An Examined Life

Like far too many people I lived in and was raised by a family who believed the bottle and co-dependency was better then dealing with the “real world”, real problems and real children.

So, I learned to be: The Chameleon Girl, ready to change to conform to anyone’s mood, to leap to conclusions at a single bound, to become fearful faster then a rational thought. I yearned to be something..anything special. I searched for the meaning of me..who am I..what do I believe. I did not know..could not know…was never given the freedom to learn how to explore the world, my opinions, my desires. To do that would be terrifying to my mother, father; it would have been seen as a denial of them, abandonment of them.

It was through me that my mother lived her life, and through me that my father found his comfort. I was confused and fearful. The only place I felt loved and cared for was at school and during Mass. It was there that I longed to become what I loved: A priest. I was crush when I could not become a priest, a woman preist. I felt lost.

In search of myself, my need to service God’s people, I went to college to become a Social Worker. I married my college sweetheart, we created four wonderful children: two boys and twin girls.

During my early years of marriage, and being a mother, I worked part time dealing with Family in Crisis. It was demanding exhausting work with little reward. I discovered that many of the troubles that were present were from how the families saw themselves and each other: It was the atmosphere that was created.

My own experiences as a child, my work as a social worker, and my disenchantment with STEP as a parenting technique; I came to learn how important it was for me to be fully human and more positive, and “proactive”, not just letting fate decide how I was to act about any situation, or let fear lead me as a parent.

Why the disenchantment with STEP? I believe that STEP, while having many marvelous things going for it, stops short when trying to help families come out of their destructive patterns. The emphasis is on the child, not the parent. Parenting is one of the most profound and intense interrelationships we will have in our life times. Far more intense than our relationships with people with whom we chose. These relationships are “born” from us. Many of us see our children as extensions of ourselves and that often gets us into relationship and parenting difficulties. Women who believe that their issues are dealt with find that parenting brings hidden issues to the fore.

What is a proactive parent? A proactive parent understands that that parenting is a relational activity, which the rules that govern relationships with others work here as well; just with the added twist that the parent is in charge. A proactive parent understands that children are like sponges and will react as the parents react. A proactive parent understands that to truly be the best parent she can be is to understand herself as completely as possible.

I became convinced during my working years and as a parent that many problems have a more spiritual aspect: A feeling of worthlessness. Mothers, women often feel as if spirituality belongs to men; or their own experiences as children has left them feeling as if they are unworthy to be anything other than, “a loser.” Because of my own personality, experience and understanding of myself, I went into formation for Spiritual Direction and created a ministry for mothers.

I have come back to writing late. When I was younger I wrote often, then stopped for many reasons. Now I am slowly coming back to journaling.

I learned that life truly is what YOU make it and there are rules to this game of lifePsychology Articles, and I have become a student of life to live it at my best.

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Things in Life That You Control

We humans spend much of our time trying to control every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, too often we waste time trying to control things that are simply beyond our control.

Having an understanding of what things you do control can make it easier for you to gain control of your life and everything in it.

  1. What you do.

Your actions are yours alone. You choose to make them or not make them and you are responsible for the effects of those actions.

  1. What you say.

Likewise, the words you speak (or write) are also consciously chosen. Like actions, they have an impact on your life and the lives of those you contact.

  1. What you think.

Yes, there are some subconscious thoughts that you can’t control. But the things that you really think about, your beliefs, your ideals, etc. are concepts you have chosen to accept and believe in.

  1. Your work.

Many people like to overlook this one, it being much easier to say “Oh, I’m trapped in my job because I don’t have a degree, experience, etc.”

Hogwash! That’s simple a way of denying one’s responsibility in having chosen the job in the first place. It’s your job and you chose it. If you stay (or go), that’s a choice as well.

  1. The people you associate with.

There’s a famous t-shirt that states: “It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys.” Colloquial is very often correct! Your friends can either lift you up or bring you down. You make the decision which type of friends you wish to have.

  1. Your basic physical health.

Much about our health is a factor of genetics, environment, and exposure. Much more of our health is simply a matter ofthe decisions we make about our health, such as: diet, exercise, drugs, sleep, routine physicals, check-ups, etc.

  1. The environment you live in.

Your house, the condition of your home, the town you live in, the amenities available to you are all things you can control, although some to a lesser degree (i.e., you decide to tolerate them or move someplace else).

  1. Your fiscal situation.

Having or not having enough money is a factor of what you make versus what you spend.

  1. Your time.

You choose how to “spend” your time and how much of your time to give to various activities. You’ll never get more time than the 24 hours you’re given each day.

  1. Your legacy.

All your actions, wordsFind Article, and knowledge that you share while you are living become the gift that you leave when you are gone.

