How to Prioritize Self-Care

self-care

If you don’t love yourself, then how are you going to love someone else?

If you’re not empowered, then how are you going to empower others?

If you don’t grow an inherent capacity to give from, then how can you consistently give?

In order to serve, you must first be fit to serve. This is why self-care is a prerequisite for any positive change externally. The cultivation of self-love must be a priority, or else everything else in life is compromised.

Self-care is essentially anything that rejuvenates your being, facilitates your growth and helps you love yourself more fully. A wide array of things can be self-care: meditation, yoga, working out, walking, hiking, reading, writing, drawing, painting, knitting (if anyone still does that), dancing, baths, saunas, massages, reiki, acupuncture, qi gong, tai chi, stress-free cooking, watching something funny, watching something inspirational, learning (on your own accord of course), traveling and even sleeping. We all know what can be considered self-care by the reinvigorating feeling that comes along with such activities.

The Importance of Self-Care

You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup

That expression is so true, yet few people apply it. Fill your cup first and give from the overflow.

Get over the limiting belief that self-care is selfish. It’s not. And neglecting yourself does no good for anyone. You can only give more by increasing your capacity to give! Self-care, being compassionate towards yourself, helps you to embody compassion in every situation you find yourself in.

Creating a Harmonious Foundation for Everything Else

If you don’t clear your own bullshit, everything you do is going to be from a place of fear, lack and delusion. Without a high level of self-love, you will consciously or unconsciously project your delusions and fears into all of your relationships. Without a practice of self-care, even giving will be a distorted version of itself. You will find yourself giving out of duty (as opposed to love), giving because you feel like you have to (creating bitterness), giving with strings attached (conditional love), or just not giving at all because you’re so internally depleted.

If you don’t have a harmonious foundation within, all of your relationships will be based in disharmony and built on shaky foundations. So many relationships are dysfunctional because so few people do the inner work. Harmony and alignment within creates relationships based in harmony and alignment. Disharmony and misalignment within creates relationships based in disharmony and misalignment. Build a strong foundation first, or you will be living in a house that’s falling apart.

Your internal state ripples across every aspect of your reality. Cultivate self-love and let compassion ripple into the ocean of your existence.

How to Incorporate Self-Care into Your Daily Life

1. Make a commitment to self-care – Make self-care a priority. In order to fully follow through with anything, you must prioritize it. When something is a priority, you will do it by any means necessary, but if something isn’t a priority, you will find any excuse not to do it.

Make a commitment to self-care right now, whether it be in writing or a strong mental affirmation.

2. Simplify your life – Cut out all of the unnecessary distractions. Let go of the asinine commitments you’ve taken on that don’t serve your highest good. Reduce the amount of stuff you have (less stuff = less to upkeep = more time for you).

3. Focus on simple, tangible daily practices – Commit to daily habits of self-care, not vague promises of things you might do in the future. Create a system for yourself to implement to bring you in the direction you wish to head in. Simple systems are more effective than lofty goals, as they’re easy to implement on a daily basis and you’ll get a lot more done in the long run while enjoying the process.

Pick one self-care activity right now that you can implement on a daily basis.

4. Make time (don’t find time) – When you prioritize something, you make time for it, no matter what. If you’re really pressed for time or if you have young children, you might have to squeeze in your self-care early in the morning, late at night, on your lunch breaks…etc.

5. Do it!

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 
Make a firm decision to love yourself and prioritize self-care. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Cultivate unconditional love within and share it with others.

Create a ripple effect of compassion.

– Stevie P!
 

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Spiritual Backbone: Could I Be a Good Counselor?

spiritual-backbone

Note: This is a guest post by Katie Kapro.

Some of my closest – and most spiritually badass – friends are independent counselors. It’s a career that attracts sensitive, resilient, and altruistic souls. It asks a lot of them. And it gives them the opportunity to give back to their communities.

The connection between spirituality and work is fascinating, and this counseling phenomenon can go unnamed no longer. Why are so many spiritually-inclined people drawn to counseling?

