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"All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." Chris Griscom, Spiritual Leader, Author

"Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion." Robert Schwartz, Author: Your Soul's Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born

"The Tao of Spiritual Partnership is a unique blend of wit and wisdom; Dr. Kortsch encourages us to take responsibility for our relationships, while recognizing and seizing the opportunities for our own personal spiritual growth." William Buhlman, Author of Adventures Beyond the Body

Monday, August 22, 2016

10 Reasons to Incorporate Gratitude Into Your Daily Routine


A multitude of scientific studies all give the same results: feeling and focusing on gratitude is highly beneficial for your physiological, psychological, emotional and spiritual health. More and more of these studies are being funded since this information first hit the airwaves some six years ago and in my monthly newsletter article in October 2006, titled Happiness: Has it Become a Science or is it a Question of Luck?, I referred to what were at that time, recent studies, indicating that amazingly, the most important component to maintaining and/or raising our level of happiness is accomplished by keeping a gratitude journal.  

Today I’d like you to encourage you to contemplate ten excellent reasons that demonstrate exactly why you should make gratitude an integral component of your daily routine … not something to do occasionally, or when you wake up, or when you go to bed, but to integrate it into your daily life in such a way that it is always there – in your conscious awareness - in some fashion, just as your awareness of the amount of light where you are is always present. It can easily (and painlessly) become second nature, if only you choose for gratitude to occupy that place in your life.
  1. Gratitude lowers your stress levels as measured by blood pressure and perspiration and breathing. Because you focus on something that gives you a certain amount of happiness or pleasure, gratitude is capable of affecting you on these very physiological levels. If you think for a moment of a grinding problem in your life and note how it makes you feel, and then switch your focus to something beautiful in your surroundings, allowing yourself to feel gratitude for it being there (the blue sky, a frolicking puppy, a bold purple bougainvillea climbing up a white-washed garden wall, a contagiously laughing child behind a wrought-iron gate, the elusive scent of a night jasmine, the full moon in a star-lit sky, the burst of flavor in your mouth as you bite into a ripe peach, etc.), you will note that you immediately feel very different compared to how you felt a moment ago.

  2. Gratitude increases your levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, and attentiveness as indicated in several studies.
    What happens when you think about a huge pile of work that needs to be done? Don’t you feel a bit overwhelmed, perhaps even tired, just by thinking about it? Now quickly think about spending a two week vacation on Bora-Bora or traveling around a country you have yet to explore, perhaps Istanbul and the Cappadocia region of Turkey. Didn’t you immediately feel more alert and enthused? It’s exactly the same thing again with gratitude.

  3. Sleep duration and sleep quality are also positively affected by gratitude as indicated in the same studies.
    We all know what happens to the quality of our sleep when we are worried and stressed. And what happens when our lives flow? When things are going well? Again, by focusing on gratitude, we get a similar effect, even when things are not flowing.

  4. By creating a good feeling inside of you, gratitude literally changes your energetic frequency.
    It follows that if you change from a not so good feeling to a better one, your inner state of energy will increase, or quicken. Raising the energy of what you focus on, raises your energy in many different ways. Focus on a war movie with much devastation, grayness, desperation and mindless torture and killing, or focus on a movie such as A Beautiful Mind or Eat, Pray, Love and you will clearly feel the energetic difference. Focusing on gratitude for something in your life, something as simple as the examples in the first point of this article, and you will immediately notice the change in energy.

  5. Gratitude allows you to shift your perspective about the matters you had been contemplating prior to feeling the gratitude. 
    When you change your inner energy, as established in the previous points, you will be in a new place inside your body, mind, heart, and spirit. This position in the new feeling and thinking place will allow you to see whatever problem you are currently facing from a new perspective because when you feel better, you can see things differently. This may even allow you to more easily find a solution to your situation.

  6. Gratitude strengthens the neural pathway that demonstrates to you that you are capable of choosing to focus elsewhere whenever you wish. 
    As you focus on gratitude again and again, noticing the increase in energetic frequency, noticing that you do feel better by focusing on gratitude, you are not only creating a new habit and hence, creating and strengthening a new neural pathway to the detriment of earlier formed neural pathways that do not serve you well, but you are also creating the neural pathway of belief in your own power to change your focus as and when you wish in order to benefit yourself. And once you believe that changing how you feel is in your power and not in the power of your circumstances, you are embarked on the road towards inner peace and freedom.