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Slow down and focus to succeed

Sometimes we all end up in a situation that seems out of control. All we appear to do is run in circles, fixing things, and holding on to anything that we can. We try to “keep our options open” at all times to ensure that we have a way out. But, as we trudge through the muck and mire, we find that, although we’re working hard, we’re not moving forward.

This is a common situation known as “panic mode.” Panic mode occurs when you are not sure which way to turn so you create many different opportunities to provide a false sense of fulfillment. In fact, these opportunities are not opportunities at all, but are simply “placeholders” that provide a false hope that we are truly moving forward in our lives.

— How can I tell? —

When you find yourself feeling insecure and unable to focus on one particular item or beneficial task, you are running in panic mode. In panic mode, many people tend to not commit themselves to something specific out of fear that things will change around them and throw them back into the pit. They spread their focus over many different things to try and ensure that they have something else to fall back on “in case” the world collapses around them.

Panic mode can be brought on by many different situations, but the result is always the same. It is a feeling of helplessness and insecurity accompanied by the need to grab at anything that comes our way that might provide some level of fulfillment. Many times the opportunities or solutions we reach for are only substitutes for true solutions. These solutions temporarily fill the void, yet we eventually grow tired and begin searching for new solutions.

Eventually, we are inundated with a series of mundane tasks that do nothing more than occupy our time so that we don’t have to face the true issue. Also, since our time is so filled, we are unable to truly commit to anything, which makes us feel even more insecure because we eventually realize that we’re not moving forward, but are instead rolling around in a circle performing tasks for no true reason.

— How do I resolve this situation? —

Resolving this type of situation is not easy. The problem is that you have filled your life with a series of uncommitted situations that simply keep you busy. You feel like you’re doing well, but your know that you’re not moving toward any of your desires or goals in life. This can leave us so overwhelmed that we can’t see what is truly going on around us.

The first thing that you must do is STOP. Just stop doing everything for a few days and think about what you’re doing. You need to clear you brain to take an unobstructed look around. Analyze what it is that you’re doing and why. Try to determine if what you’re doing is truly benefiting to you and your life, or if it is simply filling a void.

The best way to tell is to determine if one of your tasks provides money, security, happiness, and a future of some sort. If it does not provide you with what you need, then determine why you felt it was necessary to perform that task in the first place. The beginning of the answers lie right here. What was it about that task that caused you to think that it was of some benefit? Was it just a placeholder, or a time-waster, or did it actually contribute to your existence in some way?

Realize that fulfillment comes from performing tasks and experiencing things that support your vision in life and truly fill a need in your soul. If you have a vision, and the task does not somehow get you there, then you are simply wasting your time. However, if you find that you’re not sure of your life’s vision, then you need to take the time and figure out where you want to go in your life. In either case, you will be able to get out of panic mode by simply organizing your life.

— What’s next? —

Sometimes, situation can place us into a panic mode. A mode for survival comes to the surface when we can’t get back on track or escape from some turmoil that seems overwhelming. It’s not so much avoiding it as it is in knowing when it is coming and learning how to resolve the resulting situation.

Sometimes things happen that throws us off our rockers. Experiences such as death and other types of unexpected loss can throw us into a panic mode situation because out life changes right in front of our eyes. But, the idea is to know how to recover from such situations and be able to move forward and straighten out our lives again to get back on track.

In all cases, putting a master life plan in place can control panic mode situations. You can then learn how to adjust your plan according to changes and experiences in your life. It is imperative that you realize that you cannot succeed by spreading yourself too thinBusiness Management Articles, just to ensure that you do not fail. You end up being caught in a strange world where you cannot move forward because you don’t want to move backward.

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A Nature Meditation

You are sitting by a quietly flowing stream in the countryside. It is spring and life is green and moist? Sitting on a rock, the sights and sounds of the flowing water begin to work their mysterious way into your nervous system.

Gradually, with the simple repetition of the water?s song and the harmonious beauty of the natural surroundings, the thousands of electronic impulses of your brain begin to discharge into the tension-absorbing air.

All of the concerns, problems and projects, which had filled your mind to bursting capacity begin to disappear.

There is nothing to try to figure out now, nothing to decide.

The flowers silently console you with their perfect peace and harmony.

The fresh air tingles in your lungs and your head becomes clear.

You feel somehow sedated, as if the forces of nature have conspired to put you to sleep - to put you at ease.

The wind massages your body with caresses of coolness as the sun unties your muscles with penetrating warmth.

There is nothing to do, nowhere to go and nothing to think of. Just lie back and absorb the peaceful vibrations which flow into every part of your being, whispering, «be at peace, relax my friend, all is well now».

A delicious sleep falls upon you; not really sleep but a half-conscious-half-sleep state, in which the trees, sounds and breeze begin to come inside and mix with all of the thoughts and feelings. It is as if the door of your mind has been opened and all of those conversations, actions and perceptions lying unresolved, floating at various depths in the sea of the mind begin to float upwards and outwards.