If we better understand the connection between esoteric studies and counseling careers, then perhaps more would-be counselors will find their calling.

Joshua in Cambridge, whom I met at a meditation retreat, sees his clients in a Persian rug laden office in his home behind Harvard Square. He’s been practicing for 40 years, helping one client at a time integrate mindful breathing, gratitude, and interconnectedness into their daily lives.

He sees everyone from recovering drug addicts to stressed-out graduate students. Instead of offering them a list of medications, he offers them meditation practices.

It’s pretty cool, and his work benefits countless people with all sorts of spiritual beliefs.

Why are spiritually-inclined people so drawn to independent counseling?

Spiritual people expend so much inner and outer energy practicing oneness and self-effacement, it only makes sense that they’d want to spend the majority of the day doing something beneficial for the world.

Let’s face it, we live in a world of egos. The ego serves a purpose. To live fully in the world is to recognize and accept the ego for what it is rather than shun it or attach dogmatic meaning to it. Counselors are required to deal with the ego on a daily basis; they are realists if nothing else.

When I consider how many of my deeply spiritual friends work in psychology, I think it must have something to do with self-awareness. When you accept the reality of your own ego, personality, and humanity, it’s only natural to want to help people navigate their own.

Perhaps this sounds like you?

What are the benefits of a spiritually sensitive counselor?

First, let’s hone-in on what spirituality means in the context of therapy.

It’s broader than religion, and it’s generally accepted to account for all “cognitive and philosophic areas of thought as well as aspects of emotions and behavior.” Meaning, in regular-speak, that spirituality is the way a person understands their nature, existence, and internal experience.

For some people this means church. For others it means nature. It’s simply the act of awareness.

There are different schools of thought when it comes to spirituality in counseling. Many therapists are supportive of integrating spirituality into their work, while others feel it’s a slippery slope.

Psychotherapy in particular has had a historically rocky relationship with religious spirituality, starting with Freud himself who called religion “comparable to childhood neuroses.” But in more modern times, therapists have drawn a clear distinction between religion and spirituality, reframing Freud’s old biases against any particular tradition.

This reframing allows modern counselors to reach out to their patients from a unified yet impersonal place, and grow the kinds of trust bonds that benefit the therapist-client relationship. They can adopt a “psychospiritual approach” that utilizes common ground and universal themes shared by all people, instead of trying to make the personal relationship do all the heavy lifting.

If a counselor leads a client in an exercise about minding one’s breath, say, they both feel the shared sensation of meditating, which can be a pretty powerful feeling.

Of course, finding the words to describe this sensation can be tricky. Many therapists fear that if they’re too open about their own values, they may unwittingly impose them on their clients. It’s important to choose one’s words carefully. The ability to navigate a client relationship with this level of sensitivity is vital to a healthy practice.

Perhaps another reason why so many spiritual people are good therapists is because they have a tendency to be highly sensitive people (HSP’s). They understand the importance of sensitivity in human relationship.

Can anyone be a counselor?

Yes and no. Not everyone should be a counselor. Use your imagination. Who would want to go to a counseling session led by Donald Trump? Not me.

It takes a very specific skillset to flourish in this particular job 1) without burning out and 2) to actually help people. But if a person feels the impulse toward counseling, it’s always worth exploring. Work in therapy allows a unique amount of independence from the mainstream work model – many counselors set up their own LLCs – but candidates must first demonstrate their ability to navigate the ins-and-outs of academia by obtaining the proper education and getting licensed – a process which varies from state to state – and then complete an internship or practicum. Becoming a licensed therapist is not a quick and dirty process, for obvious reasons. Again, Trump. It takes time and commitment.

That being said, the path is easy when the work is something that fits your character. Counseling can be a deeply rewarding career for someone who is naturally self-aware, patient, compassionate, and nonjudgmental.

It’s a way to bring one’s spiritual practice off the mat and into the wider world.

