And like many of you I have been more than inspired by the remarkable triumph of the human spirit, on several occasions, no less. With all due respect to Michael Phelps, there are just some stories that tug hard at the heartstrings and make us realize that we should never feel sorry for ourselves (to do so is quite unbecoming). Two stories come to mind. First, that of Kieran Behan of Ireland, who at a young age fell to his knees with two serious injuries, was told by his physician that he would never walk. Yet a passion for all things gymnastics couldn’t keep him down. To see him compete in the men’s gymnastics floor exercises was sheer triumph. So too, is the story of Oscar Pistorius, the first amputee (double amputee at that) to not only compete in the track and field events (and not the para-Olympics either), but to make it to the semi-finals in his event, the 400 meters. Simply stunning! There are lessons to be learned from these great spiritual teachers. Here is the lesson: When you get done grieving a loss, pick yourself up … and keep moving.
Stress Tip for the Day: 
Grieving is a part of the human condition, but prolonged grieving is a cage we lock ourselves into and throw away the key. What bars do you stand behind that impede you from letting your spirit soar? No matter what your age, no matter what your situation, freedom is a thought away and triumph of the human spirit beckons you to keep moving forward. Make a goal today to accomplish something that has been on your list for a while, perhaps even your bucket list. Stop making excuses. Excuses are roadblocks put up by the ego. The triumph of the human spirit is allowing the ego to remain silent while the soul takes a leap of faith and flies on the wings of inspiration. The next step is yours…..
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Read the New York Times story of Kieran Behan:
Quotes for the Day:
“You are not disabled by your disabilities. You are able by the abilities you have.” — Oscar Pistorious
Photo for the Day:
Who could not be inspired by the efforts today of Oscar Pistorious, from South Africa, who earned a coveted spot in the semi-finals of the 400 meters. Photo courtesy of the internet. Thanks… and thanks, Oscar.
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.

A Vote for Optimism

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Watching the London Olympics this weekend brought back many fond memories of my sport psychology work with many summer and winter Olympic athletes decades ago.  I am reminded that at that level of competition, what separates the medalists from those close behind is one’s mental attitude… in the face of adversity. It’s called “mental training.”  Not only does mental training include meditation (increased focus and concentration), mental rehearsal; mental imagery and visualization, Team dynamics and confidence building, but also a heavy dose of optimism. Perhaps it’s no secret that these same attributes are necessary for each and every one of us, whether we are headed for Olympic competition, or headed to work on Monday morning. Research reveals that an optimistic attitude is also good for the immune system. Optimism isn’t a denial of reality. It’s the fulfillment of your highest potential.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Optimism is more than silver linings and lemonade. It’s a knowing that in the end, it will all work out wonderfully. But our positive attitude is what gets us there. Make a habit of looking for the good in things today.  While you are at it, look for the good in each person as well. When you see/meet someone whom you meet resistance with, have compassion that the dark cloud over their head has momentarily eclipised their light within.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Here is a great article on the topic of Optimism from TIME magazine 2011:
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2074067,00.html
 
Quotes for the Day:
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” —Winston Churchill
“Choose to be optimistic; it feels better.” —The 14 Dalai Lama
Photo for the Day:
Hot off his victory in the 400 meter IM, Ryan Lochte is the new poster boy for optimism; a reminder for all of us to strive for our highest potential. Go Ryan!
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.

Perfections vs. Excellence

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I have a friend who’s a great musician, yet he he has yet to cut an album because he’s afraid it won’t be perfect. Likewise, I have a friend who hopes to publish several books (she’s been trying for years), yet something keeps holding her back from finishing the final draft much less submitting it to a publisher. That something deals with her hopes for the “perfect” book. After a few decades under my belt, I feel fairly confident to say that perfection doesn’t exist. There is no perfect wedding. Most every book has at least one typo or grammatical error, and if you look hard enough diamonds have flaws.  Even Yo-Yo Ma admits to making mistakes while playing in concert. While perfections may be elusive, excellence abounds everywhere. It is the ego that demands perfection, and while some ego is good, too much can become quite stifling, particularly when it comes to reaching our highest potential. As the expression goes, “You are perfect. The only time you are not perfect is when you compare yourself to others.”
Stress Tip for the Day:
Don’t abandon all hopes for quality today. Merely recalibrate your expectations by getting out of the way of your ego. Demanding perfection of yourself is futile (it’s just another ego-based control drama). Instead, sets your sights on excellence. Remember that excellence takes practice (and at times, some frustration).  As you go through your day today, cast off the filter of ego, and reach for your highest potential, even if there are a few mistakes along the way. After all, mistakes are stepping stones to excellence.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Several years ago author Terry Orlick came out with a book called The Pursuit of Excellence. It’s now in it’s fourth edition and the message is timeless.
Quotes for the Day:
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habits in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it’s a prevailing attitude.” — Colin Powell
“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” — Harriet Braiker
Photo for the Day:
There are no perfect photographs either (that’s why there is cropping.. and Photoshop). Here is one of my favorite shots of the Tetons at Sunrise I took several years ago. 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 Senseless Tragedy

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How does one make sense of a senseless act of violence?  Try as we might to understand these (fill in the blanks here __________) acts, ones that clearly promote stress, most likely, we never will. Like many of you, I woke up this morning to hear of the tragedy at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie. Unlike most of you, this act of senseless violence took place within an hour of where I live, making it all the more palpable. Grieving experts remind us that our first reaction to something like this is shock, followed by disbelief, for some anger, then resignation. Even if we can never make sense of such a stupid, egotistical, senseless act, once we are done mourning, we must move on with our lives. For failing to move, we become one more casualty in this senseless assault. If there is one thing this day teaches us, it reminds us all that life is precious, and we must never take anything for granted, including those whom we love and those who love us.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Days like today remind us to stop and offer prayers and healing energy to those who must literally pick up the pieces of a senseless tragedy. Days like today remind us to help those less fortunate than ourselves, for we are all connected together as one human family. Days like today remind us to take time to grieve (through the entire spectrum of emotions) and then release, detach, forgive (if necessary) and move on. We many never fully understand such a tragedy, but we can prevent ourselves from giving our power away to those who commit such acts of anger and violence.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Years ago in graduate school I came across a great book about grieving called Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst. If you can ever get your hands on this book, I highly recommend it.
Quote for the Day:
“When your fear touches someone’s pain, it becomes pity. When your love touches someone’s pain, it becomes compassion.” — Steven Levine.
Photo for the Day:
Many photos have appeared on Facebook today in memory of those who died last night in Colorado. A days like this leaves me in a quandary as to what to post for a photo. At the time of writing this, this one seemed to catch my eye despite the fact that I am not really a Batman fan. I may change it, but for now here goes…..
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 Global Warming (Climate Change)

