Nimo Patel: Beautiful

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may remember that I am a big fan of Nimo Patel from Empty Hands Music. Nimo has recently offered another music video to the world. This one is called Beautiful. The email message from Empty Hands Music introducing the new video stated:

We have officially released our latest music video called “Beautiful“, a song and video sharing a message of letting go of our technology once in a while, to see the beauty that is constantly surrounding us. If you enjoy it, do share with your friends and family.

The introduction on the YouTube page gave even more information:

Ellie Walton and Nimo release another Empty Hands Music Video, this time featuring Nimo in collaboration with soul singer Jason Joseph. The message of the song is simple: that beauty exists every where we go. We just have to open our hearts and eyes, to actually see it moment to moment.

You can download the album that contains these songs and more- for free- at the Empty Hands site but I decided to put the links to some of my previous Nimo posts below. The first one includes introductory information as well as one of the songs he sang when I first heard him sing.

Introduction and Planting Seeds

Ode to Women

Grateful: A Love Song to the World

Keep Loving

Being Kind

Enjoy!

 

Shocking Revelation

I am still reeling from some information I received today. It just occurred to me to look and see if today’s Daily Prompt would fit for this situation.  Revelation is perfect!

For the last month, I’ve been looking forward to taking a Plant Identification course that was offered to Forest Stewards and other volunteers who work in Seattle’s reforestation projects. When I arrived at the class today, I discovered most of the students had been Forest Stewards for a long time and the others had at least some experience in plant identification. I, on the other hand, only know a few of these native plants.

Last month, Ananya and I had to choose the trees, shrubs and ground covers that we will be planting in our group’s Greenbelt site the end of October. We ordered nearly 400 plants. In the course of today’s class, I learned that those plants will be delivered to us unmarked. Not only that, most will be in their winter state so we may have only a twig to use for identification.

WWWWWWHHHHHHAAAAAAATTTTTTTT?

The need for me to learn to identify our plants has certainly taken on a new intensity. As I sat down to write this post, though, a couple of other thoughts came to my mind. When we ordered the plants, we had to order in quantities of 10. We ordered 10 for some varieties and 20 for others. So even though we will have to identify 400 plants, there will only be 26 different types. That seems doable.  Also, sometime prior to October we will have the opportunity to take a Winter Twig class. I will make taking that class a priority.

I am sure glad that I learned this information today, rather than discovering it when the plants are delivered. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. Yes I can. Yes I can. Yes I can. Yes I can. And I don’t have to do it alone! Ananya and I will do it together and if we need help we will get it.

A Treasure for Me

I laughed when I saw that today’s Daily Prompt is Chuckles. I also thought of the old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” That is exactly how I feel about dandelions this time of year.

Two days ago, I saw this strip of dandelions near my home. It was at least 50 feet long and maybe more. Throughout the winter, I have been going to the grocery store to pick up lettuce that is going to be discarded. I feed it to the worms in my vermicomposting bins. The worms seem to be losing their enthusiasm for the lettuce, but they love the fresh dandelion greens.

The problem with the dandelions in this field is that it is part of light rail property and is completely fenced in. I have no way to access it, so I have to be satisfied with using the dandelions in my yard and the few that are on the street side of the fence.

Even though I know that it is important for me to focus on what I have, rather than what I don’t have, I have no doubt that I will still look longingly at the treasure that is beyond my grasp whenever I pass this field.

Daily Prompt: Squat

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia

I laughed when I saw that the Daily Prompt for today was “Squat.” My laughter was because it reminded me of something that happened in the 90’s.

First I will give some back story. When I first started going to Amma’s Amritapuri, India ashram in January of 1990, all of the toilets were squat toilets. I found them uncomfortable to use. My balance was shaky and as far as I was concerned they were just plain weird. Over the years, I became more used to them but I still didn’t like them, and I internally grumbled about them a lot.

Eventually, I became irritated by my own negativity. By then I had learned Byron Katie’s process for addressing negative judgments. At one point in her process you create “turnarounds” for a negative judgment and then examine the turnarounds to see if there is any truth in them. For example, if my belief is “Susan is angry with me”, the turnarounds would be “I am angry with me” or “I am angry with Susan.” The belief “My boss should listen to me more” could be turned around to say “I should listen to me more” or “I should listen to my boss more.”

One day in the mid-90’s, the familiar thought, “I hate Indian toilets,” ran through my mind. A voice within me said, “Now turn it around.” My immediate response was that the turnaround would be “I love Indian toilets.” That statement was so unacceptable to me that I wouldn’t even entertain the possibility that there could be truth in it. Then another sentence came to mind. “I love to hate Indian toilets!” That turnaround sent me into laughter and my energy shifted completely.