About the Author
Katie Kapro is a Sufi and writer in the Intermountain West. When not writing, she can usually be found burying her face in sage in the foothills behind her house. Follow her on Twitter @kapro101

Stevie P’s Postscript

This article is incredibly relevant for both myself and everyone reading this, as I just launched the Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great Mystery School. It’s essentially a modern, online version of the ancient mystery schools that will help you integrate spiritual concepts into your daily life. The general “curriculum” (I use that term loosely) is based upon recurring themes I’ve had with individuals which they’ve found great value in, so I’m sure you’ll find value as well.

Click here to find out more about the Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great Mystery School

Much love.

– Stevie P
 

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6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Focus

focus

Today’s world is an endless, omnipresent circus of distraction.

We’re in the process of learning how to integrate all of this new technology into our lives. It’s trial and error on a gigantic scale. Because ubiquitous technology is so new to our species, we’re overwhelmed; bombarded with emails, Facebook notifications, text messages and unlimited information at all times. Perhaps the biggest casualty of this has been our ability to focus.

Technology isn’t going anywhere, so we must learn how to master it as opposed to being a slave to it. So instead of passively letting our world of distraction deteriorate our focus, we must proactive maintain mental mastery or suffer from scatterbrained madness.

Training yourself to consciously focus on one thing at a time is transformative and freeing. The ability to focus brings you into the present moment, allowing to peacefully and deeply engage in whatever you’re doing without being assaulted by the daunting worries of the past and future. A focused mind is far more relaxed, clearer, and sharper than a wandering, distracted mind that wastes energy on minutiae.

Life becomes simpler when you’re focusing on what you’re doing in the present moment. Life is chaotic and overwhelming when you’re worrying about everything at once.

Here’s a little secret too. If you consciously focus on one thing at a time, you’ll get a lot more done without any of the paralyzing anxiety, worry, regret, fear…etc. This state of conscious focus is what Buddhists call the one pointed mind.

Think about the situations in your life where you were fully immersed in whatever you were doing, completely undistracted and in the zone. Didn’t it feel great? It’s like you freed yourself from the heavy burdens of the past/future and dipped into the peaceful ocean of the present moment. In addition to the serenity is a sense of clarity and sharpness that is far beyond the murky and turbulent waters of a distracted mind.

There’s no need to believe that focus consists of grinding effort either. Focus simply means that your point of attention is being consciously directed towards something. Focus should ideally be effortless, a natural byproduct of a clear mind.

Everything is a muscle that can be strengthened through practice. Here’s how to build your focus muscles.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Focus

1. Gazing Meditation (Trataka) – Sit and gaze at a specific object (most people use a candle) for a certain amount of time. Then close your eyes and visualize the object in as much detail as possible. The practice of gazing meditation hones your powers of concentration and visualization. It is the ultimate one pointed mind builder.

Really, any meditation practice helps with focus, but gazing meditation is the most effective if your goal is specifically to improve your focus.

2. Set blocks of time for specific tasks – Choose a specific task, set a timer and only focus on that task for the allotted time. This is essentially an agreement with yourself, a commitment to focusing on only one thing. Close your email, turn off your phone and all other distractions while doing this. Start with a small chunk of time, like 15-20 minutes, but no longer than 50 minutes.

I set myself blocks of time to write and it has produced amazing results. I get deeper in the zone (flow state) and produce many more words per minute (and better quality writing) than I did before using this technique.

3. Read more books – Remember those things called books? Start reading them again. While reading a book, you focus on that book and that book only for significant amounts of time. This greatly hones your focus.

If all you do is read click-bait listicles online, watch silly cat videos, read tweets and creep on people’s Facebook photos, your ability to focus is going to be pretty pathetic and you’ll be relegated to the mediocre purgatory of ceaseless, unfulfilling distraction.

4. Practice presence – Practice being present in everyday situations. If you’re with someone, or eating dinner, or going for a hike, or playing with kids or your dog, turn your phone off and put it away. Be completely present in the moment. This will teach you to focus on what you’re doing and deepen your experience of the present moment (which is all we ever have).