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Until recently the weather was always thought to be a safe topic of conversation. Not anymore. Today it’s up there with religion and politics. It’s rather hard not to notice the weather over the past several weeks. Heat, heat and more heat. (we had some serious fires in Colorado too!) The word “extreme” is used often in terms of describing the current weather situation. And as the heat and effects of drought affect agriculture across the country, speculation about spikes in food prices also works it’s way into the national conversation. So does the cost of energy with regard to air conditioning. Meanwhile over in Ireland last month, extreme weather was described often in terms of rain (a very wet spring & summer due to a shift in the Gulfstream… due to melting ice sheets from Greenland). It’s a well known fact that when ambient temperatures increase, so does stress (primarily anger). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that as changes in global warming increase and continue, stress, in all it’s many forms will most likely increase as well. In the words of Al Gore, “The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences.”
Stress Tip for the Day:
To live in harmony with nature means many things, not the least of which means to live in a correct pace of nature. Summer heat tends to cause one to slow down (good idea!). It’s also a reminder to eat less, as we expend less calories. We should take the hint and begin to live a slower paced life. A slower paced life could include sitting on your front or back porch in the late afternoon/evening getting to know your neighbors, too. It might include preparing some vegetarian meals (cool fruits and veggies for diner). Take time to slow down today, and the rest of the summer. Drink some iced tea. And give thanks for the invention of AC. If you find your buttons getting pushed, remember anger and heat connection. Don’t give your power away.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
If you haven’t see Al Gore’s movie (lately) it might serve as a great refresher of what is going on now.
Here is an article from the Huffington Post worth reading:
Quote for the Day:
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature, the assurance that dawn comes after night and spring after winter.” — Rachel Carson.
Photo for the Day:
Today’s flower is a fuchsia bloom that I photographed at the base of Crough Patrick near Westport Ireland. By the way, I have noticed that some of my plants that don’t usually bloom until August started blooming the last day of June. Ugh!
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.

Time for Some Random Acts of Kindness

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Science is proving what the sages and mystics have know for eons; when people open their hearts, in an act of compassion in action, everyone benefits, including the people giving of themselves. From a boost in positive neuropeptides to remarkable synchronicities, helping others has some remarkable consequences. The bottom line is that we make the world a better place, if only for one person, if only for one moment. And the world is only made up of moments. To give of ourselves selflessly is a noble act indeed. In doing so, the soul’s light shines bright. As the saying goes, in giving we receive. What makes random acts of kindness so special is that the anonymous act is one where nothing is expected in return. The gift is unconditional. An unconditional gift or gesture is the highest form of love.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Random acts of kindness are anonymous acts of generosity; true altruism. It might be handing a homeless person a dollar bill. It might be paying the toll for the person behind you on the highway. I could be simply smiling at someone behind the cash register who is having a bad day. There are many lonely people sitting in hospitals who by receiving a loving intention would be forever grateful. And if you need to think of someone specifically, I have a friend named Michael, who could use some prayers and healing energy with his prolonged hospital stay through the end of August. Thanks!
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
My publisher, Conari Press, first published the book, Random Acts of Kindnessnearly 20 years ago. It’s a good a read now as it was when it first came out. Enjoy!
Quote for the Day:
 “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” — The Dalai Lama
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” —Philo
Photo for the Day:
This photo was taken last year while I was in the small village of Pienza, Italy, in the Tuscany region. This is the town where Franco Zephreilli filmed the now classic movie, Romeo & Juliet. 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.

Above the Fray

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Every now and again, it is useful, if not essential to step outside our normal means of existence and daily routines to take in the full perspective of life. This after all, is the purpose of a vacation; to get away from it all. In doing so, we gain some clarity in our lives, clarity in relationships, clarity with our life direction, clarity with everything. Seeing our lives from a distance is also the purpose of meditation; to step back from our ego-based realities to gain a sense of spiritual clarity. This is also known as being “above the fray.” With distance comes perspective. With perspective comes understanding. With understanding comes wisdom. As the meditation expression goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.”
Stress Tip for the Day:
Somewhere in the course of today, close your eyes for a few moments and take a metaphorical step back from your life. Imagine how someone from Greenland might view your life. How might a dying person view your life? Imagine how a destitute person might perceive your life. How might your great-great-great grandmother or grandfather view your life? Once you play with these perspectives in your mind, remind yourself how good you really have it. And once you can learn to step back, realize the importance of being “above the fray,” in a fast-paced world where there is much negativity and ego-based fear mongering. Whether it’s a meditation practice or a tropical vacation, these times of stepping back are a reminder to “ be in this world, but not of it.” Please make a habit of it.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
A documentary movie called Winged Migration, follows several species of birds with some of THE most incredible footage ever filmed. Not only is it a great film, but a great reminder to stay above the fray.
Quote for the Day:
“You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; You have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” —Max Ehrmann, Desiderata
Photo for the Day:
Today’s photo was taken a few weeks ago on the top of Crough Patrick, a sacred mountain near Westport, Ireland. I climbed the mountain with several people from our tour, including Matt, pictured here, wearing the famous red jacket. Thanks Matt. 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.