As the the years went by, most of the toilets in the ashram became toilets that combine the two styles, but once I had accepted the belief that “I love to hate Indian toilets,” I no longer had the strong negative reaction to them. Even today, I smile when I recall that long-ago incident.

Letting Go of Suffering- Week Eleven: Stopping the Critical Self Talk

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Suffering is created or enhanced by critical self-talk. An important step in ending suffering is to replace the negative critical messages with positive nurturing and/or structuring messages.

Source: Growing Up Again: Parenting Ourselves, Parenting Our Children.
Source: Growing Up Again: Parenting Ourselves, Parenting Our Children.

Creating nurturing and structuring messages is a skill that takes practice. This lesson will focus on helping you to learn that skill by walking you through a multi-step process. At the end of the lesson you find a worksheet you can copy for future use.

EXAMPLE:

State the problem in one sentence:

I forgot to bring my children’s sack lunches when I drove them to the bus that would take them to summer camp.

What critical messages are you telling yourself?

1) Stupid! There were 300 children there and you were the ONLY parent who forgot her children’s lunches.
2) You are a terrible parent.
3) Why are you making such a big deal out of nothing? They won’t be allowed to go hungry.

Identify nurturing messages you can use to counteract the critical messages (messages that are gentle, caring, supportive, and unconditional).

1) You do care for your children and they know it.
2) You are a good parent even though you make mistakes.
3) It is highly unlikely that you were the only parent who forgot their child’s lunch.
4) It is important for your children to know that you make mistakes. When they see you make a mistake, they learn that it is okay for them to make mistakes.
5) You were feeling very sad because your friend Jean was leaving today and you won’t see her for a very long time. It is understandable that you didn’t remember everything.

Identify structuring messages you can use to counteract the critical messages (messages that set limits, show how and give options. 

1) Talk to the camp counselors. Tell them what happened and ask if they have arrangements for children who come without lunches.
2) Tell your children that you forgot the food and have them help brainstorm solutions.
3) Check and see if there is time for you to go to a convenience store and buy them some lunch. Continue reading “Letting Go of Suffering- Week Eleven: Stopping the Critical Self Talk”

Letting Go of Suffering- Week Ten: Failure

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You are lovable even when you fail.

Failing is a normal and necessary part of living.

You can learn from every failure.

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Another behavior that often leads to suffering is failure. Failure is “to disappoint expectations or trust; to fall short; to be or become absent or inadequate; to be unsuccessful.” (Webster’s Ninth New College Dictionary, Springfield: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1988, p. 445)

The reality is that any time we choose to act, we take the risk of failure. In order to succeed, we must be willing to risk failing. There is much that can be gained from acting, even if the result is failure. As with mistakes, it is important to see that failure is a necessary part of living and that something can be learned from every failure. Continue reading “Letting Go of Suffering- Week Ten: Failure”

Jane Goodall: A New Kind of World

Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Photo Credit: Jeekc on Wikimedia

“I think one of the most important things for people to understand,” says Goodall, “is don’t feel helpless when you look at all the problems of the world.

Realize that if you think about the consequences of the small choices you make each day — what you buy, what you eat, where did it come from, how was it made, did it harm the environment, cruelty to animals, child slave labor — [you] make more ethical decisions.

It’s not just you. It’s more and more people around the world. In the end, it’s hundreds of millions of people making small choices, that are the right choices, that leads us to a new kind of world.”

Source

Letting Go of Suffering- Week Nine: Mistakes

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You are lovable even when you make mistakes.

Making mistakes is important for your growth.

You can learn from every mistake.

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Making a mistake is one of those life situations that often leads to suffering. A mistake is “a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge or inattention.” (Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1988 p. 760.)

An important step in letting go of the suffering is to adopt the mind-set that mistakes are an important and necessary part of living, and that something can be learned from every mistake. In time, you may even come to see making a mistake as a positive event rather than a negative one.

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This week, record every mistake you make. Write down the tiny mistakes as well as the big ones. Next to the mistake, write what you learned from making it and what you will do differently in the future. Add more paper if you need to.

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You are lovable even when you make mistakes.

Making mistakes is important for your growth.

You can learn from every mistake.

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See you next Monday for the tenth lesson.

To find the lessons in this series that have already been published click here.

Letting Go of Suffering- Week 6: Using Affirmations to Heal

I often ask my psychotherapy clients what they would think and feel if they overheard a parent berating a child with the negative messages that they dump on themselves, e.g. “You are so stupid.” “Can’t you do anything right?” “You are selfish.”  “You are a disgrace.”

Clients often respond that they would feel angry and think that the child was being abused. I tell them when they speak that way to themselves, it is as if they were the parent who is abusing the child. In this case the child is their inner child. That awareness is often jolting enough to motivate clients to learn what they need to learn to stop the negative self talk.