5. Listen to music – When you listen to music, just listen to music! Don’t do anything else. Listen mindfully and hear the subtleties that you’re usually oblivious to. This is an easy and enjoyable way to hone your focus.

6. Make sure your body is healthy – A healthy body makes everything easier. It also optimizes your mood and cognitive function, which will naturally enhance your ability to focus.

Eat well and exercise regularly. Eat real food and healthy fats for brain function, walk a lot, hike, do yoga, resistance training, HIIT workouts, kettlebell training (my personal favorite)…etc. A healthy diet (like this one) combined with exercise allows your mind to function at its highest capacity. If you’re eating fast food and sitting all day, your mind isn’t going to work nearly as well as it could.

Now focus on applying those.

Much love.

– Stevie P!
 

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7 Simple Rules to Make Life Simple and Happy

happiness

Note: This is a guest post by Sophie Addison.

You have that inner longing to be authentically happy, and if you could only get hold of a simple formula from any lifestyle news that would spell out the tips on how to be happy, you would surely gladly exchange everything you have to get hold of that simple formula. There are indeed some simple rules in life that—if you practice on a regular basis—would readily help you become a happy person. These simple rules are quite ordinary that you would never think that they actually hold the secrets to a happy life. Here are seven of these simple rules:

1. “Consider every day as a gift.”
You may find it not easy to develop this habit of treating each day of your life as a gift. Once you begin to see each day as a gift, you would soon become the happiest person in this world (Stevie P note: at least top 5 haha). The reason for this is that you would seldom find a person who is not thankful for a gift, and a gift always brings in a happy disposition to the recipient of the gift. Therefore, once you look at each day of your life as a gift, you will begin to be appreciative of your life. Your appreciation of each day will imbue all aspects of your life, and soon, you will radiate happiness from deep within you.

2. “Accept the things that you can’t change.”
Stephen Covey, the author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” once said that there are two circles of life—the Circle of Influence and the Circle of Concern. The Circle of Influence includes the things that lie within your control such as yourself, your habits, your mind, and your behavior. The Circle of Concern, on the other hand, includes the things beyond your control such as the behavior of other people, politics, your boss, the world, and many other things. If you dwell on the things within your Circle of Concern, you will inevitable end up feeling depressed, bitter, and anxious, because you do not have control over them. If you dwell on your Circle of Influence, you will feel fulfilled and happy because you are in control of these things. Anxiety and depression usually set in when you dwell on things that you are out of control, and for this reason, the more you focus on the things within your control, the happier you will become. As for the things beyond your control, you simply have to accept them.

3. “Choose to be happy.”
Being happy is a decision to be happy and to let go of the things that burden your heart. You can only effectively decide on things and matters that lie within your control. Your behavior is always within your control, in the same way, that your mind is within your control. Hence, you can decide on how you are going to react to any situation; and you can either choose to react happily or sadly.

4. “Start to live in the present.”
Living in the present is also a great habit necessary to live a happy life. “Living in the present” means you are fully immersed in the present moment and enjoying it without cluttering your mind with future and past problems. Once you start living in the present, you begin to appreciate the simple things that life brings and become fully alive. If you cherish every moment, you would naturally find yourself sporting an optimistic and happy outlook on life.

For more on this: There Are No Problems in the Present Moment

5. “Minimize your wants!”
Happiness comes easily when you realize that the many desires and wants of your life are making you dissatisfied with life. Happiness is usually tantamount to being satisfied. Thus, if you develop the habit of minimizing your wants, you will unburden your heart and mind with unfulfilled wants and desires, and your outlook will eventually lighten up, and your mind will be free to appreciate the simple things in life that you have.

For more on this: The Joy of Minimalism

6. “Wish always the best for your beloved.”
There is no greater joy in life than that of seeing the person you love so much achieve in life. Likewise, once you see that those you love are improving and succeeding in life, you will in turn feel light and satisfied. Real love is wishing the best for the beloved, so it’s a win-win to pray and wish that those who are dear to your heart are achieving, growing, and maturing along the way. The more you wish them happiness, the happier you will become.