  7. Gratitude strengthens another very important neural pathway that begins to determine that you prefer to be in this place of inner well-being that you achieve as you focus on gratitude, as opposed to the place you were in before you exercised your feelings of gratitude. 
    If you lived in a studio apartment as a student, and then started earning money and moved into a three bedroom home, you soon become habituated to more space. If you are accustomed to eating in fast food places and one day you start going to five star restaurants, you soon become habituated to a superior quality of food, surroundings and service. In the same way you rapidly become accustomed to being in a much better energetic place – a place of much greater inner well-being – once you begin to choose to focus on gratitude throughout your day. Being accustomed to being there, means that you will adjust back to being there quickly, on the occasions that you stray off the path energetically. 

  8. By becoming a habit, gratitude automatically allows you to remain in a much better inner space that is not easily perturbed. 
    The stronger the habit, the more robust the neural pathway that is associated to your choice to focus on gratitude throughout your day. As this begins to become the normal place in which you live (i.e., a better place of inner well-being), it is much harder to perturb that place. In other words in the same way in which someone who trains at the gym on a regular basis, or someone who power walks or runs on a regular basis, has a physical condition that is harder to knock off kilter, so it also applies to someone who has chosen to have a continual feeling of inner well-being, and who will therefore not be easily thrown into a negative place no matter what the outer circumstances. 

  9. Gratitude causes you to focus on the now as opposed to focusing on past pain or sorrow, or focusing on future worries. 
    Just for a moment think of something that is worrying you. For another moment think of something that caused you pain in the past. Now focus on something you are grateful for … perhaps the warmth of the sunshine flooding through your window, or the aroma of cinnamon coming from your kitchen, or the brilliance of the sun in the sky. Now evaluate: while you were focused on feeling gratitude, you no longer had the future worry or the past pain in your mind and emotions. The gratitude left no room for it – not if you allowed the gratitude to flood your being for that moment. And the reason for that is the fact that focusing on gratitude takes you – immediately – to the NOW where there is no room for thoughts and emotions from the past or future. It is a place of utter peace. 

  10. Experiencing gratitude implies that your ego cannot dominate you because it can only dominate when you are not in the now. 
    Using the term ego in the sense that it is that part of you that has untold unwanted thoughts that you feel you are not in control of, thoughts that in turn take you to untold feelings over which you also have no control, then by focusing on gratitude and bringing yourself into the now as explained in the previous point, your ego – all those unwanted thoughts and unwanted emotions brought about by those thoughts, no longer has the power to dominate you. The one that you are when you are in the now is the eternal you, the divine you, the you that always was and always will be and hence, the you that is not the ego.
Consider these points throughout your day. They are simple. They work. Your life improves. Your subconscious thought patterns and beliefs change. Your inner well-being increases and this new increased level of well-being becomes second nature.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English)


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
  


Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... AHORA en todo el mundo en Amazon (versión bolsillo y Kindle)



Note: My other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my first book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. I generally post in each of these two blogs once a week. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Also visit my Spanish & German blogs by clicking on the language links above in the MENU.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Companions That Shape Your Life


John (not his real name, all names in this post have been changed) was recently told he has a tumor. Malignant or benign, he will not know for about three weeks, after a series of tests and the results that they offer. Marguerite was taking her husband’s suits to the cleaners and found a hand-written note – not his handwriting - in the breast pocket of one of the jackets: Your love makes life worth living. Matthew and Lily have just been notified by their bank that unless they pay the overdue mortgage on their home, it will be repossessed by the end of the month. Suzanne had a call from the police this morning. Her son David is in jail for possession of cocaine. Michael got fired yesterday. And William was robbed. Burglars broke into his home while he was away on a brief trip and managed to open the safe where he had six months’ worth of emergency funds and his wife’s jewelry. None of it was insured. Finally, Mariel, a horse trainer, had a car accident, and not only is her car totaled, but because of injuries she sustained, she can not work for at least six weeks and her job only allows her six sick days per annum.

