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What Causes Stress?  “Stress is not something that happens to us as a result of outside influences. We can choose how we react to outside stimuli when they occur. We can either find a way to change a situation, or we can accept it.” ~Denise Scarbro

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Are These Magic Seeds?

Would you question the intention of an apple seed?  Would you look at a seed inside an apple you have just sliced open and say, “So?  What is it that you are here for?”  Would you wonder if, after you planted that seed, you would find a watermelon?  A fluffy rabbit?  No, I think we can safely say, without even confirming with anyone, that the intention of that apple seed is to create an apple.  The seed, once planted, will sprout into a seedling.  That seedling will grow into an apple tree.  Beautiful white and pink blossoms will appear on the tree in the spring, and we need not mourn the falling petals of those blooms, because those blooms will soon turn into delicious fruits.  The intention of an apple seed is to grow an apple.

What is your intention?  If you were a seed, what would you grow into?  By intention, I do not mean what are your plans, or what do you going to do with your life?  What I am asking is, what is the dominant force within you?  If you were a seed planted into the ground, would you grow into a watermelon?  A fluffy rabbit?

We are all created with an intention; a flowing current that drives what we are to become.  Does this mean we are born with a pre-destined path to follow?  No, absolutely not.  We have free-will, which is one of the beautiful benefits of being a human being.  What it does mean is, we have been programmed with good and loving intentions.  We are entitled to abundance and well-being, because this is our intention.  Just like the intention of the apple seed is to grow into an apple, our intention is to live in peaceful harmony, be of service to others, experience love and happiness.

We begin our lives with this as our intention, and our direction is carved by the experiences we have during our life.  We are a blank canvas, and our choices create the picture we create.  But if, just for a moment, you sit in the stillness and listen for that dominant intention, you will feel its presence.  We sometimes lose the identifiable connection to our intention when our perceptions are clouded with ego-based thoughts.  Insecurity, arrogance, hatred, and disappointment are all born out of the ego.  The ego’s intention is to keep us separate, and it does this by whispering thoughts in our ear.  We are very different from an apple seed.  The choices we make are sometimes inspired by our desires, our fears, or our conditioning; we are conscious creators, whereas the apple seed has no choice.  The apple seed will turn into an apple, no matter what thoughts or ideas are suggested to it.

In Snow White, when the wicked witch extends her hand to Snow White with the red apple, we know that it has been poisoned by the witch.  As we watch, we yell at the screen, “No, Snow White, no!” when she accepts the apple that is handed to her.  Snow White does not question the intention of the witch; she has the appearance of a harmless old lady.  The connections Snow White has made in her mind with what to expect from a little old lady do not signal danger to her.  And why would a delicious red apple be deadly?  Snow White knows the intention of an apple, but the witch has altered the reality.  The apple is no longer in harmony with its intention; this apple is not a healthy delicious fruit, it has been bewitched to cause Snow White to fall under an evil and deadly spell.

What if we look at this story from a different angle?  Instead of “witch,” insert the word “ego.”  Instead of “apple,” insert the words “dominant intention.”  Can you begin to see how things get a little tricky?  Although those ego-based thoughts may appear to be harmless, our ego thinking has the ability to poison our intention.  Like the little old lady, those ego-driven thoughts can slip right under our radar.  They do not outwardly appear dangerous, but they have the ability to distract us from our true intention by infusing our minds with fear, insecurities, arrogance, doubt, or the need for approval.

So what can we do to keep the witch from appearing in our window with a poisoned apple?  We can unplug ourselves from our ego, and plug back into the flow of our intention whenever she arrives.  How do we do that, you ask?  We do that by being aware of our thoughts and surrendering to the force of intention within us; we use our free-will to focus our energy and not succumb to the ploys of the witch.  Our dominant intention is always there, it is always peaceful, and it is forever yours.  All you have to do is reconnect.  Sometimes it takes practice, but the ability to realign with our intention is always within our reach.  When we are in sync with our intention, we can eat all the apples we want!

*To understand more about intention, I highly recommend reading Wayne Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention.  A wonderful book available from Amazon: CLICK HERE.

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Gather Around For a Game of Cards

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”  ~Randy Pausch

Imagine yourself sitting around a table playing a game.  The dealer shuffles the cards, and you anxiously wait to see what you have to work with so that you can plan your first move.  The dealer begins to deal the cards, and you pick up each card one by one as the dealer goes around the table.  Each card is flipped over and added to your hand, and you automatically begin to strategize.  You start making combinations figuring out what cards you need to complete your next move, and once the cards are all handed out, the game begins.