Healthy Boundaries: Off to Ireland

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Dear friends, fans and colleagues, 
For the next three weeks I will be presenting at a conference and leading a tour group to Ireland. I have found that while on the road, it is a challenge to keep up with the blog entries. So… to reinforce an important stress management (and time management) concept and coping skill, I am establishing a healthy boundary with this blog by putting it on hiatus until the first week of July. Thanks for your understanding.
As they say in Ireland, Slainte (Slan-cha!), to your health!
Stress Tip for the Day:
Where can you establish a healthy boundary? Take a moment to evaluate your life and see where you can pull the reins in. Then… make a strategy. Tell your friends and colleagues of this new boundary and then do it. It’s that simple.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
If you are looking for a great summer book to read, I would like to recommend Anum Cara, by John O’Donahue. It’s a book about Celtic Spirituality. If you can listen to it on a CD (with his Irish accent), event better!
Quote for the Day:
“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him throughout temporary periods of joy. ” — William Butler Yeats, Irish Poet
Photo for the Day:
I am renting a booth at the Colorado Irish Festival (July 13-15 in Littleton) and will be selling posters, note cards, totes and a 2013 picture calendar. Here is one image that will be both a poster and note card. Enjoy (and if you are free that weekend, come over and say hi!)
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.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

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In 1997, Don Miguel Ruiz came out with a wonderful little book, called The Four Agreements. They are four simple rules to live by. Agreement No 2 states: Don’t take anything personally. The premise of this rule is to learn to let things roll off your back (the Teflon coping skill of stress management). Under stress, the perceptions of the ego become magnified 10 fold. When others are under stress, they are thinking only about themselves. As a consequence, there is a lot of rude, cynical, sarcastic and less than desirable behaviors that come full force in our direction, or so it seems. Don’t take it personally. Sensitive people tend to absorb these negative energies, which ultimately causes internal stress.
There is a find line between thickening your skin and turning the other cheek, yet both are possible at the same time when you can learn to rise above the occasion and domesticate your own ego. The real lesson is not take anything personally while at the same time offer compassion. This is known as the “unbearable lightness of being.” Once you have this down, you have conquered the world. So the message today (and every day is this: Don’t take things personally, but keep your heart open).
Stress Tip for the Day:
It bears repeating that the best way to rise above the fray is to meditate each day. Sitting still, focusing on your breathing, and clearing your head of the ego chitter-chatter becomes the best way to domesticate your own ego; the simple inoculation of daily stress. In essence you become not only the observer of your thoughts, but you eventually learn to observe yourself observing your thoughts. This is called detachment; a necessary step in learning NOT to take anything personally. And remember, by and large, people are not malicious. They are just clueless (perhaps you’ve noticed).
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Today’s book recommendation is the best selling book, The Four Agreements. And if you ever get a chance to hear Don speak, I highly recommend it.
Quote for the Day:
“Don’t take things personally. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world. Don’t take things personally.” — Don Miguel Ruiz
Photo for the Day:
Today’s photo is an image of Hanging Lake Falls, near Glenwood Springs, Colorado… 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.

Happy Monday, Indeed!

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  There is a trend in Colorado (perhaps other places too) to greet people with an expression, based on the actual day. I think it began with Thursdays, but I am not sure. In some parts of the world, it’s “Good Morning!.” In other parts of the country it’s, “How’s it going?” But in Colorado, it’s “Happy Monday,” or “Happy Friday,”… you get the idea: A simple salutation to bring good cheer. One of my favorite harbingers of good cheer is the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip. Though it only lasted for 10 years in the daily papers (1986-1996, I think) the creator, Sam Watterson, left me smiling for decades, and it hasn’t stopped. I giggle just thinking about how Calvin tormented his teacher Ms. Wormwood, or his neighbor, Sally. Happy Monday, indeed. Today, in the spirit of “Have a nice day,” and as a tribute to Calvin and Hobbes, here are some famous Calvin quotes to bring a smile to your face. After all, laughter is one way to make people happy!~ Happy Monday everybody!
Stress Tip for the Day:
Being happy is all about attitude. It’s a mindset and humor can help, if only momentarily. And life is made up of moments. Today’s goal is to find those moments, as many as you can… to make today a happy day indeed. You can start by reading some of Calvin’s quotes below. You can continue by being silly (see above illustration). You can finish the day by sharing a smile, with somebody who really needs one. Smiles are infectious… Pass them on. Happy Monday!
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
If you don’t have a Calvin and Hobbes anthology cartoon book, what are you waiting for? Go get one.
You can also find a cartoon strip a day with these links:
Quotes for the Day:
• Calvin: You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.
• Calvin: Everybody seeks happiness! Not me, though! That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world. Happiness isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria!
• Calvin: They say the world is a stage. But obviously the play is unrehearsed and everybody is ad-libbing his lines.
Hobbes: Maybe that’s why it’s hard to tell if we’re living in a tragedy or a farce.
• Calvin: We need more special effects and dance numbers.
•  Calvin: Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
•Calvin: Trick or treat!
Adult: Where’s your costume? What are you supposed to be?
• Calvin: I’m yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Madison Avenue and Hollywood, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you’re old and weak. Am I scary, or what?
Photo for the Day:
This came from a Facebook update that I included as today’s image, with thanks to Bill Watterson; a true genius. 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.

Fear Mongering and More Fear Mongering

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In his best selling book, Spontaneous Healing, Physician Andy Weil suggests that people do not eat while watching television. Too many negative vibrations, he says. His point is that it’s hard to digest your food while stressed. And he is right. There is a lot of fear mongering going on out there, from politics to the stupid Mayan 2012 interpretations of the world coming to an end (it’s NOT coming to an end). Moreover, it’s not just on the TV, but radio, and the Internet as well. Weil, and others, put forth a challenge. You feed your body with food, but what do you feed your head (mind) with? Is it mindless entertainment? Stupid political bickering? Fatalistic or catastrophic predictions?   Fear-based propaganda? Feeding your head (the conscious and perhaps more importantly, the subconscious minds) is as important as a well-balanced diet of the essential nutrients. Why do people gravitate toward fear mongering? On can only guess, but it’s quite likely due to the ego’s need to control. The world is NOT coming to an end, by any stretch of the imagination, so don’t buy into that negative message. Instead, shift your perception toward optimism. It’s the best digestive strategy for both mind and body.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Consider the idea of a “news fast.” Take time out from your habits of watching the news or listening to it on the radio or web. Start today. Include in this fast the removal of any fear-based movies as well.  If you have ever done this before, you know that when you re-emerge, the same stories surface only the names have changed. Do it for a day and see how you feel, then consider a few days a week. If something important comes up, trust that someone will tell you. Start filling your head with positive and happy sensations. Make a habit of doing this each and every day.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
If you can get your hands on a copy of Spontaneous Healing, I would highly recommend reading it.
Quote for the Day:
“Feed your head.” Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland
Photo for the Day:
While in Cancun several years ago I took this photo at Chitzen Itza. Again, let me say that the world is not coming to an end. The Mayans, like many other indigenous cultures, understood the concept of natural cycles. Whenever one cycle ends, the next one begins. 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.

