This podcast shares tools, tips and ideas helping you to create inner-peace and happiness starting today.
This podcast shares tools, tips and ideas helping you to create inner-peace and happiness starting today.
Inner Peace Podcast #7.5: Thoughts & prayers… and ACTION!
I started The Peace On Earth Movement as a direct result of the Las Vegas shooting last October. I, like probably many people, found out about the shooting through Facebook and everyone posting their thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families.
But one of my friends’ posts stood out. It was negative and spiteful against everyone sending thoughts and prayers. I was honestly a little naive about the whole thing and was thinking, “How can you sit there and take a steamy dump on everyone’s well-wishing?”
We got into a bit of a back-and-forth about it. He didn’t like me pointing out that his negativity and dumping on others was just as unhelpful (or more) than people’s thoughts and prayers. I mean, how does ridiculing well-wishers help the victims? It doesn’t. But, he did help me be more aware of politicians ignorant and apathetic response to major tragedies such as public shootings. Now, gun politics aside, I agree that thoughts and prayers are an unworthy even embarrassing response to gun violence.
So me, preferring to be solution-focused and action-oriented, started wondering…maybe a little late in the game, admittedly, “If we have a National Rifle Association, we must have a National Peace Association, right?” I did some research, and honestly, there are some good organizations out there devoted to peace, but I couldn’t find anything resembling a national-level organization devoted to peace. That seems like a mind-boggling dynamic to me, that we as a society should be so violence-oriented.
The only thing I could think is that we need more peace-oriented organizations. So, I created the Peace On Earth Ministry & our outreach effort, the Peace On Earth Movement. The point of the movement is to create Peace Awareness, to Educate & Support people living the principles of peace, and to ease the suffering of others through humanitarian outreach. Part of my effort is to create systems that allow peace-loving people like you to incorporate peace into your life as easily and systematically as possible.
At any rate, the point of this podcast is to share my thoughts about “Thoughts & prayers.”
Quotes about taking action:
“The distance between your dreams and reality is called action.” ~Unknown
“An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” ~Arnold Glasow
1. Sending your thoughts and prayers is an action. I won’t disparage anyone sending thoughts and prayers. Emotional support is immensely important during times of struggle and need. Knowing that you’re not alone helps the healing process. So, send those thoughts and prayers!!!!!
2. Thoughts and prayers have limits. Emotional support helps those after the tragedy has already happened. If you really and truly care, you’ll want to prevent these kinds of tragedies before they happen. So — more action is required.
3. If you really care, you’ll do more. I know it can seem difficult in this breakneck world. We live so fast and fill our lives to overflowing, it’s hard to fit anything else into our lives. But that is part of the problem. If you don’t have room in your life for peace and kindness — there’s a major problem. So,
Start with your own life. How can you fit peace into your own world? Do you need to simplify your life? Rearrange your priorities? Meditate? Exercise? Other forms of self-care? A peaceful, happy you will make this whole world infinitely better.
Extend peace to those nearest to you. Who is close to you? Friends? Family? Peers? How can you open the door to peace in the relationships closest to you? How can you mend relationships that need it?
Remember the little things. Everything you do makes a difference. Every kindness sends ripples into the world. Holding a door, smiling or nodding at someone, lending a listening ear, being nice to…anyone. A tiny act
Inner Peace Podcast #7: “Not good enough…”
I met the most interesting person the other day. We met totally at random. I had stopped to take some pictures of some gigantic murals that adorn the freeway walls here in town. He happened to live across the street. I didn’t even see him but he was watching as I parked my car and was engaging me in conversation before I had a chance to get out of my car.
I had some time on my hands, and have a morbid sense of curiosity, so I just flowed with the whole conversation. We ended up chatting for literally 5 or 6 hours. Now, this man had a very bright and thoughtful mind, and that kept me intrigued as to what he would say next, and I want to preface the following with — nothing he said was meant with any guile or negativity. But…
As we chatted, and chatted, and chatted, he managed to judge and disparage me in every way he could. There was something wrong with everything about me. My shirt was cheap. My car had the wrong sport gear. The manufacturer had chinzed on the paint job. My dog was too fat, and the color of his fur was too boring. My hair wasn’t good enough. The way I’d shaved my scruff was wrong. For hours, this man put me down in more ways I could even keep track of. Not good enough. Not good enough. Not good enough.
