Welcome to the July newsletter. I hope it finds you all doing well, here in the Northern Hemisphere in the middle of our summer and for those down under, the middle of winter.
I decided to do this month’s article and to focus this newsletter on finding fulfillment and in doing so finding fun, joy, happiness, love and all those great emotions that just make you feel wonderful. I knew that this article would not be easy to write but I really did not quite fully appreciate just how difficult it would be until I started. It has taken me longer and this newsletter is getting out later in the month than any other.
I’ve thought and thought about it and I’ve read and researched much about it and even though it is something that I teach in my workshops and help clients with during our private sessions, it has been hard to write down and express in a clear and concise manner, I hope that I have managed to do so.
A few years ago I took a hard look at myself and where I was and what I had been feeling for several years and I realized that I wasn’t happy. In fact, I realized that I was downright unhappy and even worse, I just felt empty. This took me by surprise because it wasn’t me. At least it wasn’t the me that I knew. It made me wonder how I had gotten to this sad state and I had no idea how to “fix” it.
It took some time, several years in fact, but I did. I reconnected with myself and started to actually live again and, in addition, I discovered a sense of fulfillment that I never had before no matter how happy I thought I was.
In the process, I discovered a new career, but I also discovered that we all too often defeat ourselves and the biggest culprits are our own conscious thoughts. It is important to understand that what we consciously think about actually is considered by the subconscious, and it is considered as a fact no matter how ridiculous or silly or stupid it may appear to be. If I were to say to you I don’t want you to think about a purple elephant with pink dots. No matter what you do, do not think about a purple elephant with pink dots. What is the first thing that pops into you mind? Exactly, a purple elephant with pink dots. This is a very simple example of why it is so crucial to say and think about those things that you want in your life rather than to think about what you don’t want. We too often focus on and think about all the things that we don’t want.
We also tend to say things to ourselves such as “I am such an idiot”, “I can’t do anything right”, “Why does everything bad always happen to me”, etc. These are actually considered as orders by your subconscious. You are telling your subconscious that this is who you are, what you life is like and how you feel. Say it often enough and it becomes a reality in your life. Stop it! Instead, start making positive affirmations. “Yes I can make the right decision when I need to regarding my job or my relationship or whatever and I know it will be the right decision.”
Next, what you focus on, what you see is what you get. As an example, if you think about the color blue, perhaps you are thinking of buying a blue car and not sure exactly what shade you want. You will discover that you see the color blue all the time, everywhere you look you will notice it. This principle also works for our emotions, thoughts, ideas and beliefs. If you think about anger, that’s what you will see in your world. You will see the anger in all the people around you, you will feel it, you will notice every couple having a fight You will feel as if your world is filled with anger, and this goes for hate, hurt, depression, anxiety, fear and sadness. But the same also holds true for fun, joy, happiness, fulfillment, love and excitement. If your focus is on love, you will notice all those couples holding hands, all the children and parents who are hugging, smiling, laughing and you world will start to be filled with love.
So, the bottom line really is that it is all about Cause and Effect. As you change your thoughts you change your world and your life.
But this is just a part of the picture. Fulfillment is also about moving forward in your life and your world. Releasing negative emotions allows you to move forward. As we live our lives, we tend to carry around crap from our past. Just as with any weight, the longer you carry it the heavier it gets. It really does becomes important to release the garbage that you have been carrying around, release the negative emotions that are holding you back release the anger, hurt, fear and guilt that keep you from finding true fulfillment.
An even bigger part of the picture and perhaps our biggest setback towards finding fulfillment is expecting that somehow your happiness, your fulfillment, your purpose, is linked to someone or something or some event that is outside of yourself. This is different than having goals. Goals are good things, they keep you moving forward. What I’m talking about is making your happiness dependent on what another person might do or say or what events might happen.
Does any of this sound familiar: “If only I could get that job I want, then I know that I would be happy”. Or “If I could get a date with that really beautiful girl, I know that would make me feel good about myself.” If I were married I’d be happy. If I had that car or if I lived in that house or if I could take that trip or buy that dress or.… well you get the picture.
What do you want to accomplish, overcome, change, or create? What's wrong in your life now? If you were to compare your idea of what a totally fulfilled life is with your life right now, how would the two differ? What obstacles are holding you back? Consider this; your obstacles may be nothing more than excuses that you have created to stop you really getting what you want without realizing that you have done so.
