You’ve probably heard about it. The well-known Harvard study that followed  2 sets of graduates. One  reported  that they had goals but they were  more vague, and hadn’t been written.  Group 2 not only had goals but had also written them down.  i.e. had made them more real. He kicker was that , of course, the second group 10 years later had had considerably more success than the first.

It’s been found that  what you want wants you. You tend to pull to yourself that which you form a picture of and think about and emote over.
The same actually works for trying to remember something as well. The more senses you involve in the process of reviewing the information, the deeper  the item gets embedded in your unconscious, the higher your retention rate. If you can repeat whatever it is you want to remember, that’s great. If you repeat it in a loud voice, even better – another sense is involved. Then make a picture of it in your mind – a picture on the fridge is even better, another sense is involved.etc. etc….

Goals work. And they work for you. My first experience with goals  was a longer exercise out a Brian Tracy workbook. Very thorough, you were asked to list your “wanna-haves” in every category of your life. So OK. So for household chores, I decided I really didn’t want to have sole responsibility for my yard work, that I really would like some help with the garden. OK   So one item on a very long list.  Satisfied with myself I put the work aside and decided to take a walk in the laneway and go around the block for some air. Lo and behold, within minutes I was walking beside a young man carrying a potted plant. We got to talking. He was helping people in the neighbourhood with their gardens and voila! We made a deal for him to come and work  with me!  I was astounded, flabbergasted and befuddled. What had just happened? Well, that was no co-incidence: I intended something, and it started coming my way.

They say on the other side of life,  what you desire just appears, there’s no time lag. The same principle is at work here too – it’s only that there’s usually a time lag between the first thought and the manifestation, so we don’t always make the connection.  But connected they are.

Give it a try.

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Life manifests who you are

Life manifests who you are

Stop sitting back and acting as if you had no responsibility for what appears in your life. That’s the old paradigm, where life just appears around you fully formed, always a surprise, usually an unpleasant one. Most of us were raised that way – you trudge through your life with various levels of expectation, but little hope that we could seriously influence life’s outcome.

There’s really a huge disconnect between what we’re told in school and how things actually work out.  So in school you’re told to study hard, so you get a good job. That’s it. You’re not encouraged to dream, even dream big. No, no! Don’t get too uppity. Remember your father was a simple farmer  with few opportunities in life. What makes you think you can now go out  and create some fantastic  ideal existence? Just be content with a nice little job, working your 30 years, paycheque to paycheque, then retiring to a life of relative poverty.

A huge shift is happening today. Thank God! And most people still don’t believe it. The news is that you were the creator of your life all along. Surprise! All your mediocre thoughts just automatically served up a life for you of mediocrity. And even if you wanted to reach a little higher, your fears got in the way and shot down any great ideas you might have.

I confess I lived a mediocre life, had mediorcre marriages, raised children as best I could but all I could give them was what I was. And dreams? You kidding? No, no real dreams. Just mundane worries about money and relationships and what the neighbours thought. But I’m starting to grow up. Starting to manifest what I really want. Starting to dream.

Let’s dream a new dream together!

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The low level violence of being comfortable.

The low level violence of  being comfortable.

When you’re very comfortable with who you are, where you are, as you are – you’re in trouble. You’re forgetting that the only constant in the universe is change, and if you’re not busy growing, you’re busy dying.

The recent research into brain health affirms that we need change in order to function at our best, to not deteriorate as quickly as some elderly retired people do. It’s not uncommon for a man to have worked 40 years at a job, who retires amidst a great to-do and shortly after expires. I like the analogy of one  columnist, describing someone of a certain age, who said “he was one who was well past his best-before date”.

Now this doesn’t mean that we should never be comfortable. Life is difficult enough  without not being able to catch your breath occasionally and just enjoy  some comfortable habit.  But the trick is not to stay there too long and end up with mental arterial sclerosis and  a due soon expiration date.

Habits are actually addictions. (Right Use of Will). This makes perfect sense because being comfortable is such a huge draw, it really is a certain level of addiction. Something we crave for, pant after.” Oh, just to get home  and be able to put my feet up on my favourite chair!”

Life is a great adventure that takes energy and courage to keep moving forward. That takes willingness to change, to learn, to grow. Only those who listen carefully to new ideas with an open mind  and an open heart,  not shy away from making the necessary changes in their lives can move themselves and humanity forward and upward yet again.           Couraggio, my friends!

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The low level violence of being a follower

The low level violence of being a follower

I ‘m driving to New York city. Lots of long stretches of highway straight ahead, and I get to thinking what my driving instructor told me: the safest place on the road is the place where you have lots of space around you, not boxed in by all kinds of cars.  Got it! Makes sense.

I can see the pattern of cars moving in chunks all around me. Where there’s one car there tends to be two or three close beside, traveling together, in a way. It feels like a normal human bonding kind of thing to do. True it’s not as safe. The closer you are to your car friends, the more likely you’ll have fewer choices in case of an accident. It really is the more dangerous choice.  So ok, so I tend now to drive out between the clusters of cars into my own space, a good safe distance away from everyone around me. True it’s safer, but a little lonely.   So I cheat.

What I tend to do now is to find some  one car that is travelling about my same speed, seems sane enough, steady enough for me to follow. But I don’t follow him/her directly. What I do is follow them from the other lane, but at  good distance, keeping pace as it were, with lots of space around me, sort of.  OK it’s not exactly what I was told to do, but heck, it feels good, and you can’t always do as your told, can you?