When Life Gets Hard

Such a list of bad luck and hard situations doesn’t exactly make for fun reading. But here is why this is the subject of today’s article: when life serves up the hard bits, the companions we have chosen up to that point in our lives, will shape – at least in part – the manner in which we are able to deal with the problems. They will sustain us and they will help us get through that dark forest to the clearing on the other side. Or not.

Habitual Companions

Here are some of the companions we habitually choose – we spend our precious time with these companions - and because they are habitual, and because we generally choose them long before any of the hard bits in our lives have appeared, they impact our thoughts and behavior in ways that are detrimental instead of uplifting when the more difficult times show up, just as sugar and chemicals in food are detrimental to our bodies and creep up on us until finally one day we realize the body that we have is no longer healthy:
  • Endless television shows that we watch simply because we happened on them, either while channel surfing, or because they were there when we turned on the TV
  • Junk books
  • TV and radio commercials and print advertising, not to mention billboards that encroach on our time and thinking as we drive through the streets (similar to what mindlessly eating sugary treats or salty chips while we watch TV or read, does to our body)
  • Fashion, gossip, and sports magazines
  • Irate political, sports, and religious commentators on radio or television
  • Conversations consisting to a degree of gossip, or discussion of other people’s lives
  • Conversations consisting to a degree of complaining about something in our lives which we expect the other person to listen to, and vice versa, listening to others complaining about their lives (see also Do Your Relationship Boundaries Contribute to Your Well-Being?
  • See also Emotional and Energetic Vampires
  • See also Finding it Hard to Love Yourself? Check Out Your Boundaries
  • Spending time in thought on endless worrying about problems (see also Controlling Ourselves, Our Lives, and the People in Them
  • Spending time in thought on endlessly going over and over what someone did to you that you simply can not forgive (see also Can You Forgive?)
  • Spending time in thought about how bored we are, or participating in some of the above activities simply because we are bored (see also Finding a Meaning for Your Life
  • Socializing with a great amount of alcohol or some other type of substance, meaning that the actual interaction with other individuals is probably not on a level that serves us
  • Socializing with people we are addicted to because of the power they have (see also What Are Your Addictions?)
  • Shopping until we drop (even if our credit cards are already groaning under a weight of debt)
Nourishment

There’s nothing wrong with all of the above in moderation, but if you were to make a list of all the hours you spend on all of the above activities that apply to you, you might find that when you need another kind of inner back-up, you don’t have it. When life throws us the curve balls, when the floor falls away from under out feet, when unexpected setbacks arrive, frequently what we most have going for us is what we carry around inside with us. What we have nourished ourselves with. Think of a young woman about to get pregnant. It’s logical, we all understand that if she is eating a healthy diet, the body that will become a vessel for the baby will be able to nourish that growing fetus in a much better fashion, than a body that is filling itself with junk food or substances. So it is with us as we prepare ourselves for those moments in life when the going gets rough.

Resilience is required for difficult times. Inner strength is required. Wisdom, trust and faith (not necessarily religious) are required. Belief in yourself is required. Knowing that you can survive will take you a long way. Emulation of others you may admire who have gone through tough times is helpful. Learn about them. Read about them. Be inspired by them. And above all, love yourself (see also Love Yourself First).

Think of this: how much joy have you stored up in your life to get you through difficulties? (see also Do You Dance?) Have you figured out how to live a joyful life no matter what? (See also You are Here to be Happy). How much understanding have you stored? Have you filled yourself with ideas that will see you through? What would you do – inside your head - if you were stranded on a desert island, or if you were placed into solitary confinement? Obviously those things are highly unlikely to happen to the great majority of us. But that – feeling that we are all alone - is how we sometimes feel when we are going through tough times because there is nothing there to sustain us.

Keeping Your Energy High

I’m an inveterate reader and have been ever since I discovered the public library with a spectacular children’s section in the city where I lived in Canada as a child. I took my bicycle there once a week, filled the basket with books and read those books over the course of the week. Evidently most of those books were novels, children’s books, and so on, but I quickly realized that there were certain books or certain pieces of information in some of the books that spoke to me in other ways than the rest. Hence I avidly searched for more of those books or for more books with passages of that nature. They nourished me. As I grew older, I began to acquire books with the goal in mind that I wanted material that nourished me, and then, even at the age of 15, realized that some of those had become faithful companions when life got hard. I was able to find solace in them, greater understanding of how I might continue on, and certainly, they encouraged me in my darker hours.

