The P Word

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Prayer. Sometimes more difficult to say than the F-word. Why is that? I think that many people associate prayer with a religious affiliation. Nothing wrong with that, but it might mean that people don’t understand what prayer can do.

Have you ever shrieked “Oh, my God!” when you witnessed something scary? Or whispered “help me!” when you were alone and afraid? Those statements are prayers.

Scientists and doctors are providing data that when someone is ill and receiving prayers, their recovery is much quicker.

You see, you don’t have to be in a specific place or be in a spiritual state of mind to pray. Praying is just talking to the Universe or Spirit, or any other name – or not – that you choose. It’s saying thank you when you’ve had a good day. It’s asking for help for a friend when they are in need. It’s asking for the good health and recovery when you or anyone else is experiencing an illness. It’s praying that the planet pulls its collective head out of its a$$ and gets on the path to a gentler, kinder and more cooperative way of life.

So, get down on your knees or not, and have a conversation with the Universe. God knows, we could use the help.

I Can’t Believe What I Heard

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Image by Fathromi Ramdlon from Pixabay

Cognitive dissonance occurs when you suddenly hear completely conflicting information about a long-held belief.  It causes stress and anxiety, and can change your brain pathways to that which resemble someone with PTSD.

A good example of cognitive dissonance is someone who began smoking during the years that the Marlboro Man commercials were running.  Sexy, mysterious, the actor playing this role made smoking look cool and tough.  These ads were soon followed by Joe Camel.  Both depicted a habit that was thought to be completely acceptable.  And then. . .lung cancer became the new enemy.

Many smokers went into complete denial.  “That won’t happen to me.”  Some thought they should just cut back.  And there were others who probably thought “what the hell, I’m going to die someday, anyway” and increased their consumption.  These behaviors were maladaptive, in order to lessen the belief’s conflict.  Cognitive dissonance occurred when they encountered someone, or heard evidence of smoking-induced lung cancer.  Cortisol would flood the body and eventually contribute to chronic inflammation, the root cause of most diseases.

Cognitive dissonance can occur when a trusted source of information suddenly denounces everything they supported, or even removes evidence of such.  I believe we are in a time when such things are occurring.  So, how do you reconcile conflicting beliefs?

Avoidance can be helpful, but might be just putting your head in the sand.  Defiance, which may or may not get you into trouble.  Changing your belief, but you might want to perform due diligence of fact-checking both sets of beliefs.  But ultimately, it comes down to what do you feel in your gut.  Your gut is an extremely powerful sensory device.  You’ve had that sick feeling when you are around someone who makes you feel bad or is scary.  Trust that feeling.  Make time for meditation so you can tune into the Universe and ask for guidance.  Don’t worry if you don’t hear anything immediately.  The Universe will get the answer to you in multiple ways, even with a song playing over and over in your head.  When you feel inside that you have your truth, seek out like-minded individuals who will support you.

Just don’t make yourself sick over someone’s lies.

Happy Mother’s Day

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Image by John Hain from Pixabay

There are a multitude of sources regarding the origination of Mother’s Day, and all for good reason.  I like to think of it as honoring the nurturing aspect of a woman towards a child.  However, many women are not mothers, including me, but that doesn’t lessen the capability of nurturing.  Nor do I think it is limited to the female gender.

Nurturing is a deeply-ingrained capacity to care for another, and a full expression of love.  Anyone can act in the capacity of a mother simply through this self-less, generous expression.  The first step to nurturing is turning it inwards to yourself.  You cannot give to others freely, without first giving to yourself.

Nurturing is honoring yourself when you are tired, just as a father puts a cranky child to bed.  It is feeding yourself when you are hungry, as a mother nurses a hungry baby.  It is motivating yourself to fulfill your passions, as a parent encourages a child to build their skills.

To love yourself unconditionally by honoring your body, your needs and your very existence, all of which is learned in your early childhood.  If those needs were not met when you were a child, it is never to late to nurture yourself.  You act out when your inner child is not being cared for.  Ask yourself what you need and do that.  Give yourself a hug and tell your child-self that you are loved and cared for and protected.  When you begin to mother yourself, you will no longer seek it outside of you.  Your relationships will become more meaningful and your total well-being will feel happy.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of us.