7. “Lastly, you should get in touch with your inner self.”
Happiness comes from within; it can never be feigned nor faked. It is a satisfied state of mind wherein you feel at peace deep within. It is akin to the feeling of satisfaction after having eaten your favorite food. More importantly, you feel happy when there is no conflict deep within your mind and heart. Hence, for you to be truly happy, you need to resolve the inner rumblings deep within your heart; and there is no better way to do it than to engage in a relaxing meditation and self-awareness activity on a regular basis. Stay in contact with your inner self and you will surely find a center deep within that will serve as your source of happiness.

About the Author
Sophie Addison is a popular blogger and skincare expert. She is very passionate about writing on skincare and beauty. She has posted articles on tips for fine lines under eyes, weight loss and fitness news. Apart from work she likes gardening and listening music. You can also contact her on Facebook, and Pinterest.
 

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Family in Flight (A Poem)

family sky poem

This poem just came to me as I was meditating this morning. That’s the beauty of poetry, it’s pure inspiration conveyed through the language of the heart.

The theme here is family as a catalyst for personal growth. We’re all here to support each other. And essentially we’re all family.

Family in Flight (A Poem)

Went from a fist full of drugs*
To blissful with hugs
From sister to cuz
Never missin’ the love
Through the mist with my bruv**
All our missions are tough
Momma listens to us
With beneficent trust
Meet me father (farther)
Into the gust
Spreadin’ wings
The wind is whiskin’ us up


Notes:

*”Fist full of drugs” refers to always holding a beer (alcohol is legal drug). It’s also a reference to a closed fist, signifying being closed-off and stressed/holding tension. Stress is basically a drug epidemic in our society. Plus, “fist full f drugs” just sounds good as something to rhyme with.

**Bruv is slang for brother.

I hope you enjoyed that poem and it inspired you in some way.

One last thing: tell someone you love them today.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

 

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Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.





 

Reiki for Self-Growth

meditation

Note: This is a guest post by Dee Doshi.

I first heard of Reiki around 14 years back. A work colleague’s friend was a Reiki master and he took me to her home. I am a firm believer in holistic treatments and after meeting the Reiki master, I knew this was something that I should try. I went for Reiki Level 1 and as expected, it proved very beneficial to me.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Reiki, it is a Japanese technique of healing. Rei means ‘Universal’ and Ki means ‘Life Force Energy’ in Japanese. According to the concept, all of us are made up of energy just as the way Reiki is an energy. So, we can channel the Reiki energy through our body (via the seven chakras). Chakras are energy centres that relate to different emotions. If we have any emotional, physical or spiritual blockages within us then Reiki can help clear them and allow the energy to flow smoothly.

Read more about Reiki here: Reiki: Feel the Flow

My Personal Reiki Experience

My Level 1 in Reiki was a very positive experience. Level 1 Reiki teaches you how to use Reiki for self-care. You can also use it with people you are comfortable around – like your immediate family or friends. I used it to self-treat myself and loved the positivity it brought about in my surroundings. I also used it occasionally to pass some energy to my doggy family member. Reiki is not a cure for diseases or illnesses as many believe but it is instead a life force energy that works more on the emotional and spiritual level. It brings about tranquillity and peace within you and your surroundings. After a few years, I got too busy with my life, work commitments and lost touch with Reiki, only practising it occasionally.

But about 2 years back, I was drawn to Reiki again and I began reading up on it. I read a lot of online articles, joined some Reiki forums and also began my search for a Reiki master. I was doing a bit of self-healing all these years and eventually I knew the time had come for me to progress to the next level. So, I went for Level 2 Reiki. Level 2 Reiki makes you more aware of your physical, emotional and spiritual connect. It also increases your intuition, I feel, and your sensitivity to energy is also heightened. With Level 2 attunement, you can also practise distant healing.