Enjoy the Wonders of Life

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There is a whole side of stress that doesn’t get much notice, and it should. It’s the good stress, also called eustress. You know you’re in a eustress moment when you feel like you want to hug the world. Eustress is one part happiness, two parts gratitude, one part wonder and many parts mystery. This we do know: a cocktail of stress hormones flood the body, but unlike distress, this stress cocktail is different. It consists of additional neuropeptides and hormones that signify a feeling of euphoria; a great feeling to experience. Dopamine is one such brain chemical. So is Serotonin. Oxytocin is another (it’s also the neuropeptide associated with falling in love). The wonders of life are many, and sometimes it just takes getting out of your “routine” to notice just what they are. Abraham Maslow called these moments Peak Experiences.. I call them Holy Moments. In Colorado we call these natural highs. To be honest, what they are called doesn’t matter. Ensuring that you are open to experiencing them does.
Stress Tip for the Day:
It’s time to step outside your comfort zone today and go explore something new. Set your intention to co-create a new (and wonderful) day, with many new positive experiences. Then put on some clean clothes, grab your keys and head out the door. Abandon any expectations but set a few goals, perhaps to meet one new person today, or learn something you never knew before.  Take a small hike in the nearest park and bring your camera. Put some birdseed in the feeder and wait to see who shows up. Go to a festival or event, but rather than fight the crowds, slow down to flow smoothly with the crowd. Find some new music to grace your ears. LIVE your joy!
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
On the chance you might be looking for a good book to read, consider picking up the book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It will surely open your eyes to see more beauty in your life.
Quote for the Day:
“Praise is the noise that joy makes.” —Matthew Fox.
Photo for the Day:
This being the first weekend of summer, I went down to the Boulder Creek Festival on Sunday and got more than an earful of great music. This photo is of three young men jamming on the Pearl Street Mall, to the great delight of all listening, including me. 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.

Be Prepared, Not Scared…Solar Flares and Stress

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The cover story of this month’s issue of National Geographic highlights a potential super solar storm. Tucked in amongst the physics of solar plasma bursts and coronal mass ejections is the information that a solar flare, much like the one in 1859, if repeated, is likely to take down the US electrical power grid for a week, perhaps a month, not to mention some damage to cell phone satellites. How would Americans live without electricity for a week, or a month? It might prove to be a little stressful, particularly if one is not prepared. (I should add that a few high level military employees have shared with me they were told to plan for 2-3 months without power.) It’s not like you have weeks to prepare for an event like this. Scientists have about 30-90 mins to let the world know something dramatically solar is coming our way. While having no power for a while might be a good lesson in learning to slow down and focus on what is really important in life, the old Boy Scout motto, “be prepared” comes to mind. The upshot of all of this is that we are going to have some GREAT northern lights.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Without acting like the world is coming to an end, are you well prepared for an event like this? Do you have plenty of canned and dry goods to draw upon for meals. How about water, plenty of water? How about flashlight batteries, candles, matches, toilet paper, a few hundred dollars in small bills in case any stores might be open, and of course, a few good books to read (I can recommend a few in need any). Emergency preparedness is always a great idea, whether it’s because of potential floods, earthquakes or forest fires. To this list we should add cosmic weather,: super solar storms. Take time this weekend to stock up on supplies, so IF this day ever comes, you are well prepared and can sit back and ride out the solar storm in comfort, rather than running through the streets in a panic. If you don’t have an emergency preparedness kit, now might be a good time to get one this weekend. Be prepared, not scared.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Here is the online article from NG: Enjoy:
Here is a link to an item at Costco for an emergency kit. Take a look at what they have in there and see if you need any of this stuff. Below is a similar link to the American Red Cross kit.
Quote for the Day:
“The morally right thing to do once you’ve identified a threat of this magnitude is to be prepared. No preparing for this has intolerable consequences.” —Karel Schrijver, National Geographic, June 2012.
Photo for the Day:
Last Sunday was a near solar eclipse. I took this photo from my back yard (with two polarizer filters and some cloud cover to help). Solar eclipses were thought to be the harbinger of dramatic change. Might be a good idea to be prepared for any change on the horizon, even if the change isn’t solar, but a financial meltdown.

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.

Integrity: One’s True Colors

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In talking to a colleague the other day, he lamented about his holiday weekend plans. “I’ll be working,” he said. “No one to go home to.” He explained that his wife won a large settlement of money two years ago and the day she got her check, she left him  (only now,  years later, she wants to come back home and make up). In hearing his story, many thoughts went through my head, but the expression true colorsechoed in my ears. Integrity seems to be in short supply these days when one looks at the greed on Wall Street or the gridlock in Washington, sometimes just down the street. A quick look reveals that integrity is used in terms of morals and ethics. A deeper search suggests it simply means honesty. People lie to each other in a great many ways, but the root cause of dishonesty is either fear or anger; the two primary stress emotions. The expression “true colors” means an honest expression of yourself (without filters … or lies). One’s true colors are often reveals by stress. Hemmingway, spoke of the high road when he used the expression, “Grace under pressure.”
Stress Tip for the Day:
What are your true colors? Are they bright or faded? Are they inviting or disdainful? Is your moral integrity a part of who you are or just an idea? Your thoughts and feelings comprise a part of your auric field; that which represents your true colors. Negative fear based thoughts reveal unattractive dull colors. No amount of TIDE will make these colors brighter, nor will the color of your clothes help. In fact, the only way to make your “true colors” attractive to others is to make a habit of cleaning up your thoughts and emotions so they are not fear-based. Honesty is a tough cross to bear for some, due to the power of fear. Metaphorically speaking, here is another perspective… if people could smell your thoughts and emotions, would they find them as dank odors or pleasant fragrances. What are your true colors… If you don’t like what you see, start cleansing the vibrations of your heart and mind.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Cyndi Lauper had a hit song called True Colors…. If you can, take a listen on Pandora or Itunes…..
Quote for the Day:
“If someone shows you their true colors, don’t try to repaint them.” — Taina, NYC Poet.
“Tell the truth… it’s easier to remember.”—Mark Twain
Photo for the Day:
Today’s photo is a picture I took of the flag of Cusco, Peru, not far from Machu Pichu (see the mountains in the background?). The rainbow flag of Cusco is symbolic of the divine essence found in the three kingdoms of shamanism, as light bends toward each kingdom. 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.

