7,000 Reasons Your Uniqueness May Be Plagiarism

How serendipitous it was for me to find this post! I’ve been struggling with this exact issue for awhile now and I’m loving this author’s approach!

Lark & Bloom

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I live in America where there is a continual conversation about one’s individuality. We love to take tests to see what our strengths and skills are. Shelves are full of books to help us discover our unique composition and  how to capitalize on it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for self-awareness. According to Myers Briggs I am an ENTP, which pretty much nails me. Knowing who we are is essential to understanding what we were made to do and how we were made to do it, but it is also where the problem comes in.

What is the problem?

I think we are each put on this earth to accomplish a certain task. You can call it what you want – destiny, mission or calling. I believe that our being here serves a purpose and that we are each divinely made to see that accomplished. My own belief…

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Improving Communication and Developing Empathy Through Meditation

When I first started meditating, it became clear that (quite often) my body may present, but my mind is absent from my daily life and interactions.  Things like day-dreaming, planning for uncertain outcomes, worrying about the future, and poring over the past can occupy my mind at any given time. Meditation has helped me become aware of the times my mind goes off in all different directions.  My racing thoughts are a silent (but powerful!) driver and stressor.

I have come to recognize that there are times when I might be engaging with a situation in the present, but because my mind is in another space or time, my responses may not be directly related to the present situation.  Instead, I might be responding to past experiences and future fears.  If I am not mentally present, I can go into autopilot and senselessly (and ineffectively) react to a situation or person.

There’s a quote that really resonates with me: “Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl

I think meditation allows that in-between space to grow and expand in a very significant way.  As a result of this increased in-between space, we have a slower response time and we become more capable of choosing an appropriate and positive response to any given situation.  Meditation also increases our ability to respond lovingly, patiently, and with empathy to others.

The Loving-Kindness Meditation (or Mettā) is one of my favorite forms of meditation and is particularly useful in developing empathy.  This meditation asks us to focus on positive, loving emotions and then to send those positive thoughts and wishes to others.  Angela Wilson writes “…[The Loving-Kindness Meditation] has the potential not only to improve our connection with ourselves, but to foster deeper connection and care for others as well.”

While it can be challenging to direct these positive, loving emotions toward people we might not feel affinity for, it’s an important practice and one I would highly encourage you to try out!  This combination of an increased space for response and a more effective form of response encourages true understanding and positive encounters between ourselves and others.

You can find a free guided Loving-Kindness Meditation through UCLA: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22.  And here are two articles introducing the Loving-Kindness Meditation:

May all beings everywhere be happy.

Fostering Our Curiosity

Curiosity is a key component of successful intercultural communication.

To encourage my own curiosity, I like to take 15 or 30 minutes on a regular basis to visualize a dream trip.  I identify a place based on how I feel that day and try to make it as real as possible.  If it’s cold out, I might choose a warm island trip.  Or, I might want to really get into the season and choose a snowy Nordic adventure.

I visualize the details of the surroundings, the textures of the things around me, the smells, and sounds.  It’s a great stress reliever and mood booster!

Here’s a link to some amazing places to help inspire you this week: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/surreal-places-to-visit-before-you-die

Happy dreaming!

(Image from: DOUG PERRINE/Barcroft Media /Landov / Via quora.com)

The beginning…

Realizing our full potential is a process.  It is a lifelong challenge.

I remember the moment I felt the most powerful stirrings of my awakening.  I was walking through Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon and saw a book on a sale shelf.  It was “The Dance of the Dissident Daughter” by Sue Monk Kidd.  The words triggered something in me.  Dance.  Dissident Daughter.  What power in those words!  The image on the front of the book is the other part of what drew me in.  This tree, shrouded in fog, spoke to me.

Prior to this, I felt a restlessness in my soul, but this book began my journey in earnest.  For the first time, I felt that there were women who had gone before me and found their way to the other side.  For the first time, I felt that there might be hope on the other side of this tunnel.  It was scary but exhilarating at the same time and I felt the shift in my life.  I knew something was changing but I didn’t know what might be in store for me after I took this monumental step.

What provided me with hope and courage is that there are women who have gone before us.  These women carry the lights that show us the way.  We each have our own path, but we know that there is hope.  And we are not alone on our journey.