Reiki Level 3 is the final step in the Reiki journey. Those who complete Level 3 become Reiki Master Practitioners. I am not yet ready for this final step, I feel. Maybe in the future, I might go for it.
Reiki is a wonderful, transformational journey – one that fills you with positive experiences and a better understanding of yourself and others. You can use it for self healing or practise it on family or friends. If you would like to experience it, then do go for a Reiki healing session near you. I am sure you will enjoy it. I have really enjoyed it and I feel there is so much to explore within ourselves.

About the Author
Dee Doshi is a lifestyle blogger, an animal lover, avid traveler and has achieved Level 2 in Reiki. She blogs at www.dbreviews.co.uk

Stevie P note: If you’re looking to learn and practice Reiki, I highly recommend this at home Reiki training program.

 

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Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.





 

The Blossom of Femininity

blossoming femininity

The dance of the yin and yang, feminine and masculine energy, has always been of great interest to me.

What adds to the intrigue is how imbalanced these energies have been throughout history (his-story). The shadow side of the masculine has dominated and controlled, suppressing the feminine and relegating femininity to its own shadows.

Since society doesn’t provide us with ideal versions of these energetic archetypes to put into practice, we must create our own.

This is why I’ve been exploring and defining my own version of masculinity. And in doing so, one word seems to exemplify masculine, or yang energy: Giving.

Helping, serving and supporting are all expressions of this true masculine/yang energy characterized by the spirit of giving. This interpretation of the divine masculine can take many forms, giving any type of love, helping someone in any way, material giving, the giving of undivided attention, emotional support (a shoulder to lean on)…etc. This kind of giving is unconditional and from a place of compassion, not fear-based or done in a “strings attached” manner.

A major role of this true, giving masculine, in my opinion, is to provide a safe space for the divine feminine to thrive. A strong masculine energy rooted in love can give femininity, not only within women but also within men, a safe place to fully express itself and blossom. This is not possible with the assault of domination and control from the shadow masculine, which suppresses and squashes the fruits of femininity. The divine masculine must support the growth of the divine feminine (not work against it) in order for humanity to live more harmoniously. Our world urgently needs the blossoming of femininity and its defining qualities like intuition, creativity, holistic thinking, compassion and cooperation.

In the spirit of this topic, these concepts are far better conveyed in more feminine, poetic language than masculine, hyper-rational prose. That’s why I’ll leave you with a poem…

The Blossom of Femininity

Too often we’ve seen the shadows
Masculine
Dominant and violent
Feminine
Deceptive and vain

Forgive the fear
It’s time we embody the archetypes
Through the incarnation of love

Giving
Is the essence of masculinity
The masculine must serve the feminine
For the dance of duality to flow
Not a servant-to-master dependence
But out of the free spirit of giving
The strength of providing
Providing space for the feminine to blossom
Providing safety for the feminine to express

Just as the sun shines its light unconditionally
Ever-giving energy to Gaia
Our light must shine the same
Unyielding and unconditional
Nurturing intuition
Cultivating compassion
Harvesting harmony
To engender the flowering of the heart
And see humanity in bloom

 

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Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.





 

The Power of Fiction

Ralph Waldo Emerson Fiction quote

Bold statement: Fiction can be a more effective teacher than nonfiction.

The epics, the classic myths, the primordial fables, the transcendent archetypes and the phenomenon of story have all been omnipresent undertones of human culture since time immemorial.

Fiction has the unique ability in which one can use words as arrows of intention to penetrate the infinite dimensions of abstraction. In other words, truths which exist beyond the limits of our collective analytical mind are able to be conveyed through fiction, metaphor and myth.

The deepest truths are often expressed in this way. Just take a look at any sacred text or brilliant piece of poetry. If they were to be written in a strictly analytical fashion, it would be confined to a sliver of interpreted reality. But with fiction, the words conform to the unique consciousness of the reader. They act as a range of possibility to be decoded subjectively, not a rigid pillar of force-fed predeterminacy.

Literary works can cut through and transcend cultural biases and blindness, giving the reader a taste of a completely “novel” reality (see what I did there?). It allows one to see outside of the box they’ve existed in their whole life, and presents the opportunity to step outside.