Reality now is a mixture of the inner and outer.

The peace and security of being in the womb of nature allows us to surrender to the sun, water and wind, while the earth-draws out our stresses and frustrations.

We swim semiconsciously at the level where the conscious blends into the unconscious.

We dance in our sea of consciousness, sometimes floating up to the surface catching the sensation of the breeze, or the warmth of the sun. Then we dive downward into a stream of upward floating thoughts, images, sounds - all the dislodged refuse from nervous stresses and unresolved problems.

We watch them as they float by and then dive deeper sensing by now there is something at the bottom of the sea, which is attractive to us.

Occasionally we get caught by an upward floating sensation of worry, resentment, an image or an attachment, and before we know it, we are at the surface again thinking, wondering, worrying, being rocked by the waves of attachment.

But the dance goes on, we begin to sink again, for by now we see that we cannot really dive because diving is too intense - there is too much effort - we get hooked too easily on upward floating garbage.

We instinctively learn the dance of the water, sinking, watching, letting go, being carried on the vertical currents of fresh water from the depths of our consciousness, like a seagull with wings spread gliding the air currents flowing against it without a movement, without an effort, letting the air do all the work.

By this time, we are no longer concerned about where we are going. The water becomes clearer, free of debris. We have gone beyond the levels of stress release, past wreckage of old memories, relationships, failures and traumas. We have danced through the caverns of resentment and worry.

The water becomes very clean, very still, very peaceful.

We are coming to the source of our life current, the spring of pure consciousness. Here we may encounter pure light or energy. Only subtle vibrations exist here. Our bodies become recharged with life. Our consciousness is renewed as we have cleared the way for a burst of fresh energy to flow up purifying the sea of consciousness, regenerating the mind, giving new life to every cell of our brain.

If we do not become enamored by the sensation of light, by the bliss of this energy which charges through our system, then we may sink a little deeper into the vast nothingness from which the spring of life flows.

Here there is not even energy; no body, no mind, no light, no sound - absolute nothingness - total vacuum - only tremendous potential unmanifest Divine Consciousness, from which all life and material creation flows.


The sound of chirping birds greets you as you slowly float to the surface. The branches dancing in the wind wave «hello». The sounds of insects buzzing and water splashing salute you with a «welcome back friend, you are part of us now».

It takes a while to remember where you are. You were only gone 20 minutes, but it seems you have been in this spot all your life. The mind is clear, refreshed and in the present.

There is nothing to do but take off your clothes and go swimming.

Have you ever been to this quiet stream in the countryside?

Most everyone has - either to a stream, river, mountain, sea, or forest. And how well and rejuvenated we feel when we return. Somehow everything is more alive, more harmonious.

It may not take long, however, to discharge all that energy and clarity. Once again we become upset, nervous and bored.

Can we go to the stream every day? It certainly would be nice, and life would be much less complicated. Of course for most of us it is completely impractical in terms of time, money and availability of such places - especially to those of us who live in the city.

Well, Mother Nature has a secret for us. We don?t have to go anywhere at all. The stream of life, that place of peace and source of strength, knowledge and harmony - lies right inside every one of us.

What is meditation? It is nothing more than visiting this stream on a daily basis. Simply it is the sinking dance into our sea of consciousness, releasing the submerged stresses and coming to the point of inner stillness where there is no object of consciousness - but consciousness itself.

Done regularly, this inward dance leaves us fresh, more alert, relaxed, creative, healthy, and more in tune with ourselves and our environment.

The truth of these statements has been proved both subjectively and objectively through experimentation. Studies have been made on meditators and non-meditators over the years with respect to blood pressure, pulse and reaction time as well as with states of fulfillment and creativity expressed subjectively by the participants.

Hundreds of thousands of people today in all walks of life are finding that no matter what their goals, motivations, responsibilities or problems may be, they are able to act more clearly, more efficiently and more successfully with the aid of regular meditation.

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Secrets That Will Change Your Life

You’ve been asked to give an important presentation. A lot is riding on how well you can deliver. The problem is, you’re not sure where to begin. The last class you took on presentation skills told you to tie your hands behind your back and blend in with everyone else. Is that really a good approach?

The answer is a LOUD and RESONATING NO WAY.

If you want to WOW your audience, you have to STAND UP and STAND OUT!

Here are 5 Presentation Secrets designed to help you see an immediate and dramatic improvement in your presentation performance.