Breasts, Bras, Toxins, Cancer, Stress

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A woman in Boulder Colorado, Florence Williams, has written a new book, titled, Breasts. In this book she covers everything from the physiology of the mammary glands to various social implications and fascinations thereof. In an NPR interview, Ms. Williams shared how a recent sample of her breast milk revealed, through various tests, traces of flame retardant, jet fuel, various pesticides and the carcinogen dioxin.  Not good! Since breasts are composed primarily of fatty tissue, and fatty tissue often becomes the depository for toxins, she (cautiously) makes the link to breast cancer quite easily. She also addresses the topic of early onset puberty with girls, ages 8-9 developing breasts at a much earlier age than a generation ago (this is thought to be related now to the increase in non-inert chemicals associated with plastics that affect sex hormones, as well as a diet high in fat calories). Perhaps, as no surprise with the obesity epidemic, the fashion industry notes that cup sizes, on average, have increased in the past decade as well.  Men, like women, are also prone for breast cancer (the US Military is now studying this due to radical increases in Marines (men) diagnosed with breast cancer at Camp Lejune, N.C., known recently for significant toxins dumps on/near the base). Many home healthcare products are ladened with chemicals that activate various hormones in the body. Williams stated that scientists still don’t know what causes breast cancer (too many variables, they say). You don’t have to be a Nobel prize winner, however to connect the dots.  Cancer of any type is most definitely a stressor, yet knowledge is power. Please stay informed.
Stress Tip for the Day:
At the risk of personal sharing (a lump was found in the breast of a former girlfriend of mine). Turns out it was just a fibrous lump, thought to be associated with a high intake of caffeine (she would drink up to 10 cups of coffee a day).  She was lucky. Breast exams should be a regular routine for both women… and men. To decrease the risk of breast cancer it is suggested to decrease your exposure to petrochemical toxins, including synthetic fertilizers that contain synthetic estrogens.  Organic foods are highly recommended, and ladies, if you wear a wired bra, please consider some alternatives, (including simply “removing” the wire). Tight bras cause congestion in the lymph glands located near the breasts, opening up the opportunity for problems in this area, as toxins that are not flushed out tend to accumulate near the closest fatty tissue.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
I haven’t read Ms. Williams book, but from what I heard on the NPR radio show, I highly recommend it.
Here is a link to the radio interview Terry Gross did with the author on Fresh Air:
http://www.npr.org/2012/05/16/152818798/breasts-bigger-and-more-vulnerable-to-toxins
 I would also like to once again recommend the book, Plastic; A toxic love story.
Quote for the Day:
“It turns out that our breasts are almost like sponges, the way they can soak up some of these chemicals, especially the ones that tend to accumulate in fat tissue.” — Florence Williams
Photo for the Day:
Paying tribute to the work of my friend and colleague, Donna Eden, I often talk about the problems associated with wired bras and breast cancer. During a workshop, one of my attendees excused herself, only to come back minutes later bra in hand. Point well taken.

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 Management & Relaxation Italian Style

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Italy Calling: Please Join Us In Tuscany this September (21-30)
Last year’s group trip to Italy was simply magical, so much so I decided to plan a second trip back to the heart of Tuscany this year, with a side trip to Assisi (my patron saint is Saint Francis—just had to go there, even if it’s only for a long lunch) and our final three days are in Venice. If you have ever wanted to see these regions of Italy, traveling in the safety of a small group, with some dedicated time (about an hour) each morning for meditation, restorative yoga, music therapy and guided imagery, not to mention some fabulous meals and a gentle immersion into the Italian culture, history, art and ambiance, then please …join us! We have THE best tour company and guides that will make this trip a trip of a lifetime. This trip is open to anyone including couples. Italy is calling.. start packing your bags.
Stress Tip for the Day: 
The name of this 10 day-trip is: The Spirit of Italy: Eat, Walk, Meditate, and the trip’s theme is taking care of yourself. This trip will be a time to recalibrate your mind, body and spirit back to a healthy balance of living, with some life skills to take back home to integrate back into your life. Vacations can be stressful, but based on the comments from people who went last year, our trip was a flawless effort of relaxation an comfort. This year’s trip will be the same. We have 5 spots left and we have no doubt this trip will fill up soon. If you have any questions, please email or call me and I will be glad to answer them for you (303) 678.9962
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
All the information you will need about this trip can be found by clicking this link:
The PDF brochure with registration form can be accessed by clicking the link below:
http://brianlukeseaward.net/spirit_of_italy_2012.pdf
Quote (s) for the Day:
“Life offers you a thousand chances. All you have to do is take one.” — Frances Mayes, author, Under A Tuscan Sun
“A person who has not been to Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority.” —Samuel Johnson
“Certainly, in Italy, nobody takes light for granted.” — Barbara Steele
Photo for the Day:
This year, we end out trip with three wonderful days in Venice. May this photo light a fire in the soul of your dreams…. please join us in Italy for what promises to be a trip of a lifetime, (and perhaps my last group trip to Italy).
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 10 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.