Now, many people would be offended by this guy’s judgments. Many people would feel chagrined or embarrassed. I was unphased partly because I don’t base my self-worth on what others think of me. Partly because, again, I didn’t sense he was judging me out of malice.
The point is that he was judging me according to his measuring stick for life. What’s good enough. What’s not. What’s acceptable. Or not. And, the point of this podcast is to point out just how much that message is out there: “You’re not good enough.”
We are surrounded by these judgments and expectations about how we have to be. Apparently, to be good enough we have to meet an endless list of expectations: how to look, dress, act, speak. Who we hang out with, possessions we own, where we should live. So, let’s talk about being “good enough.”
Quotes about “good enough”:
“I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.” ~Stuart Smalley
“THE WORLD IS increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.” ― Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
1. There are three problems with trying to be “good enough”:
The list of what will make us “good enough” is endless and self-contradictory. If we keep one rule for being “good enough” we inevitably break some other good-enough rules.
The list is someone else’s list. Society, friends, family, colleagues and peers, movies and media. Trying to please others all our lives will only make us miserable. Period.
This is the biggest problem — when we adopt others’ expectations of us as our own. We honestly believe that we have to look a certain way, feel a certain way, act a certain way. This is a problem because we don’t even realize when were trying to live our own life according to others’ rules and measuring sticks.
2. Life isn’t a competi
Inner Peace Podcast #6: How to turn frustration into flow
Some quotes about flow
“You cannot beat a river into submission. You have to surrender to its current and use its power as your own.” ― Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), Dr. Strange
“During moments of strife and ‘dis-ease’, check your flow and redirect your focus to that which is naturally good.” ― T.F. Hodge
In physics, energy has two basic states: potential energy and kinetic energy. I’m going to use my Junior High definitions, since when you get into advanced relativity the issue gets wishy washy. Basically speaking, Potential energy is “stored” energy. Kinetic energy is energy in motion. In terms of spirituality or what I sometimes like to call “dealing with life,” I refer to energy in terms of “Frustration” or “Flow.”
Many people from gurus and philosophers to doctors and scientists have tried to find the best word to describe the ultimate state of happiness and peace. Some call it “bliss”. When I tried to think of it, the word I came to was “Flow.” After doing some research I found that many others had decided on the same word. In fact, my favorite is a scientist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who has done extensive studies and research on the subject of flow. I highly recommend you read some of his books, they’re fantastic. He has done some great work on the subject of flow.
The opposite of flow is frustration. When the flow of our energy is frustrated we experience a heightened sense of sadness, loneliness, anger, fear, confusion. Life throws plenty of obstacles our way, things that make it difficult to flow freely through life:
Loss of loved ones or precious possessions
New and unfamiliar circumstances
Feelings of isolation
Feelings of low self-esteem
Other people can make life almost intolerable
If we don’t transform our frustrated energy back to flow it can become stuck. “Stuck” energy is frustration that we are holding on to. Energy that is stuck becomes intensified. Sadness becomes depression, anger becomes rage, fear becomes paralyzing.
1. Flow is our natural state of peace and happiness. “Flow” describes the free flowing of our energy. It describes the state of happiness, peace, connectedness, beingness, self-confidence and the like. If you think of children, they seem to be in a natural state of flow. They sing, dance and play spontaneously for the sheer bliss of being alive. Even as grownups “flow” is the most natural state of our being, though frustration seems to be more of a constant companion. Whereas children seem to be resilient in the face of adversity, adults tend to get ensnared by the drama of living.
Why are children so much freer, flowing and resilient compared to adults?
2. Frustration starts with resistance. Here are some different sources of resistance that we create for ourselves:
Avoiding potentially painful circumstances. When something bad happens, we have very natural emotional reactions. When we experience loss we feel sorrow. When we feel threatened we experience fear. When we need the courage to stand up for ourselves we feel anger. But to be quite honest, none of those emotions feel great. As time goes by we unconsciously think, “No, I don’t want to feel that!” We start avoiding thoughts, people, situations and other circumstances that might lead to these uncomfortable emotions. If our efforts to avoid pain get too extreme we start shutting out potentially joyful, life-enhancing experiences as well. The focus of your life can’t be about avoiding suffering, for a life focused solely on avoiding pain is no life at all.
