Anti Matter and Matter

Blog Category: Funny,Happiness,Politics,stories
Blogged by: Jobst Schmalenbach
Created on: October 12, 2016 at 3:30 pm
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I could not resist.
Enjoy.

 

The Allure of Narcissistic Spirituality

Blog Category: stories,Thoughts,Wisdom
Blogged by: Sue Barrett
Created on: January 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm
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I had the opportunity to read this grounding, insightful article and am grateful for its guidance to a more connected path.  It is entitled ‘The Allure of Narcissistic Spirituality’ written by Rabbi Allan Lurie and appeared in Huffington Post on 6 January 2011.

Ten Lessons I Learned While Climbing to the Top

Blog Category: stories,Thoughts
Blogged by: Sue Barrett
Created on: November 17, 2009 at 4:48 pm
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By Jill Koenig

I recently spent some time in Door County, Wisconsin on a little
relaxing weekend getaway.

On my last day there, I set out with a girlfriend to explore
Peninsula State Park, a beautiful nature preserve located on a
bluff high above the waters of Green Bay.

As we went through the park, we stumbled upon Eagle Tower. Eagle
Tower is a 75 foot wooden tower built in 1914 that sits on a
cliff above Green Bay, exactly 250 feet above the water.

For whatever reason, I was attracted to the tower. I quickly
assessed it and decided to climb it. I figured if it’s been here
since 1914 and it’s open to the public, it must be relatively
safe, right? So I grabbed my video camera and began my ascent.

Upon first glance it seems like it would be a breeze to climb to
the top, that is, until you get started, then you realize the
tower is one big wobbly staircase.

Now I’m from the city so this is not the first staircase I have
conquered. My home is three levels and I climb those stairs every
single day. The art school I attended was 14 stories high and I
loved using the stairs. It is however quite daunting when you
realize that the individual stairs of Eagle Tower go straight up
and have no backing, no walls. So this means you get to feel the
wind in your face, you cannot avoid seeing the height you are
climbing to while the landmarks below you shrink with each step
you take.

I was so happy to be climbing Eagle Tower and was especially
excited to be sharing the experience with my dear friend. After
all, we are stronger together… that is until I lost her, and
then I had to be strong by myself. She turned back after about 20
feet up. She didn’t just turn back, she got a little cranky with
me, told me climbing this thing just wasn’t important to her and
just like that, she was gone. She was back on the ground. Little
did I know that climbing this pile of wood would become a deeply
moving spiritual experience that I could draw from for the rest
of my life…

The Ten Lessons I Learned While Climbing to the Top

1. There will be times you will have to go on without your
support system. The people you want to be there with you will not
always be there with you. Be willing to go forward anyway.

It occurred to me at that moment that I had a choice. I could
turn back to keep her company or I could just keep going.  Since
she was already cranky, I might risk her being mad at me for
going without her. Or I could just go forward and do what I said
I was going to do. I would have truly preferred to climb it with
her and share the experience, but I decided to continue climbing
even if it meant I was alone. After all, the tower wasn’t going
anywhere and I could tell her all about it when I came down and
perhaps she would want to climb it later after watching me do it.
I am an optimist.

But that didn’t happen. She totally disengaged from me and the
experience. What’s important to note is that no matter how much I
truly believe she would have benefited from this experience, my
journey is not her journey. Each person chooses their own path
and sometimes you have to let them go and do what you need to do
for yourself.

Which taught me this:

2. The higher you climb, the scarier it gets and the less
company you will have.

Sometimes people turn on you and project THEIR fear onto you
through anger, disassociation, abandonment and so on. Sometimes
they even attack you because you are doing something they want,
but are afraid to do. I wanted her to have this experience.  But
the truth is, this climb was not about her or anyone else and I
shouldn’t make it about her. It was about me wanting to feel the
fear and do it anyway. I wanted this experience. There were
people already at the top and that was comforting to know that I
would meet them when I got there.

And so I kept climbing.

The higher I climbed, the stronger and colder the wind was. In
fact,when I reached the second level, the wind was so strong, it
blew my hat off my head. Oh, and the higher you go, the more the
tower sways in the wind. You can hear the wood making creaky
sounds and the ‘perception’ of danger and intensity becomes
greater with each step.

The wind is loud as it howls around you. There is no protection
from it as the tower is essentially 4 pillars, a floating
staircase and a railing to hold onto as you climb. That’s it.