Secret #1 - Manage Your Anxiety So That It Doesn’t Manage YOU! Most of the nervous symptoms you experience before a presentation are exactly the same as those you feel when excited. To the body adrenaline is very simply-ENERGY. If we call it energy or excitement it is good, if we call it anxiety, it is bad. The first step toward successfully managing your anxiety is to remove the negative label and rename that feeling you have right before you step up to the podium, EXCITEMENT. Tell yourself that you are excited about the opportunity to speak in front of this group. “Excitement” is a much more manageable and positive emotion than “anxiety.” Then use your excitement to energize you and help you communicate your enthusiasm to your audience.

Secret #2 - When It Comes To Your Delivery Style, Be More Of Who You Really Are! Everyone has their own innate “style” of presenting. Your style is made up of many different aspects of your delivery, including your body, voice, face, the way you use language, level of formality, etc. The trick, within your style, is to be more of who you really are, which means knowing and then capitalizing on your greatest delivery strengths.

Many presenters focus too much attention on their words. With words only accounting for 7% of your power as a presenter, spending too much energy on the words alone is a big mistake. Your nonverbal delivery style-also called your presentation personality–accounts for 97% of your power as a presenter. To improve your chances for success, focus on the real source of your power-your nonverbal communication such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, posture, movement, proximity, clothing, vocal variety, rate, loudness, and silent pauses.

Secret #3 - Give the Audience All the Enthusiasm You Want Back! You can’t expect an audience to be enthusiastic about a product or program you aren’t excited about. Presentation author Doug Staneart concluded, “Your audience will have just about as much excitement about your presentation as you do, and no more.” Enthusiasm is very catchy. Most audiences will match your level of enthusiasm pound for pound.

According to the Lamalle Report on Top Executives of the 1990s, one of the most important factors in determining financial success by those earning over $250,000 is being enthusiastic and having a positive attitude (46%). Apparently, along with being incredibly enthusiastic, successful people never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Why does having a positive attitude matter so much? Research solidly indicates that expectations influence behavior meaning if you expect to succeed, it is likely that you will and if you expect to fail, you are more likely to be unsuccessful. Expectations create outcomes because we work toward the outcome we expect, even if it is failure. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t–you are right.”

Enthusiasm has amazing ransformational powers. As you release your energy using positive nonverbal behaviors (gestures, movement, loud voice, etc.), you will begin to relax. And, your audience will quickly become excited. It works like magic! Watch how easily you can transfer your enthusiasm to your audience.

Secret #4 - NEVER Apologize, Confess, Or Make Excuses! Presenters say the darndest things…”I’m sorry but I have a cold today so my voice may sound a little funny” (apology)OR “I just found out about this presentation yesterday, so I didn’t have as much time to prepare as I would have liked” (excuse) OR EVEN “I’m so nervous…” (confession). It is always surprising how often and how easily presenters use these NEGATIVE phrases.

Up until now, that is.

If you want to WOW your audience, you have to adopt and live by the motto: NO APOLOGIES, NO EXCUSES, NO CONFESSIONS.

When you APOLOGIZE, MAKE AN EXCUSE, or CONFESS at any time during your presentation, you are in essence saying to the audience, “Don’t expect a lot from me today because I’ll disappoint you.” Instead of APOLOGIZING–“I’m sorry I didn’t bring in a sample, but I couldn’t arrange it on such short notice,” try framing it in the positive, “I am working on getting you a sample and I can deliver it next week.” Instead of making EXCUSES, put your energy into delivering the best possible presentation and then stand behind your performance–“I did the best job I could given the circumstances.” And limit your CONFESSIONS–especially those the audience has no business knowing such as “I’m so nervous”–to church!

Secret #5 - Get Your Audience Involved In Your Presentation! People are notoriously BAD listeners. In fact, the attention span of the average American is just nine seconds. That means every nine seconds each member of your audience takes a little mental vacation from the taxing work of listening to your presentation.

With so much fading in and out, it makes sense that the audience remembers only about 20% of what they hear. Stated conversely, the audience will FORGET nearly everything you say (80% of it anyway). Retention improves when you add a visual element to your presentation, but it still is rather dismal at 50% (don’t celebrate yet, they are still forgetting half of your presentation!). And that’s just immediate recall. I’m sorry to say that it gets worse as time elapses.

So how do you get the audience to remember MORE of your presentation for longer periods of time? To raise your audience’s remembering quotient, you have to engage them in your presentation, getting them to actively participate in it. Your goal is to transform the audience from passive listeners to active participants.

The six best ways I’ve found to engage the audience in your presentation is to:

  1. Ask the audience a question
  2. Take a poll
  3. Involve the audience in a demonstration
  4. Give the audience a test
  5. Give the audience a listening assignment
  6. Employ a gimmick

When an audience participates in a presentation, they are fully engaged in the presentation. This means that every part of them is involved in the presentation-their hearts, minds, and bodies. The voice inside their head that thinks of all kinds of extraneous, random thoughts, is for once, silent while they focus solely on your presentation. This concentrated focus enables them to remember so much more!

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