Avoiding difficult emotions. Despite our best efforts, life inevitably drops painful circumstances on our doorstep. Those difficult emotions of sorrow, fear and anger naturally pop up. When we try to circumvent these difficult emotions by burying, avoiding or denying them, this creates re
Inner Peace Podcast #5: How to love everything in your life
Some quotes about how to love everything:
“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.” ― Byron Katie
“We’re all looking for love, in our confusion, until we find our way back to the realization that love is what we already are.” ― Byron Katie
1. Loving everything means being grateful for the good stuff. We take way too many things in our lives for granted. Taking the good stuff for granted means robbing ourselves of the rich blessings that fill our lives, that we could be enjoying. Imagine your life without electricity, running water or (god forbid) plumbing! Your life would be very different. By exercising gratitude for all the good things in our lives we embrace the goodness we usually overlook.
2. Love the bad stuff, too. This is harder to do, so sometimes you have to find a way. Here are some ideas:
Turn difficult experiences into learning lessons. Learn from them so you don’t have to repeat them. Pick up the tools you need to transform the bad into good. Forgiveness, compassion, healthy boundaries, non-judgment…
Share your lessons with others. There is no substitute for experience. However, some experiences should be avoided if at all possible. By sharing your story and the tools you’ve picked up, you can make positive changes in the world and help others avoid painful experiences you’ve had.
Appreciate the personal strength you’ve gained from your struggles. Some things happen in our lives that we would never have wished on ourselves, or anyone else. Somehow, after making it through to the other side, we’re more than we were. Stronger than we were. Wiser. And hopefully even more compassionate and empathetic.
I had the honor to join The Happiness Coalition on one of their retreats. I also was honored to get to hang out with many of them one-on-one and have wonderful conversations with them. I asked them why they chose happiness. All of them had pushed to the end of what they could handle. They felt crushed by life and like they couldn’t handle any more. Yet, they survived. More than that, they thrived. Their trials had awakened the best in them, and they learned to love and enjoy life more than most people on this planet.
3. Remove conditions from your love. As soon as your love has conditions, rules and requirements, it’s not love anymore. It’s a counterfeit. Love people who hate you or hurt you. Love situations that are uncomfortable. Love injustice. Loving them doesn’t mean you want them to stay, it means empowering yourself to improve what needs to be improved. Otherwise you will be fighting yourself rather than healing what needs to be healed.
Don’t wait for certain circumstances in your life. Too often we think, “I’ll be happy when [that] happens” or “When I finally achieve this goal, THEN I’ll be happy.” Sorry, but you’ll only set yourself up for failure that way. Be happy now. Love your life today or when you “get there” you will never have learned how to love the moment you’re in.
4. Embrace the adventure! Love is a verb. Actively find more to love. Open your eyes to the world around you. See the wonder and beauty in it. And…LOVE it. Find reasons to love things that might normally annoy you. For instance, I take my dog for daily walks at the park. I could see it as a burden. Instead, I choose to see it as a wonderful opportunity to be out in nature, soaking up the sun, breathing the fresh air, meeting interesting people at the park. Every trip to the park brings new adventures and experiences that enrich my life in small but satisfying ways.
Think of something that has been a thorn in your side. It may be a relationship that saps your energy. It may be a person or situation that constantly triggers negative thoughts and emotions. How can you heal the situati
Inner Peace Podcast #4: Loving others means listening to them
Some quotes about good listening:
“The art of conversation is the art of hearing as well as of being heard.” ― William Hazlitt
Notice how he says “hearing” rather than “talking.” I think this quote goes hand-in-hand with the next one:
“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” ― Ralph G. Nichols
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” ― Roy T. Bennett
First, let me re-specify that loving others creates happiness and peace for ourselves. So, we should do it. It’s in the best interest of all for us to love each other.
I’ve been getting more and more active in different social arenas than in the past. Politics, religion, race, equality…issues that impact people’s lives in a big way. There’s a major problem I’m noticing. Again and again this attitude seems to pop up that everyone wants to speak and have everyone else agree and jump on the bandwagon. When someone doesn’t agree or see things from the same perspective, rather than creating meaningful dialogue with each other it becomes a massive stand-off with each side squaring off like bulls pawing the dirt and hooves pawing the dirt. Everyone wants to be right. Everyone wants to be “on top” of the argument.
It gets so bad that many times I have noticed people arguing with each other when they share the same viewpoint. They’re arguing against each other when they actually agree. And yes, some of those people have been me trying to explain — we’re on the same side of the coin here, while the other side continues to argue. It’s madness!
