Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again – when we look for renewal and reinvention, and we make resolutions to keep intentions we mostly have all year long. Why do we think we can keep them just because it’s a new year? Maybe a new year makes us feel like we have been given a new beginning, and we can forgive ourselves the old bad habits because we are committed to doing better now? While this is a hope-filled and optimistic feeling, it will be more than likely over-ridden by the emotion we have that drives the habit or behavior we want to get rid of in the first place! Because that emotion is probably stronger than the new intention! It is probably older, more ‘set’ in your body, and it’s history and ‘roots’ much more powerful. Interestingly, a recent scientific study in Portugal showed that in times of stress (such as the times we are in), we revert to habits we have formed even if they are destructive and actually cause more stress! (More on this in a future article – watch for it on this website.)

For me, shifting habits is of course as challenging as for anyone, but I have always found it to be amazingly helpful to journal write, especially at this time of year – to journal about the emotions that keep me doing things I don’t really feel good about. Journaling as in ‘stream of consciousness’ – NO judgment, just write what you feel – can be immensely clarifying and give great insight. When you have ‘emptied’ your emotions onto the pages and you feel your writing is, at least for the moment, complete, allow yourself to just sit with the emotion(s), get to know it/them. And breathe- long, slow, deep breaths.

When ready, get into that space in your body that feels good (usually in the heart and chest area). Breathe into it. Allow the emotions you wrote about to just melt as you breathe into the ‘feel-good’ feeling.

Then, on a new blank page (the naturally occurring metaphor here is difficult to ignore :-), write down where you would like to be one year from now; imagine your perfect life in a year – write it down. When I do this, I then give myself one practical step to take to move towards it – which I then carry out. (The changes I want then become manageable, step-by-step processes). If those sabotaging emotions start to appear again, I go back and journal about them and do the same process as above, again. Eventually, after a few times, even the most stubborn emotions will have ‘melted’ away completely! Quite an empowering experience! With the sabotaging emotions gone, any resolutions, New Year’s or otherwise, become so much easier to keep, I cannot imagine making any kind of resolutions or commitments without first doing this process.

On that note; all of us here at AEM wish all of you a Happy New Year ------- and happy journaling!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Prize Draw Winners!

Our December 20th Holiday Prize Draw has happened! We are giving away 5 copies of my book BEING WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE, and the winners are Lindsay T., Sabina Y., Cindy M., Alexis R., and Beth W. Congratulations to you all! (Each winner has been notified by email.)

A quote in the book is from Confucius: "To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right." The Christmas season is such a perfect time to reflect on this I find. It is the season for giving (although that season should really never end!), AND it is the time when we prepare for a new year, new beginnings, and setting intentions for improvements and new choices we wish to make. May all our choices help and support us in "setting our hearts right"!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Musings on the Holidays

The Holidays are coming up again – and what has not been said on this subject? I cannot think of anything! The discussion is, as usual, can we manage the stress and make the experience pleasurable? This year for many, there’s probably an additional focus on money - or rather the reduced amounts of it available! The quote "In bringing up children, spend on them half as much money and twice as much time." (L. J. Peter) may speak more to parents this year than before!

So the one thing I find myself focusing on is quality rather than quantity - and the concept of relishing; relishing every positive fraction of every tiny moment. As I bake the mince pies, I want to relish the aromas that waft towards me. Each time I walk past the tree in our living room, I want to relish the beauty of the twinkling lights and the sweet decorations collected over the years. Before, during and after each meal, I want to take the time to deeply appreciate every morsel consumed, knowing how privileged we are to be consuming such meals at all. Relishing to me is like the physical version of appreciating, felt so acutely it creates a physical response – the mouthwatering experience, the involuntary smile, the warm glow. And what more do I need – for these are the physical manifestations of happiness, and to decide to relish is to decide to be happy – at any time of year!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Musings on The Being Effect

For me, The Being Effect is what one might call the impact we each make on our environment, our loved ones, each person we meet, and our own body. It is not just about what we say and do - but actually more about how we feel. Our feelings permeate everything, which is really good news, because this is something we can actually take charge of - and which in turn will make it easier to take charge of how we respond to the world! I for one, am grateful for this, especially when I am confronted with all the things in the world that I cannot control! Although recycling, using my bike instead of my car, and coaching by phone rather than driving to an office, all contribute however minutely to a better world, consciously putting myself in a 'feel-good' state and allowing it to effect everything I think, say and do will, I believe, make an even greater difference. And it will naturally include riding my bike - - for several reasons, not just because I want to be 'green' but because I really love to ride! Easier, somehow, than 'trying hard' to be environmentally conscious, as it is a natural result of 'the feel-good' flow........... :-)