Obesity and Stress

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I heard the producer of the upcoming HBO special, The Weight of the Nation (Confronting America’s Obesity Epidemic) speak on NPR last week. Of the many things discussed on the show, was the fact that the quality of food in America is greatly compromised with vast amounts of sugar, salt and fat (not to mention chemicals), all of which may taste good, but are HUGE factors in the obesity epidemic in our country. It was stated that over the millennia our bodies were designed to store fat in the event of food scarcity. This may have been a problem centuries ago, it’s not today. Today, food scarcity is anything but a problem. Making matters worse is the epidemic of stress. Stress produces the stress hormone, cortisol, which promotes an increase in adipose (fat) tissue. Combined with this the fact that food producers market incessantly to your ego, with subliminal and not so subliminal messages to eat and eat and eat. One more fact to consider: the use of high technology (from Ipads to merely driving a car an hour a day) has made our culture VERY sedentary. The bottom line is this; if the calories consumed are greater than the calories expended, weight gain will most certainly occur. The factors for obesity in the country are many and quite complex. The consequences of chronic health issues associated with obesity  (from heart disease, diabetes and cancer) are monumental and quite complex, all of which endlessly spins the obesity and stress cycle.
Stress Tip for the Day:
So.. how does one get off of the obesity and stress cycle? Begin by unplugging from the intravenous tube of marketing: the television. Make a habit of getting outside and walking each morning for 20 mins (see link below).  Read food labels (see photo) and shift your diet towards fruits and veggies. If you eat at restaurants (and do this infrequently), ask for outdoor seating (indoors they turn the AC on which affects appetite, making you eat more). Shift away from mindless eating (eating out of boredom or stress). Eat more organic foods and less processed foods. Try to be more conscious of what you eat, how often you eat and how to expend more calories. As my financial experts reminds me about my retirement funds, “Don’t feel guilty, just start where you are and move forward.”
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Here is a link to an interview on Fresh Air about the merits of walking… a good read:
I would also like to recommend the book, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink as well as the book, In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan.
Quote for the Day:
“If it’s made by a plant, eat it. If it’s made in a plant, DON’T eat it.” — Anonymous
Photo for the Day:
I took today’s photo off the Internet. For something as simple as guacamole: avocados, tomatoes and perhaps some sour cream, look at all the ingredients in this mixture of guacamole. Don’t look to natural to me. Don’t sacrifice convenience for good health. Please make a habit of reading all food labels. And…as the saying goes, if you cannot pronounce it easily, you shouldn’t eat it.

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.

Be a Good Mystic: Embrace The Mystery!

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There is a mystical side of life that contains all the things that we will never fully understand, even with scientific double blind studies. We live in a physical world, yet we also live in a world animated by spiritual forces that cannot be measured through microscopes or telescopes. These unseen divine forces may never be fully understood. We can 1) scratch our heads in puzzlement, 2) deny their existence and run in the opposite direction, or 3) and this is the best choice, simply embrace the mystery!  Divine synchronicities, spontaneous remissions, crop circles (real ones, not those made by the two drunk guys with boards and ropes), and answered prayers are examples of some of life’s mysteries. In the physical world of countless stress and dangers, not to mention big egos, it would do us well to peel back the curtain every now and then and realize that there is always more going on than meets the eye. One must learn to trust the Universe. To be a good mystic doesn’t mean you can walk on water, levitate while meditating or even bi-locate. To be a good mystic merely means one learns to embrace life’s mystery. Fear occludes our ability to see love, and love is the greatest mystery of all.
Stress Tip for the Day:
How can you begin to peel back the curtain, if only momentarily, to see the bigger picture of life? Well, you can start by meditating. Learn to sit quietly each day and calm your mind (the ego part of the mind). Meditation is simply clearing the windshield of your mind’s eye so you can see clearly. We are never going to fully understand everything in life (if you think you do, this is called being delusional). Embracing the mystery means to see the world through the eyes of a child, where nothing is taking for granted, and everything is new and exciting. When you begi nto realize that the supernatural is really quite natural and the ordinary is quite extraordinary, they you have learned to embrace the mystery of life.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Hollywood does a great job of reminding us of the miracles of life. Here are some inspiring movies that will help you pull back the curtain and embrace the mystery:
1.     MindWalk
2.     The Wizard of Oz
3.     Earth Songs: Mountains, Water and the Healing Power of Nature
4.      Finding Joe
Quote for the Day:
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  —Albert Einstein
“Trying to scientifically prove the existence of God is like eating broth with a fork. You might get a small taste, but you’re missing both substance and essence.”—Brian Luke Seaward
Photo for the Day:
This photo of the Beltane Stone Circle in County Donegal, Ireland was created over 4,000 years ago as a celestial sun calendar. Just like Stonehenge. There are many stone monuments in Ireland, many built before the Egyptian pyramids, and like the pyramids, we can only speculate how they were built. Embrace the mystery.
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 Secret of Happiness is Contentment

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There is much talk today of happiness and the ways to reach it. Happiness, however, isn’t a destination to reach. It’s a perception, a mindset. There are those that believe that people are born with this mindset. There are others who believe that each of us can achieve this perception merely by redirecting our thoughts. Both are true. Sometimes it takes a really stressful event to make us realize how grateful we are for what we have rather than desiring what we don’t have.  The secret to happiness is contentment; a stillpoint of realization that happiness is found within, not through external measures and possessions. Contentment is more than being grateful for the small things in life, it’s being grateful for simply being. Contentment is a song the heart sings in the quiet moments of the day. Can you hear it?
Stress Tip for the Day:
It is human nature to want things to fill the void that we think the echo of happiness creates.  This echo really comes from the heart’s song. True happiness begins inside with the realization that we are a gift  to the world and life is a gift to us as well. Make a list of 25 things that bring joy to your life that are already in your life, including the things you take for granted. Post this list on the bathroom mirror or fridge and let it remind you of the power of contentment. If you wish, make another list of 25 things you are grateful of. Post this list too. Finally, in your meditation sit still and meditate on the power of contentment. Be happy!
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
http://zenhabits.net/the-incredible-power-of-contentment/
Quote for the Day:
“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.” — Socrates
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” —Cicero
Photo for the Day:
While walking through a park in the Hamptons last week, I held my hand out (as an expression of joy) and a chickadee landing on my fingertips. That made me happy! 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.