But it need not be books. It just needs to be a habit – once you understand this process – of finding daily quality nourishment that will sustain you (see also Keeping Your Energy High), because it has served to grow a being (you) that carries inner strength and conviction, a being that knows it can survive, no matter what is thrown at it. Such inner nourishment can come in many guises, but you will know it because of how it raises your inner energy, your inner sense of well-being and helps you grow towards the goal of truly loving yourself. Begin to make the pursuit of such energy-raising nourishment a habit. It will serve you well and lead you closer to inner peace, well-being and freedom.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English)


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
  


Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... AHORA en todo el mundo en Amazon (versión bolsillo y Kindle)



Note: My other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my first book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. I generally post in each of these two blogs once a week. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Also visit my Spanish & German blogs by clicking on the language links above in the MENU.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Shaking the Wrinkles Out of Your Soul


Compare how you feel when you are enthusiastic to when you are not. The differences make themselves felt not only in your emotions, but also in the vibrational or energetic frequency of your body. Enthusiasm makes you come alive in so many senses of the word, and the lack of it, or the loss of it, causes you to wither. Samuel Ullman wrote: years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.

This is similar to eating healthy food or taking vitamins and exercising, all of which - on a physiological level - may contribute to your well-being. Enthusiasm does the same.

Remember how you felt as a child, perhaps on a Saturday morning, when you knew you had the entire day at your disposal to run, play, build sand castles, read books under a tree, draw, or build an airplane with your Lego blocks. That enthusiasm - that joy - had in it not only the innocence of youth, but also the passion of something you loved. Enthusiasm at any time of life is similar to that. In fact, enthusiasm and joy are very inter-related because one may often be the cause of the other.

Enthusiasm can be sought in your passion for something you love doing, but it can also be sought in your simple interest in something you want to know more about. However you find your enthusiasm, it does require some proactive behavior on your part - in general, it won't just stroll up to you and introduce itself. But the interesting part of the proactive element is that it tends to occur more and more the greater your love for yourself has grown. I'm not talking about being a dilettante and floating - like a butterfly - from flower to flower, because one never satisfies you enough, and then believing that such enthusiasm is real, as opposed to existing simply because something is new, but about digging deep into that well of enthusiasm and growing it, expanding it, living it. One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from Rumi and I have posted and written about it often: when you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English)


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
  


Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... AHORA en todo el mundo en Amazon (versión bolsillo y Kindle)



Note: My other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my first book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. I generally post in each of these two blogs once a week. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Also visit my Spanish & German blogs by clicking on the language links above in the MENU.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Compassion & Emotional Pain


A close friend recently shared her profound emotional pain regarding her relationship with her adult child. Suffice it to say that it was not so much a conversation in which she blamed her offspring, but one in which she spoke of the grief she experiences daily by being confronted with the reality of what is.

Another person I know has been estranged from an adult child for years ... grandchildren born in far away places who are barely aware of the blood ties to this grandparent that furthermore, they would scarcely recognize if their paths were to cross.

Deep family grief such as that which I have described here is not uncommon. My files contain dozens of instances. Another couple tells me that while the relationship with their adult child had always been good, once married, it dissipated more and more as that child was assimilated into the family of the spouse in a distant city where the newly-wed couple lived, and that once grandchildren were born, the relationship became even more distant and cool. There had not even been any real kind of disagreement that would at least help this couple 'blame' the cooling process on.

While it may sound as though I'm making a case against adult children, that is not so. I'm attempting to encourage any of those who find themselves in scenarios such as these (and many others that involve multiple variations of family relationships), to try out some of the ideas that follow in order to find a measure of inner calm and peace despite the wrenching pain. And remember, just because the stories I mainly hear come from parents, it does not mean that the adult children in these instances, are not also suffering in their own way. 

You can't wipe the pain away. You can't ignore it. You can't pretend it's not there. You can't repeat endless affirmations and make yourself feel better that way. You can, however, change how you deal with that pain, while still acknowledging that it continues.

This entails - from my point of view, gleaned in great part from much of the mindfulness & Buddhist literature that has filtered over into the west over the past half century - a recognition of the fact that your suffering is greatly increased by the thoughts you have about whatever difficult situation you find yourself in. As long as you don't recognize this, you simply won't begin to take some necessary steps to deal with your thoughts in a more productive and helpful way.