So I would like to touch on this topic of listening — truly listening to each other so all are heard. The problem of not listening is that we for
Listening means hearing. I’ve heard it described both ways (“listening means hearing…hearing means listening”). Semantics aside, really listening to a person means hearing their intent, not just their words. Listen to the spirit of their message even if they may not be able to express themselves clearly. Sometimes what a person means is actually in the space between the words they use, or the intent behind what they say. Kind of like when my parents would yell at us when we got hurt. We would get scolded and sometimes punished, but what they were really trying to say was, “I love you and I don’t want you to get hurt.” So while it is true that people could use better words to express themselves, sometimes being a good listener means listening for the true meaning.
Listening means letting your guard down. What they’re saying is not about you. It’s about them. Even if it is negatively directed about you, it is really them reflecting their own perspective. Their experience in life. Turn off the urge to shut others down because of what they say. Other people’s talking experience can be a great learning experience for you to understand more about this world and the people in it, and the individual talking. Realizing it’s not about you allows you to let your guard down. You don’t really have to be defensive.
When everyone is talking to be heard, who is listening? I used the imagery of bulls in a standoff earlier, but another image that comes to my mind is a medieval castle wall with archers and soldiers throwing their stones, sling their arrows and hiding behind the crenellations between volleys. No one is being heard and so no progress is being made. The solution is to come down from our turrets and take off our armor. Listening is the key to being heard, for when we let down our guard others are mor
Inner Peace Podcast #3: Loving others unconditionally
“By loving others unconditionally, we open the door of happiness.” ― Debasish Mridha
“Don’t love to be loved in return. Love for the sake of loving.” ― Connor Chalfant
We refer to love in many different ways. The Greeks even broke love into 8 different types such as romantic love, familial love or affection, obsession or infatuation like falling in love. Of the “loves” we refer to, I personally only believe in one kind of love–the unconditional kind. We may refer to other things as “love”, but in my mind they aren’t real, true love.
The only definition I hold for love is true, abiding, unconditional love. The Greeks refer to it as Agape or selfless love. It’s a funny thing when we say “unconditional” love, because I don’t think we understand what that means. It is part of human nature to attach strings, requirements, e.g. “conditions” to our love.
You have to be like me, look like me, talk like me, think like me, etc.
You have to give me what I want
You have to live by the same values as me
I can only love you or be kind to you if I approve of you
I didn’t really have a good personal story to share on this topic (although I do share one of my favorites in the podcast), just to say that throughout my life I have encountered two kinds of people: People who loved me because they were loving people, and People who loved me because they thought they could benefit from it somehow. In other words, those who loved me unconditionally, and those who loved me conditionally. Those who loved me unconditionally brought healing into my life, and those who loved me conditionally either brought suffering, or difficult life lessons of some kind.
Loving others has nothing to do with them. It has only to do with you. This means loving them despite their actions, whether they like you or not, whether you agree with their lifestyle or not. This means you have to put your own jerk reactions, judgments, expectations or assumptions on hold. In the end, real love means loving others despite themselves AND despite YOURself.
Remember the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. I did some research and discovered that every major religion and most major cultures have some version of the Golden Rule. This means that nearly every person on the planet understands the concept of treating others as you would wish to be treated. But how many people actually follow this simplest of rules? If all who knew about this concept lived by it, there would be profound peace on Earth.
If someone doesn’t love you, or harms you, you have to reframe their behavior with a loving perspective. For instance, “Everyone is doing the best they know how.” This belief reminds us that everyone comes from different perspectives and values. Many people were given poor tools for dealing with life, and those perspectives and tools allow for harming others. Life is not always black and white. There’s a lot of gray in the world, it can help to put ourselves in others’ shoes.
Another belief might be something like, “I have the power to rise above others’ hateful or poor behavior.”
Another might be, “They are in a different place in life, one that isn’t compatible with mine.” This kind of framework allows you to set some healthy boundaries that minimize or eliminate their toxic behavior.
Loving others doesn’t have to be a grandiose act. Sometimes we expect unconditional love to be some grand, overt gesture. Loving another can be as simple as a smile, a nod in their direction, listening–really listening to them, opening a door for someone. As I go through my day these kind of acts from others light my way. These are small but beautiful reminders that there is good in others, and that there is no harm in showing kindness to another.
Remember to fill your own cup first. You can’t love