Resiliency: To Bounce Back

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This week I was invited down to the Colorado Springs  Olympic Training Center to attend the 2012 Paralympic Games; an international sports event for people with disabilities. It was there I met Mac, a young 20-year old US Army soldier who has lost his right leg in the war in Afghanistan. He was excited to compete in the 50 yd freestyle event. “I’m not really a swimmer, ” he told me, but as someone who does swim, I was humbled by his efforts. In my eyes Mac is quite the hero indeed, and Joseph Campbell would be proud. Mac has demonstrated the importance of resiliency on the Hero’s Journey. I met several other members of the US Army (all heroes), but Mac made the biggest impression on me. In describing his story, it was easy to see that he demonstrates the epitome of resiliency. Mac has truly picked himself back up again after a mighty fall, and through it all keeps smiling.  There are many things that contribute to resiliency: Faith, hope, optimism, humor, patience, humbleness, and compassion. I could tell that Mac has not only found the formula, but drinks from it every day. We would all do well to follow his lead!
Stress Tip for the Day:
Life is going to hand you several knocks and most likely a few blows. Each time you have a choice to make: to stay down (and feel sorry for yourself) or… pick yourself back up and keep moving. Resiliency isn’t a gift for a choose few. It’ a birthright for everyone. Take time today to review your life standing. It’s OK if you have had a pity party (that’s normal). What’s not normal it to hang on to the grief on a daily basis. Make a plan today to elevate yourself (through humor, faith, optimism, etc.) and get back on your two (metaphorical) feet. The world is waiting for you.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
This video link should lift your spirits… enjoy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-ann7BnC7A
Quote for the Day:
“Sometimes to be whole, you have to have a piece missing.” —Mac
Photo for the Day:
 This photo of Mac before he entered the water to workout for his paralympic events. When you see a member of the armed forces, take time to thank them for their service.
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

The Art of Assertiveness

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Last week over a breakfast meal of French toast, fresh cut fruit and grits the topic of  assertiveness came up. It came up again at a recent nursing conference I spoke at in Cleveland. In simple terms, there are three kinds of behavior: passive, assertive and aggressive; Depending on the activity, we can do all three in the course of a day, though one style does tend to influence our personality and behavior. Example: people can have passive behavior with their dietary habits, yet have an aggressive behavior with their driving habits. With a passive behavior mindset, people tend to get walked over by others (who are being aggressive, or at the least, taking advantage of someone else’s perceived weaknesses). People who act aggressively toward others can do so in subtle ways including sarcasm, pessimism, peer pressure and the infamous passive-aggressive style. Aggressive behavior is motivated by anger (and sometimes fear). Passive behavior is motivated by fear as well, and usually both of these behavior styles are displayed unconsciously. The ideal way (a conscious choice) is the middle road, the assertive path, where you diplomatically achieve what is rightfully yours while ensuring that others receive what is rightfully theirs.  To be assertive is to walk in balance. Honoring others as you would honor yourself.
Stress Tip for the Day:
What is your predominant behavior style? Do you feel victimized? If so, you might be leaning toward the passive side. Are you often pissed-off, frustrated, angry, manipulative, passive-aggressive or easily peeved? If so, your dominant style might be that of the aggressive style. In striving to find the middle ground, practice using the skills of diplomacy when talking to others with regard to personal requests. Feel no remorse or regret with your choices. See yourself as worthy of what you want, but no better or worse than anyone else. Walking the assertive path is one of humble confidence. So, keep your chin up today, but lower your eyes to those less fortunate than you. Smile at those who come across as aggressive, for they have yet to make peace with their anger. Walk the middle path of inner peace.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
The following link offers some insights to the bill of rights for assertiveness. Take a look and try to adopt a few of these.
And Melody Beattie’s classic book, Co-Dependent No More is the hallmark book of moving from passive to assertive behavior.
Quote for the Day:
“ Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and then let them howl.” —Benjamin Jowet
Photo for the Day:
A photo of a tourist walking on Inch Beach near the Dingle Peninsula of Ireland. 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.

Watch the Beef: Dangers of Factory Farming

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Watch the Beef!
News headlines this week highlight a problem in the beef industry: Mad Cow Disease. If you have been following the news, there are other problems too. Last week my head turned 360 degrees when I saw a headline that read: “People eating cloned beef without knowing it.” News last week reported about the use of ammonia in cow remains that later become hamburger, also known as “pink slime.” It is safe to say that today’s hamburger is NOT your grandfather’s hamburger! By now we all know the stats regarding cancer and heart disease and the high saturated fat content of red meat. In case you didn’t hear, people who eat a lot of red meat are more prone for health related problems. Whether its Mad Cow, pink slime, E-coli, cloned meat, or abundant hormones and antibiotics, you don’t need to read between the lines here. There is a huge health problem eating beef. Simply stated, beef that contains chemicals and pathogens is a stress to the body. By an large, American eat way too much protein any way, so cutting back on these toxins is always a good idea.
Stress Tip for the Day:
There is a good argument for being a vegetarian these days, when you consider all the preservatives, additives, hormones, antibiotics, petro-chemical fertilizers, ammonia and God knows what else in the meat you are eating. Today’s hamburger is NOT your Grandfather’s hamburger. If you do decide to continue eating mean, it is highly recommended to eat free-range food, animals that are not loaded with antibiotics and hormones and that eat natural grasses. Another bit of information worth sharing is that it takes over 2,500 gallons of water to produce one hamburger (water and the lack thereof is becoming a HUGE problem around the world.  Here is the tip of the day: If you choose to eat red meat, consider eating buffalo (all buffalo is free range). Currently (and this may change) buffalo (domesticated) roam pretty wild, only eating native grasses. They aren’t shot up with hormones or antibiotics, like the factory farm cows, and there is typically less fat (making it a little drier, but it works well in chili.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
I highly recommend you read the book, Mad Cowboy, by Howard Lyman. He’s the former cattle rancher that Oprah had on her show. It was here she make the comment, after learning about the beef industry, that she would never eat another hamburger again… and then got sued by the beef industry. She won, thank God, but Lyman’s book is an excellent read. To this list I would also add the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.
Quote for the Day:
“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ” —Thomas A Edison
Photo for the Day:
These happy cows are grass fed (not corn fed). They are also high altitude cattle, living at about 8,000 feet above sea level near Estes Park. 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 Your Fruits and Vegetables: The Chakra (rainbow) Diet