Along with being a vehicle for consciousness expansion, fiction comes with a whole host of other benefits as well…

The Benefits of Reading Fiction

  • Improves brain connectivity
  • Increases empathy (and better relationships as a direct result)
  • Reduces stress
  • Enhances memory
  • Increases imagination
  • Expands vocabulary
  • Enhances creativity
  • Increases happiness
  • Enhances focus
  • Helps you be yourself (instead of conforming because the weight of social pressure is released when reading fiction)
  • Helps with approaching and overcoming obstacles (the influence of the hero’s journey)
  • Sources:
    The Surprising Power of Reading Fiction
    7 Benefits Of Reading Literary Fiction You May Not Know

    Stephen King Fiction quote

    How You Can Help Support Fiction

    Speaking of fiction, I recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for my new novel Sozwik. CLICK HERE to view the campaign and provide your support.

    Expand your mind with the wisdom of fiction, embrace the power of story and dare to dream.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!
     

     

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.





     

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    The Visionary’s Creed

    This is for the new wave of hard workers, everyone out there grinding towards their vision, not someone else’s. All of the self-starters, hustlers, artists, entrepreneurs, this is dedicated to you to help you keep going. Ultimately, these words are just a confirmation of what you already know deep down; that you’re living your truth.

    artist

    I know what I want
    I know how to get there
    They may think differently
    But I know me

    Doubt arises
    I set it aside
    I know in my heart
    That I’m walking in the direction of my truth

    I see my vision
    Crystal clear clarity
    I meet it with persistence
    Bringing dreams into reality

    Fear grabs a hold of me
    I hug it with courage
    It fades back into illusion
    Propelled by my truth
    I keep moving

    The path may be difficult
    The road may be rough
    Obstacles will present themselves
    Unforeseen challenges may delay me
    And my route may shift
    But that’s a part of the pilgrimage
    The challenge is where the magic is

    It’s not about where I end up
    It’s about who I become through the journey
    More of myself

     

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    Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.





     

    How to Practice Ho’oponono

    Hawaii

    We all want to see the world change for the better. But we’re doing it all wrong…

    We want to change other people. We want to change situations. We even externalize our power to politicians and religious figures to come save us.

    But how many people focus on changing themselves?

    Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
    – Rumi

     
    We do so much to stay victims, blame others and avoid taking responsibility. Are we that afraid of our own power? Are we that hesitant to make our own decisions?

    The only way that any change happens in your version of reality is if you change yourself.

    There’s a reason why Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Not change other people (you can’t), hope someone else does something (*cough* politics) or passively complain about things, but simply embody the change you want to see.

    You can only control yourself, not anyone else and not what life might throw at you (for the most part). But there’s a beautiful paradox here; when you change yourself, everything around you begins to change. Think about your perspective as a filter on reality. Change your filter and you experience a different version of reality.

    We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
    – Anais Nin

     
    Here’s another aspect of the fallacy of trying to change others. How are you going to be an effective parent, teacher, psychologist, leader, coach or any other position where people are learning from you, if you’re blinded by your own biases, blocked by your own fears and possessed by your own pain? Everything you do will be based upon fundamentally skewed premises. If you’re disharmonious within, your actions will be from a place of disharmony.

    The best teachers are essentially clear mirrors, leading by example and reflecting back to others undistorted answers to their questions.

    Enter: Hoʻoponopono

    There is a simple practice that leverages the truth of inside-out-change, and it’s called Hoʻoponopono.

    Hoʻoponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. It means “to make right” or “rectify an error.” Hoʻoponopono is based on the actuality of healing a situation by healing oneself.

    The practice of Hoʻoponopono consists of using these four affirmations:
    I love you
    I’m sorry
    Please forgive me
    Thank you

    Hoʻoponopono has been traditionally used to solve family and community problems, and has similarities to many other shamanic and mystical practices throughout the world.

    Think about it in terms of common sense, a family dispute will never be resolved if everyone blames each other. Forgiveness provides space for a solution.