So why was I here, why was I climbing this tower?  Why was this
so important to me?

3. How you do anything is how you do everything.

The very thought of that statement is what kept me from turning
back. I wondered if I turned back here, in a controlled situation
that would be done and over with in about 4 minutes, what else in
life do I avoid, turn back and retreat from? Not that this issue
is a pattern in my life, but the mere possibility was enough to
make me forge ahead.

This experience was symbolic to me, a step in the direction of
expanding my personal development and spiritual growth.

4. Once you make the decision to go, do not sit around talking
about how afraid you are.  That only causes the fear to become
bigger and you will increase your chances of turning around like
my friend did. It’s okay that she turned back, as she had her
reasons for not doing it, but I could not turn back for I had my
reasons for following through and I was 100% committed to make it
to the top. She saw the tower as a meaningless pile of wood. I
saw it as a metaphor for life and conquering fear. Instead of
focusing on the fear, I focused on the feeling of accomplishment
I would feel with each progressive step and the view I would get
to enjoy when I reached the highest point.

“What you dwell upon long enough and strong enough becomes
your reality. ” -Jill Koenig

5. The only way to grow your courage muscle is to use it.
Sometimes when you are afraid to do something that you know you
are capable of, it means you MUST do it. I could spend my entire
life avoiding things that scare me but then I would never grow. I
would miss out on so many delicious experiences. When muscles and
skills are not used, they atrophy, the fade, they shrink. You
increase and grow your capacity whenever you pursue your
potential.

6. The higher you climb, the more temptation there is to turn
back.  The climate is different at the top. There is often more
risk, and the conditions are more extreme. Fewer people are
willing to take those risks and battle those conditions. This
applies to business, love, spirituality and any component of
life. The greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity, but
also the greater the challenge, the more opportunities for your
limiting beliefs to sneak up on you and bit you in the rear. You
must consciously choose to overcome the perception of your
limitations.

7. When you get to the top, or reach a new level, take time to
celebrate and reflect. Capture the lessons from the experience.
Who knew that climbing a wooden tower would have brought so much
insight to my life and give me the opportunity to share it with
you? And some of you are going to comment back and share your
insights with me and that’s pretty awesome if you ask me.

8. After you stretch yourself and have done something a few
times, it becomes much easier to accomplish more. In fact, you
will find yourself looking for bigger challenges to tackle.
Challenging yourself makes you feel alive and accomplished. Even
if you don’t make it to the top, if you stretch yourself, you
will be in a better position for the future.

9. The view from the top is spectacular. There are things you
can only experience and see from up high. I climbed the tower
three times that day. Each time was easier than the one before.
The third time I climbed the tower, I saw a bald eagle flying
just above me. Have you ever seen a free bald eagle in front of
your face in the wild? It’s a treasure to behold. I would have
totally missed that remarkable sight if I were standing on the
ground.

10. Sometimes coming down  just as frightening as going up.
After I celebrated at the top, and took in the spectacular view,
it was time to come down and it was just as scary coming down as
it was going up and I think the same is true of life. Life is a
series of peaks and valleys, summers and winters. There are
cycles we must all experience. I don’t know anyone whose life is
a constant ride at the top. But it is still worth the effort to
go for it and get back to the top, to seek new heights, if for no
other reason than what you will learn and who you will become in
the process. The lessons are yours to keep forever.

For my friend this tower was a meaningless pile of wood. For me
it was a metaphor for life. What towers or mountains have you
climbed lately? What challenges have you embraced, what fears
have you conquered? How have you stretched yourself today?

You want to seek new heights in every area of your life. It’s
worth doing whatever it takes to get there.

See you at the top.

Live Your Dreams

Jill Koenig

Meditation as path to happiness

Blog Category: Research,stories
Blogged by: Sue Barrett
Created on: December 27, 2007 at 9:22 pm
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Season’s greetings to you and your families.

As a way to bring in the new year we thought we would focus on  “Meditation as path to happiness’ as one of our final pieces for 2007.  There is also an increasing body of scientific research showing definite links and health benefits on all levels to meditation and mindfulness.

Some of you may not be aware but my university education is in science, studying biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology and immunology. This background combined with my life long participation in sport and my love of yoga and meditation has kept me looking out for the work that links them all together and show the links between mind body and spirit.