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When I was teaching my course, Nutrition, Health & Performance at the University of Colorado in Boulder, toward the end of the semester, I would include a lecture about spiritual nutrition. After reading a passage from Autobiography of a Yogi about a woman in India who hadn’t eaten in 56 years, I explained the concept of energy through quantum physics and moved on the concept of entrainment, then introduced the concept of the 7 charkas, the colors (7) associated with each chakra, and finally foods that correspond to these colors and body regions. The root chakra is associated with the color red, and the region this chakra supplies energy to is the base of the spine and the organs in this region. “Ladies,” I would ask, “What are recommended to consume if you have a urinary track infection?” “Cranberries,”, they would respond. “Right,” I continued, “and what color are cranberries?” “Red.” “Excellent,” I would say. The take-home message of the Chakra diet is this: Eat a variety of fruits and veggies. In essence, eat a diet that includes all the colors of the rainbow. The chakra diet is also known as the rainbow diet, and it should be a part of everyone’s daily eating habits to promote optimal health.

Stress Tip for the Day:

One semester, one of my students confided in me that he NEVER ate fruits and veggies. I cringed at the thought. Not only is fiber essential in the diet (as best as I could tell, he wasn’t getting any), the antioxidants and bioflavinoids, not to mention countless other goodies. Would you consider your diet spiritual in terms of rainbow colors? How many fruits do you consume a day? (fruit juices don’t count). Start thinking of food in terms of colors. Start thinking of food in terms of vibrations (color, after all, is a vibration). What’s for dinner tonight? Be sure to include fruits and veggies in a stunning display of color.

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

I started teaching nutrition before Dr. Oz was a household name, but even he recommends the importance of the chakra diet. The following is a link to his website with more info:

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/eating-your-chakras?page=5


Dr. Gabriel Cousins also has information about this on his website too, including several books he has authored:

http://books.google.com/books/about/Spiritual_Nutrition.html?id=vdJT6BksUJ4C


Here is one more book on the topic regarding cancer:

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=2027


Quote for the Day:

We recommended the rainbow diet plan, a program that includes vegetables and fruits from the entire color spectrum, substitutes protein for some carbohydrates, emphasizes unsaturated fats, and ensures adequate fiber. This diet promotes weight loss and provides powerful antioxidants to offset the damage caused by elevated blood sugar.” — Eric Braveman


Photo for the Day:

Food colors galore! 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.

Earth Day: Honor Mother Earth

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The news about planet earth today does not constitute cheery headlines. Our oceans are greatly depleted of fish (this week, Whole Foods Market has decided NOT to carry many species of fish that are deemed threatened including Tuna, Tilapia, and King Salmon). Ocean levels are rising and some low-lying ocean islands in the South Pacific are now threatened, as are her inhabitants. Many species are listed as endangered due to loss of habitat and many chemicals (e.g., PCB’s antibiotics, synthetic hormones, etc… the list is quite long) are now found in our drinking water with serious health consequences. Severe droughts are causing food shortages and energy demands (much of which comes from our desire to be plugged into our high tech gadgets) are exceeding the ability to safely extract fosil fuels, while sustainable means for energy are thought to be unprofitable. Meanwhile the world’s population continues to grow causing concern regarding limited resources. Stated simply, Mother Earth isn’t doing so well, and many of these problems are the result of humor error. Earth Day is a day designated to remind us to walk a sustainable path. May we do so quickly and remember that every day is Earth Day.

Stress Tip for the Day:

Make it a point today to walk softly on the back of Mother Earth. Learn to be more conscious of your ecological footprint. You can begin with recycling, but perhaps more importantly, be even more conscious of what you buy. With each purchase, ask yourself, “What impact does this purchase have on the planet, and her people?” Live sustainably. Live consciously. Love your Mother!

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

The following are video clips of my award-winning movie Earth Songs. Please scroll to the bottom of the page. Enjoy!

http://www.brianlukeseaward.net/earthsongs.html


Quote for the Day:

“Earth does not belong to us; we belong to Earth.” — Chief Seattle

Photo for the Day:

This photo of Planet Earth is a composite photo from several satellite images of our beautiful planet.

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 Sunstainable Soul: Stress and the Empyting Process

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During a conversation over lunch with a friend named Ian a few weeks ago, the focus shifted from global events and world problems to possible solutions and individual responsibility. Ian made the comment that the American way seems to fill every personal void with material possessions. The end result is quite unsustainable. I added that indeed, that the spiritual path cannot be measured in material possessions ,but lord knows we certainly try! Having just finished teaching a stress management workshop in San Diego, the topic of unhealthy behaviors came up again among the workshop participants time and time again. It has become clear to a great many people that the personal habits of consumer materialism is not a sustainable path to take. Despite the fact that we know this, why is it that we keep doing it? One could argue that the perpetual act of gathering material possessions is an uncontrolled ego (times 7 billion people is REALLY unsustainable). Ageless wisdom reminds us that taking time to empty and cleanse is paramount to one’s spiritual health. Sages and mystics remind us that one must make a regular habit of “fasting the heart” to cleanse the soul. Only when we engage in a sense of personal balance will we walk the path of personal sustainability.

Stress Tip for the Day:

Consider the act of fasting for the next several weeks; not with food, but with the purchase of material possessions, including clothes, entertainment, as well as large and small ticket items. Try to get by with what you have already. This sustainably! Be thankful for what you do have rather than longing for what you don’t. Learn to domesticate the ego in its unsustainable habits of consumerism. Become more conscious of what you actually need versus merely want or desire.

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

As we approach Earth Day, it seems fitting to take a closer look about how we can live more sustainably on mother earth. Here is a link with some ideas to bring our lives back into balance:

http://eartheasy.com/


Quote for the Day:

“It’s not how much you need to get by, but rather how little you need to get by to enjoy life.” —Robin Lee Graham, author of the book, The Dove.

Photo for the Day:

It is said that the best things in life are free. This photo depicts the joy of enjoying these moments that are merely carried in one’s heart, in this case, a beautiful sunset from the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. 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.