    So how do I get that across to people — that we are each 100% responsible for problems? If you want to solve a problem, no matter what kind of problem, work on yourself. If the problem is with another person, for example, just ask yourself, “What’s going on in me that’s causing this person to bug me?” People only show up in your life to bug you! If you know that, you can elevate any situation, and you can release there. It’s simple: “I’m sorry for whatever’s going on. Please forgive me.
    – Dr. Hew Len

     
    There’s even a story that Dr. Hew Len healed a hospital ward of mentally ill criminals by using Ho’oponopono. Who knows if it’s actually true? But anything is possible.

    No Fuel for the Fire

    Any pain that people are carrying needs something to react with. If you don’t give it anything to react with, it doesn’t become part of your reality. If you do react to something, it’s because someone or something triggered pain that already exists within you. Can you see how important clearing yourself is?

    Here’s a relevant insight on relationships by Eckhart Tolle: (Note: This can apply to every kind of relationship, not just intimate relationships)

    If you both agree that the relationship will be your spiritual practice, so much the better. You can then express your thoughts and feelings to each other as soon as they occur, or as soon as a reaction comes up, so that you do not create a time gap in which an unexpressed or unacknowledged emotion or grievance can fester and grow. Learn to give expression to what you feel without blaming. Learn to listen to your partner in an open, nondefensive way. Give your partner space for expressing himself or herself. Be present. Accusing, defending, attacking — all those patterns that are designed to strengthen or protect the ego or to get its needs met will then become redundant. Giving space to others — and to yourself — is vital. Love cannot flourish without it. When you have removed the two factors that are destructive to relationships — when the pain-body has been transmuted and you are no longer identified with mind and mental positions — and if your partner has done the same, you will experience the bliss of the flowering of relationship. Instead of mirroring to each other your pain and your unconsciousness, instead of satisfying your mutual addictive ego needs, you will reflect back to each other the love that you feel deep within, the love that comes with the realization of your oneness with all that is. This is the love that has no opposite.

     
    Ho’opononopono distills these principles of clearing oneself into a simple, effective practice. You only have control of yourself and it’s the leverage point for all change. There really is no “out there” out there. Reality is a subjective experience and our interpersonal interactions are the intermingling of unique worlds.

    If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
    – Wayne Dyer

     
    How to Practice Hoʻoponopono

    If you want to solve a problem, no matter what kind of problem, work on yourself.
    – Dr. Hew Len

     
    The practice of Ho’oponopono consists of visualizing a person or situation that is creating disharmony within you that you want to clear, then saying the four affirmations: I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you. You can just say the affirmations once or repeat them as many times as you like (either aloud or to yourself). Whatever works for you.

    Affirmation 1: I Love You

    Start with being in a state of love. It’s that unconditional, compassionate love which has no opposite. Literally become love. You can bring your hands to your heart if this helps.

    Affirmation 2: I’m Sorry

    This is simply acknowledging something in your reality that you want to clear (no need for guilt or shame). Think of your life as like a movie: If something is in your movie, you have to deal with it, because it’s in your movie.

    Affirmation 3: Please Forgive Me

    Don’t worry about who or what you’re asking for forgiveness. The point is to bring forgiveness into your being.

    Forgiveness is more about clearing negativity from yourself than it is about another person or situation. Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else, it’s something you do for yourself to heal and move on.

    Affirmation 4: Thank You

    You don’t have to thank anyone or anything in particular. Just say “thank you” and feel the gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful emotion that opens the door to healing.

    Ho’oponono

    Are we 100% responsible for everything within our reality? Who really knows?

    But it can only help if we use tools like Ho’oponopono. Think about it this way… How could the world around us not get better if we stop playing games of blame and judgment and incorporate practices based in love, forgiveness and gratitude?

    It’s time to embody the change we envision.

    Much love to us.

    – Stevie P! (aka Just Another Aspect of Yourself)


    UPDATE: There is even an online Ho’oponopono certification available now. If you enjoyed this article, consider becoming a master of this phenomenal tool here: Ho’oponopono Certification.

     

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