Top performing people in many occupations are often extremely self-aware and other-aware. Many participate in forms of reflection and meditative practice to assist them in remaining effective in their day-to-day work and dealings with self and others. With that in mind, as another year comes to an end, it is often an opportunity to take time to reflect on the year that was and our role in it.

With all that we do it is so easy to become caught up in the relentless pursuit of meeting deadlines, pursuing goals and just keeping everything on track, personally and professionally. With all this activity we may put ourselves at risk of missing the wonderful opportunities to reflect on what we have learned and what we already have to be grateful for in our lives.

I have personally been reflecting on the on the 13 years I have been in my own business. From those early days to now has been quite some journey. I began this business on 9 January 1995 with the intention of working with the whole person to develop their potential to engage in productive work relationships in concert with a bigger picture. Our aim has always been to help people grow and gain mastery through greater self-awareness, understanding, mindfulness and purposeful action. In doing this work, we too, have learned much, received many insights and found much to be grateful for along the way. I have been wanting to speak publicly for a long time about mindfulness and meditation, however back 13 years ago mindfulness, meditation and self-awareness were not mainstream topics for discussion in business. The good news is, that in more recent times, these practices are taking the main stage. Unlike some new age ideas in the market today, people are realising these practices are not fads, they are life long skills which allow for mastery in many areas, including sales. People are now recognising that using Mindfulness and Meditation helps them be more effective, creative and relaxed at work, home and in the community.

yoga

With that I would like to introduce you to some of the current work being done in this area. Meditation as path to Happiness (PDF) is paper written and presented by Dr. Craig Hassed at the 2006 Happiness and its Causes conference www.happinessanditscauses.com.au. Dr Craig Hassed was trained in medicine at Melbourne University and graduated in 1984. His interest in a holistic approach led him to focus on wellbeing rather than simply treating illness. This led him to focus upon counselling, mind-body medicine and meditation. In 1988 Craig decided to make a contribution to bridging these missing links in medical education through joining the Monash University Department of Community Medicine and General Practice. I would like to thank him for giving us permission to publish this article and bring his work to your attention. Topics include:

  • The stress response and its effects on the mind, brain and body
  • Mental health today
  • The importance of attention
  • The search for happiness
  • Meditation, healing and happiness
  • Mindfulness meditation

Happy New Year & Best WishesWarmest regards

Sue & Jobst

Burnt-out, tired, had enough?

Blog Category: stories
Blogged by: Sue Barrett
Created on: December 27, 2007 at 9:16 pm
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How do we manage ourselves in times of stress? If you are anything like me, you probably struggle from time to time trying to keep up with all these things and more.  As a working mother and small business owner there are times when I can barley speak due to tiredness.
While the topics of stress, depression and other health issues are getting more press today, these problems often remain hidden from view and never spoken about until it’s too late.

Why should people burnout at all? It’s such a waste.

What we know is that good consistent business performers are usually resilient, focused and determined in nature and, in my experience, usually have a sense of ‘wellness’ about them. Their wellness shines through and is supported by good life habits such as:

  1. Undertaking regular exercise.
  2. Having a healthy diet.
  3. Drinking alcohol in moderation or not at all.
  4. Having a variety of other interests in their life.
  5. Prioritising very well.
  6. Not taking illicit drugs.
  7. Continued self development.

However, even healthy people sometimes ‘hit the wall’ and ‘burn out’. An accumulation of things can happen and before you know it you’ve hit the wall. With too many things happening too quickly, you often do not stop to deal with them one by one.

If this accumulation of stressful events continues, then they simply roll you over and flatten you. Given high performers have the capacity to produce consistently well, we can often miss vital signs of our stressors.

For instance when things don’t go so well, we can take on too much and over compensate for others’ lack of performance. If this happens over and over again it wears you down. I have experienced a major burnout. It was not pleasant and very stressful. I am sure I am not alone when it comes to stress as a working mother or as a business owner

Now I am no expert on stress management, however I have been an avid user of many tried and true approaches to help me be at my best and ensure I am ‘fit’ and can still juggle my many duties.

Instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs or other harmful actions as others may do, I sort out my support network. That is why I thought it would be useful to provide a list of some of the services people can access before, during or after they find themselves dealing with stressful situations. Please find following a preliminary list of associations you may like to explore:

Prevention in the best cure and hindsight is a wonderful teacher. Never forget nothing is impossible to fix and there is always an option out there to help you deal with any challenging situation. Don’t forget to ask for help there is always someone there.

I hope this helps.

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