Each person plays a card, and the turn inevitably works its way to your side of the table.  Now what?  You have to decide how to play your hand.  Strategy, instinct, training, and skill all influence your choices.  What to do?  All eyes around the table are on you, the dealer awaits your move.  The room is quiet; a trickle of sweat runs down your neck.  What’s your move going to be?  You throw down your cards and say, “I don’t like these cards; I want a new hand.”

Wow.  Game over.

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What if, instead of trying to change the cards you have, you spend that energy devising a plan to make the turn play out in your favor?  You regroup the cards in your hand, size up the situation, and then determine what needs to happen in order for you to make a move.  You plan and strategize, and the turn travels around the table.  New cards are introduced, and with each new card played, a new opportunity presents itself for you to revise your plan.  If you spend your time trying to figure out how to get a new hand of cards instead of figuring out how to play the cards you’ve got, you will lose the game every time.  Now, instead of cards, let’s think about how this applies to other areas in our life.  Are you going to ask for new cards, or are you going to play smart?

It’s your turn…go show them what you’ve got!

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Expect Great Things…

“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

Sometimes, we just need to get out of our own way.   No matter what it is that we are trying to accomplish, if we stay clear and remember what we already know, things will flow and inspired action will result.

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Positive Thinking + Inspired Action = RESULTS

“Thought is the creative power, or the impelling force which causes the creative power to act; thinking in a Certain Way will bring riches to you, but you must not rely upon thought alone, paying no attention to personal action. That is the rock upon which many otherwise scientific metaphysical thinkers meet shipwreck–the failure to connect thought with personal action.” ~Wallace D. Wattles

The Law of Attraction states that like attracts like.  When we place our focus on a particular subject, the energy becomes concentrated and attracts more opportunities to produce similar thoughts.  This is not a passive thing; one must not only have inspired thought, but take inspired action as well!

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Many people misunderstand the Law of Attraction and believe that if they merely sit back and visualize, things will materialize in their lives.  If that were true, none of us would ever leave the house.  We would sit around thinking all day, and there would be gold coins falling from the sky and elephants walking around on the streets.  While the visualization process is a very powerful tool, it is not the thought alone that will produce the biggest results.  We require inspired action to create the results we want, and it all starts with our thoughts.

Positive thoughts attract more positive thoughts, new ideas are born, new ideas stimulate inspired action, inspired action creates results.  The thoughts generate activity, and a ripple effect is created.  Because the ideas come to us so effortlessly when we are inspired, sometimes we don’t even realize our contribution to the process of creating the results we see.  There is a big difference between an inspired action in response to a thought, and a physical or conditioned reaction in response to a thought.

When our hand comes close to hot stove, we pull our hand away from the heat.  That is a physical reaction.  When we are told that certain things are right or valuable, we adopt, or sometimes inherit, a belief system that causes us to act a certain way.  This is a conditioned reaction.  It is up to us, as intelligent beings, to use the power of our thoughts to direct the energy in positive ways.  We can do this by being aware of our thoughts and our thinking patterns, by paying attention to how our thoughts make us feel, and by questioning our “automatic thinking” and behaviors.  Of course, this does not mean you should question whether or not you should pull your hand away from the hot stove, but you get the idea!

We have so much more power than we realize, and it is only because we have been told that things are out of our control that we do not realize our power.  We get what we think about most of the time, and if we do not believe we can do or have something, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. To see positive results in your life, remember this simple formula: Positive Thinking + Inspired Action.  Throw in some belief that good things are on their way and some patience, and you will be amazed at how well this formula works!

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Two Ways to Create Change in Your Life

As we learn techniques to help improve our lives, things make sense in that logical “left-brained” way, but it is not until we make a concrete connection in our lives that this information has true meaning. When we have a situation in our own life to which we can apply knowledge or theory, that is when things take on a whole new meaning!

Because we are looking out at life through our own eyes, it makes sense that things have more meaning when they apply directly to us.  When we are able to apply what we have learned to something concrete and meaningful in our own lives, the lesson is internalized and our new-found connection creates a unique bond to the information.  This is exactly what has happened for me recently by applying two methods to situations in my life.  While these were not new concepts to me, it was only after seeing the results and feeling the connection, that I felt the confidence to know they work!

The first is RELEASE.  If you know you have done (or are doing) everything you can physically do to solve a problem, there comes a time when we need to release the situation.  Previously, I have had a very hard time with this concept.   When we are experiencing something that is putting us in a negative state of mind, it is hard to let go.  The negative emotions sometimes take hold and create a life of their own, but we have to break the cycle.  The way I was able to release a few things that were keeping me in a negative mind loop, was to force myself to let it go by asking for help.  Whether you ask God, the Universe, or your Inner Being, ask for assistance, admit your need for help in dealing with a situation, and then let it go for a while.  Stop thinking about it, and know that you have someone or something helping to direct things in a way that will bring you resolution.  I used to resist asking for help, as I felt that this was a loss of control on my part; however, it is quite the opposite.  You are very much in control because YOU have found a way to promote a result.