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Depleted Elementary School Curriculum

Depleted Elementary School Curriculum

Who makes these decisions anyway? Todays curriculum is written in language that  only a lawyer can understand. Written by academics for academics. It’s a huge tome put out by the Toronto District School Board, which takes  more than a bit of muscle to carry around. What exactly does it tell us?  Lots  and lots and lots of detail. About particular subject matter and methodology and aims and specific outcomes. And what exactly are you left with after you’ve gone through it, besides confusion? Do you really have a good picture of the child you’d like to produce from all this? Likely not.

100 years ago in Ontario there was the Gray Book. A small little document probably under 50 pages that told you what kind of child we wanted to see after his/her 8 years of elementary school with us. It was an uplifting piece. Short and to the point. Its recommendation for curriculum was 10% music 10% gym, 30% literature, 10% math, 10% art. We’re nowhere near that. Our children are often obese for lack of exercise. Music and art get short shrift and often considered “fringe” subjects. There ‘s an overemphasis on math and computer skills, and little consideration for total screen time that the child’s exposed to.

To raise real human beings, not just automaton human “doings”, we need to rethink our approach to education and curriculum in particular, and stop doing violence to the children under the care of the school system. Dr. Aymen  the well known author of “Change your Brain Change your Life” can be seen on U Tube advocating  for less drugs for our kids, advising natural remedies and supplementation as a first course of treatment for  our behavioral kids. I agree. Nutrition and supplementation should be the schools concern. Nutrition, adequate sleep, freedom from abuse. These are necessities. Psychologists realize now a child can’t learn anything if  these life’s necessities are not covered before the child arrives at school.

Then once he/she is at school half the time spent in program, should be spent  either out in nature or studying nature: learning responsibility, relating to the plants and animals, learning gardening and how to grow what we need to eat. Then teaching children meditation and mindfulness, as is done in some experimental programs now, would be a huge step forward towards living an inner authentic life, in touch with our feelings – a far cry from the bullying, backstabbing, shunning school yards that have become normal. Tribes training – learning how to work in real groups. Right brain training as well as left brain training.   Sure skills will have to be taught and trained, but we’re no longer needing to raise robots for our assembly lines – which are on their way out. But rather fully human beings who are raised to love life and love themselves and have the confidence and creativity to create all our futures. Amen

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Not living in today

Not living in today

We do a violence to ourselves when we live in yesterday or tomorrow, spending time  and energy worrying about things. (Mark Twain  once said “ My life was full of awful events, most of which never happened.) Holding grudges, planning revenge, allowing past hurts to fester and infect us, living in fear of eventualities that grow every time you think of their possibility, that even become self-fulfilling prophecies.

In the Power of Now, Eckhardt Tolle, tells us you can’t get to there from anywhere else but where you are. Enlightenment happens from here. The more “here’ you are the better chance you have to do it. That’s where meditation is very helpful, living in a state of mindfulness with all your antennae up and observing and drinking in every moment. Truthfullly acknowledging what you’re feeling to yourself and also to others. You don’t need to be constantly attacking people with your “truth” but when you do comment on something , tell it as you feel it.

The Royal Airforce was said to have 3 rules :
1.  Always tell the truth.
2. Never tell the complete truth
3. Never pass up the opportunity to go to the washroom

Sane advice,
After all you only have today really. Yesterday’s gone – you can’t do anything about it. Tomorrow’s a dream. But today we have totally, completely, with all its joys and all its opportunities. Whatever kindness you can do, do it now. Smile at the tired store clerk, her feet are probably aching. Look in your lovers eyes deeply, appreciate them.   “I pass this way but once…”

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Ghomeshi trial and low level violence

Ghomeshi trial and low level violence

There really was no contest about whether or not he did it, nor did he ever deny he did it. The question really was: was there consent? Nothing that came up in the trial really indicated there was. Sure the women were conflicted, sure their reflections after the fact varied and seemed to question their assertions that he was being violent. But look at the cultural context. Look at the huge power differential.

This man was next to a rock star. The CBC were hungry for stars. He was allotted a huge office, his own TV show, and all the adoring fans he could handle. Talk about handling, those around him knew not to send him younger girls unattended, that was already embedded in their culture. He could do no wrong. Sort of.  The size of the ego here, must have been huge. And the fall that came  was also correspondingly  huge.

Then came the revelations.  So when these incidents came to light, and the women’s stories started to make the news, and finally the whole thing came to trial, the women’s stories were questioned because of their varied reactions. The violence was there. The consent wasn’t. But the whole story hinged on the afterthoughts. But this is an old story. Domestic abuse cases: he beats her up but she hesitates to call the cops – she knows he really loves her – and he may go for quite a while being nice even. Too she has but limited choices, to walk out of a stable financial situation into what?  Work harassment: the boss wants you to do him favours; or at school, the professor likes you a little too much. Power differential , big time.  Same here. He would be quite a catch – maybe it wasn’t all that bad – maybe it wouldn’t happen again – maybe she could get around it somehow. If, if, if…

We haven’t come as far as we thought we had, in the relations between the sexes. Our women are still  not free to make the choices they really want. We have still to achieve a power  that really is equalized. Real freedom to choose is still a dream away. Let’s dream a new dream together.

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