Since your thoughts increase, magnify, and multiply the pain, it stands to reason that those thoughts are not good for you. How can I not think about this, you might ask, look at what is happening! It's true that at the beginning it will be very hard for you not to think about the situation, but imagine just for a moment that you could. Do you see that for much of your waking time you would be in a different space energetically? You might even find some inner peace. Not having thoughts about a difficult situations doesn't imply forgetting it or minimizing its importance. It does imply, however, coming to an inner state of calm. You know the difficult situation is there, in the same way you know how old you are, or that you are left-handed. But you don't need to think about it. Think of the thoughts that you have about the difficult situation as instruments of torture - and YOU are the one applying them to yourself.

Let's call those torture kind of thoughts, "ruminating" thoughts. In other words, you go around and around, just like a hamster on a wheel, and never get anywhere, because all you do is think about how awful it is, or what a terrible thing has been done to you, or perhaps you run through conversations over and over again, wondering what you might have done differently to get a different result. Obviously, none of that is going to improve matters. Ever. It might make them worse, however, simply because as you do this again and again, your own energy deteriorates, because all these negative, helpless, blaming, pain-filled thoughts will have a down-spiraling effect on you.

Another kind of thought altogether, would be a "proactive" thought, which could potentially help you find a solution to the issue. Or perhaps you simply decide to dedicate 15 minutes every day to seeking another way of finding a solution, but once you've done that, you let it go until the next day, because you don't want to fall back into the "ruminating" kind of thoughts.

So here are some ideas about what to do to help yourself in difficult emotional situations:

  • First, start practicing compassion in your thoughts towards the person/people who are involved in this situation with you. You have heard, I imagine, some of the many quotations about feeling compassion for those who hurt you, because they themselves are hurting inside. Here is one from the Dalai Lama: Every single being, even those who are hostile to us, is just as afraid of suffering as we are, and seeks happiness in the same way we do Every person has the same right as we do to be happy and not to suffer. So let's take care of others wholeheartedly, of both our friends and our enemies This is the basis for true compassion. Even if you do this very haltingly, very hesitantly, even not really wanting to do it, it will (I promise you), become part of you, if you practice often enough. Simply send compassion with your thoughts to that other person/s whenever you think about them.
  • Next, start 'catching' yourself as your thoughts go down the road towards the painful issue, or the people that participate in it with you. If you are able to 'catch' yourself, you will be able to stop those thoughts (more about 'how' to stop those thoughts in a moment). To catch yourself, you can practice mindfulness (here's a simple way to do it), or you can put up some post-it's around the house and office that remind you to become aware of what you are thinking and feeling numerous times throughout your day, every day, until being fully conscious of your thoughts and feelings (and your role in creating them) becomes automatic. The moment you see the reminder via the post-it, you will - at least momentarily - come to consciousness about what you are thinking and feeling. This means that you now have a choice.
  • The choice that you now have, of course, is whether you will continue to have those same thoughts, or whether you will choose to go down another road. So you choose whether you stop those thoughts - just for now - or whether you continue having them. You can say to yourself, for example: I don't yet know how this problem will turn out. I don't know if it will ever be resolved. But just for now, I choose to lift my energy by finding something beautiful (it's easiest if you choose something in nature) to look at, listen to, smell, or touch, and by feeling gratitude for its presence in my life just now. As you do this, you may notice a slight shift in your energy. You can then go on to do whatever you need to do in your life at that moment. And if you find that some minutes later you are ruminating again, you can repeat this step again. And again. And again. And I promise you that in a period of a very short time, your thoughts will go to this difficult emotional place less and less. Not because you care less. Not because it's been solved. But because you have learned to be compassionate and take care of your thoughts. Much more about this topic in my book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self.


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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English)


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
  


Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... AHORA en todo el mundo en Amazon (versión bolsillo y Kindle)



Note: My other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my first book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. I generally post in each of these two blogs once a week. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Also visit my Spanish & German blogs by clicking on the language links above in the MENU.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Transforming Power of Anger

Anger may have a strong hold over you, gripping you in its acid-bathed tentacles. Perhaps it is related to things that happened to you when you were young, or maybe you just never learned to control it well. You might have an explosive temper 'by nature', or you might 'see red' at the slightest provocation. However it is, when anger has a strong hold over you, as long as you do nothing to countermand it, you might say you are controlled by your anger.