I can hear you right now: "Yeah, but, you don't understand. I can't even begin to imagine my dreams, because... and you can probably fill in the blank. Perhaps what you are saying sounds more like this, "That would be great, but I have a family to support, bills to pay and I’m working two jobs, I don’t have the time to pursue my dreams.” Or perhaps it sounds something like this, “Someday I’ll pay off my credit cards. Of course, I haven’t stopped using the cards or started paying more than the minimum payment but someday I know they will be paid off.” Or how about this, “Someday I'll meet the man of my dreams. And he will be exactly as I imagine him — perfect. He will support me in whatever I want to do forever.”
These may sound a bit ridiculous when written, but these are the kinds of thoughts that we tell ourselves and we tell our subconscious. They become our obstacles because they become a part of our life.
It is important to realize that these obstacles may be right in front but you have grown so accustomed to them that you no longer see them. You may have finally just accepted the fact that you will never get a promotion, and now you accept this “fact” as a part of your life, this disappointment and lack of fulfillment at work. In this situation, which do you think is your obstacle? Is it your employer or is it that you are afraid to make a change? Perhaps it is your limiting beliefs that are holding you back.
What about your most intimate relationships. Do you believe that if you're in a relationship that your partner is your possession? And are they to be arranged like a piece of furniture and controlled in a way that is suitable and acceptable to you? Can one person actually be the possession of another? Should they be? When you attempt to possess another person, to control that other person, you become yourself possessed. You become vulnerable. If you try to possess, to control another, what you are actually doing is blocking your ability to truly experience love and find fulfillment in this area.
You do not need to control another and you do not need to be afraid. You can choose to move away from these feelings.
It is necessary to dig deep and to be honest with yourself. Find your obstacles, whatever they may be and find the fear that stops you from tearing them down to get what you deserve. Remember this, totally fulfilled people are responsible for their thoughts, actions and lives. They don't make excuses they make things happen and they find fulfillment.
What you need to keep you moving forward are realistic, doable expectations, and the ability to keep a positive outlook, even if you make a mistake or fail in some aspect of your goal, that’s part of living your life. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter said, "Once you accept the fact that you're not perfect, then you develop some confidence."
So, set yourself some goals understanding that obstacles will come up but you can and will deal with them if you tell yourself you can, you will make adjustments and perhaps change your course now and then until you reach your goal. Check in; monitor your progress sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, revising and adjusting as needed when changes occur.
Realize that stuff has to come up otherwise it all really is rather pointless. If there aren’t any challenges, why would you ever strive for anything? If you could manifest everything instantly, this would be a very scary and boring world.
Finally, if you can understand and accept that the past is where you have been and you learn from it, you can use it to guide you on this journey of your life, but it is still the past. The future is yet to come and you can dream about it and visualize how wonderful it will be allowing those dreams and images to guide you in the direction that you want to go. But it is still the future. What you have is now; you have your present, this very instant, moment of time. This is where we exist, this is where we live this life we’ve been given. Laugh, love, giggle, play, dance, swim, read, nap, take a long bubble bath, do whatever gives you joy and pleasure. Remind yourself daily if you need to, make it a habit. Do at least one thing a day that gives you pleasure, doing even more is much better.
If you do not, then you’ve lost your “now”, the “present” and you cannot experience the feeling of fulfillment. Eventually you’ll find yourself in a sort of limbo land of work, wishes, unfulfilled dreams, dissatisfaction and unreachable goals. You’ll find all that, but you won’t find fulfillment. The real truth, the reality of this world we live in is that desire is the life force of energy that streams through us. It is our desires that keep us alive and magnetic. The more we allow the energy of desire to flow through us, the more vibrant and alive we become, the more connected we feel, life just gets better and better and you will find true fulfillment.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
The Health Tips this month are all about antioxidants. I know you’ve all read and heard about their benefits regularly, but read on, perhaps you will find something you didn’t know before.
Grate a little lemon zest into your tea for an extra dose of skin cancer protection.
The zest of lemon, orange, and grapefruit peels is high in d-limonene, a compound in citrus oil that may significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer by blocking tumor growth. Add grated citrus peel to hot tea, desserts, and salads for an extra dose of this cancer-fighting flavoring.
