Sunday, January 29, 2012

Be Your Own Hero

mctgarcia photography

I've adopted these words as a mantra to help me when my mind wanders into negativity land:

"We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, 
we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves. " 
-author Tom Robbins

With so many thoughts buzzing around inside our heads, we're bound to encounter a toxic thought or two. But how do we defend ourselves from ourselves?

Case in point: it's a sad fact that chauvinistic media has distorted how women view their bodies. But both women and men ruthlessly scrutinize themselves in front of the mirror. I've heard friends say, "I look fat, I'm getting old, I'm losing my hair,” even when it couldn't be farther from the truth. This loose talk seems harmless, but it seeps into our consciousness and dissolves our self esteem without us even realizing it.

Just because a negative thought exists, that doesn't make it true. We've got to get smarter about recognizing the inner trickster...that voice that makes excuses, plays con games, and tells us that we don't measure up. When an internal bully rolls around, we've gotta stay solid in who we are and ask, “What is it that I'm trying to measure up to anyway?”

My personal negativity cleanse has paid off for me. By training myself to disregard the bad and focus on the good, it's almost second nature. My goal is to embrace it all—good and bad, to love the world, love myself, feel good sometimes, feel bad sometimes, and appreciate everything for what it is: experience. Striving to be a good person gives me inner peace and I proudly am my own hero, my own mentor, my own knight in shining armor.

Don't be a dragon; be your own inspiration. Repeat that promise to yourself and maybe even hang a reminder on the mirror. Instead of dwelling on body image, let's all open our eyes to the beautiful people we truly are.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Give & Receive

Pema Chodron writes in Start Where You Are,

"What you do for yourself—any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honesty and clear seeing toward yourself—will affect how you experience your world. 

In fact, it will transform how you experience the world. 

What you do yourself, 

you're doing for others, 

and what you do for others, 

you're doing for yourself."

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Tour of Awareness

What if I said that in this very moment, the true nature of reality might be hidden from you.

Sound strange? Good! Keep reading...

There are a growing number of innovators studying cognitive science and the effects of meditation on the brain, a discipline called Contemplative Neuroscience

There is a ton to read on the subject, but to give you a small flavor, let paraphrase my favorite thinker on this topic Jiddu Krishnamurti. He said that as human beings grow, we become conditioned to the world around us and we draw conclusions about the world, ourselves, and others. It's human nature to be assimilated by our environment, but sometimes we become so stubborn in our convictions that we distort reality through a clouded lens. Instead of confusing our feelings as absolute truth, we should investigate our external world as well as the inner self—to attain awareness.

To me, 'awareness' means reaching deep inside and opening the senses to the beauty all around. Here's my proposal for an interesting 2012 resolution. It starts now. Devote time to explore the inner self and question long held beliefs or doubts. And maybe even devote some time to learning more about how the brain works. You can start by checking out these enlightening videos from my brilliant friend. 

Called "A tour of awareness" Aditya Prasad's series explains how our brains may be distracting us from living an authentic, happy life. But hope is not lost! By training our brains to tune in via a simple technique called a “ping,” we can stop daydreaming our lives away and appreciate the moment for what it is. 

And Video 4 is currently in development!

About Aditya Prasad: This Google Engineer and psychology geek is blazing the trail for compassion science, studying neuroscience and meditation's relationship with empathy. He spent a summer living in a monastery and co-authored a paper on emotion regulation while volunteering at Stanford. He's an amazing person who inspires me with his intellect and compassion.