Not a good place to be.

Renowned thinkers over the millennia have said some very salient and eye-opening things about anger:
  • Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it on someone else; you are the one who gets burned. Buddha
  • When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger. Epictetus
  • How much more grievous are the consequence of anger than the causes of it. Marcus Aurelius
  • Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. Mark Twain
  • If you do not wish to be prone to anger, do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase. At first, keep quiet and count the days when you were not angry: I used to be angry every day, then every other day: next every two, next every three days! and if you succeed in passing thirty days, sacrifice to the Gods in thanksgiving. Epictetus
I have something to put out there for you today - simply in order that you give it some consideration. You might even put it on a back burner in your mind for a bit, in order that you are able to take a peek at it every so often for several days or weeks. Allow it to percolate inside you, rather than dismissing it at the outset, in order that you may - at some point in the near future - potentially reap the benefits of this thought.

And the thought is simply this: why not use your anger as a catalyst? Use it to allow you to transform yourself. Use the anger, as it arises, to practice being another. Much of this has to do with how aware you are (click on the mindfulness label under this post) in the moment that the anger arises, in order that you may begin a new self-dialogue around the anger thoughts (for nano-seconds), that will allow you to change how you now react. It's totally within your hands. You can - if you so desire - intend it. It's a choice.


Image: "Metamorphose" (bronze sculpture) found in http://www.cedip.de/kunst-edition-bronze_skulpturen-metamorphose/p1553

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English)


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
  


Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... AHORA en todo el mundo en Amazon (versión bolsillo y Kindle)



Note: My other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my first book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. I generally post in each of these two blogs once a week. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Also visit my Spanish & German blogs by clicking on the language links above in the MENU.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Inner Peace Equals Knowing What to Ignore


Today is an unusually hot day for this time of year. Close to 40 degrees. We're having a heatwave. And it's a working day for many of us. It's made me rather uncomfortable, and caused me to think. What if what were happening had to do with a rude customer service relations person? Or what if what were happening were an aching lower back? Or what if what were happening were an argument I just had with someone close to me? Or what if what were happening were a concern about job security, paying unexpected bills, or relationship issues?

Obviously most people have somewhat - or very - uncomfortable and annoying things going on in their lives at any given moment. That's life. But how much focused attention are you putting on those things? Are you aware of the fact that the more you focus on them, the more they appear to have the power to bother you?

At what place do we find the threshold between ignoring what is going on for our own peace of mind, and allowing others, for example, to trespass your boundaries?

In the muggy weather example, it's clear. The more you ignore it, the more you decide to not pay attention to it, the less it will bother you. Focus on something else. Have cold, soothing drinks. Meditate. Decide to do a portion of your work in the cooler part of the evening, and spend the time of the greatest heat reading that book you've been putting off, or watching that documentary you have on your "to do" list. Recognize that this too, shall pass. The rude customer service relations person may need to be asked to have a better attitude, but to focus on their rudeness, and perhaps go so far as to continue thinking about how much it bothered you, will simply create a greater issue in your head. The aching lower back may need some pills. A massage. Some exercises - perhaps daily exercises for quite some time. But it also requires that you focus elsewhere. There is even some very excellent research (see the book by Dr. Norman Doidge "The Brain's Way of Healing") that indicates how much pain - even decade-long chronic pain - can be dealt with using a very focused kind of mindfulness). In the example of the person with whom I've had an argument, if they were, indeed, trespassing my boundaries, that would have to be dealt with, and most definitely NOT ignored. What you can, however, ignore, or better said, deal with mindfully, are the thoughts that arise that might make you sad, angry, guilty, or disappointed. Learn from the situation, if necessary, examine the thoughts and feelings, but don't dwell on them.

Knowing what to ignore for the sake of inner peace and well-being can be said in very simple terms:
  • accept what is (Tolle)
  • don't mind what happens (Krishnamurti)
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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English)


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
  


Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... AHORA en todo el mundo en Amazon (versión bolsillo y Kindle)



Note: My other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my first book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. I generally post in each of these two blogs once a week. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Also visit my Spanish & German blogs by clicking on the language links above in the MENU.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Where Am I Now?