The second is GRATITUDE.  We have all heard the importance of gratitude, but sometimes it seems difficult to feel grateful for things when we are feeling like things are not going our way.  If we practice looking for something (anything) to be grateful for, then we will soon begin to notice there are more and more things for which we can feel grateful!  When in an undesirable situation, or when feeling stuck in a predicament, I start out by looking for anything I can be grateful for, even if it needs to be simplistic or down to the fundamental elements.  When I find that too difficult, I look for anything I can be grateful for, even if it is unrelated.  Feelings of gratitude are very powerful.  When we begin appreciating things, the situation itself will begin to change, or new opportunities will present themselves.

Give this a try for yourself, and you will see that these methods do actually work.  As I mentioned, even though I had read this somewhere at one time myself, I didn’t fully understand or believe it until I saw the results in my own life.   At the very least, you will feel better, and that is what makes it all worthwhile!

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How To Change Gears: Redirecting Your Thoughts

I have spent countless joyous hours reading personal improvement books.  The universal theme in many of the books I have read is the importance of positive thinking.  What we think about we attract to ourselves, and I believe this wholeheartedly.  When I sit in a contemplative state reflecting on this, the path to happiness is perfectly clear: Think positive thoughts; always expect great things.   So, why is it that when we are experiencing something undesirable and feeling a negative emotion, all of this wonderful knowledge seems to fly out the window?

I always found myself struggling with the how?  How do we change our thoughts when we are in the midst of something we feel is stimulating negative thoughts?  Whether it is unhappiness with our partner, dissatisfaction with our job, or seeing an unwanted reflection in the mirror, once we are in that negative space, how do we change gears and think positive thoughts?  We cannot just lie to ourselves and say that something does not bother us, so what do we do?

Think about anything positive.  Rather than wallow in the negative thinking about what does not please us, we can change our thinking.  Get out of the negative loop you are stuck in, and start thinking of anything positive, even if it is not related to the current situation.  Focus on something that makes you feel good, and when your mind goes back to the negative thought, think about yet another thing that makes you happy.  Literally redirect your thinking as much as you need to until the negative thought is diffused and the sting of negativity is not as strong.

Look for what is good.  When the emotional charge has settled down a bit, look for what is good in the situation.  There has to be something that is good, or something you can appreciate about the circumstance.  If you are unable to look for what is good about the current situation right away, then you might need to go back to diffusing the negative emotion, but once the negativity is not so powerfully charged, return to identifying something you can appreciate about the situation.

Change your vibration.   I recently re-read “Ask and It Is Given,” by Abraham-Hicks, which explains that we are part of a vibrational Universe.  Our thoughts carry a certain vibration, and because of the Law of Attraction, the Universe responds to the vibration we are offering.  Abraham uses a great analogy of a radio signal: “In every moment, with every thought, you are offering a vibration, sort of like a radio signal, and the entire Universe is responding to that signal. And so, by Law of Attraction (that which is like unto itself is drawn), those things that are a vibrational match to the signal you are offering are what you receive back. It’s not so different from your radio tuner. You are dialing in to that specific station you’re wanting to hear” (http://spiritlibrary.com/abraham-hicks/radio-tower-controlling).  We attract things to us that have a similar vibration, and when we change our thoughts, we change our vibrational frequency.

Let it in!  Stop looking for more evidence to confirm the negative thought.  Allow the feeling elicited by the new positive thought to wash over you and bring you the happiness you are seeking.  It is impossible to feel good and to feel bad at the same time.  If you are consistently reminding yourself of why you are unhappy, you will block any progress you have made.  Don’t sabotage your efforts by not letting the good feelings in when they come!  Look for what is good, be willing to allow your attention to shift, and then relax into the good feelings as they arrive.

Being prepared with the proper tools to handle a negative situation is the first step in regaining control over the situation.  Rather than allowing the situation to dictate our happiness, we can make new connections and practice new ways of thinking.  Some occasions require more practice than others at redirecting our thoughts, but when we get the hang of it, we can spare ourselves from a lot of discomfort!

*For more insight on The Law of Attraction and our vibration, I recommend reading any of the wonderful books in the Abraham-Hicks collection.  Visit the Abraham-Hicks website here:  www.abraham-hicks.com

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