Picture yourself running up a couple flights of stairs . . .
If you also imagine your lungs yelling, "Hey! What are you? Nuts?" — stop by the store tonight. Pick up a mango, a jalapeno, a red pepper, and some fresh cilantro. Chop them all up with a little lime juice, salt, and pepper. Then dip in. This sweet and spicy salsa will do more than please your palate. The beta carotene-rich fruits and veggies help ward off normal age-related declines in lung function.
Give yourself a tropical pick-me-up with antioxidant-rich guava.
Red guava offers more antioxidant benefits than spinach, strawberries, or oranges, a recent study concluded, making red guava a free-radical-scavenging powerhouse. The phenols in red guava are responsible for the fruit's antioxidant activity. Simply peel and remove the seeds from well-ripened fruit and enjoy.
If you don't touch the hard stuff but would love some of the highly touted health benefits attributed to red wine, pour yourself a glass of grape juice instead.
Like wine, grape juice is full of protective pigments known as flavonoids. Unlike wine, it doesn't stop you from driving home safely if you over-indulge. And the juice's heart-smart reputation is growing. For instance, when people drank Concord grape juice daily for 2 weeks in a study, their "bad" LDL cholesterol became less dangerous and their blood levels of disease-fighting antioxidants rose.
Swirl some cinnamon into your favorite hot beverage to make your heart happy.
Cinnamon, researchers have discovered, has potent antioxidant properties, most likely due to the heart-healthy phenols in the spice.
Pairing veggies with avocado may help you get the full power of your produce.
Healthy fats in avocados aid carotenoid absorption, a recent study reveals. Carotenoids are the bright red, orange, and yellow pigments of colorful fruits and vegetables. These carotenoids have antioxidant properties that may help decrease the risk of heart disease and certain kinds of cancer.
Reach for a certain sweet dried fruit for some extra antioxidants.
Dried figs are high in polyphenols; powerful antioxidants that help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Eating just 5 or 6 dried figs per day helps you meet your daily fiber and fruit requirements while satisfying your sweet tooth naturally.
The small, fuzzy kiwifruit may pack a big punch when it comes to heart health.
Eating kiwifruit every day may help lower triglyceride levels, according to a recent study. Reducing triglyceride levels and other blood fats helps to guard against the buildup of dangerous arterial plaques. The vitamin C, vitamin E, and polyphenol content of kiwifruit may be the reason for its heart benefits.
The next time you're picking up berries in the produce aisle, think purple.
Purple berries, such as red and black currants, gooseberries, elderberries, and chokeberries, may have as much as 50 percent more antioxidants than other more common berry varieties. Their purple hue is indicative of a high concentration of anthocyanins, which are flavonoids with potent antioxidant qualities.
Olive oil isn't only a boon to heart health. New research shows it may have other powers, too.
Oleic acid -- a healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil -- may help disarm a gene that prompts breast cancer cells to grow and divide, a recent study revealed. Add this health-friendly fat to your diet by sautéing veggies and other foods in olive oil instead of butter. Choose an olive oil-based dressing for salads, too.
Some little known antioxidant sources may be hiding in your kitchen.
Red kidney beans, artichokes, and Russet potatoes are among some of the best food sources of antioxidants, a new study determined. Antioxidants help guard against cell damage that can lead to cancer, heart disease, and aging. Sweet cherries, pinto beans, gala apples, plums, and pecans turned out to be good sources of antioxidants, too.
Eating a couple of Brazil nuts each day could boost your prostate cancer prevention efforts.
Early research has suggested that dietary selenium, a trace element with antioxidant properties, may help reduce a man's risk of developing prostate cancer. Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium with as much as 77 micrograms of the mineral per nut.
Eating an orange a day may be one of the secrets to living younger longer.
According to study results, a mere one extra serving of citrus fruits each day may reduce the risk of cancers of the mouth, larynx, and stomach by as much as 50 percent. Researchers credit the antioxidant properties of vitamin C-rich citrus fruits for the possible cancer-fighting benefits.
Nibbling on some sunflower seeds may help you ward off type 2 diabetes.
Recent research revealed a correlation between diets highest in the antioxidant vitamin E and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E. However, most people need a supplement to get the optimum daily amount of this nutrient.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.