Asking yourself where am I now at intervals throughout your day in order to discover not so much where you are physically, but where you have gone in your mind will begin to show you how frequently you are not present here and now.

This is a problem of phenomenal proportions when we pause to consider what happens when we are not in this now moment:
  • we are concentrating on a problem or worry that is not part of what we are actually doing now, and that therefore keeps us from being present in what we are doing now

  • we are reliving past pain and hurts that keep us from being present in what we are doing now

  • we are reliving past moments of joy that keep us from being present in what we are doing now

  • we are concentrating on future possibilities - good or bad - the thought of which keeps us from being present in what we are doing now
All of these examples indicate that we have left the only place where we live, where we are, which is now.

Take a moment to recall your childhood. Especially the parts in your childhood when you were aware of time passing. Perhaps someone went on a trip and it seemed to you that they had been gone forever. My father had traveled to Europe on business when I was about seven and living in Canada. A friend of my parents came to pick me up in order that I could play with his young daughter. On the way to their house he asked me if I had heard from my father. I told him how much I missed him and that he had already been gone for about a year. The friend looked at me and said It's only been three weeks.

Of course at that age it meant little to me, but I always remembered the incident insomuch as it demonstrated to me as an adult, how malleable time is. As a child a mere three weeks seemed endless to me.

Other examples you might resonate with are summer vacations. When they started, they seemed to stretch into delicious infinity. Sometimes just one single, solitary day seemed so long, so full of possibilities.

So fast forward to now. 2016. How long does a day seem? A week? A month? Even a year? Isn't it true that now they seem to pass in a flash? Monday comes, and as much as the work week may seem onerous, before you know it, it's Friday evening. January begins, and before you know it, it's Easter, then summer, Hallowe'en, and Christmas is on us again.

What really causes this apparent speeding up of time?

Without going into any kind of scientific or quantum explanation, I'd like to offer this: as children we live totally in the now. We pay attention to what we are doing while we are doing it. When we are on a swing, that is what we are involved with, with all our being. When we are building a sand castle on the beach and collecting shells, and pebbles, seaweed, and sticks to decorate it, we are involved with this creation with all our being. When we watch a movie or read a book, we are involved with this activity with all our being.

However, as adults we tend not to be involved with what we are doing, because we are off - in our minds - elsewhere. As illustrated earlier, we are worrying about something that may never take place, or reminiscing about something that already took place, or looking forward to something that will take place once such and such happens. All of these modes of thinking mean that we are not here and now. We are escaping the now moment, either because we don't like it, or because not being in the now moment has become such a habit, that we barely know how to remain there anymore.

This is huge. If we are not in the now moment, I ask you, when do we live our life? Now is all we have, as Eckhart Tolle so aptly pointed out in his The Power of Now. And if now is all we have, does it not make sense that we learn - remember - how to remain present?

Hence the question at the beginning of this article. Get into the habit of querying yourself about where you are at this particular moment. And once you pull yourself back into it - even if it is while you are involved in an activity that gives you little stimulation or joy - attempt to remain present, to do whatever it is you are doing with a sense of awareness, and in order to determine whether you could - if you really put your mind to it - derive satisfaction even from this (whatever it is).

More importantly, when you are involved in a pleasant activity, perhaps spending time with your partner or children, or out on the golf course, or bicycling through the neighbourhood, and you ask yourself the question, if you then also find that you are elsewhere inside, you will realize how monumentally important it is that you begin to be here now. Jon Kabat-Zinn's book about mindfulness Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life is excellent for further pointers, as is Charlotte Joko Beck's Everyday Zen: Love and Work, and also Tara Bennett-Goleman's Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart.

I encourage you to explore your now. With some patience not only will you find unaccustomed joy, but you will add years to your life, simply because you will be so much more aware at so many more now moments.

Related Articles:

Image: Nesso, Lombardy Province, Italy

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English)


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
  


Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... AHORA en todo el mundo en Amazon (versión bolsillo y Kindle)



Note: My other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my first book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. I generally post in each of these two blogs once a week. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Also visit my Spanish & German blogs by clicking on the language links above in the MENU.