Affirmations are positive statements which can be used to replace the negative messages you tell yourself. By using these positive statements, as one might use a mantra, i.e. saying them over and over, you can fill yourself with positive supportive energy instead of negative, discounting energy.

Below you will see two styles of affirmations. The affirmations in the first style are phrased so that you affirm the beliefs you want to have. These affirmations are stated as if they were already true. For example:

I belong

I am worthy

I am enough.

I am a competent, capable adult.

I am love.

I am lovable.

My needs are important.

I am learning and growing.

I deserve support.

The other option is to pick an affirmation that the healthy parent part of you says to your inner child. For example:

I love you.

Your needs are important to me.

I will teach you and guide you.

Pamela Levin and Jean Illsley Clarke created sets of developmentally based affirmations. Their affirmations use the parent to child style.

Pam Levin’s can be found her her book Cycles of Power. Some examples of her affirmations:

You have a right to be here.

You don’t have to hurry, you can take your time.

You don’t have to suffer to get your needs met.

Jean I. Clarke’s are in Growing Up Again. Here are a few of hers:

I’m glad you are you.

You can know what you need and ask for help.

You can learn when and how to disagree.

Creating Affirmations from Think Structures

You can use the Think Structures you wrote in Week Four and Week Five‘s Letting Go of Suffering assignments to create personalized affirmations. (The Think Structure and this affirmation structure are processes created by Pam Levin (Cycles of Power.)

I will show you how to create affirmations using this Think Structure:

  1. I am scared
  2. That if I ask for what I want
  3. I will be ridiculed or punished
  4. Instead of being heard and supported
  5. So I pout, isolate and don’t ask for what I want.

To form the affirmation, you will use the 2nd and 4th line of the Think Structure.

So my affirmation would be:

I do ask for what I want and I am heard and supported.

Create affirmations from some of the Think Structures you wrote during the last two weeks. If you have not seen or done those assignments, consider going back to those lessons and completing them.

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If you like, you can use your Think Structure affirmations when you do the affirmation exercise I will describe in the next section of this post.

Another way you can  use your Think Structure affirmations is to set up life situations that will facilitate your healing. Using the example above, I could let my friends know that I am focusing on asking for what I want and would like to practice doing that with them. I could also let them know that when I ask for what I want, I would like to be heard and supported. (Being heard and supported doesn’t mean they will give you whatever you ask for. A long time ago, I practiced this exercise with someone by asking him if he would pay for my Masters of Nursing degree. He was very honoring of my request but, of course, did not agree to fund my education!)

Using the Affirmation

Pick one of the affirmations from this lesson, or create one of your own. For the rest of the week say it at least 1000 times a day; 5,000-10,000 would be even better! It is fine for you to say it internally, going as fast as you want. (A short mantra can be repeated 1,000 times or more in 20 minutes.) You can count using a tally counter from an office supply store or an app such as iPhone’s Counter +.

Even though this lesson only lasts a week, it would be best if you continue to say the same affirmation for 21 days. If you say it in the higher range (i.e. 10,000 a day or more) you may find that it starts flowing through your mind automatically. You may even wake up during the night and realize you were saying it in your sleep. Imagine what it would feel like to be listening to positive thoughts throughout the night instead of your self-critical ones.

What if my mind is fighting the affirmation?

Sometimes a particular affirmation is so far from what you believe, you may find yourself very resistant to saying it. If that is the case, take a piece of paper and make two columns on it. On the left side write your affirmation and on the right side write the negative response that comes to your mind. Keep doing that until you have written the positive one 50 times. Here is an example:

Positive affirmation               Discount

My needs are important…      No they aren’t

My needs are important…      I should be needless and wantless

My needs are important…      It isn’t safe for me to have needs

My needs are important…      No they aren’t

My needs are important…      No they aren’t

My needs are important…      That statement is nonsense

etc.

Do this two column affirmation exercise for several days if you need to and then start saying the 1,000 repetitions of the positive affirmation each day. Or do the 50 written affirmations in the morning and then say the affirmation during the rest of the day. As you continue to write and/or say the affirmation, the negative messages will decrease and then stop.

Another thing you can do when you find negative thoughts coming into your mind when you say the affirmation is to speed up the rate you are saying the affirmation. Speed it up until you drown out the negative message.

Journaling

Take a few minutes each day this week to write about your experiences with the affirmation.

Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7

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See you next Monday for the seventh lesson.

To find the lessons in this series that have already been published, click here.

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Rara is one of my most favorite bloggers. She is so creative and her posts are unlike any others. I also love that she is so full of love and that she can go through the most difficult of situations and still “be” love.